web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Rov Or Chazakah: Which Is Better?


Red Heifer

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Share Button

The beginning of this week’s parshah discusses the halachos of a parah adumah (red heifer). The red cow is shechted and burnt, and its ashes are sprinkled on one who is tamei meis. The individual thereby becomes pure.

The Gemara in Chullin 11a asks: Where in the Torah is the source for the halacha that one may follow a majority found in nature or tendencies (ruba d’lessa kaman). One answer that the Gemara suggests is that it is derived from the parah adumah. The Gemara explains that the pasuk says, “veshachat vesaraf – and you shall slaughter and burn it,” from which we learn that just as a cow must be whole and intact when it is slaughtered, so too the cow must be whole and intact when it is burnt. The Gemara says that since the Torah refers to the parah adumah as a chatas, it must not be a traifa. The Gemara asks: How can we be certain that the cow is not a traifa, since if it must be intact we cannot check its insides to determine whether it is a traifa. This is proof that the Torah intended for us to rely on the fact that the majority of cows are not traifes.

Tosafos (Chullin 11a, d”h minah) quotes from the ba’alei Tosafos Rabbeinu Chaim that we learn from parah adumah another halacha concerning following a majority (rov). He says that we draw from this that in a situation where there is a rov and a chazakah that states the opposite, we follow the rov. This is known as ruba v’chazakah, ruba adif. We see this because there is a chazakah here that stands against the rov, yet the Gemara says we follow the rov. The chazakah is that the individual was certainly tamei prior to the sprinkling of the ashes, but now a doubt arises as to whether the cow was a traifa and fit to be a parah adumah. The chazakah of the person indicates that he should remain in his current status, namely to remain tamei. However, since there is a rov that says that the animal is not a traifa, we follow the rov – and the person is tahor.

Tosafos uses the opinion of Rabbeinu Chaim to answer the following question (after a quick review) that he has on the Gemara: The Gemara asked for the Torah source on the issue of following a rov. Tosafos asks why the Gemara did not derive this from the pasuk that teaches us that we may follow a chazakah? Since ruba v’chazakah, ruba adif indicates that a rov is better than a chazakah we certainly may follow a rov. Tosafos at first answers that according to one opinion in the Gemara, we do not obtain the halacha that we may follow a chazakah from a pasuk. So in his view the Gemara is asking what the source is for the halacha that we may follow a rov.

Tosafos then says that according to Rabbeinu Chaim the question does not apply. This is because according to Rabbeinu Chaim we do not logically know that a rov is better than a chazakah; rather, we only know it after we learn from the pasuk that we can follow a rov. Therefore the Gemara is justified when asking what the source for following a rov is, even if we know the source for the halacha that we may follow a chazakah. This is so because we do not know that a rov is better than a chazakah until we know that we can follow a rov.

It seems clear to me that the two answers in Tosafos disagree as to whether the rule that we follow a rov over a chazakah is based on logic or if it is a divine decree that exists out of logic. The explanation in logic as to why we would follow a rov over a chazakah is because the two halachos work entirely differently. A rov is a tool that can be used to clarify the unknown. For example, in the case of whether the animal is a traifa, the rov can clarify that it is not a traifa. Chazakah, on the other hand, is not a clarifying tool but rather states that things must remain in place until we know for certain that they have changed. The Torah only said that we should rely on a chazakah when we do not know how to determine the unknown. But where a clarifying tool is available, i.e. a rov, we know the unknown and have no need to remain in the status quo. This is what Tosafos held in his question and first answer, when he said that the Gemara is only asking based on the view of the one who said that there is no pasuk from which we derive the halacha that we may follow a chazakah. Tosafos held that this logic dictates that a rov is better; thus if there was a pasuk to teach us that we may follow a chazakah, we would then be able to conclude that we can certainly follow a rov.

Rabbeinu Chaim believes, though, that it is not based on logic (that a rov is better than a chazakah). Rather, he says, it must be drawn from a pasuk. This view permits us to explain that both rov and chazakah are halachik tools, and that without the Torah dictating which is stronger we would not know to follow the rov.

For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.

Share Button

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Rov Or Chazakah: Which Is Better?”

  1. Jesus shed his blood for us so we would not have to sacrifice animals to please G0D, Jesus sacrificed his life for us and we are saved by his blood and stripes on his back. God Bless America and Israel. Deliver us from the criminals running our country and let us return to the CONSTITUTION as our only way of Governing the country. It has worked successfully for over 220 years, SOCIALISM and Communism has never worked in any country it has been forced on. Return our country to God, eliminate all of OBAMA’S decrees because he is not a King or a Dictator. AMERICA WAKE UP AND VOTE THIS COMMUNIST?SOCIALIST out of office, then he should be prosecuted for FRAUD and Corruption. GOD HELP US ALL!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Blue Valley High School, Overland Park, Kansas, the school attended by 14-year-old shooting victim Reat Griffin Underwood.
Kansas Shooting Suspect a White Supremacist, Indicted for Murder
Latest Judaism Stories

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

Haggadah used at the Passover Seder

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

Rabbi Sacks

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Marror is the reliving of the bitter enslavement and matzah is the under-eighteen-minutes redemption.

Rabbi David Bar-Hayim argues it is time for Ashkenazim to abandon the prohibition against Kitnyot. What do you think?

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

One difference between Bnei Yisrael and Bnei Noach is that shiurim only apply to Bnei Yisrael.

The Gemara, in Kiddushin 57b, searches for a source to confirm that the bird that is to be set free is permitted to be eaten after the process is concluded.

The Gemara (Niddah 31b) states that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was asked why a woman who gives birth must bring a korban.

The Ritvah understands that the kosher signs are not just “signs” indicating that a fish is kosher; rather, they are what actually render the fish kosher. This may also be applied to the kosher signs of an animal, but the Ritvah does not indicate this.

If a korban chatas cannot be brought as a nedavah, how can one read the parshah of the korban chatas if he is not certain that he is obligated to bring one?

Following the Minchah (afternoon) service, led by the Vyelipoler Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Frankel, rally participants recited several passages of Tehillim.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/rov-or-chazakah-which-is-better/2012/06/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: