Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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8
votes
1answer
107 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
36 views

Yartzeit candle - light before mincha or after maariv?

On a yartzeit (anniversary of death on Hebrew calendar) for a deceased family member, if one plans to both light a yartzeit candle in one's home and attend shul to say kaddish, is there a preference ...
5
votes
1answer
64 views

Kissing Back of Hand

Is there a source for Sephardim and Chassidim that kiss the hand of their Rabbi, a Torah scholar or even their father upon meeting them?
5
votes
4answers
153 views

Cutting Challah on Shabbos

Is there a source for why many people (Ashkenazim) use a knife to pre-mark the challah where they will cut it before making the bracha on Shabbos?
8
votes
2answers
99 views

Lifting Torah during Bracha When Called for an Aliyah

I have noticed that while making the Bracha for an aliyah, many people lift the Torah when Hashem's name is recited. Is there a source for this?
8
votes
6answers
962 views

What is the source not to eat the endpiece of the challah?

At the shabbos meal, why do some people (such as Yodeyan NBZ) not eat the end piece of the challah? Some people don't even just start at the middle, they avoid the end-piece altogether.
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Rocks on Gravestones [duplicate]

Why do Jews put rocks on Gravestones, especially on great Gadol Hadors, like for instance Rabbi Feinstein, is there something in Halacha that explains why it is done?
7
votes
2answers
102 views

Half Aleinu outside a shul

Has anyone heard of the minhag to say Aleinu only until "Al ken Nekave Lach" (only the 1st paragraph) if one is not praying in a synagogue? I've been told a number of times about this practice in ...
5
votes
2answers
56 views

Why do Sefaradim skip “Uva LeTziyon” in the house of a mourner?

This morning I prayed with a Sefaradi minyan in which were a few mourners. After Hazarat HaSha"Tz, they skipped Tahhanun and Uva LeTziyon. I can imagine a justification for skipping Tahhanun; but, ...
4
votes
0answers
45 views

How is strict doctrine motivated as being the product of God's will? [duplicate]

I'm not Jewish by any interpretation of the term, but curiosity frequently leads me to click on Stackexchange's Hot Network Questions. Questions on judaism.stackexchange.com often stand out because of ...
4
votes
1answer
254 views

What defines “hard cheese” [duplicate]

I grew up with the minhag that after "hard cheese", one must wait for 15 minutes before one may eat meat. However, the question often arises as to what qualifies as such in terms of halacha and ...
8
votes
1answer
91 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Ashkenazi Haftarah Custom

On Wikipedia, there is a list of haftarot. For Ashkenazim, the list gives four customs: Ashkenazi, Polish, Frankfurt, and Chabad. Considering that Polish and Frankfurt sum up the major non-chassidic ...
8
votes
1answer
237 views

Is one allowed to become a Talmid HaRambam?

There is a movement of people (including several MiYodeya users I've seen) who believe in following the teachings of the Rambam exclusively, basing their practical halachot off the Mishneh Torah, ...
4
votes
1answer
42 views

“B'rachamav yaaseh shalom” - origin?

In the Kaddish d'Rabanan there is a change in the text of the Oseh Shalom. In addition to Kaddish Shalem/Yatom, there is an additional word ("b'rachamav") in the text. I asked someone who told me it's ...
5
votes
4answers
224 views

Did Jewish Men Always Have Beards Throughout History

When did Jews start keeping their beards? Did Moshe's generation have beards? What is the historical development behind this phenomenon?
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Chol-Kreisch Ceremony

Danny Schoemmann mentions a ceremony called a chol-kreisch in this answer for giving the secular name of a child. Is this custom still observed, and if so, how is it practiced?
6
votes
1answer
102 views

smelling the extinguished havdalah candle

At Havdalah, I've seen a number of individuals smell the smoke from the extinguished Havdalah candle, sometimes reciting the posuk "Zichru Torah Moshe avdi" as they do so. Curious if anyone can verify ...
3
votes
0answers
25 views

Candles by the amud [duplicate]

Why do people light candles in shul by the amud during davening? Is the custom specific to certain groups?
4
votes
2answers
104 views

Shadchanus in a broken engagement [duplicate]

Reuvain & Dina get engaged and give the Shadchan, Shadchanus money. A few weeks later they break up. Does the Shadchan have to return this Shadchanus money? Suppose they never gave Shadchanus ...
4
votes
1answer
69 views

When do we append “ימח שמו וזכרו” to the name of an evil person

When is the phrase 'ימח שמו וזכרו' ('may his name and memory be erased') appended to the name of an evil person? Is it a stylistic and subjective matter of choice or are there specific criteria to ...
5
votes
1answer
172 views

Ring and kiddushin

Where did the concept of the chosson (groom) giving the kallah (bride) a ring, specifically, for kiddushin (i.e. under the chuppah) come from?
4
votes
2answers
98 views

Prishus in Jewish Marriage

I know that there is a concept of prishus (going beyond the letter of the law, and abstaining from things that are really allowed) within Jewish marriage, but what exactly does this constitute, and ...
3
votes
5answers
615 views

married couples never sleeping in the same bed

I have heard that many Orthodox married couples never sleep in the same bed, even during the times that they are permitted to each other. Coming from a non-Orthodox background, this seems shocking to ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

(Tefach) Wide Gartel

Some use a very wide gartel. A friend of mine mentioned an inyan (Judaism-sourced idea) that the gartel should be wider than one tefach. Can someone source this inyan that the gartel should be (more ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

source of the chasidic custom not to say tachnun on yahrzeit

I attended today a chasidic minyan and they did not say tachnun because it was the yahrzeit of a certain rebbe. What is the source of this? Shouldn't this be a sad day?
6
votes
1answer
105 views

Ancient Triennial Cycle Today

Are there any congregations who follow the ancient (Eretz Yisrael minhag) triennial cycle today, and so complete the Torah once every three years? I'm aware there are some Eretz Yisrael minhag ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Is it a mitzvah to help a traveller to another community fulfill his minhag?

