Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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8
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Minhag of bothering the chazzan on Simchas Torah

I have seen the custom of bothering the chazzan during the musaf service on Simchas Torah. I have seen people tie the chazzan's gartel to a chair, or try to move the chazzan to a diffrent place. I ...
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192 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 ...
7
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157 views

Father being Matir Neder for himself: does it affect the family?

If a father is Matir Neder on a minhag (gebroktz, let's say) for himself for a valid reason, does that include his whole family? Are they now also permitted to eat gebroktz because that is now the ...
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98 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 ...
6
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56 views

Saying half a pasuk

There seems to be a problem with breaking a pasuk up. This question refers to it as to be avoided, and this answer lists the issue and potential exceptions. The question is also discussed here. In ...
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131 views

Are there any ancient Jewish dances?

From what I've seen most (orthodox) Jewish dancing consists of people running or walking in a circle, sometimes with exciting variations such as foot stomping. Are there any records of ancient (pre-...
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195 views

Original source for Maharil endorsing tunes as “MiSinai”?

Cantor Goffin describes how over 500 years ago, Maharil endorsed several cantorial tunes as "MiSinai" -- "so authoritative it's as if they go back to Sinai" -- for use in the prayers. What's the ...
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59 views

A father Changing a minhag - any impact on a grown child?

I was reading some questions about changing minhagim and I began to wonder -- if I took on my father's minhagim when I grew, and then, later, he changed a minhag because he learned something new, or ...
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158 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 ...
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132 views

Do Sepharadim celebrate Thanksgiving?

A good deal of ink has been spilled in the past century regarding the permissibility and appropriateness of American Jews celebrating Thanksgiving. For the most part, Ashkenazim are split, with some ...
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79 views

Why don't we say the first verse of Psalm 6 in Tachanun?

When Ashkenazim say Tachanun, they say the text of Psalm 6 without the first verse introduction “To the conductor with melodies on the sheminith, a song of David.” In the text, we say, “I am weary ...
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122 views

Siddur for Skolyer Chasidim

Is there a specific siddur for the minhag of the Skolyer Chasidim (Chasidim of Ukrainian town of Skole)?
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475 views

Saying “Elokim” when not referring to Hashem

People often say "Elokim" instead of "Elohim" when speaking in order to avoid taking God's name in vain. I have observed, however, that some people always substitute the word "elokim" for "elohim" ...
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418 views

Why ad meah v'esrim?

Why do we bless people with "ad meah v'esrim"? Aren't we supposed to believe moshiach will come by then, and there will be eternal life (according to some opinions)? Thus by giving a blessing for a ...
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59 views

Sitting when holding a Sefer Torah during Torah Reading

When there are two Sifrei Torah taken out on a particular Shabbas, the tradition in many shuls is to have the second safer Torah be held by by one of the congregants sitting down while the first one ...
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50 views

Are there any cases where Sephardim generally hold by the ReM"A?

The ReM"A famously wrote a gloss on the Shulchan Arukh called HaMapah where he pointed out places where the minhagim of the Ashkenazim (which he was familiar with) differed from the minhagim which ...
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35 views

Looking for a Chazon Ish about developement of Minhagim

It has stuck in my head for a while now - roughly quoted as saying that one shouldn't mock minhagim that have developed in klal yisroel even if the origin seems dubious - as Hashem wouldn't allow ...
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60 views

Arvei Nahal - species

Vayikra 23:40 provides the commandment to take up the 4 species on Sukkot: וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר כַּפֹּת תְּמָרִים וַעֲנַף עֵץ עָבֹת וְעַרְבֵי נָחַל וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם ...
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96 views

Custom of singing Aishes Chayil before kiddush

It seems that not everyone [always] sang/sings Aishes Chayil with Sholom Aleichem at the Friday night Shabbos table. When and how did the custom of singing Aishes Chayil at the table begin? Who ...
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84 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 ...
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138 views

What do those people who wear tefillin all weekday do on Rosh Chodesh?

There are people who wear tefillin all day (see related question When did people stop wearing Tefilin all day? and the comments to it.) For one or two reasons many remove tefillin before Mussaf on ...
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73 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?
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99 views

Where exactly should the amud be placed?

In some synagogues I have seen the amud (lectern) from where the chazan (prayer leader) stands to say the prayers, placed a few feet in front of the aron (cabinet) where the torah is kept or between ...
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74 views

How do we celebrate Tu B'Av?

Besides the dancing maidens of Jerusalem, many other significant events occurred on Tu B'Av for it to be considered one of the holiest days of the year. As mentioned in a previous question, many ...
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44 views

Shir Hama'alos in “Barech”?

