Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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6
votes
4answers
439 views

What siddur do Satmerer Chasidim use?

Many Chasidic groups have a particular siddur that is used by most in that group. Does Satmer have such a siddur?
5
votes
3answers
635 views

Status of feet while making a bracha or davening

In todays day and age where we no longer have homes with dirt floors: do you still need to cover your feet when making a bracha or davening? If so are socks enough? does it depend on the custom of ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

Are Jews halachically allowed to go up toTemple Mount? [duplicate]

BS"D May Jews go up to the Temple Mount? I"ve read some Rabbanim for and against. I just found this source by Rav Dov Lior for allowing? Does anyone have a source for those against? ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is it customary for Jews to grow beards?

What is the reason for growing one's beard? Many rabbis have beards. Why?
11
votes
2answers
372 views

3 year olds lighting a shabbat candle

When my eldest turned three her male cousin also turned three. Many of her friends and her cousin were getting Tzitzit. She asked for her own. We explained that boys wear TzitTzit and girls light ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

What should we eat on Tu B'av?

I'm hosting an event on Tu B'av and I need to decide on the menu. Are there any foods that are particularly appropriate for the holiday?
4
votes
3answers
200 views

Giving Blessings at a Wedding

I have noticed a custom among wedding-goers to receive blessings from the bride and the groom at weddings, usually when they come over to the new couple's table for well-wishing during the meal. Why ...
7
votes
1answer
117 views

Sleeping at the Kotel on Tisha B'av

This Tisha B'av morning I was at the Kotel for shachrit, and I noticed a whole bunch of people sleeping there. I'm not talking about people who nodded off during slichot due to low blood sugar, I'm ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Source and reason of the Minhag to end Cohen aliyah of parshat Devarim 1 pasuk early

In some shuls that I have attended, they end the Cohen aliyah of Shabbat parshat Devarim one pasuk before the one where "Sheni" is marked (i.e. - they end it before pasuk 11 instead of 12). I'm not ...
2
votes
1answer
177 views

Is saying “Hareini mekabel alai mitzvat asei shel Ve-ahavta…” before Shema a Lubavitch tradition?

When I started donning the tefillin some years ago, I had a pamphlet given to me by a Lubavitcher and I used it at times for the Shema. However, there's an addition before the Shema in the pamphlet ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Golden kaftan + high beaver hat?

Normally, those wearing a golden kaftan (with a shtreimel) for shabbes and simchos, will wear a flat beaver hat on weekdays. Are there any of those who wear a high beaver hat instead?
6
votes
3answers
201 views

Custom of Rov speaking before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos

I've been in a number of shuls where the Rov of the shul will get up before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos and say some sort of "drasha". Sometimes it was connected to the parsha or inyunei d'yoma (i.e. ...
2
votes
2answers
117 views

Why do we still blow shofar during mussaf?

The gemarah (rosh hashana 32b) asks why we wait until mussaf to blow the shofar and answers that the ruling enemies of the Jews mistook the shofar sound for a rallying war cry and forbade it. They ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

When Sofrim write Sifrei Torah, do they think of the Ba'alei Kri'ah (readers)?

I have read from many different Sifrei Torah as a Ba'al Kri'ah during the past approx. 30 years. Each Torah is unique, as B"H, it should be. Every sofer has a slightly different writing style, even ...
3
votes
2answers
238 views

Is there a source for the Kallah Bride wearing white in Torah?

BS"D Is there a Torah source for the Kallah Bride to wear only white? What about a second marriage? Does the white indicate that the bride and groom make the day before marriage a special attempt to ...
7
votes
1answer
161 views

Is there anyone today who only wears Rabenu Tam t'philin?

Is there anyone in our times who ONLY wear t'philin made according to the shitta of Rabenu Tam - to the exclusion of "Rashi" t'philin?
9
votes
2answers
297 views
4
votes
3answers
239 views

why don't Jews meditate?

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan has 3 (in my opinion excellent) books on the history, importance, and benefit of Jewish meditation. Yet meditation does not seem to be an integral component for much (though, ...
5
votes
2answers
344 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, ...
-8
votes
1answer
81 views

Minhag of Kos Pagum [duplicate]

Another Minhag that came from nowhere is the custom of filling a wine cup to overflowing. Some do it because of Kos Pagum, however it seems that Kos Pagum applies to a cup which is not filled near ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

Pointing the pinky at the torah

By Hagbahos HaTorah people point at the Torah with the pinky of their right hand. I have seen others point with the pinky of both hands. Someone told me this is brought down in the Me’am Lo’ez. Where ...
2
votes
1answer
112 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
43 views

Oleh and chazak chazak

I've heard that, when receiving the last aliyah in a particular sefer, the oleh (one who received the aliyah) should not say “chazak, chazak…” because it is a berachah given to him by the congregation ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Menustration / Karet [duplicate]

Ive been reading the parshiot of Nidda in the Chumash(Leviticus 15:19-30 18:19 20:18), and it seems that the punishment of Karet (20:18) is during menustration. I know that the sages hold that until ...
1
vote
0answers
105 views

Why do Hassidim wear hats that simulate what Non-Jewish czars and kings wore?

