Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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12
votes
1answer
173 views

Mizmor L'Toda with Melody

The Shulchan Aruch in Orach Chaim 51:9 rules that "The Psalm of Thanksgiving [i.e. Psalm 100] should be recited with a melody, for all songs are destined to fall into disuse, except for the Psalm of ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

Ashkenazi Haftarah Custom

On Wikipedia, there is a list of haftarot. For Ashkenazim, the list gives four customs: Ashkenazi, Polish, Frankfurt, and Chabad. Considering that Polish and Frankfurt sum up the major non-chassidic ...
9
votes
1answer
307 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
47 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
votes
4answers
273 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?
3
votes
2answers
107 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?
6
votes
1answer
133 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
31 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
votes
2answers
128 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
89 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
216 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?
4
votes
2answers
131 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
1k 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
1answer
142 views

(Tefach) Wide Gartel

Some use a very wide gartel. A friend of mine mentioned an inyan (Judaism-sourced idea) that the gartel should be wider than one tefach. Can someone source this inyan that the gartel should be (more ...
3
votes
1answer
65 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?
6
votes
1answer
137 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
56 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
55 views

Where can I find the minhagim of Algeria?

Is there a compilation of all the minagim of Algeria, especially for the Setifian custom?
0
votes
0answers
83 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
77 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
55 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
118 views

Are the letters on a dreidel supposed to be in any particular order?

This is a little silly, but... Should the letters on a dreidel be in order? Like, if you turned it right to left, should it go nun - gimel - hey - shin, because of "nes gadol haya sham"? Or are there ...
2
votes
2answers
75 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
322 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
50 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
248 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?
1
vote
3answers
198 views

Why isn't it considered idol worship to give respect to the torah?

When the Sefer Torah is brought out of the ark, everyone stands up and kisses it. On occasions such as simchat torah and hoshana rabbah people dance around the Torah. To an outsider these actions can ...
1
vote
1answer
155 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
163 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 ...
6
votes
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
201 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
368 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
76 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
661 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
488 views

What does a marriage proposal look like?

Most of us are familiar with the (American? Secular?) image of a proposal. The man kneels and says "will you marry me?" and so on. But what does an Orthodox proposal look like? I'm interested in any ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

what is the source of reciting ledovid boruch

What is the source for reciting ledovid boruch and lamnazeach at mozei shabbes before mairiv? In the mishna berurah it is only cited as minhag but without a source.
6
votes
1answer
189 views

May a non Ethiopian Jew celebrate Sigd?

Ethiopian Jews recently celebrated their festival of Sigd, which involves reaccaptence of the Torah, communal fasting and feasting, and prayers. Is it acceptable for someone of a Minhag other than ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
231 views

Which takes precedence - dina d'malchuta or halacha? What about minhag yisrael?

A more practical ramification of Is a ban on government workers wearing religious symbols a gezeirat hamalchut for which one would be obligated to give up his life? If the law of the land (dina ...
7
votes
1answer
133 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
469 views

Minhag to wear wedding ring on the right hand

I don't have much background on this question--it's simply that I've seen some married Chabad women wearing their rings on the right hand. Why? Is it because the right hand is considered "preferable" ...
5
votes
1answer
278 views

Minhag for married women to cover their hair in bed

I know(1) there is a practice in Chabad for married women to wear a tichel in bed (i.e., with their husbands). I would not be surprised if this is the same in other Chasidic groups, if not in other ...
8
votes
2answers
934 views

How do you know when to make Chacham Harazim if you can't count Jews?

As I understand it, "Chacham harazim" is the bracha we make upon seeing an assembly of more than 600,000 Jews. I'm not clear on the exact detail of this law/tradition, but I also know we are not ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Minhag Tradition of Ashkenaz

Looking for a book that discusses minhag Ashkenaz in detail with sources. I am specifically interested in minhagim that were practiced in the Oberland of Europe.
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Inserting a paper with one's request in between the stones of the western wall [duplicate]

I once heard a rabbi say that there is an ancient custom (i.e. minhag) to insert a paper with ones bakashos (requests) in between the stones of the western wall. Where is the source of this minhag? ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

Pointing the pinky at v'zos hatorah [duplicate]

By v'zos hatorah (i.e hagbah) I have seen people point their pinky at the sefer torah. Is this a minhag or did someone just make it up? Where did this minhag come from? Does the Shulchan Aruch, ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

use the bathroom as a changing room

from shulchan aruch orach chaim 2 mishna brura there and shulchan aruch orach chaim 239.2 (davka feldheim translation 2: THE LAW REGARDING PUTTING ON CLOTHES mishna berura 1. "...For this reason, ...
1
vote
2answers
115 views

Is a Jew allowed to be annoyed about a minhag?

I heard that Minhag Yisroel is Torah, and that some Jews get annoyed about the minhag of Kitniyot. Should they try to stay away from that feeling? I understand the Rambam in hilchot daiot that a Jew ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

minhag means law? when in shulchan aruch

When the Ramo writes and "so is the custom (vchain nohagin)" do we understand that to mean that this is his ruling regarding the law or that he is not giving his opinion about the law but is just ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

What is the source for placing two menorot at the front of the shul, one on either side of the Aron?

Many shuls have menorot at the front of the shul on either side of the aron. I understand that basically this is a zecher l'mikdash. However, is there a source for the minhag to place specifically two ...