web analytics
March 1, 2015 / 10 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Hamas terrorists manage  to find their way to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as well.
Egypt Formally Designates Hamas as Terrorist Entity
Latest Judaism Stories
Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Winiarz-022715-Kids

Does Hashem ever go away and not pay attention to us?

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In other words, the Torah is an expression of the Way that we must follow in order to live a divine-like life and to bond in the highest way possible with God or Being Itself.

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as when the fatal act was unintentional, Kam Lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

Forever After?
‘Obligated for Challahh and Not Terumah’
(Kesubos 25a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“We really appreciate your efforts in straightening the shul,” said Mr. Reiss. “How is it going?”

This was a spontaneous act of rest after the miracle of vanquishing their respective foes. The following year they celebrated on the same days as a minhag.

The way we must to relate to our young adult children is to communicate with genuine loving-kindness

Jewish prayer is a convergence of 2 modes of biblical spirituality, exemplified by Moses and Aaron

In holy places it’s important to maintain a level of silence permitting people to dialogue with God

Eventually, after some trial and error, including an experience with a prima donna and one with a thief, I baruch Hashem ultimately found a fine, honest and reliable household helper.

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Once this took place, no Beit Din could annul its practice but for an entirely different reason. A minhag accepted by klal Yisrael becomes an obligation that must be practiced.

Cohen-080814-Sign

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

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.

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: