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I have two examples. This starts with an answer from a recent question I asked, where it was mentioned that the Rosh was careful to wash last so that he shouldn't avoid talking or waiting between netila and hamotzi.

In this case, the Rosh was ensuring his own spiritual well being at the inevitable expense of others. I am not being chutzpadik, I am genuinely asking: is there some explanation of why this was his decision? Perhaps my reasoning is wrong, and he was actually trying to set an example, knowing that people watched his actions because he was...well... the Rosh.

The second case is a personal experience I once had whereby I was davening shacharit in a minyan led by a great, authentic Mekubal. He was particular that nobody would daven within a huge radius around him during Shmona Esrei, and set up a barricade of chairs to prevent people from entering that space.

I was planning a long davening that day, and I didn't want to inconvenience someone in front of me from being able to take their 3 steps back. I, being very absent-minded, started migrating to the front after standing, and ended up crossing that boundary. After he had already said the bracha of גָּאַל יִשְׂרָאֵל, he spotted me and came and pushed me out of the boundary, and then returned and began עמידה. I remember being very embarrased, and I have always wondered if keeping that particular stringency that he took upon himself was more important than embarrassing someone.

So, with these two examples in mind, the question in the title is asked.


A couple of bonus questions, that I will turn into their own questions if someone could comment that they are good questions (they may be non-starters):

  1. Would we say that the Rosh was choosing a personal stringency over a halacha, given that it seems to be that halacha states that the most important person should wash first (perhaps he didn't hold by this halacha)
  2. Would we say that this Mekubal was keeping a mystical practice at the expense of halacha (hefsek bein geula l'tfila, and embarrassing someone in public)?
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    Context: the Rosh held you can't talk after washing before motzi, but most rishonim held that gemara is talking about mayim acharonim. So plausibly he wasn't inconveniencing people since they weren't worried about it
    – Double AA
    Jan 18, 2023 at 14:07
  • @rabbikaii I love the question, but in these two examples of people coming into their house, they are the leaders as such if you want to be there it is on their terms. If we change the example to somewhere neutral for example would this mekubal do the same thing in a public shul? Another example I had, a roommate in Yeshiva who woke up an hour before shachris and washed his hands with a metal bowl, then went through his cash (loudly) to separate money for tzedaka. He woke up his roommates, but he was doing things for Halacha. Perhaps that might be a better example? Jan 18, 2023 at 14:20
  • @fulltimekollelguy sure, I think that is a better example. And actually, this minyan was not in his house, it was in a public space.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 18, 2023 at 14:24
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    1) In terms of questions related to your individual, personal practice, CYLOR. 2) The general rule in the Torah is like is stated in Devarim 4:2. Do not add to, nor diminish from the requirements which G-d commands. The first example of the negative consequence with this is what resulted when Adam added to the prohibition required by G-d when instructing his wife Chava about the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & it's opposite. 3) The following link brings a story from the Tzemach Tzedek jpost.com/israel-news/… Jan 18, 2023 at 14:47
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    @DoubleAA, I would also distinguish between (1) chumeros that are what you feel is baseline halakhah, even though others don't, and (2) chumeros that you are doing as a way to go beyond the halakhah -- whether hashkafically or to fulfill an opinion that makes sense (to you) but didn't become law. The Rosh was in case (1) either way. Jan 19, 2023 at 19:17

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This is an important question. Thank you for that. In my de'ah, chumrot are valid only from the sources I have elected as being in resonance with my ideals, to wit, my neshama. For me, these happened to be the Ari"zal and Rashash, that's it pretty much (save a few exceptions). Incidentally, the related chumrah from your story does not follow the Ari"zal at all. Now, I would never impose on anyone, least of which my family or other yidim anything I have received as "proper chumrot". Truly, I would gladly forfeit a chumrah in pro of somebody else's shalom, which is of a higher value to me. For they are strictly personal and in my understanding, I must not impose on anyone else no matter what. At last, regarding your point on hefsek bein geula l'tfila sourced in Shulchan Aruch OH 111:1, I believe he did not think it was a hefsek at all, and while I agree it was not al pi halacha, nevertheless it was indeed a "breach" in devekut, which b'ruchniyut is even worst! Kol tuv.

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