Questions about halachic deciders and their rulings.

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35
votes
11answers
3k views

Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

In various places on this site, including the FAQ, we have the following disclaimer: Like Wikipedia, this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly ...
20
votes
17answers
790 views

SE Challenge: Halachot in which rulings range from permissible to Torah violation?

Inspired by my previous question regarding heating up soup on Shabbat, I present a challenge to the Judaism StackExchange community -- List halachot which have halachic decisions ranging from ...
18
votes
7answers
379 views

Am I allowed to answer my friend's Halacha question?

Preface: Assume I am not an ordained Rabbi. Suppose I'm having lunch with my friend and he asks me "do I have to say a bracha on this dessert?" or "when's the last time I could daven mincha today?" ...
17
votes
5answers
550 views

Can we argue with gedolim when we are sure that we are right?

I recently saw a teshuva by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Ohrach Chaim Volume 1 Teshuva 109, that quotes a letter from Rabbi Menashe Klein asking a question on Rabbi Moshe's psak but saying that he does not ...
16
votes
1answer
904 views

What is the meaning of psak?

I have asked many people this question, and not yet got a comprehensive answer: What is psak? Like, let's say I have a certain piece of food of uncertain status. If I ask my 6 year old kid if it's ...
15
votes
2answers
390 views

How do you CYLOR after posting on judaism.stackexchange.com?

We recommend CYLOR. How do I: ask the OR a shaaloh that one has already posted on judaism.stackexchange.com. Should I acknowledge its use when asking? introduce the concept of ...
14
votes
5answers
707 views

“Silk-Screened” Sifrei Torah

What are the halachic issues with Silk-screened sifrei torah? I am interested in a summary of concise halakhic rulings of multiple authorities on the prohibition or permissibility of HaRav Yitzchak ...
13
votes
4answers
796 views

The Ability to Pasken

What gives someone the ability to Pasken? At what point do we say that he is knowledgeable enough to decide questions on a topic? Does this have to do with "Semicha"? Does it have to do with being a ...
13
votes
1answer
273 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? ...
12
votes
3answers
477 views

Yerushalmi Versus Bavli in Halacha

The halacha we have today is mostly sourced in Talmud Bavli(the Babylonian Talmud),Medrash and Zohar. I would like to know what Halachot in which we rule according to the Yerushalmi (the Jerusalem ...
11
votes
3answers
883 views

Why are people going back to paskining like the Rambam?

I have heard personally (and seen in chat) people (who are not Teimanim [for whom there is a tradition to rule like the Rambam]) ruling like the Rambam. I have heard that he has the authentic ...
11
votes
3answers
616 views

Why has the Mishnah Berurah become the Authoritative Halachik Work instead of the Aruch haShulchan?

Hirhurim just had a post about this topic, where he discussed some reasons that people should follow the aruch haShulchan. Yet in many circles, people just follow the Mishna Berura and rarely even ...
10
votes
2answers
284 views

May I rely on the halachik leniency of others?

If "Reuven" believes the halacha to be one way and "Shimon" believes it to be more lenient may Reuven rely on Shimon to do something for him based on this leniency? Here is a 100% fictional ...
10
votes
1answer
264 views

What did a “don't-issue-rulings” semicha (ordination) look like?

Again from the biography of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein found in Igrot Moshe Volume 8 (emphasis added): Many approached [him] for ordination, and he was not difficult on them. Some ordinations were ...
9
votes
3answers
680 views

What evidence is required to indicate mamzer status?

It seems to me that just about every possible shadow of doubt is used to prevent halachic rulings that would classify a person as a mamzer. From my understanding after having read this paragraph on ...
8
votes
1answer
227 views

Rav vs. Rabbi in Talmudic Times

I was reading about the life of Rabbi Zera, and it said he was originally a Rav. The Rabbis of Eretz Yisrael offered to confer on him the title of Rabbi and at first he refused, until they told of ...
8
votes
2answers
758 views

Magen Avraham - Practically no Plag HaMinḥah or just no Plag HaMinḥah in winter?

