Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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9
votes
1answer
216 views

Chamisha Asar B'Av - when did the Minhag stop?

The Gemara Taanis 31. says אמר רבן שמעון בן גמליאל לא היו ימים טובים לישראל כחמשה עשר באב וכיוה"כ שבהן בנות ירושלים יוצאות ... וחולות בכרמים ומה היו אומרות בחור שא נא עיניך וראה מה אתה בורר לך אל תתן ...
3
votes
2answers
448 views

Can you wash your hands completely after Chatzos on Tisha B'Av?

One of the restrictions of Tisha B'Av is to only wash your hands until the knuckles. Is this restriction relaxed after Chatzos on Tisha B'Av? (sources please)
7
votes
3answers
586 views

Being Shaliach Tzibbur in a Congregation with a different Nusach

In Yalkut Yosef OC 101:10 rules that a Sephardi who is davening in an Ashkenazi minyan should not daven Nusach Ashkenaz as shaliach tzibbur. He can only be shaliach tzibbur if the minyan agrees to let ...
5
votes
1answer
188 views

Zecher L'Churban - Why a plate at Tenayim and a glass at the Chupah?

When a person gets engaged and married there are various things that we do as a Zecher L'Churban. At the Tenayim (whether done immediately or at the wedding) we break an earthernware plate, at the ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

What to do when visiting Kivrei Tzaddikim?

When visiting Kevarim of Tzaddikim, when are proper procedures to follow? I would hope an answer would cover: What and how to daven If there's any specific Tehillim to say If one should (or must) ...
8
votes
1answer
122 views

Why are the ends of Tefilin Retzuos cut on a slant?

I noticed than the end of my Tefillin Retzuos are cut on a slant. In the comments to this answer various reasons are postulated. What is the true reason?
5
votes
3answers
197 views

Bending at “s'lach lanu”

I have seen many people bow slightly when striking their chests in recitation of the sixth b'racha of sh'moneh esrei. Is this a custom? Is there a source for it? Anyone whom I've witnessed doing ...
6
votes
2answers
403 views

Why do the laws of kitniyot still apply today to Ashkenazi Jews on Passover?

How did the tradition start? Why is it still around today? What is the basis for this Halacha (הלכה)?
5
votes
1answer
164 views

tying tzitzis together on Simchas Tora

When I was a child in the 1980s, something the boys in my synagogue did on Simchas Tora was tie one person's talis to another, or sometimes to furniture. (Now that I'm older and in a different ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Does ב"ה actually stand for Boruch Hashem?

We asked here about writing either ב"ה or בס"ד on the top of a letter. In the question it was assumed that ב"ה stands for Boruch Hashem. Do we have a source that ב"ה actually stands for Boruch ...
4
votes
2answers
376 views

Can one follow Rabbeinu Tam time for beginning Shabbos?

Does anyone today follow Rabbineu Tam time for the beginning of Shabbos? Reading some tshuvas (e.g. Eretz haTzvi) it is clear this was widespread in Europe. If one has previously been accustomed to ...
2
votes
0answers
260 views

White (Lavan) & Blue (Tcheiles) - blue Tzitzis [duplicate]

There are some people that wear Tcheiles - blue Tzitzis. What is the reason that the majority of Klal Yisroel still does not wear it if the Tcheilas has been rediscovered?
5
votes
4answers
163 views

Why do we stand when we do toward the end of Tachanun?

In the Tachanun prayer, it's traditional to sit for most of the core of Tachanun, but then to stand three words into the last paragraph, between "Va-anachnu lo neida'" and "ma na'aseh" ("And we won't ...
7
votes
1answer
109 views

Source for wearing special clothing on Rosh Chodesh

Is there a source for wearing somewhat festive clothes on Rosh Chodesh? I have seen some people who hold this custom.
2
votes
2answers
361 views

Red/White wine at the Seder

Is there any Halacha or Minhag that specifies if red or White wine should be used for the four cups of wine during the Passover seder and does it matter what you use to spill out during the 10 ...
4
votes
3answers
110 views

Green pretty shavuot?

