Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

1
vote
0answers
58 views

What are the rules for covering one's head with a talit for sefaradim?

There seems to be a bunch of different minhagim related to covering one's head with a talit. My question pertains to sefaradim. Are the rules different for married/non-married? When should you ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

פ in German Sta"M Script

Does anyone know the German custom for the letter pey in Sta"m sofer? I know that the shape in Litvisch Bet Yosef is influenced by the Mekubalim of Tzfat (The Ari in particular) who said that the ...
2
votes
1answer
102 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
215 views

Kissing a Sefer Torah as it passes

Some people in shul mark it as a sign of respect, as the Torah makes its way to/from the Aron Kodesh, to kiss it, and rush to get as close as possible. Others, given the cold season, think that this ...
2
votes
0answers
156 views

Siyum Mishnayos on Erev Pesach

Today I learned of the minhag to make a siyum bechorim only on gemara. I understand the logic, but is there a source for it? This came up because I'm scheduled to make a siyum on the Mishna (first ...
2
votes
1answer
380 views

Source for the Mitzvah Tanz

At a Chassidishe Wedding, there is a special dance done, known as the Mitzvah Tanz. Where is the source for this dance and what is the meaning behind it? Also, why is it not done at Litvish Weddings? ...
3
votes
1answer
180 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
98 views

When is OK to repeat words or lines in prayer?

I have read several questions and answers on here regarding repeating words in prayer, but they do not answer why some common repetitions are allowable. Some examples: 1) During the Torah service, ...
5
votes
1answer
259 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
506 views

Wearing Gold On Yom HaKippurim

Besides for the minhag that one should not wear jewelry on Yom HaKipurim because of the "fear of the judgment" there is also the minhag to not wear gold (even as a decoration on a tallis or kittel) ...
6
votes
4answers
528 views

Peeling vegetables on Pesach

It is a minhag in Chabad to only eat vegetables that you can peel on Pesach. There is a possibility that either the wax coating on certain vegetables contains chometz or that certain processing of the ...
7
votes
1answer
116 views

Why Is the Possuk Read Backwards?

The verse in Bereishis 49:19 states: גָּ֖ד גְּד֣וּד יְגוּדֶ֑נּוּ וְה֖וּא יָגֻ֥ד עָקֵֽב Is is the Chabad Minhag to read this verse, followed by the reverse of it, as part of Krias Shema She'al ...
1
vote
1answer
150 views

Why 72-minutes for Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, and Northern European Jews?

I am a Swedish Jew and want to know why we wait specifically 72 minutes after eating meat/flaysh before eating miklhigs. A lot of people say it is an hour, but my understanding is that a one-hour ...
6
votes
1answer
108 views

Do we wave or shake the lulav?

I have observed two ways of moving the lulav. 1) Moving the lulav to and fro and incorporating a sudden movement at the beginning and the end to cause the leaves of the lulav to rustle. 2) Waving ...
13
votes
4answers
326 views

Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed - why do we whisper it?

Why do we say Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed in Kriyas Shema in a whisper?
2
votes
2answers
105 views

What's with the Bima?

When the Bais Hamikdash stood, on Yom Kipper the kohen gadol read from the torah facing the people and on Sukos the king read from the torah facing the people, why does our Bima face the Aron? If ...
3
votes
3answers
177 views

Why do we step before Shemona Esrei?

Why do we take steps before the Shemona Esrei?
13
votes
1answer
226 views

Would a widower observe Yahrzeit after remarriage?

If a Jewish man's wife died, he would naturally observe the Yahrzeit on the anniversary of her death. Would he continue to do so if he remarried? My question comes from reading about the Yahrezeit ...
4
votes
1answer
244 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
75 views

Why don't Ramaniote Jews use the hei in names?

I am named after my grandfather and great grandfather on my mother's side, both of whom were Ramaniote. My name, therefore, is "Avram Mosh" (אברם מוש) instead of "Avraham Moshe" (אברהם משה). I've been ...
8
votes
9answers
515 views

fish before meat - why?

To the best of my knowledge eating fish after meat has the same Halacha as eating meat after fish. You are supposed to eat a cracker and take a drink to seperate between them. Why is it most common ...
5
votes
7answers
567 views

Stepping Back Before Amidah

Why do people step back three steps before the Amidah (as mentioned here in Mishnah Berurah, S'if Katan Gimmel) if the Gemarah only mentions stepping three steps forward? Is there a kabbalistic source ...
5
votes
2answers
173 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
814 views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
5
votes
1answer
341 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Nittle Nacht Meaning

What is Nittle Nacht? What does the name mean? What is its significance? Which Halachic authorities speak about it, and what do they say? What is the actual date for it? How is it effected this ...
12
votes
1answer
622 views

Why is the Lubavitch custom to have short Peoth?

If R' Schneur Zalman of Liadi had long Peoth, as in this famous sketch, why is it not the custom in Lubavitch circles these days for adult men to maintain long, emphasized Peoth as it is in many other ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

Naming a baby after a living non-relative

As an Ashkenazi Jew, can I name my child after someone who is alive if they are not a relative or are you not supposed to name a child after the living, regardless of your relationship with them or ...
3
votes
0answers
44 views

Who says צִוָּה vs. צַוֵּה at a b'ris?

