Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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6
votes
4answers
259 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
183 views

Rubbing the Havdalah wine

Is there any source for the practice of not only dipping one's fingers into the Havdalah wine that was used to extinguish the fire and rubbing the eyes with it, but also spreading it around onto other ...
6
votes
1answer
126 views

When is “vesain tal umotor” said in Australia?

When is "vesain tal umotor" said in the Southern Hemisphere eg Australia?
6
votes
2answers
332 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
3answers
260 views

Not sitting in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres

Shouldn't the obligation to sit in the Sukkah also fall into the category of Sefeika D'yoma? If so why do some not eat in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres?
6
votes
2answers
300 views

Can you turn your back to the Aron HaKodesh?

I'm quite certain that it is mentioned in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that one should not turn one's back to the Aron HaKodesh (ark which holds the Torah Scrolls). Can anyone tell me where this is ...
6
votes
4answers
613 views

Should I wear tefillin during Chol HaMoed?

If I don't have a known family minhag regarding this, how should I decide whether to wear tefillin during Chol HaMoed? Which communities generally follow each option, and what are the reasons behind ...
6
votes
3answers
665 views

Wearing a gartel

Where did the minhag of wearing a gartel come from?
5
votes
0answers
80 views

Siddur for Skolyer Chasidim

Is there a specific siddur for the minhag of the Skolyer Chasidim (Chasidim of Ukrainian town of Skole)?
5
votes
3answers
320 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
189 views

Zecher L'Churban - Why a plate at Tenayim and a glass at the Chupah?

When a person gets engaged and married there are various things that we do as a Zecher L'Churban. At the Tenayim (whether done immediately or at the wedding) we break an earthernware plate, at the ...
5
votes
3answers
285 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
171 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
199 views

What determines a Minhag?

How does a Minhag become a Minhag? More specific is it possible to enact new Minhagim in todays generation?
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
215 views

Speaking while wearing Tefillin - revisited

In today's day and age the vast majority of the time we only wear Tefillin when we are Davening. However, in theory, we should wear them all day (ibid). So what about the requirement not to speak ...
4
votes
2answers
182 views

Source for not having picture taken

Is there any source, halachic or otherwise, for an aversion to having one's picture taken?
3
votes
1answer
99 views

Egg matzah in early Nisan

This shabbos, my LOR announced that the shul was done being kashered for Pesach, and so kiddush would be pesadich. To fulfill the need for mezonot, he had brought in egg matzah, saying that egg matzah ...
3
votes
2answers
248 views

Do modern Jewish cemeteries separate the “righteous” from the “wicked”?

Do modern Jewish cemeteries separate the "righteous" from the "wicked"? I have read in various sources that "we don't bury rashim near tzadikim"--that people must be buried near others of similar ...
3
votes
3answers
205 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
2answers
152 views

What kavanos should one have when sharpening a challa knife Erev Shabbos?

What are some kavanos should one have in mind when sharpening a challa knife on Erev Shabbos? I'm sure I heard that there are kavanos but never learned what they are.
2
votes
2answers
180 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
212 views

What are the different types of Shpitzlach?

Do shpitzels include some fake hair ? Are they always made with foam inside to imitate the hair?
19
votes
2answers
352 views

Naming after the living. Why is it considered bad?

This is a fairly straight forward question. I am under the impression that this is bad. This is why you don't see many Moishe Abromowitz, III. Why is this bad, and why isn't that practice carried ...
10
votes
3answers
139 views

What side does someone with Situs inversus bang

For tachanun, al cheit, twice in selach lanu etc, we bang on our heart. My question is: if someone has Situs inversus, a condition where the heart is on the right side of the body instead of the left, ...
8
votes
9answers
327 views

When do you say a beracha on a minhag?

When lighting Hanukkah candles in the synagogue, we say a beracha "asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav.." on a minhag. Unlike kiddush in shul, and early counting of the omer in shul, nobody would say that one ...
5
votes
0answers
192 views

Saying “Elokim” when not referring to Hashem

People often say "Elokim" instead of "Elohim" when speaking in order to avoid taking God's name in vain. I have observed, however, that some people always substitute the word "elokim" for "elohim" ...
19
votes
3answers
235 views

Must EMTs and others rend Kriyah each time they see a patient die?

