Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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6
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1answer
116 views
+50

Covering eyes for Shma which isn't THE shma

Based on the answer to this question about covering ones eyes for the Shma said early in davening, it would appear that one only covers his eyes when saying the verse of Shma in order to enhance the ...
15
votes
4answers
984 views

May a Jew be a Freemason?

According to what I've been told by several people who have inquired of "practicing" (is that the right word?) Freemasons, and supported by Wikipedia, "Freemasonry explicitly and openly states that it ...
2
votes
2answers
84 views

Proper day and time for a Shloshim Seuda

per Chabad.Org: "Traditionally, families gather on the eve of the Shloshim to share support, recite prayers and Psalms, and to give charity in the merit of the deceased. Many will also make a Siyum, ...
5
votes
2answers
86 views

Is there a reason for putting on tefillin in a different room?

In many places where I have davened I have observed people (apparently intentionally) putting on their tallis and tefillin in a different room from where davening takes place. I have seen this even ...
2
votes
5answers
247 views

Reading zeicher, zecher, or both during the regular Torah reading

For parshat Zachor, many have a practice of saying both timche et zeicher amalek and timche et zecher amalek (different vowels on זכר). What are the customs regarding this word when it appears in the ...
5
votes
1answer
188 views

Shofar from ibex horn?

I have the 2015 calendar from the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, and today I noticed that the September page has a picture of a shofar made from an ibex horn. The calendar dates it to 1850-...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Aesthetics and chukoseihem

In general, there is a prohibition to adopt practices from other cultures (See, e.g., Maimonides' Laws of Idolatry 11; see also here) if there is no clear, reasonable, non-idolatrous justification for ...
3
votes
1answer
243 views

Are milchigs forbidden on Yom Tov? What about Shavuos?

I recently stumbled upon a page that said this: Eating Dairy Products on Shavuot Many families have a custom to eat dairy products on Shavuot. As noted above, Darkei Teshuva questions this ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

Gerer Chassidishe Minhagim

For Gerer Chassidim (Polish Chassidishe Dynasty), what minhagim do they follow concerning these things: Tefillin Do they use Ashkenazi, Sephardic, or nusach Ari? Do they wind the retzuos inward or ...
14
votes
4answers
545 views

Why do Ashkenazim eat Milchigs (dairy) on Shavuos?

Why do Ashkenazim have a Minhag to eat Milchigs (dairy) on Shavuos?
5
votes
1answer
46 views

Visiting Deceased Loved Ones

Is it a mitzvah of some sort to visit the grave-sites of parents or other close relatives at the cemetery (as opposed to it being primarily sentimental/emotional in nature)? To what extent must one go ...
2
votes
0answers
54 views

Yekke Jew customs

I would like to know the customs and unique details of what a Yekke Jew does and stands for. I wait three hours between milk and meat but do not know why I do and what makes it right. Can you speak ...
2
votes
0answers
42 views

chupah (tallit gadol) above bimah on Shavuot

I was wondering as I hear it for the first time that one of my friend told me that they made a chupah(hung tallit gadol) above bimah on Shavuot.he told me its a custom that we do every year, but we ...
3
votes
2answers
157 views

dying person reciting shema

I have read a few times about people reciting the shema before dying. what is the reason for this and does it have any basis in halacha.
0
votes
0answers
48 views

At what point does the kallah take on the husband's minhagim?

If for exmple a Sefardi woman is marrying an Ashkenazi or vice versa at what point does the kallah take on the husbands minhagim? Is it as soon they are engaged? When the kiddushin is finalized? Some ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

Why eat Saffron on Shavuos?

The Aruch HaShulchan in OC 494:5 seen here mentions a minhag to put saffron in the food on Shavuos due to the fact that has a pleasant smell which alludes to the passuk in Shir HaShirim לריח שמניך ...
6
votes
0answers
97 views

What is the origin of using tombstone symbols?

I was at a cemetary today and noticed a few interesting "icons" placed on certain tombstones. Someone explained to me the following: spread-out fingers used for a Cohen, representing the position of ...
2
votes
0answers
22 views

Announcing the New Month [duplicate]

Why do we (in Orthodox congregations) announce the ‘molad’ the Shabbat before a new month? Since our calendar is fixed, what difference does it make? Take this past week as an example. In our ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the earliest source/discussion on green beans being “kitniyot” (prohibited legumes) on Passover?

My understanding is that most Ashkenazic communities today don't eat green beans on Passover, treating them as kitniyot (a bunch of legumes for which the custom arose to avoid on Passover). What's the ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Can one follow “old” kitniyot rules?

Years ago, during 60's and 70's OU certified the use of peanut oil, corn oil and seeds. Miller's kimmel muenster (muenster with caraway seeds) was OU certified. I also believe that sesame candies were ...
9
votes
2answers
344 views

Where does the concept of “shirayim” come from?

Please explain the concept of shirayim (literally, leftovers) wherein the followers of a chassidic Rebbe will receive portions of his food to it, these leftovers are considered holy or special in some ...
4
votes
1answer
133 views

Why follow a rebbe's every custom?

I'v noticed among some chassidim (Chabad in particular) that they will follow every minute practice attributed to a their rebbe, even to inconsequential ones. For example, I've noticed that most ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there an issue with ladies going to the zoo when they are pregnant?

Is there an issue with ladies going to the zoo when they are pregnant? If yes then why is it a problem?
0
votes
0answers
36 views

What is the sefardic custom concerning wearing tallis katan?

