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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Should you wear תכלת because ספק דאורייתא לחומרא?

The answer would seem to be yes. Many poskim today assume that the techeles that has been discovered is at least a ספק and therefore since tzitzis is דאורייתא we should be machmir to wear it based on ספק דאורייתא לחומרא.

However, some want to say as follows in the name of R' Chaim. We only say ספק דאורייתא לחומרא when by doing an action we can be מברר the ספק. Take the classic case of a person forgetting whether he benched, said shema, etc. or not. After doing the mitzva again he will be ודאי יוצא the mitzva and therefore he is חייב to do that. However, in the case of techeles, even if a person is machmir and puts on techeles he is not מברר the ספק. He still may not be יוצא the mitzva. The only time you say ספק דאורייתא לחומרא is when by doing something you can be מברר the ספק, however, if doing something leaves you in the same state as before, ספק, the principle of ספק דאורייתא לחומרא doesn't apply.

There are a number of problems with this analysis.
1. RHS and others claim that R' Chaim never said it, it is not printed anywhere.
2. Even if R' Chaim actually said it we don't pasken like this. The Rishonim have a machlokes whether the first 3 berachos of bentching are מעכב one another. What is the din if you only know 1 beracha, should you say it? The Rif says no because they are מעכב one another and the Ramban says yes that they are not מעכב one another. להלכה what should a person do in this situation? This is the same kind of situation as we described above with techeles. You have a ספק whether you need to say the beracha you know and even after you say it the ספק still stands, you still may have not been יוצא. The פמ"ג says that in this situation you don't say ספק דאורייתא לחומרא (like R' Chaim). However, there is one extra wrinkle here by bentching. By bentching if you are not חייב you are saying a ברכה לבטלה which is an איסור. In other words here the chumra is not risk free. Therefore the פמ"ג says that you should not say the 1 beracha. However, wearing techeles is risk free, therefore it would seem that even the פמ"ג would agree that you should be machmir.

In any case, both the Mishna Berura and the Aruch Hashulchan pasken against the Aruch Hashulchan Pri Megadim and say that מספק you should say the 1 beracha. We see from here that they pasken that you do say ספק דאורייתא לחומרא even when you cannot be מברר the ספק even in a case where there is a ספק איסור!

26 Comments:

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Rafi G. said...

funny that the briskers take every chumra in the book, but see this safek issue as a reason to not be concerned about this possible de'oraisa...

On another note, I remember reading in a book on the matter that they are against it because they say it is a mesora that was lost, and mesoras that are lost will never be renewed until mashiach....

 
At 12:52 PM, Blogger ari kahn said...

you have a typo in the last paragraph the "Aruch Hashulchan pasken against the Aruch Hashulchan "
i don't think you mean to say the aruch hashulchan paskens against the aruch hashulchan. Once the Beit Halevi came out so forcibly against the new Techeilet (of Razhein) it waould be hard if not impossible for a Brisker to avoid.
I have heard it argued, that by putting on wrong Techelet you may be breaking a positive commandment of "putting on Techlet" which would make this not risk free.

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger bluke said...

It is even funnier that the Briskers who are machmir for every wild Rambam are not machmir for the Rambam that taking money to learn is assur, see this post The Briskers and the Rambam for more.

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger Chaim B. said...

What about R' Soloveitchik's view that even if you find the right techeiles it doesn't matter because it needs to be identified through mesorah, not scientific proof? (IIRC this is cited in one of the Shiurim l'Zecher Aba Mori.)

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger bluke said...

I have heard this as well in the name of RYBS however, it is not clear what the source for this is. Why should that be? RHS for example disagrees and wears techeles.

 
At 2:15 AM, Blogger Chaim B. said...

It's in Shiurim l'Zecher Aba Mori vol 1 p. 228 quoting the Beis haLevi. The theme of RYBS' shiur was that there is halach that stems from limud ans halacha that stems from mesorah. E.g. Rambam Bais haBechira 2:4 writes that the makom mizbeyach was identified by the Nevi'im who returned from the golah with Ezra. The location had to be identified through a mesorah, not discovered by measurement. (Parenthetically, I have always though this shiur is where Dr. Chaim Soloveitchik got the idea for his essay on mimetic tradition.) RHS is not always in line with RYBS. What does R' Ahron Lichtenstein do?

 
At 6:57 AM, Blogger SpaceFalcon2001 said...

Ari, it doesn't seem, from the Gemara at least, that you can be עבר on the mitzvah of תכלת. If someone was, for example, purposefully sold fake techeles, the Amoraim are very harsh in assigning the complete loss of such a person's makom b'olam haba. However, the person who bought the fake strings it seems is given a great deal of freedom as they thought they bought the right thing, so they are considered to have done nothing wrong and their techeiles is treated as just another white string. The way I learned it was as a "risk free" assessment, and many of the rabbonim against techeiles don't argue that it's wrong per say, just that we can't use anything other than mesorah to do it or quote such ideas that the chilazon is hidden until moshiach so the techeiles is "certainly" wrong.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Rafi G. said...

I have a sefer called "lula'ot t'cheilet". The author analyzes the various opinions both for and against, and all the logic for and against, along with the proofs and disproofs of the actual tcheilet.

It was too lengthy for me to read through today, but he discusses Beis Brisk and in there also discusses RHS.
I also saw a discussion on the issue of why not just wear it "m'safek".

