Does the principle within Halacha of Kavod Habriot ever apply to leniencies for a Safek Doraita? So if there is human dignity at stake, could you rule lekula instead of lechumrah on a Safek d’oraita?

Or no, is this only a principle for Derabbanans?

  • 4
    Just to clarify that your question has the premise that kavod habrios (human dignity) doesn't apply to a doraisa but yes to a derabanan, and you are asking what about suffik doraisa. Would help if you cited this premise. Maybe the answer depends on if being stringent with a suffik doraisa is itself doraisa (Rashba/Ran) or derababan (Rambam/Raavad)
    – robev
    Commented Jan 11 at 7:08
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    Somewhat related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/14464 (and see comments on the answer for some background)
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 11 at 7:45
  • There are two approaches to understanding sefeiq sefeiqa. One considers it a variant on rov -- most of your options would mean permitting. (Rashba shu"t 401) The other suggests that safeiq deOraisa lechumera is itself a deRabbanan. And therefore the second safeiq is safeiq deRabbanan lequla. (The Ra'a,. Bedeq haBayis, don't know exact citation.) The latter would make an argument for being lenient in a safeiq deOraisa for kavod haberi'os, but I just made it up now. No sources. And could have a flaw. Commented Jan 11 at 13:30
  • Oh, and R Shimon argues that when the rov isn't the majority of a set in front of you (e.g. 2 out of 3 pieces of meat are kosher) but a statistical majority (e.g. ,most people who shetcht cows in a way that looks kosher afterwards are expserts), the Rashba would agree that it is deRabbanan. (Unfortunately, I am in that stage of moving where the sefarim are still in boxes.) Commented Jan 11 at 13:40
  • Note Megila 3b Great is human dignity, as it overrides a prohibition in the Torah which Rashi explains refers to a Torah scholar not being obliged to pick up a lost object because of his dignity. Maharsha disagrees based on Brachot 19b saying this is an exception.
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 24 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


The Mishna Berura in 13:15 discusses a scenario in which the tzitzis of a tallis fall off while in public. In a case in which it is an issur doraisa he says:

אבל בחול שהוא עובר על איסור תורה בכל שעה דקום ועשה בו ציצית ואיסור תורה אפילו רק איסור דשב ואל תעשה כזה שהוא מונע א"ע ממצוה אין נדחה מפני כבוד הבריות אם לא בגנאי גדול ולכן אסור ללבוש הטלית גדול כשרואה שאין בו ציצית

But during the week, he is transgressing a Torah level prohibition at every moment [that he's wearing it] of "get up and make for yourself ציצית". And a Torah level prohibition, even just a prohibition of "sit and don't do" like this, where he is [passively] preventing himself from performing the mitzvah, is not overridden because of human dignity

In the Biur Halacha on that topic he discusses what would be the Halacha if they fell off in such a way that it would only be a safek doraisa, and rules that it would be permitted:

ונראה אם הם פסולים רק מטעם ספק כגון שלא חסר לו מכל השמונה חוטין רק שנים וכה"ג וכנ"ל סימן י"ב בודאי יש להקל דא"צ לפושטו בביהכ"נ אפילו בחול

It would seem from the simple reading of the Biur Halacha that a safek doraisa is indeed pushed aside for kavod habrios.

However, R’ Chaim Kanievski in שונה הלכות 13:4 explains that he really means to use a safek sfeika (by attaching another shita who also holds it’s ok). It would seem that R’ Chaim felt that a safek is not enough, and it would still be assur. Only two sefeikos would work.

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