Questions about Jewish customs and traditions.

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Halachic Justifications for the Amshinover Rebbe

The current Amshinover Rebbe in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem is known in the Jewish world as a man of great piety and for his great knowledge in Torah. He is also known to keep very different "Zmanim"- ...
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124 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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120 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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162 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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134 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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149 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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193 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 ...
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119 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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68 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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109 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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323 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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337 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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73 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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47 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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60 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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116 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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117 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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66 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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67 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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42 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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179 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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178 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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128 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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106 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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76 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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50 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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61 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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82 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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57 views

why kiddushin and nisu'in are done in the same day (no big space)

Why are kiddushin and nisu'in done on the same day, with no big space in between? I understand from the mishna: מסכת כתובות ה,ב = נותנים לבתולה שנים עשר חודש משיתבע לה הבעל, לפרנס את עצמה; כשם ...
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32 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 ...
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47 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 ...
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80 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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61 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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47 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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114 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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51 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 ...
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77 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 ...
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72 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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24 views

The hupa itself, people holding or self standing, square or circle

I was told it is a segula to hold the 4 sticks of the hupa (square) so it seems it is preferred But now I see a new (to me) minhag that they have fancy self standing ones, sometimes in the shape of a ...
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62 views

Should Ashkenazim say 'מוריד הטל' in Israel?

The Rema (114:3) brings the Tur who says that Ashkenazim do not say 'מוריד הטל' in the amidah: "Us, the Ashkenazim, do not commemorate the 'טל' [i.e. say 'מוריד הטל'], not in the summer days nor ...
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69 views

ג (gimel) mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

From a halachik perspective, what are the correct ways to pronounce the ג (gimel)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the ...
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32 views

Lo sisgodedu by varying practices of heiche kedusha?

In a minyan (quorum) that is doing heiche kedushe with the (inevitable?) scenario that some mispallelim (ones praying) are following the Rama and waiting till after the chazzan's kedusha to begin ...
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61 views

Why is the term שליט“א more commonly used for a rav than the term נ”י?

As a follow up to this answer to a M.Y. question, why is שליט"א more commonly used after a notable Rav's name than the term נירו יאיר (or נ"י, as an abbreviation)? A wise person, such as a rav is ...
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36 views

Saying “emes toraseinu ha'kedosha vehatehora”

There is a minhag of the tzibur saying the above phrase while the one who is oleh la'Torah says the second brocho. This was the minhag of my father z"l who was born in Satmar. I have been asking ...
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0answers
69 views

What is the source for the custom of kissing one's hand after shaking another's?

There is a common custom in Israel (mostly in Sfardic communities) that after you shake someone's hand, you kiss your hand. Generally people kiss their thumb or first two fingers, in my experience. ...
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33 views

Attempting to stand for the kedusho in the blessings before the shema at Shacharis

In the section starting "יוצר אור" at Shacharis, there is a kedusho. When it is said, most people are sitting. I have seen some people who raise themselves slightly as if to get out of their seats for ...
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55 views

Minhagim for removing tefilin on chol hamoed

I daven in a minyan with a significant number of people who don tefilin on chol hamoed. The way I have always thought the minhag was practiced was that the tefilin are removed before halel; however, ...
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63 views

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 ...
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69 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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53 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 ...