I was looking at Yoreh De'ah 40:5 (יו"ד סימן ש"מ ס"ק ה) and Moed Katan 25b (כה עמוד ב), which require Kriyah (garment-rending) for all who are there at the time of death. It would seem to me that an ...
17
votes
2answers
164 views

The custom of adding a candle for each child

Many people, including myself, added or will add a candle on Friday night for each child that is born. Where and when did this custom originate?
17
votes
3answers
275 views

תהלת ה' ידבר פי - what's the origin?

In between the 'Shir HaMaalot' that precedes birchat hamazon and the the blessings themselves, there are a few psukim beginning תהלת ה' ידבר פי . Some people add these, and some don't. What's the ...
11
votes
3answers
692 views

Infant seeing reflection in mirror

I have heard that some people do not allow a child to see his or her reflection in a mirror before they can speak (or say their name, possibly). Is there any traditional source for this practice?
10
votes
4answers
394 views

Baal Teshuva Minhag

I have read that Rabbi Avraham Yosef (the son of Rav Ovadiah Yosef) paskened that a Baal Teshuva in Israel should adopt the Sephardic Minhag, regardless of family history, as their immediate ancestors ...
8
votes
1answer
123 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?
8
votes
9answers
460 views

fish before meat - why?

To the best of my knowledge eating fish after meat has the same Halacha as eating meat after fish. You are supposed to eat a cracker and take a drink to seperate between them. Why is it most common ...
8
votes
2answers
491 views

Naming your child using a dead relative's initial

Is there a Jewish tradition of naming your child using the first letter of the name of a recently deceased relative?
7
votes
1answer
339 views

Why do we cover the challot on Shabbos?

The answer I learned growing up was that "we don't want to embarrass the bread because we are first making kiddush" or some variation thereof. I later learned that is a zecher for the ma'n which fell ...
7
votes
2answers
410 views

Why Do Converts Change Their Names?

Rabbi Avigdor Miller said that it used to be that gerim (converts) and baalei teshuvah (repentants) who had been given non-Jewish names did not change their names when they became part of the Jewish ...
7
votes
1answer
233 views

Tachnun in Nissan

Why is there no Tachnun said in the month of Nissan?
7
votes
4answers
538 views

Schlissel Challah

What is the source for the "Key Challah" Segulah (charm) that is said to bring Parnassah (prosperity)? And which is it: do you put the key in the Challah or do you make the Challah in the shape of a ...
7
votes
1answer
462 views

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?

Is there a problem of "chukat goyim" with the bride having "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" at her wedding?
6
votes
2answers
172 views

How/why does kaparot work?

The ritual of kaparot [lit. atonement], which is usually done just prior to Yom Kippur (usually the day before), where one waves a chicken or an [unspecified] amount of money over one's head in a ...
6
votes
1answer
191 views

Can you sing during the sheva brachos?

I have been to weddings where, during the recitation of the seventh bracha under the chuppah, the congregation sings "asher bara...". Sometimes it is along with the one reciting the bracha and other ...
6
votes
1answer
423 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
373 views

When is a Minhag no longer a Minhag?

It can be all too easy for people to underestimate the halachic significance of minhagim (traditions/customs). While there are, as I understand it, a variety of halachic issues/differences of ...
5
votes
2answers
84 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?
5
votes
5answers
204 views

Shavuos and Malachim(angels)

We all know that there is a custom on Shavuos to eat dairy. One of the reasons given is based on a Medrash that When Moshe Rabbenu went up to Heaven to receive the Torah the angels complained and said ...
4
votes
1answer
341 views

Blowing shofar at a wedding

Friends of mine are getting married this Sunday and asked me if I would blow shofar at the chuppah. I have been ba'al toke'a probably 2/3 of the years since my bar mitzvah (2002) in three different ...
4
votes
2answers
515 views

Chabad Minhag for Shalosh Seudos

Is it true that the Chabad custom is specifically not to wash hands for (and eat) bread for shalosh seudos, and, if so, why?
4
votes
3answers
110 views

Green pretty shavuot?

Why is there a custom to hang up flowers and growing green things on shavuot?
3
votes
3answers
271 views

Modern nations and Umos Haolam

Where can I find a discussion about the roots of modern nations, in the Umos Haolam mentioned in the Torah and Chazal?