November 10, 2011 2:13 am at 2:13 am #600431popa_bar_abbaParticipant
What did y’all think? (just google it, we don’t post links here. google: Modern Orthodoxy is Always at the Crossroads)
I was confused. He agrees his tent must have walls, but he thinks these clowns are in his walls. Then, he criticizes them for not having walls, and thinks they should draw walls which would exclude most of what they are known for.
Well, if he thinks they should be excluding these people from their tent, and these are precisely the people we want to exclude, then why is he not comfortable excluding them?
Is he only here to defend the proposal to replace “shelo asani isha”, since there is some basis in the acharonim for a different nusach with a different bracha? Is that all? Is he excluding avi weiss and his minions? Is he excluding rabba hurwitz?November 10, 2011 3:11 am at 3:11 am #825598yid.periodMember
Well, his argument really only means anything if you agree with his definition of “Far left” to begin with. If you do, then he is explaining that all of the above mentioned things are outside the parameters of halacha and have no basis in Rishonim or Achronim (as opposed to the beracha change) and therefore SHOULD have been spoken out against by the “far left” authorities who assumedly disagree with those events/actions. Since they have not, their silence have given people the impression that the “far left” indeed does agree with those practices, which he contends they do not. Thus, those are the boundaries that need to be drawn to clearly represent what the far left really does believe in.
In reality though, the definition of “far left” has no real nafka minas, because either you subscribe to their hashkafa and rulings or not, regardless of what you label them. They both agree once you are out of halacha, you’re done, and not given any authority or the opportunity to have your opinion entertained. They both agree (I think?) that those who raise valid points, within the contexts of halacha, that would contribute improvements to society at large, are still in our camp. So yea, no nafka minas as I see it.
Poppa, hope this helps. And if it didn’t – sorry, I really wrote this off the cuff; its been a while since I read the first article and just don’t have the time to redo it.November 10, 2011 3:17 am at 3:17 am #825599popa_bar_abbaParticipant
No, I agree with you. I am just pointing out that most of the people whom rabbi adlerstien would kick out of his tent, rabbi broyde would also.November 10, 2011 3:56 am at 3:56 am #825600yid.periodMember
I think he is more disagreeing with R Adlerstein’s implied characterization of the far left as including these people.November 10, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am #825601
“They both agree once you are out of halacha, you’re done, and not given any authority or the opportunity to have your opinion entertained.”
This is an interesting statement. From a theoretical point of view it may be correct. From an historical point of view, and looking ahead a few generations, it is not, or may not be.
The hasidim for the most part ignored zmanei tefilah, many to the point of halachic absurdity. The Baal Shem Tov didn’t go into the sukkah on Shemini Atzeres for a reason with absolutely zero halachic validity. People get married at the end of the month although the Shulchan Aruch expressly says not to. None of these people were or are “out of halachah, without authority or the opportunity (right, not opportunity) to have their opinion entertained.”
It is too early to tell what will become of the progressive orthodox movement. It is not a given “lehotzi otam me’haklal”. They follow halachah or at least claim that what they do has halachic validity and they bring sources and logic. Time will tell where they are going with this. I think they are not going anywhere near where the yeshivish think they are. I may be wrong, but I may be right.
If anyone needs any more proof, please turn to what the misnagdim said about the hasidim in the late 1700s. I’ll tell you. They said ??”?, ??”?, ??”?. Chas v’shalom to talk this way anymore, but that was the feeling then. So it is very reasonable to wait and see. Argue, discuss, persuade. But don’t judge yet. It’s way too early.November 10, 2011 2:54 pm at 2:54 pm #825602JotharMember
The bottom line seems to be, as long as someone can claim “it’s Orthodox” with a straight face, they’re acceptable as Orthodox.
You don’t have to be chareidi to find same-gender marriages repulsive.November 10, 2011 3:28 pm at 3:28 pm #825603BTGuyParticipant
Ask your LOR.
