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Old 05-02-2013, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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The question that made me think about this was how electricity was ruled to be assur and an issur d'oraita on Shabbat. It seems like there were prominent poskim like Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach who argued that electricity was davka mutar on Shabbat. Was there a time in the 19th century when there was a halachic limbo where you could be completely dati / frum and use electricity on Shabbat, and you wouldn't be committing an aveirah? How did the pesak of no electricity on Shabbat become halacha? After the majority of Jews / Orthodox Jews / Orthodox rabbis / mara d'atra's decided to follow it?

This is a recent example from the Acharonim, but there are also rulings from the time of the Rishonim like no polygamy that make me wonder about the process. Of course the Gemara is full of arguments that end with "the halacha follows Rabbi ...". Were the rabbis who disagreed violating halacha or was the halacha not set yet?
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:14 PM
 
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I think in our times, we follow the psak of the Gadol Hador. But even then, we often go with the majority. There's a big Rav in my town who was a talmud of Rav Auerbach, but at no time in his life did he trangress Shabbos by manipulating electricity on Shabbos. In my case, whatever Rav Eliyashiv said, I took to be the halacha, and there was no further concern.

I think Shabbos elevators are a really good example in today's times. They are assur in Yerushalayim and yet muttar in Flatbush. Why? Becuase different major poskim has decided the halacha differently. So one might be concerned that all these shailas are arbitrary and there's no true daas Torah. Ahhh, but not to worry... daas Torah is alive and well. Different rabbeim can decide the halacha using different individual situations. Usario may be given permission to use the dishwasher already present in the previously owned house he bought, where the exact same Rav may assur it for me (or vice versa). No shaila. There's a range of poskim who have commented on exactly this situation, and depending on usario and TFF's madrega, the answer we get may be different. The key, is that the modern day halacha goes with precedence of a similar case in the Gammara. And Rabbi's who paskin their own halacha without precent in the Gamara are actually "Rabbi's," not actual Rabbi's.

So what's the halacha? Ask a shaila of your LORD (Local Orthodox Rabbi Dude). Always ask a shaila.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:43 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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my understanding is that not everyone agrees on this point, and it does differ between C and O (and possibly between different O authorities - and I am pretty sure between different C authorities)

My general sense is that minority opinions cease to be considerd options, in general, when there is a consensus among ALL the leading poskim of a given generation. How much dissent there must be to prevent something from being considered generally accepted is one point of contention. For example most C authorities (and I think a few O) consider the opposition to the shulchan aruch great enough that the SA is NOT binding against minority opinions from rishonim (though its still an important source, of course). I note theres a debate about the status of Rambams principles of faith - while the substance of his principles was universally accepted in some generations, the notion that believing in it was halachically binding was NOT. Some read this as making belief in them optional - and not ipso facto heresy. Others (esp among the haredim) do claim its heresy to disbeleive them, because the SUBSTANCE of them was universally accepted.


specifically on electricity - there is one controversial blogger (a former chabad OTD) who IIRC states that Auerbach was quiet about accepting electricity use on shabbos, due to pressure from hungarian haredim in jerusalem. I do not recall the whole story.

There is a tshuva on electricity by a C authority who is relied on generally in the C movement, but last I looked I could not find it online. Klein, the author of the most widely used guide to C practice, is somewhat machmir on electricity, and discourages its usage. In general there are many issues raised by modern technology related to electricity and shabbos, that C has thus far failed to address - among others computer usage (if electricity is okay is computer usage okay, or is it a form of writing?) all electric vehicles (permissible to drive - at least within an eruv - without resorting to the driving takanah) etc.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:49 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,817 posts, read 10,727,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
I think in our times, we follow the psak of the Gadol Hador. But even then, we often go with the majority. There's a big Rav in my town who was a talmud of Rav Auerbach, but at no time in his life did he trangress Shabbos by manipulating electricity on Shabbos. In my case, whatever Rav Eliyashiv said, I took to be the halacha, and there was no further concern.

They are assur in Yerushalayim and yet muttar in Flatbush. Why? Becuase different major poskim has decided the halacha differently. So one might be concerned that all these shailas are arbitrary and there's no true daas Torah.
Im not worried about that. Diversity of rabbinic opinion is important if you beleive there is one right answer, and the halachic process of one of discovery - and if it were invention, that would nullify it. If we accept that halachic process is one by which Am Israel engages with the world and with Torah, and from its needs and experiences, creates answers that enable a meaningful Jewish life tied to text and tradition but adapted to current needs and ideas, then we can take joy in the diversity of opinion. (whether a lay Jew should mostly accept the view of their LCR or struggle with the opinions of different poskim themselves, is a point of contention between mainstream C and the indie minyan approach) that is a different take on "these and those are the words of the living G-d"
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:38 PM
 
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The use of electricity has been universally deemed a D'eoraisah. There was never a time that frum Yidden used electricity. D'eoraisas are etched in stone.
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