Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

0
votes
1answer
100 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
votes
0answers
38 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
134 views

Why put Psalm 130 right before barchu?

I've seen the custom quoted in many siddurim to recite Psalm 130 (שיר המעלות ממעמקים), with the Ark open, between ישתבח and ברכו during עשרת ימי תשובה. This particular Psalm was chosen because it's ...
8
votes
2answers
115 views

Why do we say עושה השלום during yamim nora'im?

I'm struggling to find a reason/meaning behind saying 'עושה השלום' with a 'ה' at the end of amidah and during kaddish for the yamim nora'im period. I have heard (unverified source) that there is ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Are Sephardic Jews allowed to dress up in costumes on Purim?

The custom of dressing up in costumes on Purim originated from Ashkenazic communities in Europe and has become a popular custom today for Ashkenazim (cf. Rema in Shulkhan Aruch Orach Chaim 696:8). ...
1
vote
1answer
62 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
2
votes
1answer
90 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
261 views

How/why does kaparot work?

The ritual of kaparot [lit. atonement], which is usually done just prior to Yom Kippur (usually the day before), where one waves a chicken or an [unspecified] amount of money over one's head in a ...
1
vote
0answers
42 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
58 views

Why begin selichot on a Sunday rather than on a date?

We ashkenaz start selichot on a Sunday. Sunday is a day of the week. Usually we start events on a given day of a given month (e.g., rosh hodesh, rosh hashanna), or after a given number of days ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

The hupa itself, people holding or self standing, square or circle

I was told it is a segula to hold the 4 sticks of the hupa (square) so it seems it is preferred But now I see a new (to me) minhag that they have fancy self standing ones, sometimes in the shape of a ...
9
votes
2answers
251 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
168 views

When and why did we stop wearing sackcloth?

When and why did we stop wearing sackcloth in times of mourning and other times of distress (e.g., when fasting for rain)? (I presume sackcloth was quite uncomfortable.) Sackcloth is mentioned in ...
1
vote
2answers
47 views

After the Men of the Great Assembly established the 'Amidah', was it an obligation to recite it before the destruction of the Temple?

On Megillah 17b : Rabbi Yochanan said, others say it was taught in a Beraita, that 120 elders including many prophets established the eighteen blessings in the order that we have today. Before the ...
9
votes
2answers
319 views

Where does the concept of “shirayim” come from?

Please explain the concept of shirayim (literally, leftovers) wherein the followers of a chassidic Rebbe will receive portions of his food to it, these leftovers are considered holy or special in some ...
0
votes
0answers
94 views

Chabad What a groom should do?

From the fourth point of this letter igros kodesh 26 pg 222 (additional sources brought there 1 and 2) I understand that the groom should not take care of the wedding but should be learning... What I ...
4
votes
2answers
468 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
votes
1answer
73 views

Source in Hazal for holding sisith during qiryath shema`?

Is there a source in Hazal specifically for grasping the (front) two ssissith during the recitation of the shema`? If not, where does it stem from and what is the purpose? Thanks. Kol tuv.
7
votes
6answers
538 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
247 views

Zecher L'Churban - Why a plate at Tenayim and a glass at the Chupah?

When a person gets engaged and married there are various things that we do as a Zecher L'Churban. At the Tenayim (whether done immediately or at the wedding) we break an earthernware plate, at the ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Why begin eating with the bottom challa on Friday evening? [duplicate]

Why do we begin eating with the bottom challa on Friday evening, and only then; not on Shabbat morning and not on holidays (unless they fall on Fri evening)?
6
votes
1answer
142 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
46 views

Mezuzos on an “eruv”

What we colloquially call an "eruv" is actually intended to be a halachic doorway (tzurath hapethach) to count as a partition delineating a reshuth hayachid (private domain). As such, every post ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Is there any significance to someone's non-Hebrew calendar birthday?

It is believed that there is a significance to one's Hebrew calender Birthday. Is there any significance for one's birthday on other calendars (such as the Gregorian calendar, as well as others)? It ...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

What is the source for lighting a candle for the whole year after the death of a close relative?

I am familiar with the idea of a yahrzeit candle. I have observed a custom of keeping a flame alight for the whole year (or maybe 11 months) after the death of a close relative. (When one goes out, ...
8
votes
1answer
143 views

Beer at a Shalom Zachor

There is a common custom I have observed to serve beer at a Shalom Zachor. This is also mentioned here with some speculation about the source. What is the source for this practice?
6
votes
1answer
62 views

Ashkenazi leniencies before shavua shechal bo

Ashkenazim extend the Talmudic prohibitions of shavua shechal bo tisha b'av (the week of the 9th of Av) to the beginning of the month. Are there Ashkenazi leniencies from Rosh Chodesh Av until shavua ...
4
votes
1answer
93 views

Source for Striking Self during Viduy

What is the earliest source for striking one's chest while reciting Vidduy?
2
votes
0answers
75 views

Should Ashkenazim say 'מוריד הטל' in Israel?

