Questions about theoretical issues about psak and general halacha concepts

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2
votes
1answer
93 views

Can a Rishon argue on a Gaon?

On one hand, I've seen a rule from the Acharonim (I've also seen it in a Shach on Choshen Mishpat also but I can't remember where) that whatever the Gaonim say is "Divrei Kabalah" from the time of the ...
1
vote
2answers
190 views

Basis of Shulchan Aruch's ruling about tefilin on Chol HaMoed

A local Orthodox rabbi told me that while most of the decisions in the Shulchan Aruch were based on taking the majority of the Rambam, Rosh and Rif (all of whom he claimed supported laying tefilin on ...
-6
votes
2answers
261 views

Is it possible for a Reform Jew to break halacha or violate a mitzva? [closed]

Is it possible for a Reform Jew to violate a mitzva in the Torah or break halacha, like breaking shabbos by doing melacha ('labor')? After all, from what I understand, Reform Jews don't believe in a ...
12
votes
3answers
424 views

When do rabbinic enactments apply if the given reason no longer does?

Often we find gezeiros d'rabbanan designed as preventative measures against more serious transgressions. However, if nowadays the reasoning behind the gezeira does not apply, it seems that sometimes ...
11
votes
1answer
213 views

Can one follow the Mishnah Berurah without asking a shaila?

When one has a question in halacha and finds an answer in the Mishneh Berurah (or Aruch HaShulchan, or similar work), why can he follow the answer provided? Why doesn't he need to ask his rabbi first? ...
10
votes
2answers
209 views

Why are most mitzvas impossible to keep?

Nowadays, one can only keep so many Mitzvos (271). That is less than half of the commandments of the Torah. I don't know if there is any statistic regarding how many Psukim discuss currently relevant ...
4
votes
3answers
186 views

Can a person decide the Halacha (pasken) for him\herself?

Request for sources: Assuming one does not have semicha, (ordination) but is learned: Can one decide the Halacha for him\herself (after analyzing the issue and investigating the sources), or is one ...
3
votes
2answers
129 views

How do you go from the Talmud to Halacha Lemaasah?

What is the process involved for figuring out the halacha of today based on something written in the Talmud? Basically, what does a modern day posek do starting from the Talmud to reach a halacha he ...
1
vote
3answers
245 views

Why aren't we Mahmir (stringent) with just Mikvah when ruling leniently on a technicality in Niddah cases?

I know from experience and some introductory study of the laws of Niddah that rabbis typically try to find leniencies wherever possible in issues of family purity. In many instances, a Posek will rely ...
12
votes
4answers
298 views

Why does the authorship of the Zohar matter?

I've seen and heard a lot of controversy about the authorship of the Zohar, but it isn't quite clear to me that it matters. The nearest theory I can come up with is that if the Zohar is by Rashbi, ...
12
votes
3answers
181 views

What if you undo a shabbat melacha?

If you plant a seed shortly before the end of shabbat (zoraya) and then un-bury it after shabbat, or you put an uncooked food into an oven and then take it out within seconds without it having baked ...
8
votes
1answer
328 views

Bitul BeRov - the classic case in real life

In Halachah there's a tremendously powerful concept of Bitul BeRov (nullification among the majority). It goes like this: If you have three identical pieces of meat, and you know for a fact that one ...
4
votes
0answers
36 views

Determining Normative Halacha

I don't really understand the process for establishing what "the halacha" is in a particular case. I know that there are rules in the talmud to decide whom the halacha follows when there are ...
3
votes
3answers
178 views

Petur (exemption) - Does intent matter?

Does one's intent factor into one's ability to rely upon an exemption in Halachah? For example on Sukkoth, if I have no Sukkah and no intention of building a Sukkah (let's say at work, for one ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

Authenticity of Halacha l'Moshe MiSinai

How do we know that a Halacha which is claimed to have been given to Moshe at Sinai actually was? Especially in cases where it seems to contradict the Written Torah given at Sinai? A Halacha ...
2
votes
2answers
273 views

Paskening from Talmud vs. Shulchan Arukh

Sometimes poskim will pasken from the Talmud (gemara) instead of the Shulchan Arukh. However, I thought that we pasken from the Shulchan Arukh and not from the Talmud. What is the proper way for ...
1
vote
2answers
148 views

“Wrong” Berachoth exempting foods

'Al HaMihyah exempts 'Al Ha'Gefen, at least if it was said after eating grain products and grape juice/wine. Is this unique to this case, or is there a broader principle? Can a less specific ...
1
vote
1answer
410 views

I suspect I must do something, but don't want to. Must I check into the halacha?

