Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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65 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 ...
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120 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?
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114 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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107 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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117 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 ...
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44 views

Should you bow and take steps back during a prayer you are not reciting?

For prayers where you are only listening, or responding "Amen" (for example, for Kaddish, or the chazzan's repetition of the Amidah) should you do the traditional bows and steps backward for that ...
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101 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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137 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 ...
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60 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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75 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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182 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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103 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 ...
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83 views

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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248 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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61 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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84 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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0answers
57 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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71 views

Significance to the number of stripes on a tallis?

For Orthodox Ashkenazim, the most prevalent custom is to wear a tallis gadol with black stripes. In my area, I've noticed that the vast majority (of non-Chabadniks) wear tallesim with five thick black ...
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70 views

Kaparos for a pregnant woman

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 has the ...
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54 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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34 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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154 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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114 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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100 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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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 ...
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0answers
60 views

Why are challot traditionally braided?

What is the reason that challot are traditionally braided? When did this tradition begin?
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65 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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38 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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39 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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146 views

Sitting or Standing for Kaddish - historical divergence between Conservative and Orthodox minhag

At most (maybe even all?) Conservative synagogues, the congregation remains seated during every kaddish (except mourner's kaddish, and then only mourners rise). At Ashkenazic Orthodox synagogues, the ...
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109 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
46 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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55 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 ...
3
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0answers
57 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?
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54 views

Being Matir Family Mesorah

Does Hataras Nedarim help to be matir all of one's minhagim if the the one being matir has them in mind? For example: a sephardi wants to change his minhagim to ashkenazi ones.
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39 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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0answers
112 views

Siyum Mishnayos on Erev Pesach

Today I learned of the minhag to make a siyum bechorim only on gemara. I understand the logic, but is there a source for it? This came up because I'm scheduled to make a siyum on the Mishna (first ...
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73 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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52 views

סימן יתק״ק and Shir Hashirim

In the copy of Echa I used this past 9 Av, the final p'sukim were followed by the notation "סימן יתק״ק". These stand for "ישעיה",‎ "תרי עשר",‎ "קהלת", and "קנות" (i.e. Echa). These are ...
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66 views

Conservative method of tying tzitzis?

I recently came into possession of a 4-cornered garment with tzitziyos attached to its corners that was previously owned (although not necessarily worn or endorsed) by a non-Conservative member of a ...
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0answers
44 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?
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0answers
122 views

Communities that celebrate menarche

Are there traditional communities that have rituals celebrating (or otherwise marking the occurrence of) a girl's first menses? If so, what do those rituals look like? (For purposes here, let's ...
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0answers
180 views

Mazinka dance (dance with a broom) source?

Some have a custom that, when their last child or last daughter (mazinka means youngest daughter) get married, they do a dance with a broom. Where did this come from and is it in any seforim?
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91 views

What are the parameters of 'minhag yisrael'?

I went to a non-Jewish self-catering apartment and I was discussing with my friend whether we can use the utensils or not. Of course, if they are clean and used for cold there are no problems. We ...
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33 views

Meditation before Mitzvah activities

Who invented the meditation that is often printed before such things as counting the 'Omer, inviting the Ushpizin, and other Mitzvoth or Mitzvah-related activities, and what is the basis for it?
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357 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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83 views

Who should observe Isru Chag?

I have been trying to understand Isru Chag. While there is a source in tehillim for the words and the gemara derives a notion of extra celebration, there seems to be little about the scope of the day. ...
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0answers
83 views

May a woman be a kvater?

May a woman serve as the sole kvater (person who brings the baby to the sandek) at a bris? At most britot I've been to, the duty of kvater was handled by a woman and a man (typically married), with ...
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157 views

Text for birchat habayit

I'd like to write a couple birchos habayis and get them illuminated as gifts. Does anyone know of a good existing text? I'm looking for something five or six lines long, preferably not the usual one ...
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50 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.