Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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7
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1answer
160 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
1answer
193 views

When to say LeDovid HaShem Ori in a minyan with different nusach

I daven Nusach Ashkenaz saying “LeDovid HaShem Ori” at Shacharis and Maariv. Q1 If I daven Mincha with a Minyan which says “LeDovid HaShem Ori” at Mincha, should I say it with them? (I assume yes, ...
7
votes
1answer
452 views

Tallit with Wool Atara

The only tallit I know of that has an all wool atara is the Beit Yosef Tallit, which is marketed for Sephardim. Is there a specific source for this or is it simply being machmir to wear an all-wool ...
7
votes
1answer
392 views

Is there a source for not buying things for a baby before it is born?

Is there any source for the custom to not buy things for a baby before it is born? I have heard that the reason is due to averting ayin hara, but I would like to know if there is any recorded source ...
7
votes
3answers
297 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?
7
votes
3answers
426 views

Why don't we say Tachanun at Mincha on Erev Shabbat or Erev Yom Tov?

It says in the Rambam that there is a custom not to say Tachanun at Mincha on Erev Shabbos and Yom Tov. What is the reason for this custom?
7
votes
6answers
685 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
125 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?
6
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1answer
120 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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3answers
199 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
1answer
115 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
2answers
257 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
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
138 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
votes
1answer
348 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
votes
1answer
468 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
2answers
728 views

Trop (cantillation) for leining

Who created the trop (cantillation) for leining? Is it a Mesorah from when the Torah was written?
6
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2answers
246 views

Saying korbonos

Do you have to say korbonos? If so, why is it not said with the shaliach tzibbur?
6
votes
3answers
1k views

May one swim on Shiva Asar B'Tamuz?

May one swim on Shiva Asar B"Tamuz? If not, why not? (sources)
6
votes
2answers
352 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
1answer
213 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
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
80 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
213 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
160 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
3answers
179 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
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
4answers
436 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
2answers
946 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
1answer
138 views

Yehei Shmei Rabbah… Yisbarach

Not sure where it came from, but many people tend to say Yisbarach after the Amen Yehei Shmei Rabbah verse. Where did this come from? Is this correct?
5
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5answers
1k views

Chickpeas (Arbes) at a Shalom Zachor

Why do we serve Arbes - chickpeas at a Shalom Zachor?
5
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1answer
425 views

When should one cut his nails for Shabbos when Friday is Rosh Chodesh

In the answer to Rules for Cutting Nails it quotes the Mishna Berura 260:6 that one should not cut their nails on Thursday. Mishna Berura explains that by cutting them on Thursday they will begin to ...
5
votes
2answers
303 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
250 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
1answer
203 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
1answer
446 views

Who wrote Shoshanat Yaakov?

Who was the Author of the Piyut "asher hanee" that ends with Shoshanat Yaakov? Why is it said by Ashkenazim after they read the Meggilah at night?
5
votes
1answer
86 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
166 views

Why was there a huge concern to assure that Hoshanna Rabbah is not on Shabbat?

This page lists 4 rules that may cause the first day of Rosh Hashannah to be postponed from being on the date of the molad Tishrei. One of the rules is: If molad Tishri occurs on Sunday, Wednesday,...
5
votes
2answers
358 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
337 views

What does Yarmulka mean?

What does the word Yarmulka mean?
5
votes
2answers
133 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
2answers
119 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
506 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
1answer
451 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
171 views

Tefillin Gassot

According to this video, gassot have only been around for about a century. I know for a fact that when my father became bar mitzvah, his grandfather got him tefillin dakkot (his father got new ...
5
votes
1answer
619 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
695 views

Do bananas make the best karpas?

For karpas at the seder, one is supposed to eat a food on which the blessing "borei pri ha'adama" is made. However, many of the most commonly used food items for karpas (e.g. parsley, raw onion, raw ...
4
votes
1answer
107 views

Blessings on Birthdays

There is apparently a practice among contemporary Jews of giving out blessings on one's birthday. Is there any source for this in the Jewish tradition?
4
votes
1answer
245 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
2answers
181 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 ...