My wife has an Ashkenazi background and loved singing Birkat Hamazon at the shabbat table with an American Ashkenazi melody (similar to http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/692733/jewish/Bentching-Trax.htm , but without the instrumental, ofcourse). I am from an Iraqi background (nusach Edot Hamizrach) and recite Birkat Hamazon in a less 'melodious' fashion (very similar to, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAK-CdK0fJs). We use the od yosef chai siddur.

While both my wife and I have no dispute over the spiritual need and benefit to recite birkat hamazon she has expressed repeatedly that she misses the melodies she knows well and loved to use during birkat hamazon.

Is there a compromise somewhere? Are there ashkenazi-style melodies that are being used on the edot-hamizrachi text of the birkat hamazon? I've tried using the traditional melody, but edot-hamizrach differs sufficiently from the ashkenazi text to render the melody impractical at best.

  • 2
    I'm sure someone sufficiently musical could create a suitable adaptation.
    – Scimonster
    May 2, 2017 at 12:48
  • Once I was scandalised by a Lebanese Jew, who switched to the Ashkenazi Birkat hamazon, because it had a better tune... Apr 20, 2018 at 8:42

2 Answers 2


I realize the question is old, but I found Sephardic Birkat HaMazon to an Ashkenazi tune on Youtube, from Rabbi David Kadoch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-7FQ2qZO-A


Your question was asked in a much bigger way a few hundred years ago. The first large source to deal with this issue came from the Maharashdam (Rav Shmuel deMedina of the 16th Century), a large Turkish posek who was quoted by Sepharadim and Ashkenazim after him. The issue was that after the expulsion of Spanish Jews from Spain, the indigenous Turkish Jews found themselves outnumbered by the Sepharadim. Now most of the Synagogues were using the text of Minhag Sepharadi, and the Turkish Jews wanted to know if they had to use the Sepharadi Minhag of prayers (the new community standard), or if they could/should continue to use the original prayers of Minhag Turkey.

The Maharashdam ruled as follows:

בטורקיה נתקבל נוסח הספרדים. וקמו מערערים לומר שרוצים להתפלל כסדר מנהג אבותיהם. ז"ל שו"ת מהרשד"ם (אורח חיים סימן לה), לא מצאנו ולא ראינו שאין לשנות מנהג אבותינו כי אם בדבר שיש בו נידנוד איסור. בכי-האי-גוונא דליכא צד איסור כלל ועיקר, ולא הרחקת עבירה -- בהא פשיטא דלא שייך ביה משום "אל תטוש תורת אמך". וכן יש לדקדק מלשון הר"ן שכתב (פסחים פרק ד ד"ה ונמצינו = דף יז ע"ב בדפי הרי"ף): נמצינו למדים בתורת המנהגות שכל מנהג איסור שהוא מעיר אחת -- כל שאינו מנהג בטעות אלא שהם החמירו על עצמן לעשות סייג לתורה או לדבר שהוא מחלוקת בין חכמי ישראל ונהגו כדברי האוסר כל בני העיר, חייבין בו מן הדין, ואפילו בצינעא, עד שיעקור דירתו משם ויקבענה בעיר אחרת, עכ"ל הר"ן. ומדאמר הר"ן שכל מנהג איסור וכו', ולא קאמר שכל מנהג סתם, משמע דלא אמרינן הכי אלא בדבר איסור שנהגו במקומו הוא דאין לשנות. הא במידי דליכא צד איסור כלל -- פשיטא שאין קפידא כלל.

Summary: We have not found and we have not seen any example to block the change of your ancestral minhag. except, in minhagim which have a minud (a little bit of) prohibition in them. And he states this is not his new idea, but rather it was taught by the Ran.

In other words, the only obligatory minhagim are those that have prohibitions involved in them. In practical terms, this means that refraining from rice during Pesach would be a binding minhag that cannot be changed because you are prohibiting yourself of something. As further clarified by [Rabbi Dovid Fink][1], a noted posek in Jerusalem: The nusach of your prayers, or the method of wrapping your tefillin, etc, have no aspects of prohibition, and therefore you can change them as you please. In this case of the Turkish Jews, they were allowed to pray in Nusach Sepharad, or Nusach Turkey, whichever they wanted, whenever they wanted.

  • 4
    I don't see how this answers the question, which sought a tune.
    – msh210
    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:01
  • 1
    @msh210 It comes to show that it doesn't matter whether the OP bentches in Nusach Ashkenaz or Nusach E''M, according to the opinion of the Maharashdam. Not the best answer, but apparently the OP liked it enough to mark it accepted...
    – ezra
    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:16
  • 2
    Note that there might be subtle נדנוד אסור in some cases. For example saying a bracha on Hallel on Rosh Chodesh or Yom Haatzmaut might be considered part of the "nusach", but it's a bracha levatala according to some (with a different "some" in the two cases I mentioned), and conversely not saying it is doing a mitzva without its proper bracha according to others.
    – Heshy
    Apr 20, 2018 at 17:26
  • This answer ignores the scores of Poskim who rule differently. Iggerot Moshe OC 1:154, EH 1:59, 2:12, 4:100:4, Yabia Omer 5 OC 37, 9 OC 101, etc. Even Rav Chaim David HaLevi, who is the most lenient contemporary gadol on this issue did not rules this way. (Aseh Lecha Rav 4:59, 6:36, 8:20).
    – MDjava
    Dec 6, 2023 at 6:58
  • @MDjava Sounds like you have enough sources to write your own answer
    – Aaron
    Dec 7, 2023 at 17:20

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