Calling all science and math-oriented Judaism.SE-ers! According to the website MyZmanim.com, today's Halachic times where I work are as follows (only a handful of times are shown because the question ...
8
votes
1answer
106 views

obligation of someone who reads a Psak Din sign in the street

Suppose I read a sign in the street headed Psak Din which says that such-and-such a thing is forbidden (these signs never say such-and-such is permitted), with the names of a list of rabbis at the ...
8
votes
2answers
238 views

Stipulations based on “correct” halacha vs. “לא בשמים היא”

It is my understanding that halacha is determined by individual p'sak. That is, there is no divine body of halacha which we are trying to determine with poskim issuing their p'sak based on what they ...
8
votes
2answers
103 views

How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
8
votes
1answer
126 views

How do you weigh authority in halacha?

Are there any hard and fast rules as to how to assign relative importance of one authority over another in formulating a psak halacha? For example if the Rambam and the Rashba argue over a specific ...
7
votes
3answers
520 views

Posek vs. Rabbi?

It seems to me obvious that certain sheilos are best dealt with by only the leading Rabbanim. At the same time colloquially we often say a Rabbi has "paskened" a sheilah when the answer is fairly ...
6
votes
4answers
221 views

Halachoth whose rulings range from obligatory to a (Torah) prohibition

Inspired by this question ( SE Challenge: Halachot in which rulings range from permissible to Torah violation?) , I thought I'd go further. Can you think of any Halachoth whose rulings range from ...
6
votes
3answers
258 views

Are there any Sefardi Posekim that permit the consumption of Chodosh in Chutz LaAretz?

Are there are any Sefardic Posekim that permit the consumption of Chodosh in Chutz LaAretz just like the Ashkenazim's Heterim? Preferably Aharonim or contemporaries.
6
votes
3answers
221 views

Asking another Rabbi

What are the parameters and conditions of when one is allowed (and not allowed) to ask another Rabbi once he/she got a Psak from the first Rabbi?
6
votes
4answers
177 views

In the days of the Sanhedrin, was one able to hold of his own opinion in private?

Back in the days of the Sanhedrin, after a psak about a particular halacha was issued, were you able to still hold of your own opinion in private? If you were confident in your own interpretation of ...
6
votes
1answer
69 views

What's the procedure for seeking a psak?

I need a psak on a complicated (to me) halachic issue. I'm not currently affiliated with a shul, so I have no daily contact with rabbanim, and I've never needed a psak before. How does one do this? ...
6
votes
2answers
53 views

Why do different halachic authorities arrive at conflicting rulings?

Rabbi A says strawberries are ha'adama; Rabbi B says that strawberries are Ha'etz. The halachic texts are replete with such differences in "opinion". What's the underlying reason that different ...
6
votes
2answers
322 views

Is there any contemporary posek who says you can deviate from the wording in the shmona esrei?

I am reading Kavvana: Directing the Heart in Jewish Prayer by Rabbi Dr. Avi (Seth) Kadish. There he makes the argument that the Anshei Kneset Hagedolah never established the exacting wording for the ...
6
votes
1answer
89 views

Aiding what you consider sin but he doesn't

There is an action. Let's call it "hoobling". Some pos'kim say hoobling is permitted and others say it's forbidden. (Note: not "say one should ideally be strict". They say it's forbidden.) Suppose ...
6
votes
1answer
204 views

What's the practical difference of what Maveh means?

In the gemara in Bava Kama on Daf 3b there is a discussion about what the word Maveh (מבעה) in the Mishnah [on 2a] means. The gemara brings a dispute: Rav holds that Maveh means "man" (i.e. when a man ...
5
votes
4answers
590 views

Make for yourself a website?

Can a site like mi.yodeya.com be used for one to fulfill our sages mandate of "Make for yourself a Rav"? Obviously I meant this facetiously. Of course a website cannot take the place of a rav, but ...
5
votes
2answers
160 views

Is it permissible to listen to a Rabbi instead of a doctor?

