Someone posted here recently saying that its halacha that you must break a small halacha to keep a bigger one.

This is known commonly from Hilchot Shabbat and Pikuach Nefesh. It is also known from Women who have saved the Jewish People like Yael. I have also seen it being hinted to by various Mekubalim regarding Tefila with Kavvanah (שערי אורה, Hakdama to שער רוה"ק). Its also notably mentioned in the ספר חסידים regarding a Man not having relations with a Niddah.

In the recent discussion on this forum someone brought it up in the context of a Baal Teshuva being overwhelmed .

Is there a formal guideline that says when to and when to not apply this rule?

I would like to know when I can and when I cannot apply it.

Perhaps all we need is a comparison of which one is more severe.

This also touches on the question of אנוס רחמנה פטריה . What is the official definition of אנוס? In other terms : how much must a person suffer to keep Halacha?


Another good example is when Rav Kook ruled someone drinking on Purim is exempt from Tefillah

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    You are mixing a few different concepts. The issue of Yael is whats called "Aveira lishma" (trangression for the sake of heaven). This only applies to save the entire jewish people (Hatzalas Kol Yisroel) and other conditions. The halachot of pkuach nefesh is not a case of "breaking a small halacha", it is a condition within the halacha itself that shabbot does not apply in this case). Ones- afaik generally the definition is very, very narrow. For the rest of the question- I will leave it for others more capable/articulate than me. I would highly reccomend consulting with a mentor / rabbi Oct 27, 2023 at 17:56
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    It is very essential for an practicing jew to understand how to balance multiple requirements and priorities, and to know what is essential, and in which cicumstances. Oct 27, 2023 at 17:58
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  • I'm not sure what Rav Kook was saying. The halacha is someone can't daven if they're too drunk. One should plan their Purim drinking (if any) such that they can still daven. I'm not aware of anyone who would say, if asked what somebody should plan for Purim afternoon, that it is better to get smashed than daven.
    – Shalom
    Oct 27, 2023 at 19:11
  • מי שיודע שאם ישתכר ייתכן שלא יוכל אח"כ להתפלל מנחה או ערבית, לדעת רבים לא ישתכר (ח"א, באו"ה). אולם מרן הרב קוק זצ"ל כתב, שהשותה בפורים הרי הוא עוסק במצווה, והעוסק במצווה אחת פטור ממצווה אחרת (אורח משפט השמטות ז). According to many authorities, one who knows that he may not be able to pray Minḥa or Ma’ariv if he gets drunk should not get drunk (Ḥayei Adam, BHL). However, R. Avraham Yitzḥak Kook writes that one who drinks on Purim is engaged in performing a mitzva, and the rule is that one who is engaged in performing a mitzva is exempt from performing another mitzva (Oraḥ Mishpat, omissions §7
    – zunior
    Oct 27, 2023 at 19:16


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