Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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3
votes
2answers
409 views

Why is the atara on a tallis always the same design?

Maybe a frivolous question, but I am intrigued as to why the atara (the strip of cloth denoting where the tallis should rest on your shoulders) on every standard tallis (other than the fancy ones with ...
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?
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
215 views

how to call up a kohen/levi as acharon

Shulachan Aruch (OC 135:10) holds, and Rama (there) seems to also hold, that if a kohen (or levi, m.m.) is called as acharon then the gabai should say "af al pi shehu kohen". The purpose of this is to ...
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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
9
votes
4answers
539 views

“Jumping” at the end of Shemoneh Esrei

Some people are accustomed to performing a few little "jumps" at the end of Shemoneh Esrei (after taking the requisite three steps backward and forward) by lifting their heels a number of times. Is ...
9
votes
3answers
701 views

Custom of not giving knives as a gift?

I'd heard that some people have a custom not to give knives as a gift (as knives are a sign of shortening life, not extending it); I asked one rabbi who said he hadn't heard of such a custom, but it ...
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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
99 views

Shalom Aleichem in Kiddush Levana to an Aveil

We do not say Shalom Aleichem to a Aveil. What about saying Shalom Aleichem to an Aveil (after the Shiva, during the year of Aveilus) during Kiddush Levana - do you or do you not? (sources please)
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
3answers
476 views

What practices are affected by a belief in demons?

Inspired by R' Slifkin's new monograph, Wrestling with Demons, and acknowledging the fact that the existence of sheidim and other things magical in nature is an age-old dispute, I am wondering about ...
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?
7
votes
3answers
246 views

How to bow during Shemone Esre

During the Shemone Esre, we bend our knees and then bow. I have observed two ways of doing this. One is to bend the knees, then to straighten the knees, and then to bow at the waist. The other is ...
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?
6
votes
3answers
353 views

What's the deal with all the washings?

Sometimes we wash with a cup, sometimes not; sometimes we wash twice, sometimes thrice; and not everyone agrees on method or pattern in all cases. Who says which ways we are supposed to wash, in ...
5
votes
2answers
160 views

Is it permitted to have a boy under barmitzvah age sing Anim Zemiros?

Is it permitted to have a boy under barmitzvah age sing the Shir Hakavod (or Anim Zemiros)? Why is it not like any other part of davenning where we use someone over barmitzvah?
10
votes
1answer
305 views

Dipping fingers in Havdalah Wine

What is the source or origin of the custom to dip one's fingers in the wine poured over the candle to extinguish it at the conclusion of Havdalah? As a side note, and a reason I'm tagging it this ...
3
votes
0answers
96 views

Proper Bracha on Chanuka candles [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Lhadlik ner (SHEL) Chanukah What is the proper Nusach - Lehadlik Ner Shel Chanuka or LeHadlik Ner Chanuka?
6
votes
1answer
107 views

All these verses to say before havdala

Before saying the blessings relevant to havdala on motzei shabbos, we (Ashkenazim) include a bunch of p'sukim: "הִנֵּה אֵל יְשׁוּעָתִי אֶבְטַח וְלֹא אֶפְחָד כִּי עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ יְהוָה וַיְהִי ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

When is “vesain tal umotor” said in Australia?

When is "vesain tal umotor" said in the Southern Hemisphere eg Australia?
6
votes
1answer
118 views

Stops in the Sidrah Leyning - Rishon, Sheni etc

Who instituted Rishon, Sheni, Shelishi etc in the leyning of the Sidrah? When was this done? What are the principles which were applied to determine where the stop should be? One would have thought ...
8
votes
2answers
120 views

Haftara reading customs

There seems to be a wide range of customs with regard to reading the haftara. In some shuls (mostly Chassidic) the one who is called up recites the berachah, and everyone then says the haftara quietly ...
7
votes
1answer
108 views

Sefer Torah enclosures

The Torah scrolls of Ashkenazim have a very different look than those of Sepharadim. Ashkenazim just roll the parchment onto two poles, and read it in a horizontal position; the Sepharadim install the ...
3
votes
2answers
147 views

והוא ידרוש לציון עיר ה…‏

In the song "ברוך א׳ עליון" (text) is the line: וְהוּא יִדְרֹשׁ לְצִיּוֹן עִיר הַנִּדָּחָה My grandfather, ע״ה, when singing this line, would replace הַנִּדָּחָה with another word (I think ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

Shalosh Seudos song - B'Vo'o M'Edom/Yetzave Tzur Chasdo

At Shalosh Seudos - the third Shabbos meal often the song B'Vo'o M'Edom/Yetzave Tzur Chasdo is sung. Some people/Shuls start from B'Vo'o M'Edom and some people/shuls start from Yetzave Tzur Chasdo. ...
10
votes
3answers
226 views

Flexibility in choice of verses for morning Kiddush

The morning Kiddush on Shabbat and holidays consists of one or more Torah verses followed by the blessing on the wine (or perhaps other beverage). I have seen in print and in practice various ...
8
votes
2answers
227 views

Does one need dry hands before washing?

