Rav Binyomin S. Hamburger, head of Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz of Bnei Brak and author of Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, visited London last week for his nephew’s wedding. He spoke at the storied Munk’s kehilla (Golders Green Beth Hamedresh) as well as Torah Way Rav Hamburger spoke for the ‘Torah way’ organization in London on last
Sunday parshas Bamidbar. In the approximately half-hour shiur, whose topic was sefiras haomer, he focused on the proper nusach to be used for sefiroh, particularly the different shitos about if laomer or baomer should be used. Kidarko bakodesh, a wide-ranging survey of the different opinions going back to the time of the rishonim was given,
from places like Ashkenaz, Italy, Provence, and Sepharad, placing them in historical and chronological contexts, in a very illuminating presentation.
On Sunday evening, Rav Hamburger spoke on ‘Imbalances in Contemporary Halacha Observance’ at Golders Green Beis Medrash (aka ‘Munk’s’), a Yekke congregation in London. The wide ranging, approximately forty five minute shiur, covered many interesting topics, including looks at specifically the following areas where imbalances are at times found nowadays.
1) ‘Glatt kosher? Glatt yosher!’ (which, although attributed to Rabbi Dr. Joseph Breuer z”l, had its roots, according to Rav Hamburger, in thought of his grandfather, Rav S.R. Hirsch z”l).
2) Talking during davening vs. talking after netilas yodayim for a seudah, based on remarks of Rav Shimon Schwab z”l.
3) Being mehader to hear Yemenite teruahs or Yekke teruahs on Rosh Hashono.
4) Wearing tefillin on chol hamoed. Quite an interesting story re R.
Akiva Eiger’s Chassidic son-in-law at his shver on chol hamoed.
5) Pronunciation according to the GR”A – zecher/zeicher amalek vs. the cholam.
6) Perek shira for women or regular davening?
7) Observance of Behab or going to Meron and bonfires?
Much food for thought was provided.
The Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz, under the leadership of Rav Hamburger, has two main activities. Firstly to publish and disseminate sefarim. The highly acclaimed series Shorshie Minhag Ashkenaz and Yerushaseinu are ongoing publications as well as biographies of leading Ashkenaz Torah rabbonim. One work currently in process is about the
yeshiva of Fuerth. The second activity is establishing and supporting batei knessios committed to Minhag Ashkenaz. Currently there are shuls in Bnei Brak, Yerushalayim, Kiryat Sefer, Beiatr Illit and Baltimore.