Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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4
votes
1answer
142 views

Is there a spiritual meaning to wearing a Kippah?

Is there a spiritual meaning to wearing a Kippah? Why does G-d what our heads covered? Is it a sign that we are under a "covering" from G-d?
4
votes
2answers
272 views

What are the requirements of a men's mikva?

There are many requirements given for a women's mikvah (See Yoreh De'ah siman 201), yet I have not seen much information regarding a men's mikva (to tovel every day before prayers or for Erev Yom ...
12
votes
3answers
314 views

When/where did the practice of “recycling” names begin?

Perhaps this had never bothered anyone in the past, but for someone like myself who delves into genealogy, the fact that there are family naming patterns is a great boon. Of course, we can go only so ...
6
votes
1answer
189 views

Can you sing during the sheva brachos?

I have been to weddings where, during the recitation of the seventh bracha under the chuppah, the congregation sings "asher bara...". Sometimes it is along with the one reciting the bracha and other ...
9
votes
1answer
151 views

Wearing no head-covering?

Under what circumstances is it permissible for a man to wear no head-covering? If one is in a place that is experiencing anti-semitism, for example, does one need to wear a hat if one feels ...
4
votes
3answers
701 views

Aufruf and Shabbat Chatan?

Why is an aufruf (Askenazim) before and a shabbat chatan (sefardim) after the wedding? I know there is an idea of a chaasan going to shul from the Pirkei d'Reb Eliezer 17 but how did it get split ...
8
votes
1answer
212 views

Replies to “l'chayim”

The most common responses I've heard to a wish of "l'chayim!" ("life!") is "l'chayim tovim ulshalom" ("a good life and peace!") except from Lubavitch chasidim and "l'chayim v'livracha" ("life and ...
8
votes
2answers
451 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

Walking during “l'dor va'dor” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Moving from one's spot after Kedusha During kedusha everyone stands still, however I have seen a small percentage of people who start to walk again during the stanza ...
7
votes
1answer
124 views

Up part of the night on Shavuos

As described by Stephanie Hegarty for the BBC, Roger Ekirch, an historian, has evidence — and is convinced — that people used to have a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed ...
11
votes
1answer
218 views

Is all-night Shavu'ot learning as prevelant in the Southern Hemisphere?

In the Northern Hemisphere, Shavu'ot falls in the late Spring or early Summer. As a result, sunrise is relatively early, so learning "all night" and then praying the morning service at the earliest ...
4
votes
3answers
227 views

Marovis on Yom Tov

Does anyone know of shuls that still say Marovis (piyutim) on Yom Tov nights? I'm particularly interested in any place in Teaneck. Many seem to think that it's a yekki minhag but it's pretty clear ...
9
votes
1answer
70 views

Why do we read from Yechezekel on Shavuos and Yeshayahu on Parshas Yisro?

There are two times that we read about the giving of the Torah: When we read Yisro and on Shavuos. On both days we read Haftoras of Neviyim going up to Shamayim. On Shavuos we read about Yechezkel ...
8
votes
1answer
284 views

Hand movements when lighting shabbat candles

When women light shabbat candles I often see them making hand gestures. These look like two or perhaps three circles around in the air. What is the source for this practice? Is it a law or custom? Is ...
14
votes
2answers
225 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
957 views

What is the origin of hazak u'baruch?

Hazak u'barukh is a phrase commonly said after one does something in the synagogue (e.g., after an aliyah). What is its origin?
4
votes
3answers
252 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 ...
-4
votes
2answers
283 views

Why do people say “God” in English and not “Gosh”?

When people speak Hebrew, they say Hashem instead of Y-HVH, because saying His name is impossible/forbidden. Additionally, when writing, some people write G-d instead of God. Why when speaking ...
5
votes
4answers
370 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?
10
votes
6answers
479 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
306 views

What is the reason for V-neck Titzis?

When buying Tzitzis, I have seen that there are two types of garment: A "round" neck (the hole has a racetrack shape). A "V" neck (the hole for the neck has a diamond shape). What is the reason ...
1
vote
0answers
90 views

Should people not say Vidui before Tachanun?

Assuming that it is a hefseik and forbidden to interrupt between amidah and tachanun, should a person who regularly recites vidui change his custom and delay the recital of vidui until later on, after ...
8
votes
2answers
291 views

How historically accurate is Josephus?

How accurate is the writing of Josephus? Can we rely on any of his writings to establish authentic Jewish practices or in areas of halacha?
7
votes
1answer
329 views

Why do we cover the challot on Shabbos?

The answer I learned growing up was that "we don't want to embarrass the bread because we are first making kiddush" or some variation thereof. I later learned that is a zecher for the ma'n which fell ...
8
votes
3answers
361 views

How does laughing confuse the Satan?

Sefardim have a practice (custom?) to laugh during habdalah. When I asked the reason for this practice I was told that it was "to confound the satan". I assume it has something to do with ...
3
votes
0answers
141 views

Following minhag of tzitzit in vs. out [closed]

When I became frum (around 2 years ago) I started wearing tzitzit hanging out. My grandfather just told me that he remembers that when he was a kid, he tucked his tzitzit in. He remembers his father ...
6
votes
1answer
220 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
266 views

Matza on 14 Iyar

I have seen a custom (it seems to me primarily among Chassidim) to eat matza on 14 Iyar (known as Pesach Sheni). What is the earliest source for this custom? What are the reasons given for following ...
4
votes
1answer
770 views

What is the source of the Birkat Habayit?

