Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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69 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?
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3answers
108 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 ...
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4answers
260 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 ...
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2answers
132 views

What to do if the minhag of my ancestors changed

Does anyone know what to do if the minhag of one's ancestors was changed within such a timeframe that the old minhagim should still be remembered? My great-grandfather "converted" from a Galizianer ...
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1answer
71 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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3answers
250 views

Do sefirah mourning restrictions occur on Isru Chag?

Many North African Jews celebrate the day after Pesach (which is Isru Chag) with the festive Mimouna. Does such a party atmosphere conflict with the customs of mourning during sefirat haomer? Could ...
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1answer
106 views

Wrapping up Tefilin to form dove's wings

Gemara Shabbos 49a mentions a story about Elisha Baal Kenafayim who was saved by his Tefilin turning into dove's wings. Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 28:4 says the Minhag is to wrap the Tefilin like ...
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1answer
194 views

Customs surrounding fasting when a sefer torah falls to the floor?

Based on this question I would like to know what the earliest source for fasting when a sefer torah falls comes from? Is is true that if a person is in the room but turns away so as not to see it ...
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1answer
140 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. ...
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2answers
654 views

Hardboiled eggs and salt water at the Seder

I've participated in only 3 different families' Passover Seders, so my experience is limited in terms of different families' traditions. How widespread is the custom of eating a hardboiled egg in ...
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1answer
173 views

Eating faux-Matza Before Pesach

Mishna Berura 471:2:12 says there are those that do not eat Matza starting Rosh Chodesh Nissan. May one eat Matza that is Chometz?
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3answers
708 views

wearing a hat instead of a kipah

If I want to do something and/or go somewhere and partake in something that is permissible, but I just don't want anyone to hassle me about being Jewish, am I allowed to wear a baseball cap or some ...
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2answers
98 views

Special Grace After Meals in a House of Mourning

The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh De'ah 379 outlines a special version of Bentching to be recited in a House of Mourning. I have been in several houses of mourning and have never seen this done. Has anyone ...
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2answers
156 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?
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3answers
580 views

May one swim on Shiva Asar B'Tamuz?

May one swim on Shiva Asar B"Tamuz? If not, why not? (sources)
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1answer
278 views

Putting a talis on during Shabas mincha

Why (in some synagogues) does the shatz (leader) put on the talis during mincha of Shabas, before "Vaani s'filasi", rather than before the start of mincha? As Gershon Gold notes in his answer, Shaare ...
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3answers
145 views

When to count Sefira

Why do some count the Omer before Aleinu and some after?
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2answers
152 views

Yemenite Sefira

What is the source for the custom that Yemenite Jews people count Sefira in Aramaic? and why do they do it?
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2answers
627 views

Why should A Capella music be allowed during Sefirah/Three Weeks?

Background: I'm not sure how I feel about: a)the custom to refrain from listening to recorded music during Sefirah or b)the assumption that recorded a cappella music is not considered instrumental ...
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3answers
183 views

Not sitting in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres

Shouldn't the obligation to sit in the Sukkah also fall into the category of Sefeika D'yoma? If so why do some not eat in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres?
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3answers
396 views

Source of Burning Lulav with Chometz

What is the source of the custom to keep the Lulav untill Erev Pesach and burn it with the Chometz?
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2answers
328 views

Bracha on an indirect view of lightning

The general practice is to make a bracha on the sky illuminating from lightning without actually seeing the bolt. Does anyone know a source for this? Is this the most appropriate practice? Also, ...
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2answers
270 views

What does Yarmulka mean?

What does the word Yarmulka mean?
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4answers
162 views

Why do we stand when we do toward the end of Tachanun?

In the Tachanun prayer, it's traditional to sit for most of the core of Tachanun, but then to stand three words into the last paragraph, between "Va-anachnu lo neida'" and "ma na'aseh" ("And we won't ...
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3answers
135 views

Giving Blessings at a Wedding

I have noticed a custom among wedding-goers to receive blessings from the bride and the groom at weddings, usually when they come over to the new couple's table for well-wishing during the meal. Why ...
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2answers
102 views

Why do we do anything for Pesach Sheini?

According to my handy Luach, on Pesach Sheini, some people omit tachanun (I haven't looked into any source texts to see who does) and according to the Wikipedia page, some eat matzah but I'm wondering ...
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2answers
311 views

Drinking Water after Eating Fish

Is anyone familiar with the practice of not drinking water after eating fish? I know that something has to be used to clean your mouth before eating meat, but somehow I got the idea in my head that ...
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2answers
150 views

Is there a custom not to eat roasted chicken at the Seder?

Does the custom to refrain from eating roasted meat at the Seder extend to chicken, turkey, and any other fowl one might serve roasted?
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1answer
211 views

Which Names of Hashem can/can't we say [in regular conversation]?

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (6:3) writes that one shouldn't say Hashem's name except by way of praise or blessing whenever required, or when learning (Torah) [see this answer and this question ] Indeed, ...
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4answers
293 views

Shalom Aleichem to angels?

The zemer "Shalom Aleichem" is obviously addressed to angels. The Tur (OC Siman 3) gives a short text to says before entering the bathroom: התכבדו מכובדים משרתי עליון, etc. (also obviously addressed ...
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1answer
185 views

Song while dressing the Torah

As we dress the Torah in my congregation and many congregations I've been to, we sing (from the siddur's liturgy on putting away the Torah): Mishlei 3:18,3:17 עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים ...
4
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1answer
763 views

What is the source of the Birkat Habayit?

What is the source of the text of the Birkat Habayit: I've seen them written on a hand, and some come with garlic, multi-colored beads, and some other strange objects. Inspired by: ...
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1answer
129 views

When we say “עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף” at which point do we kiss the tzitzis?

When we say Krias Shema, the widespread custom (referred to in OC 24 (4) Rema), is to kiss the tzitzis when we say the word, “צִיצִת”. When we come to the words, עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף (which Singer ...
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1answer
257 views

What is the source for the garlic and sugar at a Pidyon HaBen?

At a Pidyon HaBen I have observed that the Minhag is to put sugar cubes and garlic cloves on the tray with the baby. What is the source of this Minhag? And why specifically sugar and garlic?
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1answer
383 views

Tzitzit tying: the real way

1)There are two authentic ways to tie the Sisit (Tzitzis) that have sources. Maran writes to make 7-9-11-13. First question: why does he write this is he then says Gimtarya Hashem is One, when in fact ...
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2answers
137 views

What is the origin of the shofar sounds?

There are 4 major shofar sounds, or notes, sounded on Rosh Hashana: Tekiah: A long, continuous blast. Shevarim: Three short "broken" blasts. Teruah: A rapid series of nine or more very short blasts. ...
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2answers
407 views

No kaddish for a sister?

I have heard that some (e.g. Chabad?) have the practice not to say kaddish for one's deceased sister. Can anybody confirm this? What might be the reason for this? I had thought there is an ...
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1answer
67 views

What is the earliest source mentioning that Jews put out greenery on Shavuos?

What is the earliest source mentioning the Minhag that Jews put out greenery on Shavuos?
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1answer
180 views

Aleinu L'Shabeach - Nusach HaTefila

The words "Sheheim Mishtachavim Li-Hevel Voryk Umispallelim El Eil Lo-Yoshiya" - Was this originally part of Aleinu and then removed, or was it added later to Aleinu? Why was this done?
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1answer
620 views

What's the earliest source/discussion on green beans being “kitniyot” (prohibited legumes) on Passover?

My understanding is that most Ashkenazic communities today don't eat green beans on Passover, treating them as kitniyot (a bunch of legumes for which the custom arose to avoid on Passover). What's the ...
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3answers
236 views

Donut and its deeper significance

What is the significance for eating Donuts on Chanukah Beyond the Oil connection?
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4answers
537 views

Do bananas make the best karpas?

For karpas at the seder, one is supposed to eat a food on which the blessing "borei pri ha'adama" is made. However, many of the most commonly used food items for karpas (e.g. parsley, raw onion, raw ...
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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 ...
3
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1answer
92 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 ...
3
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2answers
107 views

Hyphenating the word Hashem

I've seen the word Hashem hyphenated ("Hash-m"). Is there any valid reason for this practice?
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2answers
117 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?
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1answer
79 views

What's done on Zos Chanuka?

I know people call the last day of Chanuka "Zos Chanuka" (taken from Bamidbar 7:84, read on that day). How is it specially commemorated if at all? I've heard it is, but know no details. I'm not ...
3
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1answer
158 views

What is the significance of the shtreimel?

What is the esoteric or hashkafic significance of the shtreimel? Some things I have seen but without details or sources are that it is like a crown, that the number of pelts involved have numerical ...
3
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1answer
123 views

Source for checking talis over shoulder

What is the source for checking one's tzitzis while the talis is over one's right shoulder: isn't the halacha just to check the knots and strings? Can't the checking be done on a table?
3
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3answers
187 views

Conventions for derivation of Hebrew names

How is a Hebrew name chosen for a person whose legal name is English (or other vernacular)? Is the name chosen based on phonetic resemblance to one's English name, a resemblance in meaning, or mere ...