Following comments on my other question "how-an-open-succah-oriented":

Let's imagine one is facing a new Halachic reality he never heard of: he always built Succah on his 5th-floor balcony and then moved to a private house with the opportunity to erect a Kosher 3-wall Succan in his backyard. He doesn't know, however, whether its orientation might be a Halachic issue or not.

Should one contact a Rabbi or assume anything will work? What do our Rabbis think - do they prefer their students to consult them in doubtful questions or not?

  • 1
    There's a difference between asking a Rabbi and asking in MY. We require questions to show research effort. Rabbis may or may not insist upon this, though they'd certainly prefer if you did your research first.
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 15:32
  • Presumably you wouldn't ask a rabbi unless you had some reason for doubt. On MY, we ask you to explain your reason for doubt.
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 15:34
  • @Daniel 1. No, we don't. MY is not the last resort of people tired of research. MY is open to any kind of relevant information. At least IMHO. It is completely legit to ask anything about Judaism and especially Halachah. 2. The Halachic determinism is the main source of the doubt - the assumption/feeling that Halacha MUST cover just about any aspect of our lives.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 18:06
  • 1
    @AlBerko the #1 thing in our "How do I ask a good question?" guide is to research the question before asking and share your research when you do ask.
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 23:41
  • Sometimes they're too busy to take your question . . .
    – הראל
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 7:32

1 Answer 1


Rabbis would prefer that even laymen should be knowledgeable in halacha, however they view it their sacred duty to answer all serious inquiries on matters of Jewish practice.

In matters of Halacha, ignorance of the Law is no excuse. Mishnayos Avos (4:13):

רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי זָהִיר בַּתַּלְמוּד, שֶׁשִּׁגְגַת תַּלְמוּד עוֹלָה זָדוֹן.
Rabbi Yehdah said: be careful in study, for an error in study counts as deliberate sin.

Therefore, in the event that is person is not knowledgeable in halacha, and he's doubtful about a certain relevant halacha, then he's obligated to ask those who are knowledgeable in this matter.

  • Supplementary to this is another Mishnah in Pirkei Avot, Asei Lecha Rav - a person should make a rav for himself. (That doesn't mean that he should make himself the rabbi, though, there are many who mistakenly do just that!)
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 2:08
  • Some interpret, "Asei Lecha Rav", not you should make himself THE rabbi, rather you should make from yourself A rabbi. Meaning that instead of having mediocre goals, a person should have high aspirations, and try to make something great of himself, such as becoming a rabbi. Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 16:17

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