I'm sometimes in a situation where, if I do nothing, I'll benefit. But I suspect Jewish law may actually require me to take action that will prevent the benefit. I'm not sure if I should ask my ...
-2
votes
3answers
442 views

Should anyone be burned to death?

In Leviticus 20:14, it states that a man who has relations with a woman and also with her mother is a despicable lech, whose punishment is to be burned to death. This is one of two transgressions ...
11
votes
1answer
162 views

Puk Chazi - Go and See

There is a concept from the Gemara referred to as "Puk Chazi", go and see (as I understand). What are the applications and qualifications of this idea? Does "Puk Chazi", i.e. noting what people ...
10
votes
1answer
309 views

Should a Jew who doesn't believe in G-d observe the commandments?

In an earlier question, I asked if it was a commandment to believe in G-d. As with so many areas, there were differing opinions. Some of the respondents claimed that there would be no point in being ...
10
votes
2answers
217 views

Eating outside of a Sukkah - Negative or Positive commandment?

On Sukkoth we are required to dwell in a Sukkah, which is generally minimally defined as at least eating our meals (which in turn is generally minimally defined as grain-based products) inside the ...
9
votes
1answer
185 views

What is the hallachic definition of randomness?

A new Shabbat-friendly technology, KosherSwitch, uses randomly timed light pulses to create various safeks, so that flipping the switch does not hallachically count as switching the light on, even in ...
9
votes
2answers
64 views

What primacy to give to learning halacha?

Consider a person who follows all of the halachos (he is aware of) that are involved in daily living. Any free time that he has is devoted to learning Torah. This person, however, is not proficient at ...
8
votes
2answers
186 views

Are “Halacha To Moses from Sinai” Undisputed?

I was listening to a lecture in my synagogue in which it was mentioned ( correctly or incorrectly - I don't know ) that a הלכה למשה מסיני - Halach to Moses from Sinai is a law that has never been ...
8
votes
2answers
154 views

Why was a bat kol able to settle the dispute between Battei Hillel and Shammai?

Eiruvin 13b recounts an argument between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. The argument grew very heated until a bat kol intervened and stated the famous line elu v'elu divrei elohim chayim ("These and ...
7
votes
1answer
104 views

Binding answers for Halachic questions

I recall learning that one is not allowed to "venue shop" by asking a series of rabbis for a practical halachic ruling and following the opinion you like. I was taught that one should ask and be bound ...
7
votes
1answer
207 views

Zohar vs. Yerushalmi

M"B 25:42 makes it clear that we always follow Gemara over Zohar. And we similarly follow Bavli over Yerushalmi (as is clear from the Hirhurim article quoted in this related discussion). However, do ...
7
votes
1answer
114 views

Is the Haftarah a Minhag?

Is reading the Haftarah a Minhag? I know that the practice was instituted when we couldn't publicly read torah, and then it was kept. Does that make it a Minhag?
6
votes
1answer
62 views

Does the “mezakeh” need to know that he's using “zachin,” for it to work?

There's a Talmudic concept known as "זכין לאדם שלא בפניו," that one can acquire something on behalf of another, even if that other person does not know that this is happening, so long as it's a זכות, ...
6
votes
2answers
73 views

I thought Gezeirah Shavah requires Mesorah

In Masecheth Rosh Hashanah (9b), the Gemara uses a Gezeirah Shavah from Tishrei, with the word שנה, to support the Mishnah's ruling that 'Orlah is counted from Tishrei. In response, however, the ...
6
votes
1answer
97 views

Redeeming maaser sheini on paper money

I know that the mishna says that maaser sheini* can only be redeemed on coins and not something else. (See this answer.) However, this was written around 2000 years ago, and the way money works has ...
5
votes
0answers
32 views

Is a psik reisha d'lo nicha or d'lo echpat judged against a communal standard?

