Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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8
votes
2answers
889 views

How do you know when to make Chacham Harazim if you can't count Jews?

As I understand it, "Chacham harazim" is the bracha we make upon seeing an assembly of more than 600,000 Jews. I'm not clear on the exact detail of this law/tradition, but I also know we are not ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

What does it mean to have geknipt payos?

What does it mean to have geknipt payos? Is this a specific length or style? Who would have the minhag of keeping their payos as whatever geknipt means?
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Minhag Tradition of Ashkenaz

Looking for a book that discusses minhag Ashkenaz in detail with sources. I am specifically interested in minhagim that were practiced in the Oberland of Europe.
4
votes
2answers
86 views

Custom for a mourner to be chosen to read the haftora every week

The Chabad rabbi near me has the custom of taking (for himself) both the kaddish recitation after the Torah reading (when applicable) and the reading of the haftorah on Shabbat — specifically ...
3
votes
1answer
64 views

Why don't the kohanim chant in Israel?

One of the things i happen to miss from chag in America is the chanting during Bircat Kohanim. Before the last word of each pasuk, they chant for a while. (Some people use this time to say a prayer ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

Pointing the pinky at v'zos hatorah [duplicate]

By v'zos hatorah (i.e hagbah) I have seen people point their pinky at the sefer torah. Is this a minhag or did someone just make it up? Where did this minhag come from? Does the Shulchan Aruch, ...
7
votes
1answer
83 views

Whose minhag does a Kalla follow in neiros shabbos and mikvah?

I was told by my mother-in-law that my wife should follow all of my minhagim except for shabbat candle lighting and mikveh, for which she will follow her mother's. Is there any halachic authority who ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

Inserting a paper with one's request in between the stones of the western wall [duplicate]

I once heard a rabbi say that there is an ancient custom (i.e. minhag) to insert a paper with ones bakashos (requests) in between the stones of the western wall. Where is the source of this minhag? ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

use the bathroom as a changing room

from shulchan aruch orach chaim 2 mishna brura there and shulchan aruch orach chaim 239.2 (davka feldheim translation 2: THE LAW REGARDING PUTTING ON CLOTHES mishna berura 1. "...For this reason, ...
1
vote
2answers
95 views

Is a Jew allowed to be annoyed about a minhag?

I heard that Minhag Yisroel is Torah, and that some Jews get annoyed about the minhag of Kitniyot. Should they try to stay away from that feeling? I understand the Rambam in hilchot daiot that a Jew ...
11
votes
5answers
700 views

Why do some people wrap their Tefilin around their arms 8 times?

I have seen people who wrap the Tefilin 7 times around their arm and some that wrap it 8 times around their arm. Why do the people who wrap it 8 times do so?
1
vote
8answers
552 views

Lubavitch and Daf Yomi

I know that most lubavitchers won't learn Daf Yomi. Is there any Sicha (please bring sources) which says if one should or shouldn't learn it?
4
votes
1answer
58 views

Tefillin Gassot

According to this video, gassot have only been around for about a century. I know for a fact that when my father became bar mitzvah, his grandfather got him tefillin dakkot (his father got new ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

why is the order of kiddush different at night from the day?

multiple parts to this question... At night time why do we mention the wine before the day? It would seem most appropriate that after making the bracha on the wine there should be no interruption ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

What clothes do the members of Neturei Karta wear? Why?

I noticed the clothes of the members of Neturei Karta were different than other haredi groups. The shoes are different, but also socks, pants, shirt and vest. I also noticed they wear two kinds of ...
7
votes
3answers
78 views

What is the source for untying things before going under the chuppah?

At a wedding recently I saw that the grooms shoes were untied, someone explained to me that there is a custom to make sure there are no knots under the chuppah. Where does this come from?
2
votes
0answers
60 views

Blessings on Birthdays

There is apparently a practice among contemporary Jews of giving out blessings on one's birthday. Is there any source for this in the Jewish tradition?
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Why did Ashkenazi Jews not adopt the custom of reading the Book of Job in synagogue on Tisha B'Av, as Sephardim do?

I understand that Sephardim have the custom of reading the Book of Job on Tisha B'Av. Is there any historic discussion among Ashkenazi rabbis regarding why the practice was not adopted by them?
3
votes
2answers
186 views

What is the significance of the shtreimel?

What is the esoteric or hashkafic significance of the shtreimel? Some things I have seen but without details or sources are that it is like a crown, that the number of pelts involved have numerical ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Can someone follow the opposite minhag on the bracha for matza during the year?

The Ashkenazic custom is to wash and say hamotzi on matza all year round. The Sephardi custom is to make mezonot when it's not Pesach. Is someone allowed to follow the opposite minhag? I have heard ...
4
votes
2answers
62 views

Can a charity employ a collector on commission without informing donors?

This question is related. A charitable organisation wishes to employ a collector on commission. Does the organisation have a duty to inform potential donors that (a) the collector is on ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Why the custom at the end of Tashlich to shake off Tzitzis?

In the Siddur Nussach Ari it says by the end of Tashlich to shake the ends of your Tzitzis, I heard that this symbolizes the tossing of a persons sins in the depth of the water (as in the verse " ...
5
votes
1answer
153 views

Wearing a gartel and a belt?

For those who hold by wearing a gartel for davening (for separating the upper and lower body), is it necessary when already wearing a belt?
6
votes
1answer
247 views

Is there a custom to color eggs on Lag Baomer?

I heard from an old Lithuanian/Polish Jew (frum from Lithuania/Poland). He says that he had a custom to eat colored eggs in his shtetl, and everyone did it. Is this custom documented anywhere, and ...
4
votes
2answers
109 views

Why not say tachanun until 2 Cheshvan?

