How does Halachah work?

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  • #601669

    BaalHabooze
    Participant

    Can some of you intelligent CR’ians present a clear explanation how one comes to a psak halacha. There were certain Rabbeim I had growing up that when teaching halachah, they would teach the machlokes haposkim and then leave us with just that. We would ask, who do we hold like? They wouldn’t answer, or they would say it’s a machlokes what to do. Shkoyach! now what?

    Can one just go accoerding to the more lenient one? I know some will say LOR, LOR, LOR…I know, but let’s just say he’s not available, or if I know 3 poskim in town and 1 of them is strickter than the rest, can I avoid him, can i just ask the one I have a “better chance” getting the psak that I would like to hear?

    #844929

    Avi K
    Participant

    The posek takes into account the dfferent opinions and their reasoning together with his hashkafa and the questioner’s personal situation. The Bet HaLevi, for example, would not answer a kashrut question until he had looked at the questioner’s shoes. The Maharshal had five pesakim for a given shaila: one for an ordinary Jew, one for a rich person, one for a poor person, one for a big tzaddik and one for himself.

    Your experience is typical of the Lithuanian ramim and roshei yeshivot as opposed to the rav (In Lithuania, as opposed to Hungary, the rosh yeshiva almost never paskened. this was done by the rav/av bet din).

    As for “rabbi shopping” really you should have one rav or at least one rav for an area of Halacha (e.g. Shabbat). However, I have heard of cases where even yeshiva men would not ask their roshei yeshivot shailot in particular areas as they were very machmir and even cases where a rav would tell a questioner to ask another rav he knew had a meikal tradition as he realized that the questioner needed a heter but he could not give it as he was bound by his tradition. What is definitely illegitimate is to ask another rav after being given a “no”.

    #844930

    Abelleh
    Participant

    I once asked this exact question to Rav Schachter. He responded, “I don’t know. It’s complicated.”

    #844931

    Sam2
    Participant

    The Gemara says that one who follows the Chumros of all opinions is a fool and the Kulos of all opinions is a Rasha. You find a Rov and follow him. How does he determine Halachah? Everyone has their own Derech, but almost all are based off of learning the Gemara with the Rishonim and seeing what fits best (while obviously taking the later Poskim’s understanding of the Gemara and Rishonim into consideration). The general assumption nowadays (and since the 1500s), however, is that what “fits best” for Halachah Lema’aseh terms was already decided by the Shulchan Aruch/Ramah, though of course everyone has their exceptions.

    #844932

    yitayningwut
    Participant
    #844933

    Bobchka
    Participant

    Avi K

    “What is definitely illegitimate is to ask another rav after being given a “no”. “

    Baba Kama i think on daf kuf amud aleph in tosfos it says if you dont like the answer given by one Rov go shopping for another psak

    #844934

    Health
    Participant

    I like to Pasken for myself when I can. But you have to try to take out any Negious.

    #844935

    WIY
    Member

    Health

    You gotta be kidding me. Please tell me you are joking?!

    #844936

    WIY
    Member

    Bobchka

    I dont know if that tosafos exists but either way we dont pasken from a tosafos. Ask a legit Rav and he will tell you that once you receive a psak you cant go shopping for another one that will better suit your needs.

    #844937

    Sam2
    Participant

    Actually, I believe what is accepted is that if you receive an answer of “Assur” then you can go look for a P’sak of Muttar if

    1) You ask a greater Rav than the first Rav and

    2) You inform that Rav that your first Rav Assured it.

    #844938

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    “Health –

    I like to Pasken for myself when I can. But you have to try to take out any Negious.”

    WIY –

    Health

    You gotta be kidding me. Please tell me you are joking?!

    WIY, we all pasken for ourselves. The more one knows, the fewer shailos need to be asked of a “posek”. Negius comes in not only in deciding what is assur or muttar, but also in deciding what needs to be asked.

    #844939

    WIY
    Member

    DaasYochid

    True we all paskin for ourselves but if we know Halacha then we arent paskening, we are keeping halacha. You need a psak when you are in doubt. Of course if one doesnt know much Halacha its very hard to even know what is a shaila.

    Im not clear what Health means so I will wait to find out what she meant.

    #844940

    Health
    Participant

    WIY -“Health

    You gotta be kidding me. Please tell me you are joking?!”

