From Sacred to Senseless: The Many, Many Meanings of Minhag – Part 2

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Date:
April 09 2024
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58min 43s
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“For minhag, after all, is simply gehinom spelled backwards.” (Rabbenu Tam, Responsa Tosafot §11) The word minhag is often invoked to justify certain practices that go beyond the demands of halakhah itself. Yet, too often, we instinctively dismiss minhagim we dislike while championing senseless customs we erroneously cherish. As we’ll learn, it turns out that this word minhag means a lot of different things to a lot of different situations. In this three-part series, we’ll unpack the meaning of minhag and uncover the many, many meanings of the term – and how they interact within halakhah. We’ll see that while some are sacred, others are simply senseless.

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