“When in DOUBT, Leave it OUT.”

Home Coffeeroom Bais Medrash “When in DOUBT, Leave it OUT.”

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  • #1372507

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    If you don’t know if you need to say a bracha on the food that you’re eating, because you already said the bracha for another food, my friend’s rabbi sums up the shaila with, “When in doubt, leave it out.”

    In other words, it’s better not to say a bracha, then to say an unnecessary bracha.

    What’s the reasoning here? As in, what does saying an extra bracha do, in the spiritual world?

    While I’m not expecting you to tell me, per se, what’s going on spiritually, I would like you to explain why saying a bracha in doubt is wrong. Please.

    Thank you 🙂

    #1373076

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    All brochos except for Birchas Hamazon and Limud Hatorh are Drabonon. The general rule is safeik drabonon l’hakeil (we are not stringent when there is a doubt in a din drabonon).

    #1373078

    GAON
    Participant

    iacis,
    On top of that we have an issue of Bracha leVatoleh, which according to some, saying an unnecessary bracha is a deOreisa of Lo Sisah.

    #1378717

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Thank you iacisrmma and GAON! 🙂

    iacisrmma: Are we not stringent because, in the Torah, it says that it’s assur to say Hashem’s name in vain? And we don’t want to risk that by performing a mitzvah handed down by the Rabbonim? And is this explanation, of Torah ruling over Rabbonim in this case, a machlokes because some say that both what’s in Torah and what’s from Rabbonim are equally important… to say otherwise is going against Hashem?

    GAON: What is deOreisa of Lo Sisah, please?

    Thanks again for your replies, and sharing your knowledge 🙂

    #1379054

    yekke2
    Participant

    Lightbrite – It’s not a competition between Hashem and the Rabbonim. Hashem gave us certain mitzvos, and gave the Chaza”l (the Rabbanim) the ability to create additional commandments and restrictions.

    In general, our rule is ספק דאורייתא לחומרא וספק דרבנן לקולא. When faced with a doubt in Torah Law, we must be stringent. When faced with a doubt in Rabbinic law, you don’t have to take the more stringent side. (Why this is so, when according to many, every Rabbinic ediction is also Biblically mandated, is subject to debate. There numerous answers.)

    When faced with a ספק ברכה, you have two doubts: (A) A ספק rabbinic commandment to make a blessing, and (B) a ספק prohibition to say G-d’s name in vain. There is a מחלוקת whether this would be Biblically prohibited or only Rabbinically prohibited, seeing as it is said in the context of blessing, and not entirely in vain. Therefore, we say that ספק דרבנן לקולא allows you to be lenient and not make the blessing, and because of ספק ברכה לבטלה you are not allowed to make the blessing*.

    So you don’t make a brocho. It is a מחלוקת whether you are now allowed to eat. There is a prohibition [although almost certainly rabbinic] to eat without a prior blessing. Although you do not make a ברכה when in doubt, you are left with a possibility of איסור**.
    _________________
    * I’m not sure why you are not allowed to make the blessing according to the authorities that a ברכה לבטלה is only rabbinically forbidden – we should apply the same dictum and say ספק רדבנן לקולא.

    ** Here you don’t necessarily say ספק דרבנן לקולא. It’s complicated why, but it doesn’t fit the parameters. There is a חזקת איסור – it was once definitely forbidden. It may be דבר שיש לו מתירין.

    #1379055

    yekke2
    Participant

    GAON: What is deOreisa of Lo Sisah, please?

    It is the source for the prohibition to say G-d’s Name in vain.

    #1379062

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    לֹ֥א תִשָּׂ֛א אֶת־שֵֽׁם־יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ לַשָּׁ֑וְא – You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.

    There are two rules – Safeik D’oraisa L’chumrah and Safeik Drabbonon L’kulah. If you have a doubt if you shook the lulav and esrog on the first day of sukkos, you would have to do it again as it is a mitzvah D’oraisa; however, if your doubt is if you made the brocha before shaking the lulav (but you do know you shook it) you would not make another brocha as that is a safeik in a drabbonon.

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