For an enlarged, easier to read index click here . To "google search" this site, scroll to the bottom of this page. (This site is best viewed with "Firefox")

(Tips: F11 key enables full screen viewing & Ctrl-F to search the index)


HALACHA-----is the mod too machmir?

trying Posted - 24 April 2001 17:37

Rabbi, I'm writing this with the purest of intentions and a lot of respect, but I apologize in advance for whatever chutzpah it might entail.

I've noticed that you're very machmir. When I look at your halachic answers, the standards are higher than those that I hear from other people, rabbis included, who usually go according to the Mishnah Brurah or some other source that is more makil than the Shulchan Aruch, so I read many of your answers with reservations.

I understand that different Rabbonim have different opinions regarding what the exact requirements are, but how does it work with being more machmir or makil - some Rabbonim hold that the S.A.'s position can be done away with sometimes (for example, washing hands with a cup after the bathroom or before wet fruits and veggies) and the M.B. (c"v) isn't as frum as the S.A.??? And who decides what MY level of requirement is?

MODERATOR Posted - 24 April 2001 17:51

Whew! And this right after people were complaining that I was too maikel by permitting Napster!

But each rabbi has to call 'em as he sees 'em. If there’s anything here - kulah or chumrah - that you have any comments about - sources, proofs etc. Please submit them. Otherwise, I have an obligation to rule according to what is Halachicly proven to me.

You’re confused about Mishna Brura and Shulchan Aruch. The Mishna Brura is sometimes more lenient than SA and sometimes more strict. Examples: SA holds you can daven minchah after shkiyah, you can make an early shabbos and say krias shema over (MB holds you shouldn’t do that), and many more.

The Mishna Brura holds you should keep your Negel Vasser by your bed, that you should keep 72 minutes for Motzoi Shabbos, and many other things that many people do not keep.

The issue is not who's "frum". The issue is, Halachah works a little like medicine, for instance. Different doctors have different opinions, each one honestly believing that he is right. The way Halachah works is, every qualified rabbi must decipher the Halachah according to his conclusion after using the Halachic "due process" as outlined in the Gemora and Poskim. Disagreements are expected to happen. People are human and see things differently sometimes.

It’s more complex than all that, but that is enough to explain how disagreements come up.

As far as your obligations, if your parents are Bnei Torah, you should follow their rabbi and their minhagim. Otherwise, you should get a rabbi for yourself, and follow his rulings. Don’t get just any rabbi, but get the biggest rabbi you have available to you.

trying Posted - 29 April 2001 21:40

Thanks. How can 2 rabbonim give completely different psaks about the same issue if they've looked in the same sources?

Does this mean that it wouldn't be a good idea to open a kitzur shulchan aruch and begin reading?

- 29 April 2001 21:50

Well, could be simply that one of the rabbis is wrong. That happens, too. But if we're talking about real authorities, it's more likely that the sources themselves aren’t 100% clear, and need interpreting to begin with. There are disagreements in the Gemora about how to understand different Pesukim in the Torah, and different Halachos emerge from those arguments. The same thing applies in the Rishonim about how to understand a Gemora, etc. The further down you get in generations, the more disagreements you have in the "sources", on top of different possible interpretations. So disagreements will happen.

And speaking of disagreements, there is a disagreement in the Poskim regarding if you asked a rabbi a Sheailah and followed what he said, then it turned out he was wrong.

According to some opinions, as long as you thought you were doing the right thing, even if the person who told you it was the right thing was some lady down the street, you are considered an unintentional sinner.

Others hold that unless you asked one of the "established poskim" (baalei horaah hamuvhakim), you are considered a willful sinner, even if the person you asked was a real rabbi, since only the established Poskim may be followed blindly in that way.

Of course you should read Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, or Chayei Adam or Mishna Brurah. Just don’t be surprised if your parents of your local rabbi or teacher tells you something different than what you read. When that happens, respectfully mention that you saw in such-and-such sefer differently. Maybe the teacher will have a reason for what he said, and maybe he will concede. You never know.

No comments: