[Avodah] avoiding the issue

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Mon Jul 27 13:14:27 PDT 2020

On Wed, Jul 15, 2020 at 06:25:38AM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
> R" Micha Berger wrote:
>> Using rules of safeiq rather than those of pesaq. We don't
>> which which to hold, so... And even then, not always; because
>> there are such chumeros in derabbanans, where the rule of
>> safeiq would be lehaqeil.

> Safeiq "rather than" pesaq?? Can the two be differentiated? Isn't psak
> *based* on safek, trying to figure out where Truth resides?

Not safeiq rather than pesaq, "rules of safeiq rather than those of

More reliance on safeiq deOraisa lehachmir, safeiq derabbanan lequlah
-- unless efshar levareir / it's easy enough to be machmir. Of course,
a baal nefesh may have a different definition of "easy enough".

As opposed to looking to which shitah is stated by the gadol bekhochmah
uveminyan (minyan rabbanim, rav with bigger following [looking at the
Rambam or the Rosh...]), the logic of the sevara behind each possible
pesaq, looking to see which pesaq was apparently accepted for how long
and how broadly, hefsed meruba, kavod haberios... You know, the rules
of pesaq.

These latter kind of rules tend to be invoked less often than in the

I think it comes from the Gra's position on the comparative unreality
of pesaq after Rav Ashi and Ravina, taking the Rambam's "sof hora'ah"
quite literally. Picked up by the Soloveitchiks, and with the popularity
of Brisk among those who pasqen today...

Add to that the whole concept of lomdus. Whether Brisker or other
derakhim. When you value sevara much more than the other factors posqim
have to balance, and you learn how to explain the sevara of all sides
of a machloqes... There are fewer times the remaining rules of pesaq
rise to the level of giving a clear answer.

My latter two paragraphs feed into:
> As I see it, it's not that we have a lack of *faith* in psak, but that
> we're so confused about how it works. And especially, how it works nowadays
> when there's no Sanhedrin.

But we seem to disagree mostly on description rather than content:
> And it carries through to psak too. Can I really ignore the minority
> opinion? Without a Sanhedrin to actually discuss and vote, how can I be
> sure that the other camp is wrong? ...

"How can I be sure" IS a lack of faith in our ability to pasqen, as I
would use the terms. Maybe the insecurity comes from a lack of surity
we know how to do it right. I would still call it a lack of faith.

If you don't think pesaq can be done the way the Rif, the Rambam, the Tur,
the SA, the Levush, etc... did, that their precedent doesn't tell you
how to decide which of the eilu va'eilu should become halakhah lemaaseh,
that lack of faith in how to do pesaq has scary implications.


Micha Berger                 Zion will be redeemed through justice,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   and her returnees, through righteousness.
Author: Widen Your Tent
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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