Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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8
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2answers
279 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 ...
8
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2answers
114 views

Lifting Torah during Bracha When Called for an Aliyah

I have noticed that while making the Bracha for an aliyah, many people lift the Torah when Hashem's name is recited. Is there a source for this?
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2answers
234 views

Why does the Chazzan bow when saying “Gadlu” holding the Torah?

There's a widespread custom for the Chazzan to bow, facing the ark, when reciting "Gadlu" with the Torah before carrying it away. The Aruch Hashulach (282:1) says that one should do this, but doesn't ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
8
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1answer
290 views

Why are challot traditionally braided?

What is the reason that challot are traditionally braided? When did this tradition begin?
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3answers
239 views

Which Tachanun should I say when davening in a minyan with a different Nusach?

I daven Nusach Ashkenaz but I often daven mincha in minyanim with a different nuasach. Should I say my ashekanzi tachanun or is there a minhag ha'mokom? Moreover I have noticed sefardim davening their ...
8
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1answer
313 views

When to close the ark after putting away the Torah

On shabbat morning when putting away the Torah, many chazzanim like to draw out different tunes for the verses recited then. Should the one honored with putting the Torah back wait until after the ...
8
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2answers
643 views

Why do some women light additional shabbat candles for the past weeks they didn't light?

Some women have the custom to light an additional shabbat candle for every week which, for whatever reason, they did not have a chance to light shabbat candles in the past. For example, if a woman ...
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1answer
121 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?
8
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2answers
554 views

Minhag not to view moon through a window?

I have a vague memory of being told not to gaze at the moon through the glass of a window. I think it had something to do with kabbalah. I know it's permitted to say kiddush levanah by looking at the ...
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11answers
337 views

Widespread American Minhag

What is the single most widely practiced minhag (religious Jewish practice that's not mandated by halacha) among Jews in the United States today? By "widely practiced" I mean practiced by the most ...
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6answers
1k views

Custom to refrain from eating meat at the Pesach Seder?

I recently heard from two separate people about a custom not to eat any meat at the Seder (i.e. only fish and chicken are eaten). This was surprising to me, as the minhag mentioned in the Mishnah, ...
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4answers
664 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
569 views

Walking around the house after shiva

I'd heard something about how some people, when getting up after the week of "sitting shiva" (mourning), take a walk around the outside of their house before going back to "normal" life. Has anyone ...
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2answers
858 views

Covering eyes when saying Shema Yisrael

When saying Kriyas Shema many have the custom of covering their eyes when saying Shema Yisrael. What is the reason this is done?
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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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6answers
683 views

Customary foods for the erev Yom Kippur meal(s)

Are there any customary foods to eat* at the meal(s) eaten on erev Yom Kippur? If so, what are they? *other than meat, which is mentioned in the answer to the linked question.
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3answers
226 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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2answers
564 views

Do women also wear white on Yom Kippur?

Is it customary for women to wear white clothing on Yom Kippur, or is it largely a custom men observe?
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5answers
334 views

Why do we say Vhu Rachum before Maariv?

Before Maariv, we say the pasuk "Vhu rachum yichaper avon..." (Psalms 78:38). Why?
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6answers
809 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?
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3answers
126 views

Why do we put out greenery on Shavuos?

Those that have the Minhag to put out greenery in the Shul on Shavuos, why do we do it?
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3answers
263 views

How to bow during Shemone Esre

During the Shemone Esre, we bend our knees and then bow. I have observed two ways of doing this. One is to bend the knees, then to straighten the knees, and then to bow at the waist. The other is ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the difference between dati, chasidish, and charedi?

How would one explain the distinctions between datim, chasidim, and charedim, especially to an American Jew who didn't know much about the Israeli religious spectrum? In particular, are all chasidim ...
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3answers
731 views

Being Shaliach Tzibbur in a Congregation with a different Nusach

In Yalkut Yosef OC 101:10 rules that a Sephardi who is davening in an Ashkenazi minyan should not daven Nusach Ashkenaz as shaliach tzibbur. He can only be shaliach tzibbur if the minyan agrees to let ...
7
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4answers
239 views

Is it possible to be chasidish without wearing the garb and keeping all the minhagim?

