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Rabbinic will > halachic way

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#1 Indigo



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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:20 AM

I rest my case. He says explicitely that there are cases where rabbis don't investigate objectively but rather figure out how to reach the conclusion they feel is correct


#2 Chiloni



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Posted 03 March 2016 - 08:58 AM

I think R. Aharon Lichtenstein put it best:



llustrations apart, however, the cogency and legitimacy of a “human” approach to pesak, appears, to many, problematic. They would have us believe that the ideal posek is a faceless and heartless supercomputer into whom all of the relevant data is fed and who then produces the right answer. Should this standard not be met, the shortfall is to be regarded as a failing, the lamentable result of human frailty—in Bacon’s terms, a manifestation of the besetting “idols” which hamper and hinder the capacity for reasoned judgment. On this reading, the process of pesika, properly conceived and executed, bears no semblance to an existential encounter between seeker and respondent. It entails, rather, the application of text to problem, the coupling of code and situation. This conception does not necessarily preclude reckoning with the specific circumstances of the question and questioner, as these may very well be part of the relevant objective data. The prevailing tendency, however, would be to dwarf this factor; and as to the human aspect of the meshiv, that would be obviated entirely. He, for his part, is to be animated by the precept that “we do not have mercy in judgment,” and hence, to pass on the merits of the issue with imperviously stony objectivity.

Purist proponents of this approach often cry it up as the “frum” view of pesika. In reality, however, this portrait of a posek is mere caricature, limned by those who, at most, kar’u ve-shanu, but certainly lo shimshu. As anyone who has been privileged to observe gedolim at close hand can readily attest, they approach pesak doubly animated by responsibility to halakha and sensitivity to human concerns. The balance between norm and need may be variously struck. There certainly are ideological differences among posekim over how much weight to assign the human factor—although, as Rav Avraham Schapira once noted, the classical meshivim are likely to be among the more lenient, inasmuch as inquirers are disinclined to turn to mahmirim. In principle, however, recognition of this factor is the rule rather than the exception; and responsa include frank acknowledgments of this theme. 

#3 Snag


    מי זה מחשיך עצה

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 09:27 AM

Seforim Blog has several posts discussing this issue, with sources of poskim or their students explicitly admitting that they specifically sought to reach a certain conclusion. Most illuminating, to me, was a quote from Rav Soloveitchik. I can't do it justice, but it clearly explained, in beautiful language, that he approached a question with he foreknowledge that, based on his understanding of what Hashem wants from His people, it must be permitted. All that remained was to reduce that "feeling" to the strict necessity of halachic sourcing. As I said, I'm not doing it jusrice, but it crystallized, for me, the "pro" side of this discussion more than any other quote I saw.
" All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind."

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