[Avodah] avoiding the issue

Akiva Miller akivagmiller at gmail.com
Sat Jun 27 20:38:48 PDT 2020

R' Micha Berger wrote:

> 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.
> ...
> 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 spent a couple of minutes trying to think of examples of this phenomenon,
and I ended up agreeing that this *seems* to be more common in hilchos
brachos. But I think that's only because brachos shailos tend to be
different than other kinds of shailos.

In hilchos brachos, the question is usually whether to say this bracha or
that bracha. R' Joel Rich's example (in the original post) was what to say
on a granola bar, and RMB's example (above) was which paragraph(s) to add
to bentching. This sort of shaila is most easily avoided by simply avoiding
the situation, and one who does so is not necessarily being "machmir". He's
not choosing the more machmir view, and he's not even choshesh for the
machmir view, because neither view is necessarily more machmir than the
other - it's just a question of choosing this view or that view.

However, in most other areas of halacha, it's not a choice of this or that.
It's a question of issur and heter. (Or of chiyuv and not.) In such cases,
"avoiding the situation" tends to be synonymous with "being machmir". Two
simple examples: (1) There's a machlokes about whether a certain action is
allowed on Shabbos. The only way to avoid the shaila is to avoid that
action, but isn't that the same thing as being choshesh for the machmir
view? (2) Ditto for questions about zmanim - regardless of whether we're
talking about the latest time to say Shma, or the earliest time to end
Shabbos, or the deadline to pay one's employees. In all these cases, one
cannot simply "avoid the shaila" by boycotting granola bars or by ending
shaleshudis before sunset; the only way to "avoid the shaila" is by
adopting the machmir view in practice, even if he remains on the fence in

Akiva Miller
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