Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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9
votes
1answer
222 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
80 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
237 views

Must EMTs and others rend Kriyah each time they see a patient die?

I was looking at Yoreh De'ah 40:5 (יו"ד סימן ש"מ ס"ק ה) and Moed Katan 25b (כה עמוד ב), which require Kriyah (garment-rending) for all who are there at the time of death. It would seem to me that an ...
3
votes
1answer
651 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
484 views

Why do some women light additional shabbat candles for the past weeks they didn't light?

Some women have the custom to light an additional shabbat candle for every week which, for whatever reason, they did not have a chance to light shabbat candles in the past. For example, if a woman ...
3
votes
2answers
183 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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
129 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, ...
4
votes
4answers
319 views

Lighting candles Motzei Shabbos

I have seen different Minhagim regarding lighting one or two candles on Motzei Shabbos. What is the source and why 1 or 2?
6
votes
4answers
535 views

Kiddush cup handoff

Why do some Jews (Sephardic, Hasidic, et al.) place the kiddush cup into the hands of another?
5
votes
1answer
107 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
4answers
337 views

Fasting on the wedding day - when getting married right before or after a fast

When a person gets married a day before Yom Kippur or a day after Tzon Gedalya - does he/she have to fast two days in a row?
3
votes
2answers
109 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
102 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
62 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
140 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
0answers
99 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
234 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
153 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
181 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? ...
5
votes
1answer
82 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
381 views

When is a Minhag no longer a Minhag?

It can be all too easy for people to underestimate the halachic significance of minhagim (traditions/customs). While there are, as I understand it, a variety of halachic issues/differences of ...
3
votes
2answers
106 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
109 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
183 views

Bal Keri and Learning

Many are stringent: if they become a bal keri (have a nocturnal emission) for any reason they don't learn or pray before going to the mikveh ("tevilas ezra"). However, even according to those that are ...
6
votes
2answers
408 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?
5
votes
1answer
203 views

What determines a Minhag?

How does a Minhag become a Minhag? More specific is it possible to enact new Minhagim in todays generation?
2
votes
2answers
168 views

Source listing all Jewish wedding customs?

Is there a comprehensive source that lists all various orthodox wedding customs (mitzvah tantz, mezinkah, etc.)?
2
votes
1answer
117 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?
9
votes
2answers
821 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
317 views

Shliach Mitzva money

Many people give their friends money to give to Tzedakah when they are traveling. The reason they do this is that it says "Shluchei Mitzva Ainom Nizakim". If someone is travelling to Eretz Yisroel ...
9
votes
1answer
286 views

Does Drinking Seltzer == Drinking Water?

Inspired by this revision of this answer: There are various minhag implications with regards to drinking water. Seltzer is essentially carbonated water. So how do those minhagim apply to seltzer? ...
6
votes
0answers
134 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
79 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?
7
votes
1answer
96 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
160 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
184 views

Source for not having picture taken

Is there any source, halachic or otherwise, for an aversion to having one's picture taken?
1
vote
5answers
503 views

Cholopshkes or stuffed cabbage on Simchas Torah

Many people eat Cholpshkes or stuffed cabbage on Simchas Torah. Is there a source for this Minhag, and are there other names for this dish in the other languages of Jewish communities?
4
votes
2answers
143 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
281 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
772 views

What does biting off the Pitum have to do with Pregnancy?

I recently read that it's a Segulah (others put it as a minhag) for a pregnant woman to bite off the Pitum of the esrog on Hoshana Rabbah for an easy labor. (please correct me if I misunderstood it) ...
6
votes
2answers
189 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
411 views

Why don't we bow “correctly” during tefillah anymore?

According to the Gemara (Megillah 22b), and according to the RaMBa"M (Hil. Tefillah 5:13) (and apparently R' Avraham ben HaRaMBa"M was adamant), when we pray we are supposed to bow down ON our knees ...
1
vote
0answers
68 views

Davening by a Tzaddik on Rosh HaShanah

Where does the inyan of davening with a Tzaddik on Rosh HaShanah come from? Where did it start? Was there ever such a minhag before chassidus come along? (Assuming it started with the Chassidim -- my ...
6
votes
3answers
498 views

Cutting Tefillin Retzuos

As we know, the outside of the tefillin's retzuos (phylacteries' straps) must be black. Lately, I've noticed that the very end of the retzuah of my shel yad (tefillin of the arm) is cracking and ...
1
vote
1answer
218 views

Yom tov kiddush tune

There's a popular tune used for kidush on the nights of the shalosh r'galim. (It's available on YouTube (but ignore the "shehechiyanu" part of that recording).) What's its origin? Does it have the ...
12
votes
1answer
276 views

Avinu Malkeinu - middle verses said out loud by Chazan

Why do we repeat out loud the verses of Avinu Malkeinu - from Hachzireinu B'Teshuva until Kosveinu B'Sefer Slicha U'Mechila? Why only these verses? Why not others?
4
votes
1answer
76 views

Why do the Ashkenazim say Selichos for a minimum of 4 days before Rosh HaShana?

The Ashkenazim start saying Selichos a minimum of 4 days before Rosh HaShana? What is the reason of a minimum of 4 days?