Ashkenazim and Sephardim Customs


I was born into Ashkenaz family and generally keep Kosher AND LACTO-OVO VEGETARIAN for health & environmental reasons (except religious ones of course).

So, for me, Rice and Lentiles are important parts of my diet (both for nutrients and for the tasting pleasure when eating).

The second thing is that I understand that Jewish civilization –having been persecuted and living in the diaspora– migrated and subsequently evolved in different parts of the world and thus adopted some differences in customs –and that eating rice and lentils (and corn for that matter) is one of these differences. It just so happens that I cannot claim any Jewish anscestry outside of Poland and Ukraine.

So my question is –what if I disagree with Ashkenaz Pesach customs and I want to eat rice and lentiles and corn like the Sephardim? Is this Halachically permissible, pprohibiuted or discouraged but technically allowed?

The other issue concerns my opinion on the Ashkenaz-Sephardim Divide. I don’t like it. I don’t believe in it. And i wish to deny/ignore it. I have –for many years– firmly disagreed with /opposed this division of the Jewish People, and would like to see the day that Jews are united (and end to the diaspora and these inconvenient and possibly dangerous divisions) before a return to Israel and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Am I supposed to embrace the Jewish “Geotype”? Or is it ok to reject such divisions amongst our people?

Thank You Kindly, in advance for answering my question.

Be Well and Shalom.

My question again is threefold:

Am I allowed to disassociate myself with any given Ashkenaz Minhagim?
To what extent is this Halachically permissible?
More specifically, am i allowed to reject the minhagim and eat rice, corn and lentils on Pesach –(even though i am NOT Sephardim and do not recognizxe such divisions as having any validity).



  1. There is absolutely no problem with an Ashkenazi eating rice and lentils throughout the year. In fact, many classic Ashkenazi dishes use rice and it is considered to be staple in most Jewish homes today. What is so, as you write, is that on Pesach, Ashkenazim do not eat legumes, which include both rice and lentils. All this means is that for the duration of Pesach you should not eat them.

    Halachically Minhagim are regarded as being like Halachot and they should be treated with due seriousness. Should you eat Kitniot on Pesach? I don’t think that you should. Why? Because it is an established Minhag that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years. It has been universally accepted in the Ashkenazic world and it is not really ours to change. I also feel that emotions and the way that one feels about a certain Minhag or Halacha are not really valid reasons for changing something as important as a Minhag. Historically, changing customs has led, ultimately, to an abandonment of Halacha as well.

    In general, there is no “divide” between Sephardim and Ashkenazim. There are various small differences in how the Halacha is practically observed, but aside from that there is nothing else. Each community has a rich and magnificent heritage and all the various communities – including the many very distinct and unique communities within both the Sephardic and the Ashkenazic world – have added an immeasurable amount to Halacha, Minhag and Jewish culture. So fundamental is the idea of different approaches to serving Hashem that the Ari Zal writes that when the Jewish People went through the Red Sea, each Shevet had its own path, each one symbolizing one of twelve different paths in Avodat Hashem.

    Best wishes from the Team