Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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8
votes
2answers
300 views

How historically accurate is Josephus?

How accurate is the writing of Josephus? Can we rely on any of his writings to establish authentic Jewish practices or in areas of halacha?
7
votes
1answer
340 views

Why do we cover the challot on Shabbos?

The answer I learned growing up was that "we don't want to embarrass the bread because we are first making kiddush" or some variation thereof. I later learned that is a zecher for the ma'n which fell ...
10
votes
3answers
399 views

How does laughing confuse the Satan?

Sefardim have a practice (custom?) to laugh during habdalah. When I asked the reason for this practice I was told that it was "to confound the satan". I assume it has something to do with ...
3
votes
0answers
142 views

Following minhag of tzitzit in vs. out [closed]

When I became frum (around 2 years ago) I started wearing tzitzit hanging out. My grandfather just told me that he remembers that when he was a kid, he tucked his tzitzit in. He remembers his father ...
6
votes
1answer
231 views

Is there a custom to color eggs on Lag Baomer?

I heard from an old Lithuanian/Polish Jew (frum from Lithuania/Poland). He says that he had a custom to eat colored eggs in his shtetl, and everyone did it. Is this custom documented anywhere, and ...
20
votes
2answers
268 views

Matza on 14 Iyar

I have seen a custom (it seems to me primarily among Chassidim) to eat matza on 14 Iyar (known as Pesach Sheni). What is the earliest source for this custom? What are the reasons given for following ...
4
votes
1answer
791 views

What is the source of the Birkat Habayit?

What is the source of the text of the Birkat Habayit: I've seen them written on a hand, and some come with garlic, multi-colored beads, and some other strange objects. Inspired by: ...
5
votes
3answers
155 views

Who reads the Haggadah?

In my family's Seder, and in one of the two others I've been to, the reading is done by taking turns going around the table. Mostly it is read in the language of one's preference, but some (myself ...
3
votes
0answers
69 views

The, um, Seder of the Seder [closed]

Since I have only experienced a handful of families' traditions of how they conduct their Sedarim, I thought I'd ask what others do. What are some of the widely practiced customs for how to actually ...
5
votes
2answers
664 views

Hardboiled eggs and salt water at the Seder

I've participated in only 3 different families' Passover Seders, so my experience is limited in terms of different families' traditions. How widespread is the custom of eating a hardboiled egg in ...
6
votes
2answers
124 views

Why a Beitzah on the Seder Plate?

Why do we use a roasted (maybe?) egg on the Seder Plate to represent the Festival offering?
4
votes
1answer
95 views

Were Maftir Honors in 19th Century different from today?

I received a travel-diary for a man who was born in Huncovce (also known as Hunsdorf, once a famous yeshiva town, second only to Pressburg), Slovakia. He was born in 1851, presumably had some Torah ...
9
votes
2answers
165 views

When there are four aveilim (mourners), Is it better to have one minyan of 40 people or 4 minyonim of ten each?

Today I was in a shul where there were four parallel mincha services because four mourners wanted to lead the services. I thought there was a principle of ברב עם הדרת מלך? What sources are there that ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

Can we say the “Adir bamarom” prayer after the prayer which we say instead of “Birkat Kohanim”?

Extracted from here: The prevailing custom in the Diaspora to relegate the Birkat Kohanim to the major holidays. After Birkat Kohanim, the congregation silently recites the short Adir bamarom prayer. ...
14
votes
1answer
346 views

Time-frame for naming a newborn girl

I have heard many differing Minhagim as to the time-frame for naming a newborn girl. There are those that name at the first possible opportunity and some that wait till the second Shabbos. Many others ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Posuk (Breishis 24:1) said after the end of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

Artscroll Hebrew Siddurim - and 1 2 among others have at the end of Hallel to say the following Posuk. וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן בָּא בַּיָּמִים וַה' בֵּרַךְ אֶת-אַבְרָהָם בַּכֹּל Artscroll says it is a ...
4
votes
0answers
120 views

Young boys returning Chumashim after Torah reading

I often see young boys going around shul after the Shabbos/Yom Tov morning Torah reading to collect Chumashim and return them to their shelves. Is this an actual 'minhag' with a history behind it? If ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Fasting on Modern Days of Mourning

I was wondering if some people fast on Yom HaShoah or Yom HaZikaron. After all, these are somber days and hit close to home for many people. Do some people fast on these days? Why or why not?
5
votes
2answers
92 views

What is the source of the additions before תתקבל צלותהון, יהא שלמא, עושה שלום in Kaddish Tiskabel?

