Many yiden have the custom to eat potato latkes or jelly doughnuts on chanukah. Who started this custom??

  • It's not a mitvah but a minhag – Ilja Dec 26 '19 at 3:28
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    I would suggest reading the new sefer "Emek Hasufganim" I am certain your question will be answered . – sam Dec 26 '19 at 4:10
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    Does this answer your question? Donut and its deeper significance – Alex Dec 26 '19 at 6:01

Wikipedia brings the following quote from Rabbi Maimon, father of the Rambam:

"אין להקל בשום מנהג ואפילו מנהג קל. ויתחייב כל נכון לו עשות משתה ושמחה ומאכל, לפרסם הנס שעשה השם יתברך עמנו באותם הימים. ופשט המנהג לעשות סופגנין, בערבי אלספינג, והם הצפחיות בדבש, ובתרגום: האיסקריטין, והוא מנהג הקדמונים משום שהם קלויים בשמן, זכר לברכתו"

Admittingly, though, he may be talking about the sfenj which is more common by Sephardic communities. But the point is, that he says that it's a minhag that was started by the ancients, long ago.

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  • Sofganim are widespread in ashkenazic community, a little different from sfinge, but hallachically it's identical in Mishna Challa point of view – kouty Dec 26 '19 at 5:14

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