I heard that if there is no argument between the Remah and the Mechaber, then a Sephardi can follow Rav Moshe Feinstein for instance.

How does it work? I try my best to strictly follow HaRav Ovadia Yosef, but there was a case when my shaver may not have conformed to what HaRav Ovadia writes, but it was okay according to Rav Willig and Rav Moshe Feinstein, I asked my Rav what to follow, he said that you can follow the Ashkenazim, is that because where there isn't a Machloket mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch, and only modern day, we can go along with who we like?

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    Why don't you ask your Rav what the reason was?
    – magicker72
    Aug 22, 2016 at 14:25
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    he's not in the same country as me Aug 22, 2016 at 14:26
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    Regarding shaving, one of the very last sources that Rav Ovadiah quotes in his teshuvah in Yabia Omer, (vol. 9 10:18) is the Megged Giv'ot Olam which quotes Rav Moshe, and he seems to pretty much side with it, so I don't know that there is really much if any disagreement.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 22, 2016 at 14:34
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    Regarding the primary question, halakha has few hard and fast rules. Historically (AFAIK) few poskim followed solely there sorts of rules, but rather ruled based on a combination of what they themselves thought and the rulings of those poskim that they generally followed. Certainly great Sephardi rabbis disagreed with the Shulchan Arukh, e.g. P'ri Chadah and Chida.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 22, 2016 at 14:43
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2 Answers 2


The simple halachic principle is that a Sepharadi should generally be following the opinion of Maran Hashulchan Aruch as the bnei edot hamizrach have accepted his teachings as the 'majority' halachic authority as Rav Ovadia puts it. In a case of a mitzvah deoraita, it would be correct for you to follow our 'chief halachic authority' as the Torah says we should do.

For mitzvot derabannan, you are 100% allowed to be mekeil and follow other opinions, notably the Ashkenazi poskim. Obviously, following Maran is preferred but it's not necessary at all.

And I say this is the general rule because there are quite a few exceptions with very good reasons. For example, Safek berachot lehakel does work against Maran according to Rav Ovadia who notes most exceptions where we don't follow Maran and follow/take into account other poskim e.g. Arizal, Ashkenazim and the reason why. (I.e. Minhag avotenu, biyadenu?)

Referring specifically to your shaver case, Maran obviously doesn't mention this modern day case. It's much preferable to follow Rav Ovadia as in many cases he applies modern day cases to Maran Hashulchan Aruch so it's best to read his teshuvot to see his source and reasonings. After all, shaving is mideoraita and we should follow our own rabbis (gedolim) as the Torah has commanded us even if he doesn't apply Maran to our modern times.

However meikar Hadin there does seem to be room to be mekeil to follow the opinion of contemporary Ashkenazic poskim provided that they have strong foundations for how they rule which I'm sure they do.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya. This answer could be improved by citing sources. Remember, readers don't know you so they don't know if they can trust what you say without it being backed up by sources.
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    May 16, 2018 at 21:39
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    – mbloch
    May 17, 2018 at 4:06
  • I don't understand the distinction between Mitzvot Min HaTorah and Mitzvot MiDeRabbanan. Could you please explain? Do you have a source for this?
    – MDjava
    May 17, 2018 at 19:52
  • @MDjava drabbanun are treated more 'lightly'. For example a safek drabbunun we are lenient by (for example if I couldn't remember no matter how hard I try if I'd turned off the motion sensor light, and it's shabbos, and I hold its drabbunun, I can still walk past the motion sensor light.)
    – Orion
    Jul 16, 2018 at 16:56
  • That has nothing to do with Minhag and following a specific posek. I'm bothered by this line: "For mitzvot derabannan, you are 100% allowed to be mekeil and follow other opinions, notably the Ashkenazi poskim. Obviously, following Maran is preferred but it's not necessary at all."
    – MDjava
    Jul 16, 2018 at 23:04

The general trend seems to be that Ashkenazi and Sepharadi Rabbis are okay with Sepharadim following Ashkenazi poskim in a question of doubt, or if there is wiggle room on the matter. An example of this would be while Ovadia Yosef might rule stringently on a matter, there are lots of Sepharadi Poskim who are lenient, they just aren't as publicized.

Unfortunately the opposite is rarely true. I have only met one Rav who has actually told people to follow Sephardic Hachamim in questions of doubt.

  • Concrete sources would be appreciated.
    – MDjava
    Aug 15, 2018 at 20:38

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