This is such a difficult topic. I can tell you that while there does need to be boundaries set so that each segment of frum Judaism is legitimate, I regret to say that while each and every segment contain members who are truly good tzaddikim, wonderful-wonderful people and shining examples of all that is good, each segment also has members who “don the costume” of that group, and little more.November 10, 2011 3:28 pm at 3:28 pm #825604
sorry, small typo. It is, of course, ??”?, ??”?, ??”?November 10, 2011 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #825605DoswinMember
old man: The haskala/reform also initially claimed to work within the framework of halacha. The issues you mentioned about the Chasidim vis-a-vis halacha, predate Chasidus and do in fact have valid sources.November 10, 2011 4:17 pm at 4:17 pm #825606gavra_at_workParticipant
predate Chasidus and do in fact have valid sources
OK, who says I can ignore Z’man Kriyas Shema & Tefillah? I know there are many Yeshiva Bochrim eagerly awaiting your response.November 10, 2011 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #825607
I am aware that halachah seems to take twists and turns, but I vaguely remember the first Mishnah in the fourth perek of Brachos which is pretty straight-forward. I also see that I’m not the only one who is wondering where these legitimate sources are that allow for complete disregard of zmanei tefilah. For that matter, considering the power of the above mentioned Mishnah, any source later than the Maharam M’Rutenberg will not satisfy me.November 10, 2011 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #825608
I think R. Broyde’s point is as follows:
LWMO (YCT, Open Orthodoxy, or whatever else you want to call them) has been advocating and implementing some troublesome halachic innovations. The fact that they are troublesome or innovative should not be reason to expel them from the MO or orthodox camp, however, since they remain committed to developing their p’sakim in the context of proper halachic decision-making (relying on sources; on what they see as a mesorah from their teachers; and on very strong halachic, social, and other reasons if they are going to deviate from current and recent practice – see Rama to CM 25:1). However, just because LWMO shouldn’t be kicked out of the machaneh, so to speak, does not mean the rest of us should remain silent when they do innovate (rabbah, woman leading kabbolas shabbos, she’asani isha, ect.), even though their innovations are based on the halachic process. They innovate, justifying their practices in halacha, and others in the MO camp should agree or vehemently disagree as they see fit, also based on halachic reasoning.
The result will be – as it should be – a shakla v’taryah in p’sak, and the result of the debate will only be seen in how halachic practice will have changed in a hundred years, as it has changed over the hundreds of years past. R. Broyde doesn’t say it, but I would add that there is a degree of siyata d’shmaya here in how these halachic debates turn out over many, many years.
Bottom line, as long as the LWMO recognize the need to operate within the constraints of the halachic process, they remain orthodox. But the fact that they remain orthodox does not mean their halacha-based innovations should not be argued with and countered with halachic arguments upholding current practice.November 11, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am #825609
You can find a source for anything you want.
I believe the Kotzker said that ?? ??? ????? ??? is not in agreement with the mishnayos which specify specific z’manei tefilah.
This is not a vindication of that belief, and personally I think that this p’shat in that mishnah is absurd. Rather it is simply to say that if you really try to play devil’s advocate you’ll find a source for anything.
Technically speaking, I agree with your point.
However, how do you then maintain Conservative Judaism to be “michutz lamachaneh”? They too ostensibly work within the “Halachic Process”. For example, they permit driving to shul on Shabbos not because they disagree with Chazal about the halachos of mav’ir, but rather because they believe that the halacha gives Beis Din the power to institue such a takanah k’neged the halacha, and they believe that the CJLS qualifies as such a Beis Din. How is that beyond the pale according to this standard?November 11, 2011 2:23 am at 2:23 am #825610
yitayningwut: Unfortunately, this is an ongoing, unavoidable problem for people like R. Broyde (and myself) who believe that the Torah provides us with wide boundaries to apply the halacha in light of local conditions and circumstances, and that someone on the left or right’s paskining differently than we would like does not take them out of the orthodox camp. Why are we less accommodating to some halachic developments (i.e., the traditional conservative rulings from the first half of the 1900s) and more tolerant (though not approving) of others (like current movements to make things more accommodating to women)? Ultimately, I think it comes down to each rav/posek’s judgement. R. Broyde feels as though psak X is legitimate (though not ideal) while psak Y is completely unacceptable; other poskim feel differently (the “she’asani isha” issue is one such point – I have heard several prominent MO poskim call this the beginnings of a new conservative movement, while others are merely uncomfortable with it, but understand its halachic basis).
I think a lot can be explained by the MO world’s general aversion to labeling in the way the chareidi world does. For the MO, people’s commitment to Torah falls somewhere on a sliding scale spectrum – you are more or less observant of halacha, but just because you wear pants, don’t cover your hair, or play ball on shabbos doesn’t make you “non-orthodox”; you are simply less than perfectly observant of halacha. To be sure, there are limits; shmiras shabbos, kashrus, and taharas hamishpacha may set the boundaries of orthodoxy, but the decision to say sheasani isha or to allow a woman to paskin shailos and to give her a title signifying that fact (all backed by halachic reasoning, even if not mainstream) do not go to the core of whether or not a person recognizes the ol malchuis shamayim.
