Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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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 ...
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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 ...
2
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1answer
224 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 ...
1
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1answer
125 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 ...
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2answers
117 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)?
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0answers
123 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 ...
2
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1answer
51 views

Halacha of hair disposal

Are there any traditions or halachic restrictions regarding the proper disposal of human hair (similar to with regard to nails or human remains)? Related: According to Halacha, does one have to ...
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0answers
17 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׃ ...
3
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1answer
198 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 ...
2
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1answer
156 views

Are you required to wear a kippah during very strong winds?

If I am walking and the wind is very strong - the kippah flies off almost as soon as I put it on and I don't have a bobby pin with me - do I have an obligation to keep putting it on and securing it ...
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2answers
157 views

dying person reciting shema

I have read a few times about people reciting the shema before dying. what is the reason for this and does it have any basis in halacha.
4
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1answer
122 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 ...
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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
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1answer
125 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
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1answer
162 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 ...
4
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1answer
59 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
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1answer
46 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)?
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1answer
116 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 ...
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2answers
92 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
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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?
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42 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 ...
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1answer
210 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? (...
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1answer
49 views

What was the prevailing custom for arranging the seder plate among Bohemian Jewry?

I'm interested in the prevailing custom (or customs) amongst German Jewry, and particularly among the Jews of Bohemia if there was a different practice there, for arranging the seder plate. What was ...
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35 views

Looking for a Chazon Ish about developement of Minhagim

It has stuck in my head for a while now - roughly quoted as saying that one shouldn't mock minhagim that have developed in klal yisroel even if the origin seems dubious - as Hashem wouldn't allow ...
2
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0answers
23 views

About giving up one's Life for G-D and Minhag

My question is concerning the times when Jews are - G-D forbid - being persecuted religiously and they can't transgress or stop performing mitzvot to the extent of not changing Minhag. Does this ...
3
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1answer
72 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 ...
2
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2answers
85 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 ...
3
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1answer
85 views

Munkaczer Tallis

I have been told by Chassidei Chabad that prior to their current pattern, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe wore a munkaczer tallis. What does this tallis look like?
3
votes
1answer
112 views

When did shuckling begin?

There was nothing that I could locate in Mishnah Berurah or similar halachic sources that indicates that one should shuckle (sway) during prayers. When did this custom begin, and why? I notice that ...
5
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1answer
82 views

Shaas hashmad and Arab terrorism

There is a halachik principle brought down in the Talmud and codified in halacha known as shaat hashmad - a time of forced religious persecution. Generally, the rule is that any commandment of the ...
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0answers
56 views

Saying half a pasuk

There seems to be a problem with breaking a pasuk up. This question refers to it as to be avoided, and this answer lists the issue and potential exceptions. The question is also discussed here. In ...
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1answer
60 views

Any books dealing with minhaggim of lita?

Are there any books that discuss the varying litvish (Lithuanian) minhaggim (customs)—or, if not, maybe just the most prevalent ones?
7
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1answer
135 views

Covering eyes for Shma which isn't THE shma

Based on the answer to this question about covering ones eyes for the Shma said early in davening, it would appear that one only covers his eyes when saying the verse of Shma in order to enhance the ...
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0answers
72 views

Mikvah on yom kippur?

An 'istenis' (delicate) with regards to the mikvah does not want to go, unless absolutely necessary. Is going to the mikvah on Yom Kippur despite this more important, or is he exempt? Is going to the ...
5
votes
1answer
64 views

Kaparos with fish

In How to do kapparos with fish it discusses doing Kaparos with fish. Is anyone aware of any group or individuals that do Kaparos with fish?
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2answers
826 views

Why do Jewish funeral homes tend to be the main supplier of Jewish calendars?

Perhaps, this question is too "trivial". It seems that Jewish funeral homes tend to be the primary "printer" and supplier of Jewish calendars. For decades, many yeshivot as well as shuls get the large ...
5
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1answer
165 views

Why was there a huge concern to assure that Hoshanna Rabbah is not on Shabbat?

This page lists 4 rules that may cause the first day of Rosh Hashannah to be postponed from being on the date of the molad Tishrei. One of the rules is: If molad Tishri occurs on Sunday, Wednesday,...
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2answers
59 views

What is the source for blowing the shofar during Hoshannot?

As a lad attending a shul in Washington Heights, NY, I noticed that the rav blew 10 blasts from the shofar after each hakafah on Hoshanna Rabba. Our shul davened Nusach Ashkenaz. Since then, I have ...
1
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1answer
59 views

Say Shir hamaalos mimaamakim when?

It is common practice to add psalm 130 ("mimaamakim") to shacharis during the ten days of repentance. In my experience, most congregations say it between p'suke d'zimra and "Bar'chu" (immediately ...
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, ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Is there any minhag for a Kohen to dress like the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur?

About 20 years ago, I was the shaliach tzibbur in a shul in Newburgh, NY on Yom Kippur. As I was davening, I hear behind me, "jingle, jingle". I turn around, and behold, there is a man dressed in a ...
2
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0answers
91 views

Origins of the Yerushalmi Kaftan

Among Yerushalmi Chareidim, a special dress code seems to have developed which has some features which are unique from standard Eastern Ashkenazi dress. While most Chareidim I have seen wear black ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

Source for Groom's Immersion in Ritualarium (mikveh)

What are the earliest sources referencing the custom of groom to immersing himself in a mikveh before his wedding? This custom is referenced in Kitzur Yalkut Yosef (nisu'in v'shidduchin: 3:11): ...
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1answer
117 views

Must a baal t'shuva follow family customs? [duplicate]

Suppose someone is raised without much authentic Judaism but with some. Perhaps his family has a monthly Friday night dinner with kidush; perhaps he wears t'filin for a few days when he turns 13. ...
2
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0answers
40 views

Spanish-Portuguese Torah Vestments

The first Shabbat I was in Yerushalayim (Parshat Shoftim) my father and I davened at the Italian Synagogue. While the nusach there follows the older Roman nusach, the Sifrei Torah are caparisoned in ...
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1answer
64 views

Start time of Jewish holidays: Exactly at sunset or some other time near it?

It's my understanding that Judaism defines the start of a day as sunset. However, on one of my calendars, several Jewish holidays are indicated as starting at sundown (approximate). Does the Jewish ...
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1answer
66 views

Source and details about not showing the shape of the body

I heard that tight clothing on woman is not permitted, Something like It shows the shape of the body. Is this true? what does this mean practically? Sources please
5
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1answer
197 views

Shofar from ibex horn?

I have the 2015 calendar from the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, and today I noticed that the September page has a picture of a shofar made from an ibex horn. The calendar dates it to 1850-...
2
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1answer
95 views

Do any Chasidim still accept Shabbos according to Rabbeinu Tam zman?

Apparently there is a story that Rav Moshe Feinstein asked the Satmar Rebbe to not have his followers begin shabbos with zman Rabbeinu Tam. Is there still a minhag amongst chasidim to take on shabbos ...
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0answers
47 views

Is there a historical, cultural, traditional, or scriptural explanation for the prevalence of Jews in the comedy business? [duplicate]

If you took the general demographic data for the U.S. and compared it to the demographics of professional comics and comedians in the U.S., I think you'd find that Jews are disproportionately ...