3

Over the years many Chumros and Minhagim have been created. For example, waiting 6 hours between meat and milk for Ashkenazim. Or not eating gebrochts on Pesach. So if it is a Minhag that cannot be annulled then I should be rewarded for listening to the mitzvah of "Do not stray from the Rabbunun" which enforces the minhag.

But what about Minhagim and Chumras which CAN be annulled?

Does one get a reward for doing these things? If so what mitzvah is it?

  • Chumros and Minhagim are not two different things: some of the Minhagim are Chumros. – Al Berko Aug 20 '18 at 11:36
  • Please give examples of Minhagim and Chumras which CAN be annulled ... – Al Berko Aug 20 '18 at 11:38
  • In general theory, everything you observe for the G-d sake that requires some effort you get rewarded for, no matter how it is classified, as the Gemmarah concludes "לפום צערא אגרא". No need to ask specifically for every deed. – Al Berko Aug 20 '18 at 11:43
2

The Gemara (Pesachim 50b) discusses this issue:

בני ביישן נהוג דלא הוו אזלין מצור לצידון במעלי שבתא אתו בנייהו קמיה דרבי יוחנן אמרו לו אבהתין אפשר להו אנן לא אפשר לן אמר להו כבר קיבלו אבותיכם עליהם שנאמר שמע בני מוסר אביך ואל תטוש תורת אמך:

The residents of Beit She’an were accustomed not to travel from Tyre to market day in Sidon on Shabbat eve. [In deference to Shabbat, they adopted a stringency and would not interrupt their Shabbat preparations even for a short sea voyage.] Their children came before Rabbi Yoḥanan [to request that he repeal this custom]. They said to him: [Due to their wealth,] it was possible for our fathers [to earn a living without traveling to the market on Friday]; however, it is not possible for us to do so. He said to them: Your fathers already accepted this virtuous custom upon themselves, and it remains in effect for you, as it is stated: “My son, hear your father’s rebuke and do not abandon your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). [In addition to adhering to one’s father’s rebuke, i.e., halakha, one is also required to preserve his mother’s teaching, i.e., ancestral customs.]

1

If someone made a vow, (even though the Gemara generally suggests that we avoid vows) then they get the reward for the mitzvah of keeping a vow.

However, if it is just a chumrah or custom, then it should fall under the category of any good deed that one is not commanded in.

The Gemara in Kidushin 31a tells us the story of a Gentile, Dama ben Nesina, who fulfilled a good deed that he was not commanded to do, yet he received a great reward. Although R' Chanina there states that it is greater to perform a commandment than to volunteer, all agree that volunteering is certainly worthy of reward.

The Ritva on this Gemara quotes the Ramban:

..."However, even such a person (i.e., one who is not obligated) is fit to receive reward; as out of his piety and goodness of his heart, he volunteered to perform a mitzvah."

It may be that there is no obligation, but it is still a worthy deed. G-d allowed room for his creations to innovate and better themselves.

If a custom beautifies a mitzvah (decorating a Torah with silver adornments) it is derived by the Talmud from the verse expounded by Ex. 15:2 "This is my G-d, and I will glorify Him." (see Shabbos 133b and Babba Kama 9b)

If a chumrah is attached to a mitzvah of some sort, then its category derives from that mitzvah. For instance, those who only eat gefilte fish on Shabbos (as opposed to whole fish) because they do not wish to accidentally remove bones on Shabbos, are keeping a custom that is a chumrah which is obviously linked to the greater mitzvah of Shabbos.

Sometimes a Jewish custom is related to "holiness" relating to the mitzvah in VaYikra 19:2 "Speak to the entire congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, You shall be holy, for I, the L-rd, your G-d, am holy."

On this mitzvah, our Rabbis comment:

"Sanctify yourself with that which is permitted to you"

(Talmud Tractate Yevamot 20a)

In general, Jewish custom is considered "Torah" as Tosafos says in Talmud Menachos 20b ("Nifsal") "The custom of our fathers is considered to be Torah."

  • Is a chumrah really comparable to doing something which has no base obligation? – mroll Aug 20 '18 at 4:48
  • I assumed the OP was talking about a strict practice that could be "annuled". IOW it is an independent Jewish idea. – David Kenner Aug 20 '18 at 4:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .