Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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4
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1answer
67 views

Source and reason for throwing the Hoshanos on top of the Aron Kodesh

I have seen in many Shuls on Hoshana Raba after using the Hoshanos people throw the used Hoshanos on top of the Aron Kodesh. What is the reason and source for this Minhag?
2
votes
1answer
69 views

When is the end of the Tishrei holiday “season”?

(Inspired by this question) I'm curious if there is any discussion on when the Tishrei holiday "season" officially ends. Just off the top of my head, I'm curious if anyone recommends refraining from ...
7
votes
1answer
88 views

Where/when/how/why did flags become part of Simchas Torah celebrations?

Kids today all know that they have flags when dancing on Simchas Torah. How, when, where, and/or why did the flags originate? (Someone decided it was fun, and then it caught on?) What pictures were ...
6
votes
2answers
153 views

“Tzon k'doshim!” ―“Baa!”: source/provenance

In some synagogues, on Simchas Tora, someone will shout "Tzon k'doshim!", meaning "holy sheep/goats", or "Tzon kadashim!", meaning "sheep/goats of sacrificial-offering sanctity". He's replied to with ...
9
votes
2answers
128 views

Using Hoshanos more than once

On Hoshana Rabba after one uses (Klaps) his Hoshanos may another person use the same Hoshanos?
0
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0answers
64 views

Stuffed cabbage on Sukkoth

There is a well-known custom to eat stuffed cabbage on Simhath Torah. But many also eat it on Sukkoth. Is it an extension of the same reason? Are the reasons cited for Simhath Torah (in the answers to ...
4
votes
2answers
109 views

What is the right way to wave the lulav and esrog in the down direction?

We wave the lulav and esrog (4 minim) in six directions including “down”. What is the right way to wave down? I have seen two procedures. 1) The 4 minim are held lower (nearer to the ground) than ...
4
votes
3answers
488 views

Why do some Jews get married at night?

In images and other media I have seen of Jewish weddings, there seems to be a trend to get married in the evening or night time. Is this a Jewish custom a halachic requirement and what is the origin ...
5
votes
2answers
216 views

Is there a justification for the practice not to whip on Erev Yom Kipur?

The Shulchan Aruch (607:6) writes that on erev Yom Kipur, everyone gets whipped 39 lashes. However, I have not seen this done in practice. Is there any source who justifies the practice not to do ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

Candles in bedroom over Yom Kippur

What is the reason for the minhag to have a yartzeit-size candle lit in the bedroom over Yom Kippur? (this is unrelated to candles lit for deceased parents for Yizkor). Is it just so we have a new ...
6
votes
2answers
140 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 ...
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0answers
63 views

Davening by a Tzaddik on Rosh HaShanah

Where does the inyan of davening with a Tzaddik on Rosh HaShanah come from? Where did it start? Was there ever such a minhag before chassidus come along? (Assuming it started with the Chassidim -- my ...
5
votes
6answers
174 views

Apple on Rosh HaShanah

There is a custom of eating an apple dipped in honey on first night of Rosh HaShanah (among the other foods) as a sign that we should have a sweet year. Why is this done specifically with an apple and ...
10
votes
1answer
202 views

Kapparos on money - How much?

If one does the Minhag of Kapparos on money, how much money should be used for each person? (Sources.)
2
votes
1answer
104 views

What is the point of Hataras Nedarim every year?

The second paragraph of Hataras Nedarim has the person being mattired saying that "I am making a modaah that any oaths being made in the future are considered to be as if 'bli neder'". Is this ...
0
votes
2answers
170 views

Bal Keri and Learning

Many are stringent: if they become a bal keri (have a nocturnal emission) for any reason they don't learn or pray before going to the mikveh ("tevilas ezra"). However, even according to those that are ...
4
votes
1answer
285 views

Beracha on lighting yom tov candles : before or after?

There are two minhagim concerning the time the beracha should be said on lighting yom tov candles for a woman, before or after (like shabbos neros). I've read arguments like these : before, because ...
1
vote
0answers
80 views

What if there is no object for use in a mitzva?

There is a story I once heard about the Ben Ish Chai examining the only known etrog available in Iraq. Despite the great need for it, he declared the etrog passul for use and no one could fulfill the ...
1
vote
1answer
190 views

Yom tov kiddush tune

There's a popular tune used for kidush on the nights of the shalosh r'galim. (It's available on YouTube (but ignore the "shehechiyanu" part of that recording).) What's its origin? Does it have the ...
6
votes
1answer
137 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
169 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 RH and YK, and then skip the actual piyutim they are meant to introduce! This is even more evident ...
16
votes
1answer
172 views

Why do we open the ark for important prayers?

What is the origin of the custom of opening the ark for important prayers (not connected with the need to take out the Torah scroll)?
5
votes
1answer
188 views

Customs surrounding fasting when a sefer torah falls to the floor?

Based on this question I would like to know what the earliest source for fasting when a sefer torah falls comes from? Is is true that if a person is in the room but turns away so as not to see it ...
7
votes
4answers
522 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 ...
8
votes
8answers
1k views

Why do Sephardic Jews dress in black and white?

