We see in the halacha many times that when we have a dispute if something is permitted or not and we pasken that it is not permitted, the halacha changes when there is a big loss.

I understand it intuitively, but is there a halachic definition of hefsed merube?

What is the source of it?

When do we apply it?

One example is in Jore Dea siman 69. There the Rema holds that if someone salted raw meat without washing it before, the meat is not kosher. When there is a hefsed merube you may wash it and salt it again.

  • That's when there are two shittos,one allows and one disallows we pasken lechumra,but in a hefesed merubah we rely on the meikal or with tzirufim of other shittos,
    – sam
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:18
  • @sam No, that's not true. See the asnwer.
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2015 at 16:11
  • I saw the answer ,in hilchos melicha there are cases where it would be allowed in a hefsed meruba in the shach or Taz usually going with tzirufim,if I rem correctly, or maybe it was even in a non hefsed meruba do not rem 100%
    – sam
    Jan 22, 2015 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


Although he claims he didn't invent it, the Ramma was the one who popularized hephsed meruba, so I will quote what he has to say about it, found in his forward to Toras Chatas. This is my rough translation of dibur hamaschil והנה.

And behold I will save myself in one respect so that the reader will not suspect me. For sometimes I will write to be lenient for a large loss or a poor man for an important item, or for the honor of Shabbos. The reasoning is for in those places it seems to me to be completely allowed according to halakha. However, the later authorities were stringent on the matter, I therefore wrote that in a situation of impossibility, we can place the matter on it's law. And so I have found in the early ones and later ones who have done this. The Mahari Minz in his responsa #16 that a poor man throughout the week and a rich man on the eve of shabbos are the same, however, the custom is to tell them the reason (of the leniency) this one because he is poor and this one for the honor of shabbos, so they will not be confounded that at times I disallow and at times I allow.

I would like to point out that this is very different than what many people think hephsed meruba means. They equate it with what is classically called ra'uy lismoch alav bishaas hadchak. Which means we disagree with that opinion but since he is a great rabbi, his opinion is worth something as a halakhic decision. This is hardly ever used in classic codified halakhic works. What the Ramma describes as hephsed meruba is the exact opposite. An opinion who we agree with, but for whatever reason decided not to rule with lichatchila.

  • 1
    I was in the middle of writting more or less the same thing. In the spirit of the Ram'o, I'll burn what I wrote, and just added some sources to yours. Also worth pointing out that the reason why financial loss matters is from the verse as expounded in the Mishna of Negaim.
    – Yishai
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:31
  • @Yishai kisheim shekibalta schar al hadrisha.....(You always win these races anyways). As a side point you mention to burn your version, someone told me recently his original darkei moshe that he scrapped due to the beis yosef us what we have as darkei moshe haaruch. Ever hear that?
    – user6591
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:37
  • What I heard is that he was writing a Kitzur on his Darchei Moshe that would have essentially looked like the Shulchan Aruch in structure. So Darkei Moshe = Beis Yosef, what he burned = Shulchan Aruch, and then he wrote the glosses instead. I did hear that he stopped writing as long when he saw the Beis Yosef, hence the interuption of the "haharuch".
    – Yishai
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:40
  • @Yishai I've heard that too. This was new to me. I think both theories are hard to swallow considering how different The b.y. and d.m. are.
    – user6591
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:47

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