If you ask two rabbis the same question and they give you opposite answers (one says mutar the other says assur). Which do you listen to?

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    Consider: ת"ר הנשאל לחכם וטימא לא ישאל לחכם ויטהר לחכם ואסר לא ישאל לחכם ויתיר היו שנים אחד מטמא ואחד מטהר אחד אוסר ואחד מתיר אם היה אחד מהם גדול מחבירו בחכמה ובמנין הלך אחריו ואם לאו הלך אחר המחמיר ר' יהושע בן קרחה אומר בשל תורה הלך אחר המחמיר בשל סופרים הלך אחר המיקל א"ר יוסף הלכתא כרבי יהושע בן קרחה Bavli AZ 7a
    – Double AA
    Dec 10, 2015 at 2:06
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    related judaism.stackexchange.com/a/29148/759
    – Double AA
    Dec 10, 2015 at 2:07
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Ani Yodea, the point of comments that ask for clarification is not so you can answer those questions in comments but only so you can edit that clarification into the post.
    – msh210
    Dec 16, 2015 at 18:13
  • Asking two rabbis the same question seems to me that you ask one, dislike his answer, and ask another. To me it seems like a little kid asking mom first, and, when she doesn't give him the answer he wanted, he asks dad.
    – ezra
    Sep 2, 2018 at 16:34

3 Answers 3


The gemara in Niddah 20b suggests it is forbidden to ask a second rav once a first has ruled on an issue (so as not to detract from the honor of the first one). Others (based on Tosfot) read it to mean the second rav should not answer the question once he knows a first rav has ruled on it.

A sage that declared something tamei, his colleague is not permitted to declare it tahor. Similary, if a sage forbade something, his colleague is not allowed to permit it. (translation: artscroll)

As @DoubleAA notes in comments, another gemara (Avoda Zara 7a) is even more explicit

The Sages taught: In the case of one who asks a question of a Sage with regard to an issue of ritual impurity and the Sage rules that the item is impure, he may not ask the same question of another Sage and have him rule that it is pure. Similarly, in the case of one who asks a Sage a halakhic question and he deems it forbidden, he may not ask the question of another Sage and have him deem it permitted.

In a situation where there were two Sages sitting together and one deems an item impure and the other one deems it pure, or if one deems it prohibited and the other one deems it permitted, the questioner should proceed as follows: If one of the Sages was superior to the other in wisdom and in number, one should follow his ruling, and if not, he should follow the one who rules stringently. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa says: If the uncertainty exists with regard to a Torah law, follow the one who rules stringently; if it exists with regard to a rabbinic law, follow the one who rules leniently. Rav Yosef said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa.

(see also MT Hilchot Mamrim 1:5 - thanks @DonielF)

Rav Binyamin Tabadi ruled that this was only the case if the first rav is a recognized talmid hakham who knows how to posek halacha, and not just someone who consulted a book. In practice and after the fact, if the second rav bases his psak on the writings of a major recognized posek, it is possible to rely on this instead of the first rav.

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    Why was this downvoted? This is the correct answer.
    – DonielF
    Sep 2, 2018 at 13:24

To your distinct one. Make yourself a Rabbi so you won't be in doubts.

"Rabban Gamliel would say: Assume for yourself a master; stay away from doubt; and do not accustom yourself to tithe by estimation." (Quoted from Avos, chapter 1:16)


You would prefer listen to the Rabbi of the place (מרא דאתרא)

Exemple of the concept in talmud

במקומו של רבי אליעזר היו כורתין עצים לעשות פחמין לעשות ברזל בשבת (על מנת להכין איזמל לברית מילה) במקומו של רבי יוסי הגלילי היו אוכלין בשר עוף בחלב. – מסכת שבת קל,א

Nowaday this concept is also why ashkenazes follow ashkenaze rabbis, and so on for sepharad etc, so mara de-atra is not just defined as the rabbi next your street, that's a whole concept itself

  • How do you know in any of those cases in the Talmud that they asked multiple people?
    – Double AA
    Dec 21, 2015 at 14:07
  • I don't think that is what he is saying. He is pointing to the concept that when asking a sha'alah, one should get the decision from the local Posek (מרא דאתרא) as opposed to someone unfamiliar with the local circumstances. It's a valid point but not really answering the OP's question which seems to be more about the subject of shopping a sha'alah for the response you want to hear. Dec 21, 2015 at 16:30

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