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Sometimes when I get a life dilemma I wonder if it's something I should be asking my rabbi or decide on my own.

When it's a matter of Torah and Judaism then it's fairly clear that the rabbi should be consulted but with secular things such as picking one of two jobs or medical issues, does a rabbi need to be bothered and taken away from his busy schedule?

  • Why would you think you should bother the rabbi about every little detail of your life? – Scimonster Apr 23 '15 at 12:36
  • @Scimonster, the question asks for a guideline to know which details are too little to bother the rabbi with and which are worthy of being consulted about. – Ani Yodea Apr 23 '15 at 12:38
  • @Scimonster, "life dilemma" is not the same as "every little detail" – Ani Yodea Apr 23 '15 at 12:39
  • Can the rabbi help? If so, he'd probably be happy to do so. Bothering him when he can't help is probably a waste of everyone's time, though. – Double AA Apr 23 '15 at 13:46
  • @DoubleAA, wouldn't it require one to have telepathic capabilities to know that? – Ani Yodea Apr 23 '15 at 16:38
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See this book starting on p. 24. He has some interesting perspectives on the importance and function of the Rav as a means of explaining Pirkei Avot 1:6 and 1:16 which both have the same expression עשה לך רכ - "make for yourself a rabbi". In particular, see footnote 6, as there are a variety of interpretations on these two. There are opinions stating that since your Rav is also your mentor in life, you should feel free to ask him about major life decisions such as the ones that you mentioned.

For years, strangers went to Rav Feinstein and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, among others. It is well-known that both of them advised thousands of people on all types of life decisions, not just halachic opinions. Undoubtedly, among these people were numerous local "yokels" for whom these two were their personal Rav. I have no doubt, that these locals asked their rav person "secular" questions, as well.

Granted, your rav may not be on the caliber as these greats; perhaps, he is, proportionately. The point is, that there is certainly a precedent to ask a rav about non-halachic matters. Often, there isa cross-over. For example, when considering taking a job, esp. one in another city, your Rav might know people there; recommend a shul, colleague, connections, or may advise not to go there because there are no Jewish resources. Would you, necessarily know all this, yourself? What if you had made your own decision and discovered you're in a non-Jewish city, and you're uncomfortable? If you had only asked your rav that question before you took the job!

Granted, I wouldn't bother the rav with a "trivial" secular question like "Which brand of chrein causes the lightest stain?" (Like that rhyme??) But a good rav is and should not be "too busy" to answer any important "life" question such as the two that you mentioned.

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The answer really is it depends on the rabbi! I get the impression that rabbonim today are asked more non halachic shaalos than halachic ones.

I also believe one should always also use your own judgement. For instance in naming a child, it is written that the parents have the ruach hakodesh to give the 'right' name for him/her. Usually one in the family. Giving the name of a deceased rabbi is a modern minhag. The chasam sofer did not call any of his children nosson although his rebbe Rabbi N Adler had no children.

  • The medrash says that the doros Harishonim jag reach hakodesh. But nowadays we don't so instead one should name after family. – Shoel U'Meishiv May 31 '15 at 19:43
  • In this matter they have ruach hakodesh or somthing similar. It must be a 'beer mayim chaim' in braishis @Mefaresh – cham May 31 '15 at 21:00
  • "in this matter" ie naming the child is what the medrash is taking about – Shoel U'Meishiv May 31 '15 at 21:01
  • see likutai maarich third chelek page 126b who brings it. @Mefaresh – cham May 31 '15 at 21:31
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I once asked Rabbi Pinchas Sheinberg zt'l about a complicated question of whether to stay in israel or go back to the USA.

I presented what I thought were the many complicated factors in the question. But he stopped me smiled and said "ruchnius! you have to find out what's going to be better for your ruchnius (spiritual growth)".

I said "many going back to the usa is better?"

He replied "ein hachi nami (could be) that's what you have to figure out".

so according to this, if it's a question which touches on spiritual matters, it is good to ask a Rav.

Now there's a story about Rabbi Yisrael Salanter who when he first got married told his wife, you take of physical matters in the home and I take care of spiritual matters. Afterwards, though he found out that almost all matters in the home touch on the spiritual.

BTW, This is often the problem between the Rav of a community and the baalei batim. the Rav sees the spiritual problems/advantages which will come from this or that while the baalei batim tend to see it from a different perspective.

so to answer the question, yes. by all means consult with a Rav such questions as picking different jobs (the bigger the rav the better). There are many factors which have implications for your ruchnius that you may not notice. A good Rav can see with foresight where these paths may lead you.

  • I don't understand how these stories prove anything? You asked a rabbi about a secular question, and therefore everyone should? – Double AA Apr 26 '15 at 19:16
  • my point is many secular questions touch on spiritual matters. especially as the OP asked on picking one of two jobs. could be one job leads to certain halachic or kedusha problems for example – ray Apr 27 '15 at 5:54

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