Rav Avraham Yosef: Baalei Teshuvah Should Follow Minhagim of Sefardim


rav-avraham-yosefRav Avraham Yosef, the Chief Rabbi of Cholon and son of Rav Ovadiah Yosef, is now following in his father’s footsteps and promoting the psakim of the Sefardim, according to the Beis Yosef, as the overruling authority in Eretz Yisroel.Rav Avraham recently said that while everyone should adhere to the customs of his anscestors, and therefore Ashkenazim should follow minhagei Ashkenaz and Sefardim should follow minhagei Sefard, that only applies to religious people who have religious parents who kept those minhagim and piskei halacha. Anyone who is a baal teshuvah, one whose parents are not religious and they themselves did not adhere to their minhagim and psakim, even an Ashkenazi person, would need to keep the Sefardic halacha and minhagim, said Rav Avraham. Since such a person has no ancestral custom to follow, he must accept the Sefardi custom, which is the overruling authority in Eretz Yisroel.



  1. It makes 100% sense. Sephardim have been living in their countries since the Churban, the story of Purim, Talmud Bavli it makes a lot of sence. It is more authentic their backround the us Ashkenazim.

  2. I have great respect for Rav Yosef, and I study his halacha seforim because of the vast variety of his sources. I am no one to argue with him but I have some questions: The talmidim of the Gra had no qualms about promulgating their minhagim when they came, and the fact that the EY has a universal minhag of two days Rosh Hashana is evidence that chachmei Provence had their way with the local minhag. The Mara D’Aretz title is thus contested.

  3. Nothing doing.

    The Ashkenazic mesorah is superior to that of Sepharad, Ashkenaz has a mesorah from the time of the churban bayis, as the Rosh says, and the Beis Yosef himself (aka the mechaber) cites this Rosh without objection, as the Chasam Sofer notes.

    Rav Yosef Karo ??”? only lived about five hundred years ago so he does not determine the minhog of Eretz Yisroel when Ashkenazim have a mesorah that goes back way before that.

  4. I’m sepharadic myself, and I keep sephardic Minhagim, but I totally don’t get this P’sak.

    There always were Ashkenazim and Sepharadim. In Tzfas in the time of the Beis Yosef there was a Sepharadic shul and an Ashkenazi Shul. How can he say that the entire country in ‘Sephardy’ land?

  5. If his grandparents or great grandparents were Ashkenazim, so are his parents, just they’re not frum. why should those who have become aware of Torah change minhagim.

  6. I wonder if the real intent in their psak is for Sphardim who have found a Torah lifestyle. A lot adopt Ashkenazik minhagim (since its easier sociologically…).

    But they realize that ashkenazim will most likely not follow their psak.

    Just a guess

  7. this isn’t an issue of “mesorah” (#3), this has to do with piskei Halacha of poskim which we know exsisted, and the question is only who is the dominant Poseik of E”Y.

  8. Actually the minhagim of the Perushim is the overall authority as customs of Eretz Yisroel.

    So they would be required to follow those, which are essentially Ashkenaz minhigim.

  9. To – FYI : Get your facts straight learn history i have a masters in jewish history from YU and im not sephardi and there history goes from the stories even in the Torah until presently. Please learn history. Thank you

  10. Mister Yid, our history also goes back to the Torah. Where is the chain of Talmidim continuing from Rav Hai Gaon? Well, Rabbeinu Gershon founded the yeshiva in which Rashi learned. The Baalei Hatosafos continued it. It continued till the Maharam and the Rosh, who moved to ‘Sphard’. There where also students who stayed and continued the Shalsheles. The Maharil and the Maharoh of Prague and many others are all a continuation of the Mesora from Rashi’s yeshiva.
    Sefardim left Spain and traveled to many different countries. Since many went to the Arabic countries, the term Sfardi came to mean Yidden from Arabic lands.
    I don’t know of any Rishonim from Syria. Even the Rambam who was in Egypt didn’t start off there. So when we say Mesora of Sfard, we are refering to Spain, who doesn’t have any better direct Mesora than Germany and France.

