Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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13
votes
7answers
617 views

What is the source for the “Upsheirin”?

In some families/communities, little boys do not get their hair cut until they are three, and then there is a gathering for cutting their hair. The haircut is called an "upsheirin" or "chalakeh." ...
8
votes
2answers
267 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
224 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?]
3
votes
2answers
150 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
259 views

Twelve Months of Mourning During a Leap Year

For those who are mourning a parent for the requisite twelve-month aveilus, would Adar 1 and Adar 2 count as two separate months towards the twelve? Or does one year mean a full year, i.e., from ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is Soy milk considered Parve and not Milchig/Halavi?

Considering that milk is forbidden with chicken (as stated in this answer), because chicken could be confused with meat, why isn't soy milk considered milchig as well? In Israel, chicken is ...
6
votes
1answer
99 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
242 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
444 views

Why do we eat Milchigs (dairy) on Shavuos?

Why do we have a Minhag to eat Milchigs (dairy) on Shavuos?
5
votes
3answers
137 views

Milchigs (dairy) on Shavuos - when is the proper time?

When is the proper time to eat dairy on Shavuos? (night meal, day meal, prior to day meal, Shul Kiddush)
7
votes
3answers
117 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?
4
votes
1answer
70 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?
7
votes
1answer
192 views

wording of the invitation to birkas hamazon

I know some Ashk'nazim say rabosay n'varech, some rabosay mir velen bentschen, and some hertzi rabosay mir velen bentschen. (Any other forms?) Is there any particular reason given for one or another?
16
votes
2answers
206 views

People half-standing for אלקינו in zimun

When conducting a zimun with ten or more men, the nusach is to say "...ברוך אלקינו שאכלנו משלו". I have noticed that many people, when saying the word "אלקינו", get up from their seats at least a ...
5
votes
3answers
501 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
593 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
571 views

Talis Gadol for Unmarried Individuals

In my minhag (and I believe it's minhag Ashkenaz), unmarried men do not wear a Talis Gadol (only a Talis Katan). Why is this so?
16
votes
1answer
544 views

Blessing the Children on Friday Night

I have noticed that many families (including my own) have the custom for the father to bless all the children on Friday night before kiddush. When and where did this custom originate, and by whom, ...
3
votes
1answer
70 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
637 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
438 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
332 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...?
17
votes
3answers
293 views

תהלת ה' ידבר פי - what's the origin?

In between the 'Shir HaMaalot' that precedes birchat hamazon and the the blessings themselves, there are a few psukim beginning תהלת ה' ידבר פי . Some people add these, and some don't. What's the ...
5
votes
1answer
199 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
793 views

Infant seeing reflection in mirror

I have heard that some people do not allow a child to see his or her reflection in a mirror before they can speak (or say their name, possibly). Is there any traditional source for this practice?
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Which passages comprise the classic Tikkun Leil Shavuot?

As we count down to Shavuot, I find myself wondering: [First, some background for those who don't know what a Tikkun Leil Shavuot is] According to tradition, we overslept the morning of Matan Torah ...
5
votes
3answers
200 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
185 views

BBQ for Yom Hatzmaut

What is the source for making barbecues on Yom Haatzmaut?
8
votes
3answers
252 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
674 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?
10
votes
1answer
107 views

Why Are These Double Parshiyos?

During a regular (non-leap) Jewish year, there are four instances where two of the weekly Torah portions are read together in the same week. This is because there are not enough weeks to read all of ...
6
votes
1answer
116 views

Why Start Pirkei Avos With Kol Yisroel?

Why do we start off saying Pirkei Avos by first saying the Mishna from Sanhedrin "Kol Yisroel"?
4
votes
1answer
190 views

Aleinu L'Shabeach - Nusach HaTefila

The words "Sheheim Mishtachavim Li-Hevel Voryk Umispallelim El Eil Lo-Yoshiya" - Was this originally part of Aleinu and then removed, or was it added later to Aleinu? Why was this done?
5
votes
3answers
146 views

When to count Sefira

Why do some count the Omer before Aleinu and some after?
0
votes
1answer
115 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
2answers
161 views

Yemenite Sefira

What is the source for the custom that Yemenite Jews people count Sefira in Aramaic? and why do they do it?
3
votes
1answer
243 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
644 views

Why should A Capella music be allowed during Sefirah/Three Weeks?

Background: I'm not sure how I feel about: a)the custom to refrain from listening to recorded music during Sefirah or b)the assumption that recorded a cappella music is not considered instrumental ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Sefira Restrictions During Chol Hamoed Pesach

For those who hold sefira from the first day until the thirty-third, are the restrictions in effect during chol hamoed? While you are not allowed to cut your hair even during chol hamoed Succos, can ...
4
votes
2answers
344 views

Black Hats During Mussaf

Lately, I have noticed that many people who wear a tallis during davening will deliberately put on the black hat, which they wore on the way to shul, while still wearing their tallis near the end of ...
6
votes
1answer
198 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 ...
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
2answers
454 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
96 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.
4
votes
1answer
116 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
204 views

Lag Baomer - why not Laomer?

Nusach Askenaz says Baomer, Nusach Sefard and Sefardim say Laomer - Why does everyone call it Lag Baomer - why not call it Lag Laomer?
10
votes
4answers
429 views

Baal Teshuva Minhag

I have read that Rabbi Avraham Yosef (the son of Rav Ovadiah Yosef) paskened that a Baal Teshuva in Israel should adopt the Sephardic Minhag, regardless of family history, as their immediate ancestors ...