Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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4
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1answer
297 views

Which Names of Hashem can/can't we say [in regular conversation]?

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (6:3) writes that one shouldn't say Hashem's name except by way of praise or blessing whenever required, or when learning (Torah) [see this answer and this question ] Indeed, ...
3
votes
2answers
215 views

When did upsherins become part of standard American Orthodox practice?

According to Rav Wikipedia, the upsherin is a custom that was brought from Muslims to Palestinian Jews to Tzfat Sephardim to Chasidim. Recently, I've noticed mainstream (non-charedi) Orthodox Jews ...
8
votes
2answers
186 views

Mezuza positioning: why top angled in not out?

Why does the angle a mezuza positioned on the doorpost at have its top towards the room, and the bottom away from the room? I understand this may be an Ashkenazi custom, and that Sephardim position ...
0
votes
2answers
102 views

Torah personalities chosen for blessings on Friday nights

Why do we bless our children on Friday nights with non-correlated blessings between the boys and the girls? I can understand that we want our daughters to emulate the Matriarchs. Yet we don't bless ...
6
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1answer
95 views

Removing Yarmulka last when undressing (source)

I have noticed that some people remove their Yarmulka last when undressing and wear it first when dressing. Is this custom mentioned anywhere?
4
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2answers
114 views

Naming a child after two relatives

I once heard Rabbi Shmuel Niman, Mashgiach Ruchani of the Chafeitz Chaim Yeshiva, say that he had "recently learned" that it is improper to give a child parts of the names of two relatives. For ...
4
votes
1answer
98 views

Who doesn't make Kiddush from 6-7pm?

From this question I learned that "many" people don't make Kiddush between 6-7pm. Who does this? Is this primarily a Lubavitch Minhag? If so, among Lubavitchers, how prevalent is it?
3
votes
2answers
142 views

Decorating of the Beitzah

Somebody told me in Israel some have the custom of decorating the egg for Pesach (like an Easter egg). Wouldn't that be considered chukas hagoyim or avoda zara?
5
votes
1answer
341 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
503 views

Husband deciding how his wife should cover her hair

Issues of Shalom Bayis (peace in the home) and any other deciding factor aside, does the husband have any "right" or "privilege" (from a halachic standpoint) to decide how his wife will cover her hair ...
13
votes
3answers
645 views

May a Jew be a Freemason?

According to what I've been told by several people who have inquired of "practicing" (is that the right word?) Freemasons, and supported by Wikipedia, "Freemasonry explicitly and openly states that it ...
1
vote
0answers
428 views

Why do we wish someone “long life” on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of relative?

Why do we wish someone “long life” on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of relative? I can understand this wish directly after the death when I have heard that a person should consider ...
9
votes
1answer
256 views

May a man learn Torah without a Kippah?

Is it permissible for a man to learn Torah without a Kippah? Let's say that he can't wear a Kippah at work, or he lives someplace where it is dangerous to outwardly display signs of being Jewish, ...
13
votes
1answer
253 views

Is there a Beta Israel Siddur?

Ashkenazi siddurs are different from Sephardic siddurs, do Beta Israel Siddurs even exist?
3
votes
1answer
86 views

What's done on Zos Chanuka?

I know people call the last day of Chanuka "Zos Chanuka" (taken from Bamidbar 7:84, read on that day). How is it specially commemorated if at all? I've heard it is, but know no details. I'm not ...
3
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0answers
113 views

Should I rend k'riyah if I witness the death of a non-relative? If so, what's the procedure?

In another question, Chalutznahal cites Yoreh De'ah 40:5, which says that when I witness a fellow Jew die, I must rend my shirt out of sadness. And British Rabbi Dr. Moshe Freedman brings this down as ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Traditions what to do with removed foreskin

In Germany we recently started a debate, whether foreskin-amputation of children (not only Jews, but Muslims as well) has to be forbidden according to our fundamental laws. Some magazine illustrated ...
3
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0answers
49 views

Best practices for long-distance Nihum Aveilim and Kavod HaMeith

What are some best practices for people who learn from afar of the passing of an individual (not immediate family) and who want show their respects to the deceased and the surviving family? If they ...
7
votes
3answers
233 views

Sitting for “Ashre”?

