Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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5
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1answer
322 views

Is there anything wrong with messing with the rules of Dreidel?

In this article on Slate, Ben Blatt calls the classic rules of Dreidel "slow and unfair," citing simulation-based statistical analysis, and proposes his own modified rules to speed up the game. Given ...
4
votes
3answers
257 views

Why put water into the havdallah wine?

I have seen people (mainly sefardim) put a few drops of water into the wine before havdallah. Why do they do this?
0
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0answers
52 views

Non-Jewish Mysticism

According to the minhag I follow, one who is not a talmud chacham should not study Jewish mysticism (maase merkavah, heichalot, kabbalah, et c.). Following this, would one be able to read non-Jewish ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

Champagne and hechsher

I have heard (without a source) that some who were makpid to purchase only wines with hashgachot would consume wine from Champagne without a hechsher, probably because gentiles typically do not use ...
1
vote
1answer
166 views

Do those who do become religious after a divorce need to cover their hair (women) or wear a tallis (men)?

A reason that I propose for why divorced women continue to cover their hair and divorced men continue to wear a tallis (a phenomenon whose existence I vouch for) is that taking on a mitzvah (with the ...
7
votes
1answer
184 views

Why do the mothers break the plate?

At a wedding [or by the engagement], a plate is customarily broken at the "tena'im." This has already been discussed over here. As I have seen at weddings, and as is brought over here the custom is ...
2
votes
2answers
84 views

Chabad custom not to have bar mitzva aliya shabbat morning

According to this question, the Annotated Tehillat Hashem Siddur (a Chabad siddur) encourages the Bar mitzvah boy to get his first aliya on Monday, Thursday, or Shabbat Mincha or Rosh Chodesh. This ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a reason to cover your yawn?

My 9th grade Rebbi told us that we have to cover our mouths when we yawn to avoid evil spirits entering our bodies. Is there any source that says this? If not, is there any other Jewish reason, ...
1
vote
1answer
222 views

Origin of Chabad tefillin

I have wondered for some time about certain elements of Chabad minhagim re. tefillin, so here goes: What is the origin of their kesher shel yad? When was it decided that they should be huge (4x4cm ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Minhag of married women shaving during marriage

The custom for married women to shave their heads is, evidently, a fairly widespread custom that exists at least amongst (certain) Hasidim. I have heard a variety of supposed, non-authoritative ...
10
votes
2answers
386 views

How to celebrate conversion?

Are there any customs from modern or historic communities involving the celebration of a person's conversion to Judaism? In contrast to other transformative occasions in one's life (i.e., bar mitzvah, ...
4
votes
0answers
78 views

Choreography of Kaddish

I have seen a number of different customs of when people bow or sway or bob or whatnot during Kaddish. Some of the people I have witnessed have been very knowledgeable, and I assume they weren't just ...
6
votes
2answers
676 views

Saying kaddish when davening in a minyan that isn't your nusach

I have been to many minyanim where people are saying kaddish of a variety of nuschaot. What should one do with regards to this? Some examples: In a sephardi minyan, should an ashkenazi person remain ...
6
votes
4answers
582 views

Lady drinking Havdalah wine

Many times I have heard that a lady should not drink the wine from Havdalah as it will make her grow a beard. If a lady drank from the Havdalah wine will she really grow a beard? Is there a source ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

what is the source of reciting ledovid boruch

What is the source for reciting ledovid boruch and lamnazeach at mozei shabbes before mairiv? In the mishna berurah it is only cited as minhag but without a source.
8
votes
2answers
216 views

What is the source for washing Mayim Acharonim with only a few drops of water?

OC 181 (4) MB [10] says that when washing mayim acharonim one must wash up to the second knuckle and using a few drops does not fulfill the mitzvah at all. Shulchan Oruch HaRav 181 (4) says there is ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

minhag means law? when in shulchan aruch

When the Ramo writes and "so is the custom (vchain nohagin)" do we understand that to mean that this is his ruling regarding the law or that he is not giving his opinion about the law but is just ...
6
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3answers
519 views

Conservative / Nusach Sfard

Are there any Conservative synagogues that daven Nusach Sfard?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Ripping out a blade of grass by a funeral?