From my understanding, it's generally considered obligatory or necessary to participate in the minhagim of your community. However, say that person, person A, travels elsewhere where the minhag is not ...
3
votes
1answer
47 views

Where can I find the minhagim of Algeria?

Is there a compilation of all the minagim of Algeria, especially for the Setifian custom?
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Menorah with uneven spacing

The following assumes lighting an additional candle for each day of Chanukkah: Two may light in a single Menorah for the first three days of Chanukkah; each in his end of the Menorah. This does not ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

Mi-Shebeirach for Shabbat musaf starting point

I have noticed in many kehillot, that the sha"tz will begin the Mi-Shebeirach before musaf (Hu y'varech et kol hakahal) at "(U)Mi she-oskim". At first, I thought that this was probably an oversight ...
3
votes
0answers
44 views

French Minhagim

When I was in France over the summer, I noticed that, in general, the Ashkenazim followed German minhagim. Resultantly, it made me wonder whether there are any major differences between Minhag Rheinus ...
6
votes
2answers
107 views

Are the letters on a dreidel supposed to be in any particular order?

This is a little silly, but... Should the letters on a dreidel be in order? Like, if you turned it right to left, should it go nun - gimel - hey - shin, because of "nes gadol haya sham"? Or are there ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

Kiddush in Schul on Yom-Tov

In those communities where kiddush is still said before Aleinu on Shabbat (Friday night), is it also said on leyl (the night of) yom-tov? As this question relates to my effort with the creation of a ...
5
votes
1answer
307 views

Is there anything wrong with messing with the rules of Dreidel?

In this article on Slate, Ben Blatt calls the classic rules of Dreidel "slow and unfair," citing simulation-based statistical analysis, and proposes his own modified rules to speed up the game. Given ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Non-Jewish Mysticism

According to the minhag I follow, one who is not a talmud chacham should not study Jewish mysticism (maase merkavah, heichalot, kabbalah, et c.). Following this, would one be able to read non-Jewish ...
4
votes
3answers
238 views

Why put water into the havdallah wine?

I have seen people (mainly sefardim) put a few drops of water into the wine before havdallah. Why do they do this?
1
vote
3answers
164 views

Why isn't it considered idol worship to give respect to the torah?

When the Sefer Torah is brought out of the ark, everyone stands up and kisses it. On occasions such as simchat torah and hoshana rabbah people dance around the Torah. To an outsider these actions can ...
1
vote
1answer
129 views

Do those who do become religious after a divorce need to cover their hair (women) or wear a tallis (men)?

A reason that I propose for why divorced women continue to cover their hair and divorced men continue to wear a tallis (a phenomenon whose existence I vouch for) is that taking on a mitzvah (with the ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Giving children presents on chanukkah [duplicate]

My parents give me and my siblings presents on chanukkah. Where did this custom come from?
7
votes
1answer
107 views

Why do the mothers break the plate?

At a wedding [or by the engagement], a plate is customarily broken at the "tena'im." This has already been discussed over here. As I have seen at weddings, and as is brought over here the custom is ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a reason to cover your yawn?

My 9th grade Rebbi told us that we have to cover our mouths when we yawn to avoid evil spirits entering our bodies. Is there any source that says this? If not, is there any other Jewish reason, ...
1
vote
1answer
141 views

Origin of Chabad tefillin

I have wondered for some time about certain elements of Chabad minhagim re. tefillin, so here goes: What is the origin of their kesher shel yad? When was it decided that they should be huge (4x4cm ...
9
votes
2answers
321 views

How to celebrate conversion?

Are there any customs from modern or historic communities involving the celebration of a person's conversion to Judaism? In contrast to other transformative occasions in one's life (i.e., bar mitzvah, ...
4
votes
0answers
60 views

Choreography of Kaddish

I have seen a number of different customs of when people bow or sway or bob or whatnot during Kaddish. Some of the people I have witnessed have been very knowledgeable, and I assume they weren't just ...
6
votes
2answers
570 views

Saying kaddish when davening in a minyan that isn't your nusach

I have been to many minyanim where people are saying kaddish of a variety of nuschaot. What should one do with regards to this? Some examples: In a sephardi minyan, should an ashkenazi person remain ...
10
votes
2answers
302 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

what is the source of reciting ledovid boruch

What is the source for reciting ledovid boruch and lamnazeach at mozei shabbes before mairiv? In the mishna berurah it is only cited as minhag but without a source.
5
votes
1answer
156 views

May a non Ethiopian Jew celebrate Sigd?

Ethiopian Jews recently celebrated their festival of Sigd, which involves reaccaptence of the Torah, communal fasting and feasting, and prayers. Is it acceptable for someone of a Minhag other than ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Ripping out a blade of grass by a funeral?

At my great-uncle's funeral today, all of the participants (except the mourners) were told to rip out a blade of grass and say a passuk (I don't remember which). Is this a Jewish minhag? If so, what ...