Labels are far more important to the chareidim. And for good reason: The chareidim reject integration with the wider world, and chareidi hashkafa therefore depends largely on insular cohesive uniform communities. Black pants and white shirts; hats and jackets; different streimels for different chassidim; adherence to Daas Torah on matter other than halacha; ect. Conformity is important, and so it is also important for chareidim to have bright-line determinations of who is and is not “in the camp.” You can’t be a less-observant-chareidi (like you can be a less-observant-MO), you are simply no longer chareidi, and as the deviation from the charedi norm becomes more pronounced you are outside orthodoxy and are now conservative or reform.
These distinctions between camps are much less important to the MO. You observe halacha or you don’t; you observe more or you observe less. As long as the MO poskim feel that your innovations or changes are merely troublesome and misguided, but are not a complete rejection of the ol malchus shamayim, there is no need to remove you from the camp (which exists only in some hazy sketch anyway).
Ultimately, the point is that time, hashgacha pratis, and successive generations of poskim will tell whether like the conservatives of the early 1900s, the LWMO will reject God’s Torah in favor of their own creation, or whether other groups will accept some or all of their ideas as legitimate and they will be incorporated into the mainstream.
.November 11, 2011 4:40 pm at 4:40 pm #825611DoswinMember
Why does any of this matter?November 11, 2011 5:09 pm at 5:09 pm #825612BTGuyParticipant
Very interesting posts. I can only say that where I am, the so-called “Modern Orthodox” shul follows everything from A-Z of the yeshiva community and the BMG. Those attending the shul include the very yeshivish, thank heaven, to “self-styled yidden”. “Policy-wise”, it is yeshivish. I am gathering there are “MO” shuls ruling and establishing things that are not coming down from the yeshiva community. That is a shame if that is the case.November 11, 2011 5:24 pm at 5:24 pm #825613gavra_at_workParticipant
Why does any of this matter?
Because just once, I would like to wake up at 11:00 AM. After 120, when asked why did you miss Z’manim, I will be able to give sources. 🙂November 11, 2011 6:12 pm at 6:12 pm #825614
BT: Why is it a shame that MO shuls might do things not sanctioned by the chareidi community or BMG? Where do you live? It sounds like your “MO” shul has nothing to do with MO. What makes it MO exactly?November 11, 2011 9:00 pm at 9:00 pm #825615
I was not asking for the difference between Chareidim and MO. That is besides the point.
My point is, forget what you call “traditional conservative rulings.” The fact is: Every psak that comes out of the CJLS is supported – in their minds at least – by halachic precedent. What then, makes them michutz lamachaneh? Now, if you want to say that they aren’t, that is all fine and good, but I wouldn’t think to interpret Rabbi Broyde’s words that way.
Moreover, I completely disagree with your premise which seems to compare tolerance of actions to tolerance of halachic rulings. We can tolerate people who do not adhere to the highest standards of halacha; we’ll invite them into our homes, give them aliyos, and send share in each other’s lives. Absolutely. But to think for one second that it has anything to do with compromising on truth? Of course not! If a rav willfully paskens a shailah wrong, he should receive no tolerance. He is falsifying the truth and that has to be made clear to everyone. Call yourself MO, call yourself Chareidi, heck, call yourself Conservative; if you have an ounce of intellectual honesty you will fight the good fight and let everyone know that this person is a liar and a machti es harabim. As the Gemara says: ???? ????? ?? ??? ????? (???? ??, ??) ??? ??? ??? ????? ??? ???”? ???? ????? ????? ???? ??? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???”? ???? ????? ????? ????. Tolerance is not relevant here.November 13, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am #825616
I am so enjoying this thread. it’s a shame there aren’t more people interested in getting into this, but thank you for a stimulating exchange.
You said, “Tolerance is not relevant here.” I think we may be talking past each other, since, as I see it, tolerance is exactly the crux of the issue. Or to put it more precisely, halachic monism vs. halachic pluralism is the keystone to the discussion.