Among the many hagada versions in use at the seder I attended this year, some of them included Shir Hama'alos before birkas hamazon in the "Barech" section and others did not. Is there any reason to ...
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188 views

Lithuanian minhag for talis katan material

Not an halachic question, but we can read many things about talis katan: wool over cotton, tzitzis out or in, etc. It seems that the Lithuanian minhag was to tuck them in, but what about the material? ...
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136 views

Young boys returning Chumashim after Torah reading

I often see young boys going around shul after the Shabbos/Yom Tov morning Torah reading to collect Chumashim and return them to their shelves. Is this an actual 'minhag' with a history behind it? If ...
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80 views

When did the Ashkenazi custom to NOT bake matza on Pesach start?

Historically, when did the Ashkenazi custom to not bake matza on Pesach start? I am specifically interested in when this custom arose, rather than the reasons/opions pro/against.
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109 views

Matzah Shemurah on the 8th day of Pesaḥ (in the Diaspora)

According to those who hold that there is a Kiyyum Mitzvath 'Aseh DeOraitha (a fulfillment of a positive Biblical commandment) every time one eats a KeZayith (olive size's worth) of Matzah on Pesaḥ, ...
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0answers
80 views

Why read about Rashb"i's death at a memorial ceremony?

Why do many people read the passage (known as אדרא זוטא) from Zohar about the death of Rabbi Shim'on ben Yochai at memorial ceremonies? A description of it can be found here.
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37 views

Standing for the last aliyah of a sefer

Right before the final aliyah today (Parshat Pekudei) the gabbai asked everyone to stand up. He does this before the final aliyah of each of the books of the Torah. While I have seen discussions about ...
3
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40 views

“Hamakom” after shiv'a

In my experience, for the most part, "‏המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים" is said to a mourner specifically during shiv'a. However, I've heard some people say it after shiv'a, particularly ...
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40 views

Permissibilty of Chanuka bushes, dreidels, gelt, and Chanuka presents

Maimonides codifies the biblical prohibition of keeping gentile customs (Laws of Idolatry 11:1): אין הולכין בחקות העובדי כוכבים ולא מדמין להן לא במלבוש ולא בשער וכיוצא בהן שנאמר ולא תלכו בחקות ...
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72 views

What is a Woman's Tallit

I read in a book about Czechoslovakian Jewry that in Southern Germany there was a custom for women to wear a "Woman's Tallit" on Yom Kippur. A reference to it also appears in The Encyclopedia of ...
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86 views

5 Iyar vs. 10 Adar

In Jewish tradition, we generally commemorate the ends of wars rather than their beginnings (e.g./i.e. Chanuka, Purim). The commemoration of the rebirth of Israel as the Jewish homeland in the past ...
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45 views

Origin of Reciting Psalms

What is the origin of reciting Tehillim as a form of prayer? More specifically, of reciting even passages of Tehillim which do not contain requests for the issue one is facing but rather of praise of ...
3
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0answers
65 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 ...
3
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0answers
155 views

When is OK to repeat words or lines in prayer?

I have read several questions and answers on here regarding repeating words in prayer, but they do not answer why some common repetitions are allowable. Some examples: 1) During the Torah service, ...
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86 views

Why don't Ramaniote Jews use the hei in names?

I am named after my grandfather and great grandfather on my mother's side, both of whom were Ramaniote. My name, therefore, is "Avram Mosh" (אברם מוש) instead of "Avraham Moshe" (אברהם משה). I've been ...
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0answers
68 views

When and why would one don sackcloth?

There are various instances in tanach of someone donning sackcloth. I would like to know whether any commentators have compiled an outline as to when and why someone would don sackcloth (is it only ...
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57 views

Who says צִוָּה vs. צַוֵּה at a b'ris?

The passage "על כן בשכר זאת קל חי חלקנו צורנו צוה להציל ידידות שארנו משחת" is part of one of the blessings recited at a b'ris mila. Pische S'shuva (Yore Dea 265:4) cites a difference of opinion as to ...
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1k views

What is the proper greeting for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day)?

Here in Israel, there are many customs surrounding Yom HaShoah; the morning siren, ceremonies, storytelling from survivors, etc. However, I'm not sure I've ever heard a way to greet someone that ...
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0answers
120 views

Should I rend k'riyah if I witness the death of a non-relative? If so, what's the procedure?

In another question, Chalutznahal cites Yoreh De'ah 40:5, which says that when I witness a fellow Jew die, I must rend my shirt out of sadness. And British Rabbi Dr. Moshe Freedman brings this down as ...
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0answers
52 views

Best practices for long-distance Nihum Aveilim and Kavod HaMeith

What are some best practices for people who learn from afar of the passing of an individual (not immediate family) and who want show their respects to the deceased and the surviving family? If they ...
3
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0answers
86 views

Minhagim pertaining to the consumption of locust with other foods?

BS"D So based on the concept that locust are the only other "meat" that is parve besides fish, do the same or similar Halakhic or even minhag based restrictions apply to it? For instance its some ...
2
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0answers
59 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
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0answers
43 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 ...
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0answers
46 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 ...
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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 ...
2
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0answers
35 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 ...