Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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1
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0answers
84 views

Why do Hassidim wear hats that simulate what Non-Jewish czars and kings wore?

I heard from a few people that some of the hats that Hassidim wear such as shtreimelach and spodeks mimic the hat styles worn by previous kings and czars. Perhaps, I heard incorrectly, so feel free to ...
5
votes
2answers
617 views

What's the source for naming children after Alexander the Great?

I know many Jews whose actual bris-given name is Alexander, and this has been a popular name even among great tzaddikim of the past (such as R. Alexander Ziskind). I've heard a legend (mentioned on ...
5
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2answers
90 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?
21
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4answers
296 views

Glasses and Shema

The Shulhan Aruch records the custom of placing one's hand over his eyes in Shema in order to increase concentration. What about someone who wears glasses? Must he move them or remove them?
5
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3answers
119 views

Prohibition to wear black for mourning?

I've heard a rumor floating around to the effect that Jews should not wear all black as an expression of mourning. Is there anything to that? If so, is there anything inherently wrong with it, is it a ...
7
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2answers
777 views

Covering eyes when saying Shema Yisrael

When saying Kriyas Shema many have the custom of covering their eyes when saying Shema Yisrael. What is the reason this is done?
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0answers
27 views

Why do we cover our eyes during Shema? [duplicate]

There is a very widespread custom to cover one's eyes with one's hand during the first pasuk of Keriyas Shema. Where/when did this custom originate, and what is the reason for it?
3
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2answers
108 views

דע לפני מי אתה עומד on the ark

In some shuls it says on the ark, "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omeid." Is there any source from which that comes?
4
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0answers
97 views

Height of havdalah candle = height of spouse?

I have seen havdalah ceremonies where a unmarried person is charged with holding the havdalah candle and is told to hold it at the height that s/he would want their spouse to be. What is the source ...
4
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2answers
47 views

Saying kadesh and vehaya ki yaviyacha when donning on the tefllin

In most siddurim right after the berachot of the tefillin you will find the two parshiot "Kadesh" and "Vehaya ki yeviacha," which are also contained in the tefillin. Is there an obligation to say ...
5
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7answers
278 views

Sources for/about breaking a plate at a wedding

Are you aware of any literature that either provides a source for or discusses the significance of the two mothers breaking a plate at the "Tisch" at a wedding? It's not hard to find mentions of this ...
4
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1answer
85 views

Who says the Mourner's Kaddish for a synagogue member who had no family?

If a synagogue member dies with no living family members remaining, who says the Mourner's Kaddish for them? Can anyone volunteer to say Kaddish for them?
7
votes
1answer
513 views

How Many Stones to Place on a Grave?

When visiting a gravesite, my Jewish relatives always place small stones on the gravestone as a showing of respect for the dead. They typically place one stone on the gravestone, but I find myself ...
4
votes
2answers
131 views

Reasoning for doing/not doing mourning customs in second half of the omer

In my observation, most people observe certain mourning customs between the beginning of sefirat ha'omer and lag b'omer (such as refraining from shaving, listening to live music, etc.). Some people ...
6
votes
4answers
263 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
263 views

Doesn't the wide use of Sheitels among Orthodox Jewish women prove that hair no longer retains the erotic status that it once had?

In reading scores of halakhic material on the subject of kisui rosh le-nashim throughout the ages, I have found that there are essentially two views as to the nature of the obligation for a woman to ...
4
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
73 views

reprinting of tanyas in many locations, why?

Why do Lubavitcher חסידים print “ספר של בינונים" in many different places — something about outward expansion of wellsprings?
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0answers
24 views

Geirim and minhagim what should they do [duplicate]

What does a geir do regarding minhagim like kitniyos and the such? Would you take his nationality into consideration?
15
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8answers
965 views

Why wear Black hats

Why do people wear black hats if their kippa has 2 layers?
2
votes
2answers
273 views

Should a woman wear a gartel?

My understanding of the halachic need for a gartel is very limited; is there any reason a woman should or should not wear one during prayer?
9
votes
2answers
233 views

Not to give a divorce (Get) in the month of Iyar

I heard today in Shul that there is a Minhag not to give a divorce in the month of Iyar. What is the source and reason for this Minhag?
16
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4answers
437 views

Stripes on a Talis

Is there any reason for the stripes on a talis? Does the color of the stripes have any significance?
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0answers
20 views

Where did black strips on Tallitot come from? [duplicate]

Where did the black stripes on tallitot come from? also where did blue come from? prefereably halachic/rabbinical sources please!
0
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0answers
41 views

Rising up on your toes three times after conclusion of Amida [duplicate]

After concluding the amida, one is supposed to wait for kedusha before returning to their place. If davening alone one must wait the amount of time it takes to walk 4 Amot. I see many people also ...
4
votes
2answers
422 views

What is the history of Teimani peyos?

