Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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Bending at “s'lach lanu”

I have seen many people bow slightly when striking their chests in recitation of the sixth b'racha of sh'moneh esrei. Is this a custom? Is there a source for it? Anyone whom I've witnessed doing ...
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5answers
197 views

Shavuos and Malachim(angels)

We all know that there is a custom on Shavuos to eat dairy. One of the reasons given is based on a Medrash that When Moshe Rabbenu went up to Heaven to receive the Torah the angels complained and said ...
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4answers
248 views

Is cholent required?

Is making cholent on Shabbos a minhag that is so universal that it has in effect become required for Ashkenazim? Or, if I am correct that it is required (by at least some authorities) to have hot ...
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1answer
79 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. ...
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3answers
593 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 ...
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2answers
92 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 ...
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2answers
89 views

Which night of Chanuka should you give out Chanuka Gelt?

Is there a specific night of Chanuka that is better to give out Chanuka Gelt?
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2answers
140 views

Which tefilot you say when your minhag differs from that of the shoul your praying in?

Here is the case: This past Sabbath, at an ashkanazi synagogue, a sephardi comes to pray. This is the synagogue that he normally attends (there are about 20 within 1 sq mile). He prays with the ...
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1answer
92 views

Using The Washington Haggadah

Yesterday, Harvard University Press released a haggadah which is a reproduction of a manuscript written in 1478 and held by the Library of Congress. It can be purchased on Amazon. If I bought this, ...
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3answers
181 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?
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1answer
106 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?
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1answer
75 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?
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2answers
950 views

What are Jewish conventions regarding honeymoons?

What are Jewish conventions regarding honeymoons? Is a honeymoon taken, and, if so, is it done immediately after the wedding--or later, once the woman is again tehora?
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1answer
114 views

How to practice when 2 customs collide

This question is inspired by recent news of events in Beit Shemesh. What happens halachically when 2 customs collide and each custom affects the other side? In the case of modesty, for example, ...
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3answers
292 views

What's the deal with all the washings?

Sometimes we wash with a cup, sometimes not; sometimes we wash twice, sometimes thrice; and not everyone agrees on method or pattern in all cases. Who says which ways we are supposed to wash, in ...
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3answers
127 views

Milchigs (dairy) on Shavuos - when is the proper time?

When is the proper time to eat dairy on Shavuos? (night meal, day meal, prior to day meal, Shul Kiddush)
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2answers
1k views

Trimming Toenails in sequence

As a follow up to the question "Rules for Cutting Nails" it occurred to me that while we spoke about the idea of not trimming one's nails in sequence (as well as discussing the relevancy of lenient ...
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1answer
92 views

Brocho BEFORE going to the bathroom

I've heard from some lecture that some keep a minhag to have a special prayer before going to the bathroom. If there is such a thing - what is it and where to find it?
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2answers
93 views

Do we say “Ma Tovu” each time we enter the synagogue?

There is a custom to say the paragraph “מה טובו” on entering the synagogue (see “Avodah Shebelev” Rabbi A Z Sternbuch, 5753, page 18). The idea (but without the possuk of “Ma Tovu”) is mentioned in ...
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1answer
61 views

Order of blessing children on Erev Shabbos

When blessing children on erev Shabbos, is there a correct or preferred order (oldest to youngest, boys first or girls), or may parents decide however they like? If there is not a correct order, can ...
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1answer
493 views

Does a Jewish wedding involve bridesmaids or groomsmen?

Are there such roles? If so, what purpose do they serve? If creating bridesmaids or groomsmen is a distinctly American (or Christian) cultural practice, then what are some reasons for or against ...
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2answers
410 views

Why do Sephardim tuck in their tzitzit?

It has been mentioned previously that Sephardic custom, according to R. Ovadia, is to wear the tzitziot from a talit katan inside rather than exposed. Can someone provide an explanation for this ...
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1answer
93 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 ...
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1answer
173 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?
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1answer
159 views

tying tzitzis together on Simchas Tora

When I was a child in the 1980s, something the boys in my synagogue did on Simchas Tora was tie one person's talis to another, or sometimes to furniture. (Now that I'm older and in a different ...
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1answer
188 views

Twelve Months of Mourning During a Leap Year

For those who are mourning a parent for the requisite twelve-month aveilus, would Adar 1 and Adar 2 count as two separate months towards the twelve? Or does one year mean a full year, i.e., from ...
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3answers
392 views

Conservative / Nusach Sfard

Are there any Conservative synagogues that daven Nusach Sfard?
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1answer
574 views

What are the halachot of Chanukat Habayit?