    You obviously don’t read the posts here too often. I had a Shaila and I asked my Rov and I asked the Talmedi Chachamim over here and after all that the only solution I’m happy with is the one I came up with. Check out the Bishul A’cum topic.

    #844941

    Avi K
    Participant

    Bob, this refers to dinei mamonot and is a source for having an appeals court.

    #844942

    As Rav Shachter said, this is very complicated. In general, when one reaches the level where he ‘knows’ that his opinion can be relied upon, he can pasken for himself. When he receives permission from his teacher he can pasken for others. But one should not pasken from books. They are a useful aid but cannot take the place of a live poseik.

    #844943

    Toi
    Participant

    dayan ehrentreau from england (av beis din) told me that when you get a psak from a rav, that psak for you is binding halachah and its ossur to ask another.

    #844944

    tzaddiq
    Member

    this is no doubt my weakest area in yiddishkeit as i too sorely lacked guidance into how to come up with a solution to a halachiq quandary. i obviously would seek out help from my rav first, but when he is unavailable, or im in a rush, i usually would peek into a mishna berura and see what he holds.

    otherwise, is it just a big game of ‘who gives the best psaq din’?

    #844945

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    DaasYochid

    True we all paskin for ourselves but if we know Halacha then we arent paskening, we are keeping halacha. You need a psak when you are in doubt. Of course if one doesnt know much Halacha its very hard to even know what is a shaila.

    You’re right. The term pasken implies that there’s a shailah, in which case unless one is himself very proficient in the pertinent halachos, a posek needs to be consulted.

    I retract my previous post.

    #844946

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Here is what the Be’er Moshe says about asking a shaila:

    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=888&st=&pgnum=76&hilite=

    ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ??? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?????, ????? ???? ???? ????, ???? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??. ????? ??? ????? ?? ?? ????. ???? ???? ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ??, ??? ???

    ???? ???? ?? ??? ?? ??. ????? ??, ????? ????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ????, ????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??????, ??? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ????? ????? ???? ??? ??? ????? ??????? ?????, ??? ??? ??? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ????? ??????? ?? ??? ????? ????.

    He then explains why it’s assur, and concludes,

    ????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ????? ?? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?? ????

    #844947

    Avi K
    Participant

    DaaasYochid, obviously “??? ???” means something which an intellectually honest person knows he cannot answer. I presume that you do not phone your rav when you wake up in the morning and ask if you should do netilat yadayim.

    #844948

    tzaddiq
    Member

    i had a dart board in yeshiva that said “osur medi’orayso, osur midi’rabonon, osur lechatchilo, mutter bedieved. muttar lechatchilo was the bulls-eye.

    #844949

    Abelleh
    Participant

    Google “rupture and reconstruction the transformation of contemporary orthodoxy” to see R Haym Soloveitchick’s say on psak

    #844950

    sof davar
    Member

    Not that this will help your dilemma in the short run, but this is one of the things we should have in mind while saying the bracha “Hashiva Shofteinu K’varishona”. When we had a sanhedrin, this all encompassing problem was not an issue. May we soon be zoche to once again have a the lishkas hagazis to issue the final word in halacha.

    #844951

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    DaaasYochid, obviously “??? ???” means something which an intellectually honest person knows he cannot answer. I presume that you do not phone your rav when you wake up in the morning and ask if you should do netilat yadayim.

    Agreed. That’s actually the type of thing I meant in my original post, but I retracted because that’s not a “psak”.

    It’s interesting that in the case brought in B’er Moshe, the shoel’s friend thought it wasn’t even a shaila! The Debriciner was warning people to be intellectually honest, and that anything which is not clear cut should be asked. Netilas yadayim is clear cut (now, whether or not the water needs to literally be within 4 amos is not as clear cut).

    #844952

    Avi K
    Participant

    The question also is if a person can rely on a clear heter where there is a clear opposite opinion.

    #844953

    If he himself is lo higia lehora’a he must ask someone who is. It’s that simple.

    #844954

    Bobchka
    Participant

    “Avi K

    Bob, this refers to dinei mamonot and is a source for having an appeals court. “

    I disagree. Tosfos is clearly talking about any Psak, in this case on the kashrus status of meat and if a person would feed it to the dogs without reasking another shaila. Tosfos clearly holds one would ask another and in the piskaei tosfos it is brought in all situations that a person is allowed to ask another. I do understand that we dont automatically pasken like Tosfos, but I have not seen any other Rishon(yet)who disagrees with this Tosfos and say you are not allowed to ask another

    Dont get me wrong I do not shop for a Psak. I might discuss/argue the sugya to understand his Psak and possibly get him to reconsider the Halacha but in the end I follow the Psak of my Rov.