At my great-uncle's funeral today, all of the participants (except the mourners) were told to rip out a blade of grass and say a passuk (I don't remember which). Is this a Jewish minhag? If so, what ...
3
votes
1answer
276 views

Why do Lubavitchers put on tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam from bar mitzva?

Based on this question, Shulchan Aruch (O"C 34:2-3) says that only people who are noted for their piety should put on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin. Why do Lubavitcher chasidim (and descendants of certain ...
12
votes
6answers
774 views

Which Chasidic group departed the least from Ashkenazi minhag and nusach?

Chasidic groups vary in terms of their siddur's differences from nusach Ashkenaz, as well as their general minhagim and hashkafic approaches. Is there a Chasidic group which most closely matches the ...
0
votes
0answers
55 views

What is the source for placing two menorot at the front of the shul, one on either side of the Aron?

Many shuls have menorot at the front of the shul on either side of the aron. I understand that basically this is a zecher l'mikdash. However, is there a source for the minhag to place specifically two ...
3
votes
1answer
564 views

Minhag to wear wedding ring on the right hand

I don't have much background on this question--it's simply that I've seen some married Chabad women wearing their rings on the right hand. Why? Is it because the right hand is considered "preferable" ...
8
votes
2answers
944 views

How do you know when to make Chacham Harazim if you can't count Jews?

As I understand it, "Chacham harazim" is the bracha we make upon seeing an assembly of more than 600,000 Jews. I'm not clear on the exact detail of this law/tradition, but I also know we are not ...
2
votes
1answer
145 views

What does it mean to have geknipt payos?

What does it mean to have geknipt payos? Is this a specific length or style? Who would have the minhag of keeping their payos as whatever geknipt means?
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Minhag Tradition of Ashkenaz

Looking for a book that discusses minhag Ashkenaz in detail with sources. I am specifically interested in minhagim that were practiced in the Oberland of Europe.
4
votes
2answers
112 views

Custom for a mourner to be chosen to read the haftora every week

The Chabad rabbi near me has the custom of taking (for himself) both the kaddish recitation after the Torah reading (when applicable) and the reading of the haftorah on Shabbat — specifically ...
3
votes
1answer
94 views

Why don't the kohanim chant in Israel?

One of the things i happen to miss from chag in America is the chanting during Bircat Kohanim. Before the last word of each pasuk, they chant for a while. (Some people use this time to say a prayer ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

Pointing the pinky at v'zos hatorah [duplicate]

By v'zos hatorah (i.e hagbah) I have seen people point their pinky at the sefer torah. Is this a minhag or did someone just make it up? Where did this minhag come from? Does the Shulchan Aruch, ...
7
votes
1answer
115 views

Whose minhag does a Kalla follow in neiros shabbos and mikvah?

I was told by my mother-in-law that my wife should follow all of my minhagim except for shabbat candle lighting and mikveh, for which she will follow her mother's. Is there any halachic authority who ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Inserting a paper with one's request in between the stones of the western wall [duplicate]

I once heard a rabbi say that there is an ancient custom (i.e. minhag) to insert a paper with ones bakashos (requests) in between the stones of the western wall. Where is the source of this minhag? ...
0
votes
1answer
110 views

use the bathroom as a changing room

from shulchan aruch orach chaim 2 mishna brura there and shulchan aruch orach chaim 239.2 (davka feldheim translation 2: THE LAW REGARDING PUTTING ON CLOTHES mishna berura 1. "...For this reason, ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

Is a Jew allowed to be annoyed about a minhag?

