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Choosing Nusach


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Cheshvan 23, 5771
Rabbi, My mother is Jewish and my father is not he converted reform way. I became religious in Eretz Yisrael. I live in Israel presently. I have no nusach what should I do? What is the correct nusach I should use when living in Israel and which Halachot to follow as customs differ as well as versions. Thank you for your time.
The Talmud stipulates that one must accept upon himself the customs of the place of his origin and also the customs of the place where he has arrived. This is not just viewed as a geographical origin but also in regard to following the customs of our parents. (Pesachim 50b). In a family, the custom of the husband is followed and consequently the children follow the customs set down by the father. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l (Igrot Moshe O"H I: 158) explained that the reason for following the custom of the husband is because the wife who "left" her parents to be with her husband is similar to someone changing his place of residence permanently, in which case the binding customs are those of the new residence. We therefore, can infer that in a case like yours in which the father does not determine the custom, the binding custom is that of your mother's origin. We have also found a case in the Talmud where the custom of the mother was followed. (See Eruvin 41a and Tosafot.) Therefore, you must act according to your mother's Askenazic or Sefardic background in regard to your customs and Tefilla. On the other hand, some of the Askenazic and Sefardic customs in Eretz Yisrael are different than those abroad and you must behave accordingly in that regard as well. A Rabbi should be consulted in regard to particulars and to avoid confusion until you are set in your customs.
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