Recently, an article published on a popular Jewish website, told the story of man who was told by a doctor that he needed to have surgery. He went to a Gadol Hador (great Rabbi) to ask him for advice ...
5
votes
1answer
89 views

How to answer practical questions on the street

I don't know how common this is, but I've occasionally been approached on the street by regular people whom I do not know (who presumably make the assumption that since I wear a kippah, I'm a rabbi) ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

Why do we find specifically “Rambamists” as opposed to any other Posek? [duplicate]

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
226 views

Sephardic Readers of Mishnah Berurah

Do you know of any books that help Sephardic readers with the Mishnah Berurah (i.e. by telling them when Sephardic Poskim hold differently)?
5
votes
1answer
174 views

Source for Rav Avraham Yosef's ruling on Ba'alei Teshuva

A friend mentioned, and I read the same here, that Rav Avraham Yosef and/or Rav Ovadiah Yosef ruled that Ba'alei Teshuva in Israel (with no direct masoret of their own) should adopt the Sepharadi ...
5
votes
2answers
138 views

When can you turn a dispute into a safek?

In this answer, I proposed that since there is a machlokes rishonim on a certain issue, it counts as a safek (doubt), although the Shulchan Aruch rules strictly. DoubleAA commented, saying that he ...
5
votes
2answers
122 views

If two rabbis tell you opposite things which do you listen to?

If you ask two rabbis the same question and they give you opposite answers (one says mutar the other says assur). Which do you listen to?
5
votes
0answers
77 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
0answers
131 views

Do Sepharadim celebrate Thanksgiving?

A good deal of ink has been spilled in the past century regarding the permissibility and appropriateness of American Jews celebrating Thanksgiving. For the most part, Ashkenazim are split, with some ...
5
votes
1answer
54 views

How could (or why did) Raba follow Rav's stringencies but not his leniencies?

Eruvin 6 amud 2 says someone who follows the stringencies of Bes Shamay and of Bes Hilel is a fool walking in darkness: rather, it says, one should follow the one or the other, both when it is lenient ...
4
votes
3answers
400 views

How do I find answers to sensitive questions I can't ask my rabbi?

I have a halachic question of a sexual nature that I feel I can't ask my rabbi. Where can I get such questions answered? Are there rabbis knowledgeable in this area who are willing to answer ...
4
votes
2answers
264 views

P'sak halacha by AI?

How good does artificial intelligence need to be before we can turn to a robot for piskei halacha? The accepted reason that even the most knowledgeable people need to ask legal advice from poskim is ...
4
votes
3answers
215 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
143 views

Pinchas and Halacha In Front Of One's Rabbi

The Gemara in Eiruvin 63a,b learns that one is not allowed to paskin a halachah in front of one's Rebbi. Multiple examples and details are brought. In particular, Elazar haKohen taught the soldiers ...
4
votes
2answers
128 views

When and why does the Gemoro say “vehilchoso”?

Sometimes, after the Talmud records a disagreement, it concludes by saying that the Halacha is like one side of the debate (“vehilchoso”). See e.g. ...
4
votes
1answer
90 views

Prohibition on paskening halacha when one is drunk

The Gemorah in Beitzah 4a says that Rav wouldn't give a drasha on Yom Tov after eating the seudah because when he would give a drasha he would be moreh halacha (give over halachic rulings) and this is ...
4
votes
1answer
144 views

Is there such a thing as dispassionate p'sak?

(Inspired by http://mi.yodeya.com/questions/6008/psak-halacha-by-ai) Much is made of the need for poskim to be well-experienced people who have been involved in a number and variety of Jewish ...
4
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1answer
150 views

Who do B'nei Noach turn to for psak?

My understanding is that there are a few organized groups of non-Jews who strive to follow the Noahide laws. Just like Jews, B'nei Noach might have situations where the correct action to take is ...