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36

You've come to the right place. The Bible explicitly allowed a man to have more than one wife. Exodus 21:10 talks about making sure the first wife still gets the same resources and attention now that she's not the only one. So yes, it was accepted in the times of Kings David and Solomon. Those kings are recorded as having quite a few wives (though ...


20

Based on the Sefer ha-Hassidim there was a belief that the souls of the dead would pray in the synagogue at night when no one was around... based on that it appears that the belief arose in Eastern Europe that placing the key to the synagogue beneath the pillow of the goses would help his soul escape the body as it would be stirred to join up with the other ...


19

Taz (Orach Chaim 476:2) mentions such a custom. The people who did so were concerned that any kind of meat might be confused with roast (and as YS noted, the Ashkenazic custom is indeed not to eat roast meat at the Seder). However, he understands Tur to be saying that it is improper to do so, because the joy of Yom Tov includes eating meat; the best ...


18

"Nittle nacht" is the Yiddish reference to the night going into Christmas. (It was observed on different dates, depending on if you lived in a Catholic/Protestant country, or an Eastern Orthodox [Christian] country; the former have Christmas on December 25th, thus "nittel nacht" starting at sunset December 24th; the latter have a different calendar.). ...


16

Kitzur Shulachan Aruch 10:1 says וכל הזהיר במצוות תפילין, לנהוג בהם קדושה, שלא לדבר בהם דברי הבלים ושיחת חולין, מאריך ימים ומובטח שהוא בן עולם הבא, שנאמר: "ה' עליהם" (שנושאין עליהם שם ה' בתפילין) – יחיו, ולכל בהן חיי רוחי, ותחלימני והחייני" And anyone who is careful with the Commandment of tefilin, to behave with them in holiness, not to speak, ...


16

In Hayom Yom (17 Teves), the reason given (in the name of R' Shalom Dovber Schneersohn, fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe) is "to avoid adding vitality." The point is that the person whose birthday they're celebrating on this day was a Jew, and since on a person's birthday his mazal (spiritual source) is stronger, we don't want the spiritual benefits generated by our ...


15

See pg. 127 ff. of this publication from YCT. It is an article by Jason Weiner titled "ON THE HALAKHIC BASIS FOR WEARING BLACK HATS". In this article he discusses 5 reasons given by the Rabbinical Authorities for wearing a black hat: Kavod (Respect) Distingishing ourselves from the other nations Atifah (Wrap) Double Covering A Jewish custom has the ...


15

This was a declaration of loyalty by the Shevatim on Yaakov's deathbed, so it's a worthwhile prayer. But since it's not a verse found in the Torah, we say it quietly (Pesachim 56a) This was a prayer of the angels so it's not appropriate for sinful mortals to say it aloud, except for on Yom Kippur From the Artscroll Yom Kippur Machzor, pp.69-70


15

In a sense it goes back at least to the Gemara. R' Sherira Gaon points out that the names of some Amoraim that begin with ר (for example: Rabbah, Rava, Rafram) are actually shortened forms of "Rav" plus their personal name: רב+אבא=רבה (or רבא); similarly רב+אפרים=רפרם; and so forth. Also "Reish" (Lakish) is a similar short form for רבי שמעון.


15

Per the Igros Moshe the bride does not have to cover her hair until the morning after the wedding. The reasoning is that so long that she retains a public presumption of virginity, she has no obligation to cover her hair.


15

Very good question. The Piskei Tshuvos 5:492 brings down that scrupulous individuals are accustomed to eat matzah on peasach sheni. In footnote 9, he brings down that in the siddur Yaavetz (Rav Yaakov Emden) that it was revealed to him from the heavens that the kedusha of pesach and matzah lasts until pesach sheni because when they went out from Egypt they ...


15

The custom of eating dairy on Shavuos is mentioned by several ראשונים including: רבינו אביגדור צרפתי- probably the earliest source (12th century), possible one of the בעלי התוספות פירושים ופסקים לרבינו אביגדור הצרפתי על התורה (מהדורת הרשקוביץ, ירושלים תשנ"ו) פסקים תקצה-ח The Kol Bo (סימן נב) Orchos Chaim (הל' תפלת המועדים אות יג)


14

There is an old minhag Frankfurt to sing the first part of Lekha Dodi, which refers to exile, to a slow tune, and then switching to a happier nigun when switching to nechamah (consolation) about the future redemption at Lo Seivoshi. However, in that minhag, they switched back to the original tune for the last verse, Bo'i Beshalom, which -- like the opening ...


14

SimchasTorah pointed to a fascinating comment from Meshech Chochmah (Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, c. 100 years ago), let translate the entire quote: ... therefore, the fact that the Jews would [celebrate Passover by] eating flame-roasted lamb would not raise any questions, not even for the wicked son; as it's perfectly appropriate to celebrate a ...


14

Naming children after the living is only discouraged among Ashkenazi Jews; among Sefardim it's not uncommon. (From Aish.com) Sephardi Jews also name children after relatives who are still alive. This source is from the Talmud, which records a child named after Rabbi Natan while he was still alive (Shabbat 134a) The reasons why Ashkenazim don't ...


