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If I'm a bred and born ashkenazic male, who's been taught to follow the Mishna Brurahs Psakim all his life. Would it be significantly different to follow more or less by the Shulchan Aruch Harav? Leaving aside Minhagim issues.

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Historically Lithuanian Jews followed Chaiya Adam until fairly recently. Polish Jews followed the SA HaRav. The MB gained halachic reign sometime after 1980. Ask anyone over 40 who is ffb what they learned halacha from as a teen. We are not bound to follow the MB even though he is one of the greatest commentaries to SA OH and aside for halacha kBasrei.

  • Shkoaich @StevenEdelstein – Moshe Mar 3 at 22:50
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    Historically Lithuanian Jews followed the Beer Hetev until fairly recently. Then the Chayei Adam gained prominence. We are not bound to follow the CA even though he is a great work – Double AA Mar 3 at 22:58
  • @DoubleAA Lithuanian Jews followed the aruch hashulchan – Asher Mar 4 at 0:09
  • True . I grew up learning zichru toras Mosha from the chayi Adam for hilchos Shabus. Aruch hashulchan was for the big boys and SA was for the real players. – Steven Edelstein Mar 5 at 0:26
  • @Asher I was just parodying the ridiculous claim that whole countries followed one book for all things. – Double AA Mar 5 at 0:38
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I added the "Hashkofoh" tag to the question because it is not Halachic per-se.

Following Halacha is not about the amount of Halochos but about one specific approach. So one who follows only Kulos (lenient) Psakim of several Poskim just as one who follows the Chumrot (stringencies) of different Poskim, are both fools.

It is more common with Baalei Teshuva that have no family tradition choosing their way in Judaism. I did it once and my Rabbi Z"l advised me to choose freely but eventually lock on one approach.

For those who have a family tradition, esp on the father's side, one has to follow it under "שמע בני מוסר אביך". In such a case, switching from M"B to ShuA Harav might raise the question of breaking a vow (as the tradition is considered sort of a vow).

To sum it up - one can either "convert" to Chabad (probably requires a simple התרת נדרים) and then follow the ShuA Harav in full or use the ShuA"H as a reference for resolving Halachic disputes (as most Ashkenazi do) but not follow it in cases that contradict the MB.

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