Minimise the prohibition: Understanding Halachic Decision-Making

Delivered by Johnny Solomon at Barnet Synagogue Tikun Leil Shavuot 5763

CASE 1: GIVING HIM PERMISSION TO SMOKE?

Rabbi Hayim David Halevi (1924-1998) was the Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. He was asked many halachic questions and these questions were published with his answers in his sets of responsa called ‘Asseh Lecha Rav’ and ‘Mayim Chayim’. In Asseh Lecha Rav, Vol. 3, question no. 25, he records that he was asked the following question:

A man who had smoked for some years made a vow not to smoke again. However, he has recently been wanting to start smoking again. He has approached his local Beit Din and asked them to annul his vow. What should they do?

How would you rule on this case? What halachic principles would you use in your answer?

The Av Beit Din of Mexico wants the owner to sell kosher food and close on Shabbat. In the section of Yoreh Deah (which discusses the laws of Kashrut. there is a restaurant that sells non-kosher food (hamburgers) and is also open on Shabbat. If he does this. he records that he was asked the following question by another rabbi who was the Av Beit Din (the head of the Jewish Court) of the Mexican Jewish community: The Mexican Jewish community has a Jewish sports centre. Inside the sports centre. but I must insist that I am able to provide ice cream and milk shakes desserts for all of my customers who ask for them. He was asked countless questions on many complex halachic matters. The owner of the restaurant has responded back to him by saying “I’ll sell kosher food.” Can the Rabbi give this restaurant a Kashrut licence if he agrees to the condition? How would you answer this question? How do you think Rabbi Moshe Feinstein answered this question? . 52. Charity. These questions were published with his answers in his set of responsa called ‘Iggrot Moshe’. the restaurant will be given a Kashrut licence. and will even close on Shabbat. 1 question no.CASE 2: A KOSHER TREIF RESTAURANT? Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986) was one of the greatest Rabbis of the 20th century. Mourning and many other matters) Vol.

India. How would you rule on this case? What halachic principles would you use in your answer? . In the section of Orach Chaim (which discusses the laws of prayer. Shabbat and Yom Tov) Vol. Many Jews live far away from the shul and have asked whether they are allowed to travel to shul by tram on Shabbat and Yom Tov? The tram is driven by a non-Jew. he records that he was asked the following question: It is the 1930’s in Bombay. the tram goes through predominantly non-Jewish areas and the Jewish passengers don’t have to pay a fare or carry a ticket. He was asked many halachic questions and these questions were published with his answers in his set of responsa called ‘Mishpatei Uziel’. no stops are specifically made to pick up Jewish passengers. 2 no. 1 question no. 41.CASE 3: A TRAIN TO SHUL? Rabbi Ben Zion Uziel (1880-1953) was the Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel. 9 and Vol.

the Israeli students that study there combine their army service with Torah learning for a 5 year period. His Yeshivah is a Hesder Yeshivah—that is. 11. In question no. and the religious soldier does them on weekdays? How would you answer this question? How do you think Rabbi Rabinovitz answered this question? What halachic principles are involved? .CASE 4: THE RELIGIOUS SOLDIER? Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitz is a contemporary Rabbi in Israel who is the head of the Yeshivah Birkat Moshe which is in the town of Ma’ale Adumim. he is asked: Is it permissible to switch duties with an irreligious soldier so that the irreligious soldier does the duties on Shabbat. He has written a book of responsa called ‘Melomdei Milchama’ which deals with the halachic questions religious soldiers face whilst on active duty.

how would you respond to this question? Make sure that your answer contains a strong halachic argument! . 10. 3. In Yabia Omer. in the section of Even HaEzer (which discusses the laws of marriage and divorce) question no. I am considering stopping to marry such people unless they are prepared to wear more appropriate clothes. Over the years he has been asked thousands of questions and has published them with his answers in his sets of responsa called ‘Yechaveh Daat’ and ‘Yabia Omer’. the brides are often wearing very inappropriate dresses that do not in any way conform to the rules of modesty found in Judaism. Vol.CASE 5: THE IMMODEST WEDDING Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (born in 1920) is the former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel. What do you think I should do? If you were Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. he records that he was asked the following question by another rabbi: When I perform weddings in my community.

CASE 6: SHOULD YOU REPORT CARELESS DRIVERS? Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (1902-1989) served as an Av Beit Din in Romania. 8 question no. Manchester and Jerusalem. 148 he is asked the following question: Is it permissible to report to the police a careless driver who threatens the lives of other people? If the person is prosecuted. he was asked thousands of halachic questions and published these with his answers in his set of responsa called ‘Minchat Yitzchak’. they are generally fined or have their licence suspended for a period of time. In Vol. What halachic principles are involved in the solution of this question? How do you think Dayan Weiss answered this question? . In being in so many different communities.

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