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Minhagim for Baal Teshuva

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Question
About a year ago I walked into a Chabad house, with no intention to become a Lubavitcher, but to become more observant. Ever since then I got Chabad tefillin a few months a ago and was davening Nusach HaAri until I heard a shiur about family minhagim and how they are more important according to some poskim to follow, in the case of a baal teshuva, than the minhagim that were adopted when becoming religious. A month ago, I switched to a different shul that davens nusach Ashkenaz and have been doing that since, however I still wear Chabad tefillin everyday. Is it halachically allowed for me to switch from Nusach HaAri, if my father, who is not religious except for davening, he davens 3 times a day from an Ashkenazi siddur, to Nusach Ashkenaz? And am I allowed to switch my tefillin to regular Beis Yosef Ashkenaz tefillin?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The issue of following family traditions and customs is not a simple one in today's world. Cases such as yours present issues that were almost unheard of in the past. It is wonderful to have to address the halchaca to questions of people returning to their tradition. In the past people followed the unbroken traditions of their families. When people moved from one location to another they generally followed the traditions of their new home. Nowadays when most locations have more than one synagogue, many people only change their customs when ideologically becoming part of a new community. So a Modern Orthodox young man might take on the practices of the Litvak Yeshivish community upon deciding to become connected to that “world”. Your case is interesting. Your father does have certain customs. Is his nusach of prayer (Ashkanazi) from family tradition or by chance? If it is from family tradition then you are probably correct to return to that version of prayer. (Although there are sources that allow one to change to Sephard davening, in your case you desire to return to Ashkanaz, so if it is your family tradition it is certainly preferred). As to changing your Tefillin, again, if your family were non chassidic Ashkanazim then you may certainly change back to their custom. However, changing tefillin is quiet an expensive undertaking. You certainly fulfill your obligation putting on Chabd tefillin. So, may I suggest that you wait until you are settled permanently in a community before changing them. (I have seen many people who became more observant move through several communities before finally finding the one that they stuck with long term. Who knows where you will find yourself in another year?) You should be blessed to continue to grow in your service of Hashem. Blessings.
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