Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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15
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7answers
928 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
44 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
175 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
117 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
516 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
711 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
229 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
68 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
298 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

ב (bet) mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

What are the correct ways to pronounce the ב (bet)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the time of the giving of the Torah ...
6
votes
2answers
319 views

How can all the great rabbis' practices be accepted by Hashem? [duplicate]

This may seem like a child's question, but it's one I never thought to ask as a child, so I never learned the answer. Rabbinic traditions — even within continuous geographical lineages amongst ...
2
votes
0answers
74 views

Unmarried man teacher of children

I see from The Shulchan Aruch Even Ezer 22.20 and from Shulchan Aruch Harav, Hilchois Talmud Torah, perek 1 halocho 13 that single man should not be a teacher of children (under 13) becouse of the ...
5
votes
2answers
110 views

Standing/Sitting on Motzei Shabbat for Vihi Noam and Uva LeTzion

I have noticed that some people are particular to stand on Motzei Shabbat for Vihi Noam and Uva LeTzion, whereas others are particular to sit. Is this really something significant? Whose opinion is ...
0
votes
1answer
114 views

Is one permitted to change his minhagim? ashkenaz to sefardi

If a person grew up sefardi and wanted to change his minhagim to ashkenaz (including pronunciations) is it permitted to do so?
2
votes
4answers
327 views

Why aren't we Mahmir (stringent) with just Mikvah when ruling leniently on a technicality in Niddah cases?

I know from experience and some introductory study of the laws of Niddah that rabbis typically try to find leniencies wherever possible in issues of family purity. In many instances, a Posek will rely ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Chickpeas (Arbes) at a Shalom Zachor

Why do we serve Arbes - chickpeas at a Shalom Zachor?
5
votes
3answers
717 views

Are (opaque) stockings under a skirt considered enough to cover ervah?

This is a question about skirt lengths. From this answer: The halacha is that "tefach b'isha ervah" - a tefach (about 3.5 inches) uncovered on certain parts of a woman's body is ervah - ...
3
votes
1answer
473 views

Custom of standing when a tzaddik passes by

I am asking this question in light of a situation I witnessed recently: When the senior rabbi of our shul--a very righteous man who was keeping his wife's yahrzeit that night--walked past the ...
2
votes
0answers
27 views

Origin for different styles for congregational singing in El Adon and Lecha Dodi [duplicate]

In most Nusach Ashkenaz shuls that I have attended, the congregation and chazzan sing Lecha Dodi and Kel Adon together. In most Hassidic minyanim (they are Nusach Sefard. I say "Hassidic" since the ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

Nose rings allowed or not allowed?

The Torah states that Eliezer gave Rivka a golden nose ring...Based on the Torah it is allowed. What I want to know is why people do not accept this and discourage it.
8
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the source not to eat the endpiece of the challah?

At the shabbos meal, why do some people (such as Yodeyan NBZ) not eat the end piece of the challah? Some people don't even just start at the middle, they avoid the end-piece altogether.
0
votes
3answers
75 views

What dress is expected at a post-service event in a synagogue? [closed]

A non-Jew is invited to a birthday party to be held in the synagogue after services. What level of dress is expected? Would one be expected to dress as for Shabbat services, or would a more casual (...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

According to Chazal, does Beged Kefet matter?

The Hebrew alphabet has 22 written characters (plus 5 specialized characters for the ends of words - ם, ן, ץ ,ף, ך) generally assumed to be each originally associated with distinct sounds. The ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

ד mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

The gemara (Brachoth 13b) records that one is supposed to draw out the ד of "אחד" in the first verse of the Shema: .תניא: סומכוס אומר: כל המאריך באחד מאריכין לו ימיו ושנותיו אמר רב אחא בר יעקב:...
0
votes
1answer
154 views

Do Sephardim observe any of the pre-Tisha B'av customs when the observance of Tish'a B'Av is postponed? [duplicate]

Wikipedia states: The last nine days of the three weeks—which are also the first nine days of the month of Av, culminating in the Tisha B'Av fast—constitute therefore a period of intensified ...
1
vote
0answers
245 views

Can a convert choose the Teimani (Yemenite) minhagim?

From what I know, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Teshuva Shu"T Yachaveh Das Chelek 5 Siman 33) writes that someone who converts in Eretz Yisrael must take on the Minhagim of the Sephardim. However, according to ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

Wrapping tefillin to create letters

When we wrap, there seems to be a prevalent custom to incorporate the shapes Dalet, Yod and Shin in the strap on the hand/arm (depending on one's custom (discussed in Sefer Ta'amei Haminhagim page 13 ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Why do some people wrap their Tefilin around their arms 8 times?

I have seen people who wrap the Tefilin 7 times around their arm and some that wrap it 8 times around their arm. Why do the people who wrap it 8 times do so?
2
votes
0answers
38 views

May one make tahara (washing the dead) on a person who doesnt keep mitsvot

One makes tahara on a dead man or woman which includes washing him and for some being 'dipped' in a mikva. May one do this on someone who is considered a 'rosho' like for not keeping the torah or ...
3
votes
4answers
434 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
240 views

Wearing a gartel and a belt?

For those who hold by wearing a gartel for davening (for separating the upper and lower body), is it necessary when already wearing a belt?
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Minhag saying Shema after Aleinu

Shalom! I heard some Biala chassidim saying the posuk of Shema Israel after completing the prayer of Aleinu Leshabeyach. Where does that tradition come from?
2
votes
0answers
85 views

ג (gimel) mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

From a halachik perspective, what are the correct ways to pronounce the ג (gimel)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the ...
9
votes
2answers
147 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

א mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

What is the correct way to pronounce the א (aleph)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the time of the giving of the Torah ...
5
votes
2answers
299 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

Lo sisgodedu by varying practices of heiche kedusha?

In a minyan (quorum) that is doing heiche kedushe with the (inevitable?) scenario that some mispallelim (ones praying) are following the Rama and waiting till after the chazzan's kedusha to begin ...
5
votes
3answers
367 views

Standing for whole of Lecha Dodi

Certain families in my shul have the minhag to stand for the entire Lecha Dodi. I asked them why, but they do not know the source of the minhag. Does anyone know what the source of this minhag is?
1
vote
2answers
82 views

Why was a wedding in Jerusalem conducted differently to in the UK?

At a recent wedding in Jerusalem, I noticed the following differences from the practice I have got used to in the UK. (I realise this question could be asked to justify UK custom in the face of the ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

Is it wrong to ask for financial help after a personal loss?

Well now that I see this is a good site, with no rude people. I shall ask my question. I lost quite a lot of important things in an apartment fire (no insurance) so .. I set up a gofundme thing (now ...
2
votes
1answer
43 views

What is Ruaḥ HaShem?

When recalling someone who has passed (in a shi'ur or Devar Torah), I have heard many say "Ruaḥ HaShem teniḥenu/ah beGan 'Eden" (רוח ה' תניחנו/ה בגן עדן). 1) What is "Ruaḥ HaShem" (literally, the ...
3
votes
3answers
515 views

Kissing a Sefer Torah as it passes

Some people in shul mark it as a sign of respect, as the Torah makes its way to/from the Aron Kodesh, to kiss it, and rush to get as close as possible. Others, given the cold season, think that this ...
6
votes
2answers
287 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 d'...
8
votes
2answers
126 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?
3
votes
2answers
123 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 ...