web analytics
September 15, 2014 / 20 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Resolving Halachic Dilemmas


Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha

Question: Who should resolve halachic dilemmas?

Response: The Talmud (Ta’anit 23) relates that in his older years, Choni HaMagal entered a Beit Midrash after an absence of many, many years. He heard the rabbis present complaining that they lacked the clarity in their studies that they had when Choni was with them and answered all their questions. Upon hearing this complaint, Choni announced, “I’m Choni, I’m still here.” Because he had been away for so long, however, the rabbis did not believe him, and Choni left disheartened and depressed.

Rav Chaim Shmuelovitz, zt”l, the late rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Mir in Yerushalayim, posed the following astute question:  What makes a person into a gadol hador, a “great man of his generation”? Isn’t it his vast knowledge of Torah? If yes, why didn’t Choni tell the rabbis to test him so that they could see that he could answer questions just as well as he could in the past? They also, thereby, would learn that he was indeed Choni?

Rav Chaim answers that a gaon from a previous generation cannot rule on contemporary problems and should not be asked about them. Only the great rabbis of one’s own era can rule on such matters. The fact that Choni was away for a long period meant that new leaders (and poskim) had emerged who had the authority to decide contemporary issues and to whom the rabbis owed allegiance. (See Sichot Musar Sh’nat 5731, Ma’amar 19.)

This response, however, needs clarification. Indeed, some may maintain that, just the opposite, it is preferable to seek a scholar from a past generation to resolve contemporary issues. Even should one agree with Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, the rationale as to why it is wrong to ask questions of rabbis of a previous generation must be analyzed. Is it due to the fact that they lack complete understanding of contemporary problems? Or is it due to the mandate to listen to one’s own rabbis?

 

Rabbi Cohen, a recipient of the prestigious “Jerusalem Prize,” is the author of several books on Jewish law. His latest, “Shabbat The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemmas” (Urim Publications), is available at Judaica stores and at Amazon .com.

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 “Resolving Halachic Dilemmas”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Section of the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial, just one of several Jewish sites and institutions struck by anti-Semitic vandalism in 2014.
Swastikas Again in Series of Philadelphia Attacks of Anti-Semitism
Latest Judaism Stories
15th century Book of the Torah

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

Leff-091214

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

How can the Torah expect me today, thousands of years after the mitzvahs were given, to view each mitzvah as if I’m fulfilling it for the first time?

Torah isn’t a theological treatise or a metaphysical system but a series of stories linked over time

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

An Astonishing Miracle
‘Why Bring the Infants to Hakhel?’
(Chagigah 3a)

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

e are in a time of serious crisis and must go beyond our present levels of chesed.

According to Ibn Ezra, the Torah was stressing through this covenant that hypocrisy was forbidden.

“Tony said that the code in most places in the U.S. is at least 36 inches for a residential guardrail,” replied Mr. Braun. “Some make it higher, 42, or even 52 inches for high porches. What is the required height according to halacha?”

Simcha is total; sahs is God’s joy in protecting us even when we are most vulnerable.

Not only do we accept You as our King, it is our greatest desire that the name of Your Kingdom be spread throughout the entire universe.

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?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/resolving-halachic-dilemmas/2011/12/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: