calling a gadol hador with a shaila ☎️❔

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  • #1283916

    mik5
    Participant

    Have you ever called a gadol hador on the phone with a shaila?

    I have a shaila that I would like to ask to (for example) Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky shlita by phone, but I am afraid that I will be very nervous or that I might not hear what he is saying on the phone, or that I will take away from his precious time with my silly shaila.

    I could call Rabbi Dovid Cohen also.

    I have emailed the shaila to HaGaon HaRav Miller in Canada, but I don’t know whether he will get back to me (he answers a lot of shailas via email through his gabbai, but not all shailas get answered). I did already ask the shaila to Rabbi Forst over the phone, but I would like to ask around to get other opinions. [I most certainly do respect Rabbi Forst as a talmid chacham and a posek.]

    Advice?

    #1283952

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Sorry no advice.

    But out of curiosity why do you need so many different opinions?

    “with my silly shaila…”
    Obviously Idont know the shailah. but if it is “silly” (or yo ususpect that there is a chance it is) why does it need a gadol hadar? Ask your Rav and if he doesnt know he should direct you in the direction of someone who can help

    #1283949

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I have called both Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky Shlita and Rav Reuven Feinstein Shlita. They were both very accessible (came to the phone right away and took time to listen to my question) and easy to talk to.

    You can also send sheilas by mail to Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita. As far as I know, he answers all questions as long as you only send one at a time. If you are female, you have to either type it up or have a male write the question for you. Also, I think he doesn’t like long questions.

    #1284000

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Well, if you willing to submit the question here in the CR to a second tier Gadolhador(ah), I’d be glad to share my thoughts but presumably you are seeking input from a higher level of daas torah. As another noted above, however, why the venue shopping for responses from multiple gadolim? Do you want to be certain you will get the “right answer”? Is your local rav/posek incapable of providing an informed answer

    #1284023

    Hock Master
    Participant

    I know someone who called Reb Dovid and got through but lemaysah its good the oilam is asking gedoilim Keep it high!!

    #1284020

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    No, I never call a gadol hador with a shaila. They have far better things to do than listen to me.

    If I have a shaila, I ask my rav. Were he to advise me to escalate it to someone else I would then do so. But no matter how pressing or how complex, the question goes to my local Rav first. I trust him to say “this is beyond me, please go ask X” if it is beyond his knowledge or areas of expertise. I have no reason to ever call a gadol and ask him my question first. (And, IMHO, nor does anyone else, unless the gadol happens to be their personal rav.)

    The Wolf

    #1284005

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Ubiquitin – you have a good point if in fact it is a “silly sheilah”. On the other hand, my feeling from reading the post is that it might not actually be such a silly sheilah and the OP himself doesn’t seem to think so (or he wouldn’t feel such a need to discuss it with more than one Rav).

    I think that when he wrote that it’s a “silly sheilah”, he meant it in a self- deprecating way, coming from the realization that the Gedolim are so much greater than we are, and we should appreciate the fact that when we ask them sheilahs we are taking away from their valuable time, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask (after thinking carefully if this is a sheilah for a Gadol or a LOR or someone in between).

    I think it is important to ask sheilahs to Gedolim sometimes rather than to LOR’s, and I get the impression from things posters have written at times that there are too many people going to LOR’s when they should be going to Gedolim (or at least Rabbanim who are greater than the ones they are going to).

    Note: I’m not disagreeing with you on principle. I’m just pointing out that it may or may not apply to this case.

    #1284043

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    My Rabbanim have taught me not to go to one Rav for everything. There is almost no one today who is an expert in every area. You are supposed to go to different Rabbanim for different types of sheilahs, depending what his area of expertise is.

    And it is a good idea to find out what “Daas Torah” (i.e. the Gedolim) have to say once in a while, especially if it’s a controversial topic.

    And asking your LOR can’t be used as an excuse for doing something against the Torah (as it unfortunately often is). No LOR is infallible. If your LOR tells you something that seems to be against the Torah, it is your responsibility to look into it and find another, greater Rav to ask. I don’t want to start giving examples since I’m afraid it will get into Loshon Hara, but people often use their Rabbanim as an excuse to do things that are clearly assur.

    Your LOR is not a Gadol (unless he is), and everything he says is not Daas Torah (unless he’s a Gadol).

    I hope it’s clear that I’m not talking about shopping for leniencies her – I am talking about searching for the truth.

    #1284050

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    btw, Wolf, I just want to clarify something. I wasn’t talking about you necessarily. It is possible that you really never had a reason to go to anyone besides your Rav. My point was that this is not necessarily the case for everyone, and it shouldn’t necessarily be the case for everyone. It really depends on many factors.

    #1284102

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Dovid Feinstein is also easily reachable very approachable. You can reach him on the yeshiva payphone.

    #1284101

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Shmuel is easily reachable. He answers his own phone at home. And he is easily approachable and spoken to. No Ivory Tower.

    Same with Rav Dovid Cohen.

