web analytics
October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Aerial view of Yemenite Village of HaShiloach, Old City of Jerusalem and Mt. of Olives.
Jews to Double Presence in Old Yemenite Village of Shiloach, Silwan
Latest Judaism Stories
God-and the world

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Questions-Answers-logo

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

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Business-Halacha-logo

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

Rabbi Fohrman:” Great evils are often wrought by those who are blithely unaware of the power they wield.”

The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.

The Torah emphasizes the joy of Sukkot, for after a season of labor, we celebrate our prosperity.

The encounter with the timeless stability of the divine occurs within the Sukkot.

Hashem created all human beings and it should sadden us when Hashem, their Father, does not see nachas from them.

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: