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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 22:14:43 -0400 Subject: When Minhag Intefers With Observance Martin Rosen brings what I consider excellent arguments for allowing (given the criteria he mentions) Mikvah for women during the day. This brings up a general question that has bothered me for a long time. While Minhag yisroel has a status of Din is it permissable to abrogate that minhag either temporarily or permanantly either for an individual or community if the minhag creates a "bother" whose removal would increase observance of the mitzvah. A simple example of this would be to remove "learning" between Minchah and Maariv or removing "excess Mishebayraching" (or Chazanuth) in order to increase shule attendance. Another example I have seen on occassion is when I have told people that Sefirath Haomer can be accomplished just by saying the blessing and counting in English (instead of saying all the Kabbalistic prayers in the Siddur). I have actually gotton some people to start observing this mitzvah by doing this. A more complex example is the one brought by Martin Rosen: Certainly Tzniuth has created many minhagim (like going to Mikvah by night). But, even if Martins arguments are wrong, suppose people's perception of Mikvahs at night or their fears of going inhibit a small percentage from going. Does this legitimize abrogating the nighttime injunction to increase going. (Let me put it this way: Suppose a community tries daytime Mikvah for a month or two and sees a statistically significant rise in average mikvah attendance---by the words statistically significant I simply mean NOT a dramatic increase but rather enough of an increase so that a Statistician can say with confidence that the day vs night caused the increase). I realize this would not justify encouraging daytime Mikvah in all communities but would it justify it in this community I believe a strong argument for overriding minhag exists here. Russell Hendel, Ph.d, ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu