Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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15
votes
1answer
159 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
174 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
121 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?
5
votes
12answers
411 views

What is the most widespread Israeli Minhag?

What is the single most widely practiced minhag among Jews in Israel today? By "widely practiced" I mean practiced by the most people.
3
votes
2answers
116 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
108 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
388 views

Naming your child using a dead relative's initial

Is there a Jewish tradition of naming your child using the first letter of the name of a recently deceased relative?
7
votes
3answers
238 views

Why don't we say Tachanun at Mincha on Erev Shabbat or Erev Yom Tov?

It says in the Rambam that there is a custom not to say Tachanun at Mincha on Erev Shabbos and Yom Tov. What is the reason for this custom?
5
votes
3answers
200 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
272 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?
6
votes
2answers
159 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
137 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
79 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
319 views

Black Hats During Mussaf

Lately, I have noticed that many people who wear a tallis during davening will deliberately put on the black hat, which they wore on the way to shul, while still wearing their tallis near the end of ...
7
votes
3answers
430 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
0answers
31 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
4answers
203 views

Not falling on hands for Tachnun

How come Sepharadim do not "fall on their faces" during Tachanun as Ashkenazim do, if the prayer is called "nefilat apa'im" (literally the falling of the faces)? The Shulchan Aruch seems to hold of ...
9
votes
2answers
157 views

When there are four aveilim (mourners), Is it better to have one minyan of 40 people or 4 minyonim of ten each?

Today I was in a shul where there were four parallel mincha services because four mourners wanted to lead the services. I thought there was a principle of ברב עם הדרת מלך? What sources are there that ...
3
votes
1answer
222 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
125 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Eating at a shiva house

What is the basis for some people's practice not to eat the food at a shiva house; is there a halachik basis for this, is it a minhag or perhaps just superstition?
4
votes
0answers
140 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? ...
13
votes
2answers
207 views

How old is the custom to eat dairy on Shavuos?

I don't think I've ever seen a rationalization for this custom in works earlier than those of the Acharonim. I've never seen any Rishonim even mention it; certainly not earlier authors. What's the ...
5
votes
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)
7
votes
1answer
82 views

Why do we strike ourselves during prayer?

Why do we strike ourselves when confessing sin either during shmoneah esrei or viduy?
6
votes
0answers
101 views

Father being Matir Neder for himself: does it affect the family?

If a father is Matir Neder on a minhag (gebroktz, let's say) for himself for a valid reason, does that include his whole family? Are they now also permitted to eat gebroktz because that is now the ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

How could boiling 3 eggs at a time help?

A lot of people have a custom of boiling 3 eggs at a time, as mentioned here, among any other places. One reason given for this practice is that if one egg turns out to be unkosher, the remaining two ...
5
votes
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 ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is Soy milk considered Parve and not Milchig/Halavi?

Considering that milk is forbidden with chicken (as stated in this answer), because chicken could be confused with meat, why isn't soy milk considered milchig as well? In Israel, chicken is ...
5
votes
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
425 views

The value of the daily study of Chitas (Chumash, Tehilim, Tanya)?

What's the value of learning "Chitas" compared to any other daily Torah study? Side question: If it's so important, why was it introduced only recently?
13
votes
1answer
287 views

“Yaamod p'loni ben p'loni… chazak”?

The last ole (person called to the Torah) (besides the maftir) of Vaychi, P'kude, B'chukosay, and Mas'e is, in my experience, called using the formula "yaamod p'loni ben p'loni sh'vii chazak", with ...
3
votes
0answers
52 views

Minhagim pertaining to the consumption of locust with other foods?

BS"D So based on the concept that locust are the only other "meat" that is parve besides fish, do the same or similar Halakhic or even minhag based restrictions apply to it? For instance its some ...
9
votes
4answers
974 views

Where do the different traditions for hours of waiting between meat and milk come from?

As far as I can tell, there are 5 different traditions for how long one has to wait between eating meat and milk: wait 6 full hours wait into the 6th hour (thus, 5 hours and 5 minutes would ...
6
votes
1answer
203 views

When did “Zal” give way to “Zatzal”?

Inspired by this answer and it's comments. Early on, it was standard to refer to great Rabbis who had passed away with the appellation "Zal" - "zichrono/ah livracha "May his/her/their memory be a ...
8
votes
2answers
612 views

Is there an issue with ladies going to the zoo when they are pregnant?

Is there an issue with ladies going to the zoo when they are pregnant? If yes then why is it a problem?
10
votes
2answers
139 views

Source for kissing an aron

I've seen people kiss an aron kodesh (cabinet holding Torah scrolls) when they approach it and, if they were standing near it, before they leave it. Does this have any written source; or, are there ...
6
votes
2answers
280 views

Can you turn your back to the Aron HaKodesh?

I'm quite certain that it is mentioned in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that one should not turn one's back to the Aron HaKodesh (ark which holds the Torah Scrolls). Can anyone tell me where this is ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Pirkei Avos on Shabbos Tisha B'Av

When Tisha B'Av comes out on a Shabbos, do we say Pirkei Avos in the cycle on that Shabbos?
8
votes
1answer
129 views

Do the customs in regards to *Yud Av* apply to *Yud-Aleph Av* on a year when the fast is pushed off?

I know that people have the custom (I don't know how universal it is), to keep a lot of the restrictions of the nine days until Chatzos on Yud Av. Such as not eating meat or doing laundry. This year ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

The power of a seudat mitzvah to obviate minhagei aveilus

The prohibitions which Ashkenazim take on themselves during the nine days seem to spring from post-Talmudic thinking and application of the notion of "reduced joy." For some reason, the particulars ...
6
votes
2answers
123 views

Repeating Seder HaKitores

Why do Nusahos Ari, Sefard, Edot HaMizrah, and Ashkenaz of Eretz Yisrael repeat the order of the kitores (incense offering) at the end of Shaharis every day and why does Nusah Ashkenaz of Hutz LaAretz ...
8
votes
1answer
195 views

Electronic communication immediately before wedding

Is it permissible to chat with your future spouse during the week before the wedding when you are not supposed to see each other face to face? Are any, all, or none of the following permissible: ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

Birkat hamazon w/ cup of wine Vs. Prohibition on wine during shavua shechal bo

For one whose custom is to drink wine (or grape juice) after reciting Birkat Ha-Mazon and to refrain from eating wine during shavua she-chal bo Tisha b'Av: Does the requirement to use a cup trump the ...
4
votes
2answers
214 views

Which sephardic groups forbid eating rice during Pesach and why?

I was recently at a shiur where this came up briefly and somewhat tangentially. Does anyone know which groups forbid rice but allow other kitniyot (e.g., beans) during Pesach? Any references/pointers ...
6
votes
2answers
317 views

Why Do Converts Change Their Names?

Rabbi Avigdor Miller said that it used to be that gerim (converts) and baalei teshuvah (repentants) who had been given non-Jewish names did not change their names when they became part of the Jewish ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Coffee Urns left out throughout the week?

Many people still keep to the halacha that one isn't allowed to drink from water kept in metal overnight. How would one be allowed to drink from a Coffee Urn on Shabbos? How could one drink from a ...
3
votes
1answer
179 views

A new knife for Rosh Hashanah?

There is a custom to buy a knife for Rosh Hashanah: the qualifier is that the knife not be serrated. What is the source for this custom and what is the significance of the knife not having edges?
0
votes
0answers
55 views

Taking food from a Seudas Bris

When I am at a Bris I have noticed that many people take food for others who are not there. What is the source for taking food from a Bris?