Many observant sephardim in Israel, especially those in yeshivot, dress in black and white. Does anyone know how this happened? There is no tradition of Jews in North Africa or in the Middle East ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

Source for checking talis over shoulder

What is the source for checking one's tzitzis while the talis is over one's right shoulder: isn't the halacha just to check the knots and strings? Can't the checking be done on a table?
7
votes
1answer
166 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. ...
3
votes
2answers
117 views

Why no play on words for apple and honey?

The other simanim eaten on Rosh Hashana contain a play on words with the name of the food and either a wish for a good omen or a wish for bad to befall our enemies. The yehi ratzon for the apple has ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Earliest source for diping apple in honey on Rosh Hashana

What is the earliest source for the custom of dipping an apple in honey on Rosh Hashana? (It is found in the Tur (Siman 683), the Abudraham (quoted by the Rama there) - believed to be a student of ...
7
votes
5answers
217 views

Why do we say Vhu Rachum before Maariv?

Before Maariv, we say the pasuk "Vhu rachum yichaper avon..." (Psalms 78:38). Why?
13
votes
4answers
289 views

Women and Mayim Acharonim

I very often eat at meals where after the meal, all of the men wash mayim acharonim, but none of the women do so. I am aware of a number of halachic sources that say both men and women should wash ...
2
votes
1answer
339 views

What is the origin of BS“D / B”H? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: B'siyata D'shmaya or Baruch Hashem What is the origin of putting BS"D (or Beis Samach Daled) on the top right hand corner of anything one write?
5
votes
3answers
204 views

Have not gone to parents grave in seven years

A friend recently mentioned that she has not gone to her parents grave in over ten years due to its distance and when she wanted to go she was told by a Rabbi that if she has not been there for over ...
6
votes
2answers
166 views

When do we start reciting Psalm 27?

Yesterday being the 30th of Av (and Rosh Chodesh Elul), prompted a question at shul: exactly when do we start saying Psalm 27—on the first day of Elul or the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul? Most ...
9
votes
1answer
142 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

The “Shir Hamaalos” etc before Maariv: is it said before nightfall?

The German nusach contains the following explanation of the “Shir Hamaalos” etc said before Maariv. When ערבית is recited after nightfall, it is preceded by the following פסוקים, which speak of ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

What are the customs for looking at fingers during havdalla [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What to do with the candles during Havdalah According to this question, there are many different customs about looking at fingers after the bracha borei m'orei ha'eish ...
10
votes
2answers
300 views

Why do we mention dreams during *Birchas Kohanim*?

I don't know how many sects actually do this, but some people have the custom to say a tehfillah which is all about dreams. In it we ask Hashem to make all our good dreams come true whether "...I have ...
9
votes
3answers
574 views

Wedding ring composition

I was recently told that the ring used for kiddushin should be made entirely out of one kind of metal (usually gold), with no other adornments such as diamonds, etc. I had been under the impression ...
7
votes
3answers
470 views

Why do Lubavitchers fold their talisos under, on the shoulders?

A Lubavitch chasid wears his talis with the sides folded under, at the shoulders, bunching the side material under rather than over the material that lies on the shoulder (see an example). Why?
2
votes
2answers
264 views

Should a woman wear a gartel?

My understanding of the halachic need for a gartel is very limited; is there any reason a woman should or should not wear one during prayer?
2
votes
2answers
130 views

Kibbud for wife

There is no Torah obligation (as far as I am aware) for kibbud for a wife; however, in my experience, husbands tend to show a special honor for their wives. An example where this is frequenetly ...
3
votes
2answers
198 views

Why do Lubavitch talisos ensure tzitzis hang off the side?

A Lubavitch chasid's talis gadol has a special way of being tied that ensures that the tzitzis hangs off of the side of the talis and not off of its front or back. Why?
4
votes
0answers
150 views

Lithuanian minhag for talis katan material

Not an halachic question, but we can read many things about talis katan: wool over cotton, tzitzis out or in, etc. It seems that the Lithuanian minhag was to tuck them in, but what about the material? ...
1
vote
7answers
498 views

Lubavitch and Daf Yomi

I know that most lubavitchers won't learn Daf Yomi. Is there any Sicha (please bring sources) which says if one should or shouldn't learn it?
5
votes
7answers
250 views

Sources for/about breaking a plate at a wedding

Are you aware of any literature that either provides a source for or discusses the significance of the two mothers breaking a plate at the "Tisch" at a wedding? It's not hard to find mentions of this ...
7
votes
1answer
83 views

Why do we strike ourselves during prayer?

Why do we strike ourselves when confessing sin either during shmoneah esrei or viduy?
12
votes
3answers
274 views

I heard not to say “Good Shabbos” after mincha. Is it true, and what defines mincha?

I heard from somewhere that, on Shabbos, one does not say "Good Shabbos" after mincha. I am not sure whether it's in a halacha sefer somewhere (I tried looking) or just a minhag. First of all, is ...
5
votes
1answer
98 views

Why is the Eicha reading broken up?

It seems to me that everywhere I've been, the reading of Eicha on Tish'a B-av night has been broken up, with different chapters read by different people. Why is this custom so prevalent, specifically ...
11
votes
2answers
424 views

May one walk under the Arch of Titus?

I have heard that it is prohibited (or at least that the custom is not) to walk under the Arch of Titus in Rome. Is this accurate? If so, what is the source? Would it make a difference if a large ...