Tagged Questions

Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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6
votes
3answers
191 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
285 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
247 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
820 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
764 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
260 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
175 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
159 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
788 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
429 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
124 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
379 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
184 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
251 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?
12
votes
1answer
569 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Singles not wear Talit Gadol [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Talis Gadol for Unmarried Individuals Where did the idea of not wearing Talit Gadol before marriage come from? Also, where did the Minhag of Sefaradim get the Minhag to ...
6
votes
1answer
320 views

Tallit with Wool Atara

The only tallit I know of that has an all wool atara is the Beit Yosef Tallit, which is marketed for Sephardim. Is there a specific source for this or is it simply being machmir to wear an all-wool ...
4
votes
1answer
249 views

Who wrote Shoshanat Yaakov?

Who was the Author of the Piyut "asher hanee" that ends with Shoshanat Yaakov? Why is it said by Ashkenazim after they read the Meggilah at night?
11
votes
3answers
596 views

Why do Jewish people sway while praying?

Is there a reason that people sway back and forth while praying? I saw a lot of people pray like this, but I'm too shy to ask them why do they do this.
10
votes
1answer
213 views

May I rely on the halachik leniency of others?

If "Reuven" believes the halacha to be one way and "Shimon" believes it to be more lenient may Reuven rely on Shimon to do something for him based on this leniency? Here is a 100% fictional ...
10
votes
2answers
214 views

Should we say Al Naharos Bavel?

Tehillim 137 is printed in several bentchers before birkas hamazon, but from what I have seen most people do not say it. What is the correct thing to do: say or omit? Are there different minhagim?
4
votes
3answers
220 views

why don't Jews meditate?

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan has 3 (in my opinion excellent) books on the history, importance, and benefit of Jewish meditation. Yet meditation does not seem to be an integral component for much (though, ...
2
votes
0answers
96 views

Why does a hamentash have three sides and filling? [closed]

All Hamentashen that I've seen have three sides and all Hamentashen have filling. Why is that?
8
votes
2answers
133 views

What was the attitude of Rabbonim regarding Purim Torah?

Purim Torah seems to be a two sided concept. On one hand, many people do it for many years (for example, Maseches Purim was published in 1871). On the other hand, it seems to be a Bizayon HaTorah ...
5
votes
3answers
481 views

Status of feet while making a bracha or davening

In todays day and age where we no longer have homes with dirt floors: do you still need to cover your feet when making a bracha or davening? If so are socks enough? does it depend on the custom of ...
3
votes
3answers
191 views

Conventions for derivation of Hebrew names

How is a Hebrew name chosen for a person whose legal name is English (or other vernacular)? Is the name chosen based on phonetic resemblance to one's English name, a resemblance in meaning, or mere ...
5
votes
3answers
133 views

Megilas Esther by day - why is it done after Kriyas HaTorah?

We read Koheles on Succos, Shir HaShirim on Pesach, and Rus on Shavuos, and we always read it prior to Kriyas HaTorah. Then why do we read Megilas Esther on Purim day after Kriyas HaTorah?
7
votes
2answers
418 views

Why Do Converts Change Their Names?

Rabbi Avigdor Miller said that it used to be that gerim (converts) and baalei teshuvah (repentants) who had been given non-Jewish names did not change their names when they became part of the Jewish ...
4
votes
2answers
183 views

Handling Conflict between Jewish and Civil Law

This question is an offshoot from the one titled "Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture" Taking under the knowledge that the previous question was well answered with an observation: It's ...
11
votes
3answers
150 views

2 Sifrei Torah for close readings

This morning we read Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1 - 24:18) and the special reading of Parashat Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16). The custom everywhere I have ever seen is to remove two Sifrei Torah from ...
19
votes
2answers
353 views

Naming after the living. Why is it considered bad?

