Perhaps one of the most critical topics to understand the nature of the halachic process is akirat davar min haTorah, the ability of the courts, navi, or king to temporarily uproot a law in the Torah. As we argued when discussion pesikat halacha bishaat hadechak, the parameters of making halachic decisions in extenuating circumstances, understanding Superman requires understanding Kryptonite – understand when the normal rules break down to understand the nature of the system. As I was focusing on some of the broader issues, I unfortunately had to skip some of the more complicated theoretical issues. The shiur and sources are available here. The second shiur is available here. Summary to follow.
The importance of this topic can be seen in another way. Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Chayes, the Mahartz Chayes, in his Torat Neviim explains why he wrote a book dedicated to this topic. To this he responded that he was living in an age (the early years of the Reform Movement), when there were movements that were uprooting the Torah in the name of modernity. He wanted to explain what circumstances warranted akirat davar min haTorah and reflected commitment to the system as a whole, and what circumstances showed rebellion. Understanding this topic sheds light on the cognate topic mentioned above – when is trying to push the halachic system to its limits legitimate pesikah bishaat hadechak (here and following posts), and when is it rebellion, an attempt to jettison the word of God for other values. Continue reading Akirat Davar Min HaTorah Part 1 (Halachic Methodology 18)