In Kaddish Tiskabel, there are parts to be said (see page 131) by the congregation just before the three phrases that begin: תתקבל צלותהון, יהא שלמא, עושה שלום. These do not appear in all siddurim ...
7
votes
1answer
115 views

Is one allowed to eat foods that were grown from non-kosher materials?

There is a known story of how one time a person brought a giant carrot on Erev Pesach to the Belzer Rebbe (back in Europe) for Karpas. After the donor left, he said "burn it with the Chometz". As the ...
2
votes
0answers
52 views

When did the Ashkenazi custom to NOT bake matza on Pesach start?

Historically, when did the Ashkenazi custom to not bake matza on Pesach start? I am specifically interested in when this custom arose, rather than the reasons/opions pro/against.
3
votes
2answers
86 views

When did the Ashkenazi custom to bake matza on erev Pesach afternoon start?

Historically, when did the Ashkenazi custom to bake matza on erev Pesach afternoon start? I am specifically interested in when this custom arose, rather than the reasons/opions pro/against.
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Is one allowed to listen to music during Pesach? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Sefira Restrictions During Chol Hamoed Pesach One of the reasons given to pushing off the Aveilus period until after Rosh Chodesh Iyar is because one should avoid ...
5
votes
4answers
294 views

May musicians practice their instruments during Sefirah?

Although one should not listen to music during Sefirah, may musicians practice their instruments during this time? Would it matter if their livelihood is or is not dependent on their musical talent ...
4
votes
0answers
100 views

Matzah Shemurah on the 8th day of Pesaḥ (in the Diaspora)

According to those who hold that there is a Kiyyum Mitzvath 'Aseh DeOraitha (a fulfillment of a positive Biblical commandment) every time one eats a KeZayith (olive size's worth) of Matzah on Pesaḥ, ...
7
votes
1answer
107 views

Is the Haftarah a Minhag?

Is reading the Haftarah a Minhag? I know that the practice was instituted when we couldn't publicly read torah, and then it was kept. Does that make it a Minhag?
4
votes
1answer
240 views

“Motzi Matzah” or “Motzi and Matzah” (separately)? Passover Seder

In some haggadot, I have seen the numbers of sections as being 14, with Motzi Matzah being combined, and in other haggadot, I have seen 15 with them separated. What is the reason behind each side?
4
votes
2answers
157 views

What is the halachic source for the minhagim of mourning during Sefira?

What is the earliest halachic source for the minhagim of mourning during sefira? Note that this does not mean the story of R' Akiva, I'm talking about halachic references to prohibitions such as not ...
11
votes
0answers
194 views

Source for the minhag of 'gebrokts' [duplicate]

There is a not-uncommon minhag, primarily in chassidic circles called 'gebrokts' where matza is not allowed to come into contact with water during Pesach. What is the earliest source for this custom ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Does one light candles by the Bima when not an Avel?

When someone is a chazzan during his mourning period, the Lubavitch custom is to light five candles. Does a Chazzan who is not a mourner light any candles? I have seen people turn on an "electric ...
8
votes
2answers
188 views

Why don't some people say Vihi Noam Motzei Shabbos of Shabbos Hagadol 5772?

Regarding saying Vihi Noam on Motzei Shabbos Shabbos Hagadol which falls out a week before Pesach (The first night of Pesach is on Friday Night) Luach Kollel Chabad writes: On Saturday night, we ...
8
votes
3answers
243 views

Is one allowed to make Kneidlach when the last day of Pesach is Shabbos?

