I was learning with my chevruta about how one should not keep Chumrahs that one's Rabbi or community doesn’t keep. I can’t remember where I learnt it. Would anyone have a reference?

  • judaism.stackexchange.com/q/41250/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 11:20
  • Given @DoubleAA's link, it seems that this may be a problem if displayed publically, only. But, I know of numerous rabbis who are lenient in many areas while a significant number of the congregants are stringent. E.g. the rav is not stringent on eating only chalav or pat Yisra'el or Glatt Kosher, yet almost all the congregants are. Is that a problem? Or, are you addressing stringencies in specific areas or categories?
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 14:18
  • 1
    There is one concern of stuff done in public that could come off as arrogant or alienate you from your community. That's the classic yuhara on the books. There's also the concern of someone's chumrahs leading to short-changing other critical things in life (e.g. their relationship with their spouse), becoming an excuse for OCD, or a general move towards "I am my own pope" so to speak. So please talk with your rabbi. But if all of those are in check -- say a Chicagoan moves to Teaneck and says "I keep yoshon because that's how everyone did it where I grew up" ... I doubt that's problematic.
    – Shalom
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 10:46

2 Answers 2


I can give you one mareh makom. The gemara in Pesachim 51a relates that Rabbah bar Bar Chanah ate a certain type of fat which the Babylonians prohibited but which the Bnei E"Y permitted. (Being that Rabbah bar Bar Chanah came from Bavel to E"Y, the gemara asks a nuber of questions about minhag hamakom, ע"ש, very interesting). Rabbah bar Bar Chanah then says something perplexing, he told his sons who lived in Bavel that they cannot eat this fat, neither in his presence nor not in his presence; however, he himself, who saw R' Yochanan eat this fat, can eat it both in R' Yochanan's presence as well as not in it.

R' Shlomo Zalman is quoted in Minchas Shlomo on the spot saying the following:

אני ראיתי את ר' יוחנן שאכל וכו'. מסתבר דאין חילוק לענין זה בין אם הבן היה סמוך על שולחנו או לא, ואף שאוכלים יחד מכל מקום הרי הוא אינו מכריע בדבר ולכן הוא שראה את ר' יוחנן שפיר אוכלו דאיך יחמיר על עצמו דבר שרבו נהג בו היתר, מה שאין כן בני ביתו צריכים לנהוג כהוראת החכם במקומם. מיהו, לא נזכר דבר זה להלכה, ויתכן שאין בדורותינו גברא רבא כל כך שיוכל אדם לנהוג אחריו כמותו שהרי סוף סוף ראה את רבה בר בר חנה אביו שהיה בעצמו גברא רבא שאוכל מה שאין כן בשאר אדם.

See also the Bircas Avraham who asks a basic question on the svara here, how could it be that the heter that came from seeing R' Yochanan eat this food doesn't apply universally assuming everyone held of him. Why couldn't Rabbah bar Bar Chanah tell his kids that R' Yochanan was matir this food thereby allowing them to eat it too. He bleibs צ"ע. See also Ayeles Hashachar there.


In Betzah 36b, a bad thing happens to Abaye, and he thinks this is punishment for "having gone against the words of my master, Rabba".

How is this relevant? Jews who observe a rule most other Jews do not observe fall into two categories:

(1) Those who believe their rule is halacha and the others are breaking halacha.

(2) Those who believe their rule is not halacha. but that there is value in following some extra-halachic rules.

If their rabbi does NOT follow that same rule, then one of two things:

(1) They disagree with their rabbi on halacha. (Which is not allowed.)

(2) They disagree with their rabbi on the value of some extra-halachic rules. (Which may or may not be allowed.)

Therefore, whether what they are doing is right or wrong depends on what they believe they are doing.

As for the definition of the word "chumrah", some say it's (1) and others say it's (2). This article distinguishes between chumrot based on halacha and chumrot required by halacha, implying that the word just means "stringency".

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    Where do we see that Abaye was trying to follow a Chumrah that his Rabbi wasn't keeping? From what I'm seeing, it looks like Abaye was disagreeing on a matter of Halacha (not just Chumrah), and that's why he said he was punished. Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 23:45
  • @Salmononius2 -- Could one not interpret the passage as caution against disagreeing with your rabbi on ANY matter having to do with Jewish observance? Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 0:31
  • I definitely don't see that as the plain reading. Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 1:13
  • @Salmononius2 -- Aren't the two one and the same? Those who hold by a chumrah believe it's halacha, so if you follow a chumrah your rabbi doesn't follow, you are disaghreeing with him on halacha. Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 13:38
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    That's literally the opposite of the definition of Chumrah. Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 13:41

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