The Rema (114:3) brings the Tur who says that Ashkenazim do not say 'מוריד הטל' in the amidah: "Us, the Ashkenazim, do not commemorate the 'טל' [i.e. say 'מוריד הטל'], not in the summer days nor ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Kein Yehi Ratzon by Birchas Kohanim

The Minhag by most Shuls where there is no Birchas Kohanim and the Chazan just says the Birchas Kohanim is to say Kein Yehi Ratzon. Why do we say Kein Yehi Ratzon instead of Amein?
0
votes
0answers
90 views

Practice of burning or burying fingernail clippings

I've been reading recently about the practice of discarding of fingernails in a special way, usually by burning or burying. (Sources here) Please discuss this practice. Any information would be ...
1
vote
0answers
24 views

Shavua SheChal Bo when Tisha Bav is Nidcha (Pushed off) [duplicate]

When the fast of Tisha B'Av is pushed off from a Shabbos to Sunday do the minhagim of Shavua Shechal Bo apply for the whole week leading up to Shabbos (Since 9 of Av is shabbos) or is there ...
2
votes
2answers
319 views

Is there an 'Inyan of Upsherin for girls?

Upsherin is cutting a boy's hair at or about the age of three for the first time. Is there any 'Inyan (idea) of an Upsherin for girls? Why or why not?
2
votes
0answers
52 views

If Yom Kippur Katan has to exist, why isn't it ON Rosh Chodesh?

The practice of Yom Kippur Katan is held on erev Rosh Chodesh (by some) so that we can maintain the element of kapparah essential to Rosh Chodesh but not compromise the celebration of the day by ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

Semichath ge'ulah l'tfilah by Maariv with a minyan

The gemara in Brachoth emphasizes the importance of semichat ge'ulah l'tefilla (adjoining redemption to prayer): דאמר ר' יוחנן איזהו בן העולם הבא זה הסומך גאולה לתפלה של ערבית... ... For R' ...
15
votes
7answers
896 views

What is the source for the “Upsheirin”?

In some families/communities, little boys do not get their hair cut until they are three, and then there is a gathering for cutting their hair. The haircut is called an "upsheirin" or "chalakeh." ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

History of ḥalāqah/Upsherin (אפשערן/חאלאקה) [duplicate]

What are the earliest sources for these customs? i found mention of the custom amongst Sephardim of Eretz Yisrael in the Kether Shem Tob. But that only mentions it for Eretz Yisrael, and doesn't ...
4
votes
0answers
60 views

Arvei Nahal - species

Vayikra 23:40 provides the commandment to take up the 4 species on Sukkot: וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר כַּפֹּת תְּמָרִים וַעֲנַף עֵץ עָבֹת וְעַרְבֵי נָחַל וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם ...
5
votes
6answers
274 views

Why specifically an apple on Rosh HaShanah?

There is a custom of eating an apple dipped in honey on first night of Rosh HaShanah (among the other foods) as a sign that we should have a sweet year. Why is this done specifically with an apple and ...
7
votes
3answers
166 views

Why do many boys begin learning Gemara with Elu Metzios?

There is a popular custom for boys to start their Gemara studies with Elu Metzios (the 2nd Perek in Bava Metzia). The Gemara (Bava Basra 175b) does say that financial laws are conducive to becoming ...
11
votes
2answers
366 views

Why a formulaic greeting on ליל ראש השנה?

On Rosh Hashana night, it is customary to greet one another with "לשנה טובה תכתב (ותחתם)‏" (Rama 582:9, MB). People (in my experience) and machzorim (Rosh Hashana prayer books) treat this as ...
3
votes
5answers
115 views

When to say brocha when making a L'chaim

I have always been confused about l'chaims (toasts). At what point does one make the blessing on the drink? Which part--the "l'chaim" or the blessing--immediately precedes taking a sip? Usually when ...
2
votes
3answers
508 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
113 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?
7
votes
4answers
702 views

What practices are affected by a belief in demons?

Inspired by R' Slifkin's new monograph, Wrestling with Demons, and acknowledging the fact that the existence of sheidim and other things magical in nature is an age-old dispute, I am wondering about ...
8
votes
1answer
116 views

Earliest Sources for Custom of Not Shaving from 17th of Tammuz

What are the earliest sources for the custom of not shaving from the 17th of Tammuz? The Shulchan Aruch (OC 551:3) only mentions this only in the week of the 9th of Av. שָׁבוּעַ שֶׁחָל בּוֹ ...
7
votes
1answer
228 views

Where does the custom to spill off from a drink come from?

I had a Lubavitcher classmate in high school who used to spill off from his cup whenever he would drink anything. He claimed it was a minhag. What is the reason/source for this practice?
4
votes
1answer
66 views

Where should the stone left on a grave come from?

I will be traveling for an unveiling soon and intend to leave a stone at the grave. Since I will be traveling I have to ability to bring the stone from where I live or to find a stone near the ...
8
votes
2answers
294 views

Direction of Tefillin Winding

Why do some people have the custom to wind the Tefillin-Shel-Yad towards themselves, while others wind it away from themselves? What is the reason behind these two customs, and which sects of Judaism ...