Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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1answer
104 views

Americans and Kippas [closed]

I'm from Israel, and when I just moved to the US, I went to one temple where things were different. I saw some women that wore kippot (plural kippa in Hebrew). Also, why is the kippa referred as a ...
4
votes
4answers
616 views

Are Sephardic Jews allowed to dress up in costumes on Purim?

The custom of dressing up in costumes on Purim originated from Ashkenazic communities in Europe and has become a popular custom today for Ashkenazim (cf. Rema in Shulkhan Aruch Orach Chaim 696:8). ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Who wears a talis on leil Shabbos?

Rabbi Chanina would don his talis gadol on erev Shabbos (Mas. Shabbos 25b, Rambam Hilchos Shabbos 30:2). While this has been practiced by individuals, is it today the practice of any particular ...
3
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0answers
151 views

Sitting or Standing for Kaddish - historical divergence between Conservative and Orthodox minhag

At most (maybe even all?) Conservative synagogues, the congregation remains seated during every kaddish (except mourner's kaddish, and then only mourners rise). At Ashkenazic Orthodox synagogues, the ...
2
votes
3answers
193 views

Candles on Purim?

In Esther 8:16, we read that after the Jews were saved from an evil decree, they had "light and gladness and joy and honor." Is anyone aware of Rabbinic texts that discuss celebrating Purim with ...
3
votes
1answer
178 views

adoption and qualifying for being “officially” considered Jewish

My wife and I (no known Jewish heritage) are adopting an infant child. The child's birth-mother was herself adopted and raised as a Jew by Jewish parents. We do not know of any Jewish heritage ...
4
votes
1answer
179 views

What's the connection between Tu B'Shevat and (Bukser) carob?

Tu B'Shevat many people eat many different types of fruit. Growing up and continuing until today there seems to be a Minhag to specifically eat (bukser) carob. Is there some sort of special connection ...
0
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1answer
538 views

Is Ahimsa related to Hamsa?

Is Ahimsa related to Hamsa (both the symbol and the name)? If so, does this lend credence to those who view Hamsa as being of non-Jewish (at best, or pagan, at worst) origin?
7
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1answer
146 views

Explanation for couple not seeing each other before the wedding?

What is the source and reason for a couple not to see one another before the wedding?
3
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1answer
330 views

Minhag of throwing Challah at the Friday night Seuda

Aruch HaShulchan 167:31 and Be'er Hataiv 167:22 both say that it is forbidden to throw the (Challah) bread. I have heard that there are some people (I heard that there are some Rabannim who do so) ...
6
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2answers
292 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
205 views

Kissing the hand to catch a cold?

There is a popular custom in Israel to shake a person's hand and then kiss your own. In every single Sephardic and Mizrachi synagogue I've ever been to in the country this is the standard way of ...
4
votes
1answer
221 views

Which Names of Hashem can/can't we say [in regular conversation]?

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (6:3) writes that one shouldn't say Hashem's name except by way of praise or blessing whenever required, or when learning (Torah) [see this answer and this question ] Indeed, ...
3
votes
2answers
189 views

When did upsherins become part of standard American Orthodox practice?

According to Rav Wikipedia, the upsherin is a custom that was brought from Muslims to Palestinian Jews to Tzfat Sephardim to Chasidim. Recently, I've noticed mainstream (non-charedi) Orthodox Jews ...
8
votes
2answers
164 views

Mezuza positioning: why top angled in not out?

Why does the angle a mezuza positioned on the doorpost at have its top towards the room, and the bottom away from the room? I understand this may be an Ashkenazi custom, and that Sephardim position ...
0
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2answers
95 views

Torah personalities chosen for blessings on Friday nights

Why do we bless our children on Friday nights with non-correlated blessings between the boys and the girls? I can understand that we want our daughters to emulate the Matriarchs. Yet we don't bless ...
5
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1answer
80 views

Removing Yarmulka last when undressing (source)

I have noticed that some people remove their Yarmulka last when undressing and wear it first when dressing. Is this custom mentioned anywhere?
4
votes
2answers
102 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
92 views

Who doesn't make Kiddush from 6-7pm?

From this question I learned that "many" people don't make Kiddush between 6-7pm. Who does this? Is this primarily a Lubavitch Minhag? If so, among Lubavitchers, how prevalent is it?
3
votes
2answers
118 views

Decorating of the Beitzah

Somebody told me in Israel some have the custom of decorating the egg for Pesach (like an Easter egg). Wouldn't that be considered chukas hagoyim or avoda zara?
3
votes
1answer
260 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
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3answers
433 views

Husband deciding how his wife should cover her hair

Issues of Shalom Bayis (peace in the home) and any other deciding factor aside, does the husband have any "right" or "privilege" (from a halachic standpoint) to decide how his wife will cover her hair ...
12
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3answers
533 views

May a Jew be a Freemason?

According to what I've been told by several people who have inquired of "practicing" (is that the right word?) Freemasons, and supported by Wikipedia, "Freemasonry explicitly and openly states that it ...
1
vote
0answers
292 views

Why do we wish someone “long life” on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of relative?

Why do we wish someone “long life” on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of relative? I can understand this wish directly after the death when I have heard that a person should consider ...
9
votes
1answer
211 views

May a man learn Torah without a Kippah?

Is it permissible for a man to learn Torah without a Kippah? Let's say that he can't wear a Kippah at work, or he lives someplace where it is dangerous to outwardly display signs of being Jewish, ...
12
votes
1answer
211 views

Is there a Beta Israel Siddur?

Ashkenazi siddurs are different from Sephardic siddurs, do Beta Israel Siddurs even exist?
3
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1answer
80 views

What's done on Zos Chanuka?

I know people call the last day of Chanuka "Zos Chanuka" (taken from Bamidbar 7:84, read on that day). How is it specially commemorated if at all? I've heard it is, but know no details. I'm not ...
3
votes
0answers
111 views

Should I rend k'riyah if I witness the death of a non-relative? If so, what's the procedure?

In another question, Chalutznahal cites Yoreh De'ah 40:5, which says that when I witness a fellow Jew die, I must rend my shirt out of sadness. And British Rabbi Dr. Moshe Freedman brings this down as ...
3
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1answer
612 views

Traditions what to do with removed foreskin

In Germany we recently started a debate, whether foreskin-amputation of children (not only Jews, but Muslims as well) has to be forbidden according to our fundamental laws. Some magazine illustrated ...
3
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0answers
47 views

Best practices for long-distance Nihum Aveilim and Kavod HaMeith

What are some best practices for people who learn from afar of the passing of an individual (not immediate family) and who want show their respects to the deceased and the surviving family? If they ...
7
votes
3answers
215 views

Sitting for “Ashre”?

I have seen people seemingly careful to sit down when beginning the paragraph of prayers that starts "Ashre yosh've vesecha" (Ps. 84:5). One such person told me that he was, in fact, careful to do so, ...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

Why do we let the tzitzit go after saying Shema at either לָעַד or צָרֵיהֶם

In the answer to When we say "עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף" at which point do we kiss the tzitzis? we were told that it is the Chabad Minhag to kiss the tzitzit six times, at the words tzitzit, ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Communities where men didn't put their טליתות over their heads?

I heard that the Rambam in his commentary to the Mishna mentioned cases where the custom of the place was different, one such place being יָוָן, where men didn't cover their heads with their tallitot, ...
5
votes
1answer
106 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
160 views

What is the significance of the shtreimel?

What is the esoteric or hashkafic significance of the shtreimel? Some things I have seen but without details or sources are that it is like a crown, that the number of pelts involved have numerical ...
3
votes
2answers
105 views

What is the source for lighting a candle for the whole year after the death of a close relative?

I am familiar with the idea of a yahrzeit candle. I have observed a custom of keeping a flame alight for the whole year (or maybe 11 months) after the death of a close relative. (When one goes out, ...
5
votes
1answer
99 views

Where does the concept of “shirayim” come from?

Please explain the concept of shirayim (literally, leftovers) wherein the followers of a chassidic Rebbe will receive portions of his food to it, these leftovers are considered holy or special in some ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

Triennial reading cycle for guests

On one Shabbos, to accommodate a large number of guests from another shul who follow a triennial Torah reading cycle, can we revert to the triennial cycle reading for that one Shabbos?
2
votes
1answer
140 views

Is it true that proselytes immersed in their birthday suits in ancient times?

I was told that Jewish proselytes immersed in their birthday suits in ancient times. Is this true? If so, could you please provide sources stating this fact?
6
votes
2answers
837 views

A Convert taking on customs of ashkanazim or sephardim

When someone converts is there any determining factor on what minhagim (customs) they will take upon themselves in terms of Ashkanazim or Sephardim? Should it be dependent on the Beis Din they ...
6
votes
0answers
97 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
228 views

Hanging the kesubah on the wall?

I've heard from some people that there is a problem with hanging/displaying ones kesubah on the wall. Others have told me that it's good to display the kesubah as a reminder to the husband to fulfill ...
2
votes
2answers
152 views

What kavanos should one have when sharpening a challa knife Erev Shabbos?

What are some kavanos should one have in mind when sharpening a challa knife on Erev Shabbos? I'm sure I heard that there are kavanos but never learned what they are.
1
vote
1answer
178 views

Post-conversion ketubah

She's Jewish. He wasn't. 2+ decades later, he converted. (I don't know when he first intended to... these are the parents of co-workers of a friend of mine.) Can they get a ketubah now? Should they? ...
5
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1answer
82 views

Moving Sefer Torah with Tallis (source?)

Often times, when someone will move a Sefer Torah from one place to another, on top of what the Sefer Torah is already normally covered with, he will put an additional covering of a Tallis-Gadol. ...
3
votes
2answers
103 views

Chanukiyot inside or out?

Shabbat 22a says that the halacha is that we should place the chanukiyah outside, within a hand-breadth of the door, to the left. In Israel I've seen people do this, placing the chanukiyah in a glass ...
2
votes
2answers
108 views

Minhag Kaparos with Money - What's the source?

In the Rama on SA OC Siman 605, we find the custom of "Kaparos" that many do Erev Yom Kippur. Of those who perform this custom a chicken is used. However many also use money (i.e. instead of waving a ...
6
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2answers
393 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?
2
votes
1answer
117 views

What is the source for “the custom of our forefathers is in our hands”?

Where does "minhag avoseinu byadeinu" as a halachik concept, which is commonly cited as the source for keeping two days of yom tov outside of Israel, originate from?
2
votes
2answers
159 views

Source listing all Jewish wedding customs?

Is there a comprehensive source that lists all various orthodox wedding customs (mitzvah tantz, mezinkah, etc.)?