This is a fairly straight forward question. I am under the impression that this is bad. This is why you don't see many Moishe Abromowitz, III. Why is this bad, and why isn't that practice carried ...
5
votes
3answers
609 views

Hair dyeing for women

What are the halachic issues involved in hair dyeing for women? Most importantly, does hair dye constitute a chatzitza for mikvah? Also: are there any communities that forbid hair dyeing altogether? ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What are Jewish conventions regarding honeymoons?

What are Jewish conventions regarding honeymoons? Is a honeymoon taken, and, if so, is it done immediately after the wedding--or later, once the woman is again tehora?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Wishes to a mourner in addition to “Hamokom Yenachem Eschem”

I have heard some people say in Yiddish after "Hamokom Yenachem Eschem B'Soch Shaar Aveilei Tzion V'Yerushalayim" ("May God comfort you alongside the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem"), "Zulst Mer Nisht ...
6
votes
0answers
119 views

Do some communities still allow more mingling between the sexes on Tu B'Av?

Do some communities still allow more mingling between the sexes on Tu B'Av? I understand that this used to be a custom, in addition to allowance of a more relaxed approach to women's tznius on that ...
11
votes
2answers
646 views

Why don't brides (always) cover their hair for their weddings?

Why don't brides (always) cover their hair for their weddings? I understand that in some ultra-religious groups they do, but there seem to be many groups within Orthodoxy where they do not cover their ...
19
votes
2answers
253 views

Why the custom to switch around negative-sounding numbers, such as שד?

Often in sefarim we find that if the number of the siman spells out something negative, such as siman 304 which has a letter value of שד, we switch it around so it no longer reads as a "bad" word. ...
7
votes
1answer
261 views

Is there a source for not buying things for a baby before it is born?

Is there any source for the custom to not buy things for a baby before it is born? I have heard that the reason is due to averting ayin hara, but I would like to know if there is any recorded source ...
4
votes
1answer
65 views

Moving nails better than burning them?

It says in the Gemara that one who buries his nails is a Tzaddik (he did what he should, to avoid a pregnant woman from stepping on them) while someone who burns his nails is a chossid (Tosfos ...
8
votes
1answer
210 views

Dropping a phone siddur or chumash

If you have a siddur or chumash on your phone and you drop it, do you kiss it if... the siddur is not open the siddur is open, but shem hashem is not showing the siddur is open and shem Hashem is ...
14
votes
3answers
496 views

Shape of the Luchot

According to the Talmud in Bava Batra 14a, the Luchot HabBerit were square. Where did the common "tablet" shape come from, with rectangles and a rounded top? Besides in pictures, I see it in ...
5
votes
2answers
250 views

Children attending a parent's wedding

Recently a relative of mine who is a widow got engaged. The children were told that the Minhag is that children do not attend a wedding of their parents. What is the source of this Minhag? What is the ...
3
votes
2answers
227 views

The number of Challot on Shabbat and salt

If my understanding is correct we use two Challot on Shabbat to represent the two portions of mana the Jews received in the desert of Friday to prevent them from having to collect on Shabbat. We use ...
8
votes
1answer
308 views

Following the Biur Halacha

As far as I know, the most accepted Posek around the entire non-Chassidic Ashkenazi world is the Mishna Berura (and of course the Rama). He wrote the sections to his commentary to the Code of Jewish ...
21
votes
4answers
296 views

Glasses and Shema

The Shulhan Aruch records the custom of placing one's hand over his eyes in Shema in order to increase concentration. What about someone who wears glasses? Must he move them or remove them?
7
votes
3answers
541 views

Baby boy's MOTHER as the sandek(et)

I have recently come upon historical evidence of the mothers of baby boys serving as the sandek(et) during the brit milah. From page 18 of The Orthodox Jewish Woman and Ritual: Options and ...
6
votes
2answers
253 views

Why do we put the belt (gartel) of the Sefer Torah on the top third?

I have observed in the Shuls I Daven in that the one who does Gelila often puts the belt (gartel) on the top third of the Sefer Torah. Is there a reason or source for this? Why not in the middle?