Whats the point of Sefarim who print Piskie Halacha and then they write not for Lemasshe-whats the point then?

  • You can hear R' Gil Student explain what he means, in his writings, by Lehalacha velo lema'aseh, in our Launch Party interview with him.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 18:33
  • 3
    This question would be stronger if you could edit in references and preferably links to a couple of examples of this phenomenon, perhaps including direct quotations of this phrase in contect.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 18:36
  • Fwiw the intro to Riv'vos Efrayim says this. (I happened to read it the other day, is all. It's certainly not unique.)
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 3:34
  • @msh210 Rav Kanievsky writes at the beginning if his seforim (Derech Emunah, etc.) more specifically that he isn't a posek Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 14:00
  • @msh210 ... most people assume the Mishnah Berurah is a final word in pre-WWII pesaq. However, according to the introduction and the text on the title page, it too was not written to be lemaaseh! And moreso, there are numerous things the Chafeitz Chaim did himself that followed Lithuanian norms over his own MB! (Side-note: It's now 24 Elul, the CC's yahrzeit. Zekhuso yagein aleinu!) Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


Lehagdil Torah u'leHadira

Usually they are written to delve into the issue more broadly without concern of taking responsibility for the halachic Psak that comes out of the discussion, this can than serve as a resource for further learning.

Furthermore, the author or the publisher desire to print a sefer from a specific Gadol and in order to entice the Gadol in allowing them to print do so under the condition that the sefer should not be taken as Halacha L'maaseh

for example many books put out featuring Divrei torah of Rav Chaim Kanievsky feature such a preface. Rav Chaim does not want people taking his words as a psak without proper understanding of their context.

  • judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/56251/… Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 14:01
  • @Matt other books that quote his divrei Torah do feature such prefaces Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 14:33
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    You mean the dozens of one-line question and answer books? I didn't think anyone actually read them... I wonder if anyone's asked him whether or not he's a posek and why (not) Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 14:35
  • People do read it there popluar here in E'Y Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 14:36
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    Yeah I also know people who own them... So many of them sound like jokes or are otherwise ridiculous... My rebbeim (from E"Y), one of whom was close with Rav Kanievsky for a bit, hate them... Really my assumption that no one reads them is wishful thinking Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 14:39

The gemara in many places differentiates between a theory of what the law should be, and an instruction of how to proceed. The former is called Halacha, the latter, Hora'ah or Maaseh Rav. Here is an excerpt from Bava Basra 130b.

א''ר זריקא א''ר אמי א''ר חנינא אמר רבי הלכה כר' יוחנן בן ברוקה אמר ליה ר' אבא הורה איתמר במאי קמיפלגי מר סבר הלכה עדיפא ומר סבר מעשה רב תנו רבנן אין למדין הלכה לא מפי למוד ולא מפי מעשה עד שיאמרו לו הלכה למעשה שאל ואמרו לו הלכה למעשה ילך ויעשה מעשה ובלבד שלא ידמה מאי ובלבד שלא ידמה והא כל התורה כולה דמויי מדמינן לה אמר רב אשי הכי קאמר ובלבד שלא ידמה בטרפות דתניא אין אומרים בטרפות זו דומה לזו ואל תתמה שהרי חותכה מכאן ומתה חותכה מכאן וחיתה א''ל ר' אסי לר' יוחנן כי אמר לן מר הלכה הכי נעביד מעשה אמר לא תעבידו עד דאמינא הלכה למעשה אמר להו רבא לרב פפא ולרב הונא בריה דרב יהושע כי אתי פסקא דדינא דידי לקמייכו וחזיתו ביה פירכא לא תקרעוהו עד דאתיתו לקמאי אי אית לי טעמא אמינא לכו ואי לא הדרנא בי לאחר מיתה לא מיקרע תקרעוהו ומגמר נמי לא תגמרו מיניה לא מיקרע תקרעיניה דאי הואי התם דלמא הוה אמינא לכו טעמא

Each approach has its own validity and purpose. There are quite a few interesting Rashbams there, and cross references to other sugyas with Rashi.

But Halacha v'lo limaaseh definitely has it's benefits. One simple benefit is the ability to delve into a given subject to it's deepest understanding, without being distracted by extenuating circumstances of a specific case which would impact the outcome.

The introduction to the Igros Moshe also addresses this, he too did not want that work to be used as a 'Halcha Limaaseh' work to look up rulings, but rather wanted the reader to get a better understanding of the issues at hand and use the information to properly rule in their particular situation.

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