Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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4
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1answer
399 views

When should one cut his nails for Shabbos when Friday is Rosh Chodesh

In the answer to Rules for Cutting Nails it quotes the Mishna Berura 260:6 that one should not cut their nails on Thursday. Mishna Berura explains that by cutting them on Thursday they will begin to ...
2
votes
2answers
80 views

Rebbe wearing new garments during shloshim

I recently heard from a couple of Bnei Brak Wizniter chassidim that their rebbes (R' Yisroel and R' Mendel) wore new clothing for Pesach 5772, less than a month after their father passed away. How ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Shir shel Yom of Wednesday: לכו נרננה [duplicate]

Where does the custom of adding a verse from Psalm 95 to the end of the Shir shel Yom of Wednesday come from? Where is it first attested?
5
votes
0answers
51 views

What is the origin of using tombstone symbols?

I was at a cemetary today and noticed a few interesting "icons" placed on certain tombstones. Someone explained to me the following: spread-out fingers used for a Cohen, representing the position of ...
6
votes
2answers
73 views

Why are we strict during the 10 days of repentance?

The lone halacha in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 603: Even someone who is not careful about eating [pas akum], during the 10 days of repentance he must be careful. Since the S.A. didn't mention stringencies ...
4
votes
1answer
129 views

Why were some Jews called Yishmael? [duplicate]

Why is it that we find Jews (and even sages) by the name Yishmael? It seems rather strange that we would choose to name our children after someone who was the progenitor of a nation seen to be an ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

What's the reason for silver spoon at yichud door?

At a wedding, according to Chabad custom, a silver spoon is placed at the entrance to the yichud room. The chosson walks in first by stepping over it with his right foot first. What is the ...
4
votes
0answers
97 views

Where exactly should the amud be placed?

In some synagogues I have seen the amud (lectern) from where the chazan (prayer leader) stands to say the prayers, placed a few feet in front of the aron (cabinet) where the torah is kept or between ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Do you have to have a dead relative named Alexander to name your child Alexander?

Piggybacking on this question... I am wondering if there are any names (such as Alexander, or other names for which Jews have a special tradition to name children) that supersede the Ashkenazic ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

Under what circumstances can Ashkenazim rely on Sephardic poskim?

Is there any reason an Ashkenazi Jew should not hold by the psak of a Sephardi rov--or vice versa--for decisions relating to general matters (not ostensibly to do with particular minhagim)? If so, ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Is the traditional “Blessing of the Children” allowed?

There is a traditional blessing a parent/father says for his children in many communities on returning from the synagogue on the nights of the high holy days or all Friday nights, etc. The text ...
3
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0answers
40 views

Permissibilty of Chanuka bushes, dreidels, gelt, and Chanuka presents

Maimonides codifies the biblical prohibition of keeping gentile customs (Laws of Idolatry 11:1): אין הולכין בחקות העובדי כוכבים ולא מדמין להן לא במלבוש ולא בשער וכיוצא בהן שנאמר ולא תלכו בחקות ...
2
votes
0answers
26 views

Insomnia and Modeh Ani [duplicate]

I am wondering what is done in the case of people who have insomnia. I usually sleep about 4 hours a night and I wake during those hours maybe 5 or 6 times. I got into the habit of saying Modeh ani ...
1
vote
0answers
50 views

According to halacha, how should a shul's minhag be decided?

I generally attend Nusach Ashkenaz Orthodox shuls. There are a few in my area. Each has some variations on the placement of certain parts during davening, all of which are fine and dependent on the ...
6
votes
1answer
305 views

Minhag for married women to cover their hair in bed

I know(1) there is a practice in Chabad for married women to wear a tichel in bed (i.e., with their husbands). I would not be surprised if this is the same in other Chasidic groups, if not in other ...
3
votes
0answers
152 views

When is OK to repeat words or lines in prayer?

I have read several questions and answers on here regarding repeating words in prayer, but they do not answer why some common repetitions are allowable. Some examples: 1) During the Torah service, ...
4
votes
1answer
55 views

Bowing at borechu with the shaliach tzibbur

I've seen some people bowing at the same time as the shaliach tzibbur while he's saying "borechu" and then bowing again after for boruch hashem etc. What is the source of the practice for this first ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Must Rosh HaShannah Simanim be Eaten in a Certain Order?

Is there a specific minhag regarding when and in what order to eat the simanim? In other words, is it acceptable to serve simanim as a matter of course (leeks with the steak, date cookies for dessert, ...
0
votes
0answers
119 views

Are we supposed to eat fish without a knife?

This is literally just something I've heard--that a knife is not supposed to be used, nor put out, for the fish course (i.e. on Shabbos). I ask people wherever I go if they've heard of this. Some say ...
3
votes
3answers
79 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
2answers
94 views

If you were born one sect (Ashkenaz) but wanted to become another (Sephardi), do you have to go through conversion?

I encountered a man who found out he was Jewish with Ashkenazi lineage, but for personal reasons converted to Sephardi. Never heard of this before. I remember learning there are several halachot in ...
11
votes
1answer
387 views

Halachic Justifications for the Amshinover Rebbe

The current Amshinover Rebbe in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem is known in the Jewish world as a man of great piety and for his great knowledge in Torah. He is also known to keep very different "Zmanim"- ...
13
votes
3answers
992 views

Why don't brides (always) cover their hair for their weddings?

Why don't brides (always) cover their hair for their weddings? I understand that in some ultra-religious groups they do, but there seem to be many groups within Orthodoxy where they do not cover their ...
11
votes
1answer
152 views

Did shadchanim suggest the shidduch?

