Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

1
vote
0answers
64 views

Why do Hassidim wear hats that simulate what Non-Jewish czars and kings wore?

I heard from a few people that some of the hats that Hassidim wear such as shtreimelach and spodeks mimic the hat styles worn by previous kings and czars. Perhaps, I heard incorrectly, so feel free to ...
5
votes
1answer
195 views

Is there any basis for Chabad minhagim regarding tallit gadol?

I often daven at Chabad shuls and I have noticed that they have some particulars regarding tallit usage inconsistent with the rest of Ashkenazi Jewry, including: not wearing when receiving an aliyah ...
5
votes
2answers
592 views

What's the source for naming children after Alexander the Great?

I know many Jews whose actual bris-given name is Alexander, and this has been a popular name even among great tzaddikim of the past (such as R. Alexander Ziskind). I've heard a legend (mentioned on ...
5
votes
2answers
60 views

Covering eyes for Shema

What is the requirement of covering our eyes for Shema? For example, do your eyes need to be closed? Must one cover with their hand? Does it matter which hand is used?
19
votes
4answers
282 views

Glasses and Shema

The Shulhan Aruch records the custom of placing one's hand over his eyes in Shema in order to increase concentration. What about someone who wears glasses? Must he move them or remove them?
5
votes
3answers
99 views

Prohibition to wear black for mourning?

I've heard a rumor floating around to the effect that Jews should not wear all black as an expression of mourning. Is there anything to that? If so, is there anything inherently wrong with it, is it a ...
6
votes
0answers
54 views

At what point do we reject a minhag?

I was learning the halachos of berachos on things that are ground up, and it seemed pretty clear to me that the blessing on chocolate should be ha'etz. I found discussion in some more contemporary ...
7
votes
2answers
736 views

Covering eyes when saying Shema Yisrael

When saying Kriyas Shema many have the custom of covering their eyes when saying Shema Yisrael. What is the reason this is done?
2
votes
0answers
27 views

Why do we cover our eyes during Shema? [duplicate]

There is a very widespread custom to cover one's eyes with one's hand during the first pasuk of Keriyas Shema. Where/when did this custom originate, and what is the reason for it?
3
votes
2answers
71 views

דע לפני מי אתה עומד on the ark

In some shuls it says on the ark, "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omeid." Is there any source from which that comes?
4
votes
0answers
73 views

Height of havdalah candle = height of spouse?

I have seen havdalah ceremonies where a unmarried person is charged with holding the havdalah candle and is told to hold it at the height that s/he would want their spouse to be. What is the source ...
4
votes
2answers
40 views

Saying kadesh and vehaya ki yaviyacha when donning on the tefllin

In most siddurim right after the berachot of the tefillin you will find the two parshiot "Kadesh" and "Vehaya ki yeviacha," which are also contained in the tefillin. Is there an obligation to say ...
5
votes
7answers
245 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
86 views

Wearing a gartel and a belt?

For those who hold by wearing a gartel for davening (for separating the upper and lower body), is it necessary when already wearing a belt?
6
votes
3answers
171 views

Custom of Rov speaking before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos

I've been in a number of shuls where the Rov of the shul will get up before Krias HaTorah on Shabbos and say some sort of "drasha". Sometimes it was connected to the parsha or inyunei d'yoma (i.e. ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

Who says the Mourner's Kaddish for a synagogue member who had no family?

If a synagogue member dies with no living family members remaining, who says the Mourner's Kaddish for them? Can anyone volunteer to say Kaddish for them?
7
votes
1answer
494 views

How Many Stones to Place on a Grave?

When visiting a gravesite, my Jewish relatives always place small stones on the gravestone as a showing of respect for the dead. They typically place one stone on the gravestone, but I find myself ...
4
votes
2answers
130 views

Reasoning for doing/not doing mourning customs in second half of the omer

In my observation, most people observe certain mourning customs between the beginning of sefirat ha'omer and lag b'omer (such as refraining from shaving, listening to live music, etc.). Some people ...
6
votes
4answers
246 views

Is a convert free to choose his own minhagim?

Back when Jews lived in the same communities for generations, they were obligated to follow the minhagim (customs) of their community. The classic example is that East European Jews held that one ...
10
votes
4answers
379 views

Is it permissible to name one's child with a name from the opposite gender?

Is a person allowed to name a boy with a girl's name and vice versa? I remember seeing that one musn't, although in Nach one finds these things a lot. I understand it is not best practice for ...
1
vote
3answers
160 views

Doesn't the wide use of Sheitels among Orthodox Jewish women prove that hair no longer retains the erotic status that it once had?

In reading scores of halakhic material on the subject of kisui rosh le-nashim throughout the ages, I have found that there are essentially two views as to the nature of the obligation for a woman to ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

Why were some Jews called Yishmael? [duplicate]

Why is it that we find Jews (and even sages) by the name Yishmael? It seems rather strange that we would choose to name our children after someone who was the progenitor of a nation seen to be an ...
7
votes
2answers
483 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?
5
votes
1answer
70 views

reprinting of tanyas in many locations, why?

