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It is clear that we are not obligated to follow the Minhag hamukem if the minhag has no halachic basis. For example if my Bubbe ate chicken soup on Shabbos that is not binding upon me, since it has no Halachic basis.

The way i see it, the minhagim of sefira have no halachic basis either. It is not mentioned in the Talmud (though the story is mentioned) and something that is not mentioned in the Talmud can never become part of Halacha binding upon all Jews. Furthermore there's no Halacha that a Jew is commanded to mourn the death of Torah scholars. Can we say that these minhagim are not binding but optional?

On the other hand, the Tur and Shulchan did incorporate them into their Halachic code (though the rambam did not). This would seem to suggest that they are binding upon all!

P.s. This question can also be viewed as a general question as to what makes a minhag binding.

marked as duplicate by Shmuel Brin, Shokhet, DonielF, mevaqesh, Danny Schoemann May 10 '17 at 10:53

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    why because the Tur and Shulchan Aruch incorporated them does it make them binding? – Yehoshua May 10 '17 at 1:02
  • There actually is a halakha that a Jew is obligated to mourn the death of Torah scholars (YD 374:10). – Double AA May 10 '17 at 1:10
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    "P.s. This question can also be viewed as a general question as to what makes a minhag binding." Then consider just asking that, (itself a fundamental question) so that you don't get bogged down with the details of sefira. After you get some nice answers, you will likely know the answer to sefira, or at least the relevant variables which you can then ask about separately. – mevaqesh May 10 '17 at 1:40
  • I don't get the question. The Tur (it goes earlier (including the Ritz Gayes, a Rishon from before the Rambam), but whatever), Shulchan Aruch, and later consider it a binding custom. Just because there wasn't such a custom in the Gemara's time and the Rambam doesn't mention it, doesn't make it invalid. – Shmuel Brin May 10 '17 at 1:54
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    The last line summarises the question as: "This question can also be viewed as a general question as to what makes a minhag binding". which seems equivalent to the "what determines a minhag question". – mevaqesh May 10 '17 at 14:08

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