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Thought for the Day: When a Doubt in a d'Rabanan Leads to Permission

Another chidush (to me) from Yarchei Kallah.  There is a general principle of "safek d'rabbanan l'kula" -- when there is a doubt regarding a matter of rabbinic decree, one takes the lenient route.  This can be both positive and negative.  For example, I am about to eat an apple when the phone rings.  After my conversation, I find myself eating the apple but can't remember if I make a bracha of "borei pri ha'eitz".  Since there is a doubt, and this bracha is d'rabananan, I have a right to continue eating the apple and do not need to make a bracha now even though I may never have made a bracha (in fact, in this case I am not allowed to make a bracha now).

I had a question about the dragging a light bench issue discussed yesterday.  It is not usual to plow with a bench, so digging a furrow that way (k'l'ahar yad) is an issur d'rabanan.  Since dragging a light bench will only possibly dig a furrow, we are back to a safek in a d'rabanan.  So why do we have to come on to the whole "eino miskaven" heter?  Just say "safek d'rabanan l'kula" and allow dragging a light bench even if you are hoping a furrow will result.

R' Zucker answered that we only say "safek d'rabanan l'kula" when the safek will remain even after the action.  In the case of the possibly forgotten bracha, I am in doubt now and will always remain in doubt.  In the case of the bench, even though it is doubtful whether a furrow will result before I start, after I am finished dragging the bench the doubt will vanish -- either there is a furrow or not.  At the end of the day, I will know whether or not the act was forbidden and therefore one is not allowed to even start it.


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