Why is there a custom to hang up flowers and growing green things on shavuot?
8
votes
1answer
185 views

Direction of Tefillin Winding

Why do some people have the custom to wind the Tefillin-Shel-Yad towards themselves, while others wind it away from themselves? What is the reason behind these two customs, and which sects of Judaism ...
8
votes
2answers
249 views

Kiddush Levanah - Saying Aleichem Sholom with the other person?

As discussed here, while doing Kiddush Levanah, we say "Shalom Aleichem" to 3 other people, and they respond back with "Aleichem Shalom". I've seen some people saying "Aleichem Shalom" together with ...
3
votes
1answer
67 views

Leading half the prayers

Assuming one is to follow the congregation's nusach when leading the prayers and one's own otherwise, what should he do if he's asked to lead the prayers from "Shochen ad", and agrees, before the ...
6
votes
4answers
199 views

Is it possible to be chasidish without wearing the garb and keeping all the minhagim?

Can someone be chasidish (or a chasid) if they don't dress in a distinctively "Jewish" way or don't keep all the minhagim such as "cholov yisrael", saying tehillim on rosh chodesh, etc? Does it ...
6
votes
1answer
94 views

Haircuts on Friday when the 47th of the omer falls on Sunday

The Rema, commenting on the mourning of the first 33 days of the omer, allows haircuts on Friday, lichvod shabbos, when the 33rd falls on Sunday. Does the same reasoning apply when the 47th falls on ...
3
votes
1answer
197 views

What is the origin of the custom to say Shema to a baby on the day before his Brit Milah?

I have seen a custom among Ashkenazic Jews that on the day before the Brit Milah of a baby boy, a group of children will come and all say the Shema to the baby. What is the origin and reason for the ...
4
votes
3answers
312 views

Is Kel Malei Rachamim (memorial prayer) said under the chuppah at a wedding?

I'd seen a book on wedding practices and customs that said if desired in appropriate cases, a memorial prayer ("El/Kel Malei Rachamim") could be said under the chuppah, e.g. a bride/groom who lost a ...
4
votes
1answer
67 views

What is the earliest source mentioning that Jews put out greenery on Shavuos?

What is the earliest source mentioning the Minhag that Jews put out greenery on Shavuos?
3
votes
1answer
104 views

Private Bircas Kohanim during Mussaf?

One Shabbos during the Chazan's repetition of the Mussaf Shemoneh Esrei, I noticed a guest who is a Kohen (who seemed to be of Sefaradic stock) wrapping his sons in his tallis, with his hands on their ...
2
votes
2answers
179 views

Nusach for silent Amida when chazzan in an other-nusach congregation

My understanding (based, if I recall correctly, on R' Moshe Feinstein) is that when I pray in a congregation that uses a different version of the prayers (nusach) from the one I usually use, I should ...
11
votes
4answers
296 views

Why fill the glass all the way to the top?

Why is it that when people make kiddush/havdallah they insist on filling up the cup all the way to the top, sometimes till it overflows just a little? Is this a documented minhag/custom etc...?
5
votes
1answer
151 views

Passing an infant across a table

Is there a minhag that one should not pass a child over a table to another person to hold? In my family we would pass a child from person to person all the way around the table, but nobody could ever ...
4
votes
4answers
666 views

Chickpeas (Arbes) at a Shalom Zachor

Why do we serve Arbes - chickpeas at a Shalom Zachor?
3
votes
1answer
235 views

Whats a Mimunah-מימונה?

There is a custom of those of Moroccan decent to make a "Mimunah". What does this custom entail, how did it develop, and what does it have to do with Pesach? A general overview of the Custom would be ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Kidush Levana: Does “aleichem shalom” count for a “shalom aleichem”?

The minhag at kiddush levana is to wish shalom aleichem 3x. It is prevalent to do so even if someone was wished shalom aleichem and he reciprocated back aleichem shalom. Is there a reason that one ...
8
votes
3answers
245 views

Should I follow the congregation if their view on prayers for Yom Ha'Atzma'ut is different than mine?

