Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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6
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5answers
372 views

Is there any source that says that women should / should not get drunk on Purim?

The prevalent מנהג is that women do not get drunk on Purim. I assume this due to tznius (modesty) concerns. Is there any ancient or recent source that explicitly discusses women not/yes drinking on ...
6
votes
2answers
209 views

reason for black lines on wool talis katan

What is the reason why wool talis katanim have black lines on them? Why don't talis katanim of other materials have them also?
6
votes
1answer
327 views

When did “Zal” give way to “Zatzal”?

Inspired by this answer and it's comments. Early on, it was standard to refer to great Rabbis who had passed away with the appellation "Zal" - "zichrono/ah livracha "May his/her/their memory be a ...
6
votes
1answer
152 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
295 views

Is there a custom to color eggs on Lag Baomer?

I heard from an old Lithuanian/Polish Jew (frum from Lithuania/Poland). He says that he had a custom to eat colored eggs in his shtetl, and everyone did it. Is this custom documented anywhere, and ...
6
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2answers
213 views

Why a Beitzah on the Seder Plate?

Why do we use a roasted (maybe?) egg on the Seder Plate to represent the Festival offering?
6
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1answer
111 views

All these verses to say before havdala

Before saying the blessings relevant to havdala on motzei shabbos, we (Ashkenazim) include a bunch of p'sukim: "הִנֵּה אֵל יְשׁוּעָתִי אֶבְטַח וְלֹא אֶפְחָד כִּי עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ יְהוָה וַיְהִי ...
6
votes
1answer
108 views

Pounding the pavement WITH LEAVES?

Is hitting the Hoshanos on the ground a universal practice? And what is the source for this custom?
6
votes
2answers
254 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
527 views

Why do the laws of kitniyot still apply today to Ashkenazi Jews on Passover?

How did the tradition start? Why is it still around today? What is the basis for this Halacha (הלכה)?
6
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1answer
132 views

Why Start Pirkei Avos With Kol Yisroel?

Why do we start off saying Pirkei Avos by first saying the Mishna from Sanhedrin "Kol Yisroel"?
6
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1answer
204 views

Washing Kohen's Hands

Following kedusha during mussaf on a day when there is birchas kohanim (duchening), the Leviyim and Kohanim assemble at the sink and a Levi washes each Kohen's hands. What procedure of hand-washing ...
6
votes
6answers
570 views

Bedikas Chometz - 10 pieces of bread

In Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 432:2 the Rama says that the Minhag is to place bread in such a place that the searcher can find it. Both the Be'er Hataiv and the Mishna Berura say that according to the ...
6
votes
3answers
192 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

Why 2 candles for yom tov

For Shabos, there is a custom to light 2 candles: one for shamor and one for zachor. Shulchan aruch harav 263.1: ‏…אחד כנגד זכור ואחד כנגד שמור…‏ I understand that on ...
5
votes
4answers
159 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?
5
votes
1answer
307 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
160 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
106 views

How do you prepare a ram's head for Rosh Hashana night

One of the Simanim brought to eat on Rosh Hashana is a Ram's head. It isn't very popular, I assume due to availability, but one year they had them (well, a lamb's head) in the local store, but I was ...
5
votes
2answers
646 views

What's the source for naming children after Alexander the Great?

I know many Jews whose actual bris-given name is Alexander, and this has been a popular name even among great tzaddikim of the past (such as R. Alexander Ziskind). I've heard a legend (mentioned on ...
5
votes
3answers
150 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
232 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
78 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?
5
votes
1answer
183 views

What is the source for a Bar Mitzva seuda?

What sources are there for our minhag of doing a Bar Mitzva Seuda (meal), and do the sources state that the seuda must specifically be done on the day of the Bar Mitzva (or the night of)? And is this ...
5
votes
2answers
663 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
345 views

Minhag not to learn Torah on the night of Nitel (Who and where)

This related question explains what this minhag is and a couple of reasons for it. I was wondering to what extent is this minhag practiced today apart from Chabad (see Hayom Yom - 17 Tevet)? Do all ...
5
votes
1answer
265 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
383 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
376 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
189 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?
5
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
403 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?
5
votes
2answers
118 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
512 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
997 views

May one swim on Shiva Asar B'Tamuz?

May one swim on Shiva Asar B"Tamuz? If not, why not? (sources)
5
votes
1answer
375 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
165 views

When to count Sefira

Why do some count the Omer before Aleinu and some after?
5
votes
2answers
178 views

Yemenite Sefira

What is the source for the custom that Yemenite Jews people count Sefira in Aramaic? and why do they do it?
5
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2answers
781 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
343 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
320 views

What does Yarmulka mean?

What does the word Yarmulka mean?
4
votes
1answer
261 views

What defines “hard cheese” [duplicate]

I grew up with the minhag that after "hard cheese", one must wait for 15 minutes before one may eat meat. However, the question often arises as to what qualifies as such in terms of halacha and ...
4
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
126 views

Why not say tachanun until 2 Cheshvan?

It's recorded in most siddurim I've used that some people have the custom to skip tachanun on Isru Chag (the day after Sukkos), and start again the day after, while others don't resume saying it until ...
4
votes
2answers
90 views

Koishele on Lulav

Is there any significance, halachic or otherwise, to the holder (or koishele) for the hadassim and aravot on the lulav? Who is the earliest source to describe it? Who (other than Chabad) doesn't use ...
4
votes
3answers
196 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 ...
4
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2answers
182 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?
4
votes
2answers
125 views

Naming a child after two relatives

I once heard Rabbi Shmuel Niman, Mashgiach Ruchani of the Chafeitz Chaim Yeshiva, say that he had "recently learned" that it is improper to give a child parts of the names of two relatives. For ...
4
votes
1answer
208 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
votes
1answer
136 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 ...