Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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5
votes
2answers
191 views

Lulav-shake count varying with shake history

T'hilas Hashem, the standard sidur (prayer book) of the Lubavitch chasidim, includes, passim, rulings of their first rabbi ("the Rav"), copied from his own sidur. The rules printed before halel ...
6
votes
1answer
120 views

Pounding the pavement WITH LEAVES?

Is hitting the Hoshanos on the ground a universal practice? And what is the source for this custom?
2
votes
1answer
220 views

Up all night Hoshanah Rabbah: why?

Why do we stay up all night on Hoshanah Rabbah, and what is its source?
6
votes
2answers
289 views

Bal Toisif on the Four Minim

It seems that there exists a Minhag (a practice of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe Zatzal) of adding extra Hadassim or Aravos (Hashanos) — I am uncertain which, maybe both — to the standard 4 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Trimming Toenails in sequence

As a follow up to the question "Rules for Cutting Nails" it occurred to me that while we spoke about the idea of not trimming one's nails in sequence (as well as discussing the relevancy of lenient ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between dati, chasidish, and charedi?

How would one explain the distinctions between datim, chasidim, and charedim, especially to an American Jew who didn't know much about the Israeli religious spectrum? In particular, are all chasidim ...
6
votes
1answer
560 views

Why does Lubavitch eat in the Sukkah when it rains?

I have always heard that while we do not eat in the Sukkah while it rains, those of Chabad do. Why is this so? Found it on wikipedia too: Though the halakha doesn't obligate one to eat or sleep ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

Yehei Shmei Rabbah… Yisbarach

Not sure where it came from, but many people tend to say Yisbarach after the Amen Yehei Shmei Rabbah verse. Where did this come from? Is this correct?
3
votes
1answer
142 views

When to get an aliya for a Bar Mitzvah?

According to the new "Annotated Edition" of the Siddur Tehillas Hashem, a Bar Mitzvah bachur should get his first aliya either on Shabbos Mincha time, Monday, Thursday, or Rosh Chodesh. I assume that ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

What species of esrog do people use?

I know Lubavitchers are makpid to use only Esrogim from Genoa (if not grown there, at least that species). What do other communities use? Does anyone still use Korfu?
4
votes
2answers
125 views

When to say “Yehallelu” by Mincha Shabbos Afternoon?

Chabad starts the Half-Kaddish by Mincha Shabbos afternoon just after Hagbahah and continuing the Kaddish until the Sefer Torah is put back in the Aron. Since one should not interrupt in the middle ...
12
votes
1answer
365 views

Kubutz and shuruk in Polish/Hungarian pronunciation

What is the origin or basis of the Polish and Hungarian prevalence for pronouncing "oo" vowels as "ee"? The variants of other vowels are easier to understand in the context of phonological shifting, ...
7
votes
1answer
127 views

Why do we do Hagbaah?

After "leining" the Torah, we pick up the Torah scroll to show everyone. Why do we do this?
10
votes
2answers
314 views

What is the origin of giving “Pesicho” to the expectant husband?

What is the origin of the practice of giving “pesicho” (the honor of opening the Ark) to the husband whose wife is expecting a baby?
6
votes
2answers
343 views

What is the origin of the shofar sounds?

There are 4 major shofar sounds, or notes, sounded on Rosh Hashana: Tekiah: A long, continuous blast. Shevarim: Three short "broken" blasts. Teruah: A rapid series of nine or more very short blasts. ...
21
votes
4answers
984 views

Why do people frequently change tunes toward the end of Lecha Dodi?

Frequently, perhaps even most of the time, I've noticed that the chazan (prayer leader) for Kabalat Shabbat switches tunes for the last four verses of Lecha Dodi. Is there any reason for this, or are ...
5
votes
1answer
191 views

6 chapters of Avos in 7 weeks

Some study pirke Avos weekly through the summer, from Pesach to Rosh Hashana. Others do so only for the six Shabasos between Pesach and Shavuos, one chapter a week. I've heard the latter custom ...
4
votes
1answer
93 views

In Shabbos Shacharis which is right “sheboro bemidas rachamim” or “sheboro bemidas HOrachamim”?

