Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Asei L'cha Rav - Bein l'Chumra Bein l'Kula

Selma, after hearing a disturbing traffic report, calls her husband on his cell phone, "Sammy!  I just heard some nut is driving the wrong way on Route 89 and I know you sometimes take that home.  Are you ok?"  Sam, frantic, yells back at her, "One nut?  Good Lord, everyone is driving the wrong way!"

Despite my (admittedly earned) reputation for having a tendency toward extremes, I really do try to stay in the main stream.  Having become observant as an adult, I obviously cannot rely on what we did in my home growing up.  Since moving to Chicago, we have relied on R' Fuerst to guide us in what is normative practice.  While R' Fuerst will tell you he does not have time to be one's family rav, in fact those short conversations (usually delayed by, "one moment, other line") are packed with information.  You just have to listen carefully.  I then follow his counsel, bein l'chumra bein l'kula.

The importance of this attitude is exemplified by the gemara found in Bei'ah, 36b.  There was a leak in the roof of Abaya's flour mill and rain water was pouring in one Shabbos.  The mill stones, which were held in place by dry mud, were in danger of becoming damaged.  However, since the mill stones are kelim sh'melachtem l'issur, they were muktza and could not be moved to a dry area.  Moreover, Abaya did not have enough buckets to catch the water (which was coming in from too many places).  Not knowing what he could do, Abaya ran to his rav, Raba.  Raba told Abaya that he could bring a bed into the room with the mill stones.  Since the mill stones were getting wet and yucky (mi'yus), he would then be allowed to remove the mill stones because of not wanting to have yucky stuff in his bedroom.  This is the heter of removing a "graf shel r'i" (chamber pot) from one's bedroom, dining room, etc.  Abaya walked home but didn't immediately take Raba's advice because he was worried because he know that one in not allowed to make a graf shel r'i l'chatchila.  That is, if something becomes yucky in your bedroom, you are allowed to remove it, but you are generally not allowed to but your bed into a room where there is something yucky just to remove it.  Anyway... while Abaya was thinking, his mill stones collapsed; a total loss.  Abaya is quoted as saying, "It was coming to me because I transgressed the p'sak of the rav."  That's wild!  The gemara reads like Raba was giving Abaya the option to be meikel; not paskening a halacha.  None the less, not availing himself of that kula was consider a transgressing the words of the rav.

I once asked R' Fuerst about putting t'fillin on while in beis medrash.  The Shulchan Aruch says to put on t'fillin outside the beis k'nesses to enter already dressed for business.  My question was that I am learning in beis medrash before it is time to put on t'fillin, so should I go out to don my t'fillin and then come back.  R' Fuerst told me (and this really is a quote), "R' Moshe put on t'fillin in beis medrash.  If it was good enough for him, it is good enough for you."

Yes, sir.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…