Jewish Journal

Sephardim are rational—Ashkenazim, not so much

by JewishJournal.com

March 3, 2008 | 4:04 pm

From an essay in Zeek—A Sephardic Answer to Modern Jewish Identity
By David Rabeeya:

” . . . Ashkenazic authorities traditionally have placed a “fence around the Torah,” enlarging restrictions in order to be sure not to risk breaking the original rules. At least in the past, however, Sephardi Jews did not add such extra restrictions, believing it was more important to trust in the intelligence and integrity of Jews to follow the laws as written. In general, Sephardim, as rationalists, tend to believe that individuals who are well-schooled in the tradition should have fairly wide latitude to judge principles for themselves.

Do little, but do right, could be said to be how many Sephardi Jews regard Jewish law. A Jew should try to follow the Jewish law, but he must not be controlled by inventions of religious leaders which could lead to fanaticism, radicalism and irrationality. . .

I turn into a Sephardi every Pesach. 

Maybe it’s time for a more permanent transformation!

—Dennis Wilen

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