Posts Tagged ‘Rosh Chodesh’

‘Sephardic Yekkes’ – Western Sepharadim And Some Of Their Yekke minhogim – מנהגי אשכנז אצל הספרדים של מערב אירופה, וצפון ודרום אמריקה

May 22, 2011

A great sefer for research on minhogim, among other things, is the sefer כתר שם טוב, penned by the Chacham R. Shem Tov Gaguine, a great Sepharadic talmid chochom, who was a Rav in England, among other places. Some of the volumes are available via the great Hebrewbooks.org website.

I have recently become more acquainted with it, and have found some very interesting things there.

I have seen a number of cases, where, surprisingly, the minhogim of Spanish and Portugese Sepharadic communities discussed there are the same as those of Yekkes. The Western European Sepharadim are a community parallel to the Yekkes among Ashkenazim in a way and to a degree, in that they preserved certain old Spanish minhogim like the Yekkes have preserved old Ashkenaz ones. So that points to old traditions of ספרד and אשכנז  being in accordance with regard to those matters.

I assume that as time goes on I may אי”ה find even more such correspondences, but for now I will share a few such cases.

1) בריך שמיה is not said when the ספר תורה is taken out.

2) The section starting  רבונו של עולם הריני מוחל is not recited in the beginning of קריאת שמע על המטה (see footnote toward bottom of page).

3) Upsherin custom not known to them.

4) Tefillas Rav is not said in Rosh Chodesh bentching (footnotes).

5) It states that the old minhog in London was that on Shabbos it was announced who would say kaddish in the coming week (footnotes near bottom of page) (as only one person said kaddish at a time, as in מנהג אשכנז, as we have been discussing recently. So we see that Sepharadim practiced the singular kaddish in the old days as well).

This has bearing also with regard to early American Sepharadim and their congregations, such as the Spanish and Portugese Synagogue in NY, where some, if not all of the minhagim of the Western European Sepharadim are followed as well.

So we see that despite what people may think, Sepharadic and Ashkenazic practices are not always so different, and there can be surprising and significant convergences. After all, we are brothers, of course.

(There are other minhogim which a broader range of Sepharadim and Yekkes share as well, which רבש”ה spoke about in shiurim last time he was in the USA, which we may discuss in the future, אי”ה).

Rosh Chodesh bentching controversies – חילוקי דעות ומנהגים בברכת החודש

April 1, 2011

לכבוד שבת מברכים ר”ח ניסן התשע”א הבע”ל

ברכת החודש, aka Rosh Chodesh bentching, has, in the last few centuries, grown greatly in size, and been transformed from a short tefilloh into a a great and elaborate part of the davening, in many places.

The major change was made by taking a tefilloh from the gemara, תפלת רב, starting with the words יהי רצון מלפניך (from תלמוד בבלי, ברכות טז,ב, near bottom, see here), which is not related to Rosh Chodesh there, adding a few words to the beginning related to rosh chodesh, and making it the opening of that segment of the davening. Over time, it became a main focus of chazonim and chazonus, and of women who came to Shul for rosh chodesh bentching.

But not everyone has gone along with the changes. Gedolei olam like the Chasam Sofer, Noda biYehudah, and the Gaon of Vilna, opposed the incorporation of tefillas Rav there. It is not seen in the (original – later versions have been greatly altered, and even transformed from nusach Ashkenaz to Sfard, as has been done with other siddurim as well, such as siddur Chasam Sofer, a subject perhaps for later discussion) siddur that Rav Yaakov Emden issued either. They held that since we know that it is not permitted to ask for individual needs, such as פרנסה – livelihood, on Shabbos, being that תפלת רב contains many such requests, it was not appropriate for recitation then. And it was not there before, so why change things and add it, if previous generations didn’t? So the מנהג אשכנז, in places like Frankfurt a Main, the renowned bastion of ancient minhog, was not to say it. למעשה, as רבש”ה pointed out in a shiur, we see sometimes that people get very emotional during ראש חודש bentching, even to the point of crying. Especially women perhaps (if one is allowed to say that nowadays ;-). And some chazonim get into it like that as well. However, that is a big problem, since people are not supposed to cry on Shabbos! Shabbos is a time of שמחה!

רבש”ה also related interestingly that once a woman came to his Shul to daven on Shabbos mevorchim, and afterward was very scared that she would not live through the month, since they didn’t say the tefillas Rav which asks for חיים ארוכים. It didn’t occur to her that people that stick to that old nusach omitting it, have ב”ה been doing so for centuries, and, בחסדי השי”ת, continuing בחיים.

But that was not the only place where this issue arose לגבי שבת מברכים. It also manifested itself later, at the end of Rosh Chodesh bentching. After the חזן proclaims aloud when Rosh Chodesh will fall, the ציבור proceeds to say the short tefilloh of יחדשהו הקב”ה עלינו ועל כל עמו וכו. The נוסח אשכנז version of that tefilloh ends with the words לחיים ולשלום, לששון ולשמחה, לישועה ולנחמה ונאמר אמן, while a Sfard version is longer and contains בקשות for things like פרנסה, רפואה, וגשמים בעתם. As above with tefillas Rav, the latter version is viewed as more problematic by nusach Ashkenaz, due to the issue of שאלת צרכים בשבת. Therefore, people who stick carefully to nusach Ashkenaz, do not accept the longer Sfardishe nusach. This is the predominant minhog in חו”ל. In Eretz Yisroel, some people believe erroneously, that to say the longer nusach is incumbent upon them due to an alleged ‘מנהג ארץ ישראל’ (re which see here). In the famous Lederman Shul in Bnei Brak, however, they do not say it. Rav Chaim Kanievsky שליט”א explained, in the name of the Chazon Ish, that they conduct themselves that way because it is assur to be marbeh in bakoshos on Shabbos (לוח ארש מהדורת אוצרנו תשס”א, דף תר)

. א גוטען שבת און א פרייליכען חודש