Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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3
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0answers
23 views

French Minhagim

When I was in France over the summer, I noticed that, in general, the Ashkenazim followed German minhagim. Resultantly, it made me wonder whether there are any major differences between Minhag Rheinus ...
6
votes
1answer
82 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? I have seen shul sanctioned drinking to the ...
0
votes
3answers
108 views

Why isn't it considered idol worship to give respect to the torah?

When the Sefer Torah is brought out of the ark, everyone stands up and kisses it. On occasions such as simchat torah and hoshana rabbah people dance around the Torah. To an outsider these actions can ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture

I've recently been looking into polygamy (having more than 1 wife), and had a few cultural questions. Was polygamy accepted at the time of David and Solomon? Were there any laws about it? Was ...
4
votes
4answers
249 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
52 views

Kiddush in Schul on Yom-Tov

In those communities where kiddush is still said before Aleinu on Shabbat (Friday night), is it also said on leyl (the night of) yom-tov? As this question relates to my effort with the creation of a ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

Are the letters on a dreidel supposed to be in any particular order?

This is a little silly, but... Should the letters on a dreidel be in order? Like, if you turned it right to left, should it go nun - gimel - hey - shin, because of "nes gadol haya sham"? Or are there ...
2
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0answers
46 views
+50

Is there a source for giving charity in round numbers plus one?

This question asks about the (mostly?) Ashkenazic practice of giving charity in multiples of 18. Another custom I have observed is to give charity in round numbers + 1 e.g. $51, $101, $201 etc. This ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What makes something “chukat goyim?”

One of the most famous examples I have heard is that one should not even tie one's shoes like the non-Jews do in times of persecution. That seems rather excessive. What if the Jews started doing some ...
5
votes
1answer
63 views

Which takes precedence - dina d'malchuta or halacha? What about minhag yisrael?

A more practical ramification of Is a ban on government workers wearing religious symbols a gezeirat hamalchut for which one would be obligated to give up his life? If the law of the land (dina ...
4
votes
1answer
297 views

Is there anything wrong with messing with the rules of Dreidel?

In this article on Slate, Ben Blatt calls the classic rules of Dreidel "slow and unfair," citing simulation-based statistical analysis, and proposes his own modified rules to speed up the game. Given ...
4
votes
3answers
217 views

Why put water into the havdallah wine?

I have seen people (mainly sefardim) put a few drops of water into the wine before havdallah. Why do they do this?
0
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0answers
43 views

Non-Jewish Mysticism

According to the minhag I follow, one who is not a talmud chacham should not study Jewish mysticism (maase merkavah, heichalot, kabbalah, et c.). Following this, would one be able to read non-Jewish ...
4
votes
2answers
72 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

Champagne and hechsher

I have heard (without a source) that some who were makpid to purchase only wines with hashgachot would consume wine from Champagne without a hechsher, probably because gentiles typically do not use ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Do those who do become religious after a divorce need to cover their hair (women) or wear a tallis (men)?

A reason that I propose for why divorced women continue to cover their hair and divorced men continue to wear a tallis (a phenomenon whose existence I vouch for) is that taking on a mitzvah (with the ...
7
votes
1answer
61 views

Why do the mothers break the plate?

At a wedding [or by the engagement], a plate is customarily broken at the "tena'im." This has already been discussed over here. As I have seen at weddings, and as is brought over here the custom is ...
2
votes
2answers
51 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 ...
0
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0answers
22 views

Giving children presents on chanukkah [duplicate]

My parents give me and my siblings presents on chanukkah. Where did this custom come from?
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a reason to cover your yawn?

My 9th grade Rebbi told us that we have to cover our mouths when we yawn to avoid evil spirits entering our bodies. Is there any source that says this? If not, is there any other Jewish reason, ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Origin of Chabad tefillin

I have wondered for some time about certain elements of Chabad minhagim re. tefillin, so here goes: What is the origin of their kesher shel yad? When was it decided that they should be huge (4x4cm ...
11
votes
3answers
699 views

Minhag of married women shaving during marriage

The custom for married women to shave their heads is, evidently, a fairly widespread custom that exists at least amongst (certain) Hasidim. I have heard a variety of supposed, non-authoritative ...
9
votes
2answers
267 views

How to celebrate conversion?

