June 21, 2011 2:57 am at 2:57 am #597518
Reading the Ywn Coffee room the last few days I see there is much confusion in what the definition of a kula and a chumra is. So I will try to explain the way I understand it.
Firstly, I think one must know there is really six dinim. 1. The Psak Halachah (me’ikar hadin) 2. Chumra 3. Kula 4. Radical Chumros ( Hanhagah) 5. Minhag 6. Am aratzus ( against halachah.
Now let us try to explain each one.
1. THE PSAK HALACHAH/ Me’ikar Hadin. This category is the Halachah anyone in a normal circumstance is required to do. These halachos are the basic law. It can usually be found in the mishnah berurah or another sefer of the sort. This category also includes the teshuva you get when you ask your rav a sheilah. It is normally simple what comes under this area, but many times people overlook a lot of it. When we have a machlokes haposkim the ikar din is the psak halachah that your Local Orthodox Rabbi tells you you must do. This is the main level.
2. Then there is the basic CHUMRAH. A Chumrah is basically more than what you are required to do by the psak din. A simple example of a chumra is Since there is a machlokes haposkim what berachah you make on a granola bar, you try to avoid eating it. But you already asked your rav what berachah you make, but to refrain from machlokes you will only eat it in middle of the se’udah. Another basic eample is that by zmanim, pashtus we hold the halchah is like the geonim (first shekiah) but many will not do melachah on motzey shabbos until it is past the time of rabbeinu tam. It is more than what is required from you.
3. Now there is something called a KULA. It means less or below the required law. A kula should only be used bshas hadchak or bdi eved when no other option is available. Most times a kula will be , relying on rabbonim or achronim who the halchah is not clearly like in regular circumstances. An example can be eating before tekias shofar. Most Poskim will hold that it is better not to, but if you do, you have whom to rely on. Also when there is a choleh shein bo sakana on shabbos, the halachah is that you are allowed to rely on many kulos.
4. Now there is something else which al pi halachah there is no real place for. Let’s call it Hanhaga. Many times you will find people being much more makpid thatn required. But no poskim hold that this is the real halacha. They do this more because they are choshesh/nervous to do every prat right. An example is hearing extra tekious or listening to parshas zachor many times. Another example is not to use an eruv. These are more radical, and some find it necessary to make fun of those that are makpid. BUt really it makes no sense to make fun of someont trying extra hard to keep the torah. The problem arises when the makpidim think that anyone who does not do as they do are reahaim
5. A minhag is what you do because yor father did or does it. It may or may not have a source in halachah but you are required to continue doing so anyway ( unless instructed other wise by a rav) A famous example is gebrokts on pesach
6. This level was called the Kula creep. I call it am aratzus. Basically it is against halacha. People sometimes also go kula jumping, finding the posek who is the most meikil in every case and rely on him. But when those rabbonim are machmir, they disregard there words . An example is a litvishe using chasidim to be soimech on to miss zman krias shma.
Now with that explained one should know what many call a chumra for others is me’ikar hadin. An example of this is opening bottles on shabbos. For many the psak is to permit and a chumra will be not to while to others the psak is not to open. So what people were calling chumras in the chumrah therad for many that is the halacha. an example is rav Elyashiv and Rav Ovadiah Yosef asuur wearing shaitels. The latter was listed as a chumra.June 21, 2011 3:40 am at 3:40 am #779049☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
Whether not relying on an eruv is a chumra, or relying on it is a kula, is debatable. (There have already been extensive discussions about this in the CR.)June 21, 2011 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm #779050shlishiMember
Can one assume a chumra for oneself if he feels it will help enhance his Torah observance?
Can one assume a kula for oneself if he feels it will make his life easier?June 21, 2011 3:30 pm at 3:30 pm #779051gavra_at_workParticipant
Can one assume a chumra for oneself if he feels it will help enhance his Torah observance?
Can one assume a kula for oneself if he feels it will make his life easier?
No and No. The first is Yuhara, the second needs a Rov to Pasken.June 21, 2011 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm #779052apushatayidParticipant
The first as well, should be discussed with ones Rav/Rebbe. He may encourage it, he may not. Thats why you have a Rav/Rebbe.June 21, 2011 4:04 pm at 4:04 pm #779053WolfishMusingsParticipant
The problem is that many people (incorrectly) believe that not keeping a chumra is, in and of itself, a kula.
