Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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6
votes
2answers
189 views

How/why does kaparot work?

The ritual of kaparot [lit. atonement], which is usually done just prior to Yom Kippur (usually the day before), where one waves a chicken or an [unspecified] amount of money over one's head in a ...
1
vote
0answers
68 views

Davening by a Tzaddik on Rosh HaShanah

Where does the inyan of davening with a Tzaddik on Rosh HaShanah come from? Where did it start? Was there ever such a minhag before chassidus come along? (Assuming it started with the Chassidim -- my ...
5
votes
6answers
203 views

Apple on Rosh HaShanah

There is a custom of eating an apple dipped in honey on first night of Rosh HaShanah (among the other foods) as a sign that we should have a sweet year. Why is this done specifically with an apple and ...
11
votes
1answer
295 views

Kapparos on money - How much?

If one does the Minhag of Kapparos on money, how much money should be used for each person? (Sources.)
2
votes
1answer
106 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
185 views

Bal Keri and Learning

Many are stringent: if they become a bal keri (have a nocturnal emission) for any reason they don't learn or pray before going to the mikveh ("tevilas ezra"). However, even according to those that are ...
4
votes
1answer
333 views

Beracha on lighting yom tov candles : before or after?

There are two minhagim concerning the time the beracha should be said on lighting yom tov candles for a woman, before or after (like shabbos neros). I've read arguments like these : before, because ...
1
vote
0answers
83 views

What if there is no object for use in a mitzva?

There is a story I once heard about the Ben Ish Chai examining the only known etrog available in Iraq. Despite the great need for it, he declared the etrog passul for use and no one could fulfill the ...
1
vote
1answer
222 views

Yom tov kiddush tune

There's a popular tune used for kidush on the nights of the shalosh r'galim. (It's available on YouTube (but ignore the "shehechiyanu" part of that recording).) What's its origin? Does it have the ...
6
votes
1answer
193 views

Minhag of saying Selichos only before Rosh HaShanah

There is a minhag to only say Selichos before Rosh HaShanah and not during Aseres Yemei Teshuva. I know in Chabad this is in the minhag. Is this minhag practiced anywhere else? Where does it come ...
3
votes
1answer
182 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
183 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
224 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
592 views

spitting in aleinu leshabeach

Does anyone know the origin of the custom to spit in Aleinu after the words שֶׁהֵם מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לְהֶבֶל וְלָרִיק? Where did it start? And in which seforim is it mentioned? I have seen in the ...
8
votes
8answers
2k views

Why do Sephardic Jews dress in black and white?

Many observant sephardim in Israel, especially those in yeshivot, dress in black and white. Does anyone know how this happened? There is no tradition of Jews in North Africa or in the Middle East ...
3
votes
1answer
128 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?
7
votes
1answer
170 views

Origin of the nine days

I just learned a gemara (taanit 30a) that seems to pretty clearly state that the mourning for tisha b'av starts the beginning of the week that tisha b'av falls out on, and ends with tisha b'av itself. ...
3
votes
2answers
134 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
127 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
243 views

Why do we say Vhu Rachum before Maariv?

Before Maariv, we say the pasuk "Vhu rachum yichaper avon..." (Psalms 78:38). Why?
14
votes
4answers
313 views

Women and Mayim Acharonim

I very often eat at meals where after the meal, all of the men wash mayim acharonim, but none of the women do so. I am aware of a number of halachic sources that say both men and women should wash ...
2
votes
1answer
480 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?
5
votes
3answers
211 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
222 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
148 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
95 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
32 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
2answers
337 views

Why do we mention dreams during *Birchas Kohanim*?

I don't know how many sects actually do this, but some people have the custom to say a tehfillah which is all about dreams. In it we ask Hashem to make all our good dreams come true whether "...I have ...
9
votes
3answers
702 views

Wedding ring composition

I was recently told that the ring used for kiddushin should be made entirely out of one kind of metal (usually gold), with no other adornments such as diamonds, etc. I had been under the impression ...
7
votes
3answers
544 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
2answers
292 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
136 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
210 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?
4
votes
0answers
159 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? ...
1
vote
8answers
553 views

Lubavitch and Daf Yomi

I know that most lubavitchers won't learn Daf Yomi. Is there any Sicha (please bring sources) which says if one should or shouldn't learn it?
5
votes
7answers
298 views

Sources for/about breaking a plate at a wedding

Are you aware of any literature that either provides a source for or discusses the significance of the two mothers breaking a plate at the "Tisch" at a wedding? It's not hard to find mentions of this ...
7
votes
1answer
85 views

Why do we strike ourselves during prayer?

Why do we strike ourselves when confessing sin either during shmoneah esrei or viduy?
12
votes
3answers
303 views

I heard not to say “Good Shabbos” after mincha. Is it true, and what defines mincha?

I heard from somewhere that, on Shabbos, one does not say "Good Shabbos" after mincha. I am not sure whether it's in a halacha sefer somewhere (I tried looking) or just a minhag. First of all, is ...
5
votes
1answer
114 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
480 views

May one walk under the Arch of Titus?

I have heard that it is prohibited (or at least that the custom is not) to walk under the Arch of Titus in Rome. Is this accurate? If so, what is the source? Would it make a difference if a large ...
4
votes
1answer
203 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
58 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
839 views

What are the halachot of Chanukat Habayit?

What are the laws and customs appertaining to chanukat habayit? At what point, if at all, should you make a shehechiyanu; upon closing? Moving in? Should you make a chanukat habayit on a home that ...
2
votes
1answer
85 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
151 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
392 views

Ostrich eggs in Shul?

Kinyan L'Shabbos (published weekly by Hamodia) - July 18, 2012, page 11 has a fascinating article by Rabbi Avraham Y. Heschel regarding an ancient custom of displaying ostrich eggs in a Beis Knesses. ...
2
votes
1answer
98 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
102 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
586 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?
10
votes
1answer
227 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: ...