Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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4
votes
1answer
154 views

Is there a spiritual meaning to wearing a Kippah?

Is there a spiritual meaning to wearing a Kippah? Why does G-d what our heads covered? Is it a sign that we are under a "covering" from G-d?
4
votes
2answers
318 views

What are the requirements of a men's mikva?

There are many requirements given for a women's mikvah (See Yoreh De'ah siman 201), yet I have not seen much information regarding a men's mikva (to tovel every day before prayers or for Erev Yom ...
12
votes
3answers
330 views

When/where did the practice of “recycling” names begin?

Perhaps this had never bothered anyone in the past, but for someone like myself who delves into genealogy, the fact that there are family naming patterns is a great boon. Of course, we can go only so ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Sleeping on Stones

Where does the Minhag come from that we should sleep uncomfortably on Tisha B'Av?
10
votes
1answer
150 views

Haftora for a wedding

ונוהגין להפטיר בחתונה שוש אשיש.‏ The Rama above (from OC 428) says that in his area the custom was to read a special haftora if a groom was present in the synagogue. Has anyone seen this ...
8
votes
3answers
793 views

Why do we comfort a mourner with Hamakom Yenachem Eschem?

Why, when comforting a mourner at the completion of a Shiva visit, do we refer to G-d as Hamakom? We say Hamakom Yanachem Eschem - why not Hashem Yenachem or Elokim Yenachem?
6
votes
2answers
225 views

Saying korbonos

Do you have to say korbonos? If so, why is it not said with the shaliach tzibbur?
6
votes
1answer
220 views

Can you sing during the sheva brachos?

I have been to weddings where, during the recitation of the seventh bracha under the chuppah, the congregation sings "asher bara...". Sometimes it is along with the one reciting the bracha and other ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How should one dispose of cut finger nails? Is it dangerous for a pregnant woman to walk on them?

Is there an Inyan of pregnant women walking over cut nails ex: a nail salon? Also, can I just vacuum up the cut nails from the floor?
9
votes
1answer
184 views

Wearing no head-covering?

Under what circumstances is it permissible for a man to wear no head-covering? If one is in a place that is experiencing anti-semitism, for example, does one need to wear a hat if one feels ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Is one allowed to listen to music during Pesach? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Sefira Restrictions During Chol Hamoed Pesach One of the reasons given to pushing off the Aveilus period until after Rosh Chodesh Iyar is because one should avoid ...
7
votes
2answers
191 views

Standing during the Aseres HaDibros

There are people that always stand by Laining and people that always sit. Among those that sit there are those that stand at certain points, such as the Aseres HaDibros or the Shira, etc. Is it proper ...
7
votes
3answers
123 views

Why do we put out greenery on Shavuos?

Those that have the Minhag to put out greenery in the Shul on Shavuos, why do we do it?
3
votes
3answers
791 views

Changing a name for a sick person

Sometimes people add a name for a sick person. Can you just change it to an entirely different name? I know of a case where they kept the first name and changed the second name - originally the name ...
9
votes
2answers
349 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?
2
votes
0answers
31 views

Walking during “l'dor va'dor” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Moving from one's spot after Kedusha During kedusha everyone stands still, however I have seen a small percentage of people who start to walk again during the stanza ...
18
votes
4answers
610 views

How does an outsider know how to dress for a particular Orthodox community?

Standards of dress (at least for women) aren't nearly as consistent within Orthodoxy as we might wish. Wearing exactly the same halachically-correct clothing I have been under-dressed in some places ...
9
votes
1answer
360 views

Hand movements when lighting shabbat candles

When women light shabbat candles I often see them making hand gestures. These look like two or perhaps three circles around in the air. What is the source for this practice? Is it a law or custom? Is ...
6
votes
2answers
226 views

Rubbing the Havdalah wine

Is there any source for the practice of not only dipping one's fingers into the Havdalah wine that was used to extinguish the fire and rubbing the eyes with it, but also spreading it around onto other ...
8
votes
2answers
138 views

What are some traditional Iraqi Minhagim?

I'm a Sefaradi Jew of Iraqi descent, but my dad is not religious. I have looked in books like "A Treasury of Sefaradic Laws and Customs", but they tend to not have Iraqi specific Minhagim. I would ...
-4
votes
2answers
313 views

Why do people say “God” in English and not “Gosh”?

When people speak Hebrew, they say Hashem instead of Y-HVH, because saying His name is impossible/forbidden. Additionally, when writing, some people write G-d instead of God. Why when speaking ...
5
votes
2answers
95 views

What is the source of the additions before תתקבל צלותהון, יהא שלמא, עושה שלום in Kaddish Tiskabel?

In Kaddish Tiskabel, there are parts to be said (see page 131) by the congregation just before the three phrases that begin: תתקבל צלותהון, יהא שלמא, עושה שלום. These do not appear in all siddurim ...
2
votes
1answer
350 views

What is the reason for V-neck Titzis?

When buying Tzitzis, I have seen that there are two types of garment: A "round" neck (the hole has a racetrack shape). A "V" neck (the hole for the neck has a diamond shape). What is the reason ...
1
vote
0answers
97 views

Should people not say Vidui before Tachanun?

Assuming that it is a hefseik and forbidden to interrupt between amidah and tachanun, should a person who regularly recites vidui change his custom and delay the recital of vidui until later on, after ...
8
votes
2answers
349 views

How historically accurate is Josephus?

