(This represents a commonly asked question on this forum topic. Yakov Horowitz.)
Dear Rabbi Eisenman:
As Ba’alei Teshuva, my wife and I are having a challenging time responding to our oldest son when he asks, “What is our family’s minhag/custom?”
Any advice you can give us would be helpful.
Find a community you’re comfortable with, find a mentor and stick to that rout.
When a question comes up, asses what is done in the community, discuss with mentor.
Based on that, accept, decline, or do it your way.
At least, this is what we do, hence, this is a suggestion. discuss it with your mentor 🙂
You can also adopt customs that speak to you, your neshama, or your family. Just be careful not to “cage” yourself and your children in; keep in mind that halacha is what is important, the rest is icing on the cake.
Sometimes customs just develop spontaneously. For example, I’m not sure how this evolved into a minhag, but my children know that on Rosh Chodesh Adar the costume box comes out, music is turned on and hilarity ensues. The kids are very, very careful about this one 😉
Hello and Good Question.
Honesty is the best policy.
You and your wife- should have (and if you didn’t start today) to fulfill the dictum of “Asei Lecha Rav”.
Choose a Rav, Rebbe or LOR.
And the family should follow the Minhagim of that Rav or Shul which you are part of.
When your children ask what is our Minhag? you answer honesty, “We don’t have a family Minhag; however, we spoke with the Rav and he suggested that we do such and such….”
Most times- you should follow the Minhag of the Shulchan Aruch or if the community has a strong Minhag follow that Minhag.
For instance, Tefillin on Choi HaMoed….. ask your Rav what you should do and relate to your children that, “We had no family Minhag; however I asked Rav X and he told me to do as such….so this is our Minhag.
So should it be with all family Minhagim
All the best,