On the conundrum of mesora

(Guest post from R Meir Deutsch)

כך ראיתי בית אבא.

But many do not go in their father’s steps. You go to the synagogue and you see many praying in Nussach Sfarad/Sfard while having the Ashkenaz Tfilin. Is that what is meant by:

קשר תפילין הראה לעניו

Is that why we have the different Kesharim? In Keter/Kether I do not like the part אחרית כראשית .

Many left their father’s steps and went over to Chabad and say today only one Bracha/Broche when putting on Tfilin. Many today do not follow what they saw at home but follow a Rebbe or a Rabbi.

A friend of mine (not a Chossid) settled in the U.S. and made a Rabbi for himself עשה לך רב . He followed all his rulings till it came to Passover. The Rabbi told him not to eat GEBROCHTS / Shruya. He told the Rabbi I follow you up to here, but there is no Pessach without Kneidlach.

I wonder which one is the correct way.

On the lighter side.

One asked a Rabbi: Is G-d feminine or masculine?

The Rabbi replied: It depends; if you are Ashkenaz it is HASHEM HU HA’ELOKIM, if you are a Chossid it is HASHEM HE HA’ELOKIM.

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

7 thoughts on “On the conundrum of mesora”

  1. How the mesorah of the parshiyos of tefillin got lost is easy: at least in Ashkenaz, most people stopped wearing tefillin, until the Smag started the first “מבצע תפלין” and got them to take it up again at least for davening. So they couldn’t look at their zeide’s tefillin, and had to figure out how to make them from the texts. Bederech hateva` it seems that some read the texts correctly and some incorrectly, so the author of שו״ת מן השמים sought to resolve the machlokes by asking from Above who was correct. He received the answer that each side had seized upon a correct method, without realising that it wasn’t the only correct one. The Ari Zal then came along and explained that each set of tefillin achieved a different thing, and therefore both should be worn, not misafek but lechatchila.

    The same is probably true about the kesher. Without earlier tefillin to look at, they had to figure out how this knot was made, and came up with different solutions. Perhaps in this case only one is correct, or perhaps, as in the case of the parshiyos, there are mulitple correct implementations of the kesher that Moshe saw, including each of the kesharim we have now.

    Re: the differences between nusach Ashkenaz and Sefard, R Moshe Feinstein ruled that these differences are trivial, and all modern nuscha’os are really minor revisions of the same nusach, so the halachos about not changing don’t apply. Thus, for instance, his own father was allowed to switch from Sefard to Ashkenaz as a condition of his shidduch.

    What’s your problem with אחרית כראשית (or כבראשית)? It’s just a paraphrase of כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים אראנו נפלאות.

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    1. You don’t seem to answer why yidden didn’t ask for a full and clear prototype from Moshe via a peak, unless you want to argue that after Yisro the botei din were not always consistent

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    2. @milhousevh
      Re: the mesorah of the parshiyos of tefillin… I was not discussing the Parshiyot. Rabbenu Tam = Rabbi Ya’akov Ben Meir, was Rashi’s grandson and probably saw his grandfather’s Tfilin כך ראיתי בית אבי אימא or his father’s. I know that he was only 5 years old when Rashi died. I asked a Tfilin manufacturer in Israel about the Parshiot in the Tfilin found in Qumran. He said that there were the four Parshiot, but not in a certain order. That is what I heard, but did not see or verify.

      You quote:
      Re: the differences between nusach Ashkenaz and Sefard, R Moshe Feinstein ruled that these differences are trivial, and all modern nuscha’os are really minor revisions of the same nusach, so the halachos about not changing don’t apply. Thus, for instance, his own father was allowed to switch from Sefard to Ashkenaz as a condition of his shidduch.
      I’m not going into the topic of Halacha, but I wonder why was his father forced to switch to Ashkenaz to get a wife? Was Nusach Sfard considered a kind of “reformation”? I am told that he is not the only one who had to “switch” to Ashkenaz in order to marry or to bring his children up in the Ashkenaz way.

      Re: problem with אחרית כראשית. It is not a problem but this whole paragraph:
      הוּא אֱל-ֹהֵינוּ הוּא אָבִינוּ. הוּא מַלְכֵּנוּ הוּא מוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ. וְהוּא יוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ וְיִגְאָלֵנוּ שֵׁנִית וְיַשְׁמִיעֵנוּ בְּרַחֲמָיו לְעֵינֵי כָּל חַי לֵאמֹר. הֵן גָּאַלְתִּי אֶתְכֶם אַחֲרִית כְּרֵאשִׁית לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵא-לֹהִים:
      leads me to something I should not let my thoughts wander to. Actually I adopted מנהג
      אבא = custom of my father, and do not say Keter/Keser.

      בשחרית בשבת מתחילים הקדושה “נקדש” ובמוסף “נעריצך”, על פי הפסוק ‘והקדישו את קדוש יעקב ואת א-להי ישראל יעריצו’ (ישעיה כ”ט כ”ט): בתחילה נקדש, ולאחר מכן נעריצך (ראה: אור זרוע הל’ שבת סי’ נ).
      אולם הספרדים אומרים כתר יתנו לך…
      They do not adopt that Pasuk/Posuk for the Kedushot.

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      1. Is is difficult to conclude any Halacha from the finds in Qumran. As the Rav said, we don’t know much about those who deposited scrolls there, let alone which group they belonged to. There are some scrolls there that are not included in Tanach, apparently.

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        1. I was just curious about the Qumran Tfilin. It is not for Halacha that I inquired. I assume that the Qumran Jews were not Ashkenazim. I just wanted to know if Rashi or Rabenu Tam got their rulings from the Minhag of that time. Does anyone know what kind of Tfilin Rashi’s ancestors, and his father wore? Maybe they did not put on Tfilin at all at their time as Milhousevh quotes. It would be interesting to know if Rashi followed his father’s Minhag or he established a new rule. It seems that Rabenu Tam put down a new rule.

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