Can you poskan for yourself? Does making decisions for yourself have the same limitations of general psak? I dealt with this issue in two parts. The first shiur is available: here, and summary below. For now, I will ignore the questions of bias, and return to that in my next summary (the shiur is available: here).
In general, when ruling on a question, there are three factors that must be taken into account (we have discussed this previously: here):
- Are you qualified?
- Are there external reasons (such as Kavod HaRav) that prevent you from answering?
- Is what you are saying considered psak?
Continue reading When Can You Poskan For Yourself?
In our exploration of the role of the laity in psak, and that the balance of authority and autonomy in the Halachic system, I spent a shiur (here) exploring modern positions on Daas Torah.
In many ways, the different positions that are offered as to what Daas Torah is and to what extent it exists and is binding map onto the positions presented with regards to Lo Tasur. Of course, as we noted, the very notion that Lo Tasur/Rabbinic power extends to mundane or political matters is not obvious. Thus, it is important to keep in mind the topic of Lo Tasur generally as we attempt to map out the positions about Daas Torah. Continue reading Daas Torah – Modern Discussions
When discussing the balance between authority and autonomy in Halacha, one of the central modern issue that arises is that of Daas Torah – what is the extent of rabbinic authority even beyond limited Halachic issues? To set up the background for the modern issue, it is important to explore the concepts that are used to argue that Daas Torah is a classic Halachic/Hashkafic category – starting with the most basic question of rabbinic power – Lo Tasur. Shiur and sources: here.
In Lo Tasur we need to ask several questions: 1) Why do we listen? Does the obligation to listen to the Rabbis imply infallibility, or do we have to listen even though we understand that they are fallible? Do we listen even if we think they are wrong? 2) What Rabbis are granted authority by this obligation? 3) What does it extend to? Only Halacha? Hashkafa? More mundane issues? Continue reading Lo Tasur and Daas Torah
To begin our investigations into the role of laity/baal habatim in the Halachic process, it was helpful to begin with the question of why one would choose a Rav – what is the purpose of bringing an authority figure into your life. The shiur is availabe: here. For completeness, we explored the roles of a Rav both as teacher of Torah and as posek. We avoided the exegetical question of whether the two mishnayot in the first Perek of Avot that suggest “aseh lecha rav” are dealing with the same issue or not, and instead enumerated all the benefits to having such an authority figure that appears in the meforshim. Through this we explored the balance between authority and autonomy in Halachic literature. Continue reading Authority vs. Autonomy in Psak and Aseh Lecha Rav (The Role of Baal HaBatim in Psak 2)
This week I actually touched on some issues that I have discussed on this blog before. I spoke about varying levels of authority within Halacha and shared some suggestions about how classic models might have been affected in the moment we live in. Shiur and sources available: here.
Classically, there are three issues that determine whether someone is allowed to issue a psak on a certain issue. The first is the intrinsic capabilities of a posek, highlighted by Chazal’s warning that those who are not qualified to poskan cannot and those who can poskan must. The second is the extraneous factors that may limit someone’s ability to poskan, such as proximity to one’s rebbe. This is also seen in the limitations of setting up a Yeshiva or giving smicha when one’s rebbe is in the vicinity. The third is the nature of the issue being ruled on and whether it is defined as a psak (usually requiring a novelty) or simply a case of spit back. Issues which are explicit in poskim are not defined as psak, and one may prevent an issur from being violated regardless of whether one’s rebbe is around. Continue reading The Sliding Scale of Rabbinic Authority (Halachic Methodology 21)