Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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4
votes
1answer
118 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

Tucking in Tekheles

I've heard it said by some chaverim of mine, that if one is to wear tekheles on their tzizits, they should tuck it in. They say many poskim rule this way, and that the gemara brings down something ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

Who was the serpent? [duplicate]

I have heard that the Serpent in the garden was satans attempt to mimic G-d's creation of man, that the serpent was satins's version of man. Is there any evidence for this opinion
5
votes
4answers
372 views

What siddur do Satmerer Chasidim use?

Many Chasidic groups have a particular siddur that is used by most in that group. Does Satmer have such a siddur?
5
votes
3answers
453 views

Status of feet while making a bracha or davening

In todays day and age where we no longer have homes with dirt floors: do you still need to cover your feet when making a bracha or davening? If so are socks enough? does it depend on the custom of ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

Are Jews halachically allowed to go up toTemple Mount? [duplicate]

BS"D May Jews go up to the Temple Mount? I"ve read some Rabbanim for and against. I just found this source by Rav Dov Lior for allowing? Does anyone have a source for those against? ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is it customary for Jews to grow beards?

What is the reason for growing one's beard? Many rabbis have beards. Why?
11
votes
2answers
288 views

3 year olds lighting a shabbat candle

When my eldest turned three her male cousin also turned three. Many of her friends and her cousin were getting Tzitzit. She asked for her own. We explained that boys wear TzitTzit and girls light ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

What should we eat on Tu B'av?

I'm hosting an event on Tu B'av and I need to decide on the menu. Are there any foods that are particularly appropriate for the holiday?
4
votes
3answers
140 views

Giving Blessings at a Wedding

I have noticed a custom among wedding-goers to receive blessings from the bride and the groom at weddings, usually when they come over to the new couple's table for well-wishing during the meal. Why ...
6
votes
1answer
87 views

Sleeping at the Kotel on Tisha B'av

This Tisha B'av morning I was at the Kotel for shachrit, and I noticed a whole bunch of people sleeping there. I'm not talking about people who nodded off during slichot due to low blood sugar, I'm ...
9
votes
1answer
358 views

Where does the custom of a second “bar mitzvah” at 83 come from?

I have noticed more 83 year old men celebrating their second bar mitzvahs, and cannot find any source for this. Is it a new custom? Does it have any basis in pre-20th century practice?
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Source and reason of the Minhag to end Cohen aliyah of parshat Devarim 1 pasuk early

In some shuls that I have attended, they end the Cohen aliyah of Shabbat parshat Devarim one pasuk before the one where "Sheni" is marked (i.e. - they end it before pasuk 11 instead of 12). I'm not ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Is saying “Hareini mekabel alai mitzvat asei shel Ve-ahavta…” before Shema a Lubavitch tradition?

When I started donning the tefillin some years ago, I had a pamphlet given to me by a Lubavitcher and I used it at times for the Shema. However, there's an addition before the Shema in the pamphlet ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

Golden kaftan + high beaver hat?

Normally, those wearing a golden kaftan (with a shtreimel) for shabbes and simchos, will wear a flat beaver hat on weekdays. Are there any of those who wear a high beaver hat instead?
2
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

Is there a source for giving charity in round numbers plus one?

This question asks about the (mostly?) Ashkenazic practice of giving charity in multiples of 18. Another custom I have observed is to give charity in round numbers + 1 e.g. $51, $101, $201 etc. This ...
6
votes
3answers
188 views

Custom of Rov speaking before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos

I've been in a number of shuls where the Rov of the shul will get up before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos and say some sort of "drasha". Sometimes it was connected to the parsha or inyunei d'yoma (i.e. ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Why do Lubavitchers put on tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam from bar mitzva?

Based on this question, Shulchan Aruch (O"C 34:2-3) says that only people who are noted for their piety should put on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin. Why do Lubavitcher chasidim (and descendants of certain ...
2
votes
2answers
113 views

Why do we still blow shofar during mussaf?

The gemarah (rosh hashana 32b) asks why we wait until mussaf to blow the shofar and answers that the ruling enemies of the Jews mistook the shofar sound for a rallying war cry and forbade it. They ...
1
vote
2answers
57 views

When Sofrim write Sifrei Torah, do they think of the Ba'alei Kri'ah (readers)?

I have read from many different Sifrei Torah as a Ba'al Kri'ah during the past approx. 30 years. Each Torah is unique, as B"H, it should be. Every sofer has a slightly different writing style, even ...
0
votes
1answer
247 views

Who is this (Haredi) guy?

Who is this guy? This is a still taken from the beginning of a documentary on Haredi jews in Jerusalem: The Anti-zionist Jews of Jerusalem I am curious to learn who this guy is, why he is dressed ...
3
votes
0answers
28 views

Reason for various positioning of “An'im Zemirot”

I am aware of 3 different customs of when to say An'im Zemirot on Shabbat: Beginning of Shacharit, Between Bircot Hashachar and Psukei D'Zimrah After Chazarat Hashat"z of Shacaharit End of Musaph ...
3
votes
2answers
194 views

Is there a source for the Kallah Bride wearing white in Torah?

BS"D Is there a Torah source for the Kallah Bride to wear only white? What about a second marriage? Does the white indicate that the bride and groom make the day before marriage a special attempt to ...
7
votes
1answer
139 views

Is there anyone today who only wears Rabenu Tam t'philin?

