Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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10
votes
1answer
227 views

Electronic communication immediately before wedding

Is it permissible to chat with your future spouse during the week before the wedding when you are not supposed to see each other face to face? Are any, all, or none of the following permissible: ...
6
votes
1answer
270 views

When did “Zal” give way to “Zatzal”?

Inspired by this answer and it's comments. Early on, it was standard to refer to great Rabbis who had passed away with the appellation "Zal" - "zichrono/ah livracha "May his/her/their memory be a ...
6
votes
0answers
114 views

Father being Matir Neder for himself: does it affect the family?

If a father is Matir Neder on a minhag (gebroktz, let's say) for himself for a valid reason, does that include his whole family? Are they now also permitted to eat gebroktz because that is now the ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

Don't Put a Needle in Bread? (What is the Taz referring to?)

The Taz YD 116:6 on the last line brings a case that he heard that one should protest putting a needle into bread. What is the Taz referring, to and what exactly is he worried about?
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Splitting up Shacharis between two Chiyuvim

I have Davened in a few Shuls where they have split up Shacharis between two Chiyuvim. (One Davens until Ashrei after Tachanun / One davens from Ashrei until the end.) What is the source for doing so? ...
2
votes
0answers
166 views

Text for birchat habayit

I'd like to write a couple birchos habayis and get them illuminated as gifts. Does anyone know of a good existing text? I'm looking for something five or six lines long, preferably not the usual one ...
6
votes
1answer
144 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. ...
4
votes
4answers
333 views

Shalom Aleichem to angels?

The zemer "Shalom Aleichem" is obviously addressed to angels. The Tur (OC Siman 3) gives a short text to says before entering the bathroom: התכבדו מכובדים משרתי עליון, etc. (also obviously addressed ...
11
votes
5answers
463 views

Should I be shuckling?

I was told that shuckeling (sp?) is an indication of the love-fear relationship that we have with God. You move forward showing that you want to be close to God and then backward out of fear of his ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the red string all about?

Where did the concept of wearing a red string come from? I have heard different opinions ranging from "you should definitely wear it" to "its forbidden like idol worship" - who is right?
2
votes
2answers
114 views

Why do we still blow shofar during mussaf?

The gemarah (rosh hashana 32b) asks why we wait until mussaf to blow the shofar and answers that the ruling enemies of the Jews mistook the shofar sound for a rallying war cry and forbade it. They ...
8
votes
3answers
338 views

Standing up at the Chuppa when the Kallah passes by

Last night I was at a wedding, and when I stood up as the bride was passing by on the way to the Chuppa, a fellow in all seriousness told me "It is not proper and a lack of Tzniyus to stand up for the ...
4
votes
2answers
224 views

Speaking while wearing Tefillin - revisited

In today's day and age the vast majority of the time we only wear Tefillin when we are Davening. However, in theory, we should wear them all day (ibid). So what about the requirement not to speak ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do we give tzedakah money to someone to pass along in Israel?

Reuven is planning a trip to Israel. Shimon, knowing this, gives Reuven money for tzedakah with the expectation that Reuven will distribute it when he gets to Israel. Reuven and Shimon both ...
5
votes
0answers
277 views

Why ad meah v'esrim?

Why do we bless people with "ad meah v'esrim"? Aren't we supposed to believe moshiach will come by then, and there will be eternal life (according to some opinions)? Thus by giving a blessing for a ...
4
votes
1answer
198 views

Song while dressing the Torah

As we dress the Torah in my congregation and many congregations I've been to, we sing (from the siddur's liturgy on putting away the Torah): Mishlei 3:18,3:17 עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים ...
6
votes
2answers
166 views

Pirkei Avos on shabbos during mincha?

It seems clear from the Rama, MB, and other sources (as well as from most printed siddurim) that Pirkei Avos is said in the synagogue at Shabbos Mincha as part of the tefillah in the summer months, ...
4
votes
1answer
149 views

Is there a spiritual meaning to wearing a Kippah?

Is there a spiritual meaning to wearing a Kippah? Why does G-d what our heads covered? Is it a sign that we are under a "covering" from G-d?
4
votes
2answers
294 views

What are the requirements of a men's mikva?

There are many requirements given for a women's mikvah (See Yoreh De'ah siman 201), yet I have not seen much information regarding a men's mikva (to tovel every day before prayers or for Erev Yom ...
12
votes
3answers
321 views

When/where did the practice of “recycling” names begin?

Perhaps this had never bothered anyone in the past, but for someone like myself who delves into genealogy, the fact that there are family naming patterns is a great boon. Of course, we can go only so ...
6
votes
1answer
208 views

Can you sing during the sheva brachos?

