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 after washing, or can you not but saying kiddish like saying "Amen" so that makes it okay? I know nothing else and would like to take on some new things.

  • Hi and welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for your first question! You might want to clarify your question and separate them. The question on yekke customs is separate from 3 hours which itself is separate from speaking after washing, etc. I hope you find more Q&A of interest and stay learning with us! – mbloch Jun 18 '16 at 19:01
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    Be sure to speak with your rabbi before adopting any new practices – Double AA Jun 19 '16 at 1:51
  • Please check that my edits match your intent. Otherwise, please re-edit! – msh210 Jun 19 '16 at 6:13
  • As a general rule, we (Jeckes) try to avoid using kabboloh to rationalise a practice, as many great Jeckisch rabbonim (such as the Ya'avetz and the Chassam Sofer) held that the Zohar was a forgery and did not represent the inyanim of Rashbi. We also wear a tallis from a young age (by bar mitzvoh a jecke should have a tallis for davening in). We sing Ledovid Boruch and Lamnatzeach b'neginos before Ma'ariv of Motzo'ei Shabbos, unless we are starting yontif. This is just the beginning of an explanation. See KAYJ.net, which is run by a Jeckisch schul and has a great forum on Ashkenaz life. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jun 19 '16 at 11:44
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt IIRC, Jekke's wash before Kiddush on Shabbat and Yom Tov. I.e., the order is wash, Kiddush on wine immediately followed by Hamotzi. I must admit that when you have a lot of company at your meal, this is a very efficient organized method! – DanF Jun 20 '16 at 15:45

Note: most of this answer is based on content on the KAYJ web forum, however some is based on my growing up in a Jeckisch family. Note further that unlike most of my answers, I am transliterating Hebrew in Ashkenazis.

As a general rule, we do not use minhogim brought in the Zauhar, which several noted Jeckisch rabbonim (including the Ya'avetz and the Chassam Saufer, who were mekubolim) held that it was a forgery and that it even brings heretical inyonim! So while others might refrain from wearing tefillin on Chaul haMau'ed, we do so.

We wear a tallis before marriage, although the exact age varies by family. In my family, we wait until bar mitzvoh, although in Frankfurt, it was apparently common for boys to start wearing a tallis godol as early as three years of age.

We also have a slightly different seder tefilloh, as evidenced by Tefiloh Sefas Yisroel, edited by R' Rallis Wiesenthal. Differences include:

  • Brochos are all said in schul, and we begin with Adaun 'Aulom, rather than the berocho אשר נתן לשכבי.
  • In most cases, where a nusach has been censored, we use the uncensored version (eg. למשומדים rather than ולמלשינים).
  • We maintain the minhag of singing Pss. 144 and 67 before Ma'ariv on Mautzoei Shabbos (except for erev yontif or Ta'anis Av).

Traditionally, we wash before making kiddush, rather than hamautzi. We also wait three hours after meat.

Furthermore, on Shabbos, although this is not practiced commonly anymore, a star-shaped oil lamp would be lit for Shabbos and Yontif.

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    Extremely useful link you provided (Tefiloh Sefas Yisroel)! My step-father is of German origin, although he doesn't follow all Yekke minhogim. So you could say I am rather interested in German customs. – ezra Dec 1 '16 at 18:17
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    transliterating Hebrew in Ashkenazis Or into one of its variations... – mevaqesh Dec 22 '16 at 18:28

The recital of Piyutim on all Yomim Tovim + Arba Parshiyos + Shtei Hafsakos + Shabbos Breishis + Shabbos Chanuka + Shabbosos in the Aveilus part of Sefira and in Bein HaMetzarim + Shabbos Nachamu + Shabbos Bris Miloh + Shabbos Rosh Chodesh + Shabbos Nisuin - are all Yekkish minhogim. To clarify, this list includes Yotzros, Ofanim, the Meorah, the Ahavah, Zulasos, Geulos, Krovos, and Piyutei Elokeichem.

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  • In Ashkenaz, there are no yautzeraus on either the Spinholz (Shabbos Aufruf) or Shabbos after a chasunah. – Noach MiFrankfurt Dec 1 '16 at 18:27
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    @NoachMiFrankfurt The Shabbos Nisuin I refer to, as explained on KAYJ, is where the Chuppos were on Erev Shabbos and the Seudas Nisuin is on Shabbos - in that case, the special pre-Borachu piyut is said + the Yotzer, Ofan, Zulas and Elokeichem. (Additionally, the Chassan does a special Haftoroh). – Joshua Pearl Dec 1 '16 at 18:35

It is the yekkish mingog to recite Magbiah Shefolim after Shelo Osani Isho, to recite Malbish Arumim before Pokeiach Ivrim and to recite Asher Heichin Mitz'adei Gover before She'oso Li Kol Tzorki. The Yehi Rotzon in Birkas HaGomel Chasodim Tovim L'Amo Yisroel is recited in the singular. The verse Le'olom yehei odom, etc. that precedes Ribon Ho'olomim in most siddurim is omitted. (So is saying the Okeidoh!) Only the first posuk of Shema is said as part of Birchos HaShachar and not the rest of the parshah. Birchas Asher Yotzor follows Rav Popo's nusach - to complete the brocho with Rofei, Choli Chol Bosor Umaflee La'asos. Birchos HaToroh are recited just before Korbonos and it is considered as two brochos. Following this, Parshas HaTomid (and on Shabbos/Rosh Chodesh their relevant Musafin), Perek Eizehu Mekomon, and Braisa D'Rvi Yishmo'eil are recited as Mikro, Mishnah, Talmud. Kaddish D'Rabbonnon is not recited at all during Seder HaTefillah. Straight after the Yehi Rotzon that concludes Korbanos, Atifas Tallis and Hanochas Tefillin are done (on Ta'anis Chamishi this is at Mincho; on Shabbos and Yom Tov (but not Chol HaMoeid) Tefillin are obviously not put on. After this the Shamash or Shatz announces Sheskioh Yofo Bish'as HaTefilloh. Boruch Sheomar is sung by the Shatz.

More minhogim to follow.

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