How accurate is the writing of Josephus? Can we rely on any of his writings to establish authentic Jewish practices or in areas of halacha?
7
votes
1answer
419 views

Why do we cover the challot on Shabbos?

The answer I learned growing up was that "we don't want to embarrass the bread because we are first making kiddush" or some variation thereof. I later learned that is a zecher for the ma'n which fell ...
4
votes
2answers
470 views

No kaddish for a sister?

I have heard that some (e.g. Chabad?) have the practice not to say kaddish for one's deceased sister. Can anybody confirm this? What might be the reason for this? I had thought there is an ...
5
votes
1answer
139 views

Customs of the parents when the parents don't have past customs

I am of mixed Sephardic and Ashkenazic parentage. I view this as allowing me to behave Sephardically when it suits me (for instance, eating kitniyot for Pessach) or Ashkenacikally when it suits me ...
6
votes
1answer
199 views

Washing Kohen's Hands

Following kedusha during mussaf on a day when there is birchas kohanim (duchening), the Leviyim and Kohanim assemble at the sink and a Levi washes each Kohen's hands. What procedure of hand-washing ...
6
votes
3answers
484 views

When to say Hamapil

In the bedtime shema, some siddurim have the bracha of Hamapil printed immediately before the paragraph of shema, whereas others have it printed at the very end of the bedtime shema prayers. What is ...
3
votes
0answers
149 views

Following minhag of tzitzit in vs. out [closed]

When I became frum (around 2 years ago) I started wearing tzitzit hanging out. My grandfather just told me that he remembers that when he was a kid, he tucked his tzitzit in. He remembers his father ...
19
votes
2answers
263 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. ...
9
votes
2answers
315 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
96 views

Posuk (Breishis 24:1) said after the end of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

Artscroll Hebrew Siddurim - and 1 2 among others have at the end of Hallel to say the following Posuk. וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן בָּא בַּיָּמִים וַה' בֵּרַךְ אֶת-אַבְרָהָם בַּכֹּל Artscroll says it is a ...
8
votes
2answers
439 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Does one light candles by the Bima when not an Avel?

When someone is a chazzan during his mourning period, the Lubavitch custom is to light five candles. Does a Chazzan who is not a mourner light any candles? I have seen people turn on an "electric ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

When did the Ashkenazi custom to bake matza on erev Pesach afternoon start?

Historically, when did the Ashkenazi custom to bake matza on erev Pesach afternoon start? I am specifically interested in when this custom arose, rather than the reasons/opions pro/against.
11
votes
4answers
233 views

Waiting Less Time on Shavuos

My family has a minhag to wait less time (3 hours as opposed to 6) between Meat and Milk on Shavuos. I was wondering if this has a written source? [or if not, has anyone else heard of it?]
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Were Maftir Honors in 19th Century different from today?

I received a travel-diary for a man who was born in Huncovce (also known as Hunsdorf, once a famous yeshiva town, second only to Pressburg), Slovakia. He was born in 1851, presumably had some Torah ...
3
votes
0answers
81 views

The, um, Seder of the Seder [closed]

Since I have only experienced a handful of families' traditions of how they conduct their Sedarim, I thought I'd ask what others do. What are some of the widely practiced customs for how to actually ...
5
votes
4answers
398 views

May musicians practice their instruments during Sefirah?

Although one should not listen to music during Sefirah, may musicians practice their instruments during this time? Would it matter if their livelihood is or is not dependent on their musical talent ...
3
votes
1answer
219 views

Al Hannisim for Yom Ha'atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim

Are there any special additions one can add to the shemoneh esrei on Yom Ha'atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim? Is there any problem with saying these additions? Do any major shuls in America say them?
5
votes
2answers
313 views
3
votes
1answer
144 views

Birkat Kohanim in Mussaf on Simchas Torah?

MB 669 seif koton 17 says in the name of the Levush that the custom is that the Kohanim do not bless the people at Mussaf on Simchas Torah because there is a likelihood that the kohanim may be ...
9
votes
3answers
195 views

BBQ for Yom Hatzmaut

What is the source for making barbecues on Yom Haatzmaut?
4
votes
1answer
84 views

Can we say the “Adir bamarom” prayer after the prayer which we say instead of “Birkat Kohanim”?

Extracted from here: The prevailing custom in the Diaspora to relegate the Birkat Kohanim to the major holidays. After Birkat Kohanim, the congregation silently recites the short Adir bamarom prayer. ...
4
votes
0answers
127 views

Young boys returning Chumashim after Torah reading

I often see young boys going around shul after the Shabbos/Yom Tov morning Torah reading to collect Chumashim and return them to their shelves. Is this an actual 'minhag' with a history behind it? If ...
7
votes
1answer
115 views

Is the Haftarah a Minhag?

Is reading the Haftarah a Minhag? I know that the practice was instituted when we couldn't publicly read torah, and then it was kept. Does that make it a Minhag?
7
votes
1answer
127 views

Is one allowed to eat foods that were grown from non-kosher materials?

There is a known story of how one time a person brought a giant carrot on Erev Pesach to the Belzer Rebbe (back in Europe) for Karpas. After the donor left, he said "burn it with the Chometz". As the ...
3
votes
0answers
70 views

When did the Ashkenazi custom to NOT bake matza on Pesach start?

Historically, when did the Ashkenazi custom to not bake matza on Pesach start? I am specifically interested in when this custom arose, rather than the reasons/opions pro/against.