I have been to weddings where, during the recitation of the seventh bracha under the chuppah, the congregation sings "asher bara...". Sometimes it is along with the one reciting the bracha and other ...
9
votes
1answer
171 views

Wearing no head-covering?

Under what circumstances is it permissible for a man to wear no head-covering? If one is in a place that is experiencing anti-semitism, for example, does one need to wear a hat if one feels ...
4
votes
3answers
780 views

Aufruf and Shabbat Chatan?

Why is an aufruf (Askenazim) before and a shabbat chatan (sefardim) after the wedding? I know there is an idea of a chaasan going to shul from the Pirkei d'Reb Eliezer 17 but how did it get split ...
8
votes
1answer
264 views

Replies to “l'chayim”

The most common responses I've heard to a wish of "l'chayim!" ("life!") is "l'chayim tovim ulshalom" ("a good life and peace!") except from Lubavitch chasidim and "l'chayim v'livracha" ("life and ...
8
votes
2answers
486 views

Why doesn't Chabad read Ruth on Shavuot?

I was at Chabad this Shavuot and they did not read Ruth. Everywhere else I've been (all Nusach Ashkenaz) has read it claiming that it's appropriate since this is the time of the wheat harvest. Are ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

Walking during “l'dor va'dor” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Moving from one's spot after Kedusha During kedusha everyone stands still, however I have seen a small percentage of people who start to walk again during the stanza ...
7
votes
1answer
125 views

Up part of the night on Shavuos

As described by Stephanie Hegarty for the BBC, Roger Ekirch, an historian, has evidence — and is convinced — that people used to have a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed ...
11
votes
1answer
220 views

Is all-night Shavu'ot learning as prevelant in the Southern Hemisphere?

In the Northern Hemisphere, Shavu'ot falls in the late Spring or early Summer. As a result, sunrise is relatively early, so learning "all night" and then praying the morning service at the earliest ...
4
votes
4answers
249 views

Marovis on Yom Tov

Does anyone know of shuls that still say Marovis (piyutim) on Yom Tov nights? I'm particularly interested in any place in Teaneck. Many seem to think that it's a yekki minhag but it's pretty clear ...
9
votes
1answer
73 views

Why do we read from Yechezekel on Shavuos and Yeshayahu on Parshas Yisro?

There are two times that we read about the giving of the Torah: When we read Yisro and on Shavuos. On both days we read Haftoras of Neviyim going up to Shamayim. On Shavuos we read about Yechezkel ...
8
votes
1answer
322 views

Hand movements when lighting shabbat candles

When women light shabbat candles I often see them making hand gestures. These look like two or perhaps three circles around in the air. What is the source for this practice? Is it a law or custom? Is ...
14
votes
2answers
228 views

How old is the custom to eat dairy on Shavuos?

I don't think I've ever seen a rationalization for this custom in works earlier than those of the Acharonim. I've never seen any Rishonim even mention it; certainly not earlier authors. What's the ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the origin of hazak u'baruch?

Hazak u'barukh is a phrase commonly said after one does something in the synagogue (e.g., after an aliyah). What is its origin?
4
votes
3answers
255 views

Which sephardic groups forbid eating rice during Pesach and why?

I was recently at a shiur where this came up briefly and somewhat tangentially. Does anyone know which groups forbid rice but allow other kitniyot (e.g., beans) during Pesach? Any references/pointers ...
-4
votes
2answers
296 views

Why do people say “God” in English and not “Gosh”?

When people speak Hebrew, they say Hashem instead of Y-HVH, because saying His name is impossible/forbidden. Additionally, when writing, some people write G-d instead of God. Why when speaking ...
6
votes
4answers
404 views

What siddur do Satmerer Chasidim use?

Many Chasidic groups have a particular siddur that is used by most in that group. Does Satmer have such a siddur?
12
votes
6answers
555 views

Which Chasidic group departed the least from Ashkenazi minhag and nusach?

Chasidic groups vary in terms of their siddur's differences from nusach Ashkenaz, as well as their general minhagim and hashkafic approaches. Is there a Chasidic group which most closely matches the ...
2
votes
1answer
326 views

What is the reason for V-neck Titzis?

When buying Tzitzis, I have seen that there are two types of garment: A "round" neck (the hole has a racetrack shape). A "V" neck (the hole for the neck has a diamond shape). What is the reason ...
1
vote
0answers
93 views

Should people not say Vidui before Tachanun?

Assuming that it is a hefseik and forbidden to interrupt between amidah and tachanun, should a person who regularly recites vidui change his custom and delay the recital of vidui until later on, after ...
8
votes
2answers
319 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
367 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
435 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
144 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
247 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
274 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
832 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
158 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
72 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
679 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
126 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?