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B'rit Kehuna: The Law of Custom Print E-mail

WritingsThe 18th of Tevet is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Moshe Chalfon of Djerba, Tunisia, author of Shoel Venishal and Bris Kehuna (1874-1950)  Rav Moshe introduces his book by explaining why he felt it necessary to record all the practices of Djerba: Those who know the Torah and those who are able to rule in Halacha, recognize that our city, Djerba, Turkey,  has a history of a Jewish community since the destruction of the First Temple. Over the generations our leadesr have shaped the Halacha and customs of our community. We may not move an inch from any of their rulings and directions. As the Bet Yosef writes in his introduction that even if one finds a reason to allow that which has been prohibited by previous generations, may not do so.(See too Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deiah 228:28) If a community accepts a practice or a fence it may not be annulled by later generations.

The Yashiv Moshe (Volume 1, page 93) rules that even if there was never an official acceptance of a custom by a community, if the people practiced the custom it is granted the status of an established custom or law and may not be changed.
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