Is there anyone in our times who ONLY wear t'philin made according to the shitta of Rabenu Tam - to the exclusion of "Rashi" t'philin?
9
votes
2answers
247 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?
4
votes
3answers
218 views

why don't Jews meditate?

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan has 3 (in my opinion excellent) books on the history, importance, and benefit of Jewish meditation. Yet meditation does not seem to be an integral component for much (though, ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Looking for more information on the Malida Ceremony

What are the origins of the Indian-Jewish Malida ceremony? How is it performed? Have this or any other Indian-Jewish customs been discussed by contemporary poskim?
10
votes
2answers
379 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.
5
votes
2answers
328 views

Bracha on an indirect view of lightning

The general practice is to make a bracha on the sky illuminating from lightning without actually seeing the bolt. Does anyone know a source for this? Is this the most appropriate practice? Also, ...
-8
votes
1answer
55 views

Minhag of Kos Pagum [duplicate]

Another Minhag that came from nowhere is the custom of filling a wine cup to overflowing. Some do it because of Kos Pagum, however it seems that Kos Pagum applies to a cup which is not filled near ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

Reason behind pinky during hagba

Why do people lift their pinkies during Hagba?
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Pointing the pinky at the torah

By Hagbahos HaTorah people point at the Torah with the pinky of their right hand. I have seen others point with the pinky of both hands. Someone told me this is brought down in the Me’am Lo’ez. Where ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

What is the point of Hataras Nedarim every year?

The second paragraph of Hataras Nedarim has the person being mattired saying that "I am making a modaah that any oaths being made in the future are considered to be as if 'bli neder'". Is this ...
-1
votes
1answer
32 views

Oleh and chazak chazak

I've heard that, when receiving the last aliyah in a particular sefer, the oleh (one who received the aliyah) should not say “chazak, chazak…” because it is a berachah given to him by the congregation ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Menustration / Karet [duplicate]

Ive been reading the parshiot of Nidda in the Chumash(Leviticus 15:19-30 18:19 20:18), and it seems that the punishment of Karet (20:18) is during menustration. I know that the sages hold that until ...
1
vote
0answers
81 views

Why do Hassidim wear hats that simulate what Non-Jewish czars and kings wore?

I heard from a few people that some of the hats that Hassidim wear such as shtreimelach and spodeks mimic the hat styles worn by previous kings and czars. Perhaps, I heard incorrectly, so feel free to ...
5
votes
2answers
612 views

What's the source for naming children after Alexander the Great?

I know many Jews whose actual bris-given name is Alexander, and this has been a popular name even among great tzaddikim of the past (such as R. Alexander Ziskind). I've heard a legend (mentioned on ...
5
votes
2answers
81 views

Covering eyes for Shema

What is the requirement of covering our eyes for Shema? For example, do your eyes need to be closed? Must one cover with their hand? Does it matter which hand is used?
20
votes
4answers
292 views

Glasses and Shema

The Shulhan Aruch records the custom of placing one's hand over his eyes in Shema in order to increase concentration. What about someone who wears glasses? Must he move them or remove them?
5
votes
3answers
116 views

Prohibition to wear black for mourning?

I've heard a rumor floating around to the effect that Jews should not wear all black as an expression of mourning. Is there anything to that? If so, is there anything inherently wrong with it, is it a ...
7
votes
2answers
766 views

Covering eyes when saying Shema Yisrael

When saying Kriyas Shema many have the custom of covering their eyes when saying Shema Yisrael. What is the reason this is done?
2
votes
0answers
27 views

Why do we cover our eyes during Shema? [duplicate]

There is a very widespread custom to cover one's eyes with one's hand during the first pasuk of Keriyas Shema. Where/when did this custom originate, and what is the reason for it?
3
votes
2answers
89 views

דע לפני מי אתה עומד on the ark

In some shuls it says on the ark, "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omeid." Is there any source from which that comes?
4
votes
0answers
88 views

Height of havdalah candle = height of spouse?

I have seen havdalah ceremonies where a unmarried person is charged with holding the havdalah candle and is told to hold it at the height that s/he would want their spouse to be. What is the source ...
4
votes
2answers
44 views

Saying kadesh and vehaya ki yaviyacha when donning on the tefllin

In most siddurim right after the berachot of the tefillin you will find the two parshiot "Kadesh" and "Vehaya ki yeviacha," which are also contained in the tefillin. Is there an obligation to say ...
5
votes
7answers
264 views

Sources for/about breaking a plate at a wedding

Are you aware of any literature that either provides a source for or discusses the significance of the two mothers breaking a plate at the "Tisch" at a wedding? It's not hard to find mentions of this ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

Who says the Mourner's Kaddish for a synagogue member who had no family?

If a synagogue member dies with no living family members remaining, who says the Mourner's Kaddish for them? Can anyone volunteer to say Kaddish for them?
7
votes
1answer
509 views

How Many Stones to Place on a Grave?

When visiting a gravesite, my Jewish relatives always place small stones on the gravestone as a showing of respect for the dead. They typically place one stone on the gravestone, but I find myself ...
4
votes
2answers
130 views

Reasoning for doing/not doing mourning customs in second half of the omer

In my observation, most people observe certain mourning customs between the beginning of sefirat ha'omer and lag b'omer (such as refraining from shaving, listening to live music, etc.). Some people ...