Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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4
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2answers
210 views

דע לפני מי אתה עומד on the ark

In some shuls it says on the ark, "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omeid." Is there any source from which that comes?
4
votes
0answers
117 views

Height of havdalah candle = height of spouse?

I have seen havdalah ceremonies where a unmarried person is charged with holding the havdalah candle and is told to hold it at the height that s/he would want their spouse to be. What is the source ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

Who says the Mourner's Kaddish for a synagogue member who had no family?

If a synagogue member dies with no living family members remaining, who says the Mourner's Kaddish for them? Can anyone volunteer to say Kaddish for them?
4
votes
2answers
56 views

Saying kadesh and vehaya ki yaviyacha when donning on the tefllin

In most siddurim right after the berachot of the tefillin you will find the two parshiot "Kadesh" and "Vehaya ki yeviacha," which are also contained in the tefillin. Is there an obligation to say ...
7
votes
1answer
530 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
407 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

Why were some Jews called Yishmael? [duplicate]

Why is it that we find Jews (and even sages) by the name Yishmael? It seems rather strange that we would choose to name our children after someone who was the progenitor of a nation seen to be an ...
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0answers
25 views

Geirim and minhagim what should they do [duplicate]

What does a geir do regarding minhagim like kitniyos and the such? Would you take his nationality into consideration?
1
vote
1answer
175 views

Giving a child the same name as a living distant relative

The Ashkenazi custom is not to give one's child a name shared by another living close relative. How close is too close? Can you give a child a name possessed by his/her (living) cousin? Second cousin? ...
2
votes
0answers
69 views

Being Matir Family Mesorah

Does Hataras Nedarim help to be matir all of one's minhagim if the the one being matir has them in mind? For example: a sephardi wants to change his minhagim to ashkenazi ones.
5
votes
2answers
112 views

Call and response in Sephardic communal prayers

Why does there tend to be more call and response in Sephardi communal prayer in comparison with Ashkenazi minyanim e.g. saying pesukei d'zimra in unison. Also, during the repetition of the shemoneh ...
1
vote
0answers
71 views

Titles and prefixes for calling people up to the Torah

When people are called up to the Torah by name, often there is a title that goes with them, such as "ha-bachur" for a young man, "ha-rav" for a rabbi (and/or someone with semicha), and other such ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

When did the type of kippah worn become 'defining'?

Nowadays there is a mix of kippah styles within cities/communities/countries which can define which 'sect' you belong to and may even carry a political message. Was there a point in history where the ...
4
votes
0answers
66 views

Are there any name combinations that may not be used?

Are there any combinations of names that may not be given? There are many names which aren't commonly paired together but is there any reason not to or just common practice and preference?
5
votes
1answer
194 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?
5
votes
1answer
152 views

In a cemetery, when there is a headstone, what is the law or custom of walking OVER the “body” of someone buried there?

Our family recently unveiled the headstone on my mother's grave. Before the unveiling service, my elder brother told me NOT to walk over the grave of my mother. Through lack of space it was ...
1
vote
0answers
63 views

Eating gefrishte matzoh at the seder [closed]

Does anyone know of a Leipzig or Polish tradition to eat "gefrishte" matzah, matzah with raw eggs, at the seder meal?
2
votes
1answer
109 views

how does one not get lost in the details?

Halachah is very detail oriented and of course all of these details are important but sometimes it seems easy from time to time to get so focused on the specifics of the right way of how to so ...
4
votes
1answer
51 views

No longer prostrating after tefillah - sources?

Inspired by this question, this question and this answer, what I am looking for is an early source that makes reference to people no longer prostrating themselves after tefillah. If the source gives a ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

where to find an undershirt gartel?

Looking for a gartel that goes under the shirt to keep tzitzis straight but have only found the large ones that married men wear. where would one find the smaller thinner kind that can go under a ...
6
votes
1answer
259 views

Can you eat roasted meat on Pesach Sheni?

In my artscroll machzor it mentioned that there are those who have a custom not to eat any sort of roasted meat on Pesach so that we not be confused and think that we are actually eating the korban ...
6
votes
2answers
167 views

Adopting minhagim not from your mesorah

Is it appropriate to adopt minhagim that have historically not been observed by your community? Examples Ashkenazim pointing to the sefer Torah, usually with the pinky, during hagbah (after Krias ...
2
votes
3answers
126 views

Can you make an Upsherin during Sefira?

Suppose a boys birthday is 6 Iyar, which is on a date that all observe mourning practices in Sefiras Homer. For those that do not give a haircut to a child until the child is three, can they make an ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Is There a Jewish “Confirmation”?

While browsing some local Temples (Reform Congregations) here in my city, I noticed a site that listed "Confirmation" under the heading of "Life Cycle" on their site. I was puzzled. I know what Bar ...
8
votes
2answers
215 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
247 views

When Do We Finish Bowing in the Aleinu?