According to those who eat Gebrotz only on the last day of Pesach, is one allowed to make Mazta balls when the last day of Pesach is Shabbos? On a normal year, one can cook and eat Gebrotz on the ...
4
votes
4answers
452 views

Matzah meal before פסח

On the subject of not eating Matzah before פסח, may one eat products containing Matzah meal in that time?
6
votes
3answers
189 views

Bedikas Chometz - why use a wooden spoon?

The common custom that I am aware of is that a Bedikas Chometz set has a wooden spoon. Why do we use a wood spoon by Bedikas Chometz?
7
votes
1answer
187 views

Origin of Spilling Wine by 10 Plagues

The custom among all Jews (as far as I know) is to spill a drip of wine for each of the plagues as they are mentioned in a list in the haggadah. This custom is not mentioned anywhere in the Talmud (as ...
9
votes
2answers
282 views

bracha on tefillin while sitting

The shulchan aruch apparently writes (by hilchos tzitzis) that one should stand while reciting birchas hamitzvah. Tefillin are a mitzvah. So why is the Sfardic minhag to sit while putting them on and ...
8
votes
1answer
242 views

Who should walk the Chosson and Kallah to the Chupa?

At the Chuppah in some weddings I've been to, the father and father-in-law escort the Chosson and the mother and mother-in-law escort the Kallah. In others, the mother and fathers each escort their ...
9
votes
2answers
803 views

Hand motions for trope in Torah reading

I've seen people standing next to Torah readers and making hand signals during the Torah reading, presumably to prompt the reader in the trope. I think @Shalom mentioned this in Method for practicing ...
6
votes
2answers
747 views

Reasons for different minhagim regarding if and when to put tallit gadol over head?

I'm curious about the reasons and sources for the different customs about if and when to cover one's head with the tallit gadol during davenen. For example: cover head from after bar'chu until after ...
9
votes
2answers
258 views

Source for not eating Matzah prior to פסח?

Thanks to this question I am compelled to ask: What is the source for not eating Matzah prior to פסח? Is there a source for not eating it for 30 days prior?
5
votes
1answer
173 views

Eating faux-Matza Before Pesach

Mishna Berura 471:2:12 says there are those that do not eat Matza starting Rosh Chodesh Nissan. May one eat Matza that is Chometz?
7
votes
2answers
158 views

How do we operationally define kitniyos?

I've heard/read much debate on whether certain plants qualify as kitniyos, such as snow peas and quinoa. What exactly halachically defines "kitniyos?" is it based on what was popular in 13th century ...
5
votes
3answers
758 views

wearing a hat instead of a kipah

If I want to do something and/or go somewhere and partake in something that is permissible, but I just don't want anyone to hassle me about being Jewish, am I allowed to wear a baseball cap or some ...
6
votes
4answers
427 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
130 views

When we say “עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף” at which point do we kiss the tzitzis?

When we say Krias Shema, the widespread custom (referred to in OC 24 (4) Rema), is to kiss the tzitzis when we say the word, “צִיצִת”. When we come to the words, עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף (which Singer ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

Godparents in Judaism

Does Judaism have any tradition resembling the Christian practice of assigning godparents? Godparents are a man and a woman entrusted by the birth parents to take care of their child spiritually and ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Why are children given money on Purim?

There seems to be a minhag (or at least what appears to be a minhag) that children who deliver mishloach manos are given a small sum of money by the recepient. Is this an actual minhag? And if so, ...
8
votes
2answers
364 views

Minhag not to view moon through a window?

I have a vague memory of being told not to gaze at the moon through the glass of a window. I think it had something to do with kabbalah. I know it's permitted to say kiddush levanah by looking at the ...
4
votes
2answers
182 views

Source for not having picture taken

Is there any source, halachic or otherwise, for an aversion to having one's picture taken?
14
votes
2answers
250 views

Why don't we use a translator during Torah reading?

Outside of the Teimanim I am not aware of any other segments of Judaism that still employ a meturgamen (translator) during kriat ha'torah. Why has this practice fallen into disuse?