How is it that many Teimanim wear long peyos (simanim) similar to many Chasidim, considering that their culture has been mostly isolated from Ashkenazi Europe? Do any historical sources tell us when ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

Giving a child the same name as a living distant relative

The Ashkenazi custom is not to give one's child a name shared by another living close relative. How close is too close? Can you give a child a name possessed by his/her (living) cousin? Second cousin? ...
1
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0answers
56 views

Being Matir Family Mesorah

Does Hataras Nedarim help to be matir all of one's minhagim if the the one being matir has them in mind? For example: a sephardi wants to change his minhagim to ashkenazi ones.
4
votes
3answers
569 views

Why do some Jews get married at night?

In images and other media I have seen of Jewish weddings, there seems to be a trend to get married in the evening or night time. Is this a Jewish custom a halachic requirement and what is the origin ...
5
votes
1answer
112 views

When did the type of kippah worn become 'defining'?

Nowadays there is a mix of kippah styles within cities/communities/countries which can define which 'sect' you belong to and may even carry a political message. Was there a point in history where the ...
1
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0answers
49 views

Titles and prefixes for calling people up to the Torah

When people are called up to the Torah by name, often there is a title that goes with them, such as "ha-bachur" for a young man, "ha-rav" for a rabbi (and/or someone with semicha), and other such ...
8
votes
2answers
483 views

Why doesn't Chabad read Ruth on Shavuot?

I was at Chabad this Shavuot and they did not read Ruth. Everywhere else I've been (all Nusach Ashkenaz) has read it claiming that it's appropriate since this is the time of the wheat harvest. Are ...
10
votes
4answers
406 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 ...
9
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2answers
254 views

Must a Divorced Man Wear a Tallis While Davening?

According to a common custom among Ashkenazim, a man only starts wearing a tallis while davening after he gets married. Does a divorced man continue to wear a tallis when davening? Or could/should he ...
4
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0answers
60 views

Are there any name combinations that may not be used?

Are there any combinations of names that may not be given? There are many names which aren't commonly paired together but is there any reason not to or just common practice and preference?
7
votes
2answers
151 views

Bowing during 'Aleinu

Are we required to bow during the 'Aleinu prayer when reciting the line starting with ״ואנחנו כורעים״? If there are differing halakhic rulings or customs, which I assume there are, their sources ...
5
votes
1answer
68 views

In a cemetery, when there is a headstone, what is the law or custom of walking OVER the “body” of someone buried there?

Our family recently unveiled the headstone on my mother's grave. Before the unveiling service, my elder brother told me NOT to walk over the grave of my mother. Through lack of space it was ...
14
votes
3answers
498 views

Shape of the Luchot

According to the Talmud in Bava Batra 14a, the Luchot HabBerit were square. Where did the common "tablet" shape come from, with rectangles and a rounded top? Besides in pictures, I see it in ...
7
votes
2answers
418 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 ...
1
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0answers
50 views

Eating gefrishte matzoh at the seder [closed]

Does anyone know of a Leipzig or Polish tradition to eat "gefrishte" matzah, matzah with raw eggs, at the seder meal?
2
votes
1answer
100 views

how does one not get lost in the details?

Halachah is very detail oriented and of course all of these details are important but sometimes it seems easy from time to time to get so focused on the specifics of the right way of how to so ...
4
votes
1answer
47 views

No longer prostrating after tefillah - sources?

Inspired by this question, this question and this answer, what I am looking for is an early source that makes reference to people no longer prostrating themselves after tefillah. If the source gives a ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

where to find an undershirt gartel?

Looking for a gartel that goes under the shirt to keep tzitzis straight but have only found the large ones that married men wear. where would one find the smaller thinner kind that can go under a ...
6
votes
1answer
233 views

Can you eat roasted meat on Pesach Sheni?

In my artscroll machzor it mentioned that there are those who have a custom not to eat any sort of roasted meat on Pesach so that we not be confused and think that we are actually eating the korban ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Does a Jewish wedding involve bridesmaids or groomsmen?

Are there such roles? If so, what purpose do they serve? If creating bridesmaids or groomsmen is a distinctly American (or Christian) cultural practice, then what are some reasons for or against ...
8
votes
1answer
218 views

Why has Judaism traditionally discussed intimacy only privately?

To quote msh210's formulation of this site's rule on intimate topics: Please respect that in the Jewish tradition certain questions, especially certain questions relating to sexuality, are ...
8
votes
2answers
167 views

Why does the Chazzan bow when saying “Gadlu” holding the Torah?

There's a widespread custom for the Chazzan to bow, facing the ark, when reciting "Gadlu" with the Torah before carrying it away. The Aruch Hashulach (282:1) says that one should do this, but doesn't ...
6
votes
2answers
128 views

Adopting minhagim not from your mesorah

Is it appropriate to adopt minhagim that have historically not been observed by your community? Examples Ashkenazim pointing to the sefer Torah, usually with the pinky, during hagbah (after Krias ...
2
votes
3answers
89 views

Can you make an Upsherin during Sefira?

Suppose a boys birthday is 6 Iyar, which is on a date that all observe mourning practices in Sefiras Homer. For those that do not give a haircut to a child until the child is three, can they make an ...
1
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2answers
100 views

Is There a Jewish “Confirmation”?

While browsing some local Temples (Reform Congregations) here in my city, I noticed a site that listed "Confirmation" under the heading of "Life Cycle" on their site. I was puzzled. I know what Bar ...