Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

2
votes
1answer
82 views

What's a Grammen?

A few years ago I participated in a Purim Se'udah at which rounds of humorous poetry were written and then recited in a sing-song chant. It was fun, and the tune rang familiar to me, but it was ...
5
votes
4answers
228 views

Is there any source that says that women should / should not get drunk on Purim?

The prevalent מנהג is that women do not get drunk on Purim. I assume this due to tznius (modesty) concerns. Is there any ancient or recent source that explicitly discusses women not/yes drinking on ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

What is rationale behind banging on table during bentching?

There is one family that I occasionally eat with that has a minhag of banging on the table during Birkat ha-Mazon. I was wondering what reasons lay behind this custom. I do not know if this is ...
3
votes
2answers
249 views

Why do almost all Chabad shuls always use the same tunes for certain parts of davening?

I have noticed that at pretty much every Chabad shul I have ever attended, the same tunes were always used for certain parts of davening on Shabbos. For example, they all use the same tune for ...
14
votes
2answers
364 views

Stacking Seforim

Are we allowed to place less holy seforim on top of more holy seforim? I believe that the consensus is that you are only allowed to stack seforim in chronological order from top to bottom (e.g., ...
12
votes
2answers
263 views

Why do we say Layehudim Hayta Orah aloud?

In Havdalah, I noticed a virtually universal custom: when the one who is saying Havdalah reaches the Passuk of Layehudim Haytah Orah (ליהודים היתה אורה ושמחה...), those who are being Yotzei Havdalah ...
5
votes
2answers
83 views

What is an “iggeres”?

The Shulchan Aruch in Siman 690:17 brings down a minhag klal yisrael to fold the megillah like an iggeres (Esther 9:26,29) when reading from it. The Mishnah Berurah mentions that one should not pause ...
5
votes
4answers
261 views

Is cholent required?

Is making cholent on Shabbos a minhag that is so universal that it has in effect become required for Ashkenazim? Or, if I am correct that it is required (by at least some authorities) to have hot ...
3
votes
2answers
95 views

Which way does one turn first when saying the Oseh Shalom Bimromav?

Must one bow to the left first, then bow to the right...or can one bow to the right first, then to the left when saying the Oseh Shalom Bimromav? Also, is there a difference regarding the direction ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture

I've recently been looking into polygamy (having more than 1 wife), and had a few cultural questions. Was polygamy accepted at the time of David and Solomon? Were there any laws about it? Was ...
6
votes
2answers
474 views

Mizmor l'David (Psalms 23) at Shalosh Suedos

There is a common minhag (custom) to sing Mizmor l'David at Seudah Shlishis, the third Sabbath meal. It is common to sing this song three times in a row and I was asked this Shabbos by a friend why ...
5
votes
2answers
149 views

Do we say “Ma Tovu” each time we enter the synagogue?

There is a custom to say the paragraph “מה טובו” on entering the synagogue (see “Avodah Shebelev” Rabbi A Z Sternbuch, 5753, page 18). The idea (but without the possuk of “Ma Tovu”) is mentioned in ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

Putting on Tefilin one month before Bar Mitzva

Rabbi Shimon Eider Zatzal brings in his Sefer that the Minhag is to put on Tefilin from one to three months before the Bar Mitzva. To the best of knowledge there are three different schools of ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

Are there still American shuls that spit during Aleinu?

As I am sure many of you know, there is a historical practice of spitting during Aleinu. A discussion of the origin of the practice can be found here. I have davened at Conservative and Modern ...
7
votes
4answers
540 views

spitting in aleinu leshabeach

Does anyone know the origin of the custom to spit in Aleinu after the words שֶׁהֵם מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לְהֶבֶל וְלָרִיק? Where did it start? And in which seforim is it mentioned? I have seen in the ...
2
votes
5answers
322 views

Yotzros and Musaf for the 4 Parshios

Are there any Nusach Ashkenaz Shuls that say Yotzros or Musaf on the weeks of the Four Parshios?
5
votes
1answer
102 views

Brocho BEFORE going to the bathroom

I've heard from some lecture that some keep a minhag to have a special prayer before going to the bathroom. If there is such a thing - what is it and where to find it?
0
votes
0answers
64 views

Pesach: Kitniyos Plants

Vegans have a hard time getting enough protein on Pesach. Is the plant that grows from a kitniyos seed also kitniyos on Pesach? What if the seed is still attached?
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Mishloach Manos themes

Some people have a theme to their Mishloach Manos. Is there any source that discusses Mishloach Manos themes, either pro or con?
8
votes
6answers
517 views

Is there a Kabbalistic source for not walking with one's hands behind one's back?

I've heard from people that it says in Kabbalah that one shouldn't walk with one's hands behind one's back. Does anyone know the source?
9
votes
4answers
253 views

Is it required to knock on doors before entering?

Do we have to knock on people's doors before entering?
3
votes
2answers
255 views

Source for long payos

Where is there a source for having long payos ,and if there are sources what is the oldest source.? I am talking about the extra length besides for the halachic necessity. Like behind the ears or ...
5
votes
1answer
141 views

Why kiss Tzitzith?