Are there any customs from modern or historic communities involving the celebration of a person's conversion to Judaism? In contrast to other transformative occasions in one's life (i.e., bar mitzvah, ...
3
votes
1answer
103 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
43 views

Choreography of Kaddish

I have seen a number of different customs of when people bow or sway or bob or whatnot during Kaddish. Some of the people I have witnessed have been very knowledgeable, and I assume they weren't just ...
6
votes
2answers
502 views

Saying kaddish when davening in a minyan that isn't your nusach

I have been to many minyanim where people are saying kaddish of a variety of nuschaot. What should one do with regards to this? Some examples: In a sephardi minyan, should an ashkenazi person remain ...
4
votes
4answers
341 views

Lady drinking Havdalah wine

Many times I have heard that a lady should not drink the wine from Havdalah as it will make her grow a beard. If a lady drank from the Havdalah wine will she really grow a beard? Is there a source ...
10
votes
2answers
191 views

What does a marriage proposal look like?

Most of us are familiar with the (American? Secular?) image of a proposal. The man kneels and says "will you marry me?" and so on. But what does an Orthodox proposal look like? I'm interested in any ...
10
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
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?
9
votes
6answers
402 views

Challah Friday Night

When you make Hamotzi on Shabbos you use the top Challah. However, on Friday night you use the bottom. Therefore, so as not to pass over the Mitzvah you hold the bottom one closer. My question is why ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

what is the source of reciting ledovid boruch

What is the source for reciting ledovid boruch and lamnazeach at mozei shabbes before mairiv? In the mishna berurah it is only cited as minhag but without a source.
8
votes
2answers
183 views

What is the source for washing Mayim Acharonim with only a few drops of water?

OC 181 (4) MB [10] says that when washing mayim acharonim one must wash up to the second knuckle and using a few drops does not fulfill the mitzvah at all. Shulchan Oruch HaRav 181 (4) says there is ...
3
votes
1answer
56 views

minhag means law? when in shulchan aruch

When the Ramo writes and "so is the custom (vchain nohagin)" do we understand that to mean that this is his ruling regarding the law or that he is not giving his opinion about the law but is just ...
6
votes
2answers
170 views

Which Tachanun should I say when davening in a minyan with a different Nusach?

I daven Nusach Ashkenaz but I often daven mincha in minyanim with a different nuasach. Should I say my ashekanzi tachanun or is there a minhag ha'mokom? Moreover I have noticed sefardim davening their ...
4
votes
1answer
95 views

May a non Ethiopian Jew celebrate sigd?

Ethiopian Jews recently celebrated their festival of Sigd, which involves reaccaptence of the Torah, communal fasting and feasting, and prayers. Is it acceptable for someone of a Minhag other than ...
6
votes
3answers
462 views

Conservative / Nusach Sfard

Are there any Conservative synagogues that daven Nusach Sfard?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Ripping out a blade of grass by a funeral?

At my great-uncle's funeral today, all of the participants (except the mourners) were told to rip out a blade of grass and say a passuk (I don't remember which). Is this a Jewish minhag? If so, what ...
3
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
555 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
28 views

Why put Psalm 130 right before barchu?

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. This particular Psalm was chosen because it's ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

What is the source for placing two menorot at the front of the shul, one on either side of the Aron?

Many shuls have menorot at the front of the shul on either side of the aron. I understand that basically this is a zecher l'mikdash. However, is there a source for the minhag to place specifically two ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

Minhag to wear wedding ring on the right hand

I don't have much background on this question--it's simply that I've seen some married Chabad women wearing their rings on the right hand. Why? Is it because the right hand is considered "preferable" ...
4
votes
0answers
55 views

Minhag for married women to cover their hair in bed

I know(1) there is a practice in Chabad for married women to wear a tichel in bed (i.e., with their husbands). I would not be surprised if this is the same in other Chasidic groups, if not in other ...
8
votes
2answers
888 views

How do you know when to make Chacham Harazim if you can't count Jews?

As I understand it, "Chacham harazim" is the bracha we make upon seeing an assembly of more than 600,000 Jews. I'm not clear on the exact detail of this law/tradition, but I also know we are not ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

What does it mean to have geknipt payos?

What does it mean to have geknipt payos? Is this a specific length or style? Who would have the minhag of keeping their payos as whatever geknipt means?
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Minhag Tradition of Ashkenaz

Looking for a book that discusses minhag Ashkenaz in detail with sources. I am specifically interested in minhagim that were practiced in the Oberland of Europe.
4
votes
2answers
85 views

Custom for a mourner to be chosen to read the haftora every week

The Chabad rabbi near me has the custom of taking (for himself) both the kaddish recitation after the Torah reading (when applicable) and the reading of the haftorah on Shabbat — specifically ...
3
votes
1answer
64 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

Pointing the pinky at v'zos hatorah [duplicate]

By v'zos hatorah (i.e hagbah) I have seen people point their pinky at the sefer torah. Is this a minhag or did someone just make it up? Where did this minhag come from? Does the Shulchan Aruch, ...