Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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6
votes
2answers
576 views

Mizmor l'David (Psalms 23) at Shalosh Suedos

There is a common minhag (custom) to sing Mizmor l'David at Seudah Shlishis, the third Sabbath meal. It is common to sing this song three times in a row and I was asked this Shabbos by a friend why ...
5
votes
2answers
200 views

Do we say “Ma Tovu” each time we enter the synagogue?

There is a custom to say the paragraph “מה טובו” on entering the synagogue (see “Avodah Shebelev” Rabbi A Z Sternbuch, 5753, page 18). The idea (but without the possuk of “Ma Tovu”) is mentioned in ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Putting on Tefilin one month before Bar Mitzva

Rabbi Shimon Eider Zatzal brings in his Sefer that the Minhag is to put on Tefilin from one to three months before the Bar Mitzva. To the best of knowledge there are three different schools of ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

Are there still American shuls that spit during Aleinu?

As I am sure many of you know, there is a historical practice of spitting during Aleinu. A discussion of the origin of the practice can be found here. I have davened at Conservative and Modern ...
6
votes
1answer
112 views

Brocho BEFORE going to the bathroom

I've heard from some lecture that some keep a minhag to have a special prayer before going to the bathroom. If there is such a thing - what is it and where to find it?
0
votes
0answers
84 views

Pesach: Kitniyos Plants

Vegans have a hard time getting enough protein on Pesach. Is the plant that grows from a kitniyos seed also kitniyos on Pesach? What if the seed is still attached?
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Mishloach Manos themes

Some people have a theme to their Mishloach Manos. Is there any source that discusses Mishloach Manos themes, either pro or con?
8
votes
6answers
543 views

Is there a Kabbalistic source for not walking with one's hands behind one's back?

I've heard from people that it says in Kabbalah that one shouldn't walk with one's hands behind one's back. Does anyone know the source?
9
votes
4answers
329 views
3
votes
2answers
652 views

Source for long payos

Where is there a source for having long payos ,and if there are sources what is the oldest source.? I am talking about the extra length besides for the halachic necessity. Like behind the ears or ...
6
votes
1answer
155 views

Why kiss Tzitzith?

Why do we kiss Tzitzith when making the Birchath HaMitzvah, reciting Shema', and after Baruch SheAmar (at least acc. to Minhag Ashkenaz)? An acceptable answer (for my purposes) would either a. ...
3
votes
3answers
275 views

Kissing the hand to catch a cold?

There is a popular custom in Israel to shake a person's hand and then kiss your own. In every single Sephardic and Mizrachi synagogue I've ever been to in the country this is the standard way of ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

Upsherin at ​​2

Why do Chernobyl* chasidim do upsherin at the beginning of the third year? ​* Including Trink, Skver, etc.
7
votes
2answers
286 views

Start of the Upsherin ceremony

When did it become popular to have a ceremony for a boys Upsherin, his first haircut when he reaches the age of three?
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Spilling water from a full cup? [duplicate]

When I've been to yeshiva, I've seen bochurs filling a cup with water or juice all the way and spilling a bit from the top in the trash can. At first I thought it was random but then noticed a lot of ...
1
vote
1answer
156 views

Why would Roosevelt have taken off his hat at a Jewish wedding?

Believe it or not, this question is not Purim Torah. I read the following, strange passage in Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (Modern Library, 2011 page 147-8) where Teddy Roosevelt is quoted as ...
2
votes
0answers
62 views

What are the rules for covering one's head with a talit for sefaradim?

There seems to be a bunch of different minhagim related to covering one's head with a talit. My question pertains to sefaradim. Are the rules different for married/non-married? When should you ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

פ in German Sta"M Script

Does anyone know the German custom for the letter pey in Sta"m sofer? I know that the shape in Litvisch Bet Yosef is influenced by the Mekubalim of Tzfat (The Ari in particular) who said that the ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Who wears a talis on leil Shabbos?

