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For questions where I'm supposed to consult my local orthodox rabbi, if there isn't one, what am I supposed to do? There is a LOR in the city where I live (a Chabad shliach) but he frequently declares himself incompetent to answer questions, since he's not a rav.

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You can ask the shliach who he recommends. –  Shmuel Brin Mar 19 at 5:41
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Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8303 –  msh210 Mar 19 at 14:41
    
why not use the telephone? –  ray Apr 20 at 6:26
    
And call whom? That's the problem. –  Tatpurusha Apr 20 at 6:41
    
A married person is not really allowed to live in a town or a place where a rov is inaccessible. 'Marros' cannot be asked over the phone. –  preferred May 19 at 13:15

3 Answers 3

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You should first decide whether you want to follow Chabad halachic rulings or not. If you do, then ask your local Chabad rabbi who he asks.

If not, then decide what kind of halachic authority you want based on your hashkafa and background. For example, if you feel closest to Modern or Centrist Orthodoxy, then you could contact Modern/Centrist Orthodox Rabbis from the nearest major city. (Or, if there is a major city where you regularly visit, you might look for a rabbi from that city, so you can occasionally attend his shul and see him in person.) You should try calling the rabbi, explaining your situation, and asking if he would mind if you ask him halachic questions when they arise. You might call a few different rabbis to see if there is one who seems the most open to answering your questions, or to see if you have a better rapport with, or closer identification with the hashkafa of, one of the rabbis.

However, you are not necessarily limited to a nearby rabbi. For example, some poskim (such as Rav Shlomo Aviner in Israel) answer halachic questions submitted by email or text-message. See my answer here: Reliable Ask-a-Rabbi Websites

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How do I decide if I want to follow Chabad halachic rulings? –  Tatpurusha May 19 at 17:25
    
Good question. Well, if you were going to become a full-fledged Chabadnik, following all the Chabad customs, then it would certainly be expected that you would follow Chabad halachic rulings. But even if you're not, then if you identify strongly with Chabad, or if it's just most convenient to ask all your halachic questions to Chabad rabbis you know, then that might be a good reason to follow their rulings. –  Kordovero May 20 at 0:53
    
But one thing to keep in mind is the level of strictness involved. There might be some ways in which Chabadniks are less strict than non-Chabad (the only example I can think of has to do with squeezing lemons into water on Shabbat). However, in general since they are chassidim and thus charedi rather than modern orthodox, they are probably stricter in many ways than the modern orthodox. So if you are becoming increasingly observant it may be more convenient to follow the rulings of a modern orthodox rav, since the more moderate or lenient rulings may be less overwhelming. –  Kordovero May 20 at 0:56
    
That's not to say Chabad rabbis are overly strict with their non-Chabad congregants -- on the contrary, as a rule they never try to push people into becoming more observant (as opposed to just inspiring people and leading by example). It just might be that in some cases if you ask the same question to a Modern Orthodox and Chabad rabbi the MO answer is less likely to be on the strict side. –  Kordovero May 20 at 1:01

When I have a question that my rabbi can't answer for whatever reason, either he finds me an answer (consults others himself) or I ask him for a recommendation about where to ask. Since you have a local rabbi -- just apparently not one who will answer your questions -- I suggest asking him how you should proceed. He might recommend another Chabad rabbi (as suggested in this answer, or he might send you to someone else. Since he's your local rabbi (that is, the "YL" in CYLOR), he's in the best position to guide you.

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Ask the Chabad Rabbi in the nearest town larger than yours. Specifically choose a Chabad rabbi so the answer to your question will be compatible to the things your LOR knows.

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Is there a reason I have to stick with Chabad? –  Tatpurusha Mar 19 at 5:44
    
No. But if you wanted to discuss the answer you received with the LOR, it would be easier for the LOR to relate because the philosophy behind the answer should be more familiar to him than the philosophy behind a Litvish answer. –  Clint Eastwood Mar 19 at 5:56

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