I take from you last post that you think that there is a single “right” answer to halachic questions (you refer to accepting the legitimacy of more meikil psakim as “compromising on the truth”). On reflection, I think you would have to agree that this is not the case. Every halachic question has many possible correct answers; “shivim panim l’Torah” does not only apply to hashkafa. This does not mean that WE or I need to accapt every legitimate psak halacha; I do not. What I and what we all need to do is accept that every psak halacha properly grounded in sources and appropriate halachic reasoning, and arrived at with appropriate yiraas horaah and recognition of the ol malchus shamayim is a legitimate halachic approach, even if we, I and all of klal yisrael reject it in practice.
Electricity on shabbos and yom tov is a prime example. We all know that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the question of whether it is assur to use electricity on shabbos is assur or not was a major issue. Very prominent poskim, poskim who’s views we have come to accept on other matters, held that it was muttar to use electricity on yom tov. We (all of kal yisrael that recognizes an obligation to follow halacha) ultimately rejected that approach; we do not use electricity on shabbos or yom tov, and indeed, for some, refraining from electricity has become the hallmark of shabbos and yom tov observance. The fact that after the dust of the debate settled one view was rejected in practice does not mean it was beyond the pale or outside the camp at the time, or even that those who followed it while the debate raged were not orthodox (I hate that word – use instead, Torah-observant). The view that electricity could be used on yom tov was legitimate – it was grounded in sources and proper halachic reasoning, and was forwarded by people who recognized their obligation to the Torah. Nevertheless it was ultimately rejected, and the mere suggestion that it may be okay to use electricity on shabbos or yom tov would immediately condemn the speaker as conservative (or worse).
The point of that illustration is this: For the MO (the knowledgeable MO who learn and know Torah and take their obligation to follow halacha seriously – I’m not talking about the MO lite, that are culturally orthodox, but really pick and choose things like swimming on shabbos, yichud, shomer negiah,covering hair, eating in vegetarian restaurants without hechsheirim, ect.), tolerance of competing halachic views is key. MO can accept that some poskim issue non-mainstream rulings fot their communities, even if those same MO would never do or rule the same for their own kehillos, and even though those same MO will write articles and teshuvos arguing against the appropriateness of such psakim. Some MO rabbanim – grounded in halachic sources and reasoning – that women may have their own minyanim (that do not say devarim shebikidusha); that women may receive a heter horaah; that women should say sheasani isha; and many other changes that the rest of the Torah-obsevrant world may find distateful and outrageous. But for the MO, tolerance and pluralism is the order of the day. As the MO see it, these matter are not settled yet; the issues of feminism and current social and cultural realities are just now emerging and how they are to be dealt with halachicly has not yet been debated and decided by the klal one way or the other. Since these things are still “up in the air,” so to speak, these LWMO “innovations” are not outside the camp; they legitimate (albeit perhaps wrong)halachic positions; they are one side of a debate in halacha – a debate that must be had, and a debate in which both sides must battle within the “daled amos of halacha.”
I think this in part explains the conservative issue that you seem so bothered by. You are correct to point out that if the MO are so willing to be accepting of different positions as long as those positions have a halachic basis, why not be tolerant of the rulings of the CJLS whose rulings, as you point out, are always also grounded in the sources. The answer I think is as follows: That ship has sailed. The conservatives tore down the mechitzas backed by halachic sources, but they did so after the matter had been settled in the early to mid 1800s. The debate over mechitzas had already taken place and had been resolved, obviously, in favor of the mechitza being an essential element to a Torah-observant shul. The CJLS could not revisit the issue and rule against what the Torah-observant world had determined was to be the accepted halachic approach. So to with driving on shabbos, and other issues. Once the CJLS tainted itself with these rulings that were beyond the pale, as well as other rulings doing away with elements of kashrus, ect., even there otherwise halachicly grounded decisions are “outside the camp;” they are not legitimate because they stem from a source that has already lost its halachic legitimacy.
This is not the case with the LWMO. Yet, at least. The halachic debate over women’s issues is not yet fully engaged, and certainly not resolved. Until it is, the MO will accept the legitimacy (though not the correctness) of halachic views properly grounded in sources and reasoning and which stem from people who, aside from these innovative psakim, are certainly within the camp.
I apologize for the length; this is just a complex philosophy to work out and explain, and I am SO enjoying the conversation.November 13, 2011 12:40 am at 12:40 am #825617passfanMember
RSRH: The halachic debate (as you refer to it) over issues such as women’s minyanim, women rabbis (or rabbas), the bracha of shelo asani isha, etc., has in fact been settled. And much like the CJLS those still pushing these points in the opposite direction of how they have been decided are outside the boundaries of acceptability or recognition.November 13, 2011 1:02 am at 1:02 am #825618
passfan: Very well. That is where you and R. Broyde (and others) disagree. That’s fine. As I said in my last post (and it may have been lost in the verbosity), the MO believe the debate is not settled because in fact, these issues were not even on the halachic radar in the past. They fist became relevant as a result of the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s, and only now are becoming a topic of halachic focus as more and more women have gone through intensive learning programs, and as women become more powerful in their careers, ect. Except for some isolated teshuvos that don’t really speak to today’s facts on the ground, the debate has not been had; it is going on right now, and halachic debates like these can last years and decades – we only see which side is right and which side we will accept in hindsight.
In any case, if you and others feel the debate is over and that LWMO is much the same as the CJLS, that’s fine, and you should conduct yourself accordingly. But the MO world does not see things is such non-historical, short-sighted, and black-and-white terms.
Interestingly, as I pointed out above, because the MO world is more pluralistic, it can tolerate your view on the matter, as well as LWMO views, and RWMO views too – the MO doesn’t have this need to ban people from the Torah-observant world for minor deviations that are merely subjects of disagreement. The chareidi world has its own approach, which requires more uniformity and has less tolerance for change and innovation, and so it must reject the LWMO as practically conservative, and the rest of the MO world as only a bit better than that.
Again, time will tell whose approach will survive in the hearts, homes, schools, and practices of the segment of the Jewish people that consider themselves bound by the Torah.November 13, 2011 1:54 am at 1:54 am #825619passfanMember
RSRH: Part of the MO world (i.e. RWMO) do in fact see those issues as going beyond the halachic pale. Hence the RCA’s effective reprobation of the rabba conception. (Same with the dropping of the bracha of shelo asani isha.) And many in the MO world pushed the RCA to go even further than it did, yet were held back by the LWMO influence in the RCA. Demonstrating that even the significant action of the RCA’s statement was less stringent than many in MO believed it should have been.November 13, 2011 1:57 am at 1:57 am #825620
Your point is taken about the ship having sailed. I can hear that from a historical perspective. Personally I do not think that it is an acceptable notion, as the Gemara says: ???? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ????? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??????? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??????? ????. But I can understand the social dynamics and that this is how it is not inherently hypocritical to look at the CJLS as beyond the pale while looking past questionable p’sakim of an Orthodox group. Thank you.
However, I do not agree with your assertion of there being many truths. There is one truth and one halacha. “?’ ???? ?????” is an esoteric concept that is not relevant (I will elaborate in the forthcoming paragraph). The proof is in the fact that anyone ever argued over a halacha. How is it possible to argue when there are no premises? Obviously there is a shared premise, when arguing, that we both accept that reason will carry the day, and that reason will yield one answer. Otherwise everyone should always just agree to disagree, which I think is ludicrous.*
There is a concept in halacha that ??? ???? ???? ??-??? ????. It does not contradict what I am saying. There are indeed many ways to interpret the Torah and this statement says that when Hashem gave the Torah he intended all of these interpretations. Therefore when R’ Eliezer says one thing and R’ Yehoshua says another, they are both true, because they are both possible ways of interpreting the Torah. However, it is the hands of the Sanhedrin to pass one interpretation into law and reject another one, and the accepted one becomes – by default – the only halachic truth. This was the point of the Chachamim in the famous story of ???? ?? ?????. At any rate, the statement ??? ???? ???? ??-??? ???? does not, in my opinion, vindicate what seems to be your idea of pluralism in any way. It only says that on the level of ???? ????? ??? various interpretations can be “true.” But we have one halacha, as ???? ?? ????? ???. And as such, if someone today were to pasken like R’ Eliezer in the above situation, we would scream and yell and call him a liar and a ????? ?? ?????.
There is no such thing as halachic pluralism. When there is a machlokes Rashi and Tosafos; Rambam and Ra’avad; Shach and Taz; or R’ Moshe and R’ Yaakov, one is right and one is wrong. End of story. You have a right to consistently follow someone who is a big person, and if he made a mistake – ?? ???? ???? ?????? ????. But the fact remains – in my opinion – there is only one true halacha.
[By the way, I happen to believe that a few of the things you seem to hold as a davar pashut to be assur, are not, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion.]