Rabbi Chanina would don his talis gadol on erev Shabbos (Mas. Shabbos 25b, Rambam Hilchos Shabbos 30:2). While this has been practiced by individuals, is it today the practice of any particular ...
2
votes
0answers
169 views

Siyum Mishnayos on Erev Pesach

Today I learned of the minhag to make a siyum bechorim only on gemara. I understand the logic, but is there a source for it? This came up because I'm scheduled to make a siyum on the Mishna (first ...
2
votes
1answer
431 views

Source for the Mitzvah Tanz

At a Chassidishe Wedding, there is a special dance done, known as the Mitzvah Tanz. Where is the source for this dance and what is the meaning behind it? Also, why is it not done at Litvish Weddings? ...
3
votes
1answer
247 views

When should one cut his nails for Shabbos when Friday is Rosh Chodesh

In the answer to Rules for Cutting Nails it quotes the Mishna Berura 260:6 that one should not cut their nails on Thursday. Mishna Berura explains that by cutting them on Thursday they will begin to ...
2
votes
0answers
111 views

When is OK to repeat words or lines in prayer?

I have read several questions and answers on here regarding repeating words in prayer, but they do not answer why some common repetitions are allowable. Some examples: 1) During the Torah service, ...
5
votes
1answer
268 views

Twelve Months of Mourning During a Leap Year

For those who are mourning a parent for the requisite twelve-month aveilus, would Adar 1 and Adar 2 count as two separate months towards the twelve? Or does one year mean a full year, i.e., from ...
6
votes
2answers
519 views

Wearing Gold On Yom HaKippurim

Besides for the minhag that one should not wear jewelry on Yom HaKipurim because of the "fear of the judgment" there is also the minhag to not wear gold (even as a decoration on a tallis or kittel) ...
6
votes
4answers
534 views

Peeling vegetables on Pesach

It is a minhag in Chabad to only eat vegetables that you can peel on Pesach. There is a possibility that either the wax coating on certain vegetables contains chometz or that certain processing of the ...
7
votes
1answer
123 views

Why Is the Possuk Read Backwards?

The verse in Bereishis 49:19 states: גָּ֖ד גְּד֣וּד יְגוּדֶ֑נּוּ וְה֖וּא יָגֻ֥ד עָקֵֽב Is is the Chabad Minhag to read this verse, followed by the reverse of it, as part of Krias Shema She'al ...
1
vote
1answer
157 views

Why 72-minutes for Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, and Northern European Jews?

I am a Swedish Jew and want to know why we wait specifically 72 minutes after eating meat/flaysh before eating miklhigs. A lot of people say it is an hour, but my understanding is that a one-hour ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

Do we wave or shake the lulav?

I have observed two ways of moving the lulav. 1) Moving the lulav to and fro and incorporating a sudden movement at the beginning and the end to cause the leaves of the lulav to rustle. 2) Waving ...
13
votes
4answers
347 views

Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed - why do we whisper it?

Why do we say Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed in Kriyas Shema in a whisper?
2
votes
2answers
109 views

What's with the Bima?

When the Bais Hamikdash stood, on Yom Kipper the kohen gadol read from the torah facing the people and on Sukos the king read from the torah facing the people, why does our Bima face the Aron? If ...
3
votes
3answers
182 views

Why do we step before Shemona Esrei?

Why do we take steps before the Shemona Esrei?
13
votes
1answer
254 views

Would a widower observe Yahrzeit after remarriage?

If a Jewish man's wife died, he would naturally observe the Yahrzeit on the anniversary of her death. Would he continue to do so if he remarried? My question comes from reading about the Yahrezeit ...
4
votes
1answer
252 views

What's the connection between Tu B'Shevat and (Bukser) carob?

Tu B'Shevat many people eat many different types of fruit. Growing up and continuing until today there seems to be a Minhag to specifically eat (bukser) carob. Is there some sort of special connection ...
3
votes
0answers
80 views

Why don't Ramaniote Jews use the hei in names?

