Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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9
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5answers
368 views

Why do we say Vhu Rachum before Maariv?

Before Maariv, we say the pasuk "Vhu rachum yichaper avon..." (Psalms 78:38). Why?
1
vote
1answer
124 views

Ashkenazi Haftarah Custom

On Wikipedia, there is a list of haftarot. For Ashkenazim, the list gives four customs: Ashkenazi, Polish, Frankfurt, and Chabad. Considering that Polish and Frankfurt sum up the major non-chassidic ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

Differences during Omer for Sepharadic and Ashkenazi customs

What are the main differences (besides the wording of the Omer-counting itself) between the Sepharadic and Ashkenazi customs during Omer?
3
votes
1answer
360 views

Why do children wear crowns on Shavuot?

Here in Israel, the tradition is for young children to wear flower crowns to celebrate Shavuot. (Along with the obligatory white shirts.) See my twins: Why is this? Is it related to Shabbat 88A ?? ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Chasan cigarettes - source & reason

Years ago it was a popular custom that a Chasan would give out cigarettes to his friends. Nowadays some still do so, however as smoking has become less popular so has this Minhag. What is the source ...
2
votes
0answers
73 views

Why is the term שליט“א more commonly used for a rav than the term נ”י?

As a follow up to this answer to a M.Y. question, why is שליט"א more commonly used after a notable Rav's name than the term נירו יאיר (or נ"י, as an abbreviation)? A wise person, such as a rav is ...
0
votes
0answers
7 views

About candle lighting [duplicate]

What is the meaning of the minhag of lighting a candle for leiluy nishmat or refuah shleima? Today for example we light a candle for rabbi shimon
9
votes
2answers
309 views

Not to give a divorce (Get) in the month of Iyar

I heard today in Shul that there is a Minhag not to give a divorce in the month of Iyar. What is the source and reason for this Minhag?
3
votes
1answer
113 views

Where is “no Tachanun” on Pessach Sheni documented? [duplicate]

In almost every Siddur I have checked - as well as all the Luach's around, it says not to say Tachnun on Pessach Sheini - 14 Iyar. Yet I cannot find a source for it, nor in Shulchan Aruch neither in ...
15
votes
4answers
267 views

Why is Lag Baomer celebrated the way it is (or at all)?

Why do we celebrate lag baomer with bon-fires and bow-and-arrow. Why do we celebrate lag baomer at all?
6
votes
1answer
129 views

Besides eating matzah, what do we do on Pesach Sheini today?

I had been under the impression that Pesach Sheini was only a historical and future observance -- that is, when the temple stood/stands. I didn't make the connection that it might also be special now ...
1
vote
0answers
76 views

Do any communities permit music during Sefira?

As many of our users are likely aware, there is a custom to refrain from listening to music during the Omer period. However, the operative word here is "custom." As such, I have been wondering whether ...
6
votes
1answer
98 views

When is a Person Obligated to Lead the Davening?

On various occasions I have heard somebody in shul declare that they have a chiyyuv to daven - an obligation, that is, to serve as sheliach hatzibbur: to represent the congregation in their leading of ...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

Kids waiting between meat and milk

There is a rabbinic obligation to wait between meat and dairy though customs are diverse regarding how long to wait, ranging from 1 hour (for those who come from e.g. Dutch communities) to the more ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Textual difference between Psukei DeZimra and Psalms 96

What is the origin of the custom to recite in pesukai dezimra יעלוץ השדה וכל אשר בו instead of יעלוז שדי וכל אשר בו which we are familiar with from Kabbalas Shabbos (psalm 96)?
3
votes
0answers
72 views

What is a Woman's Tallit

I read in a book about Czechoslovakian Jewry that in Southern Germany there was a custom for women to wear a "Woman's Tallit" on Yom Kippur. A reference to it also appears in The Encyclopedia of ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Where does the custom of a second “bar mitzvah” at 83 come from?

I have noticed more 83 year old men celebrating their second bar mitzvahs, and cannot find any source for this. Is it a new custom? Does it have any basis in pre-20th century practice?
16
votes
4answers
718 views

Stripes on a Talis

Is there any reason for the stripes on a talis? Does the color of the stripes have any significance?
2
votes
0answers
38 views

Saying “emes toraseinu ha'kedosha vehatehora”

There is a minhag of the tzibur saying the above phrase while the one who is oleh la'Torah says the second brocho. This was the minhag of my father z"l who was born in Satmar. I have been asking ...
3
votes
0answers
85 views

5 Iyar vs. 10 Adar

In Jewish tradition, we generally commemorate the ends of wars rather than their beginnings (e.g./i.e. Chanuka, Purim). The commemoration of the rebirth of Israel as the Jewish homeland in the past ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Is it a problem to eat animal leftovers

Is it true that there is a Jewish custom not to eat after animals (even if not mius issue (ie the person eating does not know)) ie if a rat ate a peace of a fruit I can't just cut off that part and ...
6
votes
2answers
119 views

Are the letters on a dreidel supposed to be in any particular order?

This is a little silly, but... Should the letters on a dreidel be in order? Like, if you turned it right to left, should it go nun - gimel - hey - shin, because of "nes gadol haya sham"? Or are there ...
10
votes
3answers
227 views

Accepting parents' minhagim

Since the Conservative movement tends to take most of its minhagim from the German tradition due to its German roots, most Conservative Jews in America tend to practice the German customs (such as ...
8
votes
1answer
357 views

Why are challot traditionally braided?

