When a man is a Jew by birth and has minhag avot, his wife must follow his minhag avot. When a man is converted or baal teshuvah, he must follow his wife's minhag. And if both the man and the woman are converted, but each converted to a different community, who should move to whose minhag?

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    Just to be clear, there seems to be a sense in some people that the rules regarding minhagim are set in stone the same was as those for melacha on Shabbat and you're chayav mitah if you don't apply them correctly. As we've seen through the responses to the last 15 questions of this type you've asked here, it's not quite as stark as that.. Commented May 29 at 20:25
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    I don't think the second sentence is true. And technically you don't convert to a community. You convert to Judaism. If they are converts, it is up to them what to join.
    – N.T.
    Commented May 30 at 8:19
  • I'm not sure you should be including a husband that is a Ba'al Teshuva in the same category as a husband who is a convert. I suspect that detail should be edited out. Commented May 30 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


It's hard to declare any sort of hard and fast rules on these things; practical considerations are going to win out. (Maybe one of them can adjust better than the other? Just as an example, the opening chapter of the Book of Esther is a bit of a farce, demanding that in any mixed-nationality marriage, the house has to adopt the husband's language -- what if he can easily learn hers and doesn't mind, while she's utterly monolingual and can't learn another no matter how hard she tries?)

But if we had to apply the concepts we have ...

If they currently live someplace where one community is much stronger than the other, it would make sense to follow that -- treat them as newcomers to a land with an established community.

If they're living someplace with both, then we'd fall back on Rabbi Feinstein's approach of "all else being equal." Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote that if he grew up in Community A, she grew up in Community B, and they live in New York with plenty of both A and B nearby, then default to his community. It would make a lot of sense to apply the same if neither grew up with any community, and now they're in New York and have plenty of both A and B around.

  • Your answer is related to the subject of Shalom Bayit, like Reb Moshe's discussion in connection with his own marriage. It doesn't address the essence of the OP's question, which is about converts. Commented May 30 at 18:30
  • First I offered Shalom Bayit -- do whatever works for them. Rav Moshe's "all else being equal, if both have communities nearby, follow his" is not about Shalom Bayit per se as best I understand it.
    – Shalom
    Commented May 31 at 18:28
  • Like I mentioned the first time, the OP is not asking a personal question. If they were, the response should be CYLOR. Assuming it isn't, then the 1st sentence is a correct statement in halacha. The 2nd sentence makes an assumption that is questionable. Sentence 3 is the actual question from the OP. Your answer doesn't address the subject of married converts directly at all. Although 'Shalom Bayit' is important for anyone, it isn't addressing the question posed. Commented May 31 at 19:16

I am sure there are other opinions but, The Yalkut Yosef in his Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yore Deah Siman 242:30 - writes about a person who converts in the land of Israel that he should follow the Shulchan Aruch (Sefardi) who is considered the Mara de'atra(supreme Halachic authority of the land) of Eretz Israel. See also Yechave Daat vol. 5 siman 33 pg. 188.

  • Maybe his decision is not independent of his affiliation. BTW, is there a Kitzur for Yoreh Deah? Commented May 30 at 7:25
  • Good to have you back, @Rakhem Haokip! Commented May 30 at 9:10
  • @kazi there are two volumes of Kitzur Shulchan aruch Yore Deah, its the second volume. toratemetfreeware.com/online/f_01355_all.html Here is an online version Commented May 30 at 11:37
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    I added a link, because one may think you're referring to the "proper" Kitzur Shulchan Arukh. Commented May 30 at 12:08
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    I mentioned the yalkut Yosef first so, i had it understood that the kitzur shulchan aruch that will be mentioned next will be also considered the one by him. lol. Ill take care hereafter. I just edited the answered that it will be understood better. Commented May 30 at 15:39

Following the teaching from Moshe Rabbeinu, the male convert follows what would be defined as Minhag Yisroel, what all Jews have accepted universally. It is in that sense that the response from Yalkut Yosef is intended. The Shulchan Aruch from Yosef Caro, the Beit Yosef, was accepted universally as authoritative over the vast majority of the Jewish world at his time. This is an explicit statement from the Lubavitcher Rebbe many times.

They, meaning converts do not follow the minhag of any particular tribe (meaning specifically Ashkenazi, Polisher, Italian, Mizrachi, Catalani, Teimani or Sefardi minhag, etc.)

In reality, Moshe Rabbeinu said it is forbidden for the male convert to affiliate with any individual tribe/minhag.

This is straight from VaYikra 24:10-23. The argument that arose between the "son of the Jewish woman" and the community, meaning the tribe of his mother (the Tribe of Dan), was that, unlike his mother, because he was a convert, he could not be included with the tribe of Dan or join them. He was not included in their inheritance and would ultimately have no inheritance in their portion of the land of Israel (The idea of inheritance also pertains to prayer Nusach.)

That case was brought before Moshe and his court and the view of the tribe was sustained as correct as p'sak halacha l'ma'aseh. The convert was outraged, feeling discriminated against and exited the court cursing G-d's name.

Just to emphasize, this also relates to the idea repeated often in the Torah of loving the Convert and not discriminating against them. That they are to be considered and treated like a native-born Israeli.

Consequentially, a female convert follows her husbands minhag, like you mention, because she becomes a part of his tribe like all other native born Jewish women. Their future children are members of the husbands tribe.

If they, meaning the husband and wife are both converts, that means Minhag Yisroel only. And their future children (at least the male children) would be in the same situation.

In terms of nusach of prayer, this is specifically what the innovation of the nusach of the Ari z"l was for. It was intended for those who do not know to which tribe they are affiliated. This is to emphasize, that the nusach of the Ari z"l is not nusach Sephard, like some claim. It is different.

It really isn't so wild an idea. Levi'im and Kohanim also have diminished inheritances in the physical, material realm. This is because their inheritance is more in the spiritual realm.

Part of this idea is that Levi'im and Kohanim pertain more to the idea of the entire nation as a whole, just like the Kohain Gadol who represents the entire nation on Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur, if the Kohain Gadol entered the Holy of Holies thinking of himself and not the whole nation, he would not exit alive. This is similar to what is recounted on Yoma 19B.

So too, Converts are not confined within the boundaries of any individual tribe, but pertain to the whole nation (קהלת ישראל, עדת ישראל).

In the end, they will be given an inheritance in the land of Israel that is donated by all the tribes together.

This is the land donation mentioned in Ezekiel 48:18-20 that will go to the "City Workers" (העבדי העיר). The double "Heh" alludes to their status as being B'nei Avraham and Sarah, the Children of Avraham and Sarah.

When their names were changed from Avram and Sarai (אברם ושרי), the letter Yud (which has a value of 10) from Sarai's name was split into two, forming two Heh's (which have a value of 5). Half was given to her husband and half was retained by her, forever changing the destiny of them both. Their new names became Avraham and Sarah (אברהם ושרה).

The Double-Heh (ה׳-ה׳) is a sign of being a convert just like is found in Pirkei Avot, 5:22-23 which mention Ben Bag-Bag (בן בג בג) and Ben Heh-Heh (בן הא הא).

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