Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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17
votes
1answer
200 views

Why do we open the ark for important prayers?

What is the origin of the custom of opening the ark for important prayers (not connected with the need to take out the Torah scroll)?
5
votes
1answer
271 views

Customs surrounding fasting when a sefer torah falls to the floor?

Based on this question I would like to know what the earliest source for fasting when a sefer torah falls comes from? Is is true that if a person is in the room but turns away so as not to see it ...
10
votes
4answers
731 views

spitting in aleinu leshabeach

Does anyone know the origin of the custom to spit in Aleinu after the words שֶׁהֵם מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לְהֶבֶל וְלָרִיק? Where did it start? And in which seforim is it mentioned? I have seen in the ...
10
votes
7answers
3k views

Why do Sephardic Jews dress in black and white?

Many observant sephardim in Israel, especially those in yeshivot, dress in black and white. Does anyone know how this happened? There is no tradition of Jews in North Africa or in the Middle East ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

Source for checking talis over shoulder

What is the source for checking one's tzitzis while the talis is over one's right shoulder: isn't the halacha just to check the knots and strings? Can't the checking be done on a table?
7
votes
1answer
182 views

Origin of the nine days

I just learned a gemara (taanit 30a) that seems to pretty clearly state that the mourning for tisha b'av starts the beginning of the week that tisha b'av falls out on, and ends with tisha b'av itself. ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

Why no play on words for apple and honey?

The other simanim eaten on Rosh Hashana contain a play on words with the name of the food and either a wish for a good omen or a wish for bad to befall our enemies. The yehi ratzon for the apple has ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

Earliest source for dipping apple in honey on Rosh Hashana

What is the earliest source for the custom of dipping an apple in honey on Rosh Hashana? (It is found in the Tur (Siman 683), the Abudraham (quoted by the Rama there) - believed to be a student of ...
7
votes
5answers
294 views

Why do we say Vhu Rachum before Maariv?

Before Maariv, we say the pasuk "Vhu rachum yichaper avon..." (Psalms 78:38). Why?
14
votes
4answers
333 views

Women and Mayim Acharonim

I very often eat at meals where after the meal, all of the men wash mayim acharonim, but none of the women do so. I am aware of a number of halachic sources that say both men and women should wash ...
2
votes
1answer
645 views

What is the origin of BS“D / B”H? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: B'siyata D'shmaya or Baruch Hashem What is the origin of putting BS"D (or Beis Samach Daled) on the top right hand corner of anything one write?
5
votes
3answers
223 views

Have not gone to parents grave in seven years

A friend recently mentioned that she has not gone to her parents grave in over ten years due to its distance and when she wanted to go she was told by a Rabbi that if she has not been there for over ...
6
votes
2answers
232 views

When do we start reciting Psalm 27?

Yesterday being the 30th of Av (and Rosh Chodesh Elul), prompted a question at shul: exactly when do we start saying Psalm 27—on the first day of Elul or the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul? Most ...
10
votes
3answers
212 views

Accepting parents' minhagim

Since the Conservative movement tends to take most of its minhagim from the German tradition due to its German roots, most Conservative Jews in America tend to practice the German customs (such as ...
1
vote
1answer
107 views

The “Shir Hamaalos” etc before Maariv: is it said before nightfall?

The German nusach contains the following explanation of the “Shir Hamaalos” etc said before Maariv. When ערבית is recited after nightfall, it is preceded by the following פסוקים, which speak of ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

What are the customs for looking at fingers during havdalla [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What to do with the candles during Havdalah According to this question, there are many different customs about looking at fingers after the bracha borei m'orei ha'eish ...
10
votes
2answers
422 views

Why do we mention dreams during *Birchas Kohanim*?

I don't know how many sects actually do this, but some people have the custom to say a tehfillah which is all about dreams. In it we ask Hashem to make all our good dreams come true whether "...I have ...
9
votes
3answers
911 views

Wedding ring composition

I was recently told that the ring used for kiddushin should be made entirely out of one kind of metal (usually gold), with no other adornments such as diamonds, etc. I had been under the impression ...
7
votes
3answers
635 views

Why do Lubavitchers fold their talisos under, on the shoulders?

A Lubavitch chasid wears his talis with the sides folded under, at the shoulders, bunching the side material under rather than over the material that lies on the shoulder (see an example). Why?
2
votes
2answers
315 views

Should a woman wear a gartel?