How should one go about davening in a minyan on yom haatzmaut when his custom is not to change davening? My minyan does no tachanun and hallel without a bracha after shmona esreh. Should I- do ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

B'siyata D'shmaya or Baruch Hashem

Often, at the top of written work, Jews write either ב"ה, which stands for Baruch Hashem =blessed is the Name i.e., God, or בס"ד, which stands for b'siyata d'shmaya =with Heavenly help. What is the ...
3
votes
1answer
580 views

Women Making Kiddush

Let's say a husband and wife are alone on Friday night or on Shabbos day. Can the wife make kiddush for herself and her husband?
4
votes
2answers
444 views

Marror and Chazeres on the seder plate

The arrangement of the Seder plate according to the Arizal includes one space for "Marror" and another for "Chazeres" (the latter intended for use in Koreich). Does this reflect a tradition to use ...
0
votes
1answer
112 views

Schlisel Challah [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Parnassah Segulah What is the source of the Minhag to make Schlisal Challah the week after Pesach? Is it better to make a Challah in the shape of a key or is it better to ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

Using The Washington Haggadah

Yesterday, Harvard University Press released a haggadah which is a reproduction of a manuscript written in 1478 and held by the Library of Congress. It can be purchased on Amazon. If I bought this, ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Partial Pesach Cleaning

I am looking for any sources for the minhag of only needing to clean one room in your house for Pesach if you are going to be away for the whole chag.
9
votes
2answers
177 views

Purpose of announcing Molad

The custom is that the gabbai announces the time of the Molad during the course of "Bircas HaChodesh" on Shabbos Mevorchim. What is the purpose of this? The molad is anyhow not directly connected to ...
4
votes
4answers
415 views

Does cooking kitniyot in a pot render it non-kosher-for-Passover for Ashkenazic Jews? If so, why?

I've heard of cases where a Sephardic family, for whom rice is totally kosher for Passover (assuming it's checked and contains no additives etc.), cooked rice in a pot. The next day, they invite their ...
5
votes
4answers
911 views

Wearing a Kittel at the Seder

I grew up with my father wearing a Kittel at the Seder. My father wore a Kittel at the Seder immediately from when he got married. Over the years I have heard that some people do not wear a Kittel the ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Two Matzos at the Seder

Many Hagados show an option of using only 2 Matzos at the Seder as Nusach HaGra. Does anyone still do only 2 Matzos?
3
votes
3answers
268 views

Kitnios on Pesach

Why and when did the minhag start that allows Sephardim to eat Kitnios (Legumes)but not Ashkenazim?
4
votes
1answer
620 views

What's the earliest source/discussion on green beans being “kitniyot” (prohibited legumes) on Passover?

My understanding is that most Ashkenazic communities today don't eat green beans on Passover, treating them as kitniyot (a bunch of legumes for which the custom arose to avoid on Passover). What's the ...
3
votes
1answer
173 views

Urchatz - does everyone wash?

I have heard different Minhagim regarding washing at Urchatz. It seems that in some families everyone washes and in others only the Baal HaBayis. Does anyone have sources as to the different Minhagim ...
5
votes
1answer
93 views

Birchas Kohanim in the Diaspora

Why do we (ashkenazim) not do birchas kohanim in chutz la'aretz (except on yom tov), but in Israel, we do?
3
votes
1answer
264 views

Woman attending shul after childbirth

There is a common custom that a woman who has given birth does not travel anywhere until she has gone to shul. What is the source of this custom, and what are its details? (I.e., it is necessary to ...
3
votes
3answers
166 views

Costumes On Purim

Why is there a Minhag to dress up in costumes on Purim?
2
votes
1answer
381 views

Issues with Wording, Honorifics, Symbols, Rashei Teivot on Tombstones

In my work on translating tombstones (Ashkenazic - Slovakian or what was once Austro-Hungarian) towns, I occasionally come across phrases or honorifics that are difficult for me to understand. I do ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Kein Yehi Ratzon by Birchas Kohanim

The Minhag by most Shuls where there is no Birchas Kohanim and the Chazan just says the Birchas Kohanim is to say Kein Yehi Ratzon. Why do we say Kein Yehi Ratzon instead of Amein?