*You are in a sticky situation here. Because if you do not agree with me you cannot prove your point. If you attempt to prove your point, you will be demonstrating that you agree that there is one truth, because if not, any “proof” is moot.November 13, 2011 2:13 am at 2:13 am #825621
passfan: The RCA condemned the practice; they did not expel R. Weiss (of the Rabbi who wrote the article about “sheasani isha”) from the organization. They voiced their halachic disagreement and disapproval with these positions, but they did not conclude that these action were beyond the pale or that they placed those who made these decisions outside the camp.
Indeed, many MO think the RCA should have condemned the Rabba issue more explicitly than it did, but again, very few of them advocated for R. Weiss’s expulsion.
Again I think your missing the point. The point is that MO is more inclusive and has no need to really brand LWMO as conservative. Either the movement will die, or it will move even further left until there is no doubt about what they are, or they will succeed in influencing the rest of the Jewish world and will be legitimized. The final verdict will have to wait until the result is clear, and until then, many in the MO world would prefer cautious inclusion and halachic debate to expulsion, charamim, kol koreis, and more divisiveness.November 13, 2011 2:27 am at 2:27 am #825622
yitayningwut: Certainly there is “halachic truth.” But when we refer to “halachic truth” we refer to a halacha being unalterably established either by the Sanhedrin or through the compilation of the gemarah. After that, all is fair game (though that might be a poor way of putting it since any good posek understands the different levels of deference that must be given to a ShuT of Rishonim, Achronim, Mishnah Torah, Tur, Shulchan Aruch, Aruch Hashulchan, Chidushim on Shas, ect.).
I cannot agree when you say, “When there is a machlokes Rashi and Tosafos; Rambam and Ra’avad; Shach and Taz; or R’ Moshe and R’ Yaakov, one is right and one is wrong. End of story.” That is simply not the case.
True, one may be accepted in practice while one is not, but that doesn’t mean that one no longer exists except in the “Bashamayim” realm. Eilu v’eilu tells us that both are correct. Mesorah tells us that we follow the opinion that has become accepted practice. Nevertheless, the fact that one is accpeted and one is not does not mean that under extenuating circumstances, and posek can’t dredge up a daas yachid or unaccepted view and rely on that to develop a psak to be mattir something or vice versa.
There is one “true halacha” in Shamayim, perhaps. Maybe God has a single way that He KNOWS the halacha should be. Here on earth, there is no single true psak (again, expect for rulings of the Sanhedrin and chasima hagemarah). As the Rama to CM 25:1 points out, a posek may, with proper reason, go against an accepted halachic practice and follow a rejected opinion of the rishonim. That rejected opinion is not invalid; it is merely not accepted in practice.November 13, 2011 3:43 am at 3:43 am #825623
Let me repeat my point:
The proof is in the fact that anyone ever argued over a halacha. How is it possible to argue when there are no premises? Obviously there is a shared premise, when arguing, that we both accept that reason will carry the day, and that reason will yield one answer. Otherwise everyone should always just agree to disagree, which I think is ludicrous.
This is my primary basis for my understanding of this issue.
Besides, the Ra’avad believed the Rambam was wrong and the Rambam believed the Ra’avad was wrong. And so on. So I don’t really see how you expect me to believe that each one was really right. They certainly couldn’t both be right when they each said “this person doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” “Eilu v’eilu” is not a statement about something pratical. It is a comment on Hashem’s perspective, which is not relevant in practical halacha.
Moving along; “extenuating circumstances” is not a contradiction. That is part of what goes into p’sak. It is not an extra-halachic or meta-halachic consideration as some would like to believe, but a halachic consideration. Halacha says to take into account extenuating circumstances. ????? ???? ????. Therefore as long as an opinion is held by someone who is a ?? ???? it is worthy of following in extenuating circumstances. This isn’t permission to break halacha. It is part and parcel of the Halachic Process. And by the way, you absolutely could not follow R’ Eliezer’s opinion even in extenuating circumstances, because ???? ?? ????? ???, and therefore his opinion is now officially outside of the halacha. What is not so regarding an obscure opinion of Rabbeinu Tam, which we only generally ignore because of our fear that the minority is in the wrong.
There is one “true halacha” in Shamayim, perhaps. Maybe God has a single way that He KNOWS the halacha should be. Here on earth, there is no single true psak.
In my opinion it is exactly the opposite. I elaborated on this in my previous post.
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