I have two siddurim, both of which have an indication referring to the beginning of a bow, but neither of which reference when to end this bow. At present I just end it whenever the translated ...
1
vote
0answers
13 views

Pirkei Avot cycle in Israel when Pesach starts on Shabbat [duplicate]

In 5775, Pesach begins on Shabbat. While those outside Israel observe the 8th day of Pesach on Shabbat, in Israel, because there is no 8th day of Pesach, it will be a "regular" Shabbat. This means ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

What is the Source for Peyos? [duplicate]

There is a custom to let the area of hair above one's ear grow long this is manifest in varying degrees, from small, barely noticeable locks behind the ears, to long, curled locks that come down below ...
0
votes
2answers
373 views

Why is rice banned on Pesach by those who don't eat kitniyot?

As requested in this previous Mi Yodeya answer, why is rice considered kitniyot? Pesachim 114b quotes R. Huna as allowing "beet and rice" on the Seder plate in place of the lamb bone and the egg. It ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

How did the custom to recite Shir Hashirim after the Seder arise?

It seems from here for example, question 148 that it is a custom to recite Shir Hashirim after the Seder. It says, According to the Midrash, Shir Hashirim is an allegorical song describing ...
2
votes
0answers
53 views

Where exactly should the amud be placed?

In some synagogues I have seen the amud (lectern) from where the chazan (prayer leader) stands to say the prayers, placed a few feet in front of the aron (cabinet) where the torah is kept or between ...
0
votes
2answers
110 views

By what time should I be completely finished cleaning my home and searching for chametz?

My community's calendar says to eat Chametz until 11:06AM, and to burn Chametz by 12:12PM, and to light candles at 7:36PM. Does this mean that I need to be completely finished with kashering my home, ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

Minhag and Kulot

Say I need to buy some retzuot or tzitzit strings and for some reason or another I don't know whether my family accepts avodat mechona or not. Is it typically acceptable to rule leniently according to ...
3
votes
1answer
223 views

Source for Raincoat under Chuppah

There is a minhag among some people in recent years to wear a raincoat under the Chuppah. What is the source of this minhag? When did this minhag start? And is there anyone who specifically says not ...
7
votes
2answers
168 views

Why does a siyum exempt one from taanit bechorot?

The custom in many communities I have been to is for there to be a siyum on a mesechta on the day of taanit bechorot. All first borns who would otherwise have to fast attend the siyum and are thus ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Why do we abbreviate the Jewish year to the hundreds column?

The current Jewish year is 5774 however it is popularly abbreviated as 774 - תשע״ד. I would like to know why this abbreviation was adopted. I realize that to write out the number 5,000 would require ...
5
votes
2answers
116 views

Double-black Retzuot [duplicate]

I sometimes see on the net and in person cases where people wear retzuot which are black on both sides, what is the rationale, if any, for doing so?
0
votes
1answer
131 views

Ashkenazic Rabbanim who hold Kitniyot are batel berov lechatchilah before pesach

Are there any Ashkenazic poskim who hold, like R.Yitzchak Abadi, that kitniyot are batel berov lechatchilah before pesach, thus allowing Ashkenazim to drink regular coke with corn syrup, for example, ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

Songs Under the Chuppah

The is a widespread wedding custom to sing a short benediction, מי אדיר‎, when the groom arrives under the canopy, and to sing מי בן שיח‎, for the bride as she arrives and walks around the ...
1
vote
2answers
262 views

What is the difference between sephardi and ashkenazi rituals? [closed]

I was wondering about the difference between sephardim and ashkenazim. I know there is a difference in the pronunciation. What about rituals? Customs? Etc etc.
1
vote
1answer
153 views

When do Yekkes first don a kittel?

I read on Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz's forums Wedding Minhagim that it is the German custom not to wear a kittel or sargenes under the chuppah. I know that it is worn on Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, ...
4
votes
3answers
200 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

Omitting the second half of bentching

I need some help finding sources for great people who left out the second half of bentching (i.e. everything from the harachamans and on, after the four blessings). Most people seem to have the custom ...
5
votes
1answer
309 views

What is the source for taanit dibur?

I recall meeting someone on Yom Kippur once who would not respond when I spoke to him. Instead he handed me a piece of paper which said that he was engaged in a taanit dibur, a 'fast' where that which ...
2
votes
2answers
76 views

Does anyone say not to make noise for Haman?

Here is the source that you should make noise at the mention of Haman's name. However, as I was listening to the Megillah this year it occurred to me how counterproductive it is as an act of erasing ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

What is the basic requirement for tzitzit knots?

There seems to be a lot of different ways to tie tzitzit knots. From the little I understand this is based on various symolism and numeric value (see this question/answer). I would like to know what ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

What's a Grammen?

A few years ago I participated in a Purim Se'udah at which rounds of humorous poetry were written and then recited in a sing-song chant. It was fun, and the tune rang familiar to me, but it was ...
2
votes
1answer
188 views

What is rationale behind banging on table during bentching?

There is one family that I occasionally eat with that has a minhag of banging on the table during Birkat ha-Mazon. I was wondering what reasons lay behind this custom. I do not know if this is ...
5
votes
2answers
91 views

What is an “iggeres”?

The Shulchan Aruch in Siman 690:17 brings down a minhag klal yisrael to fold the megillah like an iggeres (Esther 9:26,29) when reading from it. The Mishnah Berurah mentions that one should not pause ...