14

The Rema 139:11 says To say Chazak from the passuk in Yehoshua that says Chazak vametz .The passuk before it says that Torah should not leave your mouth and it will be a blessing for you. So there are those who say Chazak u'baruch and others answer Chazak vametz. The Kaf Hachaim 139:56 brings down the minhag to say Chazak U'baruch from this Rema.


14

The debatable: Kabbalistic sources about beards, or about spiritually-destructive forces involved in removing a beard. Much ink has been spilled over how much facial hair was worn by the kabbalist Rabbi Menachem Azariah of Fano. Cutting your beard means you're trying to look like a non-Jew. Chasam Sofer vehemently opposes this argument, observing that in ...


13

Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 8:11) states that the tallis katan should be worn over one's clothes, "so that he will always see it and remember the mitzvos." Magen Avraham (subsec. 13) comments that kesavim ([Kabbalistic] writings) say that it should specifically be worn under one's clothes, but he says that nonetheless the actual tzitzis should be left ...


13

The Aruch HaShulchan says that since wine and other drinks were expensive and they only drank water, they did not Bentch on a Kos. HaRav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal says that since for hundreds of years due to the lack of wine Jews relied on the Poskim that say you do not need a Kos -- therefore even today when wine is readily available we retain the Halacha ...


13

The part of the arm that matters when counting the number of loops around the arm is from the elbow to the wrist. The Chabad custom is to wrap the straps so that there are 6 complete loops and 2 half loops. This equals 7 complete loops, but may look like one is wrapping 8 loops. As you can see from this picture from Chabad.org's article about Tefillin, the ...


13

You are right. There is a Shita of the Meiri Bais HaBechira in Megila that says that on Parshas Shekalim you should only take out one Sefer Torah. I imagine that the reason the Shulchan Aruch mentions that we use two Sefer Torahs is because of Lo Pelug.


13

In general, I wouldn't post just a quote, but it so perfectly addressed the question... From Hayom Yom (29th of first Adar), written/compiled by the Lubavitcher Rebbe: In responding to L'chayim there are two versions: L'chayim Tovim Ul'Shalom, "for good life, and for peace." The reason for this blessing is that the first time drinking wine is ...


12

Seven answers from Aish HaTorah: They just got the laws of kosher slaughter and weren't yet prepared. Torah is likened to milk. Gematria of Chalav is 40 and Moshe Rabbeinu was on Har Sinai for 40 days. Because bikkurim is joined to the command to not eat meat and milk together (so eat two meals, one meat and one dairy; I had not heard this before now). An ...


12

And another one (Rama OC 494): the special sacrifice on Shavuot were two loaves of bread. By eating two meals, one meat one dairy, you're forced to have two separate loaves of bread (total) for them. I believe there's another one from the Zohar about how when blood runs through the mammary glands and is converted to milk, this represents the turning from ...


12

One of the first responsa in Igros Moshe Even HaEzer says if you're ready to get married, then go get married; don't wait for an older sibling (even if s/he complains). If two siblings get engaged at approximately the same time, then we'd say the older one's wedding should happen first. But that's all the waiting we do.


12

Here is a series of excerpts from the Lubavitcher Rebbe's letters regarding this. A summary of the points: The Chabad Rabbe'im were Makpid on "Lo Yaiose Kain BimiKomeinu Losais Hatziyira Lifnei HaBechira", when talking about the parents having an option which children to find a shidduch for first. When an younger sister precedes the older in ...


12

The source is the Gemara, Sukkah 43b-44b, which calls this practice מנהג נביאים (a custom instituted by the prophets) or יסוד נביאים (a practice established by them). (The Gemara ends up ruling that the first version is correct, and that therefore we don't say a berachah for it.) On 43b and 44b the Gemara mentions, in this connection, חיבוט of the aravah. ...


12

Taamei Haminhagim (p. 270, footnote) records a story told by the Minchas Elazar of Munkatch, in which the Ohr Hachaim (R. Chaim ibn Attar, 1696-1743) gave such a note to someone to put into the Wall. So it goes back at least that far.


12

In Bereishis Rabbah 37:10, R. Yose says: הראשונים על ידי שהיו מכירים את ייחוסיהם, היו מוציאין שמן לשם המאורע. אבל אנו שאין אנו מכירים את ייחוסינו, אנו מוציאין לשם אבותינו "The earlier generations, who knew their genealogies, would name after events. We, however, who don't know our genealogies, name after our ancestors." (Etz Yosef explains that ...


12

The oldest reference to this tradition that I am aware of is the Taz ("Turei Zahav"), by David haLevi Segal, 17th c. הלוחש על המכה או על החולה ורוקק ואחר כך קורא פסוק מן התורה אין לו חלק לעוה"ב One who whispers over a wound or over a sick person and who spits, and who then recites a verse from the Torah has no portion in the world to come. ...



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