Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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7
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1answer
125 views

Wrapping up Tefilin to form dove's wings

Gemara Shabbos 49a mentions a story about Elisha Baal Kenafayim who was saved by his Tefilin turning into dove's wings. Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 28:4 says the Minhag is to wrap the Tefilin like ...
7
votes
1answer
113 views

Is the Haftarah a Minhag?

Is reading the Haftarah a Minhag? I know that the practice was instituted when we couldn't publicly read torah, and then it was kept. Does that make it a Minhag?
7
votes
2answers
179 views

How do we operationally define kitniyos?

I've heard/read much debate on whether certain plants qualify as kitniyos, such as snow peas and quinoa. What exactly halachically defines "kitniyos?" is it based on what was popular in 13th century ...
7
votes
1answer
112 views

Sefer Torah enclosures

The Torah scrolls of Ashkenazim have a very different look than those of Sepharadim. Ashkenazim just roll the parchment onto two poles, and read it in a horizontal position; the Sepharadim install the ...
7
votes
1answer
125 views

Kaparos for a pregnant woman — why the extra chicken?

From Sidur Tehilas Hashem, Sidur Rav Amram, and Nitei Gavriel Hilchos Yom Hakipurim 10:20 you take additional chickens for Kaparos for a pregnant lady in order to cover the fetus. What sin (or sins) ...
7
votes
2answers
279 views

Start of the Upsherin ceremony

When did it become popular to have a ceremony for a boys Upsherin, his first haircut when he reaches the age of three?
7
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2answers
99 views

Half Aleinu outside a shul

Has anyone heard of the minhag to say Aleinu only until "Al ken Nekave Lach" (only the 1st paragraph) if one is not praying in a synagogue? I've been told a number of times about this practice in ...
7
votes
1answer
150 views

Is there anyone today who only wears Rabenu Tam t'philin?

Is there anyone in our times who ONLY wear t'philin made according to the shitta of Rabenu Tam - to the exclusion of "Rashi" t'philin?
7
votes
1answer
171 views

Origin of the nine days

I just learned a gemara (taanit 30a) that seems to pretty clearly state that the mourning for tisha b'av starts the beginning of the week that tisha b'av falls out on, and ends with tisha b'av itself. ...
7
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0answers
111 views

Minhag of bothering the chazzan on Simchas Torah

I have seen the custom of bothering the chazzan during the musaf service on Simchas Torah. I have seen people tie the chazzan's gartel to a chair, or try to move the chazzan to a diffrent place. I ...
7
votes
1answer
92 views

Sleeping at the Kotel on Tisha B'av

This Tisha B'av morning I was at the Kotel for shachrit, and I noticed a whole bunch of people sleeping there. I'm not talking about people who nodded off during slichot due to low blood sugar, I'm ...
6
votes
6answers
568 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
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, ...
6
votes
5answers
369 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
4answers
1k views

Wearing a Kittel at the Seder

I grew up with my father wearing a Kittel at the Seder. My father wore a Kittel at the Seder immediately from when he got married. Over the years I have heard that some people do not wear a Kittel the ...
6
votes
1answer
257 views

Speaking while wearing Tefillin

Is there a real halachic source for the widespread practice not to speak while wearing tefillin? Of course, one is required to keep his mind on the tefillin, and may not get drawn into conversations ...
6
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2answers
541 views

Source of Burning Lulav with Chometz

What is the source of the custom to keep the Lulav untill Erev Pesach and burn it with the Chometz?
6
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2answers
194 views

How/why does kaparot work?

The ritual of kaparot [lit. atonement], which is usually done just prior to Yom Kippur (usually the day before), where one waves a chicken or an [unspecified] amount of money over one's head in a ...
6
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4answers
528 views

Peeling vegetables on Pesach

It is a minhag in Chabad to only eat vegetables that you can peel on Pesach. There is a possibility that either the wax coating on certain vegetables contains chometz or that certain processing of the ...
6
votes
4answers
314 views

Kissing Tzitzis during Shema

There are those that kiss their Tzitzis during Shema at Shacharis as per Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 17:7 and the Kaf HaChaim 18 and there are those that do not. What is the source and reason for those that ...
6
votes
2answers
341 views

Is there a minhag for a chassan and kallah to hold hands after the chupah?

I have been to many weddings where the chassan and kallah hold hands after the chupah on their way to the yichud room. It seems like a widespread (minhag?) thing that everyone does, even by couples ...
6
votes
2answers
222 views

Bal Toisif on the Four Minim

It seems that there exists a Minhag (a practice of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe Zatzal) of adding extra Hadassim or Aravos (Hashanos) — I am uncertain which, maybe both — to the standard 4 ...
6
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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 ...
6
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3answers
339 views

Why do Sephardim perform kaparot?