My understanding of the halachic need for a gartel is very limited; is there any reason a woman should or should not wear one during prayer?
3
votes
2answers
142 views

Kibbud for wife

There is no Torah obligation (as far as I am aware) for kibbud for a wife; however, in my experience, husbands tend to show a special honor for their wives. An example where this is frequenetly ...
3
votes
2answers
240 views

Why do Lubavitch talisos ensure tzitzis hang off the side?

A Lubavitch chasid's talis gadol has a special way of being tied that ensures that the tzitzis hangs off of the side of the talis and not off of its front or back. Why?
4
votes
0answers
173 views

Lithuanian minhag for talis katan material

Not an halachic question, but we can read many things about talis katan: wool over cotton, tzitzis out or in, etc. It seems that the Lithuanian minhag was to tuck them in, but what about the material? ...
1
vote
8answers
607 views

Lubavitch and Daf Yomi

I know that most lubavitchers won't learn Daf Yomi. Is there any Sicha (please bring sources) which says if one should or shouldn't learn it?
7
votes
7answers
408 views

Sources for/about breaking a plate at a wedding

Are you aware of any literature that either provides a source for or discusses the significance of the two mothers breaking a plate at the "Tisch" at a wedding? It's not hard to find mentions of this ...
7
votes
1answer
85 views

Why do we strike ourselves during prayer?

Why do we strike ourselves when confessing sin either during shmoneah esrei or viduy?
13
votes
3answers
345 views

I heard not to say “Good Shabbos” after mincha. Is it true, and what defines mincha?

I heard from somewhere that, on Shabbos, one does not say "Good Shabbos" after mincha. I am not sure whether it's in a halacha sefer somewhere (I tried looking) or just a minhag. First of all, is ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

Why is the Eicha reading broken up?

It seems to me that everywhere I've been, the reading of Eicha on Tish'a B-av night has been broken up, with different chapters read by different people. Why is this custom so prevalent, specifically ...
11
votes
2answers
583 views

May one walk under the Arch of Titus?

I have heard that it is prohibited (or at least that the custom is not) to walk under the Arch of Titus in Rome. Is this accurate? If so, what is the source? Would it make a difference if a large ...
4
votes
1answer
223 views

How could boiling 3 eggs at a time help?

A lot of people have a custom of boiling 3 eggs at a time, as mentioned here, among any other places. One reason given for this practice is that if one egg turns out to be unkosher, the remaining two ...
3
votes
0answers
74 views

Minhagim pertaining to the consumption of locust with other foods?

BS"D So based on the concept that locust are the only other "meat" that is parve besides fish, do the same or similar Halakhic or even minhag based restrictions apply to it? For instance its some ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the halachot of Chanukat Habayit?

What are the laws and customs appertaining to chanukat habayit? At what point, if at all, should you make a shehechiyanu; upon closing? Moving in? Should you make a chanukat habayit on a home that ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Pirkei Avos on Shabbos Tisha B'Av

When Tisha B'Av comes out on a Shabbos, do we say Pirkei Avos in the cycle on that Shabbos?
8
votes
1answer
185 views

Do the customs in regards to *Yud Av* apply to *Yud-Aleph Av* on a year when the fast is pushed off?

I know that people have the custom (I don't know how universal it is), to keep a lot of the restrictions of the nine days until Chatzos on Yud Av. Such as not eating meat or doing laundry. This year ...
7
votes
3answers
480 views

Ostrich eggs in Shul?

Kinyan L'Shabbos (published weekly by Hamodia) - July 18, 2012, page 11 has a fascinating article by Rabbi Avraham Y. Heschel regarding an ancient custom of displaying ostrich eggs in a Beis Knesses. ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

The power of a seudat mitzvah to obviate minhagei aveilus

The prohibitions which Ashkenazim take on themselves during the nine days seem to spring from post-Talmudic thinking and application of the notion of "reduced joy." For some reason, the particulars ...
3
votes
1answer
114 views

Birkat hamazon w/ cup of wine Vs. Prohibition on wine during shavua shechal bo

For one whose custom is to drink wine (or grape juice) after reciting Birkat Ha-Mazon and to refrain from eating wine during shavua she-chal bo Tisha b'Av: Does the requirement to use a cup trump the ...
7
votes
4answers
681 views

The value of the daily study of Chitas (Chumash, Tehilim, Tanya)?

What's the value of learning "Chitas" compared to any other daily Torah study? Side question: If it's so important, why was it introduced only recently?
10
votes
1answer
257 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
328 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
134 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
123 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
67 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
191 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
155 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. ...
5
votes
4answers
378 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
496 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 ...
13
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
117 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
374 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 ...