[Avodah] Kitniyot

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Fri Mar 22 12:57:38 PDT 2013

On Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 02:33:38PM -0500, Lisa Liel wrote:
> On 3/22/2013 7:50 AM, Kenneth Miller wrote:
>> But even so, he is in the minority, isn't he? Are there ANY major nosei
>> keilim or acharonim or poskim who advocate the wholesale abandonment of
>> this minhag, for Ashkenazim?

> Certainly.  But if he brings sources and they don't, it doesn't matter.   
> A daat yachid with sources backing him is preferable to a rov that  
> simply dismisses the issue.

I disagree. See my most recent blog post
The topic is the implications of the difference between a legislative
process and a fact-finding one, including the need to think in terms
of what gives a ruling authority, not what makes the most sense from
a historical or scientific perspective.

    Actually, there are many halachic rules based on who said
    it. Following Beis Hillel over Beis Shammai. Obeying the majority rule
    in a Sanhedrin. The Shulchan Arukh, in general, follows the majority
    of the Rif, the Rambam and the Tur -- not the ruling he finds most
    reasonable. The Rambam, in the introduction to his Mishneh Torah,
    sources the gemara's authority in the fact that its rulings spread
    across the observant community -- not because of the power of its
    arguments. And similarly of later rabbis, and the local communities
    they led.
    Because the Rambam is thought of as our tradition's arch-rationalist
    (a title Rav Saadia Geon or the Ralbag are also in the running for),
    I'm going to quote the words of the introduction to reinforce the
    point that even our rationalists understood that halakhah requires
    working within its own process, and not an a priori rationality
    given historical facts. This is from Mechon Mamre's translation

In this case, we are discussing someone who totally disagrees with
my thesis there. RMCH and Machon Shilo talk about walking the halachic
process back to using RNCH's attempt to reconstruct Nusach EY by selecting
from among sometimes-conflicting snippets of siddur in the Cairo Genizah
and using a few queues from the Yerushalmi. My argument would have you
conclude that since all of Israel -- from Yekkes to Yemenites -- use
derivatives of Seder Rav Amram Gaon, needing to have such derivation is

In contrast to how I closed my post:

    Mesorah is a living tradition of a development of ideas. The Oral
    Torah is oral, a dialog across the generations. If we see a quote in
    the gemara from Rav Yochanan, we might be curious about the historical
    intent of Rav Yochanan. But in terms of Torah, important to us than
    what R' Yochanan's original intent is what R' Ashi thought that
    intent was, which in turn can only be understood through the eyes
    of what the Rosh and the Rambam understood R' Ashi's meaning to be,
    which in turn can only be understood through the eyes of the Shaagas
    Aryeh and R' Chaim Brisker. That is the true meaning, in terms of
    Torah, of Rav Yoachanan's statement.

    By sharing the job one's halakhah decision-making with a mentor-poseiq
    one is connecting to something eternal. Fealty to halakhah with all
    its notions of authority and precedence (or should that be: authority
    including precedence?) saves one from existential angst. Being
    part of something eternal means my contributions to the fate of
    the universe will survive my death. Joining the community, finding
    a different balance between personal expression and fealty to that
    community and its laws than the "do your own thing", "self made man",
    idealization of autonomy in American and Western society gives me
    the leverage to be part of something bigger than I am alone.o

    Am Yisrael Chai for far more than 120 years.


Micha Berger             Man is equipped with such far-reaching vision,
micha at aishdas.org        yet the smallest coin can obstruct his view.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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