  11. ” 6. Comment from DIPAK
    Time October 7, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    #3, fyi,
    Please provide mareh makom for your info.

    ?????? ???”? ??? ?????, ????? ? toward the end of the ?????.

  12. To- Yid, You claim yo have a masters in history but cannot spell or use grammar. “Their” not “there” and “I” is always capitalized.
    Incidentally, FYI is correct as the Rosh is in Kllal 20 regarding the mesorah of Ashkenaz that dates back to the churban.
    Please don’t advertise your ignorance and fake credentials.

  13. #11, you are attacking and degrading others. As they say “when in a glass house don’t throw rocks”. How do we spell their, they’re or there?

  14. that doesnt make sense to me. what if they join a group which doesnt use that nusach, they should be different?
    Yid, you did sound like you’re snobby. Thats not our way, did you know that

  15. People here should be aware that Sepharadim like this Rav and his father, Chacham (Rav) Ovadia Yosef claim that Rav Yosef Karo is the authority in Eretz Yisroel. So they really hold you should not follow the Rama there, even if you are not a ‘baal teshuvoh.’ They hold you should act as the Sepharadim.

    Obviously, Ashkenazim reject that, so we should reject this pesak too, as it goes hand in hand with their general approach which we reject.

  16. FYI, even the Ashkenazim accept Rav Yosef Karo as the ultimate authority in Eretz Yisrael. And, you apparently do not know what you are talking about because neither Rav Avraham Yosef, nor Chacham Ovadia ever said, wrote, or believed that Ashkenazim should not follow the Rama in Eretz Yisrael. Please check your facts before you post on things that you do not know about.

  17. I am Ashkenazi and I began to daven Nusach Sefard in E”Y for a while before returning to Nusach Ashkenaz because I found it more appealing to my Lev. I have seen in Chassidishe seforim that the Nusach Sefard is supposed to reach the neshama of all Shevatim and unlock the shaarei tefillah in shomayim for all Shevatim and that is davka the reason Chassidim changed to Nusach Ashkenaz. I am a Levi so does that mean that Nusach Ashkenaz was perhaps dedicated for Shevet Levi? I look forward to scholarly responses !!!

  18. To #23,
    Your letter is confusing. Chasidim changed to nusach sefard, not ashkenaz. In any case, all nusachim are good for all neshamos and reach shomayim at the same speed. Claiming nusach superiority is a childish exercise and most unproductive. If you are Ashkenazi, daven Ashkenaz with kavanah and rest assured your prayers are heard loud and clear.

  19. The Chida quotes the Arizal that Edot Hamizrach (Sefardi) nusach enters Shamayim through all 12 gates, whereas nusach Ashkenaz enters only through the gate respective to the shevet of the person davening.
    This by no means undermines the effectiveness of Ashkenazic nusach, however claiming that #23 is incorrect, is factually wrong.

  20. To Reply 24:
    Yes, I made a mistake in my wording. Chassidim changed to Nusach Sefard. I was davening with both Chasidishe and neighborhood Shteiblach in EY and they davened Nusach Sefard so I gave it a try. When I went back to Yeshiva in Yerushalayim I returned to davening Ashkenaz and I found that it was “Kav v’Naki.” It was just straightforward davening with direct Ivrit grammer. Nusach Sefard seemed confusing in comparison. To Commentor 25: I find your comment regarding the Chida’s quote of the Ari Z”L very interesting. It is a very good thing to enter all gates. Hmmm.

  21. Also, I have read in Chassidishe seforim that if one inserts a tefillah when davening “Ani mitspallel b’shem call Adas Yisrael” the tefillah is never maakev. Also, if one inserts a tefillah when davening “Ani mispallel l’rafuah shleima l’koveid rosh shel HKBH bishvil chataim sheli” that the tefiilah is also received and not m’akev due to a tefillah for HKBH is always accepted on high. Has anyone seen these nekudahs and can comment further? Perhaps they should be made widely known.


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