18 votes

Zeicher vs Zecher

Essentially, a mistaken edition of the Radak was popular for a short time, leading to various changes by overzealous grammarians and confusing two very influential rabbis. See the extensive (hundreds ...
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15 votes
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what is the single letter difference between ashkenazi and sephardi torah scrolls

The relevant word is דכא which in some scrolls is written דכה. See Deuteronomy 23:2. While the portion of Aleppo Codex containing that word is currently lost, we do have the Aleppo Codex to Tehillim ...
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13 votes
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Theological Justification for Discrimination against Sephardim?

Rabbi Berel Wein has suggested that long ago, there were a certain amount of anti-Sephardic animosity related to the fact that when during the Crusades, the Ashkenazic Jews forced to choose between ...
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12 votes
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Why do we do hosha'nos and hakafos counterclockwise?

Mishna Berura 660:1:3 says that when the Sefer Torah is on the Bimah those on the Mizrach (eastern wall) turn around to face the Torah their right side is now facing Tzafon (north) therfore they start ...
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12 votes
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Problem with Likkutei Maharil

Prof. Yedidya Alter Dinri records in his Hakhmei Ashkenaz B'Shilhi Y'mei HaBeynayim (pp. 278-9) as cited by R. Yisrael Peles in Yeshurun (20 p. 890) that many Aharonim held that Likkutei Maharil (aka ...
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12 votes
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Pronouncing "O" (Cholam) as "Oy"?

I've contacted Dovid Katz from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, a renown scholar of the Yiddish language (among others), who wrote numerous papers on linguistics, and his PhD dissertation ...
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  • 6,995
12 votes

Shabbat clothing on shabbat chazon

Aruch HaShulchan Orach Chayyim 551:11 (writing at the end of the nineteenth century CE) notes that two or three generations prior to his time the custom had changed (amongst the Jews of Lita) such ...
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10 votes
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What does the munach say?

The only time the munnaḥ gets the shaky trope is when it's a munnaḥ-legarmeh, which visually looks like a munnaḥ followed by a p'siq. The munnaḥ-legarmeh is a "טעם מפסיק" (a disjunctive accent), ...
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10 votes

12 tribes: Are Ashkenazi Jews one of them?

Ashkenaz and Sfard are modern divisions based on where those groups lived during the time of the galus (exile). They have nothing to do with the original division into the twelve tribes. Consider that ...
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10 votes
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Why do yekkes say Shir Mizmor Le'Osof each morning?

In the siddur Sefas Yisroel from OpenSiddur it is written: שיר מזמור לאסף has been recited since the end of the Geonic period - a few hundred years before the introduction of the שיר של יום. Its ...
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9 votes
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Standing for Kaddish at a shul with a different nusach

Qitzur Shulhhan Arukh - Yalqut Yosef, Siman 56:11 writes (my translation): מנהג האשכנזים כדעת הרמ''א, לעמוד בשעה שעונים קדיש וברכו, וספרדי שמתפלל עם אשכנזים, נכון שיעמוד גם הוא עמהם בעת אמירת קדיש ...
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9 votes
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Is there any basis for Chabad minhagim regarding tallit gadol?

I emailed Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov (from Chabad.org) about your question. Here's what I said: B''H In most Ashkenazi communities, the custom is that bochurim do not wear a tallis. However, when a ...
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9 votes

Shabbat clothing on shabbat chazon

Aruch HaShulchan 551:11 ודע שאצלינו יש שנים או שלושה דורות שאין נוהגין כמנהג הזה בשבת חזון, אלא לובשין כל בגדי שבת. וגדולי הדור שהיו אז הנהיגו כן, באמרם שזהו כמראים אבילות בשבת בפרהסיא. ...
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8 votes

How was the Volozhin Yeshiva special?

First of all, it's worth noting that, with only certain key exceptions, there weren't really any yeshivas in Eastern Europe before Volozhin, their having been replaced by the beis midrash, and by a ...
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8 votes

Soft Matzah for Ashkenazim

Rav Herschel Schachter has written a Teshuvah that Ashkenazim may eat soft Matzah. See here* for a discussion of his Teshuvah and some follow-up questions and answers about it. *Be advised that this ...
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8 votes
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Why omit "Av harachamim" for the four parashiyos?

First of all, it should be noted that there is a custom to say "Av Harachamim" on the four Parshios-Shabbosos as well. The custom not to say it is in the Darkei Moshe in the name of the Maharail (...
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8 votes

Chol-Kreisch Ceremony

A description of the ceremony is given in מדריך למנהג אשכנז המובהק. My translation: On that Shabbos when the mother of the new born goes to synagogue, a "Chol Kreisch"is made for the child. ...
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8 votes
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Tracing the Tradition of HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch

According to Hebrew Wikipedia he received Semicha from the Chacham Tzvi. קיבל סמיכה מאת החכם צבי Still following the trail at Hebrew WP, he, in turn, learned from his grandfather, R' Ephraim ...
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7 votes
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What were the nine points of the pesak din of Michalowitz?

From Wikipedia, the 9 proscribed items are: Sermonizing in the vernacular or listening to a sermon in the vernacular Praying in a synagogue that doesn't have the platform for reading the Torah in the ...
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7 votes

Any books dealing with minhaggim of Lita?

Minhagei Lita (Customs of Lithuanian Jewry) by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Poliakoff. It should be noted that this work has been critiqued as reflecting the author's personal experiences, not historic ...
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7 votes

Shacharit on י"א תשרי

This custom is noted in Matteh Ephraim 624:14.
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6 votes

Is "קל ארך אפים" said if the Torah's not to be read from?

Your question is an interesting one. I researched this article on The Be'urei Hatefilah site (I highly recommend it, as it's one for the best resources on the web for Tefillah-related articles and ...
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6 votes

What are the major regions relevant to Ashkenazi minhagim?

The very influential and authoritative Ashkenazi Siddur Sfat Emet and its associated machzorim and chumash include references to two distinct major minhagim corresponding to the ones specified by ...
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6 votes

Theological Justification for Discrimination against Sephardim?

I can't attest to the truth of this, but I once heard R' Orlofsky say that some Ashkenazi Yeshivos do not accept Sefardim (or limit their acceptance) for the sake of the Sefardim - they feel that the ...
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6 votes
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What are some instances in which ashkenazim do NOT follow Rama?

This is a community-wiki answer for Orach Chayim. Please edit it. Common practice is not like 31:2 in that most do not say a blessing on tefillin on chol hamoed even quietly. Common practice is not ...
6 votes
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Basis for not doing a full sof-aliya trop on Hashem's name

You asked: Is there any basis in halacha or firmly established minhag for this, or is it merely a personal quirk of a few people? According to Rav שמואל פנחס גלברד it's a Minhag originating in ...
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6 votes
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Is the existence of Ashkenazi and Sephardi traditions a violation of "Lo Titgodedu"?

The Gemara (Yevamot 14a) says (regarding if Beis Shammai followed their own Psak): ומ"ד עשו קרינן כאן (דברים יד, א) לא תתגודדו לא תעשו אגודות אגודות אמר אביי כי אמרינן לא תתגודדו כגון שתי בתי דינים ...
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6 votes
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Reading the megillah without the taamim (cantillation)

Yes. The Esther chant of the Spanish-Portuguese community, for instance, is not reflective of the cantillation. If you want to hear recordings of the Amsterdam and London communities reciting it per ...
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5 votes

Learning Kabbalah & Yeshiva World

The Yeshivish world definitely learns kabbalah — it just depends on how you define kabbalah. Zohar? Perhaps not. But the idea that "Zohar=kabbalah" is quite misconceived. Indeed, I know that quite a ...
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  • 2,618
5 votes

Are you yotzei through accented pronunciation?

Chacham Ovadia in Yechave Daas 6:siman 19 pg 110 writes that we are not makpid on accent pronunciation even for davening whether one is sefard or ashkanaz. However, when it comes to parshas Zachar and ...
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