Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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10
votes
5answers
439 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 ...
12
votes
9answers
520 views

What is the source for the “Upsheirin”?

In some families/communities, little boys do not get their hair cut until they are three, and then there is a gathering for cutting their hair. The haircut is called an "upsheirin" or "chalakeh." ...
3
votes
0answers
23 views

Simchas torah and drinking

I have seen that is prohibited to daven while drunk (Drinking during davening). How does chabad justify so much drinking on simchas torah while davening? Additionally, even outside of chabad I have ...
3
votes
0answers
25 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
146 views

reason for black lines on wool talis katan

What is the reason why wool talis katanim have black lines on them? Why don't talis katanim of other materials have them also?
5
votes
1answer
37 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
179 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
27 views

Is there any halachic basis for beating the aravot on dirt?

This Hoshana Rabba, the shul made everyone schlep outside to beat the aravot on open ground instead of the floor. Is there a reason for doing this other than keeping the floor clean?
5
votes
2answers
398 views

Drinking Water after Eating Fish

Is anyone familiar with the practice of not drinking water after eating fish? I know that something has to be used to clean your mouth before eating meat, but somehow I got the idea in my head that ...
5
votes
2answers
157 views

Should women kiss the Torah with their hand or with a prayer book?

When the Torah comes around in shul, is it preferable for women to touch it with their hand (and then kiss their hand) or with their prayer book (and then kiss their prayer book)? Presumably some ...
10
votes
3answers
398 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
32 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
41 views

Minhagim for removing tefilin on chol hamoed

I daven in a minyan with a significant number of people who don tefilin on chol hamoed. The way I have always thought the minhag was practiced was that the tefilin are removed before halel; however, ...
5
votes
2answers
58 views

Customs for waving arba minim three times in each direction

I get why we shake the arba minim in all directions, but why do some have the custom of shaking them three times in each direction?
3
votes
2answers
56 views

Koishele on Lulav

Is there any significance, halachic or otherwise, to the holder (or koishele) for the hadassim and aravot on the lulav? Who is the earliest source to describe it? Who (other than Chabad) doesn't use ...
5
votes
2answers
63 views

What are the major regions relevant to Ashkenazi minhagim?

Motivating this question are the instructions in the ArtScroll Siddur for the two versions of kel erekh apayim, said on weekdays before taking out the sefer torah: one is identified as “נוסח אשכנז, ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

Dating through the Rabbis?

Is there a custom in which a man approaches his Rav to act as a liaison between himself and a lady he is interested in in order to start the dating/courting process? Someone recently recounted to me ...
6
votes
3answers
259 views

Not sitting in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres

Shouldn't the obligation to sit in the Sukkah also fall into the category of Sefeika D'yoma? If so why do some not eat in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres?
1
vote
0answers
49 views

In what order should someone face when shaking the lulav? [duplicate]

When shaking the lulav and etrog in 6 directions, is there a proper order? My ArtScroll (USA) siddur says to shake FRBLUD - forwards, right, backwards, left, up, down. In my shul, many people do ...
6
votes
1answer
56 views

Selichot origins

In what year (CE) did saying selichot in Elul begin? In what year were they made a standard addition to prayer books? Looking for an academic answer, not the yeshivahish one. And did Sephardim start ...
10
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
397 views

How does Hagbah work on a Sephardic Torah case?

How does one do Hagbah on a Torah in a Sephardic Torah case, such as one of these silver cases (picture courtesy of Hadad Brothers) : See also the Ashkenazi version of this question.
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Do bangles have a Jewish origin?

Do the bangle bracelets often worn by as a custom of Jewish Syrian girls and women have any Jewish source?
3
votes
1answer
67 views

Right side or left side of the mechitzah

Within the Orthodox tradition, is there a minhag for the correct side of the mechitzah men and women should sit? Right side of the mechitzah for men, left for women; or left side of the mechitzah for ...
10
votes
3answers
139 views

What side does someone with Situs inversus bang

For tachanun, al cheit, twice in selach lanu etc, we bang on our heart. My question is: if someone has Situs inversus, a condition where the heart is on the right side of the body instead of the left, ...
7
votes
6answers
391 views

Customary foods for the erev Yom Kippur meal(s)

Are there any customary foods to eat* at the meal(s) eaten on erev Yom Kippur? If so, what are they? *other than meat, which is mentioned in the answer to the linked question.
1
vote
2answers
73 views

Sephardim and Two Sifrei Torah

On a day when we take out 2 Sifrei Torah do the Sephardim put both on the bima and open one and read from it leaving the other closed? Or do they put only one on the bima and leave the other in a ...
3
votes
2answers
152 views

Can one say “Hazak u'Baruch” to both men and women? If not, is there a female equivalent?