If I perform an action on Shabbos which will cause a secondary (forbidden) action, the secondary action is assessed as to whether it is desirable, detrimental or neutral (as per Difference between ...
5
votes
0answers
60 views

Is becoming a “Talmid HaRambam” limited to the Rambam?

This answer explains (very nicely) the justification and practice of those who consider themselves followers of the Rambam, as opposed to any other opinion. In the cited responsa of the Beis Yosef, ...
5
votes
2answers
74 views

Stam viYesh Halacha k'…?

This question is a followup to these comments When the Shulchan Aruch brings two opinions as to what the halacha in a given situation is, the first is brought without a name, and the second is ...
5
votes
1answer
91 views

Which takes precedence - dina d'malchuta or halacha? What about minhag yisrael?

A more practical ramification of Is a ban on government workers wearing religious symbols a gezeirat hamalchut for which one would be obligated to give up his life? If the law of the land (dina ...
5
votes
1answer
82 views

Understanding a Fine Point in the Rambam's Laws of Yibbum

In MT, Hilkhot Yibbum veChalitzah 7:11, the Rambam presents the case of three brothers, two of whom are married to two sisters and the third of whom is married to an unrelated woman. In the event that ...
5
votes
1answer
54 views

Understanding the difference between shevus and gezeirah

I know that, in general, there is a difference in strictness between the two categories of protective measures, but am having difficulty in explaining the difference between the two.
5
votes
1answer
107 views

Will reading Questions and Answers on Mi Yodeya gain a Jew entrance into Olam Haba?

"One who learns Halachos every day is a Ben Olam Haba" (Babylonian Talmud Niddah 73a) If a Jew reads the halachic questions and answers on this forum everyday, does that guarantee he or she will ...
5
votes
1answer
145 views

What are the parameters of kavod ha'brios?

When I was younger I was told that in extenuating circumstances one can rip toilet paper on shabbos (preferably not on the perforations) due to kavod ha'brios. This concept is applied in other places ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

Lifnei 'Iver in public policy/business

How far does Lifnei 'Iver extend? Earlier versions of this question led to a good deal of speculation of how an individual should respond to issues of public policy and business that may be contrary ...
4
votes
2answers
156 views

Why bother with forcing the Get?

According to the discussion here as elaborated in the link, a forced Get as a Halachic matter (the opinion paskened in Shulchan Aruch), is simply that the Chachamim retroactively revoke the Kiddushin. ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

Legitimacy of selling חמץ

What are the arguments for and against the now-widespread practice of selling חמץ prior to פסח?
4
votes
1answer
137 views

Ashkanazim paskening like Rema

Was it always a straightforward presumption ("davar pashut") that in general the Ashkanazim should decide Halachic questions ("pasken") in accordance with the Rema over the Machaber/Beis Yosef (when ...
4
votes
2answers
140 views

What is the logical explanation for קם ליה בדרבה מיניה?

HodofHod: "In essence, the idea is this: If a person does one act, and with that one act incurs two different kinds of penalties, we only apply the stricter one. So if a person (for example) borrows a ...
3
votes
1answer
46 views

Halachic base of big loss (hefsed merube)

We see in the halacha many times that when we have a dispute if something is permitted or not and we pasken that it is not permitted, the halacha changes when there is a big loss. I understand it ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

Is “pikuach nefesh” on shabbos “hutrah” or “dichuya”?

Whenever two mitzvos come into conflict with each other, and one is given precedence over the other (such as in the case of מילה on Shabbos, or any עשה דוחה לא תעשה), there is usually discussion over ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

minhag means law? when in shulchan aruch

When the Ramo writes and "so is the custom (vchain nohagin)" do we understand that to mean that this is his ruling regarding the law or that he is not giving his opinion about the law but is just ...
3
votes
2answers
160 views

Schrödinger's cat and yibbum

Over Shabbos, the Shalosh Seudos discussion turned to the Monty Hall problem, which confused a lot of people [and which (#Humblebrag) I was able to clear up for them in under 30 seconds ;)]. Then, ...
3
votes
0answers
43 views

Tosefta vs. Toras Cohanim

This past Shabbos someone said over to me a particular sugia they were learning in Taharas and a maklokes Rishonim (an argument between Rishonim, medieval rabbis) in a particular analysis. One Rishon ...