The passage "על כן בשכר זאת קל חי חלקנו צורנו צוה להציל ידידות שארנו משחת" is part of one of the blessings recited at a b'ris mila. Pische S'shuva (Yore Dea 265:4) cites a difference of opinion as to ...
3
votes
0answers
43 views

When and why would one don sackcloth?

There are various instances in tanach of someone donning sackcloth. I would like to know whether any commentators have compiled an outline as to when and why someone would don sackcloth (is it only ...
2
votes
0answers
36 views

Are separate stainless steel and aluminum dishes really required? [duplicate]

I can understand the need for separate cast iron dishes and raw pottery dishes for meat and dairy, but is stainless steel and aluminum really required according to halakha? Pottery (klei heres) is ...
1
vote
1answer
208 views

Pronouncing the Cholam like a Tzeirei

The Litvish/Russian pronunciation of the Cholam sound is an /ay/ sound, similar (I think actually exactly the same) as a tzeirei. Are there any sources saying that it is a Halachic problem pronouncing ...
3
votes
2answers
222 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?
1
vote
1answer
150 views

Cookies for kiddush

Many people, including Chabad, eat cookies before shacharis which raises a question about kiddush asked here. I understand that they do this because cookies don't count as a seudah.1 The flip side of ...
5
votes
0answers
265 views

Saying “Elokim” when not referring to Hashem

People often say "Elokim" instead of "Elohim" when speaking in order to avoid taking God's name in vain. I have observed, however, that some people always substitute the word "elokim" for "elohim" ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

Is it permitted to make hand gestures in the Amidah?

Someone told me that I should not move my hands during the Amidah. I found this article in the Jerusalem Post which says: Indeed, an eerie silence hovers over the issue of outstretched arms ...
2
votes
0answers
64 views

סימן יתק״ק and Shir Hashirim

In the copy of Echa I used this past 9 Av, the final p'sukim were followed by the notation "סימן יתק״ק". These stand for "ישעיה",‎ "תרי עשר",‎ "קהלת", and "קנות" (i.e. Echa). These are ...
5
votes
0answers
115 views

Do Sepharadim celebrate Thanksgiving?

A good deal of ink has been spilled in the past century regarding the permissibility and appropriateness of American Jews celebrating Thanksgiving. For the most part, Ashkenazim are split, with some ...
8
votes
1answer
155 views

Baal haTanya's donning shel yad seated

I have heard that the baal haTanya put on his t'fila shel yad while seated (as S'faradim do). Does anyone have a source for this (or for the opposite: that he put on his shel yad standing)? If he ...
7
votes
3answers
232 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Wearing tefilin all the time included Shabbat?

When people used to wear tefilin every day, did they do so on Shabbat as well? If so, why did people stop wearing tefilin on Shabbat? If not, why not?
8
votes
1answer
85 views

Are there any minhag and customs specific to Czech Jews and have they been documented?

I'm a baal teshuva with Czech Jewish ancestry. I have an interest in the minhag of my ancestors as well as in common cultural practices, and perhaps pass them on where I can. Have they been documented ...
2
votes
0answers
110 views

Customs for closing eyes for Keriyat Shema [duplicate]

When davening by Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg one Friday night he did not cover his eyes for Shema. Are there any sources that suggest merely closing one's eyes for Shema rather than covering them ...
5
votes
2answers
284 views

When did the use of Rashei Tevot, Heh Kuf, הק׳ in writings, books, letters, etc., begin?

Perhaps I'm among the last to have found this out, but it took me quite a while to understand why, in a signature, the name was preceeded by a הק׳. THe Ozar Rashei Tevot book has 31 different ...
8
votes
4answers
735 views

Should I wear tefillin during Chol HaMoed?

If I don't have a known family minhag regarding this, how should I decide whether to wear tefillin during Chol HaMoed? Which communities generally follow each option, and what are the reasons behind ...
5
votes
0answers
66 views

Why don't we say the first verse of Psalm 6 in Tachanun?

When Ashkenazim say Tachanun, they say the text of Psalm 6 without the first verse introduction “To the conductor with melodies on the sheminith, a song of David.” In the text, we say, “I am weary ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

Does minhag hamakom apply to a college minyan?

At my university our minyan davens nusach Ashkenaz. Recently some have expressed the desire to allow the shatz to daven nusach Sefard, under the logic that since there are basically no permanent ...
3
votes
3answers
396 views

Cutting chala with a knife

Are people insistent upon cutting bread with a knife rather than tearing it apart manually? If so, why?
2
votes
1answer
188 views

Why don't women drink alcohol (other than kiddush wine) in shul?

I've noticed that in Orthodox shuls, it's common for men to drink alcohol (such as a shot of scotch or vodka or perhaps a liqueur), other than just kiddush wine, especially after Shacharis on Shabbos. ...
2
votes
1answer
128 views

Mikvah with three additional chambers

I was looking at documentation of a mikvah being constructed, and it confused me. In addition to the immersion pool, this mikvah had three additional chambers. From what I have gathered, they appear ...