Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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12
votes
5answers
496 views

Should I be shuckling?

I was told that shuckeling (sp?) is an indication of the love-fear relationship that we have with God. You move forward showing that you want to be close to God and then backward out of fear of his ...
5
votes
1answer
51 views

Proper Hagba Procedure: Text Facing Table?

I recently was asked to be a magbiah. Before I came to the bimah, the chazzan turned the scroll so that the text was facing down (toward the table). So, when I grasped the atzey chaim and lifted it, ...
3
votes
1answer
190 views

Saying Misod and Reshut (introduction) for piyutim, then skipping them

I have seen that many yeshivos (and recently, even some shuls) often say just Misod and the Reshus on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and then skip the actual piyutim they are meant to introduce! This ...
2
votes
1answer
33 views

Is there any halachic basis for beating the aravot on dirt?

This Hoshana Rabba, the shul made everyone schlep outside to beat the aravot on open ground instead of the floor. Is there a reason for doing this other than keeping the floor clean?
6
votes
2answers
696 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
2answers
270 views

Should women kiss the Torah with their hand or with a prayer book?

When the Torah comes around in shul, is it preferable for women to touch it with their hand (and then kiss their hand) or with their prayer book (and then kiss their prayer book)? Presumably some ...
11
votes
3answers
555 views

How does laughing confuse the Satan?

Sefardim have a practice (custom?) to laugh during habdalah. When I asked the reason for this practice I was told that it was "to confound the satan". I assume it has something to do with ...
2
votes
0answers
55 views

Minhagim for removing tefilin on chol hamoed

I daven in a minyan with a significant number of people who don tefilin on chol hamoed. The way I have always thought the minhag was practiced was that the tefilin are removed before halel; however, ...
5
votes
2answers
60 views

Customs for waving arba minim three times in each direction

I get why we shake the arba minim in all directions, but why do some have the custom of shaking them three times in each direction?
6
votes
2answers
111 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Dating through the Rabbis?

Is there a custom in which a man approaches his Rav to act as a liaison between himself and a lady he is interested in in order to start the dating/courting process? Someone recently recounted to me ...
6
votes
3answers
279 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?
1
vote
0answers
51 views

In what order should someone face when shaking the lulav? [duplicate]

When shaking the lulav and etrog in 6 directions, is there a proper order? My ArtScroll (USA) siddur says to shake FRBLUD - forwards, right, backwards, left, up, down. In my shul, many people do ...
6
votes
1answer
71 views

Selichot origins

In what year (CE) did saying selichot in Elul begin? In what year were they made a standard addition to prayer books? Looking for an academic answer, not the yeshivahish one. And did Sephardim start ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

Do bangles have a Jewish origin?

Do the bangle bracelets often worn by as a custom of Jewish Syrian girls and women have any Jewish source?
10
votes
3answers
169 views

What side does someone with Situs inversus bang

For tachanun, al cheit, twice in selach lanu etc, we bang on our heart. My question is: if someone has Situs inversus, a condition where the heart is on the right side of the body instead of the left, ...
7
votes
6answers
415 views

Customary foods for the erev Yom Kippur meal(s)

Are there any customary foods to eat* at the meal(s) eaten on erev Yom Kippur? If so, what are they? *other than meat, which is mentioned in the answer to the linked question.
1
vote
2answers
91 views

Sephardim and Two Sifrei Torah

On a day when we take out 2 Sifrei Torah do the Sephardim put both on the bima and open one and read from it leaving the other closed? Or do they put only one on the bima and leave the other in a ...
3
votes
2answers
290 views

Can one say “Hazak u'Baruch” to both men and women? If not, is there a female equivalent?

When returning from an Aliyah la'Torah, I am commonly met with "Hazak u'Baruch". I have encountered this saying in other situations when someone does something praiseworthy. Can one say "Hazak ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
408 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
167 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, ...
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
989 views

Why the difference in minhagim about wearing a kittel on Yom Kippur only, or also on Rosh Hashanah

My families minhag is to wear a kittel just on Yom Kippur (so I do). But in shul I see a number of folk with the minhag to wear it also on Rosh Hashanah. I know it is related to Yom Hadin, and ...
5
votes
2answers
259 views

Why do some men wear the kitul under their suit jacket at their wedding?

I'm not sure if there is any halachic basis for any of this, but I've seen at most weddings the chasan just wears the kitul over the suit jacket. At a few weddings though, particularly in Israel, many ...
2
votes
0answers
60 views

Source for having lace on a Kittel

In Shul on Yom Kippur I noticed that many of the Kittel's that people wear have lace on them. Is there a source or a reason why a Kittel has lace on it?
0
votes
0answers
70 views

Wearing a Kittel to Mincha on Erev Yom Kippur

This weeks Hamodia newspaper has a picture with a caption saying "This picture was taken at Mincha on Erev Yom Kippur" showing the entire quorum wearing Kittels. I have never heard of people wearing ...
8
votes
2answers
74 views

Taschlich Bread crumbs on Yom Tov

What is, and more over is there a source for throwing of bread during Tashlich (other then the Kids song that says to throw our Aveiros away)? The reason for the the question is because on Rosh ...
8
votes
2answers
73 views

Why do we say עושה השלום during yamim nora'im?