In the brocho of “hakol yoducho” Shabbos Shacharis, some siddurim have “sheboro bemidas rachamim” while some have “sheboro bemidas HOrachamim”. Why?
7
votes
1answer
191 views

When to say LeDovid HaShem Ori in a minyan with different nusach

I daven Nusach Ashkenaz saying “LeDovid HaShem Ori” at Shacharis and Maariv. Q1 If I daven Mincha with a Minyan which says “LeDovid HaShem Ori” at Mincha, should I say it with them? (I assume yes, ...
8
votes
1answer
396 views

Yachid blowing shofar during Elul

During the first few days of Elul, I will be away in a city with no minyan. I have a shofar, but was wondering whether a yachid blows a shofar if possible. On the one hand, the reasoning exists, but ...
8
votes
3answers
674 views

No Dairy on Pesach

Someone told me that there is a Minhag (by some) not to eat dairy the entire Pesach. I was wondering what the reason is?
5
votes
3answers
389 views

Saying selichos before midnight

What is the position with saying selichos (end of Elul and Aseres Ymei Teshuva) with a minyan that starts straight after maariv at say 10:30 or 11pm?
4
votes
1answer
117 views

When & whether to say El Maleh or Kaddish

I wish to honor the memory of family members (names & relationships unknown) who died when all the Jews were killed in the town from which my parents came. The date this year comes out on 8/26. ...
7
votes
2answers
189 views

Is there any restriction on what constitutes a veil for bedeken?

What can be considered a veil to be used in a bedeken at a wedding? (See also my other related question)
3
votes
2answers
207 views

What happens at bedeken?

Wikipedia says both that the groom puts on the veil, and in a separate paragraph says he uncovers it. Which is it? Does he put it on, lift it, and then drop it again? Can he just lift it and ...
9
votes
1answer
259 views

Chamisha Asar B'Av - when did the Minhag stop?

The Gemara Taanis 31. says אמר רבן שמעון בן גמליאל לא היו ימים טובים לישראל כחמשה עשר באב וכיוה"כ שבהן בנות ירושלים יוצאות ... וחולות בכרמים ומה היו אומרות בחור שא נא עיניך וראה מה אתה בורר לך אל תתן ...
3
votes
2answers
670 views

Can you wash your hands completely after Chatzos on Tisha B'Av?

One of the restrictions of Tisha B'Av is to only wash your hands until the knuckles. Is this restriction relaxed after Chatzos on Tisha B'Av? (sources please)
7
votes
3answers
745 views

Being Shaliach Tzibbur in a Congregation with a different Nusach

In Yalkut Yosef OC 101:10 rules that a Sephardi who is davening in an Ashkenazi minyan should not daven Nusach Ashkenaz as shaliach tzibbur. He can only be shaliach tzibbur if the minyan agrees to let ...
4
votes
1answer
204 views

What to do when visiting Kivrei Tzaddikim?

When visiting Kevarim of Tzaddikim, when are proper procedures to follow? I would hope an answer would cover: What and how to daven If there's any specific Tehillim to say If one should (or must) ...
8
votes
1answer
139 views

Why are the ends of Tefilin Retzuos cut on a slant?

I noticed than the end of my Tefillin Retzuos are cut on a slant. In the comments to this answer various reasons are postulated. What is the true reason?
5
votes
3answers
207 views

Bending at “s'lach lanu”

I have seen many people bow slightly when striking their chests in recitation of the sixth b'racha of sh'moneh esrei. Is this a custom? Is there a source for it? Anyone whom I've witnessed doing ...
6
votes
2answers
637 views

Why do the laws of kitniyot still apply today to Ashkenazi Jews on Passover?

