Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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7
votes
4answers
599 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
111 views

Earliest Sources for Custom of Not Shaving from 17th of Tammuz

What are the earliest sources for the custom of not shaving from the 17th of Tammuz? The Shulchan Aruch (OC 551:3) only mentions this only in the week of the 9th of Av. שָׁבוּעַ שֶׁחָל בּוֹ ...
6
votes
1answer
214 views

Where does the custom to spill off from a drink come from?

I had a Lubavitcher classmate in high school who used to spill off from his cup whenever he would drink anything. He claimed it was a minhag. What is the reason/source for this practice?
4
votes
1answer
58 views

Where should the stone left on a grave come from?

I will be traveling for an unveiling soon and intend to leave a stone at the grave. Since I will be traveling I have to ability to bring the stone from where I live or to find a stone near the ...
8
votes
2answers
249 views

Direction of Tefillin Winding

Why do some people have the custom to wind the Tefillin-Shel-Yad towards themselves, while others wind it away from themselves? What is the reason behind these two customs, and which sects of Judaism ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

ב (bet) mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

What are the correct ways to pronounce the ב (bet)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the time of the giving of the Torah ...
6
votes
2answers
296 views

How can all the great rabbis' practices be accepted by Hashem? [duplicate]

This may seem like a child's question, but it's one I never thought to ask as a child, so I never learned the answer. Rabbinic traditions — even within continuous geographical lineages amongst ...
1
vote
0answers
68 views

Unmarried man teacher of children

I see from The Shulchan Aruch Even Ezer 22.20 and from Shulchan Aruch Harav, Hilchois Talmud Torah, perek 1 halocho 13 that single man should not be a teacher of children (under 13) becouse of the ...
8
votes
1answer
421 views

Changing minhag about tallit gadol

I first became involved with a non-orthodox congregation where it was customary for everyone over Bar Mitzvah age to wear a tallit gadol. However, I understand that it is an Ashkenazi minhag not to ...
5
votes
2answers
79 views

Standing/Sitting on Motzei Shabbat for Vihi Noam and Uva LeTzion

I have noticed that some people are particular to stand on Motzei Shabbat for Vihi Noam and Uva LeTzion, whereas others are particular to sit. Is this really something significant? Whose opinion is ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

Is one permitted to change his minhagim? ashkenaz to sefardi

If a person grew up sefardi and wanted to change his minhagim to ashkenaz (including pronunciations) is it permitted to do so?
3
votes
3answers
59 views

For someone wearing tzitzis outside his clothes, should he have the strings and / or the knots visible?

Assuming one wears his Tzitzis out , is there a preference to leaving only the strings out but the knots in, or is it better to leave out the knots as well? I teach in a Yeshiva for Baalei Teshuva ...
2
votes
4answers
300 views

Why aren't we Mahmir (stringent) with just Mikvah when ruling leniently on a technicality in Niddah cases?

I know from experience and some introductory study of the laws of Niddah that rabbis typically try to find leniencies wherever possible in issues of family purity. In many instances, a Posek will rely ...
5
votes
5answers
929 views

Chickpeas (Arbes) at a Shalom Zachor

Why do we serve Arbes - chickpeas at a Shalom Zachor?
30
votes
9answers
3k views
5
votes
3answers
655 views

Are (opaque) stockings under a skirt considered enough to cover ervah?

This is a question about skirt lengths. From this answer: The halacha is that "tefach b'isha ervah" - a tefach (about 3.5 inches) uncovered on certain parts of a woman's body is ervah - ...
2
votes
1answer
446 views

Custom of standing when a tzaddik passes by

I am asking this question in light of a situation I witnessed recently: When the senior rabbi of our shul--a very righteous man who was keeping his wife's yahrzeit that night--walked past the ...
3
votes
2answers
54 views

What is the source of the expression מנהג ישראל תורה?

The earliest source I found is the Ramban who says in Pesachim 7b: ועוד נ"ל שסדר ברכות הללו של שחרית ברכות שבח הן על נוהג העולם ואפי' לא שמע שכוי מברך עליו וכן בכולן, וכן נהגו ומנהג ישראל תורה ...
2
votes
0answers
21 views

Origin for different styles for congregational singing in El Adon and Lecha Dodi [duplicate]

In most Nusach Ashkenaz shuls that I have attended, the congregation and chazzan sing Lecha Dodi and Kel Adon together. In most Hassidic minyanim (they are Nusach Sefard. I say "Hassidic" since the ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Nose rings allowed or not allowed?

The Torah states that Eliezer gave Rivka a golden nose ring...Based on the Torah it is allowed. What I want to know is why people do not accept this and discourage it.
8
votes
6answers
972 views

What is the source not to eat the endpiece of the challah?

At the shabbos meal, why do some people (such as Yodeyan NBZ) not eat the end piece of the challah? Some people don't even just start at the middle, they avoid the end-piece altogether.
0
votes
3answers
73 views

What dress is expected at a post-service event in a synagogue? [closed]

A non-Jew is invited to a birthday party to be held in the synagogue after services. What level of dress is expected? Would one be expected to dress as for Shabbat services, or would a more casual ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

According to Chazal, does Beged Kefet matter?

The Hebrew alphabet has 22 written characters (plus 5 specialized characters for the ends of words - ם, ן, ץ ,ף, ך) generally assumed to be each originally associated with distinct sounds. The ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

ד mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

The gemara (Brachoth 13b) records that one is supposed to draw out the ד of "אחד" in the first verse of the Shema: .תניא: סומכוס אומר: כל המאריך באחד מאריכין לו ימיו ושנותיו אמר רב אחא בר ...
0
votes
1answer
136 views

Do Sephardim observe any of the pre-Tisha B'av customs when the observance of Tish'a B'Av is postponed? [duplicate]

Wikipedia states: The last nine days of the three weeks—which are also the first nine days of the month of Av, culminating in the Tisha B'Av fast—constitute therefore a period of intensified ...
1
vote
0answers
173 views

Can a convert choose the Teimani (Yemenite) minhagim?

