If a person has a halachic שאלה and is in a situation where he cannot ask or find out the halacha (for example, he must decide what to do immediately, traveling with a dead phone), what should he do ?

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    learn before you wander into a desert? Dec 30, 2015 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


Some General Guidelines:

Safek pekuach nefesh - if the situation is possibly life-threatening, one should act to save a life.

Safek d'orayta l'chumrah - if it's a doubt about a d'oraysa, he should be stringent.

Safek Brachot l'hakel - if it's a doubt about saying a blessing (of Rabbinic origin), don't say it.

Shev v'al ta'aseh adif - if you're in a situation where you may transgress a prohibition (of equal severity) regardless of which course of action you choose, choose the passive action rather than risk actively violating a prohibition.

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    This is a very useful answer, but it would be a lot better if you provided at least one source for each of those principles.
    – Shimon bM
    Dec 30, 2015 at 23:37
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    +1. I would add than in life threatening issues, the Halacha is "choose life" Dec 31, 2015 at 11:51
  • @ShimonbM These are all general halachik principles, so I'm not sure what the original "source" would be. I'm happy if someone can find them.
    – LN6595
    Dec 31, 2015 at 16:19
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    I agree with @ShimonbM and would add that this answer would be much more valuable if it'd cite sources indicating that these principles, in particular, comprise a good short list of principles for people to keep in mind for operational purposes. Otherwise, even if you cite sources supporting each principle, individually, that doesn't mean that those sources would agree that the list is properly balanced, and not, perhaps, missing something crucial that would temper principles that are on the list.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 31, 2015 at 16:39
  • Note all the principles contradict each other if you aren't sure if you need to bentch after bread, but saying the blessings would trigger a sensor which would kill someone.
    – Double AA
    Dec 31, 2015 at 16:49

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