The WolfJune 21, 2011 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #779054gavra_at_workParticipant
apushatayid: YesJune 21, 2011 4:18 pm at 4:18 pm #779055charliehallParticipant
“So what people were calling chumras in the chumrah therad for many that is the halacha. an example is rav Elyashiv and Rav Ovadiah Yosef asuur wearing shaitels. The latter was listed as a chumra.”
This is an example of the problem. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Ashkenazic halachic authorities hold that wigs are mutar l’chatchila al pi halachah. Yet you cite a particular machmir opinion held by two poskim and declare that THAT is the halachah, essentially denigrating those who follow the majority.June 21, 2011 4:20 pm at 4:20 pm #779056charliehallParticipant
“Whether not relying on an eruv is a chumra, or relying on it is a kula, is debatable.”
Eruvim is a tractate in the Oral Law. And the overwhelming majority of poskim permit a public eruv under at least some circumstances.June 21, 2011 4:29 pm at 4:29 pm #779057ilovetorahParticipant
while i more or less agree with what you wrote, saying that not using an eruv is “no real place for” “no poskim hold that it is real halachah” is absolutly false and ludicrous (i apologize for being so strong). if anything it is clear based on basic halacha in shulchan aruch that our city eruvim are 100% not kosher. the mishna berura and other achronim go to great length being “miyashev haminhag” why people rely on city eruvim. see O”CH 364:2 M:B 8 and BI”H there.June 21, 2011 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm #779059☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
,em>Can one assume a chumra for oneself if he feels it will help enhance his Torah observance?
Yes. If it will lead to yuhara, then by definition, it’s not an enhancement of his Torah observance.
Eruvim is a tractate in the Oral Law.
Absolutely. I meant most contemporary eruvin.
And the overwhelming majority of poskim permit a public eruv under at least some circumstances.
If you mean contemporary eruvin, I agree, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a kula. There is legitimate place for utilizing a kula under some circumstances.June 22, 2011 2:21 am at 2:21 am #779060
What I was saying about sheitils is that some very choshuve poskim assur it. It is not an insane chumra to listen to rav wlyashiv and chacham yosef. But for some whose rabbi is Rav Yosef Or Rav Elyashiv than it is meikar hadin not to wear a sheitil. But I am not saying that nobody should wear a wig. Only those that consistently those rabbanims psakJune 22, 2011 2:42 am at 2:42 am #779061
NOt to rely on an eruv, Reb Shlomo Zalman in Halichos Shlomo on pesach by gebrokts, is maarich about the chiluk of a minhag and some chumrus. His example of an extreme chumra is to not rely on eruvs. He says if one is makpid on this his son is not mechuyav to follow since there is no reason meikar hadin not to use an eruv. There are many complex issues that can go wrong while making an eruv, which might make one extra nervous, but nobody holds that there is no such thing.June 22, 2011 3:22 am at 3:22 am #779062ItcheSrulikMember
To make things more confusing, each of those six dinim have alternate meanings that people use at least as often as the ones given here. This leads to many misunderstandings and lots of pointless flamewars.
1) M’ikar hadin: The original chiyuv d’oraisa before any takanos were instituted, e.g. forbidding gerushin bal korcha, tzava’ah, karmilis and most of a woman’s rights under the kesuba are d’rabanan.
2) Chumra: Any shita more stringent than the most lenient opinion the speaker knows
3) Kula: Any shita more lenient than the most stringent the speaker knows
(both terms are used this way only to put others down and using the words this way is probably ona’as d’varim)
4) Hanhaga: Something with no halachic basis that people do for personal reasons like saying certain prakim of tehillim or trying to be yotze kol ha’deios on one particular mitzva that they have a cheshek for
5) Minhag: Things that rishonim bring down as minhag yisrael like saying baruch she’amar (RaMBaM hilchos tefilla)
6) amaratzus: People who follow an opinion the speaker never heard of/dislikes.
Hope this list helped. 😉
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