I have heard that sefardim wear a tallis katan only for shacharis and then take it off. Is that so? If so, when did this custom arise and why?
2
votes
0answers
41 views

A wedding invitation insert to insert into a wedding invitation to inform secular friends and family about the customs of a religious jewish wedding

Is there a wedding invitation insert (in pdf or other presentable formats) somewhere online that one may freely use to insert into a Jewish wedding invitation to inform secular friends and family ...
8
votes
4answers
605 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. ...
4
votes
3answers
286 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

Is it possible for customs to be transmitted from the mother? [duplicate]

Suppose someone is becoming more religious and he doesn't know his father's minhagim. Should he follow the minhagim of his mother and her family or of the rabbi who taught him and helped him become ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Do you have more information about the Algerian Yitro feast of boys?

My father told me the Algerian Jews do a feast similar to the Tunisian's Yitro feast of boys. It happens the same day. This feast is apparently called "Molke Tsion" and is dedicated to the glory of ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Source for waiting between milk and meat?

There is a widespread custom to wait 30 min between (soft) cheese and meat. What is the origin and source of this custom?
2
votes
0answers
45 views

Minhagim of Sefirah

Most people keep only part of Sefirah (the seven-week period joining Pesach and Shavuos) as a period of semimourning: either (roughly) the first 33 days or (roughly) the last 33 days. There are ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Is there a minhag to smell besamim on shabbos?

Is there a minhag to smell besamim on shabbos?(for reasons other than the 100 brochos)
2
votes
0answers
34 views

Is it true that saying someone's full Jewish name is helpful for a long life?

Someone told me that in their family they have the minhag (practice) that at least once a day everyone is called by their full Jewish name. For example, a girl is Chana Ester Riva. People call her ...
14
votes
2answers
843 views

Why is the Lubavitch custom to have short Peoth?

If R' Schneur Zalman of Liadi had long Peoth, as in this famous sketch, why is it not the custom in Lubavitch circles these days for adult men to maintain long, emphasized Peoth as it is in many other ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

live music and eating a meal?

I heard a long time ago that some people do not listen to live music and eat a meal at the same time, only at weddings? Is this a minhag or halacha?
1
vote
0answers
58 views

Tichel wearer moves to Sheitel covered community

If a woman who is custom to covering by means of Tichel/Mitpachat moves to a community in which it is custom for women to wear Sheitels, should she switch to Sheitels? If she attends a synagogue in ...
10
votes
4answers
817 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
617 views

No kaddish for a sister?

I have heard that some (e.g. Chabad?) have the practice not to say kaddish for one's deceased sister. Can anybody confirm this? What might be the reason for this? I had thought there is an ...
20
votes
3answers
557 views

Why do we say Mazel Tov? Shouldn't we thank Hashem?

Why do we say "Mazel Tov" when something good happens to a person? Doesn't that mean "good luck?" Are we saying that what happened, happened because of luck?
5
votes
2answers
729 views

What is the source for the garlic and sugar at a Pidyon HaBen?

At a Pidyon HaBen I have observed that the Minhag is to put sugar cubes and garlic cloves on the tray with the baby. What is the source of this Minhag? And why specifically sugar and garlic?
8
votes
0answers
189 views

Do some communities still allow more mingling between the sexes on Tu B'Av?

Do some communities still allow more mingling between the sexes on Tu B'Av? I understand that this used to be a custom, in addition to allowance of a more relaxed approach to women's tznius on that ...
14
votes
4answers
978 views

Why do Jewish people sway while praying?

Is there a reason that people sway back and forth while praying? I saw a lot of people pray like this, but I'm too shy to ask them why do they do this.
8
votes
4answers
628 views

Schlissel Challah

What is the source for the "Key Challah" Segulah (charm) that is said to bring Parnassah (prosperity)? And which is it: do you put the key in the Challah or do you make the Challah in the shape of a ...
0
votes
2answers
96 views

Pulling ear when sneeze

Where does it come from that people pull their ear when they sneeze does it have something to do with our forefather Jacob before him no-one became ill just before death? That is, he became ill before ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

What criteria are used to establish the shul's minhag re Hol Hamo'ed tefillin wearing?

Follow up to this answer. The Mishnah Berurah refers to the shul's minhag. While on vacation, I entered a shul carrying my tefillin bag. In the shul, I saw 6 people wearing tefillin, one of them was ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Shul segregation during chol hamoed

Over Pesach and Sukkos, it is common to find segregated minyanim in which those who wear tefilin sit in one section while those who do not sit in another, or completely separate services for both. ...
8
votes
1answer
248 views

What customs does a divorced/widowed woman follow? (Ashkenazi/Sfardi — hers or her ex-husband's?)

When a woman gets married, she takes on her husband's customs. Thus, an Ashkenazi woman marrying a Sfardi man gets to eat rice on Pesach (and vice versa). But what happens if she gets divorced, or if ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Ordering the healers's attributes in different minhagim

In Ashkenazic Nussach the 8th blessing of the Amida, the Nussach is: "רופא נאמן ורחמן" trustworthy and merciful. and in Sepharadic Nussach the order is "רחמן ונאמן". I am wondering if the difference ...
8
votes
1answer
249 views

Why do Chabad wedding invitations show the wrong time?

It has recently come to my attention that Chabad wedding invitations in the US are often bilingual Hebrew/English and the time given for the wedding on the Hebrew side is wrong (perhaps a copy of the ...
0
votes
0answers
69 views

Source for spoon, feather, and candle used in bedikas chometz?

What is the original source for the Ashkenazic tradition to do--as is popularly taught--the final search for chometz with a spoon, a feather, and a candle? It may not have an official source; in that ...