Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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8
votes
9answers
371 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
1k 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?
2
votes
2answers
548 views

Can a person start swimming in the three weeks?

Someone told me that if a person did not swim prior to the three weeks, he may not start swimming during the three weeks? Is there a source for this? (sources)
14
votes
1answer
417 views

Time-frame for naming a newborn girl

I have heard many differing Minhagim as to the time-frame for naming a newborn girl. There are those that name at the first possible opportunity and some that wait till the second Shabbos. Many others ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do we give tzedakah money to someone to pass along in Israel?

Reuven is planning a trip to Israel. Shimon, knowing this, gives Reuven money for tzedakah with the expectation that Reuven will distribute it when he gets to Israel. Reuven and Shimon both ...
11
votes
1answer
240 views

Is all-night Shavu'ot learning as prevelant in the Southern Hemisphere?

In the Northern Hemisphere, Shavu'ot falls in the late Spring or early Summer. As a result, sunrise is relatively early, so learning "all night" and then praying the morning service at the earliest ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Wearing a gartel

Where did the minhag of wearing a gartel come from?
4
votes
2answers
784 views

Chabad Minhag for Shalosh Seudos

Is it true that the Chabad custom is specifically not to wash hands for (and eat) bread for shalosh seudos, and, if so, why?
4
votes
1answer
146 views

When we say “עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף” at which point do we kiss the tzitzis?

When we say Krias Shema, the widespread custom (referred to in OC 24 (4) Rema), is to kiss the tzitzis when we say the word, “צִיצִת”. When we come to the words, עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף (which Singer ...
5
votes
0answers
400 views

Why ad meah v'esrim?

Why do we bless people with "ad meah v'esrim"? Aren't we supposed to believe moshiach will come by then, and there will be eternal life (according to some opinions)? Thus by giving a blessing for a ...
6
votes
2answers
213 views

Pirkei Avos on shabbos during mincha?

It seems clear from the Rama, MB, and other sources (as well as from most printed siddurim) that Pirkei Avos is said in the synagogue at Shabbos Mincha as part of the tefillah in the summer months, ...
4
votes
1answer
170 views

Is there a spiritual meaning to wearing a Kippah?

Is there a spiritual meaning to wearing a Kippah? Why does G-d what our heads covered? Is it a sign that we are under a "covering" from G-d?
4
votes
2answers
408 views

What are the requirements of a men's mikva?

There are many requirements given for a women's mikvah (See Yoreh De'ah siman 201), yet I have not seen much information regarding a men's mikva (to tovel every day before prayers or for Erev Yom ...
12
votes
3answers
346 views

When/where did the practice of “recycling” names begin?

Perhaps this had never bothered anyone in the past, but for someone like myself who delves into genealogy, the fact that there are family naming patterns is a great boon. Of course, we can go only so ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

Sleeping on Stones

Where does the Minhag come from that we should sleep uncomfortably on Tisha B'Av?
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
908 views

Why do we comfort a mourner with Hamakom Yenachem Eschem?

Why, when comforting a mourner at the completion of a Shiva visit, do we refer to G-d as Hamakom? We say Hamakom Yanachem Eschem - why not Hashem Yenachem or Elokim Yenachem?
6
votes
2answers
243 views

Saying korbonos

Do you have to say korbonos? If so, why is it not said with the shaliach tzibbur?
7
votes
1answer
273 views

Can you sing during the sheva brachos?

I have been to weddings where, during the recitation of the seventh bracha under the chuppah, the congregation sings "asher bara...". Sometimes it is along with the one reciting the bracha and other ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How should one dispose of cut finger nails? Is it dangerous for a pregnant woman to walk on them?

Is there an Inyan of pregnant women walking over cut nails ex: a nail salon? Also, can I just vacuum up the cut nails from the floor?
9
votes
1answer
224 views

Wearing no head-covering?

Under what circumstances is it permissible for a man to wear no head-covering? If one is in a place that is experiencing anti-semitism, for example, does one need to wear a hat if one feels ...
1
vote
0answers
58 views

Is one allowed to listen to music during Pesach? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Sefira Restrictions During Chol Hamoed Pesach One of the reasons given to pushing off the Aveilus period until after Rosh Chodesh Iyar is because one should avoid ...
7
votes
2answers
209 views

Standing during the Aseres HaDibros

There are people that always stand by Laining and people that always sit. Among those that sit there are those that stand at certain points, such as the Aseres HaDibros or the Shira, etc. Is it proper ...
7
votes
3answers
128 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?
3
votes
3answers
945 views

Changing a name for a sick person

Sometimes people add a name for a sick person. Can you just change it to an entirely different name? I know of a case where they kept the first name and changed the second name - originally the name ...
9
votes
2answers
464 views

Source for not eating Matzah prior to פסח?