What is the source of the text of the Birkat Habayit: I've seen them written on a hand, and some come with garlic, multi-colored beads, and some other strange objects. Inspired by: ...
5
votes
3answers
153 views

Who reads the Haggadah?

In my family's Seder, and in one of the two others I've been to, the reading is done by taking turns going around the table. Mostly it is read in the language of one's preference, but some (myself ...
3
votes
0answers
68 views

The, um, Seder of the Seder [closed]

Since I have only experienced a handful of families' traditions of how they conduct their Sedarim, I thought I'd ask what others do. What are some of the widely practiced customs for how to actually ...
5
votes
2answers
657 views

Hardboiled eggs and salt water at the Seder

I've participated in only 3 different families' Passover Seders, so my experience is limited in terms of different families' traditions. How widespread is the custom of eating a hardboiled egg in ...
6
votes
2answers
120 views

Why a Beitzah on the Seder Plate?

Why do we use a roasted (maybe?) egg on the Seder Plate to represent the Festival offering?
4
votes
1answer
95 views

Were Maftir Honors in 19th Century different from today?

I received a travel-diary for a man who was born in Huncovce (also known as Hunsdorf, once a famous yeshiva town, second only to Pressburg), Slovakia. He was born in 1851, presumably had some Torah ...
9
votes
2answers
165 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
80 views

Can we say the “Adir bamarom” prayer after the prayer which we say instead of “Birkat Kohanim”?

Extracted from here: The prevailing custom in the Diaspora to relegate the Birkat Kohanim to the major holidays. After Birkat Kohanim, the congregation silently recites the short Adir bamarom prayer. ...
14
votes
1answer
345 views

Time-frame for naming a newborn girl

I have heard many differing Minhagim as to the time-frame for naming a newborn girl. There are those that name at the first possible opportunity and some that wait till the second Shabbos. Many others ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Posuk (Breishis 24:1) said after the end of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

Artscroll Hebrew Siddurim - and 1 2 among others have at the end of Hallel to say the following Posuk. וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן בָּא בַּיָּמִים וַה' בֵּרַךְ אֶת-אַבְרָהָם בַּכֹּל Artscroll says it is a ...
4
votes
0answers
114 views

Young boys returning Chumashim after Torah reading

I often see young boys going around shul after the Shabbos/Yom Tov morning Torah reading to collect Chumashim and return them to their shelves. Is this an actual 'minhag' with a history behind it? If ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Fasting on Modern Days of Mourning

I was wondering if some people fast on Yom HaShoah or Yom HaZikaron. After all, these are somber days and hit close to home for many people. Do some people fast on these days? Why or why not?
5
votes
2answers
92 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
113 views

Is one allowed to eat foods that were grown from non-kosher materials?

There is a known story of how one time a person brought a giant carrot on Erev Pesach to the Belzer Rebbe (back in Europe) for Karpas. After the donor left, he said "burn it with the Chometz". As the ...
2
votes
0answers
52 views

When did the Ashkenazi custom to NOT bake matza on Pesach start?

Historically, when did the Ashkenazi custom to not bake matza on Pesach start? I am specifically interested in when this custom arose, rather than the reasons/opions pro/against.
3
votes
2answers
86 views

When did the Ashkenazi custom to bake matza on erev Pesach afternoon start?

Historically, when did the Ashkenazi custom to bake matza on erev Pesach afternoon start? I am specifically interested in when this custom arose, rather than the reasons/opions pro/against.
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Is one allowed to listen to music during Pesach? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Sefira Restrictions During Chol Hamoed Pesach One of the reasons given to pushing off the Aveilus period until after Rosh Chodesh Iyar is because one should avoid ...
5
votes
4answers
293 views

May musicians practice their instruments during Sefirah?

Although one should not listen to music during Sefirah, may musicians practice their instruments during this time? Would it matter if their livelihood is or is not dependent on their musical talent ...
4
votes
0answers
100 views

Matzah Shemurah on the 8th day of Pesaḥ (in the Diaspora)

According to those who hold that there is a Kiyyum Mitzvath 'Aseh DeOraitha (a fulfillment of a positive Biblical commandment) every time one eats a KeZayith (olive size's worth) of Matzah on Pesaḥ, ...
7
votes
1answer
107 views

Is the Haftarah a Minhag?

Is reading the Haftarah a Minhag? I know that the practice was instituted when we couldn't publicly read torah, and then it was kept. Does that make it a Minhag?
4
votes
1answer
240 views

“Motzi Matzah” or “Motzi and Matzah” (separately)? Passover Seder

In some haggadot, I have seen the numbers of sections as being 14, with Motzi Matzah being combined, and in other haggadot, I have seen 15 with them separated. What is the reason behind each side?
4
votes
2answers
157 views

What is the halachic source for the minhagim of mourning during Sefira?

What is the earliest halachic source for the minhagim of mourning during sefira? Note that this does not mean the story of R' Akiva, I'm talking about halachic references to prohibitions such as not ...