Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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3
votes
1answer
50 views

Why do Lubavitchers put on tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam from bar mitzva?

Based on this question, Shulchan Aruch (O"C 34:2-3) says that only people who are noted for their piety should put on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin. Why do Lubavitcher chasidim (and descendants of certain ...
2
votes
2answers
106 views

Why do we still blow shofar during mussaf?

The gemarah (rosh hashana 32b) asks why we wait until mussaf to blow the shofar and answers that the ruling enemies of the Jews mistook the shofar sound for a rallying war cry and forbade it. They ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

When Sofrim write Sifrei Torah, do they think of the Ba'alei Kri'ah (readers)?

I have read from many different Sifrei Torah as a Ba'al Kri'ah during the past approx. 30 years. Each Torah is unique, as B"H, it should be. Every sofer has a slightly different writing style, even ...
0
votes
1answer
238 views

Who is this (Haredi) guy?

Who is this guy? This is a still taken from the beginning of a documentary on Haredi jews in Jerusalem: The Anti-zionist Jews of Jerusalem I am curious to learn who this guy is, why he is dressed ...
3
votes
0answers
26 views

Reason for various positioning of “An'im Zemirot”

I am aware of 3 different customs of when to say An'im Zemirot on Shabbat: Beginning of Shacharit, Between Bircot Hashachar and Psukei D'Zimrah After Chazarat Hashat"z of Shacaharit End of Musaph ...
3
votes
2answers
183 views

Is there a source for the Kallah Bride wearing white in Torah?

BS"D Is there a Torah source for the Kallah Bride to wear only white? What about a second marriage? Does the white indicate that the bride and groom make the day before marriage a special attempt to ...
7
votes
1answer
135 views

Is there anyone today who only wears Rabenu Tam t'philin?

Is there anyone in our times who ONLY wear t'philin made according to the shitta of Rabenu Tam - to the exclusion of "Rashi" t'philin?
5
votes
2answers
221 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 ...
-3
votes
0answers
17 views

minhag, halachah and our viewpoint

In general, a family minhag must be adhered to as a matter of הלכה. Often we see things which are new yet have the imprimatur of "מנהג". Is there a source for these two statements?
9
votes
2answers
242 views

What is the origin of the custom to kiss a Mezuzah?

What is the source or origin of the custom to kiss a Mezuzah?
4
votes
3answers
202 views

why don't Jews meditate?

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan has 3 (in my opinion excellent) books on the history, importance, and benefit of Jewish meditation. Yet meditation does not seem to be an integral component for much (though, ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Looking for more information on the Malida Ceremony

What are the origins of the Indian-Jewish Malida ceremony? How is it performed? Have this or any other Indian-Jewish customs been discussed by contemporary poskim?
10
votes
2answers
363 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.
5
votes
2answers
323 views

Bracha on an indirect view of lightning

The general practice is to make a bracha on the sky illuminating from lightning without actually seeing the bolt. Does anyone know a source for this? Is this the most appropriate practice? Also, ...
-8
votes
1answer
46 views

Minhag of Kos Pagum [duplicate]

Another Minhag that came from nowhere is the custom of filling a wine cup to overflowing. Some do it because of Kos Pagum, however it seems that Kos Pagum applies to a cup which is not filled near ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

Reason behind pinky during hagba

Why do people lift their pinkies during Hagba?
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Pointing the pinky at the torah

By Hagbahos HaTorah people point at the Torah with the pinky of their right hand. I have seen others point with the pinky of both hands. Someone told me this is brought down in the Me’am Lo’ez. Where ...
2
votes
1answer
104 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
30 views

Oleh and chazak chazak

I've heard that, when receiving the last aliyah in a particular sefer, the oleh (one who received the aliyah) should not say “chazak, chazak…” because it is a berachah given to him by the congregation ...
1
vote
0answers
22 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Menustration / Karet [duplicate]

Ive been reading the parshiot of Nidda in the Chumash(Leviticus 15:19-30 18:19 20:18), and it seems that the punishment of Karet (20:18) is during menustration. I know that the sages hold that until ...
1
vote
0answers
77 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
2answers
601 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
64 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
283 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
104 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
59 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
738 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
74 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
76 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
42 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
249 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
87 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
174 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
63 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
498 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
248 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
384 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
169 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
81 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
486 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?
15
votes
8answers
897 views

Why wear Black hats

Why do people wear black hats if their kippa has 2 layers?
2
votes
2answers
264 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
228 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
398 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!