I am named after my grandfather and great grandfather on my mother's side, both of whom were Ramaniote. My name, therefore, is "Avram Mosh" (אברם מוש) instead of "Avraham Moshe" (אברהם משה). I've been ...
8
votes
9answers
539 views

fish before meat - why?

To the best of my knowledge eating fish after meat has the same Halacha as eating meat after fish. You are supposed to eat a cracker and take a drink to seperate between them. Why is it most common ...
5
votes
7answers
594 views

Stepping Back Before Amidah

Why do people step back three steps before the Amidah (as mentioned here in Mishnah Berurah, S'if Katan Gimmel) if the Gemarah only mentions stepping three steps forward? Is there a kabbalistic source ...
15
votes
2answers
884 views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
5
votes
1answer
346 views

Minhag not to learn Torah on the night of Nitel (Who and where)

This related question explains what this minhag is and a couple of reasons for it. I was wondering to what extent is this minhag practiced today apart from Chabad (see Hayom Yom - 17 Tevet)? Do all ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Nittle Nacht Meaning

What is Nittle Nacht? What does the name mean? What is its significance? Which Halachic authorities speak about it, and what do they say? What is the actual date for it? How is it effected this ...
12
votes
1answer
679 views

Why is the Lubavitch custom to have short Peoth?

If R' Schneur Zalman of Liadi had long Peoth, as in this famous sketch, why is it not the custom in Lubavitch circles these days for adult men to maintain long, emphasized Peoth as it is in many other ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Naming a baby after a living non-relative

As an Ashkenazi Jew, can I name my child after someone who is alive if they are not a relative or are you not supposed to name a child after the living, regardless of your relationship with them or ...
3
votes
0answers
46 views

Who says צִוָּה vs. צַוֵּה at a b'ris?

The passage "על כן בשכר זאת קל חי חלקנו צורנו צוה להציל ידידות שארנו משחת" is part of one of the blessings recited at a b'ris mila. Pische S'shuva (Yore Dea 265:4) cites a difference of opinion as to ...
3
votes
0answers
45 views

When and why would one don sackcloth?

There are various instances in tanach of someone donning sackcloth. I would like to know whether any commentators have compiled an outline as to when and why someone would don sackcloth (is it only ...
2
votes
0answers
37 views

Are separate stainless steel and aluminum dishes really required? [duplicate]

I can understand the need for separate cast iron dishes and raw pottery dishes for meat and dairy, but is stainless steel and aluminum really required according to halakha? Pottery (klei heres) is ...
1
vote
1answer
225 views

Pronouncing the Cholam like a Tzeirei

The Litvish/Russian pronunciation of the Cholam sound is an /ay/ sound, similar (I think actually exactly the same) as a tzeirei. Are there any sources saying that it is a Halachic problem pronouncing ...
3
votes
2answers
240 views

Why do Lubavitch talisos ensure tzitzis hang off the side?

A Lubavitch chasid's talis gadol has a special way of being tied that ensures that the tzitzis hangs off of the side of the talis and not off of its front or back. Why?
1
vote
1answer
152 views

Cookies for kiddush

Many people, including Chabad, eat cookies before shacharis which raises a question about kiddush asked here. I understand that they do this because cookies don't count as a seudah.1 The flip side of ...
5
votes
0answers
308 views

Saying “Elokim” when not referring to Hashem

People often say "Elokim" instead of "Elohim" when speaking in order to avoid taking God's name in vain. I have observed, however, that some people always substitute the word "elokim" for "elohim" ...
2
votes
1answer
137 views

Is it permitted to make hand gestures in the Amidah?

Someone told me that I should not move my hands during the Amidah. I found this article in the Jerusalem Post which says: Indeed, an eerie silence hovers over the issue of outstretched arms ...