    #1284096

    Harav Dovid Cohen has certain hours for individuals to call with shailos. However, since you already asked your shailoh to Rabbi Forst and received a response you are not supposed to call someone else.

    #1284103

    Joseph
    Participant

    .

    #1284147

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “I think that when he wrote that it’s a “silly sheilah”, he meant it in a self- deprecating way, ”

    Um, yes obviously.

    ” and I get the impression from things posters have written at times that there are too many people going to LOR’s when they should be going to Gedolim”

    disagree completely, In fact I think we have the opposite problem. There is a whole genre of books now of silly questions people ask Gedolim such as R’ Chamim Kanievsky. Every time anybody asks a question here the repsonse is ask your LOR. You dont need your LOR to tell you what beracha to make on an apple and you dont need a gadol hador to answer a simple yoreh deah sheila (OF course we can both be right)

    #1284249

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Think of it this way, you can ask the President ONE QUESTION. Are you going to ask him a question about some local issue or something real important

    How much more so for a Gadol , for every nonsensical question you are causing him Bittal Torah. Treat his time as more precious than you would meeting the President

    #1284267

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “My Rabbanim have taught me not to go to one Rav for everything. There is almost no one today who is an expert in every area.”

    As the mishna says “Aseh lecha Rebeim”?

    Not every question needs “an expert” If your Rav doesnt know which questions are above his pay grade, then you need a new Rav

    #1284343

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    ubiquitin – exactly, I was hoping someone would point that out. Finding *A* rav and sticking with him is critical. To ask advice of a different rav in his “area of expertise” is an option but the importance of having and sticking with one rav for shailos is basic.

    #1284359

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Have you considered using this forum to “screen” potential shailos for gadolim? Where else would you find such a well-informed focus group willing to offer their opinions on just about any issue of daas torah, halacha or hashkafah with no need to stand on line, exchange multiple emails or voice mail messages with some gaaboim or make a contribution to anyone’s favorite mosdos

    #1284384

    mik5
    Participant

    Shaila is like this:

    One who davens SE in English (or part of it in English and part in Hebrew), how should he translate the Sheim Hashem?
    Lord?
    Maybe he should say it in Hebrew: “Blessed are You, Ad-noy, Shield of Abraham.”
    Can you mix languages in one bracha?

    If one knows that if he davens in Hebrew, he will mispronounce words (and who knows if he is yotzi?), and it will take him 15 minutes to daven a weekday SE, should he still make an effort to say everything in Hebrew?

    #1284409

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    That’s not a sheilah for a Gadol.

    okay, you were right in this case, Ubiquitin. Not that I was wrong – I didn’t say it wasn’t a sheilah for a Gadol – I said that it could be either way.

    #1284410

    MIK5: Since in your OP you stated that you already asked Rabbi Forst you should tell us his answer. Asking others after you get a psak seems to have a scent of chutzpah.

    #1284420

    Eli51
    Participant

    To Joseph. You cannot no longer Reach Hagaon Rav Dovid Feinstein shlita by payphone as MTJ no longer has payphones. T

    #1284439

    mentsch1
    Participant

    I believe that it is more than “chutzpah” to shop shaylos around. My understanding is that once you ask a competent posek a shayla, the answer is binding on you.
    Unless you phrase the question at the outset by saying something like “I’m not asking the Rav a shayla, just a theoretical question”
    Otherwise a person can ask multiple people until he gets the answer he wants.
    I’m basically saying that at this point it is against the halacha for you to ask someone else. And if you do, you must phrase the question as ” I asked Rabbi Forst and got this answer can I still ask the Rav….”
    I bet if you call a gadol and told him you already have a psak from Rabbi Forst (A very competent halachic authority), they will hang up on you.
    But in general, you can reach many gedolim fairly easily, but why tie up their valuable time? There are many capable local authorities, find out who they are and use them. After all this is the system that Yisro suggested to Moshe, not every question needs to go to the top.

    #1284458

    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    mik5 already admitted to feeling bad about havung asked someone else…

    #1284507

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Too bad most legitimate gadolim assur the internet since the most efficient way to provide the tzibur with objective and valid information on matters of halacha would be for them to schedule one hour a week when they will hold “online office hours”. Those with shailos could post their questions on line (anonymously of course), the questions could be screened by the Rav’s more hip and internet savy gaaboim and they could post his answers on line. This way we wouldn’t have these silly posts which say, I heard from someone in my charusah, who heard in shul that someone said in the name of Rav XYZ, shlita that it is assur for the shaliach tzibur to klop on the bima during SE to shush the daveners”…We constantly hears these “in the name of” psaks or letters attributed to different Gadolim which often sound questionable but there is no way to confirm.

    #1284532

    Joseph
    Participant

    Eli, I guess I’m a bit dated. The last time I called Rav Dovid I reached him on the Yeshiva payphone, which was the easiest way to reach him for a long time.

    #1284588

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    GadolHadorah: “Too bad most legitimate gadolim”. Are you claiming that we have gedolim who are not legitimate?