I've always noticed people that make sure their hands are perfectly dry before washing (i.e. washing for eating bread). Why do people do so? Where does this apparent stringency come from?
3
votes
1answer
71 views

Why is moisture a chatzizah for netilas yadayim?

Why is moisture a chatzizah for netilas yadayim? I guess you can say that the hands must be completely clean, but then why don't you have to wipe your hands in middle? For example, one who washes his ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Extent of Gebroks

For those who have the minhag not to eat Gebroks on Pesach, how about dipping into undiluted fruit juices, which do not cause leavening? And what about dipping in water and eating it right away, ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

Source of Dzikov customs

Does anyone know of a book of minhagim (practices) or a sidur (prayer book) of the chasidim of Dzikov (דזיקוב, sometimes דז׳יקוב)? (Or anything that would show their minhagim.) Hebrewbooks.org ...
5
votes
2answers
175 views

Lulav-shake count varying with shake history

T'hilas Hashem, the standard sidur (prayer book) of the Lubavitch chasidim, includes, passim, rulings of their first rabbi ("the Rav"), copied from his own sidur. The rules printed before halel ...
6
votes
1answer
106 views

Pounding the pavement WITH LEAVES?

Is hitting the Hoshanos on the ground a universal practice? And what is the source for this custom?
2
votes
1answer
156 views

Up all night Hoshanah Rabbah: why?

Why do we stay up all night on Hoshanah Rabbah, and what is its source?
6
votes
2answers
217 views

Bal Toisif on the Four Minim

It seems that there exists a Minhag (a practice of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe Zatzal) of adding extra Hadassim or Aravos (Hashanos) — I am uncertain which, maybe both — to the standard 4 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Trimming Toenails in sequence

As a follow up to the question "Rules for Cutting Nails" it occurred to me that while we spoke about the idea of not trimming one's nails in sequence (as well as discussing the relevancy of lenient ...
7
votes
2answers
522 views

What is the difference between dati, chasidish, and charedi?

How would one explain the distinctions between datim, chasidim, and charedim, especially to an American Jew who didn't know much about the Israeli religious spectrum? In particular, are all chasidim ...
5
votes
1answer
56 views

Why are we strict during the 10 days of repentance?

The lone halacha in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 603: Even someone who is not careful about eating [pas akum], during the 10 days of repentance he must be careful. Since the S.A. didn't mention stringencies ...
6
votes
1answer
433 views

Why does Lubavitch eat in the Sukkah when it rains?

I have always heard that while we do not eat in the Sukkah while it rains, those of Chabad do. Why is this so? Found it on wikipedia too: Though the halakha doesn't obligate one to eat or sleep ...
5
votes
1answer
115 views

Yehei Shmei Rabbah… Yisbarach

Not sure where it came from, but many people tend to say Yisbarach after the Amen Yehei Shmei Rabbah verse. Where did this come from? Is this correct?
3
votes
1answer
119 views

When to get an aliya for a Bar Mitzvah?

According to the new "Annotated Edition" of the Siddur Tehillas Hashem, a Bar Mitzvah bachur should get his first aliya either on Shabbos Mincha time, Monday, Thursday, or Rosh Chodesh. I assume that ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

What species of esrog do people use?

I know Lubavitchers are makpid to use only Esrogim from Genoa (if not grown there, at least that species). What do other communities use? Does anyone still use Korfu?
4
votes
2answers
117 views

When to say “Yehallelu” by Mincha Shabbos Afternoon?

Chabad starts the Half-Kaddish by Mincha Shabbos afternoon just after Hagbahah and continuing the Kaddish until the Sefer Torah is put back in the Aron. Since one should not interrupt in the middle ...
12
votes
1answer
285 views

Kubutz and shuruk in Polish/Hungarian pronunciation

What is the origin or basis of the Polish and Hungarian prevalence for pronouncing "oo" vowels as "ee"? The variants of other vowels are easier to understand in the context of phonological shifting, ...