What are the laws and customs appertaining to chanukat habayit? At what point, if at all, should you make a shehechiyanu; upon closing? Moving in? Should you make a chanukat habayit on a home that ...
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2answers
120 views

Is there any restriction on what constitutes a veil for bedeken?

What can be considered a veil to be used in a bedeken at a wedding? (See also my other related question)
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1answer
176 views

Zecher L'Churban - Why a plate at Tenayim and a glass at the Chupah?

When a person gets engaged and married there are various things that we do as a Zecher L'Churban. At the Tenayim (whether done immediately or at the wedding) we break an earthernware plate, at the ...
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1answer
177 views

What determines a Minhag?

How does a Minhag become a Minhag? More specific is it possible to enact new Minhagim in todays generation?
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1answer
412 views

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?

Is there a problem of "chukat goyim" with the bride having "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" at her wedding?
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1answer
65 views

Is there a problem of reusing hoshanos? [duplicate]

On hoshana rabbah we bang aravos on the ground. Can one use hoshanos that one banged on the floor already or does one need his own?
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1answer
55 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?
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1answer
102 views

Why do we say “Boruch Shem…” loudly on Yom Kippur?

As discussed in this question, there are two reasons generally given why we say "Boruch Shem K'Vod..." quietly when saying Shema: The Talmud (Pesachim 56a) says that Yaakov Avinu said it in response ...
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1answer
175 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 ...
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1answer
248 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 ...
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1answer
127 views

Passing an infant across a table

Is there a minhag that one should not pass a child over a table to another person to hold? In my family we would pass a child from person to person all the way around the table, but nobody could ever ...
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1answer
89 views

Birchas Kohanim in the Diaspora

Why do we (ashkenazim) not do birchas kohanim in chutz la'aretz (except on yom tov), but in Israel, we do?
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1answer
296 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, ...
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2answers
450 views

Trop (cantillation) for leining

Who created the trop (cantillation) for leining? Is it a Mesorah from when the Torah was written?
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1answer
71 views

Why does a siyum exempt one from taanit bechorot?

The custom in many communities I have been to is for there to be a siyum on a mesechta on the day of taanit bechorot. All first borns who would otherwise have to fast attend the siyum and are thus ...
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2answers
79 views

What is an “iggeres”?

The Shulchan Aruch in Siman 690:17 brings down a minhag klal yisrael to fold the megillah like an iggeres (Esther 9:26,29) when reading from it. The Mishnah Berurah mentions that one should not pause ...
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3answers
181 views

Do sefirah mourning restrictions occur on Isru Chag?

Many North African Jews celebrate the day after Pesach (which is Isru Chag) with the festive Mimouna. Does such a party atmosphere conflict with the customs of mourning during sefirat haomer? Could ...
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1answer
94 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 ...
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2answers
90 views

What is the source of the additions before תתקבל צלותהון, יהא שלמא, עושה שלום in Kaddish Tiskabel?

In Kaddish Tiskabel, there are parts to be said (see page 131) by the congregation just before the three phrases that begin: תתקבל צלותהון, יהא שלמא, עושה שלום. These do not appear in all siddurim ...
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1answer
51 views

Why are we strict during the 10 days of repentance?

The lone halacha in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 603: Even someone who is not careful about eating [pas akum], during the 10 days of repentance he must be careful. Since the S.A. didn't mention stringencies ...
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1answer
222 views

What type of nuts may not be eaten during Elul?

Many have a custom not to eat nuts during elul, because אגוז is gematria חטא (sin). So what exactly is considered nuts? Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Macadamian, Hazelnuts, Pecans? How about Peanuts ...
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1answer
101 views

Who hides the afikoman?

Is the leader of the seder supposed to hide the afikoman so that the kids can find it, or are the kids supposed to hide it so that the leader can find it? And what is the point of this hide-and-seek ...
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1answer
133 views

Why kiss Tzitzith?

Why do we kiss Tzitzith when making the Birchath HaMitzvah, reciting Shema', and after Baruch SheAmar (at least acc. to Minhag Ashkenaz)? An acceptable answer (for my purposes) would either a. ...