It's recorded in most siddurim I've used that some people have the custom to skip tachanun on Isru Chag (the day after Sukkos), and start again the day after, while others don't resume saying it until ...
10
votes
1answer
73 views

Trying to understand Kol Hanearim

Where does the custom of Kol Hanearim, were all children stand near the person getting an aliah and are covered with a tallis-canopy, come from? What, if anything, is it a segulah for? Why is it done ...
10
votes
1answer
143 views

We're not supposed to point at stars?

I'm an Israeli Jew living in Israel. I often give "sky tours" where I show children and adults different stars and a view through a powerful binocular at objects of interest. Recently a young boy ...
11
votes
5answers
463 views

Should I be shuckling?

I was told that shuckeling (sp?) is an indication of the love-fear relationship that we have with God. You move forward showing that you want to be close to God and then backward out of fear of his ...
12
votes
9answers
559 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." ...
6
votes
1answer
158 views

reason for black lines on wool talis katan

What is the reason why wool talis katanim have black lines on them? Why don't talis katanim of other materials have them also?
5
votes
1answer
41 views

Proper Hagba Procedure: Text Facing Table?

I recently was asked to be a magbiah. Before I came to the bimah, the chazzan turned the scroll so that the text was facing down (toward the table). So, when I grasped the atzey chaim and lifted it, ...
3
votes
1answer
182 views

Saying Misod and Reshut (introduction) for piyutim, then skipping them

I have seen that many yeshivos (and recently, even some shuls) often say just Misod and the Reshus on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and then skip the actual piyutim they are meant to introduce! This ...
2
votes
1answer
28 views

Is there any halachic basis for beating the aravot on dirt?

This Hoshana Rabba, the shul made everyone schlep outside to beat the aravot on open ground instead of the floor. Is there a reason for doing this other than keeping the floor clean?
5
votes
2answers
482 views

Drinking Water after Eating Fish

Is anyone familiar with the practice of not drinking water after eating fish? I know that something has to be used to clean your mouth before eating meat, but somehow I got the idea in my head that ...
5
votes
2answers
177 views

Should women kiss the Torah with their hand or with a prayer book?

When the Torah comes around in shul, is it preferable for women to touch it with their hand (and then kiss their hand) or with their prayer book (and then kiss their prayer book)? Presumably some ...
11
votes
3answers
435 views

How does laughing confuse the Satan?

Sefardim have a practice (custom?) to laugh during habdalah. When I asked the reason for this practice I was told that it was "to confound the satan". I assume it has something to do with ...
2
votes
0answers
42 views

Minhagim for removing tefilin on chol hamoed

I daven in a minyan with a significant number of people who don tefilin on chol hamoed. The way I have always thought the minhag was practiced was that the tefilin are removed before halel; however, ...
5
votes
2answers
60 views

Customs for waving arba minim three times in each direction

I get why we shake the arba minim in all directions, but why do some have the custom of shaking them three times in each direction?
5
votes
2answers
74 views

What are the major regions relevant to Ashkenazi minhagim?

Motivating this question are the instructions in the ArtScroll Siddur for the two versions of kel erekh apayim, said on weekdays before taking out the sefer torah: one is identified as “נוסח אשכנז, ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Dating through the Rabbis?

Is there a custom in which a man approaches his Rav to act as a liaison between himself and a lady he is interested in in order to start the dating/courting process? Someone recently recounted to me ...
6
votes
3answers
268 views

Not sitting in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres

Shouldn't the obligation to sit in the Sukkah also fall into the category of Sefeika D'yoma? If so why do some not eat in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres?
1
vote
0answers
49 views

In what order should someone face when shaking the lulav? [duplicate]

When shaking the lulav and etrog in 6 directions, is there a proper order? My ArtScroll (USA) siddur says to shake FRBLUD - forwards, right, backwards, left, up, down. In my shul, many people do ...
6
votes
1answer
58 views

Selichot origins

In what year (CE) did saying selichot in Elul begin? In what year were they made a standard addition to prayer books? Looking for an academic answer, not the yeshivahish one. And did Sephardim start ...
10
votes
2answers
425 views

How does Hagbah work on a Sephardic Torah case?

How does one do Hagbah on a Torah in a Sephardic Torah case, such as one of these silver cases (picture courtesy of Hadad Brothers) : See also the Ashkenazi version of this question.
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Do bangles have a Jewish origin?

Do the bangle bracelets often worn by as a custom of Jewish Syrian girls and women have any Jewish source?
10
votes
3answers
149 views

What side does someone with Situs inversus bang

For tachanun, al cheit, twice in selach lanu etc, we bang on our heart. My question is: if someone has Situs inversus, a condition where the heart is on the right side of the body instead of the left, ...
7
votes
6answers
395 views

Customary foods for the erev Yom Kippur meal(s)

Are there any customary foods to eat* at the meal(s) eaten on erev Yom Kippur? If so, what are they? *other than meat, which is mentioned in the answer to the linked question.
1
vote
2answers
79 views

Sephardim and Two Sifrei Torah

On a day when we take out 2 Sifrei Torah do the Sephardim put both on the bima and open one and read from it leaving the other closed? Or do they put only one on the bima and leave the other in a ...
3
votes
2answers
168 views

Can one say “Hazak u'Baruch” to both men and women? If not, is there a female equivalent?

When returning from an Aliyah la'Torah, I am commonly met with "Hazak u'Baruch". I have encountered this saying in other situations when someone does something praiseworthy. Can one say "Hazak ...