You should get hold of this book.

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger ari kahn said...

the opinion I quoted about possibly being "over an aseh" I heard from my brother Rav Yair, who edited the sefer of the Rov on the laws of Zizit, he also said that if you want to be choshesh for all the opinions you should put 4 blue strings, for if you put too little (1, 2) you are not yotzeh according to those who say you need more.

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger ari kahn said...

Rav Aharon does not wear Techelet.

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger ari kahn said...

I was in the Rov's shiur when he once discussed techlet and contradicted everything in Shurim Lezecher Avi Mori.
he made a diyik in the Rambam that techlat is a color and chilazon is a "hecha timza" NOT a MESORAH, he analyzed the different language used in the laws of zizit verus other uses of techelet in bigday kehuna

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger bluke said...

The number of strings of techeles to put on is definitely an issue.

It always surprises me to see people who have 2 (out of 8) strings of techeles as that is a daas yachid of the Raavad. RHS pointed out that the chachmei ashkenaz (Rashi, Tosafos,Maharam MiRutenberg, Mordechai, Rid, Semak) as well as the Acharonim (Taz, Mishna Berura, Shulchan Aruch Harav) who are the עמודי ההוראה for Ashkenazi psak all hold that you should have 4 strings of techeles (see this post for a more detailed analysis of the sources).

 
At 10:47 AM, Blogger bluke said...

I gave the wrong link in my previous comment it should be How many strings of תכלת?

 
At 9:55 PM, Blogger micha said...

Except that if you put on so many blue strings that some of your lavan strings are blue, you may not be yotzei lavan. Shitas haRambam is that lavan strings must be the color of the beged or it's not "tzitzis haqanaf". And if you're only doing it misafeiq, you could be risking wearing tzitzis at all -- and thus wearing a 4 cornered beged without tzitzis.

I would therefore think that someone who is only wearing techeiles "in case" should wear the fewest number of blue strings -- shitas haRambam 1-of-8.

Since the Ashk rishonim weren't speaking pragmatically, I do not see how it can be considered a pesaq. However, in any case, following the Gra rather than the rishonim is pretty common anyway. And he writes that it's one string but he's mesupaq whether it's 1 of 8 or 1 of 4 (two ends). And the Radziner also held 1 of 8.

-micha

 
At 7:15 AM, Blogger bluke said...

Micha,

You are right about the Rambam, in fact I made exactly this point in an earlier post How many strings of תכלת should there be for ציצית? However RHS points out that if you follow the Rambam you risk the issur of בל תגרע according to Rashi and Tosafos and therefore it is not so pashut to wear just 1.

The Ashkenazi rishonim clearly held 4 strings l'halacha, that is how they read the Gemara. You are right that the Taz, MB, etc. were not paskening but still the fact that they state 4 as a davar pashut implies that they would pasken that way.

Based on the above I can understand wearing 1 string like the Rambam or 4 like Rashi and Tosafos, 2 just doesn't make a lot of sense. Why should we hold like the Raavad, especially as according to the Rambam you aren't יוצא at all.

 
At 9:03 PM, Blogger Not Brisk said...

Interesting

I was going to ask you what the source was for R' Chaim

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger d said...

If you don't wear beged arba kanfos, you can avoid the safek completely. If we are talking about a risk of bal tigra, perhaps that is the way to go. On the other hand, if you go that way you are putting yourself in a situation where a mitzva is never fulfilled and completely avoided.

 
At 8:14 PM, Blogger E-Man said...

I was in a shiur where RHS talked about why one should have 4 instead of 2 or 1 strings of techailes. He said that in case one gets cut off you don't want to have too few.

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Bluke, is it really accurate to say the Raavad is a daas yachid in saying that you should have two blue strings? I think the Chinuch and the Gra also hold that way.

Ben (of Ben's Tallit Shop)

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger bluke said...

You are right, the Raavad is not a Daas Yachid but the majority of chachmei ashkenaz hold 4

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger micha said...

FWIW, the Gra says that it has to be one string, unlike Rashi and Tosafos who say the tassle should be half blue and half white. The Gra leaves it open whether "one string" means the Raavad's one complete string, or the Rambam's one end after folding over.

AFAIK, the Chinukh does not take a position.

 
At 2:09 PM, Blogger bluke said...

The Gra is assumed by most to hold 2 as is the Chinuch

 
At 5:36 PM, Blogger micha said...

Who assumes this? It runs against the plain words of the Gra (OC 12:5). He concludes three of the four must be white, but he appears to leave it open whether the fourth is mixed, or entirely tekheiles.

 
At 5:45 PM, Blogger bluke said...

Every contemporary article (see for example והיה לכם לציצית תש"ע)that I have read assumes this based on the Gra's other writings especially יהל אור on the Zohar in the Parshas Pinchas as well as his הגה on the Sifri in Parshas Ki Teztze

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger micha said...

I'm not doubting you. I just pointed you to the Gra's words, because I simply don't see it. Do you have specific citations?

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger bluke said...

As I said above look at the Gra's other writings especially יהל אור on the Zohar in the Parshas Pinchas as well as his הגה on the Sifri in Parshas Ki Teztze. His commentary on SHulchan Aruch on this matter is actually not very clear.

 

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