Thanks to this question I am compelled to ask: What is the source for not eating Matzah prior to פסח? Is there a source for not eating it for 30 days prior?
2
votes
0answers
32 views

Walking during “l'dor va'dor” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Moving from one's spot after Kedusha During kedusha everyone stands still, however I have seen a small percentage of people who start to walk again during the stanza ...
18
votes
4answers
690 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
487 views

Hand movements when lighting shabbat candles

When women light shabbat candles I often see them making hand gestures. These look like two or perhaps three circles around in the air. What is the source for this practice? Is it a law or custom? Is ...
6
votes
2answers
265 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
165 views

What are some traditional Iraqi Minhagim?

I'm a Sefaradi Jew of Iraqi descent, but my dad is not religious. I have looked in books like "A Treasury of Sefaradic Laws and Customs", but they tend to not have Iraqi specific Minhagim. I would ...
-4
votes
2answers
348 views

Why do people say “God” in English and not “Gosh”?

When people speak Hebrew, they say Hashem instead of Y-HVH, because saying His name is impossible/forbidden. Additionally, when writing, some people write G-d instead of God. Why when speaking ...
5
votes
2answers
105 views

What is the source of the additions before תתקבל צלותהון, יהא שלמא, עושה שלום in Kaddish Tiskabel?

In Kaddish Tiskabel, there are parts to be said (see page 131) by the congregation just before the three phrases that begin: תתקבל צלותהון, יהא שלמא, עושה שלום. These do not appear in all siddurim ...
2
votes
1answer
414 views

What is the reason for V-neck Titzis?

When buying Tzitzis, I have seen that there are two types of garment: A "round" neck (the hole has a racetrack shape). A "V" neck (the hole for the neck has a diamond shape). What is the reason ...
1
vote
0answers
106 views

Should people not say Vidui before Tachanun?

Assuming that it is a hefseik and forbidden to interrupt between amidah and tachanun, should a person who regularly recites vidui change his custom and delay the recital of vidui until later on, after ...
8
votes
2answers
400 views

How historically accurate is Josephus?

How accurate is the writing of Josephus? Can we rely on any of his writings to establish authentic Jewish practices or in areas of halacha?
7
votes
1answer
567 views

Why do we cover the challot on Shabbos?

The answer I learned growing up was that "we don't want to embarrass the bread because we are first making kiddush" or some variation thereof. I later learned that is a zecher for the ma'n which fell ...
4
votes
2answers
587 views

No kaddish for a sister?

I have heard that some (e.g. Chabad?) have the practice not to say kaddish for one's deceased sister. Can anybody confirm this? What might be the reason for this? I had thought there is an ...
5
votes
1answer
176 views

Customs of the parents when the parents don't have past customs

I am of mixed Sephardic and Ashkenazic parentage. I view this as allowing me to behave Sephardically when it suits me (for instance, eating kitniyot for Pessach) or Ashkenacikally when it suits me ...
6
votes
1answer
210 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
589 views

When to say Hamapil

In the bedtime shema, some siddurim have the bracha of Hamapil printed immediately before the paragraph of shema, whereas others have it printed at the very end of the bedtime shema prayers. What is ...
3
votes
0answers
164 views

Following minhag of tzitzit in vs. out [closed]

When I became frum (around 2 years ago) I started wearing tzitzit hanging out. My grandfather just told me that he remembers that when he was a kid, he tucked his tzitzit in. He remembers his father ...
20
votes
2answers
279 views

Why the custom to switch around negative-sounding numbers, such as שד?

Often in sefarim we find that if the number of the siman spells out something negative, such as siman 304 which has a letter value of שד, we switch it around so it no longer reads as a "bad" word. ...
9
votes
2answers
351 views

bracha on tefillin while sitting

The shulchan aruch apparently writes (by hilchos tzitzis) that one should stand while reciting birchas hamitzvah. Tefillin are a mitzvah. So why is the Sfardic minhag to sit while putting them on and ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

Posuk (Breishis 24:1) said after the end of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

Artscroll Hebrew Siddurim - and 1 2 among others have at the end of Hallel to say the following Posuk. וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן בָּא בַּיָּמִים וַה' בֵּרַךְ אֶת-אַבְרָהָם בַּכֹּל Artscroll says it is a ...
8
votes
2answers
584 views

Minhag not to view moon through a window?

I have a vague memory of being told not to gaze at the moon through the glass of a window. I think it had something to do with kabbalah. I know it's permitted to say kiddush levanah by looking at the ...
3
votes
1answer
115 views

Does one light candles by the Bima when not an Avel?

When someone is a chazzan during his mourning period, the Lubavitch custom is to light five candles. Does a Chazzan who is not a mourner light any candles? I have seen people turn on an "electric ...
3
votes
2answers
141 views

When did the Ashkenazi custom to bake matza on erev Pesach afternoon start?

Historically, when did the Ashkenazi custom to bake matza on erev Pesach afternoon start? I am specifically interested in when this custom arose, rather than the reasons/opions pro/against.
11
votes
4answers
250 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?]
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Were Maftir Honors in 19th Century different from today?

I received a travel-diary for a man who was born in Huncovce (also known as Hunsdorf, once a famous yeshiva town, second only to Pressburg), Slovakia. He was born in 1851, presumably had some Torah ...