Tosafot on Avodah Zarah 7a: [translation from here]

It is forbidden to ask [a second rabbi for permission] only if one does not inform him [that a first rabbi was consulted and he forbade it]... But certainly the [second] sage should be careful not to permit [what the first sage forbade], as we say in the chapter Kol Hayad [in Maseches Niddah], "A sage who forbade - his fellow is not allowed to permit unless he can respond to him, for instance if he made a mistake regarding a Mishnah, or even with equal logic."

(1) What is the point of allowing you to consult a second rabbi if that second rabbi is strongly discouraged from disagreeing with the first? Why not just say, "You must go with the first ruling you got."?

(2) Why should that second rabbi be asked to produce strong and convincing logical arguments for his disagreement, when the first rabbi is not also asked to produce equally strong and convincing logical arguments for his ruling in the first place?

(Note that Tosafot talk only about a case when the first rabbi "forbade"; because if the first rabbi permitted, very few Jews would ask for a second opinion!)

Note also that when you ask for a medical second opinion, no one is leaning on the second physician to agree with the first.

  • Seeing as how you’re basing this off of my translation, it might be worth including a link to my original answer, in case the answer here is that I totally misunderstood that Tosfos.
    – DonielF
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 2:46
  • @DonielF -- Done. It's unfortunate that my comments yesterday got deleted (by you?), forcing me to recreate them to ask this question, per your suggestion. Warnings of deletions would be nice, so a copy can be made beforehand. Commented May 28, 2019 at 2:52
  • Only mods can delete comments. I’m baffled as to why in this particular case (maybe they felt it was irrelevant to the topic of that thread and was unnecessary clutter?). Re warnings - why don’t you suggest that on Meta.SE?
    – DonielF
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 2:54
  • @Maurice comments are meant to be ethereal and may be deleted at any time, that's the way it goes on Stack Exchange. I've had some great ones deleted but that's how it goes Commented May 28, 2019 at 3:11
  • I don't understand question 1. The point is clearly in case there was a mistake and indeed it is phrased as don't do it.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 10:36

1 Answer 1


There are two reasons given why the second Rabbi may not contradict the ruling of the first Rabbi (with according differences):

1) Kovod - out of respect to the first Rabbi. By issuing a ruling, he has 'claimed jurisdiction', so to speak, of this shaila. (See Rashi Nidda 20b, Ran A"Z 7)

2) Because regardless of what the second Rabbi believes, it is actually forbidden. Applying the dictum of שויה אנפשיה חתיכה דאיסורא, the item becomes forbidden when the first Rabbi rules it so, regardless of it's actual status. This is either because the shoel, by asking, has consented to accept [According to this reason, if one asks without any intention of accepting the answer, it would not be forbidden], or because the Rabbi has the ability to render the item forbidden by paskening it so. Thus, it would be useless for the second Rabbi to rule it permitted, because it has actually become forbidden either way. (Ran A"Z 7)

An obvious difference given between the two opinions is whether the second rabbi may forbid something the first rabbi already permitted.

[See Shu"t Meishiv Davar V2 §9, Urim veTumim §25.13, for further definition of שויה אנפשיה חתיכה דאיסורא, and the halacha when the first Rabbi paskened without being asked.]

  • How does this answer the question?
    – DonielF
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 23:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .