web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Following The Majority

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha

Tradition has it that a bat kol declared that we follow Beit Hillel’s rulings over those of Beit Shammai.

Tosafot (Eruvin 6b) note that more people belonged to Beit Hillel than Beit Shammai and therefore the halacha should have followed Beit Hillel based on the rule that we follow the majority opinion (“acharei rabim l’hatot”). What, then, was the purpose of the bat kol? Tosafot suggest that the bat kol taught that the halacha follows Beit Hillel despite the fact that Beit Shammai was sharper and more intellectually agile than Beit Hillel.

Not only does the halacha not follow Beit Shammai, but it seems that ruling like Beit Shammai is actually assur. Berachot 10b states that Rav Tarfon even deserved to be punished for ruling like Beit Shammai.

This Gemara seems strange, though. To apply its reasoning to modern times: The majority of poskim often disagree with the rulings of the Vilna Goan or Rabbi Akiva Eiger, for example, but no one would ever say that a posek deserves to be punished for ruling like these two great rabbinic figures.

The Chatan Sofer (Chatan Torah, P’ticha l’shitat Rov, p.2) notes that majority opinions are not necessarily correct. Indeed, a minority opinion can be more logical and sharper than a majority opinion. Yet, the bat kol in the case of Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai declared that the halacha follows Beit Hillel irregardless and the opinion of Beit Shammai is considered meaningless – “k’man deleisa.” Does that mean that the minority opinions of the Vilna Gaon are also “meaningless”?

One theory (Get Pashut, Kuntras Haklalim 20) maintains that the rule that we follow the majority opinion – even when the minority opinion is offered by a sharper mind – only applies to cases where the two parties talk to one another and hear each other’s arguments. When both opinions, however, are just found in books, one need not follow the majority opinion since the party with the majority opinion might have changed its ruling had it heard the other side’s reasoning.

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Following The Majority”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
landingt Schedule Aug 21 2014
Live Update: Despite Hamas Threats, Planes Landing at B-G Airport (Last Update: 8:01am)
Latest Judaism Stories
Azrielli Tower - Shema Yisrael

A bit of (non-Jewish) history can help us understand this week’s Torah portion: In the early 1500s, the Catholic church was being fundamentally challenged by movements which claimed it had monopolized religious power and used to enrich the church and its officials. The most radical of these movements were a particular sect of Anabaptists. Anabaptists […]

Leff-081514

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

Business-Halacha-logo

“Guess what?” Benzion exclaimed when he returned home. “I just won an identical Mishnah Berurah in the avos u’banim raffle.”

The-Shmuz

While it’s clear to you and to me that a 14,000-pound creature can easily break away from the light ropes holding it, the reality is that it cannot.

An Outcast
‘He Shall Dwell Outside His Tent’
(Moed Katan 7b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate.

“But they told me to come in today,” she said. They gave me this date months ago. It’s not my fault if it’s the wrong day.”

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

Blind obedience is not a virtue in Judaism. God wants us to understand the laws He has commanded us

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Israel is the only place where we have the potential to fulfill our mandate as the chosen people.

The innkeeper smiled and replied, “Why do you think we are dancing? We are dancing because G-d destroyed the Bais HaMikdash!”

One of the manifestations of the immature person is a sense of entitlement.

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-080814-Sign

Is God apologizing for taking away my Father? Is God telling me that He is sorry?

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Question: At Birkat Kohanim, who says the phrase, “Am k’doshecha ka’amur”?

Question: How can one determine whether someone is a true disciple of a rav, Rebbe, or rosh yeshiva?

Question: Does halacha agree with the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade permitting women to have abortions?

Question: When someone puts on a talit to lead services, should he recite a berachah?

Question: A number of synagogues feature bar mitzvah celebrations for elderly Jews. Is this proper?

Hashem understood their complaint and therefore selected the ritual mitzvah of sukkah to test them.

Question: Why is Shavuot celebrated as a two-day Yom Tov?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/following-the-majority/2013/05/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: