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HALACHA-----halacha vs chumra

Yoredes Posted - 08 May 2001 20:28

We had a discussion in class about my Chumrah vs. Halacha issue a little while ago, before I even knew about this web sight. I also spoke to a teacher I respect about it, but it didn't help.

One of the main recent examples is T.V. and Internet. My teachers claim that they are ASSUR, but I know that that can't be so. I think that for sure T.V., and probably also internet, are horrible, and I probably will not have them in my home, IY"H, but I know that they are not ASSUR.

When I mentioned this, my teacher mentioned a note that many Rabbanim signed, one for T.V., and one for internet, that they are Assur. I didn't actually see the notice, so I don't know the exact wording.

MODERATOR Posted - 08 May 2001 20:43

TV would be Assur under the prohibition of Al Tashken B"Ahalechah Avlah, which the Gemora says means you may not harbor in your home undesirable literature. A TV is certainly in that category ("literature" in this sense would include all media).

Also, it is forbidden to put yourself in a Nisayon unnecessarily. So having a TV in the house would come under that category as well. The Internet, on the other hand, could conceivably have a justifiable use, and as we said before, may or may not be Assur, depending on why you need it.

As far as the signatures go, I would imagine she is referring to the self-imposed "issur" that many rabbis declared on their own communities against having the Internet. It doesn't mean it is Halachicly Assur for everyone, but rather they are accepting upon themselves to prohibit it in their communities because of its danger.

LovLe7 Posted - 20 February 2002 16:31

I have a hard time understanding why pple go for midos chasidos and put upon themselves chumros. Isn't 613 mitzvos enough? I think if everyone first worked on all the D'arisa's and D'rabanans, they would see that they don't need to add to the list! Do I make any sense?

MODERATOR Posted - 20 February 2002 18:10

"Chumrah" is used to describe a number of things, as follows:

(a) If there is a disagreement in Halachah, in a case where one may be entitled to follow the lenient opinion, a "chumrah" may mean that you follow the stricter opinion anyway. Because even though you are permitted to be lenient, you want to make sure that you are doing the right thing according to everybody. This is an expression of "Yiras Shamayim", where a person is not interested in merely what he is allowed to do, but he wants to make sure that what he does has no chance of being prohibited.

(b) If there is something that is 100% permitted, but you don’t want to be tempted to do it, or even do it by accident. So you prohibit even getting close to the Aveirah, so that you are not only innocent, but safe as well.

These kinds of "chumros" are Siyagim and Gedorim, which Chazal advise us to make. Of course, you are not allowed to say that the Siyag is prohibited the same way as the actual Aveirah, but rather that it is a prohibited as a Siyag.

A Siyag can be self-imposed, community-imposed, or imposed on Klall Yisroel as a whole by Chazal. Any individual can impose such Siyagim on himself by making a Neder, or even a commitment bli neder; the Rabbonim of a community have the authority to impose Siyagim on a community when they see fit; and only Chazal have the authority to impose a Siyag as binding on all of Klall Yisroel.

(c) Something with no basis or reason at all, just people don’t do it cuz it looks bad, or they think its bad, or it feels bad, or whatever. These are just people's behavior and have zero Halachic substance.

While it is true that the core Halachos are the main goal, the first two types of Chumros above serve important supportive roles to protect the Mitzvos. Its like a construction site -- the contractors spend days and maybe more building a wooden fence around the massive hole that they dug to lay the foundation. Plus, they build scaffolding with side rails and often put safety nets on the ground if they are working high up. Someone who doesn’t understand may wonder why they’re spending so much time on this stuff when they should be building the building. But the reality is that these efforts will make sure that the building gets built safely and efficiently. So its worth putting time into them.

So too with Chumros. They ensure the spiritually safe and efficient performance of the Mitzvos.

Of course, it would be crazy for builders to spend so much time on the safety net that the building gets neglected. You have to know what’s a Chumrah and what’s a Halachah, and what is the purpose of both. And you also have to know where a Chumrah is useful and where its merely a waste. That’s what Rabbonim are for.

rena Posted - 21 February 2002 16:56

I feel that a lot of times people work on the chumras (especially visible ones) before they work on their middos and halacha! isn't this wrong?

e Posted - 11 March 2002 20:18

so if I get this right it means that when ppl say its e.g. basic halacha to wear stockings always its not coz chazal didn’t say it , its only for communities whose Rabbanim paskened like that?

Chaim Posted - 12 March 2002 14:39

Why can't TV serve the same purpose as the Internet? If there is a shiur on TV by some Rabbi (who is reliable, of course), would it be mutar to hear the shiur, even if I may be tempted to go to another channel, which is assur? Also, even if the Internet will serve a good use, why is it mutar even for that use if you may be tempted to go to another site, which is not so good? What's the difference then between TV and the Internet?