Today, the role of the Shadchan is, depending on your community, to suggest to the prospective match that they meet, to introduce them, to arrange their meetings, and/or to advocate / be the ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

Minhag no hair covering for Persian Jewish women?

My sister tells me her ultra-frum married Persian grad school housemate does not cover her hair and that this is their minhag. Can someone confirm this tradition and if so what are the outer signs (if ...
2
votes
1answer
195 views

knife under pillow after mikveh?

My sister told me her Rebbetzin had a minhag: If after going to the mikveh she did not have relations with her husband that night, she should sleep with a knife under her pillow to fight the evil ...
3
votes
3answers
197 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
112 views

Why Doesn't Judaism Have A Call To Prayer?

Is there anything in the Torah or the Talmud forbidding Judaism from establishing a call to prayer (of the type Islam has)?
5
votes
2answers
205 views

Yemenite Sefira

What is the source for the custom that Yemenite Jews people count Sefira in Aramaic? and why do they do it?
3
votes
1answer
156 views

What rabbi recommended that American Jews skip Tachanun on Thanksgiving?

A friend of mine told me about a Conservative rabbi from JTS who recommended that American Jews not say Tachanun on Thanksgiving. Who was this rabbi, and is there a link to the text of this opinion so ...
12
votes
1answer
188 views

Mizmor L'Toda with Melody

The Shulchan Aruch in Orach Chaim 51:9 rules that "The Psalm of Thanksgiving [i.e. Psalm 100] should be recited with a melody, for all songs are destined to fall into disuse, except for the Psalm of ...
4
votes
1answer
100 views

Blue Stripes on Tallis

I've read that tallit stripes were originally blue and at some point morphed to black. What I'm wondering is if anyone knows any oldsters who can attest to actually seeing this in the frum velt in ...
1
vote
0answers
16 views

When did it become common to engrave tombstones?

I'm going to "link" this question to something in this week's parsha (Torah reading): Genesis 35:20: וַיַּצֵּ֧ב יַעֲקֹ֛ב מַצֵּבָ֖ה עַל־קְבֻרָתָ֑הּ הִ֛וא מַצֶּ֥בֶת קְבֻֽרַת־רָחֵ֖ל עַד־הַיּֽוֹם׃ ...
2
votes
3answers
137 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
91 views

Can I use a tallis gadol on 4 sticks as a hupa canopy

Can I use a tallis gadol on 4 sticks as a hupa canopy? Possible problems: The minhag is not to use a tallis It is disrespectful to the tallis
1
vote
0answers
66 views

What does a Hanukkah oil lamp look like? [duplicate]

Is there such a thing as a "correct" design or appearance for an oil lamp in the context of Hanukkah, whether prescribed by religious law, long tradition or any other metric? If so, what does one look ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

Saying Va'yechulu with a woman

The Mishna Brurah 268:19 writes that one should say va'yachulu with two people minimum since there are those who hold you can't say it by yourself (he does note that one can read by himself if done as ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

Turning to the right vs. practice

Mishna Berura 676:10 quotes our sages: "Whenever you make a turning, it should only be towards the right". However, it appears to me that we usually turn to the left (counter-clockwise) when shaking ...
7
votes
6answers
842 views

The value of the daily study of Chitas (Chumash, Tehilim, Tanya)?

What's the value of learning "Chitas" compared to any other daily Torah study? Side question: If it's so important, why was it introduced only recently?
10
votes
3answers
550 views

What does a marriage proposal look like?

Most of us are familiar with the (American? Secular?) image of a proposal. The man kneels and says "will you marry me?" and so on. But what does an Orthodox proposal look like? I'm interested in any ...
0
votes
2answers
123 views

Listing acts of patriotism towards a host nation

In the UK, united synagogues recite a prayer for the royal family including a blessing for "all her advisors and councillers" that they may grant us peace, etc. Many synagogues also display British ...
3
votes
1answer
56 views

Source for Memorial Lights in Synagogue [duplicate]

What is the source for having memorial electric lights usually affixed to plaques that are found in many shuls to remember the yahrtzeit of relatives? Is this an old minhag or of relatively recent ...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Rosh Chodesh at home

How could one celebrate Rosh Chodesh at home and are there any customs like on Shabat (candles, bread, kiddush) or festivals (blowing shofar)?
16
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8answers
1k views

Why wear Black hats

Why do people wear black hats if their kippa has 2 layers?
15
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5answers
920 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

What is the difference between a Rebbe Rashab Tallis and the regular chabad tallis?

What is the difference between a Rebbe Rashab Tallis and the regular chabad tallis Was this a specific thing just for his time or do chassidim still follow this today? Is there a difference in tallis ...
10
votes
4answers
299 views

Sitting for “Ashre”?

I have seen people seemingly careful to sit down when beginning the paragraph of prayers that starts "Ashre yosh've vesecha" (Ps. 84:5). One such person told me that he was, in fact, careful to do so, ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Saying Shema from Klaf

I've heard of saying parshat haketoret from a klaf. Does a similar practice exist for shema? If so, is it just Shema and V'haya (essentially a mezuzah) or the above and Parshat Tzitzit?
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Head covering a sign of being a bride of HaShem?

Bnei Yisrael’s relationship with HaShem is often described as a marriage; HaShem is the groom and Bnei Yisrael are His bride. See Shir HaShirim for an extended example. The Prophets frequently ...
1
vote
1answer
135 views

What is kabolas ponim on a wedding

I understand that the groom has kabolas ponim before the bedekin And the bride when she comes to the hupa (by said Boruch habo) Is this correct? what is the requirements of the kabolas ponim? ...