Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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10
votes
3answers
192 views

What side does someone with Situs inversus bang

For tachanun, al cheit, twice in selach lanu etc, we bang on our heart. My question is: if someone has Situs inversus, a condition where the heart is on the right side of the body instead of the left, ...
9
votes
3answers
569 views

Saying VaYhi Erev VaYehi Voker before Kiddush Friday night

The Minhag that many people have is to start Kiddush Friday night with VaYehi Erev VaYehi Voker before saying Yom HaShishi. I heard that HaRav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal did not say VaYehi Erev VaYehi ...
8
votes
9answers
371 views

When do you say a beracha on a minhag?

When lighting Hanukkah candles in the synagogue, we say a beracha "asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav.." on a minhag. Unlike kiddush in shul, and early counting of the omer in shul, nobody would say that one ...
6
votes
1answer
139 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
438 views

Saying “Elokim” when not referring to Hashem

People often say "Elokim" instead of "Elohim" when speaking in order to avoid taking God's name in vain. I have observed, however, that some people always substitute the word "elokim" for "elohim" ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
323 views

Modern nations and Umos Haolam

Where can I find a discussion about the roots of modern nations, in the Umos Haolam mentioned in the Torah and Chazal?
24
votes
5answers
372 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?
21
votes
3answers
298 views

Must EMTs and others rend Kriyah each time they see a patient die?

I was looking at Yoreh De'ah 40:5 (יו"ד סימן ש"מ ס"ק ה) and Moed Katan 25b (כה עמוד ב), which require Kriyah (garment-rending) for all who are there at the time of death. It would seem to me that an ...
18
votes
4answers
396 views

תהלת ה' ידבר פי - what's the origin?

In between the 'Shir HaMaalot' that precedes birchat hamazon and the the blessings themselves, there are a few psukim beginning תהלת ה' ידבר פי . Some people add these, and some don't. What's the ...
17
votes
2answers
213 views

The custom of adding a candle for each child

Many people, including myself, added or will add a candle on Friday night for each child that is born. Where and when did this custom originate?
13
votes
4answers
300 views

At what point do we reject a minhag?

I was learning the halachos of berachos on things that are ground up, and it seemed pretty clear to me that the blessing on chocolate should be ha'etz. I found discussion in some more contemporary ...
13
votes
3answers
395 views

I heard not to say “Good Shabbos” after mincha. Is it true, and what defines mincha?

I heard from somewhere that, on Shabbos, one does not say "Good Shabbos" after mincha. I am not sure whether it's in a halacha sefer somewhere (I tried looking) or just a minhag. First of all, is ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

40 minutes offset for candle lighting?

Several Zmanim apps are giving a choice on my "candle lighting offset". The default here is 40 minutes instead of the usual 18 minutes I've heard. Why 40? Why do I even have a choice? Does the fact ...
13
votes
2answers
797 views

Is it inappropriate to say Baruch Dayan Haemes on a Ben Noach? Why or why not?

Is it inappropriate to say Baruch Dayan Haemes on a Ben Noach? What about someone who may have been an oved avoda zarah? Someone who is definitely such? I'm asking because I've seen such discussion ...
12
votes
5answers
553 views

Should I be shuckling?

I was told that shuckeling (sp?) is an indication of the love-fear relationship that we have with God. You move forward showing that you want to be close to God and then backward out of fear of his ...
11
votes
2answers
162 views

Why kiss the tefillin by “poseach es yadecha”?

As mentioned in this question, there is a fairly widespread custom to kiss the tefillin at certain times during Shacharis, among them the parts of קריאת שמע that mention tefillin. One of these times ...
11
votes
1answer
152 views

Did shadchanim suggest the shidduch?

Today, the role of the Shadchan is, depending on your community, to suggest to the prospective match that they meet, to introduce them, to arrange their meetings, and/or to advocate / be the ...
11
votes
2answers
456 views

3 year olds lighting a shabbat candle

When my eldest turned three her male cousin also turned three. Many of her friends and her cousin were getting Tzitzit. She asked for her own. We explained that boys wear TzitTzit and girls light ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Infant seeing reflection in mirror

I have heard that some people do not allow a child to see his or her reflection in a mirror before they can speak (or say their name, possibly). Is there any traditional source for this practice?
9
votes
2answers
144 views

Are there any minhag and customs specific to Czech Jews and have they been documented?

I'm a baal teshuva with Czech Jewish ancestry. I have an interest in the minhag of my ancestors as well as in common cultural practices, and perhaps pass them on where I can. Have they been documented ...
9
votes
4answers
525 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
320 views

Who should walk the Chosson and Kallah to the Chupa?

At the Chuppah in some weddings I've been to, the father and father-in-law escort the Chosson and the mother and mother-in-law escort the Kallah. In others, the mother and fathers each escort their ...
8
votes
2answers
645 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
139 views

Why are the ends of Tefilin Retzuos cut on a slant?

