Chapter: Chapter 24: Prayer Rites (Nusaĥ) and Customs of Different Communities

01. Differences in Nusaĥ

Following their exile and dispersion, Jews of different communities developed varying prayer rites. The fundamentals of prayer – the elements instituted by the Men of the Great Assembly – such as Birkhot Keri’at Shema and the Amida, the differences are … Continue reading

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02. No Nusaĥ should be Considered Better than Another

Ĥida writes in the name of Arizal that prayer recited the Sephardic nusaĥ ascends through any of the twelve gates. Therefore, in his opinion, Ashkenazim may switch to the Sephardic nusaĥ (see Yabi’a Omer 6:10; Yeĥaveh Da’at 3:6). In contrast, … Continue reading

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03. Immigrants and Communities That Migrated

In the past, when the distance between communities was great, Ashkenazim lived in Ashkenaz (Germany), Sephardim in Sepharad (Iberia), and Yemenites in Yemen. Anyone who moved elsewhere would adopt the halakhic and liturgical customs of the new locale, since it … Continue reading

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04. The Status of a Woman who Married a Man from a Different Community

The status of a woman who married a man from a different ethnic community is similar to that of one who migrates to a place where local custom differs from what he is accustomed to: if he intends to live … Continue reading

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05. In What Cases may one Change her Nusaĥ?

As we have learned, one must maintain her ancestral custom. The Sages based this statement on the verse, “Al titosh torat imekha” (“Do not abandon your mother’s teachings”; Mishlei 1:8). However, custom is not more important than other laws, and … Continue reading

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06. Preserving Customs vs. Strengthening the Community

In addition to maintaining the nusaĥ of prayer, preservation of customs entails upholding traditional pronunciation schemes. Each community – Yemenites, Sephardim, and Ashkenazim – pronounces the prayers according to its own particular scheme. Indeed, each ethnic community should ideally continue … Continue reading

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