Obeying Rabbinic Authority Even When They Are Wrong

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    Rav Ovadia Yosef: Obeying Rabbinic Authority Even When They Are Wrong

    On the other hand the Yerushalmi (Horius 1:1) states, You might think that you must obey the [Sanhedrin or Rabbinic authorities]

    An interesting and persuasive explanation is given by Rav Ovadia Yosef.

    [Ran Sanhedrin 87a] there is a reconciliation. According to the Ramban as long as the dissenting view has not been directly presented to the Sanhedrin [or Rabbinic authority] then he must refuse to eat that which the Sanhedrin insists is kosher. [If he eats food that he regards as unkosher because he is relying on the Sanhedrin he must bring a korbon]. However once he has directly discussed the issue with the Sanhedrin and they have rejected his view [despite his best efforts] then the halacha becomes that he must obey them [even if he is still convinced he is right.]


    Excellent explanation. It seems from R. Yosef’s teshuva that blindly following rabbinic authority is a very limited rule indeed!

    One must follow rabbinic authority on a particular point despite his knowing that the rabbinic ruling is erroneous only if:

    (1) The ruling is issued by the Sanhedrin itself. Only the Sanhedrin has absolute and final authority to decide questions of Jewish law and silence dissenting opinions, as is clear from the laws of zaken mamreh. We might even go so far as to say that only those ruling issued from the lishchas hagazis are subject to this requirement to obey. The rulings of every other Rav, no matter how great, may then be disregarded as inncorrect. Al achas kamah v’kamah, the rulings of some Rabbonim (even “gedolim”) need not be followed when a contrary position is maintained by other authorities.

    (2) The ruling was issued in direct response to a question posed to and discussed adequately by the Sanhedrin, and is applied only to factual situation that are virtually identical to the one posed by the original question. One need not follow even the Sanhedrin’s erroneous rulings in new or different cases where that rule could be logically applied but to which the original rule did not directly speak.


    There is an whole Masechta about this called Heroyos which is next to Bava Basra. The Meschata is only 17 dafim long but it each daf is very hard.

    so get learning it if you want to comment on this post


    In Dibros Moshe, Rav Moshe Feinstein writes that it applies to any psak given by a Rav who is higia l’horaah, and must be followed by the one who received the psak unless he himself is higia l’horaah.


    The postings are fascinating ( I did not know about Rav Ovadia Josef’s words) but , unfortunately, “ho gufo kashya”. It is clear that all the posters are talking about a PSAK halocho on a matter of HALOCHO (otherwise, the matter of a korbon and the whole discussion about the sanhedrin is moot). The problem TODAY is that that this rule (follow the chachomim- even if right is left) has been applied to “milei de’alma” ,matters of every day stuff. Clearly, the sifrei, the gemoro in the jerushalmi never intended this to become a blanket endorsement of every word that a talmid chochom or a “baal horaah” says. This has now been corrupted in insisting that every utterance of “godol’ must be followed. The discussion on this post proves otherwise.


    Who are we to decide what psak is correct or wrong.

    So many times people on CR “think” they know better than G’doilim.

    WE DONT We are daas baalei batim, they are daas torah.

    You cannot go wrong by following their advice. If they got it wrong, for any reason, at least we get rerwarded for following their instructions



    ☕️coffee addict

    this is my take on it (as if anyone cares)

    if one follows daas torah and it is wrong, you won’t be going to gehenom b/c you were just ffollowing daas torah


    What if a rav tells you something is kosher, but you with your greater knowledge of subject know it is treff. Consider something such as beer and spirits with most rabbanim hold by ingredient kashruth, meaning someone with greater knowledge of the industry may be aware something is not kosher.


    If one knows it’s wrong and one follows it, one is still Chayav a Korban. This is an explicit Gemara in Horiyos (2b).

    ☕️coffee addict


    meaning that the meizid became a shogeg


    So, if a Gadol says stay in Europe, Hitler is not a threat, your wrong for leaving if you have a chance to get out?


    hindsight is always 20/20.


    ca: Yeah, but doing what is actually right isn’t even Shogeg.


    Sometime there are competing opinions where its impossible for both to be correct, by following one you are disobeying the other

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