Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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3
votes
3answers
192 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
427 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
193 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
155 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
357 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
629 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
120 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
662 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
256 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
276 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
69 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
215 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
504 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
282 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
229 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
313 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
298 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
557 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
257 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?
15
votes
1answer
181 views

Placing notes in the Kotel/Western Wall

Is there any source for the custom to place notes in to the Western Wall? A very prevalent practice in Israel. And even if there is no source, is it a good idea?
12
votes
2answers
755 views

40 minutes offset for candle lighting?

Several Zmanim apps are giving a choice on my "candle lighting offset". The default here is 40 minutes instead of the usual 18 minutes I've heard. Why 40? Why do I even have a choice? Does the fact ...
4
votes
1answer
317 views

What is the source for the garlic and sugar at a Pidyon HaBen?

At a Pidyon HaBen I have observed that the Minhag is to put sugar cubes and garlic cloves on the tray with the baby. What is the source of this Minhag? And why specifically sugar and garlic?
11
votes
2answers
312 views

3 year olds lighting a shabbat candle

When my eldest turned three her male cousin also turned three. Many of her friends and her cousin were getting Tzitzit. She asked for her own. We explained that boys wear TzitTzit and girls light ...
17
votes
2answers
167 views

The custom of adding a candle for each child

Many people, including myself, added or will add a candle on Friday night for each child that is born. Where and when did this custom originate?
11
votes
5answers
700 views

Why do some people wrap their Tefilin around their arms 8 times?

I have seen people who wrap the Tefilin 7 times around their arm and some that wrap it 8 times around their arm. Why do the people who wrap it 8 times do so?
14
votes
1answer
304 views

“Yaamod p'loni ben p'loni… chazak”?

The last ole (person called to the Torah) (besides the maftir) of Vaychi, P'kude, B'chukosay, and Mas'e is, in my experience, called using the formula "yaamod p'loni ben p'loni sh'vii chazak", with ...
10
votes
2answers
226 views

Different Teffilin, now what am I required to do?

If I do not have my regular Teffilin one morning and need to borrow someone else's, but that person's Teffilin are different from mine, is that sufficient, or should I get a pair of Teffilin later on ...
5
votes
2answers
278 views

When did the use of Rashei Tevot, Heh Kuf, הק׳ in writings, books, letters, etc., begin?

Perhaps I'm among the last to have found this out, but it took me quite a while to understand why, in a signature, the name was preceeded by a הק׳. THe Ozar Rashei Tevot book has 31 different ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Coffee Urns left out throughout the week?

Many people still keep to the halacha that one isn't allowed to drink from water kept in metal overnight. How would one be allowed to drink from a Coffee Urn on Shabbos? How could one drink from a ...
2
votes
3answers
422 views

Rambam Tzitzith: 7 or 13 chulyoth?

The Gemara says you have to tie no fewer than 7 chulyos and no more than 13. According to most shitas, 13 is the ideal. My question is, according to the Rambam, can you do whatever you want - 7 or 13? ...
7
votes
2answers
266 views

Start of the Upsherin ceremony

When did it become popular to have a ceremony for a boys Upsherin, his first haircut when he reaches the age of three?
4
votes
1answer
130 views

When you do Hagba - do you say V'Zos HaTorah?

If you are the one who is doing Hagba - lifting up the Sefer Torah after Leining - (the Minhag is to point or to bow at the Torah when you say V'Zos HaTorah and it is impossible for the one doing ...
2
votes
3answers
297 views

Source for a Vacht Nacht

There is an event the night before a Bris. It's called Vacht Nacht in Yiddish and called Zohar amongst certain Sefardim; I am aware that people of German decent have a third name for it, which I can't ...
10
votes
4answers
592 views

Is it permissible to name one's child with a name from the opposite gender?

Is a person allowed to name a boy with a girl's name and vice versa? I remember seeing that one musn't, although in Nach one finds these things a lot. I understand it is not best practice for ...
5
votes
2answers
107 views

Special Grace After Meals in a House of Mourning

The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh De'ah 379 outlines a special version of Bentching to be recited in a House of Mourning. I have been in several houses of mourning and have never seen this done. Has anyone ...
4
votes
3answers
368 views

Hebrew Pronunciation- Sephardic Ashkenaz

I often hear Ashkenazim pronouncing (or at least trying) Hebrew words in Tefila/Keriat HaTorah like Sephardim. It probably isn't only Religious Zionists but it seems to be only them. Where did the ...
5
votes
1answer
117 views

How to practice when 2 customs collide

This question is inspired by recent news of events in Beit Shemesh. What happens halachically when 2 customs collide and each custom affects the other side? In the case of modesty, for example, ...
6
votes
1answer
77 views

To sing or not to sing - Piyutim on Shabbath

Some Piyutim recited on Shabbath are widely (in the Ashkenazi world) sung by the congregation (usually in unison, but in some rare instances in the Ashkenazi world they are sung responsively). Among ...
11
votes
2answers
768 views

Source for the practice of not blowing out candles/flames?

It seems that a custom exists not to blow out candles/flames, but rather extinguish them another way, such as waving in the air. (Snuffer anyone?) What is the source for this custom? I am including ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do some people have a custom to boil only odd numbers of eggs?

I heard that some still have a custom to boil only odd numbers of eggs at a time. I heard that the reason is if there is a blood-spot in an egg, the egg will be Battel Berov. This only explains why ...
5
votes
2answers
115 views

Little knots of wool on the bottom/side of the Tzitzit

On most Tallitot and Sephardi Tallitot Ketanot there are little knots on the bottom or side. What are they? Why are they there? What are their significance?
8
votes
9answers
336 views

When do you say a beracha on a minhag?

When lighting Hanukkah candles in the synagogue, we say a beracha "asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav.." on a minhag. Unlike kiddush in shul, and early counting of the omer in shul, nobody would say that one ...
4
votes
1answer
64 views

Eating meat on Hannuka?

Is there a source to require eating meat at the Hanuka meal?
5
votes
2answers
102 views

Which night of Chanuka should you give out Chanuka Gelt?

Is there a specific night of Chanuka that is better to give out Chanuka Gelt?
5
votes
3answers
339 views

If it's your minhag to daven Hanetz, do you do so even without a minyan?

A friend once told me that if one's minhag is to daven with Hanetz (i.e., starting the Amida prayer at sunrise), and if there's no Hanetz minyan nearby, you should still daven Hanetz, even without a ...
-1
votes
1answer
83 views

Sheasa Nisim ALL 8 nights? [closed]

Why do we say SheAsa Nisim all 8 nights? Shouldn't we only say it one night, the first?
4
votes
1answer
421 views

Tzitzit tying: the real way

1)There are two authentic ways to tie the Sisit (Tzitzis) that have sources. Maran writes to make 7-9-11-13. First question: why does he write this is he then says Gimtarya Hashem is One, when in fact ...