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Based on this thread

What exactly prevents Ashkenazim from accepting Mesorah from other communities on things that we have not done in our own community?

Taking an extreme reverse example, can Yemenites marry into Ashkenazi families, trusting the Mesorah that the Ashkenazim are in fact Jewish?

What is it about the Mesorah of the Yemenites on locusts, as in the above linked thread, that precludes us from just accepting it? Just because we haven't seen it? Clearly this shows their Mesorah is stronger than ours (argumentative tone intended for effect, not actually to be argumentative)!

Ultimately, are we just insecure? Is it that we have some (perceived) majority status? Is there something else - a fundamental principle - that I'm failing to see?

Other similar examples:

"Morrocan Jews eat swordfish."

"Regarding birds, it is clear from the Shach and Aruch Hashulchan that one can rely on the Mesora from another community. But does the same halacha apply to chagavim? There was no uniform answer on this. Many of the Ashkenazi participants asked their own poskim and received divergent answers. While many rabbis ruled against eating, some of the leading poskim in Yerushalaim gave the green light to rely on the Yemenite tradition and eat chagavim." // (Thanks, Isaac Moses.)

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You could improve this question by including examples of where Ashkenazim don't accept Mesora from other communities. – Isaac Moses Jun 8 '12 at 18:09
It is possible that the reason may indeed be that the mesorah from one area isn't necessarily transferrable to another. Consider the statement in the Gemara (Chullin 62a) that a bird having one kosher characteristic (and which is not dores) is kosher, because the only non-kosher birds of which this is true are peres and ozniyah, and those "aren't in settled areas." Now, suppose that a Jew winds up in one of those places, sees a peres or ozniyah, doesn't recognize them as such, and eats them on the basis of his mesorah! – Alex Jun 8 '12 at 18:26
@Alex The mesora would be identification of a certain species by its appearance not by rules. So someone who ate a kosher bird in one place should be able to use his mesora to recognize only the exact same species. If someone can't identify the species he knew before then he's just inept and never had the mesora to begin with. – Double AA Jun 8 '12 at 19:20
SethJ Do you have a reason for isolating the question to exchanges toward Ashkenazim? Maybe there is an Ashkenazi tradition that Sephardim or Teimanim don't have (I'm sure this is at least the case by various European birds). – Double AA Jun 8 '12 at 19:21
@DoubleAA, I'm sure you're right. My question is essentially that - since we don't seem to accept their Mesorah on something, doesn't it make sense that they have the same doubts about us? Shouldn't the Hechsher Kashruth on a person/community allow others to exchange Mesorah with them? (Directed back at you: Should I reword it? Do you think it works as it is?) – Seth J Jun 8 '12 at 19:41

In response to your first question of why dont Ashkenazim accept things from other Mesorahs: Simply because if it's not part of our Mesorah we dont do it. Mesorah is the most precious thing a Jew can have. It is our connection to the generations before us, to Sinai, and to Hashem Himself. It is our job to preserve this gift, this jewel and to live by it to our utmost abilities. It is essential that we dont change our Mesorah even if other things seem to make more sense. Because if you start taking a little bit from Ashkenazim and then from Chassidus and then from Sefardim you'll be left with nothing, for two reasons: 1) Your own Mesorah which is your connection to Har Sinai and God will have changed. By changing your Mesorah you are actually replacing it with something new which has zero validity and legitimacy, hence you have nothing. 2) Like a good Jew I'll give you a mashul. If someone is a yellow belt in five styles of karate he has nothing. If he learns a little bit from here and then from there and then from somewhere else, he'll never master anything, and he won't have anything concrete. Similarly, if you pick and choose from different Mesorahs you'll end up with a conglomerate of nothing.

There is no such thing as a better Mesorah. There can be many LEGITIMATE Mesorahs passed down by great great people.The fact that they are different is not a problem either, it is natural that there will be differences over time. Our job is to follow our Mesorah, and our teachers until we master it and pass it on to our children. I am not saying to have blind faith- that is not anyone's Mesorah. Ask away, thats what Judaism is all about. But it has to be balanced with a respect for the Gedolim and any transmitter of your valid Mesorah. With the proper intellectual honesty and balance the truth can be attained.

May Hashem grant us all Beracha and Hatzlacha in our search for the emes.

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Eli B, thanks for your views, and welcome to Mi Yodeya. I hope you stick around and enjoy the site. Citing sources for your points would improve your answer. Might I suggest you register your account? That will give you access to more of the site's features. – msh210 Jul 6 '12 at 6:11
Eli, all of what you said is true. Except that I'm asking about is adding in missing pieces of the Mesorah that were lost, not replacing accepted Halachah. If I meet up with a Moroccan who can tell me that, yes, this is indeed the swordfish that the Gemara permitted, or a Yemenite can tell me that, yes, this is the locust that the Torah permitted, why can't I rely on that Mesorah? Does it make a difference if I study under Moroccan or Yemenite rabbis? If so, for how long? – Seth J Jul 6 '12 at 19:24

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