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Rabbi David Sperling

Cheshvan 11, 5782
Question
here are my questions: -what would happen if someone observes some sephardic ways and some ashkenazy ways? -how does one stop having bad or weird dreams -what is the Torahs Best advice for getting rid of anxiety and fears thanks
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your questions. Here are some answers - 1. Ideally one should follow their family or community customs. However, if one did (for whatever reason) do some things in the Ashkanazi way, and some in the Sephardi way – their actions would be acceptable. There are certain excepts to this rule, such as when the two actions contradict each other. For example, the Sephardi way of determining the earliest possible time to start Shabbat here in Jerusalem is earlier than the Ashkanazi calculation. If an Ashkanazi used the Sephardi calculation, then, after the fact, their action would be acceptable. However, if they then used the Ashkanazi times to allow a later saying of Shema in the morning – they would have contradicted themselves, as it’s an either / or situation. However, I stress that this is not an ideal situation at all, and one should strive to follow a unified practice. If you have a particular situation at hand that you are facing, please write again with details. 2. There are no sure fire ways of preventing strange dreams. Saying the bed-time Shema prayer with more intent is often advised in such situations. Also, trying not to pay attention to the dreams when you awaken may also be of help. 3. Anxiety and fear are major problems, especially in todays fast pace pressurized world. If you suffer from them, let me send you blessings, and tell you that you are far from alone. There are many very good therapies for these conditions, from medicines to meditations. If you have an serious problem of course, you will want to speak to a professional doctor or therapist. In answer to your question though, a Jewish approach combines strengthening one’s faith in Hashem, through study and action, together with using prayer as a means to turn the worry to Hashem. You may want to start saying psalms in times of stress, as well as studying books that discuss Hashem’s Divine providence. May you be blessed with all that’s good.
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