Why do Lubavitcher חסידים print “ספר של בינונים" in many different places — something about outward expansion of wellsprings?
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Geirim and minhagim what should they do [duplicate]

What does a geir do regarding minhagim like kitniyos and the such? Would you take his nationality into consideration?
14
votes
8answers
871 views

Why wear Black hats

Why do people wear black hats if their kippa has 2 layers?
2
votes
2answers
259 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?
9
votes
2answers
227 views

Not to give a divorce (Get) in the month of Iyar

I heard today in Shul that there is a Minhag not to give a divorce in the month of Iyar. What is the source and reason for this Minhag?
16
votes
4answers
394 views

Stripes on a Talis

Is there any reason for the stripes on a talis? Does the color of the stripes have any significance?
1
vote
0answers
18 views

Where did black strips on Tallitot come from? [duplicate]

Where did the black stripes on tallitot come from? also where did blue come from? prefereably halachic/rabbinical sources please!
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Rising up on your toes three times after conclusion of Amida [duplicate]

After concluding the amida, one is supposed to wait for kedusha before returning to their place. If davening alone one must wait the amount of time it takes to walk 4 Amot. I see many people also ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

What is the history of Teimani peyos?

How is it that many Teimanim wear long peyos (simanim) similar to many Chasidim, considering that their culture has been mostly isolated from Ashkenazi Europe? Do any historical sources tell us when ...
4
votes
1answer
53 views

Call and response in Sephardic communal prayers

Why does there tend to be more call and response in Sephardi communal prayer in comparison with Ashkenazi minyanim e.g. saying pesukei d'zimra in unison. Also, during the repetition of the shemoneh ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Giving a child the same name as a living distant relative

The Ashkenazi custom is not to give one's child a name shared by another living close relative. How close is too close? Can you give a child a name possessed by his/her (living) cousin? Second cousin? ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

Being Matir Family Mesorah

Does Hataras Nedarim help to be matir all of one's minhagim if the the one being matir has them in mind? For example: a sephardi wants to change his minhagim to ashkenazi ones.
9
votes
2answers
246 views

3 year olds lighting a shabbat candle

When my eldest turned three her male cousin also turned three. Many of her friends and her cousin were getting Tzitzit. She asked for her own. We explained that boys wear TzitTzit and girls light ...
4
votes
3answers
477 views

Why do some Jews get married at night?

In images and other media I have seen of Jewish weddings, there seems to be a trend to get married in the evening or night time. Is this a Jewish custom a halachic requirement and what is the origin ...
5
votes
1answer
90 views

When did the type of kippah worn become 'defining'?

Nowadays there is a mix of kippah styles within cities/communities/countries which can define which 'sect' you belong to and may even carry a political message. Was there a point in history where the ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

Titles and prefixes for calling people up to the Torah

When people are called up to the Torah by name, often there is a title that goes with them, such as "ha-bachur" for a young man, "ha-rav" for a rabbi (and/or someone with semicha), and other such ...
8
votes
2answers
441 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
377 views

Baal Teshuva Minhag

I have read that Rabbi Avraham Yosef (the son of Rav Ovadiah Yosef) paskened that a Baal Teshuva in Israel should adopt the Sephardic Minhag, regardless of family history, as their immediate ancestors ...
9
votes
2answers
230 views

Must a Divorced Man Wear a Tallis While Davening?

According to a common custom among Ashkenazim, a man only starts wearing a tallis while davening after he gets married. Does a divorced man continue to wear a tallis when davening? Or could/should he ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

Giving Blessings at a Wedding

I have noticed a custom among wedding-goers to receive blessings from the bride and the groom at weddings, usually when they come over to the new couple's table for well-wishing during the meal. Why ...
4
votes
0answers
54 views

Are there any name combinations that may not be used?

Are there any combinations of names that may not be given? There are many names which aren't commonly paired together but is there any reason not to or just common practice and preference?
7
votes
2answers
129 views

Bowing during 'Aleinu

Are we required to bow during the 'Aleinu prayer when reciting the line starting with ״ואנחנו כורעים״? If there are differing halakhic rulings or customs, which I assume there are, their sources ...
5
votes
1answer
40 views

In a cemetery, when there is a headstone, what is the law or custom of walking OVER the “body” of someone buried there?

Our family recently unveiled the headstone on my mother's grave. Before the unveiling service, my elder brother told me NOT to walk over the grave of my mother. Through lack of space it was ...
14
votes
3answers
461 views

Shape of the Luchot

According to the Talmud in Bava Batra 14a, the Luchot HabBerit were square. Where did the common "tablet" shape come from, with rectangles and a rounded top? Besides in pictures, I see it in ...
7
votes
2answers
377 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

Eating gefrishte matzoh at the seder [closed]

Does anyone know of a Leipzig or Polish tradition to eat "gefrishte" matzah, matzah with raw eggs, at the seder meal?
2
votes
1answer
85 views

how does one not get lost in the details?

Halachah is very detail oriented and of course all of these details are important but sometimes it seems easy from time to time to get so focused on the specifics of the right way of how to so ...