Sep 7, 2009

Mashiach will be sefardi. and so was Moshe Rabbeinu

In his weekly shiur, from which the media always enjoy excerpting the juicy quotes, Rav Ovadiah Yosef this week spoke about one of his pet peeves. The dominance of the sefardic customs over ashkenazic customs.

Rav Ovadiah has said many times that the sefardi customs are more definite than the ashkenazic, and being that Eretz Yisrael was always dominated by the sefardim, the minhag eretz yisrael should be sefardic minhagim.

Rav Ovadiah kind of scoffed at the ashkenazim this week. he basically solved the long-standing debate of how to depict the forefathers, and Moshe Rabbeinu, in childrens books. Some draw the figures of our ancient ancestors in hassidic garb, donning shtreimels and reckels. SOme in Litvishe garb, and some in the traditional sefardic robes of the Middle Eastern countries, especially from the times when they wandered in the desert.

Rav Ovadiah said that while nowadays everybody should keep to the customs of their parents, when mashiach will come he will clearly decide issues along the lines of sefardic custom. Pronunciation will be sefardic - Rav Ovadiah had some fun with the ashkenazic accents and said that the forefathers were all Syrians from Aleppo and did not speak with ashkenazi accents.

Rav Ovadia is clearly saying those books with images of the avos as hassidim are clearly misrepresenting the truth!


  1. Judging from the archaeological remains from Masada, Nahal Hever, etc., as well as depictions of Jews/semitics throughout antiquity, seems like R' Yosef is on target. Sandals, brightly colored fabrics, depictions of men and women in long robes (often belted) -- sounds more Sepharadi then Ashkenaz. Now who wants to take a guess as to whether 2000 years ago, the woman whose modern and strappy sandal was discovered at Masada wore it with socks? (Hint: it gets VERY HOT in Midbar, nylons hadn't yet made it to the Middle East.) Wow -- I guess this means we can start talking about pritzus among the kano'im!

  2. stockings didnt exist, so they probably wore their robes to their feet to cover their legs... but that would make them dati leumi...
    which would they prefer? the dati leumi extra long skirts or the showing skin....


  3. You know, one of the most poignant finds on Masada was a long rope of braided hair (on the woman with the sandal and the pieces of colored cloth -- her remains were found near those of a man and a child, and the context conclusively suggests that they did not die natural deaths). No shaving heads there. Also no need to stuff a mass of hair under a sheitel -the women (and men) covered their hair with scarves and turbans.

  4. Why should we dress the same way people did 2000 years ago?
    I don't think that has anything to do with what ROY is saying.

  5. reminds me of a joke:

    how do we know moshe rabbeinu is a sefardi?

    if he was an ashkenazi, he would have been called

    moshe rabinovitch.

  6. Anon:
    Some things never go out of style (like those sandals from Masada -- I saw a pair like them in the mall last week). Besides, it just makes sense in this climate to wear flowing clothes in light colors, not closely-tailored suits.
    And with your logic, why should we dress the way Jews did 200 years ago in Eastern Europe?

  7. Tamar,
    I agree that it makes more sense to wear light colored flowing garments in the Israeli climate. I also see no reason to dress like they did in Europe 200 years ago any more than dressing like 2000 years ago.
    On the other hand I don't think that it is positive for individuals to stand out too much in their communities.
    I think that there are enough options among modern clothing for men that are both modest and comfortable which don't cause people to stand out too much. As for women, it is a bit more of a challenge, as womens' clothing today is not designed to be comfortable or modest. Actually, ironically I think that much of if not most of womens' clothing are designed by men!

  8. nobody (except maybe Tamar, but I don't think she is either except maybe in part) is saying to dress like they did 2000 years ago. My post didnt even address that. And 1000 years ago in Europe the jews didnt dress like we do today either.
    I take from Tamar's comment that our rigidness in our definitions of tzniyus and our dress codes that have evolved from those definitions have basis in Jewish history.

    I forgot to mention, and when I saw the article this was really a point I wanted to include but forgot to, that it is ironic how Rav Ovadya says the sefardi minhagim are the dominant ones in eretz yisrael. If you look at all the elite sefardim, they send their children to ashkenazy schools and yeshivas.

  9. oops. that should say - don't have basis in jewish history

  10. I once heard the style of dress that most women under 40 have adopted on my yishuv (especially Shabbat clothing) described as "biblical, with a modern twist." And most of the designers are female.

    It just makes sense. It's tzanua, feminine and comfortable (very rarely tailored and buttoned up). I've seen men (especially bachurim from the Shomron) start looking more "biblical" as well -- loose and long tunics in light material (with tzitzit tied right on instead of worn underneath), lightweight linen or cotton pants, colors.

  11. I WAS THERE.
    Rav Ovadiah Yosef said the stuff about following the Sefardi pronunciations when Moshiach comes AS A JOKE. Everyone in the crowd laughed. Lighten up!!! Moshiach better come before the whole Jewish people loses their sense of humor!

  12. Maybe Mashiash is a mix of Askenaz and Sefardi

  13. If you look at drawings of chassidic rebbes of 200 years ago, they dressed in robes too, more often than not white robes.

  14. Tamar,
    That sounds like a fine way of dressing.
    It may be unique to certain yishuvim or the shomron. I imagine that those styles haven't made it to the malls yet :)

  15. I suspect that our avot and imahot dressed much like the bedouin - in long flowing robes and sandals. This would be the most practical and comfortable way to cope with the desert climate.

  16. B"H

    The Ashkishaggim had it coming!

    They still treat Sephardim like crap in Israel, and many Sephardim feel they have to mishtaknez and buy into European standards and sensibilities in order to get ahead.

    That being said, Rav Ovadiah seems to be calling the kettle black. Look at how his followers dress,...European.

  17. Speaking of Rav Ovadiah, another Rav Ovadiah (ben Avraham), a grandson of the Ramba"m claimed that the Sufim dressed very close to traditional Israelite dress, and that was almost 800 years ago, when robes were still quite common.

    That reminds me, I have to check to see if my traditional garment is ready yet. Hopefully, I'll have it by Rosh HaShannah.

    Stay tuned....


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