Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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14
votes
1answer
360 views

“Yaamod p'loni ben p'loni… chazak”?

The last ole (person called to the Torah) (besides the maftir) of Vaychi, P'kude, B'chukosay, and Mas'e is, in my experience, called using the formula "yaamod p'loni ben p'loni sh'vii chazak", with ...
10
votes
2answers
326 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
309 views

When did the use of Rashei Tevot, Heh Kuf, הק׳ in writings, books, letters, etc., begin?

Perhaps I'm among the last to have found this out, but it took me quite a while to understand why, in a signature, the name was preceded by a הק׳. The Ozar Rashei Tevot book has 31 different ...
6
votes
2answers
254 views

Tu B'shvat Seder

Where did the idea of doing a Seder on Tu b'Shvat come from? Why a Seder, not just the eating of fruit? Why do we call it a Seder if there is no formalized way of doing it?
3
votes
1answer
120 views

Coffee Urns left out throughout the week?

Many people still keep to the halacha that one isn't allowed to drink from water kept in metal overnight. How would one be allowed to drink from a Coffee Urn on Shabbos? How could one drink from a ...
2
votes
3answers
589 views

Rambam Tzitzith: 7 or 13 chulyoth?

The Gemara says you have to tie no fewer than 7 chulyos and no more than 13. According to most shitas, 13 is the ideal. My question is, according to the Rambam, can you do whatever you want - 7 or 13? ...
6
votes
2answers
304 views

Start of the Upsherin ceremony

When did it become popular to have a ceremony for a boys Upsherin, his first haircut when he reaches the age of three?
4
votes
1answer
156 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
473 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
817 views

Is it permissible to name one's child with a name from the opposite gender?

Is a person allowed to name a boy with a girl's name and vice versa? I remember seeing that one musn't, although in Nach one finds these things a lot. I understand it is not best practice for ...
5
votes
2answers
130 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
551 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
135 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
162 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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
2answers
133 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?
9
votes
9answers
375 views

When do you say a beracha on a minhag?

When lighting Hanukkah candles in the synagogue, we say a beracha "asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav.." on a minhag. Unlike kiddush in shul, and early counting of the omer in shul, nobody would say that one ...
4
votes
1answer
67 views

Eating meat on Hannuka?

Is there a source to require eating meat at the Hanuka meal?
5
votes
2answers
117 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?
5
votes
3answers
484 views

If it's your minhag to daven Hanetz, do you do so even without a minyan?

A friend once told me that if one's minhag is to daven with Hanetz (i.e., starting the Amida prayer at sunrise), and if there's no Hanetz minyan nearby, you should still daven Hanetz, even without a ...
-1
votes
1answer
91 views

Sheasa Nisim ALL 8 nights? [closed]

Why do we say SheAsa Nisim all 8 nights? Shouldn't we only say it one night, the first?
5
votes
1answer
613 views

Tzitzit tying: the real way

1)There are two authentic ways to tie the Sisit (Tzitzis) that have sources. Maran writes to make 7-9-11-13. First question: why does he write this is he then says Gimtarya Hashem is One, when in fact ...
8
votes
1answer
331 views

When to close the ark after putting away the Torah

On shabbat morning when putting away the Torah, many chazzanim like to draw out different tunes for the verses recited then. Should the one honored with putting the Torah back wait until after the ...
7
votes
3answers
242 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?
12
votes
2answers
407 views

Why do we say Layehudim Hayta Orah aloud?

In Havdalah, I noticed a virtually universal custom: when the one who is saying Havdalah reaches the Passuk of Layehudim Haytah Orah (ליהודים היתה אורה ושמחה...), those who are being Yotzei Havdalah ...
6
votes
2answers
268 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
498 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 way,...
11
votes
2answers
342 views

What is the origin of the custom to kiss a Mezuzah?

What is the source or origin of the custom to kiss a Mezuzah?
10
votes
2answers
182 views

Source for kissing an aron

I've seen people kiss an aron kodesh (cabinet holding Torah scrolls) when they approach it and, if they were standing near it, before they leave it. Does this have any written source; or, are there ...
10
votes
1answer
158 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 minhag ...
23
votes
1answer
432 views

Why don't people bentch on a kos nowadays?

Bentching with a kos (recite Grace after Meals with a cup of wine) was clearly a popular thing to do in the times of the gemara. Additionally many Ashkenazi rishonim (Rosh, Ri, and many other ...
12
votes
9answers
3k views

Where do the different traditions for hours of waiting between meat and milk come from?

As far as I can tell, there are 5 different traditions for how long one has to wait between eating meat and milk: wait 6 full hours wait into the 6th hour (thus, 5 hours and 5 minutes would ...
2
votes
1answer
229 views

Origin of two customs on wearing the Talis after making the brocho

How do we wear the Talis Godol immediately after making the brocho? 1) There seems to be one method practised by those following German minhogim. Can someone give a source for it please? Is this ...
7
votes
1answer
196 views

When is “vesain tal umotor” said in Australia?

When is "vesain tal umotor" said in the Southern Hemisphere eg Australia?
6
votes
1answer
133 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
115 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
179 views

Baal haTanya's donning shel yad seated

I have heard that the baal haTanya put on his t'fila shel yad while seated (as S'faradim do). Does anyone have a source for this (or for the opposite: that he put on his shel yad standing)? If he ...
5
votes
2answers
195 views

Which tefilot you say when your minhag differs from that of the shoul your praying in?

Here is the case: This past Sabbath, at an ashkanazi synagogue, a sephardi comes to pray. This is the synagogue that he normally attends (there are about 20 within 1 sq mile). He prays with the ...
7
votes
1answer
136 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
134 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
177 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. ...
11
votes
3answers
269 views

Who distributed the zemiros across the three meals?

Any book of zemiros whether it's a siddur, birchon, or what have you divides the zemiros between the three meals. Sometimes the rationale is obvious as with the tikkunim which are written for each ...
7
votes
3answers
441 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
87 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 ...
25
votes
3answers
7k views

Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture

I've recently been looking into polygamy (having more than 1 wife), and had a few cultural questions. Was polygamy accepted at the time of David and Solomon? Were there any laws about it? Was ...
7
votes
3answers
266 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
239 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
3answers
239 views

Which parts of the head should be covered by the kippa?

I understand that it is a widespread minhag for men to wear a head covering. Recently I have seen kippot covering different portions of the head. So please tell me which parts of the head should be ...
3
votes
1answer
159 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 ...