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)