I have seen people seemingly careful to sit down when beginning the paragraph of prayers that starts "Ashre yosh've vesecha" (Ps. 84:5). One such person told me that he was, in fact, careful to do so, ...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

Why do we let the tzitzit go after saying Shema at either לָעַד or צָרֵיהֶם

In the answer to When we say "עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף" at which point do we kiss the tzitzis? we were told that it is the Chabad Minhag to kiss the tzitzit six times, at the words tzitzit, ...
2
votes
1answer
148 views

Communities where men didn't put their טליתות over their heads?

I heard that the Rambam in his commentary to the Mishna mentioned cases where the custom of the place was different, one such place being יָוָן, where men didn't cover their heads with their tallitot, ...
7
votes
1answer
126 views

Wrapping up Tefilin to form dove's wings

Gemara Shabbos 49a mentions a story about Elisha Baal Kenafayim who was saved by his Tefilin turning into dove's wings. Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 28:4 says the Minhag is to wrap the Tefilin like ...
3
votes
2answers
194 views

What is the significance of the shtreimel?

What is the esoteric or hashkafic significance of the shtreimel? Some things I have seen but without details or sources are that it is like a crown, that the number of pelts involved have numerical ...
3
votes
2answers
122 views

What is the source for lighting a candle for the whole year after the death of a close relative?

I am familiar with the idea of a yahrzeit candle. I have observed a custom of keeping a flame alight for the whole year (or maybe 11 months) after the death of a close relative. (When one goes out, ...
9
votes
1answer
213 views

Where does the concept of “shirayim” come from?

Please explain the concept of shirayim (literally, leftovers) wherein the followers of a chassidic Rebbe will receive portions of his food to it, these leftovers are considered holy or special in some ...
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0answers
89 views

Triennial reading cycle for guests

On one Shabbos, to accommodate a large number of guests from another shul who follow a triennial Torah reading cycle, can we revert to the triennial cycle reading for that one Shabbos?
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Is it true that proselytes immersed in their birthday suits in ancient times?

I was told that Jewish proselytes immersed in their birthday suits in ancient times. Is this true? If so, could you please provide sources stating this fact?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

A Convert taking on customs of ashkanazim or sephardim

When someone converts is there any determining factor on what minhagim (customs) they will take upon themselves in terms of Ashkanazim or Sephardim? Should it be dependent on the Beis Din they ...
7
votes
0answers
114 views

Minhag of bothering the chazzan on Simchas Torah

I have seen the custom of bothering the chazzan during the musaf service on Simchas Torah. I have seen people tie the chazzan's gartel to a chair, or try to move the chazzan to a diffrent place. I ...
3
votes
2answers
272 views

Hanging the kesubah on the wall?

I've heard from some people that there is a problem with hanging/displaying ones kesubah on the wall. Others have told me that it's good to display the kesubah as a reminder to the husband to fulfill ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

What kavanos should one have when sharpening a challa knife Erev Shabbos?

What are some kavanos should one have in mind when sharpening a challa knife on Erev Shabbos? I'm sure I heard that there are kavanos but never learned what they are.
1
vote
1answer
203 views

Post-conversion ketubah

She's Jewish. He wasn't. 2+ decades later, he converted. (I don't know when he first intended to... these are the parents of co-workers of a friend of mine.) Can they get a ketubah now? Should they? ...
7
votes
1answer
103 views

Moving Sefer Torah with Tallis (source?)

Often times, when someone will move a Sefer Torah from one place to another, on top of what the Sefer Torah is already normally covered with, he will put an additional covering of a Tallis-Gadol. ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

Chanukiyot inside or out?

Shabbat 22a says that the halacha is that we should place the chanukiyah outside, within a hand-breadth of the door, to the left. In Israel I've seen people do this, placing the chanukiyah in a glass ...
2
votes
2answers
110 views

Minhag Kaparos with Money - What's the source?

