Individual Testimony Starts at Number One Below.

עברית פו

The RMb"M and the Jews of Yemen

Up until the 16th century, we accepted upon ourselves from all regions of Yemen to act according to  rulings of the RMb"M, and we prayed with one nusahh. As opposed (contrary) to the Jews of Yemen, the majority of the Sefardaric community started our tradition of (holding like) the RMb"M afterward going by the ruling of (like) rav Asher ben Yahheil.

[Most of the Sefaradi lands already acted according to the RMb"M from the time of the Rishonim. With the appearance of the Code of Jewish Law, most started to switch away from the RMb"M's rulings... But no so the Spanish Portuguese, Andalusia, Western Sefaradim] 

After the 16th century, due to the penetration of the Code of Jewish Law, the (mass press) printing of Spanish (Sefaradic) siddurim and books of Kabbala, the majority of minhogim / halakha of the Yemenite Diaspora of Jews was penetrated. In spite of it all, the RMb"M remained known by the title "head Rav", and most of the things continued to go according (to him).

[Point of order: there never was any official "accepting" of the "Code of Jewish Law" over the RMb"M. This is an outright historical fallacy. Even most of the Shammi in Yemen managed to hold on to the RMb"M's authority until fairly recent times. It should be noted that if most people would hold by the Code of Jewish Law, they would be holding very closely to the RMb"M anyway. The problem is that many do not hold either way anymore.]


Upon our fixing of the RMb"M [ie: his status] in the lives of Yemenite Jews, we bear witness to (indicate) Israel's wisdom in all times. [The following comments are testimony for the status of the RMb"M in Yemen and the rest of the world] 

1) I am here to testify before gentlemen (in) heaven and earth, since I have heard from truthful announcements (information) regarding all the lands (of the) Temani Kings, the majority of communities deal in Torah and Miswoth לשמו, and there are memories of THE RAV in all the multitude that are Holy (each one of them), in their lives and days and life of our father Moshe ben Maimon, that lights up the eye in Torah, shines light (power), to cancel from them difficult decrees and heavy wrongs (destruction), because there are dirty streets being trampled" (Kitvei Ramban, Aleph yuth)

2) The great communities and majority of Israel... and all of the great ones and until the small ones (become) proficient in the RMb"M,  since there are occupied with only this. (Iggerath Rabbi Ovadiah m'Bartenura, Iggeroth alef"yuth).

3) And of the famous thing(s) known throughout the land of Israel and Egypt and Yemen we received (accepted) the RMb"M for Rabbi, and all the people went to his light and after his word we are not changing it (החיד"א, ב"מחזיק ברכה" או"ח סי' לח סק"א).

4) And of the Mequbalim masterminds of Egypt and of the wise men of the West, and of all the communities from the end of the west and Egypt and all  Aram Sova and Persia and Yemen, all of them accepted upon themselves the ways of the of the words of the RMb"M, based on our camping and based on our Journeys, and instead of (to the point of) our acceptance of him the teaching (order) judgment of his Mara datra, the setting of the thing upon them as an obligation as though they are law for Moshe from Sinai. (רבי יעקב פראג'י בשו"ת מהרי"ף סי' נט וסי' סא))

5. It is known in all the land of Yemen that we accepted upon ourselves the words of the RMb"M --may he be remembered-- in all rulings of Torah like Moshe from (owing to) the valor. 
הרב חיים שבתי מגדולי חכמי שאלוניקי במאה ה- 16 בשו"ת מהרח"ש, אה"ע סי' ב דף פה).

6. It is the knowledge of the land of the west and Egypt and the land of Yemen (take) after the RMb"M, and this manifest (revelation) and well known in books and according to all.


"Let it be known that the land of the West (i.e. Israel), and Egypt and the land of Yemen are the places of Maimonides, and this fact is well-ascertained by the books and by all the people. Yet, Hashka"g, in Section 128, has written that the land of the West (i.e. Israel) is also the place of our Rabbi, [author] of the "Beth-Yoseph" (meaning, R. Yoseph Karo). Now I have learned from Hashka"g there, in his commentary "Hagahath HaTur," that if there is a dispute regarding the practice of any ruling brought down between Maimonides and the Rabbi of the "Beth-Yoseph," we practice the ruling as it is brought down in Maimonides, even in the place [where the majority of the people adhere to] the "Beth-Yoseph." But in the other issues where Maimonides has not disputed, or where he has made no mention of the ruling in his own words but are mentioned in the words of the "Beth-Yoseph," we then practice according to the "Beth-Yoseph," even if all other exponents on the Halacha disagree with him. Look there, [at his commentary]. Now this thing agrees also with common sense, before even looking at the words of Hashka"g."


(Vol.II, Responsum # 251)


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"and all day study in Torath Moshe" (Iggerath haRMb"M,  from the edition of Mori עמי טו-טז) and