[Avodah] Slixoth In Elul

Jay F. Shachter jay at m5.chicago.il.us
Mon Aug 30 09:21:33 PDT 2021

> .... Meanwhile when it comes to selichos, Sepharadim say them the
> whole month, and it's Ashkenazim who only start at shavua shechal
> bo.
> Anyone want to venture a theory as to what this says about Ashk vs
> Seph hashkafic differences?

It's because of all the rice and beans that the Sfardim eat on
Passover.  They have to spend an entire month asking forgiveness for
that.  Also they don't shave their heads and wear wigs after they get
married.  They have to spend an entire month asking forgiveness for
that, too.

Actually, most Sfardim don't eat rice on Passover, if by "Sfardim" we
mean "Jews who are mostly descended from Spanish Jews".  This is
mostly just the Jews of North Africa, where refugees from the Spanish
expulsion outnumbered the indigenous Jews; most North African Jews
don't eat rice on Passover, and that used to include even the Tunisian
Jews, until a couple of hundred years ago when they abandoned that
stringency.  Other Jewish communities that are now considered to be
Sfardi -- I'm not talking about, e.g., the Persian or Indian Jews, who
are often called `Edoth HaMizrax and recognized to be different from
the true Sfardim; I'm talking about, e.g., the Jews of the Balkans, or
Bulgaria -- are not mostly descended from Spanish Jews, and they
became Sfardi thru a process of lakewoodification: some Spanish Jews
settled in those areas, whereupon they immediately proclaimed "our
practices are the only valid ones, and if you want to marry me,
whether you are a man or a woman, you must abandon your traditional
practices and adopt mine".  In this way Sfardi practice, like
mamzeruth, was inherited from either one's mother or one's father, and
thus after many generations spread out over the entire community.  No
other comparison between Sfardi practice and mamzeruth is expressed or

Some of these Jewish communities had interesting and unique practices.
The Bulgarian Jews, for example, before they were lakewoodified into
extinction, used to read Mgillath Esther in Greek (yes, you knew that
that was allowed, but you might not have known that anyone actually
did it).

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
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                                jay at m5.chicago.il.us

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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