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If a person has one Rabbi to whom they ask all of their questions, and that person is unreachable, for whatever reason, and an urgent, time-sensitive question arises, what should their course of action be? Are there any criteria for determining who to ask in that situation?

Assuming they do ask someone else, and receive a psak, should they ask their Rabbi when he returns to know what to do in the future, or is the psak they received now binding for them?

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Is this a community/shul rabbi? Often a pulpit rabbi will, before he goes away, establish a list of other rabbeim to ask. –  Danno Aug 25 at 16:38
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Most shuls have an assistant rabbi who is there, exactly for this purpose. Additionally, good caring rabbis never take a complete vacation. They are always available for emergencies even if they are not physically in the neighborhood. It's not unheard of that some rabbis who were on their way to Israel got an emergency en flight call from one of their congregant's relatives that the congregant had died. They booked the next available flight upon arriving in Israel, and returned. Point is, nowadays, almost every rabbi has a cell phone, so he can always be reached, somehow. –  DanF Aug 25 at 16:55
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related judaism.stackexchange.com/a/29148/759 –  Double AA Aug 25 at 19:10
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@Danno Let's pretend the asker lived in 16th century Europe, before the advent of assistant Rabbis and phone lines to just go down the list. –  YeZ Aug 25 at 20:11
    
@YEZ - not sure what "ping" means here, but I guess I'll respond "pong". I see your point in your comment. But, then again, not to ruin the fun, seems the questioner isn't referring to the past, either. In case of life-and-death, seems the answer is clear - get a quick response from the most reliable rav you can find; if you can't find any rav at all, you have to use your best judgement, b/c there's just no time to dawdle. –  DanF Aug 25 at 20:20

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