Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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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
3answers
534 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
95 views

Is the number 6 considered evil in Judaism?

I have heard from some sources that the number six is/can be construed as an evil number in Judaism, and as such, it should be avoided. Is there truth to this? If so, what is the reasoning behind ...
15
votes
5answers
938 views

What does “to confuse the Satan” mean and why does it work?

There are several things we don't do in order "to confuse the Satan", like not blowing Shofar on Erev Rosh Hashana. How does it help? Does Satan not realize that Rosh Hashana didn't pass yet? He ...
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 ...
18
votes
1answer
651 views

Blessing the Children on Friday Night

I have noticed that many families (including my own) have the custom for the father to bless all the children on Friday night before kiddush. When and where did this custom originate, and by whom, ...
14
votes
1answer
361 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Nittle Nacht Meaning

What is Nittle Nacht? What does the name mean? What is its significance? Which Halachic authorities speak about it, and what do they say? What is the actual date for it? How is it effected this ...
7
votes
1answer
239 views

Explanation for couple not seeing each other before the wedding?

What is the source and reason for a couple not to see one another before the wedding?
7
votes
4answers
732 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
578 views

Kissing Tzitzis during Shema

There are those that kiss their Tzitzis during Shema at Shacharis as per Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 17:7 and the Kaf HaChaim 18 and there are those that do not. What is the source and reason for those that ...
23
votes
1answer
437 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
584 views

Is there any source for not sharing a baby's name before the bris?

For some reason, I have it ingrained in me that a baby boy's name before the bris is a secret and should not be shared. Are there any sources for this, or is it something made up?
16
votes
3answers
239 views

2 Sifrei Torah for close readings

This morning we read Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1 - 24:18) and the special reading of Parashat Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16). The custom everywhere I have ever seen is to remove two Sifrei Torah from ...
11
votes
2answers
348 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?
11
votes
4answers
260 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?]
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?
8
votes
1answer
454 views

Tachnun in Nissan

Why is there no Tachnun said in the month of Nissan?
8
votes
1answer
367 views

Why are challot traditionally braided?

What is the reason that challot are traditionally braided? When did this tradition begin?
7
votes
1answer
230 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?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the halachot of Chanukat Habayit?

What are the laws and customs appertaining to chanukat habayit? At what point, if at all, should you make a shehechiyanu; upon closing? Moving in? Should you make a chanukat habayit on a home that is ...
5
votes
2answers
166 views

Hyphenating the word Hashem

I've seen the word Hashem hyphenated ("Hash-m"). Is there any valid reason for this practice?
16
votes
1answer
227 views

Placing notes in the Kotel/Western Wall

Is there any source for the custom to place notes in to the Western Wall? A very prevalent practice in Israel. And even if there is no source, is it a good idea?
13
votes
4answers
512 views

Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed - why do we whisper it?

Why do we say Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed in Kriyas Shema in a whisper?
12
votes
5answers
1k 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?
9
votes
2answers
278 views

Purpose of announcing Molad

The custom is that the gabbai announces the time of the Molad during the course of "Bircas HaChodesh" on Shabbos Mevorchim. What is the purpose of this? The molad is anyhow not directly connected to ...
8
votes
2answers
324 views

Kiddush Levanah - Saying Aleichem Sholom with the other person?

As discussed here, while doing Kiddush Levanah, we say "Shalom Aleichem" to 3 other people, and they respond back with "Aleichem Shalom". I've seen some people saying "Aleichem Shalom" together with ...
7
votes
3answers
138 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?
7
votes
1answer
359 views

Customs surrounding fasting when a sefer torah falls to the floor?

Based on this question I would like to know what the earliest source for fasting when a sefer torah falls comes from? Is is true that if a person is in the room but turns away so as not to see it fall,...
7
votes
1answer
171 views

Wrapping up Tefilin to form dove's wings

Gemara Shabbos 49a mentions a story about Elisha Baal Kenafayim who was saved by his Tefilin turning into dove's wings. Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 28:4 says the Minhag is to wrap the Tefilin like wings....
6
votes
2answers
237 views

Is there a custom not to eat roasted chicken at the Seder?

Does the custom to refrain from eating roasted meat at the Seder extend to chicken, turkey, and any other fowl one might serve roasted?
6
votes
2answers
565 views

What is the source for the Kallah's circling the Chasan 7 times?

What is the source for a Kallah (bride) to circle her Chasan (bridegroom) seven times at their wedding?
6
votes
2answers
144 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, ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

Hardboiled eggs and salt water at the Seder

I've participated in only 3 different families' Passover Seders, so my experience is limited in terms of different families' traditions. How widespread is the custom of eating a hardboiled egg in ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Wearing a gartel

Where did the minhag of wearing a gartel come from?
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?
6
votes
2answers
117 views

Haircuts on Friday when the 47th of the omer falls on Sunday

The Rema, commenting on the mourning of the first 33 days of the omer, allows haircuts on Friday, lichvod shabbos, when the 33rd falls on Sunday. Does the same reasoning apply when the 47th falls on ...
6
votes
3answers
406 views

Is a convert free to choose his own minhagim?

Back when Jews lived in the same communities for generations, they were obligated to follow the minhagim (customs) of their community. The classic example is that East European Jews held that one ...
5
votes
1answer
199 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 (...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

Why do we say “Boruch Shem…” loudly on Yom Kippur?

As discussed in this question, there are two reasons generally given why we say "Boruch Shem K'Vod..." quietly when saying Shema: The Talmud (Pesachim 56a) says that Yaakov Avinu said it in response ...
5
votes
3answers
489 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Matzah meal before פסח

On the subject of not eating Matzah before פסח, may one eat products containing Matzah meal in that time?
4
votes
1answer
297 views

Where does it say that one must wear two layers on their head(one of the reasons for the black hat)?

I know that a reason for wearing a black hat is because one must wear two layers covering their head (Mishna Brurah 91:5) but am wondering if that Din is based in Kabbalah?
4
votes
2answers
113 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
492 views

Paying a Shadchan

The Minhag in Klal Yisroel is to pay a Shadchan for introducing husband and wife. #1 - What is considered the norm to pay a Shadchan? #2 - Suppose a Shidduch breaks. Does the Shadchan have to return ...
4
votes
1answer
189 views

Source of Dzikov customs

Does anyone know of a book of minhagim (practices) or a sidur (prayer book) of the chasidim of Dzikov (דזיקוב, sometimes דז׳יקוב)? (Or anything that would show their minhagim.) Hebrewbooks.org ...
3
votes
1answer
251 views

Tachanun on Pesach Sheni - sources for the diffferent customs

Some say Tachanun on Pesach Sheni (14 Iyar); some do not; some do not say Tachanun on 14 & 15 Iyar. What are the sources for these customs? See related Why do we do anything for Pesach Sheini?
3
votes
3answers
365 views

Kissing the hand to catch a cold?

There is a popular custom in Israel to shake a person's hand and then kiss your own. In every single Sephardic and Mizrachi synagogue I've ever been to in the country this is the standard way of ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
229 views

Singing Lecha Dodi before Shabbos

In every community I have been in there is a custom to sing Lecha Dodi, sometimes along with yedid nefesh or shir hashirim, during kabbalat shabbat. Are there any communities which do not sing lecha ...