    Bobchka

    #844955

    BaalHabooze
    Participant

    there is no question, as i mentioned when i started the thread, that one should ask a rav (LOR) when confronted with a shaila. My question was actually twofold:

    1)when you have a situation where you have 3 poskim to choose from- can I choose the rav that will give me the psak I want to get i.e. maykal ?

    2)if I cannot get a rav now (Im on vacation, or it’s midnight, or the rav doesn’t answer his phone etc) can i rely on a heter in a situation where i know it is a machlokes?

    #844956

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    1)when you have a situation where you have 3 poskim to choose from- can I choose the rav that will give me the psak I want to get i.e. maykal ?

    I certainly don’t think that’s what the RS”O wants us to do.

    2)if I cannot get a rav now (Im on vacation, or it’s midnight, or the rav doesn’t answer his phone etc) can i rely on a heter in a situation where i know it is a machlokes?

    I’m going to evade your question now – get a hold of the number for an emergency halacha hotline.

    When that’s not possible, I would think that it depends on the circumstance; if nobody would be effected negatively by being machmir, I would think that would be the way to go, and then ask when you get a chance so you’ll know for the future. Otherwise, it’s a real tough call and not really an answerable question.

    #844957

    Sam2
    Participant

    BaalHabooze: If there is literally no one to ask and you know that it’s a Machlokes between two equal opinions then it would make sense for the rule to be Meikel on a D’Rabannan and Machmir on a D’Oraisa.

    #844958

    longarekel
    Member

    A safeik yedia is not considered a safeik. One would have to be machmir on both a d’oraisa and a d’rabanan unless he himself is qualified to be machria.

    #844959

    Avi K
    Participant

    Sam, Rav Ariel Cherlow of Yeshivat Petach Tikva has a discussion of this issue at edited, no links please.

    In summary, there are a number of reasons to not only prohibit asking another rav but to prohibit him from allowing what the first rav disallowed such as the first rav’s honor, the fact that the questioner accepted whatever pesak would be given, the fact that it was as if he assured the action or the item 9shavia anafshei k’chaticha d’issura) although there are some instances where it is possible such as a rav who made a mistake in halacha pesuka (taah b’devar Mishna), there is a clear messoret against the pesak or there is the possibility of an appealate proceeding (this would seem to be limited to dinei mamonot).

    BTW, once a couple in Vilna had a chicken question. The husband asked the av bet din, who paskened kosher, but while he was away the wife asked the Gra, who lived in their court, who paskened the opposite. When the husband told the av bet din, he said “with all due respect to the Gra, I am the av bet din and the Halacha in Vilna is like me. Tell the Gra that your wife will serve the chicken for dinner and he will join me there”. The Gra, in his great anava, agreed but when the wife served his portion she knocked over a chelev candle onto it. The Gra said “of course it is kosher as the av bet din paskened but I made it assur to myself so I was prevented from eating it”.(Rav Maimon, “Tolodot HaGra”)

    #844960

    Bobchka
    Participant

    Avi K

    Your story from the GRA is a great story but that only shows that shavia anafshei k’chaticha d’issura was only for the GRA and in a case where I ask a rov for a psak and HE asurs it (incorrectly) shavia anafshei k’chaticha d’issura would (might) apply to the rov not to me

    Bobchka

    #844961

    Avi K
    Participant

    Bobcha, that is a halachic principle that applies to everyone (see, for example, Even HaEzer 4:30). I think that it is similar to a neder (in fact, the lashon of a neder is that something is prohibited to the noder like something the Tora prohibits). If he makes a clear mistake (taah b’devar Mishna) then it would be a mistake (similarly, it is possible to get out of a neder if one did not know a certain fact). I would think that it would only apply to the rav if he said that something is assur to you because it is generally assur (e.g. if he said that a certain food is not kosher) but not if he said that it is only assur to you or people in your situation (e.g. he ruled that a certain woman is a prohibited relative or you are a Cohen and he is a Yisrael and he ruled that she is prohibited to a Cohen).

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