I heard that Minhag Yisroel is Torah, and that some Jews get annoyed about the minhag of Kitniyot. Should they try to stay away from that feeling? I understand the Rambam in hilchot daiot that a Jew ...
5
votes
1answer
156 views

Tefillin Gassot

According to this video, gassot have only been around for about a century. I know for a fact that when my father became bar mitzvah, his grandfather got him tefillin dakkot (his father got new ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

B'siyata D'shmaya or Baruch Hashem

Often, at the top of written work, Jews write either ב"ה, which stands for Baruch Hashem =blessed is the Name i.e., God, or בס"ד, which stands for b'siyata d'shmaya =with Heavenly help. What is the ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

why is the order of kiddush different at night from the day?

multiple parts to this question... At night time why do we mention the wine before the day? It would seem most appropriate that after making the bracha on the wine there should be no interruption ...
2
votes
2answers
373 views

What clothes do the members of Neturei Karta wear? Why?

I noticed the clothes of the members of Neturei Karta were different than other haredi groups. The shoes are different, but also socks, pants, shirt and vest. I also noticed they wear two kinds of ...
7
votes
3answers
157 views

What is the source for untying things before going under the chuppah?

At a wedding recently I saw that the grooms shoes were untied, someone explained to me that there is a custom to make sure there are no knots under the chuppah. Where does this come from?
1
vote
0answers
70 views

Why did Ashkenazi Jews not adopt the custom of reading the Book of Job in synagogue on Tisha B'Av, as Sephardim do?

I understand that Sephardim have the custom of reading the Book of Job on Tisha B'Av. Is there any historic discussion among Ashkenazi rabbis regarding why the practice was not adopted by them?
3
votes
2answers
231 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Can someone follow the opposite minhag on the bracha for matza during the year?

The Ashkenazic custom is to wash and say hamotzi on matza all year round. The Sephardi custom is to make mezonot when it's not Pesach. Is someone allowed to follow the opposite minhag? I have heard ...
4
votes
2answers
71 views

Can a charity employ a collector on commission without informing donors?

This question is related. A charitable organisation wishes to employ a collector on commission. Does the organisation have a duty to inform potential donors that (a) the collector is on ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

Why the custom at the end of Tashlich to shake off Tzitzis?

In the Siddur Nussach Ari it says by the end of Tashlich to shake the ends of your Tzitzis, I heard that this symbolizes the tossing of a persons sins in the depth of the water (as in the verse " ...
6
votes
1answer
313 views

Is there a custom to color eggs on Lag Baomer?

I heard from an old Lithuanian/Polish Jew (frum from Lithuania/Poland). He says that he had a custom to eat colored eggs in his shtetl, and everyone did it. Is this custom documented anywhere, and ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Why not say tachanun until 2 Cheshvan?

It's recorded in most siddurim I've used that some people have the custom to skip tachanun on Isru Chag (the day after Sukkos), and start again the day after, while others don't resume saying it until ...
10
votes
1answer
243 views

Trying to understand Kol Hanearim

Where does the custom of Kol Hanearim, were all children stand near the person getting an aliah and are covered with a tallis-canopy, come from? What, if anything, is it a segulah for? Why is it done ...
11
votes
1answer
191 views

We're not supposed to point at stars?

I'm an Israeli Jew living in Israel. I often give "sky tours" where I show children and adults different stars and a view through a powerful binocular at objects of interest. Recently a young boy ...
12
votes
5answers
553 views

Should I be shuckling?

I was told that shuckeling (sp?) is an indication of the love-fear relationship that we have with God. You move forward showing that you want to be close to God and then backward out of fear of his ...
5
votes
1answer
60 views

Proper Hagba Procedure: Text Facing Table?

I recently was asked to be a magbiah. Before I came to the bimah, the chazzan turned the scroll so that the text was facing down (toward the table). So, when I grasped the atzey chaim and lifted it, ...
3
votes
1answer
194 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 Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and then skip the actual piyutim they are meant to introduce! This ...