I'm struggling to find a reason/meaning behind saying 'עושה השלום' with a 'ה' at the end of amidah and during kaddish for the yamim nora'im period. I have heard (unverified source) that there is ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Why Psalm 130 for Aseres Yemei Teshuva?

I've seen the custom quoted in many siddurim to recite Psalm 130 (שיר המעלות ממעמקים), with the Ark open, between ישתבח and ברכו during עשרת ימי תשובה. Why this Psalm? What special relevance does it ...
9
votes
1answer
186 views

Piyyutim on Yomim Noraim. Why do we split phrases against their meaning?

Why is it that in the davenning for Yomim Noraim, we split up the phrases in many of the piyyutim against their real meaning? For example, in “Vechol maaminim shehu…” (p 538 Artscroll Machzor For Yom ...
7
votes
1answer
131 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) ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Can the chickens swung over a pregnant woman's head for Kaparos be swung consecutively?

When swinging 3 chickens (or 2 chickens depending on one's custom) over a pregnant woman's head for Kaparos, must the chickens be swung simultaneously or may they be swung consecutively (so as to ...
10
votes
4answers
725 views

Is it permissible to name one's child with a name from the opposite gender?

Is a person allowed to name a boy with a girl's name and vice versa? I remember seeing that one musn't, although in Nach one finds these things a lot. I understand it is not best practice for ...
7
votes
1answer
308 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
110 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
82 views

At what point does a chazzan take three steps back after chazaras hashatz?

Just a question I've never been able to find a concrete answer to. At what point does a chazzan take his three steps back at the end of chazaras hashatz? Would it be while/after saying "Yihyu ...
8
votes
1answer
872 views

What is the reason behind blowing the shofar from the side of one's mouth?

I've been told that the custom is to blow the shofar from the sides of one mouth, rather than like blowing a trumpet. What is the source for this custom and the reasoning behind it?
2
votes
0answers
165 views

Why don't Sephardim read Kohelet on Sukkot?

It is the custom among Ashkenazim to read Kohelet on the Shabbat of Chol HaMoed Sukkot. Is there any reason why Sephardim never took on (or stopped) this custom?
2
votes
4answers
135 views

How does the phrase מנהגא מילתא היא relate to halachic Jewish life?

I have seen the phrase מנהגא מילתא היא mentioned in the halachic works of various Rishonim. Neither it's plain meaning in these works nor it's connotations in relation to the significance of custom ...
4
votes
12answers
518 views

What is the most widespread Israeli Minhag? [closed]

What is the single most widely practiced minhag among Jews in Israel today? By "widely practiced" I mean practiced by the most people.
5
votes
3answers
272 views

Why is the day of Rosh Chodesh announced before every month except Tishrei?

Why is Tishrei the only month not included in the custom of announcing the day(s) of Rosh Chodesh on the Shabbos before the month begins?
3
votes
1answer
105 views

Fasting on Modern Days of Mourning

I was wondering if some people fast on Yom HaShoah or Yom HaZikaron. After all, these are somber days and hit close to home for many people. Do some people fast on these days? Why or why not?
3
votes
3answers
306 views

Modern nations and Umos Haolam

Where can I find a discussion about the roots of modern nations, in the Umos Haolam mentioned in the Torah and Chazal?
7
votes
1answer
200 views

wording of the invitation to birkas hamazon

I know some Ashk'nazim say rabosay n'varech, some rabosay mir velen bentschen, and some hertzi rabosay mir velen bentschen. (Any other forms?) Is there any particular reason given for one or another?
5
votes
2answers
336 views

Is there any basis for Chabad minhagim regarding tallit gadol?

I often daven at Chabad shuls and I have noticed that they have some particulars regarding tallit usage inconsistent with the rest of Ashkenazi Jewry, including: not wearing when receiving an aliyah ...
4
votes
0answers
76 views

Why read about Rashb"i's death at a memorial ceremony?

Why do many people read the passage (known as אדרא זוטא) from Zohar about the death of Rabbi Shim'on ben Yochai at memorial ceremonies? A description of it can be found here.
1
vote
1answer
76 views

What to do if you drop a sefer

Is there anything to say or do if you accidentally drop a sefer on the floor, besides kissing it and putting it back? *not a sefer Torah, ch"v!
2
votes
1answer
122 views

What does it mean to have arup payos?

What does it mean to have arup payos? What specific style or length is this? Who would have the minhag to keep their payos in such a fashion that is called "arup"?
7
votes
2answers
491 views

Walking around the house after shiva

I'd heard something about how some people, when getting up after the week of "sitting shiva" (mourning), take a walk around the outside of their house before going back to "normal" life. Has anyone ...