14 votes
Accepted

Rav vs. Rabbi in Talmudic Times

The term "rabbi" means that the person received semikha (not to be confused with the modern form of semikha which is different). There was no semikha in Bavel, so none of the amoraim who lived there ...
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  • 24.4k
11 votes

What is the difference between Maharat and Yoetzet Halacha?

A Yo'etzet Halakhah is there to answer questions that are going unasked because some women are understandably embarrassed to raise them with a male rabbi. They can also find answers that wouldn't ...
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  • 8,740
11 votes

Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

I recently wrote an article for Torah Musings that focuses on a part of the answer that hasn't been focused on yet. "What does Mesorah Mean?" http://www.torahmusings.com/2015/08/what-does-masorah-mean ...
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  • 8,740
10 votes

Am I allowed to answer my friend's Halacha question?

These Halachot are well documented. In the Rambam הלכות תלמוד תורה פרק ה Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah סימן רמב - שלא להורות בפני הרב, ודין רב שמחל על כבודו Let's review some of the pertinent Halachot: ...
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10 votes

How to get an urgent answer if your local rabbi isn't reachable

The best option is probably the Beis Din of your own community; see if they are reachable by phone; they may well be. That said, someone I sort of know has experience with the following hotlines in ...
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  • 19.3k
8 votes

Can a person decide the Halacha (pasken) for him\herself?

The Rambam (Talmud Torah 5:4) citing the gemara Horios writes כל תלמיד שלא הגיע להוראה ומורה הרי זה רשע שוטה וגס הרוח. ועליו נאמר כי רבים חללים הפילה Any student who did not reach the level of ...
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  • 7,440
8 votes

Earning semichah with just a test

Just knowing a lot of halacha does not make someone capable of being a posek. A posek is someone who is not just familiar with the Psak Halacha in the Shulchan Aruch or the Mishna Brerura, but it is ...
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7 votes

Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

1) a convincing argument doesn't make the conclusion the correct option 2)your local rabbi is important because of community standards. there are some halachic questions by which one should not ...
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  • 311
7 votes

Is one allowed to be Machmir against a psak?

Rabbi Eliezer spent the latter years of his life in Cheirem because he refused to accept a "majority" opinion that disagreed with his own. In case you think that is doesn't apply to be "strict on ...
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  • 3,008
6 votes

In the days of the Sanhedrin, was one able to hold of his own opinion in private?

The Sefer HaChinuch says something which I believe addresses this question in two places. Mitzvah 78 - אחרי רבים להטות משרשי מצוה זו, שנצטוינו בזה לחזק קיום דתנו, שאלו נצטוינו קימו התורה כאשר ...
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6 votes
Accepted

When did we start to be machmir?

This is an oversimplification, but the question is also very general. I will preface with another two questions. Why is it that if someone rules according to Beis Shamai, or for that matter any ...
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  • 32.3k
6 votes

How to answer practical questions on the street

In my current and previous workplaces I have been the only visibly practicing Jew, and I got (and get) questions fairly often. Now my coworkers, unlike your people on the street, aren't asking me to ...
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6 votes

Is it permissible to listen to a Rabbi instead of a doctor?

The Maharik as well as the Shevus Yaakov bring the Gemara in Niddah to prove that, on the contrary, Chazal would rely on the doctor's prognosis even in cases of potential Kares. Indeed, as the Rambam ...
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  • 4,263
6 votes
Accepted

Rabbi's liability for giving a wrong psak

There are a lot of details about this depending exactly what kind of mistake it was and who was harmed how and how easy it is to get the money back if possible. See Shulchan Arukh, Choshen Mishpat 25. ...
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  • 95.6k
6 votes
Accepted

Asking Am Haaretz and doing opposite

There is a well-known expression in the world of the yeshivot: דעת בעלי בתים היא היפך דעת תורה The view of laymen is the opposite of the view of the Torah. This is often sourced to a ...
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  • 38.5k
5 votes

Do any poskim recommend giving a conditional divorce?

I doubt you would find any Halachic authorities who recommend giving a conditional Get. The reason being that after giving such a Get, he may not seclude himself with his wife. If he did seclude ...
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5 votes

Can a person decide the Halacha (pasken) for him\herself?

According to the Alter Rebbe of Lubavitch, this the Machlokes between the Rambam and others (primarily the Rosh). He explains this in Kuntres Achron to Hichlchos Talmud Torah. According to the Rambam,...
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  • 31.4k
5 votes

Why do different halachic authorities arrive at conflicting rulings?

Besides for the difference in applying identical methodologies detailed by @y.lub there are also differing methodologies used. For example, Rambam relied heavily on the Talmud Yerushalmi while most ...
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  • 34.9k
5 votes
Accepted

How much weight must we give to the Council of Sages opinions

@Micha Berger suggested to differentiate between (1) the need to get our halachic rulings from "the Gedolim" and (2) how much are we expected to listen to them beyond the domain of actual halachic ...
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  • 43.7k
5 votes
Accepted

What's the procedure for seeking a psak?

Since many times a psak, a Jewish legal decision, is dependent upon your local circumstances, it is best to initially seek out a local, qualified Orthodox Rabbi. Without knowing your specific ...
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  • 12.4k
5 votes

Retroactive psak and conversions

Revised psak can be three different things. 1) A Rabbi or Beis din, realizes they made a big mistake. (certain pigs are kosher ... ooops! wrong) So after the psak (legal decision) is issued (example:...
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  • 10.4k
5 votes
Accepted

Origin of mesora for halachos covered in Seder Zeraim

Rambam, the most prolific rishonic author of laws of Zeraim, writes as follows in his introduction to Mishneh Torah: ומשני הגמרות ומן התוספתות ומספרא וספרי (ומן התוספות) מכולם יתבאר האסור והמותר הטמא ...
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  • 48k
4 votes

What did a "don't-issue-rulings" semicha (ordination) look like?

I think that the source of this concept - a Semicha with a caveat - is in the Yerushalmi Chagiga Perek 1 Halacha 8 (Daf 7a Vilna edition). First it dsicusses that one can give a limited Semicha, then ...
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4 votes

Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?

Reflecting on the essence of this question, it is broken into three parts. 1) "Why is it necessary to ask a Rabbi?" 2) Why is there concern that someone may substitute the information found on this ...
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  • 12.4k
4 votes

Halachah: What's the difference between this site and looking up a question in a book?

Unless the rabbi you ask your questions to is one of the higher-tier rabbis, you are likely not receiving any original information. When you ask him if something is permissible or prohibited he is ...
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  • 48k
4 votes
Accepted

How does "getting a heter" work?

It really depends on the question and severity of the issue at hand ie. Shaas hadchak, money considerations, mental health. But generally, big questions such as medical issues, end of life issues etc. ...
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4 votes

Are Yoetzet Halacha permitted according to halacha?

R Binyamin Tabadi (in the context of a question whether women can be poskei halacha) brings a few sources showing women have been ruling on halachic decisions in the past (in the sense of applying ...
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  • 43.7k
4 votes

Audio Recording on Shabbat/Yom Tov

Recording on shabbat is linked to use of microphones on Shabbat (since you require microphones to record). It might be in this context that you heard R Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (RSZA) being quoted since ...
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  • 43.7k

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