When returning from an Aliyah la'Torah, I am commonly met with "Hazak u'Baruch". I have encountered this saying in other situations when someone does something praiseworthy. Can one say "Hazak ...
5
votes
2answers
88 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Sephardi (Spanish-Portuguese) Minhagim

Is there any resource which details the minhagim of so-called Spanish-Portuguese Jews (the original Sephardim)? Knowing what little I know of their havarah, as well as their relative closeness to the ...
6
votes
3answers
323 views

Who says the Ribbono shel Olam in Birkas Kohanim?

I've "seen" many Talmidei Chachamim not saying the Ribbono shel Olams following each bracha of Birkas Kohanim. At least, I hear them chanting with the Kohanim from start to finish. Are these tefilos ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

When do Yekkes first don a kittel?

I read on Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz's forums Wedding Minhagim that it is the German custom not to wear a kittel or sargenes under the chuppah. I know that it is worn on Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, ...
2
votes
0answers
33 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
932 views

Wearing a Kittel at the Seder

I grew up with my father wearing a Kittel at the Seder. My father wore a Kittel at the Seder immediately from when he got married. Over the years I have heard that some people do not wear a Kittel the ...
10
votes
2answers
900 views

Why the difference in minhagim about wearing a kittel on Yom Kippur only, or also on Rosh Hashanah

My families minhag is to wear a kittel just on Yom Kippur (so I do). But in shul I see a number of folk with the minhag to wear it also on Rosh Hashanah. I know it is related to Yom Hadin, and ...
5
votes
2answers
191 views

Why do some men wear the kitul under their suit jacket at their wedding?

I'm not sure if there is any halachic basis for any of this, but I've seen at most weddings the chasan just wears the kitul over the suit jacket. At a few weddings though, particularly in Israel, many ...
2
votes
0answers
56 views

Source for having lace on a Kittel

In Shul on Yom Kippur I noticed that many of the Kittel's that people wear have lace on them. Is there a source or a reason why a Kittel has lace on it?
0
votes
0answers
61 views

Wearing a Kittel to Mincha on Erev Yom Kippur

This weeks Hamodia newspaper has a picture with a caption saying "This picture was taken at Mincha on Erev Yom Kippur" showing the entire quorum wearing Kittels. I have never heard of people wearing ...
7
votes
2answers
55 views

Taschlich Bread crumbs on Yom Tov

What is, and more over is there a source for throwing of bread during Tashlich (other then the Kids song that says to throw our Aveiros away)? The reason for the the question is because on Rosh ...
7
votes
2answers
62 views

Why do we say עושה השלום during yamim nora'im?

I'm struggling to find a reason/meaning behind saying 'עושה השלום' with a 'ה' at the end of amidah and during kaddish for the yamim nora'im period. I have heard (unverified source) that there is ...
2
votes
1answer
43 views

Why Psalm 130 for Aseres Yemei Teshuva?

I've seen the custom quoted in many siddurim to recite Psalm 130 (שיר המעלות ממעמקים), with the Ark open, between ישתבח and ברכו during עשרת ימי תשובה. Why this Psalm? What special relevance does it ...
9
votes
1answer
175 views

Piyyutim on Yomim Noraim. Why do we split phrases against their meaning?

Why is it that in the davenning for Yomim Noraim, we split up the phrases in many of the piyyutim against their real meaning? For example, in “Vechol maaminim shehu…” (p 538 Artscroll Machzor For Yom ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

Kaparos for a pregnant woman — why the extra chicken?

From Sidur Tehilas Hashem, Sidur Rav Amram, and Nitei Gavriel Hilchos Yom Hakipurim 10:20 you take additional chickens for Kaparos for a pregnant lady in order to cover the fetus. What sin (or sins) ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Can the chickens swung over a pregnant woman's head for Kaparos be swung consecutively?

When swinging 3 chickens (or 2 chickens depending on one's custom) over a pregnant woman's head for Kaparos, must the chickens be swung simultaneously or may they be swung consecutively (so as to ...
2
votes
0answers
40 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
297 views

Why a formulaic greeting on ליל ראש השנה?

On Rosh Hashana night, it is customary to greet one another with "לשנה טובה תכתב (ותחתם)‏" (Rama 582:9, MB). People (in my experience) and machzorim (Rosh Hashana prayer books) treat this as ...
10
votes
4answers
571 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
139 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?
7
votes
1answer
299 views

What's the reason of using Yad in reading Torah?

I heard from a Bengali writing - just a single line that - Jews fear their God that much that they even fear to touch the God's word. Then I searched and found that Jews use Yad when they read Torah. ...
6
votes
1answer
259 views

Yemenite shofar not from sheep

I've heard that Yemenite Jews follow the Rambam for halacha generally, and Wikipedia concurs. The Rambam writes that one must use a sheep's horn as the shofar on Rosh Hashana. Shulchan Aruch is less ...