MODERATOR Posted - 12 March 2002 14:56


You are correct. An exception, though, would be where a person takes on Chumros in order to help him fulfill a Halchah. For example, if someone has a difficult time keeping his eyes and thoughts where they should be, he may decide he will be Makpid to go out of his way to not even see women if he can avoid it. This is a praiseworthy behavior, even though he is technically pursuing a Lifnim Mishuras Hadin behavior. It all depends what your goal is, not your methods. here, his goal is to fulfill the Halachah. His methods are to accept Chumros, or, more accurately, Siyagim. If his goal were to fulfill Siyagim with less regard to primary Halachah, it would be a misplaced priority.

MODERATOR Posted - 12 March 2002 15:03


No, I didn’t mean that. It is a disagreement whether Chazal said it or not. It depends on your interpretation of various Chazals. The vast majority of poskim require it.

Rav Aharon Kotler ZTL was merely responding to the claim someone set forth that if Rav Moshe permits, Rav Aharon should at least tolerate it in his community. Rav Aharon was saying that is not so, and he does not have to allow it.

The reason: Even though the majority prohibit, if you, however, happen to be a Halachic authority, and you hold it is permitted, you are allowed to do it, and also to tolerate it in your community. Rav Aharon was saying that since if you want to live in a community where you can get away with not wearing stockings, you will have to live in a place where the Morah D'Asra will allow you to do it. But so long as you live in a place where the Morah D'Asra does not permit, you can't

MODERATOR Posted - 12 March 2002 15:10


Theoretically, that may be possible. If television had Torah material that (a) cannot be accessed elsewhere, and (b) people would use Televisions only for that material, then it would have the same status as the Internet. But the reality is, that is not so. The main reasons for this are:

One, anyone can broadcast on the Internet, even if they have no money, as opposed to TV where you gotta me a trillionaire to have a show. This prohibits let's say, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation from airing Hilchos Loshon Horah in Prime Time;

Two, the Internet is interactive. Not only do you have access to information, but the people giving the info have access to you. Therefore, the Internet can respond to your questions but TV cant. This site could never be on TV, regardless of how much $$$ sponsors would give.

Therefore, the Internet can provide you with Torah material that you would not have access to otherwise.

Jewess7 Posted - 05 May 2002 18:47

I understand the reasoning for machmerim (in response to LovLe7's question), but what about when it's not one of the above 'type' of machmerim?

Before I ask my question I want to make sure that no one thinks I sound like I'm vas v’sholom disrespecting any Jew (I'm a BY girl myself).

I was working at a frum women’s clothing store one Sunday, and two young girls from the cheder came in for a yom tov outfit. Z%They specified that they only wanted navy or black(in the spring). They said that they look better in "simple colors" (which totally made no sense b/c they had great coloring!). It was obviously for tznius reasons. But how is only wearing navy and black in California weather more tznius? Those kind of machmerim don't make sense to me...

MODERATOR Posted - 05 May 2002 21:27

A commitment to wear only black prevent any fashion mindedness, competition for fanciest wardrobe, as well as any gray areas (pardon the pun) between Tzniusdik colors and attention-attracting ones.

As long as these women understand the correct value of what they are doing, and do not talk themselves into it being more important than it is, it is a praiseworthy behavior because they are doing it to help themselves serve G-d better. And any effort a person puts in that direction is a good thing.

e Posted - 11 July 2002 16:13

one other thing? today in class we were having an argument about halacha vs. chumrah .

we were talking about rabbi falks book about tznius. the point is it and other books like it halacha or chumrah? if there are valid sources then doesn’t it have to be followed like any other accepted halacha? is it that u can do it in a slow process? but u don’t pick and choose halacha? what makes a halacha universal black and white accepted?

can u just go acc to your rabbi if its in the torah border? or is say rabbi falk an accepted halachic authority? and when do chumrahs become halacha? like if you read all these books u can drive yourself literally crazy
and get all freaked out. basically can u explain the concept of halacha and chumrah.

MODERATOR Posted - 11 July 2002 16:25

Rabbi Falk is a talmid chacham and a rav who paskens shailos. But he is not a Godol Hador, and Klall Yisroel is not bound by his rulings. The authority of his positions depends, as is the case with any Rav, on the strength of his proofs. Other rabbis may disagree with what he says with equal and opposite interpretations or proofs. The reason Rabbi falk's sefer is so widespread in its use is because it is the most comprehensive work on the subject of Tznius, plus, it is written in English.

If Rabbi Falk is your Rav, then you should follow him. If he is not, then you don’t have to follow something because "Rabbi Falk said so." That doesn’t mean he's not reliable - he is - but it does mean that other, equally reliable Rabbonim have a right to disagree with him. He is not the final word.

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