    #1284612

    mik5
    Participant

    I did not have time earlier to type up Rabbi Forst’s response, as I needed to go to class.

    Anywhere, the rav said that it’s fine to daven some brachos in English and some in Hebrew, and indeed one should say Hashem’s name in Hebrew (Ado-) even if davening in English. (This happens to be also the opinion of Rav Shternbuch. Ask me if you want a source. However, I personally believe that it is a strange practice to mix languages in one sentence, as one would not speak that way to a king. That is the reason for my hesitation. In addition, the baal teshuva has been davening in the past by saying L-rd, so does this mean that all his prayers were invalid?)

    If one knows that if he davens in Hebrew, he will mispronounce words (and who knows if he is yotzi?), and it will take him 15 minutes to daven a weekday SE, should he still make an effort to say everything in Hebrew?

    I did not ask this question directly to Rav Forst, but I did ask someone else who works for Rav Forst’s hotline who responded that yes, he should daven in Hebrew because the prayers are more powerful in that language, even if it takes a long time. As for the question of not being yotzi due to mispronouncing words (as is common when learning a new language, and due to lack of confidence in the new language), I have not posed this question to anybody, but indeed the baal teshuva is concerned about this.

    #1284621

    mik5
    Participant

    There is an English sefer about the halachic process that talks about asking different rabbis the same question, and when it’s allowed and when it’s not allowed. There are cases when it’s allowed.

    #1284908

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    ” personally believe that it is a strange practice to mix languages in one sentence, as one would not speak that way to a king.”

    I’m not sure why you feel that way .We pepper our languages with foreign words all the time. Some have been accepted as standard english I can give several bona fide examples, ad nauseum but I think this may be a fait accompli. And even words that are not commonly used in English if the King understands it I wouldnt hesitate to use a foreign word.

    #1285213

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    mik5: Based on your latest post that your first question was answered by Rabbi Forst directly, I would suggest that you should not ask someone else (even if the English sefer would tell you that you can).

    Since your second question was answered by “someone on the hotline”, I would think that you can ask that question to someone else.

    My grandmother was born in the US and attended public school (girls yeshivos were virtually unheard of at the time). She davened what she was able to in hebrew and said everything else in english.

    #1285223

    Joseph
    Participant

    iac, why are you distinguishing between a shaila already asked by calling to a posek directly versus a shaila already asked by calling a posek on a hotline?

    #1285237

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    iacisrmma

    Yes, we are fortunate to have many “legitimate” gadolei torah and other chashuva rabbonim who are certainly big tzadikim and talmedei chachamim and are sometimes also referred to as “gadolim” but probably in a second or third tier. Many of their followers may regard them as “gadolim” but the last time I checked, there is no official certifying body for gadolim. There are a small number of gadolim who are so regarded by just about every frum yid, but if you asked the CR readers here to a “top 10” list, I suspect there would only be 4 or 5 names who would be on everyone’s list.

    #1285261

    joseph: I don’t know who the poseik was on the hotline or how shailos are handled on the hotline. If mik5 named the hotline poseik I may change my opinion; however a psak from a known poseik like Rabbi Forst has (IMHO) more authority.

    gadolhadorah: second tier (your term) does make them any less “legitimate.”

    I personally have a rav to ask my shailos to. Is he a gadol hador? No, but I do not question is halchic psak or his “eitzos tovos”.

    #1285268

    Joseph
    Participant

    Is your opinion the Halacha?

    #1285503

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Joseph: I gave mik5 my opinion and suggestion based on the fact pattern presented. Does the hotline that mik5 is referring to identify the person answering the question? If not, then IMHO she is not “shopping for a psak”.

    #1285887

    mik5
    Participant

    Yes, the hotline identified the other posek, as well. If you call the Five Towns Halacha Hotline, you can find out for yourself what his name is, and you can ask him your shailas, as well. (Though actually there are a few different rabbis besides Rabbi Forst.) Rabbi Forst has specific calling hours. You can call the hotline at a different time, but you will get a different posek. Maybe (probably) the other posek is not as experienced as Rabbi Forst, who has written numerous sifrei Halacha, including seforim on hilchos niddah, which certainly speaks to his expertise in Halacha.

    #1286039

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I cannot foresee the need (except in one specialized case, described below) when I would need to ever directly ask a gadol a question as a first resort.

    I have a Rav whom I trust to know halacha, and to know when he’s over his head. It’s not my place to decide “My Rav probably won’t know this, so I’ll ask Gadol X.” I know that my Rav will direct me to someone else if he is unsure of the answer to my question.

    Frankly, if you don’t have enough faith in your Rav that he will do the right thing and admit when he’s in over his head, I would humbly suggest that you need a new Rav.

    The Wolf

    (The exception is a case where [for whatever reason] the gadol is physically there and my Rav is not. If I have a question regarding something happening right in front of me and the Gadol is there and my Rav is not, I will ask the Gadol — but not because he’s a Gadol, but because he’s on the scene. )

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