Why do we kiss Tzitzith when making the Birchath HaMitzvah, reciting Shema', and after Baruch SheAmar (at least acc. to Minhag Ashkenaz)? An acceptable answer (for my purposes) would either a. ...
3
votes
3answers
202 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

Upsherin at ​​2

Why do Chernobyl* chasidim do upsherin at the beginning of the third year? ​* Including Trink, Skver, etc.
6
votes
2answers
255 views

Start of the Upsherin ceremony

When did it become popular to have a ceremony for a boys Upsherin, his first haircut when he reaches the age of three?
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Spilling water from a full cup? [duplicate]

When I've been to yeshiva, I've seen bochurs filling a cup with water or juice all the way and spilling a bit from the top in the trash can. At first I thought it was random but then noticed a lot of ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

Why would Roosevelt have taken off his hat at a Jewish wedding?

Believe it or not, this question is not Purim Torah. I read the following, strange passage in Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (Modern Library, 2011 page 147-8) where Teddy Roosevelt is quoted as ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

What are the rules for covering one's head with a talit for sefaradim?

There seems to be a bunch of different minhagim related to covering one's head with a talit. My question pertains to sefaradim. Are the rules different for married/non-married? When should you ...
3
votes
1answer
120 views

פ in German Sta"M Script

Does anyone know the German custom for the letter pey in Sta"m sofer? I know that the shape in Litvisch Bet Yosef is influenced by the Mekubalim of Tzfat (The Ari in particular) who said that the ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Who wears a talis on leil Shabbos?

Rabbi Chanina would don his talis gadol on erev Shabbos (Mas. Shabbos 25b, Rambam Hilchos Shabbos 30:2). While this has been practiced by individuals, is it today the practice of any particular ...
2
votes
2answers
148 views

Kissing a Sefer Torah as it passes

Some people in shul mark it as a sign of respect, as the Torah makes its way to/from the Aron Kodesh, to kiss it, and rush to get as close as possible. Others, given the cold season, think that this ...
2
votes
0answers
116 views

Siyum Mishnayos on Erev Pesach

Today I learned of the minhag to make a siyum bechorim only on gemara. I understand the logic, but is there a source for it? This came up because I'm scheduled to make a siyum on the Mishna (first ...
2
votes
1answer
276 views

Source for the Mitzvah Tanz

At a Chassidishe Wedding, there is a special dance done, known as the Mitzvah Tanz. Where is the source for this dance and what is the meaning behind it? Also, why is it not done at Litvish Weddings? ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

Saying Misod and Reshut (introduction) for piyutim, then skipping them

I have seen that many yeshivos (and recently, even some shuls) often say just Misod and the Reshus on RH and YK, and then skip the actual piyutim they are meant to introduce! This is even more evident ...
3
votes
1answer
95 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
0answers
74 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
4answers
7k views

Rules for Cutting Nails

My question about nail-cutting is whether each of the following is halacha, minhag, or old-wives' tales. Not cutting both fingernails and toenails on the same day. Not cutting nails at night (is ...
5
votes
1answer
233 views

Twelve Months of Mourning During a Leap Year

For those who are mourning a parent for the requisite twelve-month aveilus, would Adar 1 and Adar 2 count as two separate months towards the twelve? Or does one year mean a full year, i.e., from ...
6
votes
2answers
328 views

Wearing Gold On Yom HaKippurim

Besides for the minhag that one should not wear jewelry on Yom HaKipurim because of the "fear of the judgment" there is also the minhag to not wear gold (even as a decoration on a tallis or kittel) ...
6
votes
4answers
426 views

Peeling vegetables on Pesach

It is a minhag in Chabad to only eat vegetables that you can peel on Pesach. There is a possibility that either the wax coating on certain vegetables contains chometz or that certain processing of the ...
7
votes
1answer
109 views

Why Is the Possuk Read Backwards?

The verse in Bereishis 49:19 states: גָּ֖ד גְּד֣וּד יְגוּדֶ֑נּוּ וְה֖וּא יָגֻ֥ד עָקֵֽב Is is the Chabad Minhag to read this verse, followed by the reverse of it, as part of Krias Shema She'al ...
1
vote
1answer
132 views

Why 72-minutes for Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, and Northern European Jews?

I am a Swedish Jew and want to know why we wait specifically 72 minutes after eating meat/flaysh before eating miklhigs. A lot of people say it is an hour, but my understanding is that a one-hour ...
6
votes
1answer
82 views

Do we wave or shake the lulav?

I have observed two ways of moving the lulav. 1) Moving the lulav to and fro and incorporating a sudden movement at the beginning and the end to cause the leaves of the lulav to rustle. 2) Waving ...
13
votes
4answers
269 views

Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed - why do we whisper it?

Why do we say Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed in Kriyas Shema in a whisper?
2
votes
2answers
92 views

What's with the Bima?

When the Bais Hamikdash stood, on Yom Kipper the kohen gadol read from the torah facing the people and on Sukos the king read from the torah facing the people, why does our Bima face the Aron? If ...
3
votes
3answers
169 views

Why do we step before Shemona Esrei?

Why do we take steps before the Shemona Esrei?
12
votes
1answer
176 views

Would a widower observe Yahrzeit after remarriage?

If a Jewish man's wife died, he would naturally observe the Yahrzeit on the anniversary of her death. Would he continue to do so if he remarried? My question comes from reading about the Yahrezeit ...
3
votes
0answers
61 views

Why are challot traditionally braided?

What is the reason that challot are traditionally braided? When did this tradition begin?
4
votes
1answer
178 views

What's the connection between Tu B'Shevat and (Bukser) carob?

Tu B'Shevat many people eat many different types of fruit. Growing up and continuing until today there seems to be a Minhag to specifically eat (bukser) carob. Is there some sort of special connection ...