What is the reason that challot are traditionally braided? When did this tradition begin?
10
votes
4answers
842 views

spitting in aleinu leshabeach

Does anyone know the origin of the custom to spit in Aleinu after the words שֶׁהֵם מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לְהֶבֶל וְלָרִיק? Where did it start? And in which seforim is it mentioned? I have seen in the ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

Can a shul choose to forgo establishing any set minhag regarding music restrictions on sefira?

My shul has a caterer that follows the halachot dictated by the shul's rav. During the ben hashamashot (bet. mincha 1st day & ma'ariv 2nd day Yom Tov), while discussing the laws of the Sefira ...
0
votes
0answers
407 views

Costco after Passover

There is a Rabbinic prohibition on benefiting from chametz that was owned by a Jew over Passover. In recent years, an issue was raised in the New York area that [a major distributor of grocery items ...
3
votes
2answers
230 views

Which Knot to Use on Tefillin Shel Rosh

When I was a child, I saw that all people had the same knot on their Tefillin Shel Rosh - a Double Daled (Ashkenazi community). Recently I saw a comment that even those who grew up with a Double ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Congregation sings parts of the Shiroh before the reader on the seventh day of Pesach?

Is there a recognised minhag for the congregation to sing selected verses from the “Song at the Sea” (Shiroh) Shmos 15 (1-18) before they are read by the reader on the seventh day of Pesach? Related ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Non-Hebrew Seder Songs

In the haggadot which belonged to my grandfather ז”ל, there is a note on the translation for Adir Hu which mentions that they follow an old Yiddish version of the song, rather than the modern German ...
6
votes
1answer
78 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
214 views

“Nisht Um Shabbos Geredt”

I've heard that there are people who say the Yiddish phrase נישט אום שבת גערעדט ("Nisht um Shabbos Geredt" before discussing business topics on Shabbos. The phrase literally means "not on [the] ...
1
vote
3answers
132 views

What is the practical purpose of karpas?

I have had discussions with people who insist that karpas must be a small piece of diced vegetable (i.e. smaller than a ke-zayith le-Humrah), dipped in salt water, and nothing more. When I then ask ...
7
votes
2answers
124 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

Chevra Kaddisha string locations

I recently did a tahara and I was curious about where a lot of the practices came from and what the meaning behind them is. One thing we did was we tied strings around various locations of the ...
-5
votes
1answer
86 views

Can a woman be part of the decision regarding a shul's minhag?

There are a few areas in davening where each shul has it's own minhag (custom). For example, whether to say Hallel the 1st two nights of Pesach, in shul. Some shuls have a ritual "committee" that ...
8
votes
1answer
79 views

Are there any communities in which the oleh still leins his own aliyah?

It used to be that when someone got an aliyah, they would read their own Torah portion, and not have it read for them by the ba'al kriyah. This practice seems to have fallen by the wayside, as every ...
5
votes
1answer
89 views

Chevra Kadisha knots

I recently did a tahara and I was curious about where a lot of the practices came from and what the meaning behind them is. One thing we did was that when we tied any knots, we twist-wrapped the two ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Can fiances take on each other's customs before marriage?

Can two people who are engaged take on each other's customs before marriage? At what point in the marriage process do they take on each other's customs?
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Singing shoshanas yaakov on Pesach

I have seen that some sing Shoshanas Yaakov on Pesach to commemorate the death of Haman. Can someone please direct me to an authoritative source for this custom? See references to it here: http://...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

How should one respond after each plague is named during the seder?

In the Haggadah, the Ten Plagues are recited, and a drop of wine is spilled for each one. However, in the Tunisian tradition (and maybe others), after the reader chants each plague, the others ...
4
votes
0answers
94 views

Custom of singing Aishes Chayil before kiddush

It seems that not everyone [always] sang/sings Aishes Chayil with Sholom Aleichem at the Friday night Shabbos table. When and how did the custom of singing Aishes Chayil at the table begin? Who ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

“Roasted on fire” does not equal “oven roast”. Why no “oven roast” for Seder? [duplicate]

This is a follow up to this question. The answer there explains that ther was confusion / concern about roast. The verse regarding the Pesach lamb says: Exodus 12:9: כִּ֣י אִם־צְלִי־אֵ֔שׁ but ...
7
votes
1answer
157 views

Examples of considerations when bringing gifts to religious Jews

I am interested in examples of things one might into account when buying gifts for religious Jews of various stripes. I always have trouble buying gifts myself because I am worried that something I ...
6
votes
1answer
196 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
401 views

תהלת ה' ידבר פי - what's the origin?

In between the 'Shir HaMaalot' that precedes birchat hamazon and the the blessings themselves, there are a few psukim beginning תהלת ה' ידבר פי . Some people add these, and some don't. What's the ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

3 kugels for 3 sifrei Torah?

When I was younger (yes, that did happen to me - ONCE :-) the Rav from the shul I attended would include a suggestion whenever there was a Shabbat where we use 3 Sifrei Torah, such as will occur this ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Corn as kitniot

Traditionally, most if not all observant Ashkenazim refrain from eating corn and corn-products on Passover because of their traditional prohibition on eating kitniyot (legumes) for fear of eating ...
4
votes
1answer
76 views

When did the custom start to fast Tannis Esther on 13th Addar?

This question is not a duplicate of Tannis Esther reason because it is not a question of the reason just about the time. In Megilat Taanit it is mentioned that people should not fast on the day ...
2
votes
0answers
152 views

What is the source for the custom of kissing one's hand after shaking another's?

There is a common custom in Israel (mostly in Sfardic communities) that after you shake someone's hand, you kiss your hand. Generally people kiss their thumb or first two fingers, in my experience. (...