Can someone be chasidish (or a chasid) if they don't dress in a distinctively "Jewish" way or don't keep all the minhagim such as "cholov yisrael", saying tehillim on rosh chodesh, etc? Does it ...
7
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4answers
589 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 ...
7
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3answers
147 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 ...
7
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1answer
535 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 ...
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2answers
206 views

Standing during the Aseres HaDibros

There are people that always stand by Laining and people that always sit. Among those that sit there are those that stand at certain points, such as the Aseres HaDibros or the Shira, etc. Is it proper ...
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3answers
630 views

Cutting Tefillin Retzuos

As we know, the outside of the tefillin's retzuos (phylacteries' straps) must be black. Lately, I've noticed that the very end of the retzuah of my shel yad (tefillin of the arm) is cracking and ...
7
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6answers
489 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
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3answers
521 views

Ostrich eggs in Shul?

Kinyan L'Shabbos (published weekly by Hamodia) - July 18, 2012, page 11 has a fascinating article by Rabbi Avraham Y. Heschel regarding an ancient custom of displaying ostrich eggs in a Beis Knesses. ...
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3answers
420 views

What's the deal with all the washings?

Sometimes we wash with a cup, sometimes not; sometimes we wash twice, sometimes thrice; and not everyone agrees on method or pattern in all cases. Who says which ways we are supposed to wash, in ...
7
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1answer
123 views

Why do we do Hagbaah?

After "leining" the Torah, we pick up the Torah scroll to show everyone. Why do we do this?
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1answer
117 views

Moving Sefer Torah with Tallis (source?)

Often times, when someone will move a Sefer Torah from one place to another, on top of what the Sefer Torah is already normally covered with, he will put an additional covering of a Tallis-Gadol. ...
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3answers
205 views

Tachanun on Yahrtzeit

Where does the custom not to say Tachanun on a Yahrtzeit come from?
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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?
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2answers
1k views

What's the reason of using Yad in reading Torah?

I heard from a Bengali writing - just a single line that - Jews fear their God that much that they even fear to touch the God's word. Then I searched and found that Jews use Yad when they read Torah. ...
7
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3answers
710 views

Why do Lubavitchers fold their talisos under, on the shoulders?

A Lubavitch chasid wears his talis with the sides folded under, at the shoulders, bunching the side material under rather than over the material that lies on the shoulder (see an example). Why?
7
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1answer
428 views

Tallit with Wool Atara

The only tallit I know of that has an all wool atara is the Beit Yosef Tallit, which is marketed for Sephardim. Is there a specific source for this or is it simply being machmir to wear an all-wool ...
7
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3answers
390 views

Why don't we say Tachanun at Mincha on Erev Shabbat or Erev Yom Tov?

It says in the Rambam that there is a custom not to say Tachanun at Mincha on Erev Shabbos and Yom Tov. What is the reason for this custom?
7
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1answer
537 views

How Many Stones to Place on a Grave?

When visiting a gravesite, my Jewish relatives always place small stones on the gravestone as a showing of respect for the dead. They typically place one stone on the gravestone, but I find myself ...
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1answer
222 views

Explanation for couple not seeing each other before the wedding?

What is the source and reason for a couple not to see one another before the wedding?
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2answers
289 views

When do we start reciting Psalm 27?

Yesterday being the 30th of Av (and Rosh Chodesh Elul), prompted a question at shul: exactly when do we start saying Psalm 27—on the first day of Elul or the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul? Most ...
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1answer
204 views

wording of the invitation to birkas hamazon

I know some Ashk'nazim say rabosay n'varech, some rabosay mir velen bentschen, and some hertzi rabosay mir velen bentschen. (Any other forms?) Is there any particular reason given for one or another?
7
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3answers
144 views

What is the source for untying things before going under the chuppah?

At a wedding recently I saw that the grooms shoes were untied, someone explained to me that there is a custom to make sure there are no knots under the chuppah. Where does this come from?
7
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1answer
139 views

Is one allowed to eat foods that were grown from non-kosher materials?

There is a known story of how one time a person brought a giant carrot on Erev Pesach to the Belzer Rebbe (back in Europe) for Karpas. After the donor left, he said "burn it with the Chometz". As the ...