From what I know, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Teshuva Shu"T Yachaveh Das Chelek 5 Siman 33) writes that someone who converts in Eretz Yisrael must take on the Minhagim of the Sephardim. However, according to ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Wrapping tefillin to create letters

When we wrap, there seems to be a prevalent custom to incorporate the shapes Dalet, Yod and Shin in the strap on the hand/arm (depending on one's custom (discussed in Sefer Ta'amei Haminhagim page 13 ...
11
votes
5answers
940 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
0answers
33 views

May one make tahara (washing the dead) on a person who doesnt keep mitsvot

One makes tahara on a dead man or woman which includes washing him and for some being 'dipped' in a mikva. May one do this on someone who is considered a 'rosho' like for not keeping the torah or ...
3
votes
4answers
341 views

Are women allowed to drive?

Prompted by this article is there any basis for not allowing woman to drive? Can this practice even be termed a 'minhag'? If so, what is the motivation behind this 'tradition'? As quoted from the ...
5
votes
1answer
195 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?
0
votes
1answer
113 views

Minhag saying Shema after Aleinu

Shalom! I heard some Biala chassidim saying the posuk of Shema Israel after completing the prayer of Aleinu Leshabeyach. Where does that tradition come from?
2
votes
0answers
69 views

ג (gimel) mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

From a halachik perspective, what are the correct ways to pronounce the ג (gimel)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the ...
9
votes
2answers
123 views

Are there any minhag and customs specific to Czech Jews and have they been documented?

I'm a baal teshuva with Czech Jewish ancestry. I have an interest in the minhag of my ancestors as well as in common cultural practices, and perhaps pass them on where I can. Have they been documented ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

א mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

What is the correct way to pronounce the א (aleph)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the time of the giving of the Torah ...
5
votes
3answers
239 views

What to do if the minhag of my ancestors changed

Does anyone know what to do if the minhag of one's ancestors was changed within such a timeframe that the old minhagim should still be remembered? My great-grandfather "converted" from a Galizianer ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

Lo sisgodedu by varying practices of heiche kedusha?

In a minyan (quorum) that is doing heiche kedushe with the (inevitable?) scenario that some mispallelim (ones praying) are following the Rama and waiting till after the chazzan's kedusha to begin ...
5
votes
3answers
317 views

Standing for whole of Lecha Dodi

Certain families in my shul have the minhag to stand for the entire Lecha Dodi. I asked them why, but they do not know the source of the minhag. Does anyone know what the source of this minhag is?
1
vote
2answers
63 views

Why was a wedding in Jerusalem conducted differently to in the UK?

At a recent wedding in Jerusalem, I noticed the following differences from the practice I have got used to in the UK. (I realise this question could be asked to justify UK custom in the face of the ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Is it wrong to ask for financial help after a personal loss?

Well now that I see this is a good site, with no rude people. I shall ask my question. I lost quite a lot of important things in an apartment fire (no insurance) so .. I set up a gofundme thing (now ...
2
votes
1answer
33 views

What is Ruaḥ HaShem?

When recalling someone who has passed (in a shi'ur or Devar Torah), I have heard many say "Ruaḥ HaShem teniḥenu/ah beGan 'Eden" (רוח ה' תניחנו/ה בגן עדן). 1) What is "Ruaḥ HaShem" (literally, the ...
4
votes
5answers
281 views

Marovis on Yom Tov

Does anyone know of shuls that still say Marovis (piyutim) on Yom Tov nights? I'm particularly interested in any place in Teaneck. Many seem to think that it's a yekki minhag but it's pretty clear ...
3
votes
3answers
304 views

Kissing a Sefer Torah as it passes

Some people in shul mark it as a sign of respect, as the Torah makes its way to/from the Aron Kodesh, to kiss it, and rush to get as close as possible. Others, given the cold season, think that this ...
2
votes
2answers
85 views

Who observes Yom Kippur Katan, and how?

Which groups of Jews observe the monthly holiday known as "Yom Kippur Katan," in which one dedicates the day before Rosh Chodesh to repentance, often including fasting and selichot? In what ways do ...
6
votes
2answers
165 views

Which takes precedence - dina d'malchuta or halacha? What about minhag yisrael?

A more practical ramification of Is a ban on government workers wearing religious symbols a gezeirat hamalchut for which one would be obligated to give up his life? If the law of the land (dina ...
8
votes
2answers
100 views

Lifting Torah during Bracha When Called for an Aliyah

I have noticed that while making the Bracha for an aliyah, many people lift the Torah when Hashem's name is recited. Is there a source for this?
16
votes
4answers
674 views

Shape of the Luchot

According to the Talmud in Bava Batra 14a, the Luchot HabBerit were square. Where did the common "tablet" shape come from, with rectangles and a rounded top? Besides in pictures, I see it in ...
2
votes
2answers
108 views

Staying up all night and suffering on Yom Tov

The Maharal in his commentary on the Haggada (Gevurot Hashem) explains the significance that the Tannaim were relating the story of the Exodus until they were informed by a student that it was time ...
7
votes
5answers
298 views

Why do we say Vhu Rachum before Maariv?

Before Maariv, we say the pasuk "Vhu rachum yichaper avon..." (Psalms 78:38). Why?
1
vote
1answer
100 views

Ashkenazi Haftarah Custom

On Wikipedia, there is a list of haftarot. For Ashkenazim, the list gives four customs: Ashkenazi, Polish, Frankfurt, and Chabad. Considering that Polish and Frankfurt sum up the major non-chassidic ...