In the Rama on SA OC Siman 605, we find the custom of "Kaparos" that many do Erev Yom Kippur. Of those who perform this custom a chicken is used. However many also use money (i.e. instead of waving a ...
6
votes
2answers
503 views

Eating by one who doesn't separate glass

Some, mainly Ashkenazim, hold that glass dishes must be separated between milk and meat. Some, mainly Sefardim, do not. May the former eat on the latter's glass dishes?
2
votes
1answer
124 views

What is the source for “the custom of our forefathers is in our hands”?

Where does "minhag avoseinu byadeinu" as a halachik concept, which is commonly cited as the source for keeping two days of yom tov outside of Israel, originate from?
2
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2answers
190 views

Source listing all Jewish wedding customs?

Is there a comprehensive source that lists all various orthodox wedding customs (mitzvah tantz, mezinkah, etc.)?
6
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0answers
148 views

Original source for Maharil endorsing tunes as “MiSinai”?

Cantor Goffin describes how over 500 years ago, Maharil endorsed several cantorial tunes as "MiSinai" -- "so authoritative it's as if they go back to Sinai" -- for use in the prayers. What's the ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

Source and reason for throwing the Hoshanos on top of the Aron Kodesh

I have seen in many Shuls on Hoshana Raba after using the Hoshanos people throw the used Hoshanos on top of the Aron Kodesh. What is the reason and source for this Minhag?
2
votes
1answer
78 views

When is the end of the Tishrei holiday “season”?

(Inspired by this question) I'm curious if there is any discussion on when the Tishrei holiday "season" officially ends. Just off the top of my head, I'm curious if anyone recommends refraining from ...
7
votes
1answer
104 views

Where/when/how/why did flags become part of Simchas Torah celebrations?

Kids today all know that they have flags when dancing on Simchas Torah. How, when, where, and/or why did the flags originate? (Someone decided it was fun, and then it caught on?) What pictures were ...
6
votes
2answers
167 views

“Tzon k'doshim!” ―“Baa!”: source/provenance

In some synagogues, on Simchas Tora, someone will shout "Tzon k'doshim!", meaning "holy sheep/goats", or "Tzon kadashim!", meaning "sheep/goats of sacrificial-offering sanctity". He's replied to with ...
10
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2answers
163 views

Using Hoshanos more than once

On Hoshana Rabba after one uses (Klaps) his Hoshanos may another person use the same Hoshanos?
0
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0answers
66 views

Stuffed cabbage on Sukkoth

There is a well-known custom to eat stuffed cabbage on Simhath Torah. But many also eat it on Sukkoth. Is it an extension of the same reason? Are the reasons cited for Simhath Torah (in the answers to ...
4
votes
2answers
147 views

What is the right way to wave the lulav and esrog in the down direction?

We wave the lulav and esrog (4 minim) in six directions including “down”. What is the right way to wave down? I have seen two procedures. 1) The 4 minim are held lower (nearer to the ground) than ...
4
votes
3answers
692 views

Why do some Jews get married at night?

In images and other media I have seen of Jewish weddings, there seems to be a trend to get married in the evening or night time. Is this a Jewish custom a halachic requirement and what is the origin ...
5
votes
2answers
290 views

Is there a justification for the practice not to whip on Erev Yom Kipur?

The Shulchan Aruch (607:6) writes that on erev Yom Kipur, everyone gets whipped 39 lashes. However, I have not seen this done in practice. Is there any source who justifies the practice not to do ...
3
votes
2answers
185 views

Candles in bedroom over Yom Kippur

What is the reason for the minhag to have a yartzeit-size candle lit in the bedroom over Yom Kippur? (this is unrelated to candles lit for deceased parents for Yizkor). Is it just so we have a new ...
6
votes
2answers
194 views

How/why does kaparot work?

The ritual of kaparot [lit. atonement], which is usually done just prior to Yom Kippur (usually the day before), where one waves a chicken or an [unspecified] amount of money over one's head in a ...