Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ועשית ככל אשר יורוך

This is the new slogan in the Charedi world to mean listen to דעת תורה.

Lately it is being used to mean that everyone needs to listen to R' Elyashiv whatever he says. Here is a good example:

The implication of the poster is that everyone needs to now stop wearing sheitels because R' Elyashiv said so.

The problem is that for the past 2000 years halacha hasn't worked that way. Once there is no בית דין הגדול there is no final psak. Throughout the generations we find disputes in halacha and we don't always pasken like the "posek hador". R' Moshe Feinstein was certainly the posek in America after WWII and yet many of his psakim were not accepted. The same goes for the Chazon Ish and every other great posek. Therefore, for these people to say that we always pasken like R' Elyashiv is a perversion of the halachic process and was never the case. The fact is that R' Elyashiv has shitas on many issues that no one paskens like, they just aren't publicized.

A good example of this is the shita of the Chazon Ish by מעמיד of a succa. The Chazon Ish holds that you cannot use metal anywhere in your succa even screws becuase it is considered מעמיד בדבר המקבל טומאה. There is no question that in his day the Chazon Ish was the "posek" in Israel. Yet, very few people followed this shita of the Chazon Ish. The answer is simple. As great as the Chazon Ish was we don't pasken like him on every issue. The same applies to R' Elyashiv and therefore every person needs to consult their Rabbanim about every issue.

Unfortunately there is a trend in the Charedi world taht says everyone has to be exactly the same. There is no room for different psakim, different minhagim, etc. Everyone has to follow a specific shita and that is it.

1 comment:

Taryag said...

Here is an interesting discussion of Daas Torah as far as community leadership:

As far as pesak, Rav Moshe's teshuvot themselves are wonderful examples of how a posek is expected to review the entire halacha and pasken in each individual case according to halachic principles by applying them to that case at hand. Rav Moshe gave cognizance to the views of achronim but did not consider himself bound by those views and he declared that in those (rare) instances were he differed from a rishon that he could go back to the pesak of the gemorah as the ultimate halachic authority. When he would do so, and rule le-kulah (leniently) he would add a caution such as "ve-ha-machmir tavoh alav beracha," "u-yirah shamayim yachmir," "u-ben-Torah yachmir," etc. that I understand to mean that it would be preferable to be machmir when possible as a matter of piety rather than such being the actual binding halacha.

The point IIUC is that a posek is expected to have a certain level of independence of mind and make a thorough review of sources and apply them to the current case and not merely follow the pesak of the current poskim while giving them great consideration.

BTW Rav Henkin was considered the major posek in North America immediately after WWII and only later and especially after the petira of Rav Henkin, did Rav Moshe come to be so considered.