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Oct 27, 2010

Interesting Psak: Mixing Communal Beit Knesset

Rav David Levy, on Kipa, was asked about a small community, a yishuv, where they do not have a shul. The community is mixed, and the different groups, ashkenazim, yemenite, etc. each have their own small minyan. Each of the various groups refuses to capitulate (the sefardim specifically say that they have been capitulating their whole lives throughout schooling and the army on their "nusach" and style).

The question asked is if the various groups should continue to daven separately, each according to its own nusach and style, or if they should build one communal shul and find ways to compromise.

Rav Levy responded by first stating that it is difficult to answer such a question without being familiar with the various residents. If the community has a rav, he should be asked, and if not, he would be available for further discussion.

Rav Levy continues that the best way would be to stay together and find ways to compromise. As long as the yishuv is the size where everyone can daven together, efforts should be made to do so. Rav Levy adds that if we truly wish to see the beis hamikdash be built, we must take into account that the kohein gadol will not be exactly the way each person pictured him. In my opinion, Rav Levy says, one of the causes of the delay of the rebuilding of the beis hamikdash is the lack of ability of many Jews to compromise on what they are used to experiencing in shul from their childhoods.

While the preference, and psak, that the various groups should work towards compromise and find a way to daven together is not really unique or unusual, the way he suggests it, and compares it to the beis hamikdash, kohein gadol, and people's preferences from their youth, is very interesting.


  1. Not much of a psak - seems like the general consensus in the community is to stay separate, not to ask a Rav. This person is saying "wouldn't it be nice if we could build one big shul" but given that mashiach isn't here yet to set the nusach in the Beis Hamikdash I'm not so sure it's fair to tell one group to just give in to the other in the name of ahavas yisrael.

  2. Too many hardheaded people.

    What would happen if they simply switch off nusachim every week? Divide up the chagim, switch them around every other year, etc.

    Plus you get the added benefit of the members of one nusach learning about the other nusach. And that can contribute to achdut.

  3. some shuls daven whatever the nusach of the chazzan is. if the guy who gets up to be chazan leads in ashkenaz, the minyan is ashkenaz. if sefard, sefard, etc.

  4. We have a shul like that in Buchman. It's called Minyan Achdut and they somehow find a way to balance everyone's nusach needs.


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