Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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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?
9
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1answer
252 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, ...
7
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3answers
203 views

Is it permitted to have a boy under barmitzvah age sing Anim Zemiros?

Is it permitted to have a boy under barmitzvah age sing the Shir Hakavod (or Anim Zemiros)? Why is it not like any other part of davenning where we use someone over barmitzvah?
4
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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
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1answer
261 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 ...
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2answers
221 views

Different customs for Ashkenazic and Sephardic weddings

What are the major differences that one would notice between a Sephardic and an Ashkenazic wedding?
5
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1answer
117 views

Significance to the number of stripes on a tallis?

For Orthodox Ashkenazim, the most prevalent custom is to wear a tallis gadol with black stripes. In my area, I've noticed that the vast majority (of non-Chabadniks) wear tallesim with five thick black ...
3
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1answer
95 views

Blessings on Birthdays

There is apparently a practice among contemporary Jews of giving out blessings on one's birthday. Is there any source for this in the Jewish tradition?
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2answers
90 views

Koishele on Lulav

Is there any significance, halachic or otherwise, to the holder (or koishele) for the hadassim and aravot on the lulav? Who is the earliest source to describe it? Who (other than Chabad) doesn't use ...
6
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1answer
105 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 ...
4
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1answer
43 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
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4answers
227 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?
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2answers
132 views

Right side or left side of the mechitzah

Within the Orthodox tradition, is there a minhag for the correct side of the mechitzah men and women should sit? Right side of the mechitzah for men, left for women; or left side of the mechitzah for ...
4
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1answer
359 views

Paying a Shadchan

The Minhag in Klal Yisroel is to pay a Shadchan for introducing husband and wife. #1 - What is considered the norm to pay a Shadchan? #2 - Suppose a Shidduch breaks. Does the Shadchan have to return ...
3
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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
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2answers
105 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 ...
7
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2answers
168 views

Why does a siyum exempt one from taanit bechorot?

The custom in many communities I have been to is for there to be a siyum on a mesechta on the day of taanit bechorot. All first borns who would otherwise have to fast attend the siyum and are thus ...
4
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1answer
73 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 ...
3
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5answers
656 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
104 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
174 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?
3
votes
1answer
105 views

What if there is no object for use in a mitzva?

There is a story I once heard about the Ben Ish Chai examining the only known etrog available in Iraq. Despite the great need for it, he declared the etrog passul for use and no one could fulfill the ...
3
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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?
3
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
6
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1answer
534 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?
2
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1answer
207 views

Jewish dervishes and “Darkeihem”

This photo shows a pair of Jewish dervishes. It has been going around the Jewish-oriented pages of the internet and social media lately, and it got me wondering: would this be a problem of following ...
3
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2answers
143 views

Decorating of the Beitzah

Somebody told me in Israel some have the custom of decorating the egg for Pesach (like an Easter egg). Wouldn't that be considered chukas hagoyim or avoda zara?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What makes something “chukat goyim?”

One of the most famous examples I have heard is that one should not even tie one's shoes like the non-Jews do in times of persecution. That seems rather excessive. What if the Jews started doing some ...
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0answers
70 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
512 views

Why don't we bow “correctly” during tefillah anymore?

According to the Gemara (Megillah 22b), and according to the RaMBa"M (Hil. Tefillah 5:13) (and apparently R' Avraham ben HaRaMBa"M was adamant), when we pray we are supposed to bow down ON our knees ...
3
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0answers
46 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 ...
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3answers
5k 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 ...
2
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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 ...
2
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0answers
63 views

Is there a source for giving charity in round numbers plus one?

This question asks about the (mostly?) Ashkenazic practice of giving charity in multiples of 18. Another custom I have observed is to give charity in round numbers + 1 e.g. $51, $101, $201 etc. This ...
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 ...
4
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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?
0
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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 ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Champagne and hechsher

I have heard (without a source) that some who were makpid to purchase only wines with hashgachot would consume wine from Champagne without a hechsher, probably because gentiles typically do not use ...
1
vote
1answer
135 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
114 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

Chabad custom not to have bar mitzva aliya shabbat morning

According to this question, the Annotated Tehillat Hashem Siddur (a Chabad siddur) encourages the Bar mitzvah boy to get his first aliya on Monday, Thursday, or Shabbat Mincha or Rosh Chodesh. This ...
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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?
6
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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
148 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 ...
11
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3answers
1k views

Minhag of married women shaving during marriage

The custom for married women to shave their heads is, evidently, a fairly widespread custom that exists at least amongst (certain) Hasidim. I have heard a variety of supposed, non-authoritative ...
9
votes
2answers
330 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
578 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 ...