Is there any prediction in the Torah for the split between Ashkenazim and Sepharadim? I was told that there is but can't think of anywhere to look. Thanks.

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    – Isaac Moses
    Oct 7, 2013 at 16:14
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    there is no split. Oct 7, 2013 at 16:54
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    There's certainly no explicit prediction. (I've read the entire Pentateuch, and it doesn't mention such a thing explicitly.) I assume you're asking about either (1) an allusion (that someone, most likely post facto but maybe not, said alludes to the split between Ashk'nazim and S'faradim) or (2) a generality (about how people will split or some such, that someone said applies to, inter alia, the split between Ashk'nazim and S'faradim). Which?
    – msh210
    Oct 7, 2013 at 17:26
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    What about Italian, Yemenite, Greek and Ethiopian Jews?
    – Double AA
    Oct 9, 2013 at 14:01
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    It's not a split. It's fragmentation. The divisions among religious Jews today are less neat and are more complex than simply "Ashkenazim" and "Sefaradim". Kol tuv.
    – user3342
    Jul 24, 2015 at 3:32

4 Answers 4


I don't think your question can be adequately answered, because it's based on a false premise. There never was or is a "split" between Ashkenazim and Sepharadim. They are two different regional "flavors" of Judaism, and don't (or shouldn't) have emnity or difference in basic Jewish belief.

Not to mention that the terms "Ashkenazi" and "Sepharadi" are extremely broad - with the term Ashkenazi you could be speaking of German, Polish-Hungarian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian-Russian, and Italian Jewry, and with Sepharadi you could be speaking of Spanish-Portuguese or North African "flavors". Plus, far-eastern groups don't fit in either category, such as the Yemenites and Iraqi Jews, who would fall in the category of "Mizrahi".

If you look back in the times of Hazal, you'll see that there were different "flavors" of Judaism back then. Consider the differences between the communities in Judea versus Galilee, Rome, etc. Or if you go back even farther, consider how each tribe of Israel had a different "flavor" of Judaism.

So there has never been a "split", it's just that different practices have formed with Jews being spread out over the face of the globe. Ashkenazim don't find it strange at all to pray with shoes on, because royalty was greeted with shoes on in Europe, but some Sepharadim and Mizrahim might take their shoes off!


This is way below my usual standard, but I asked around and heard that people seem to think that Bamidbar 24:5, מה טבו אהליך יעקב, can also be taken as a slight curse, and that in the future there will be many tents in Kelal Yisrael (a minimum of 2), and that refers to this split. While I don't personally feel that this is a biblical prediction of such a split, it could be that this is what the person that told you was thinking of/referring to.

  • You expect 14 million people to share one tent?
    – ezra
    Mar 7, 2018 at 1:41
  • I feel the same way, @ezra Mar 7, 2018 at 1:57
  • I honestly don't know why this question exists, as it's based on a false premise that there is/was a "split" between Ashkenazim and Sephardim... There isn't a split, nor was there ever one. They're different regional flavors of Judaism, something we saw back in the times of Hazal (think of the differences between Galilee and Judea) or even older (each tribe had a different "flavor").
    – ezra
    Mar 7, 2018 at 2:31
  • @ezra So why haven't you downvoted it? Mar 7, 2018 at 2:42
  • I've mentioned elsewhere on this site that I don't downvote something unless I just really don't like it.
    – ezra
    Mar 7, 2018 at 3:04

In my humble and purely theoretical understanding, a real diametrical split would be between the Litvaks and the Hassidim.

They represent two ways of serving Hashem, representing, respectively, "סור מרע" and "עשה טוב". In other terms, it is Din and Hessed, mind and body, brains and soul, Shabbos and weekdays etc respectively.

This differentiation can be traced back to the first Hassidim ("חסידים ראשונים" as in Mishna) that spent 9 hours a day in prayers (as described in Brochos), up to a point when the Gemmorah wonders "how do they learn Torah at all?". An interesting observation is naming convention of the Gdoylim in both communities: Litvakes calling them "Geoynim", putting the weight on the brains, while Hassidim call them "Kadosh" (כבוד קדושת), emphasizing the purity of the soul. This can be clearly seen in Brochos (34b) on the difference between R' Yochanan Ben Zakay and R' Haninah Ben Dosah "אלא הוא דומה כעבד לפני המלך, ואני דומה כשר לפני המלך".

Therefore, I conclude that those two approaches are intrinsic to Judaism. To Sefardim, on the other hand, being attracted mainly to leveling between the two, I would address the middle line which is Tifferes.


Not specifically to Sepharadim/Ashkenazi split, but there is a derivation of "flock" from “Ha’emet Tiheye Ne’ederet” that during the times before the advent of Moshiach, Jews will be split. From a discussion on Devarim

The Gemara describes certain negative qualities that will characterize the generation before the arrival of Mashiah, one of them being “Ha’emet Tiheye Ne’ederet.” Literally, this means that “truth will be obscured,” meaning, truths that should be and always had been obvious and self-evident will become questionable. In our times, for example, low standards of modesty and integrity which would have been rejected without a second thought generations ago are now considered valid options. This is one manifestation of “Ha’emet Tiheye Ne’ederet.” Additionally, however, the term “Ne’ederet” refers to the phenomenon of “Eder” – “flock.” The Jewish people will form small, independent “flocks” that stay away from one another. Each “flock” will follow its “shepherd,” its Rabbi, and show no respect or regard for anything else. The prevailing attitude will be one of “It’s my way, or you’re out!” There will be little or no tolerance for differing views and opinions.

  • The Gemara is Sotah 49b ויראי חטא ימאסו והאמת תהא נעדרת נערים פני זקנים ילבינו it is not a verse in Devarim, nor anywhere else to the best of my knowledge. Furthermore as noted, this does not appear to be the intent of the Gemara's usage.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 23, 2015 at 4:52
  • @mevaqesh He said it was a discussion on Devarim, not that it was specifically referring to that passuk. The article is very clear about what is the passuk and what is the Gemara.
    – DonielF
    Apr 30, 2017 at 5:10
  • The question was about the Torah. The fact that the article is supposedly about the Torah, and supposedly also about the question obscures the fact that the question was about the Torah discussing the split which this post provides no evidence of. Additionally nothing in the gemara, let alone the Torah is even relevant to the question. The only part ever remotely relevant is the misinterpretation of a word in a gemara, by an unknown author.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 30, 2017 at 5:23

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