Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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5
votes
2answers
327 views

Bracha on an indirect view of lightning

The general practice is to make a bracha on the sky illuminating from lightning without actually seeing the bolt. Does anyone know a source for this? Is this the most appropriate practice? Also, ...
3
votes
3answers
240 views

Modern nations and Umos Haolam

Where can I find a discussion about the roots of modern nations, in the Umos Haolam mentioned in the Torah and Chazal?
6
votes
2answers
124 views

Repeating Seder HaKitores

Why do Nusahos Ari, Sefard, Edot HaMizrah, and Ashkenaz of Eretz Yisrael repeat the order of the kitores (incense offering) at the end of Shaharis every day and why does Nusah Ashkenaz of Hutz LaAretz ...
16
votes
6answers
907 views

Why do some people wear their tzitzis out for people to see, and others don't?

Why do some people wear their tzitzis strings out for people to see, and others don't?
2
votes
2answers
177 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
625 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
110 views

Green pretty shavuot?

Why is there a custom to hang up flowers and growing green things on shavuot?
3
votes
1answer
189 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
5answers
204 views

Shavuos and Malachim(angels)

We all know that there is a custom on Shavuos to eat dairy. One of the reasons given is based on a Medrash that When Moshe Rabbenu went up to Heaven to receive the Torah the angels complained and said ...
7
votes
1answer
101 views

Why do we do Hagbaah?

After "leining" the Torah, we pick up the Torah scroll to show everyone. Why do we do this?
4
votes
2answers
95 views

Ma'aseh Rav-the Rabbi did such and such

Often times in the course of halachic discussions it will be related that a certain Rav did such and such. When do such accounts have halachic significance? How do we safeguard against ...
8
votes
3answers
151 views

Staying up all night on Shavu'ot

Every year, when I stay up learning Torah through the first night of Shavu'ot, I invariably fall asleep during the subsequent morning prayers. Last year, I tried something new: Learn all night, but ...
15
votes
4answers
200 views

Why is Lag Baomer celebrated the way it is (or at all)?

Why do we celebrate lag baomer with bon-fires and bow-and-arrow. Why do we celebrate lag baomer at all?
6
votes
1answer
347 views

When is a Minhag no longer a Minhag?

It can be all too easy for people to underestimate the halachic significance of minhagim (traditions/customs). While there are, as I understand it, a variety of halachic issues/differences of ...
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Eating at a shiva house

What is the basis for some people's practice not to eat the food at a shiva house; is there a halachik basis for this, is it a minhag or perhaps just superstition?
9
votes
4answers
251 views

Is it required to knock on doors before entering?

Do we have to knock on people's doors before entering?
24
votes
7answers
2k views

Reason behind pinky during hagba

Why do people lift their pinkies during Hagba?
4
votes
4answers
7k views

Rules for Cutting Nails

My question about nail-cutting is whether each of the following is halacha, minhag, or old-wives' tales. Not cutting both fingernails and toenails on the same day. Not cutting nails at night (is ...
6
votes
2answers
295 views

Can you turn your back to the Aron HaKodesh?

I'm quite certain that it is mentioned in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that one should not turn one's back to the Aron HaKodesh (ark which holds the Torah Scrolls). Can anyone tell me where this is ...
6
votes
2answers
465 views

Mizmor l'David (Psalms 23) at Shalosh Suedos

There is a common minhag (custom) to sing Mizmor l'David at Seudah Shlishis, the third Sabbath meal. It is common to sing this song three times in a row and I was asked this Shabbos by a friend why ...
5
votes
2answers
477 views

Trop (cantillation) for leining

Who created the trop (cantillation) for leining? Is it a Mesorah from when the Torah was written?
1
vote
4answers
295 views

Shalom Aleichem and Eishes Chayil

Who wrote Shalom Aleichem and Eishes Chayil? Is it minhag Yisrael?
8
votes
2answers
480 views

matzah = mezonos or hamotzi

What is the reasoning of the 2 different minhagim (traditions) on what bracha to say on matzah when its not Peasach?
16
votes
2answers
448 views

Why do we say Mazel Tov? Shouldn't we thank Hashem?

Why do we say "Mazel Tov" when something good happens to a person? Doesn't that mean "good luck?" Are we saying that what happened, happened because of luck?
15
votes
8answers
916 views

Why wear Black hats

Why do people wear black hats if their kippa has 2 layers?
5
votes
2answers
267 views

What does Yarmulka mean?

What does the word Yarmulka mean?
7
votes
4answers
537 views

Schlissel Challah

What is the source for the "Key Challah" Segulah (charm) that is said to bring Parnassah (prosperity)? And which is it: do you put the key in the Challah or do you make the Challah in the shape of a ...
2
votes
2answers
359 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
713 views

Custom to refrain from eating meat at the Pesach Seder?

I recently heard from two separate people about a custom not to eat any meat at the Seder (i.e. only fish and chicken are eaten). This was surprising to me, as the minhag mentioned in the Mishnah, ...
5
votes
3answers
401 views

Conservative / Nusach Sfard

Are there any Conservative synagogues that daven Nusach Sfard?
5
votes
1answer
436 views

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?

Is there a problem of "chukat goyim" with the bride having "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" at her wedding?
4
votes
2answers
907 views

What makes something “chukat goyim?”

One of the most famous examples I have heard is that one should not even tie one's shoes like the non-Jews do in times of persecution. That seems rather excessive. What if the Jews started doing some ...
6
votes
1answer
297 views

Walking around the house after shiva

I'd heard something about how some people, when getting up after the week of "sitting shiva" (mourning), take a walk around the outside of their house before going back to "normal" life. Has anyone ...
3
votes
3answers
267 views

Kitnios on Pesach

Why and when did the minhag start that allows Sephardim to eat Kitnios (Legumes)but not Ashkenazim?
5
votes
1answer
104 views

Who hides the afikoman?

Is the leader of the seder supposed to hide the afikoman so that the kids can find it, or are the kids supposed to hide it so that the leader can find it? And what is the point of this hide-and-seek ...
6
votes
4answers
553 views

Should I wear tefillin during Chol HaMoed?

If I don't have a known family minhag regarding this, how should I decide whether to wear tefillin during Chol HaMoed? Which communities generally follow each option, and what are the reasons behind ...
4
votes
4answers
537 views

Do bananas make the best karpas?

For karpas at the seder, one is supposed to eat a food on which the blessing "borei pri ha'adama" is made. However, many of the most commonly used food items for karpas (e.g. parsley, raw onion, raw ...
17
votes
4answers
696 views

Why do people frequently change tunes toward the end of Lecha Dodi?

Frequently, perhaps even most of the time, I've noticed that the chazan (prayer leader) for Kabalat Shabbat switches tunes for the last four verses of Lecha Dodi. Is there any reason for this, or are ...
5
votes
4answers
162 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
676 views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
6
votes
3answers
633 views

Wearing a gartel

Where did the minhag of wearing a gartel come from?
10
votes
3answers
288 views

Wear your tzitzis out or in? [duplicate]

There seems to be some misunderstanding/machlokes (disagreement) on how you should wear your tzitzis - with the strings sticking out or tucked in. What's the proper way?
8
votes
2answers
453 views

Naming your child using a dead relative's initial

Is there a Jewish tradition of naming your child using the first letter of the name of a recently deceased relative?