How did the tradition start? Why is it still around today? What is the basis for this Halacha (הלכה)?
5
votes
1answer
208 views

tying tzitzis together on Simchas Tora

When I was a child in the 1980s, something the boys in my synagogue did on Simchas Tora was tie one person's talis to another, or sometimes to furniture. (Now that I'm older and in a different ...
12
votes
1answer
7k views

Does ב"ה actually stand for Boruch Hashem?

We asked here about writing either ב"ה or בס"ד on the top of a letter. In the question it was assumed that ב"ה stands for Boruch Hashem. Do we have a source that ב"ה actually stands for Boruch ...
6
votes
2answers
664 views

Can one follow Rabbeinu Tam time for beginning Shabbos?

Does anyone today follow Rabbineu Tam time for the beginning of Shabbos? Reading some tshuvas (e.g. Eretz haTzvi) it is clear this was widespread in Europe. If one has previously been accustomed to ...
2
votes
0answers
268 views

White (Lavan) & Blue (Tcheiles) - blue Tzitzis [duplicate]

There are some people that wear Tcheiles - blue Tzitzis. What is the reason that the majority of Klal Yisroel still does not wear it if the Tcheilas has been rediscovered?
6
votes
3answers
198 views

Why do we stand when we do toward the end of Tachanun?

In the Tachanun prayer, it's traditional to sit for most of the core of Tachanun, but then to stand three words into the last paragraph, between "Va-anachnu lo neida'" and "ma na'aseh" ("And we won't ...
7
votes
1answer
183 views

Source for wearing special clothing on Rosh Chodesh

Is there a source for wearing somewhat festive clothes on Rosh Chodesh? I have seen some people who hold this custom.
2
votes
2answers
656 views

Red/White wine at the Seder

Is there any Halacha or Minhag that specifies if red or White wine should be used for the four cups of wine during the Passover seder and does it matter what you use to spill out during the 10 ...
4
votes
3answers
130 views

Green pretty shavuot?

Why is there a custom to hang up flowers and growing green things on shavuot?
8
votes
2answers
312 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Leading half the prayers

Assuming one is to follow the congregation's nusach when leading the prayers and one's own otherwise, what should he do if he's asked to lead the prayers from "Shochen ad", and agrees, before the ...
6
votes
1answer
101 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
397 views

What is the origin of the custom to say Shema to a baby on the day before his Brit Milah?

I have seen a custom among Ashkenazic Jews that on the day before the Brit Milah of a baby boy, a group of children will come and all say the Shema to the baby. What is the origin and reason for the ...
4
votes
3answers
390 views

Is Kel Malei Rachamim (memorial prayer) said under the chuppah at a wedding?

I'd seen a book on wedding practices and customs that said if desired in appropriate cases, a memorial prayer ("El/Kel Malei Rachamim") could be said under the chuppah, e.g. a bride/groom who lost a ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

What is the earliest source mentioning that Jews put out greenery on Shavuos?

What is the earliest source mentioning the Minhag that Jews put out greenery on Shavuos?
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Private Bircas Kohanim during Mussaf?

One Shabbos during the Chazan's repetition of the Mussaf Shemoneh Esrei, I noticed a guest who is a Kohen (who seemed to be of Sefaradic stock) wrapping his sons in his tallis, with his hands on their ...
2
votes
2answers
231 views

Nusach for silent Amida when chazzan in an other-nusach congregation

My understanding (based, if I recall correctly, on R' Moshe Feinstein) is that when I pray in a congregation that uses a different version of the prayers (nusach) from the one I usually use, I should ...
11
votes
4answers
490 views

Why fill the glass all the way to the top?

Why is it that when people make kiddush/havdallah they insist on filling up the cup all the way to the top, sometimes till it overflows just a little? Is this a documented minhag/custom etc...?
5
votes
1answer
335 views

Passing an infant across a table

Is there a minhag that one should not pass a child over a table to another person to hold? In my family we would pass a child from person to person all the way around the table, but nobody could ever ...