The common custom of Sephardim is to do kaparot before Yom Kippur. This is despite the Shulchan Aruch discouraging the practice (O''C 605:1): מה שנוהגים לעשות כפרה בערב יום כיפורים לשחוט תרנגול על ...
6
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2answers
499 views

Eating by one who doesn't separate glass

Some, mainly Ashkenazim, hold that glass dishes must be separated between milk and meat. Some, mainly Sefardim, do not. May the former eat on the latter's glass dishes?
6
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2answers
209 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
107 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
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4answers
612 views

Kiddush cup handoff

Why do some Jews (Sephardic, Hasidic, et al.) place the kiddush cup into the hands of another?
6
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4answers
177 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
783 views

Wearing a gartel

Where did the minhag of wearing a gartel come from?
6
votes
3answers
373 views

Misreading a k'suva

The k'suva text varies slightly depending on whether the bride is a virgin, independent of whether she has been married previously. (For one thing, the amount of money mentioned in it is different; ...
6
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4answers
426 views

What siddur do Satmerer Chasidim use?

Many Chasidic groups have a particular siddur that is used by most in that group. Does Satmer have such a siddur?
6
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4answers
1k views

Hardboiled eggs and salt water at the Seder

I've participated in only 3 different families' Passover Seders, so my experience is limited in terms of different families' traditions. How widespread is the custom of eating a hardboiled egg in ...
6
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3answers
376 views

Who says the Ribbono shel Olam in Birkas Kohanim?

I've "seen" many Talmidei Chachamim not saying the Ribbono shel Olams following each bracha of Birkas Kohanim. At least, I hear them chanting with the Kohanim from start to finish. Are these tefilos ...
6
votes
4answers
210 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
270 views

Not sitting in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres

Shouldn't the obligation to sit in the Sukkah also fall into the category of Sefeika D'yoma? If so why do some not eat in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres?
6
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2answers
515 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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2answers
222 views

Saying korbonos

Do you have to say korbonos? If so, why is it not said with the shaliach tzibbur?
6
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2answers
96 views

What are the major regions relevant to Ashkenazi minhagim?

Motivating this question are the instructions in the ArtScroll Siddur for the two versions of kel erekh apayim, said on weekdays before taking out the sefer torah: one is identified as “נוסח אשכנז, ...
6
votes
1answer
246 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
4answers
280 views

Is cholent required?

Is making cholent on Shabbos a minhag that is so universal that it has in effect become required for Ashkenazim? Or, if I am correct that it is required (by at least some authorities) to have hot ...
6
votes
2answers
392 views

What is the source for the Kallah's circling the Chasan 7 times?

What is the source for a Kallah (bride) to circle her Chasan (bridegroom) seven times at their wedding?
6
votes
1answer
196 views

Minhag of saying Selichos only before Rosh HaShanah

There is a minhag to only say Selichos before Rosh HaShanah and not during Aseres Yemei Teshuva. I know in Chabad this is in the minhag. Is this minhag practiced anywhere else? Where does it come ...
6
votes
3answers
374 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
795 views

What does biting off the Pitum have to do with Pregnancy?

I recently read that it's a Segulah (others put it as a minhag) for a pregnant woman to bite off the Pitum of the esrog on Hoshana Rabbah for an easy labor. (please correct me if I misunderstood it) ...
6
votes
1answer
441 views

Why does Lubavitch eat in the Sukkah when it rains?

I have always heard that while we do not eat in the Sukkah while it rains, those of Chabad do. Why is this so? Found it on wikipedia too: Though the halakha doesn't obligate one to eat or sleep ...
6
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1answer
276 views

Yemenite shofar not from sheep

I've heard that Yemenite Jews follow the Rambam for halacha generally, and Wikipedia concurs. The Rambam writes that one must use a sheep's horn as the shofar on Rosh Hashana. Shulchan Aruch is less ...
6
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3answers
474 views

When to say Hamapil

In the bedtime shema, some siddurim have the bracha of Hamapil printed immediately before the paragraph of shema, whereas others have it printed at the very end of the bedtime shema prayers. What is ...
6
votes
1answer
199 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
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2answers
136 views

Repeating Seder HaKitores

Why do Nusahos Ari, Sefard, Edot HaMizrah, and Ashkenaz of Eretz Yisrael repeat the order of the kitores (incense offering) at the end of Shaharis every day and why does Nusah Ashkenaz of Hutz LaAretz ...