[Avodah] Derech psak

Ben Bradley bdbradley70 at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 15 06:01:42 PDT 2019

If I can also respond to a number of points in a slightly unorganised

R Micha wrote:
> As I noted, we see this in practice in Brisker Chumeros.

> - It is only an issue in a style of lomdus that makes it difficult
> o choose sides. Not that one can SEE both sides, but that one finds them
> qually compelling.

> I think lomdus is more in the style of Tosafos, focusing on how we
> understand the gemara, with "only" implications about practice. Rather
> than focusing on getting to a lemaaseh. It's just a different subject.

> On Thu, Mar 07, 2019 at 03:12:32PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
>: I understand that's the case, I just don't understand why. For example
>: if you lived back in the day and your tanna was doreish klal prat uklal to
>: derive Halacha , how could you be accepting rulings from someone who did
>: not but rather used ribui umiyut ? Wouldn't that likely lead to tartei
>: dsatrei...

R micha wrote:
> Besides, don't take the "compeating" lists of derashos too seriously. We
> find R' Aqiva using rules of kelal uperat (eg R' Aqivah on Y-mi Eiruvin
> 18b or Bavli Pasachim 36a) and (less often) R' Yishma'el using ribui
> umi'ut.

Firstly, I think we overemphasise the chidush of lomdus. Granted, R'
Chaim's derech and subsequent Brisker development was something new in
its explicit conceptual tools. But to say that being able to see all
sides of a sugya with great clarity is a new thing, well isn't that
part and parcel of classic ameilus batorah? A criteria for being a
member of the Sanhedrin was being able to metaher a sheretz. That for
sure takes lomdus of whatever style, and yet is seen a essential for
one of the poskei hador. As R Micha noted, R Meir could perform the
kind of analytical wizardry which confounded his peers, and even if we
don't pasken like him when stated by name, it didn't stop him apparently
having own clarity in halacha l'maaseh.

In general, the impression one gets is that the basic learning of the
batei medrash of the amoraim was to to do exactly what we call lomdus,
just that the format of the gemara doesn't record exactly how that process
happened, presumably to maintain the oral/mimetic nature of the process
of learning Torah. Nonetheless we don't find that this amoraic/tannaitic
lomdus inhibited the ability to arrive at halacha l'maaseh.

Slightly derech agav, drashos on pesukim seem to be used both to create
new halachos and also verify oral traditions. The Netziv in the hakdama
to Vaykira in Haemek davar makes this explicit and the Rambam in the
Shorashim (2 or 3?) seems to say the same, although there seems to be
some comtemporary debate about this issue. Given the inability to enter
the world of drasha after the closing of the gemara I'm not sure how
this relates to our topic but I can't see how it's the same issue as
style in learning. It's seems to be a much more technical issue of the
actual mechanics of Torah She'Bal Peh, and therefore subject to genuine,
classic eilu v'eilu which doesn't inhibit halacha l'maaseh any more than
any other aspect of machlokes in chazal.

All of which still leaves me uncertain as to why (some) Briskers find it
so hard to pasken rather than cover all bases. Of note, despite claims
by some talmidim that RYBS wasn't really a posek, more a Rosh Yeshiva,
because he changed his mehelach in gemara sugyos freqently, a la Brisk,
it's clear that he was very clear and consistent in many issues of psak
over a long period of time when dealing with shailos for the RCA rabbonim
as recorded in their documentation. So at least one Brisker didn't have
trouble paskening l'maaseh despite his aptitude in lomdus.


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