Does anyone know what to do if the minhag of one's ancestors was changed within such a timeframe that the old minhagim should still be remembered?

My great-grandfather "converted" from a Galizianer chassid to a Jekke sometime during his childhood, resulting in my family following mainly jekkisch customs. Would it be advisable to adopt Galizianer minhagim in deference to my yichus?

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    You are going to have to change your name to Noach mi Galizia. Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 21:03
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    Did he "adopt" those minhagim or did he move to a local where that was the minhag hamakom?
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 21:04
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    @Yirmeyahu, He moved as a very young child (about 5 years) to Germany from Lemberg (Lviv), so presumably, he grew up following Minhag Rheinus or Minhag Östreich. Also, in Frankfurt at least, the minhagim were considered minhag hamakom However, some things, such as his tefillin are larger than customary German tefillin (about 3.5 cm), yet he waited 3 hours, pronounced his chaulam and davened Minhag Frankfurt for most of his life. His son was from Frankfurt and lived there until just before the war. Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 1:45
  • @Gershon, I err on the side of Frankfurt, as my background is more academic and less chassidische Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 1:45
  • There's a Teshuva of igros moshe on Nussach, though Chassidim obviously argue. Commented May 29, 2015 at 17:39

2 Answers 2


My mother's father was born in Dinov. When he was 14 years old he went to stay with his wealthy cousins in Cologne. At that point he adopted Yekishe Minhagim and kept them his entire life. My uncle and his children have maintained these Minhagim after asking his Rosh Yeshiva.

  • Do you think you can edit in who his rosh y'shiva is?
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 4:34
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    @msh210: I am pretty certain it was the Mirrer Rosh Yeshiva, however my uncle is not alive and I am not able to verify. Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 14:47

Probably not necessary; if you really feel that the chassidish practice speaks more to you and you want to switch, talk to a rabbi.

Some of this will involve whether you believe the old customs or new ones are more accurate, by the way.

Look, 500 years ago, each place had its own customs, and when you moved to a new place you generally picked up the practice of the local population. So if everyone in Frankfurt did this 200 years ago, and your great-grandfather permanently moved there from Galicia, he would be expected to say "now I'm a Frankfurt Jew" and switch over to Frankfurt customs. And that's fine. Things have gotten more interesting recently, as people move around more often and things are more multicultural.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein's father converted from chassidish to generic Volozhin "Litvish" yeshivish (that was one of the terms of a shidduch suggested to him with a very respectable young lady!), which his son basically upheld. (Okay his father even skipped "Barchuni leShalom" every Friday night, Rav Moshe didn't go quite that far.)

Similarly, Rav Moshe wasn't so warm-and-fuzzy about ancestral Ashkenazim davening nusach Sefard, and he allowed any Chassidish fellow who so chose to switch his siddur to generic Ashkenaz if he wanted to. Rav Moshe felt that nusach Ashkenaz was our tradition as we received it -- yes it may have evolved, but unlike nusach Sefard we have no indication that some actively/intentionally made changes to the siddur. So I'd assume the same would apply to a minhag Ashkenaz siddur.

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    That's a very idealized view of nusach ashkenaz.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 21:13
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    @DoubleAA, the point is that we don't know that someone said "my tradition was this, but I will now go and change it to that."
    – Shalom
    Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 21:51
  • Except we do for a bunch of smaller stuff. Do you say ותבדילנו or ותבדל in Shmoneh Esrei on Saturday nights?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 21:52
  • @Shalom, Thanks. The Chassidisch/Sefardisch usages really don't speak to me the same as a good Ashkenazi davening, and I wouldn't feel comfortable davening shacharit without a tallit, or wearing tefillin Sefard. I actually only really made sure to recognise which usages I followed this year, as the only fromm schul near me growing up was a Chaba"d (whole different ballgame). Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 1:52

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