[Avodah] avoiding the issue

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Thu Jun 25 16:11:29 PDT 2020

On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 04:22:24AM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
> The mishna brura is full of examples where the author suggests avoiding
> the issue rather than providing an answer by picking one authority's
> approach over another. It's an approach - not sure why it found so
> much favor (as in a ben tora doesn't eat granola bars because of the
> difficulty in determining the appropriate blessings). Thoughts?

This strategy was always with us. Like what to do when bentching after
"shaleshudis" when Rosh Chodesh already started. More common in hilkhos
berakhos than anywhere else, I think.

Maybe it gives gravitas to the story (quoting the version from
https://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/41/Q2/ ):
    A story is told of a Rebbe and a chassid. The chassid asked the Rebbe:
    "You have an apple, and I have an apple. You make a bracha and eat
    a slice, and I make a bracha and I eat a slice. After you eat a bit,
    then your chassidim come running to eat the remainder of your apple
    (a Chassidic custom known as shirayim); but no one is interested in
    the remnants of my apple! What's the difference?

    The Rebbe smiled warmly and replied, "You make a bracha in order to
    eat, whereas I eat in order to make a bracha!"

But in general, there is an increasing reluctance to pasqen in some
circles. Whether Brisker chumeros or the MB's advice to either play safe
in some places or avoid the question in another. So, we're seeing more
and more of it.

I think it relates directly to the loss of confidence in mimeticism. It
used to be that unless the books convinced you strongly otherwise,
if the people were doing something for a while now without the rabbis
stopping them yet, it must be accepted pesaq. Leaves a lot fewer open
questions that lack a clear halachic determination.

In circles where lomdus is popular, unlike the MB, the lamdan's ability
to find a sevara to both sides of a machloqes will bring him to more
stalemates than other ways of learning the texts. Lomdus trains you
away from taking sides.

Tir'u baTov!

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