I noticed than the end of my Tefillin Retzuos are cut on a slant. In the comments to this answer various reasons are postulated. What is the true reason?
8
votes
3answers
674 views

No Dairy on Pesach

Someone told me that there is a Minhag (by some) not to eat dairy the entire Pesach. I was wondering what the reason is?
8
votes
9answers
645 views

fish before meat - why?

To the best of my knowledge eating fish after meat has the same Halacha as eating meat after fish. You are supposed to eat a cracker and take a drink to seperate between them. Why is it most common ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Naming your child using a dead relative's initial

Is there a Jewish tradition of naming your child using the first letter of the name of a recently deceased relative?
7
votes
1answer
74 views

Are there any communities in which the oleh still leins his own aliyah?

It used to be that when someone got an aliyah, they would read their own Torah portion, and not have it read for them by the ba'al kriyah. This practice seems to have fallen by the wayside, as every ...
7
votes
1answer
228 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?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Ripping out a blade of grass by a funeral?

At my great-uncle's funeral today, all of the participants (except the mourners) were told to rip out a blade of grass and say a passuk (I don't remember which). Is this a Jewish minhag? If so, what ...
7
votes
6answers
844 views

The value of the daily study of Chitas (Chumash, Tehilim, Tanya)?

What's the value of learning "Chitas" compared to any other daily Torah study? Side question: If it's so important, why was it introduced only recently?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do we give tzedakah money to someone to pass along in Israel?

Reuven is planning a trip to Israel. Shimon, knowing this, gives Reuven money for tzedakah with the expectation that Reuven will distribute it when he gets to Israel. Reuven and Shimon both ...
7
votes
1answer
273 views

Can you sing during the sheva brachos?

I have been to weddings where, during the recitation of the seventh bracha under the chuppah, the congregation sings "asher bara...". Sometimes it is along with the one reciting the bracha and other ...
7
votes
1answer
570 views

Why do we cover the challot on Shabbos?

The answer I learned growing up was that "we don't want to embarrass the bread because we are first making kiddush" or some variation thereof. I later learned that is a zecher for the ma'n which fell ...
7
votes
4answers
599 views

Schlissel Challah

What is the source for the "Key Challah" Segulah (charm) that is said to bring Parnassah (prosperity)? And which is it: do you put the key in the Challah or do you make the Challah in the shape of a ...
6
votes
4answers
259 views

Cutting Challah on Shabbos

Is there a source for why many people (Ashkenazim) use a knife to pre-mark the challah where they will cut it before making the bracha on Shabbos?
6
votes
1answer
560 views

Why does Lubavitch eat in the Sukkah when it rains?

I have always heard that while we do not eat in the Sukkah while it rains, those of Chabad do. Why is this so? Found it on wikipedia too: Though the halakha doesn't obligate one to eat or sleep ...
6
votes
1answer
570 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?
5
votes
1answer
64 views

Kaparos with fish

In How to do kapparos with fish it discusses doing Kaparos with fish. Is anyone aware of any group or individuals that do Kaparos with fish?
5
votes
2answers
262 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?
5
votes
5answers
232 views

Shavuos and Malachim(angels)

We all know that there is a custom on Shavuos to eat dairy. One of the reasons given is based on a Medrash that When Moshe Rabbenu went up to Heaven to receive the Torah the angels complained and said ...
4
votes
0answers
59 views

Sitting when holding a Sefer Torah during Torah Reading

When there are two Sifrei Torah taken out on a particular Shabbas, the tradition in many shuls is to have the second safer Torah be held by by one of the congregants sitting down while the first one ...
4
votes
1answer
684 views

Blowing shofar at a wedding

Friends of mine are getting married this Sunday and asked me if I would blow shofar at the chuppah. I have been ba'al toke'a probably 2/3 of the years since my bar mitzvah (2002) in three different ...
4
votes
2answers
787 views

Chabad Minhag for Shalosh Seudos

Is it true that the Chabad custom is specifically not to wash hands for (and eat) bread for shalosh seudos, and, if so, why?
4
votes
3answers
130 views

Green pretty shavuot?

Why is there a custom to hang up flowers and growing green things on shavuot?
3
votes
4answers
432 views

Are women allowed to drive?

Prompted by this article is there any basis for not allowing woman to drive? Can this practice even be termed a 'minhag'? If so, what is the motivation behind this 'tradition'? As quoted from the ...
3
votes
2answers
119 views

Staying up all night and suffering on Yom Tov

The Maharal in his commentary on the Haggada (Gevurot Hashem) explains the significance that the Tannaim were relating the story of the Exodus until they were informed by a student that it was time ...
3
votes
2answers
344 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?
2
votes
2answers
62 views

Is there a practice of palming face by “shin” shape?

A friend of mine from B7 said that there's a custom to palm one's face during Kriyat Shma with shin-shaped hand. It looks like a Cohanim's hand shape, but it forms a shin-like shape. Who's custom is ...