I heard from a few people that some of the hats that Hassidim wear such as shtreimelach and spodeks mimic the hat styles worn by previous kings and czars. Perhaps, I heard incorrectly, so feel free to ...
5
votes
2answers
646 views

What's the source for naming children after Alexander the Great?

I know many Jews whose actual bris-given name is Alexander, and this has been a popular name even among great tzaddikim of the past (such as R. Alexander Ziskind). I've heard a legend (mentioned on ...
5
votes
2answers
154 views

Covering eyes for Shema

What is the requirement of covering our eyes for Shema? For example, do your eyes need to be closed? Must one cover with their hand? Does it matter which hand is used?
5
votes
3answers
150 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
831 views

Covering eyes when saying Shema Yisrael

When saying Kriyas Shema many have the custom of covering their eyes when saying Shema Yisrael. What is the reason this is done?
2
votes
0answers
29 views

Why do we cover our eyes during Shema? [duplicate]

There is a very widespread custom to cover one's eyes with one's hand during the first pasuk of Keriyas Shema. Where/when did this custom originate, and what is the reason for it?
4
votes
2answers
210 views

דע לפני מי אתה עומד on the ark

In some shuls it says on the ark, "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omeid." Is there any source from which that comes?
4
votes
0answers
117 views

Height of havdalah candle = height of spouse?

I have seen havdalah ceremonies where a unmarried person is charged with holding the havdalah candle and is told to hold it at the height that s/he would want their spouse to be. What is the source ...
4
votes
2answers
56 views

Saying kadesh and vehaya ki yaviyacha when donning on the tefllin

In most siddurim right after the berachot of the tefillin you will find the two parshiot "Kadesh" and "Vehaya ki yeviacha," which are also contained in the tefillin. Is there an obligation to say ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

Who says the Mourner's Kaddish for a synagogue member who had no family?

If a synagogue member dies with no living family members remaining, who says the Mourner's Kaddish for them? Can anyone volunteer to say Kaddish for them?
7
votes
1answer
530 views

How Many Stones to Place on a Grave?

When visiting a gravesite, my Jewish relatives always place small stones on the gravestone as a showing of respect for the dead. They typically place one stone on the gravestone, but I find myself ...
4
votes
2answers
155 views

Reasoning for doing/not doing mourning customs in second half of the omer

In my observation, most people observe certain mourning customs between the beginning of sefirat ha'omer and lag b'omer (such as refraining from shaving, listening to live music, etc.). Some people ...
6
votes
3answers
349 views

Is a convert free to choose his own minhagim?

Back when Jews lived in the same communities for generations, they were obligated to follow the minhagim (customs) of their community. The classic example is that East European Jews held that one ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

Why were some Jews called Yishmael? [duplicate]

Why is it that we find Jews (and even sages) by the name Yishmael? It seems rather strange that we would choose to name our children after someone who was the progenitor of a nation seen to be an ...
5
votes
1answer
80 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?
1
vote
0answers
25 views

Geirim and minhagim what should they do [duplicate]

What does a geir do regarding minhagim like kitniyos and the such? Would you take his nationality into consideration?
15
votes
8answers
1k views

Why wear Black hats

Why do people wear black hats if their kippa has 2 layers?
2
votes
2answers
314 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?
5
votes
2answers
604 views

What is the history of Teimani peyos?

How is it that many Teimanim wear long peyos (simanim) similar to many Chasidim, considering that their culture has been mostly isolated from Ashkenazi Europe? Do any historical sources tell us when ...
1
vote
1answer
174 views

Giving a child the same name as a living distant relative

The Ashkenazi custom is not to give one's child a name shared by another living close relative. How close is too close? Can you give a child a name possessed by his/her (living) cousin? Second cousin? ...
2
votes
0answers
69 views

Being Matir Family Mesorah

Does Hataras Nedarim help to be matir all of one's minhagim if the the one being matir has them in mind? For example: a sephardi wants to change his minhagim to ashkenazi ones.
4
votes
3answers
758 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
1answer
137 views

When did the type of kippah worn become 'defining'?

Nowadays there is a mix of kippah styles within cities/communities/countries which can define which 'sect' you belong to and may even carry a political message. Was there a point in history where the ...
1
vote
0answers
71 views

Titles and prefixes for calling people up to the Torah

When people are called up to the Torah by name, often there is a title that goes with them, such as "ha-bachur" for a young man, "ha-rav" for a rabbi (and/or someone with semicha), and other such ...
8
votes
2answers
620 views

Why doesn't Chabad read Ruth on Shavuot?

I was at Chabad this Shavuot and they did not read Ruth. Everywhere else I've been (all Nusach Ashkenaz) has read it claiming that it's appropriate since this is the time of the wheat harvest. Are ...
10
votes
4answers
473 views

Baal Teshuva Minhag

I have read that Rabbi Avraham Yosef (the son of Rav Ovadiah Yosef) paskened that a Baal Teshuva in Israel should adopt the Sephardic Minhag, regardless of family history, as their immediate ancestors ...