Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: The Danger of Extrapolation in Halacha

The gemara is replete with discussions of the form, "Why are these amorai'im arguing that point?  That point is a know tana'itic dispute!"  The resolution is always to show that the amorai'im are discussing a different point than the tana'im; both amorai'im hold that regarding their issue there actually is no disagreement among the earlier authorities -- everyone would agree with them.  I think most of us blow through those with a "oh yeah... makes sense", but without considering the halachik consequences.  (Ok... I know I do that, so that's most people with whom I have discussed this issue.)  The truth is, though, that the gemara is doing that to teach important halachic distinctions.  Moreover and just as important, the gemara is also teaching a methodology and approach to the halachic decision making process.

Case in point: Suppose a person forgets y'aleh v'yavo in ma'ariv Friday night of chol ha'mo'ed.  (It has to be chol ha'mo'ed, because forgetting y'aleh v'yavo on rosh chodesh does not require repeating shmone esrei.)  We have seen before that, b'di'avad, one may rely on the m'ein sheva that we say Friday night.  Moreover, R' Akiva Eiger has a chidush that since that is the case, and since m'ein sheva does not include "mashiv ha'ru'ach u'morid ha'geshem", that one never needs to repeat shmone esrei because of forgetting "mashiv ha'ru'ach u'morid ha'geshem" on any Friday night.  Given that, it seems clear enough; m'ein sheva does not have "y'aleh v'yavo" in it, so one must not have to repeat shmone esrei any Friday not because of forgetting "y'aleh v'yavo".  Right?  Wrong.  Shmone esrei must be repreated.

To quote Sky Masterson (Guys and Dolls):
"My father told me, 'Son, I don't have much money to send you out into the world with, so I'll give you some advice. If you ever come across a man that has says he can make a jack jump out of a sealed deck of cards and spit cider in your ear, do not bet this man. For as sure as you stand there you will end up with cider in your ear"
What's the difference?  Halichos Shlomo explains that m'ein sheva was established specifically for Friday nights, summer and winter.  Therefore, since Chazal formulated it without "mashiv ha'ru'ach u'morid ha'geshem", it can only be because (b'di'avad) that phrase is not m'akev (an absolute requirement) in the Friday night shmone esrei.  "Y'aleh v'yavo", however, is missing because m'ein sheva is a Shabbos t'fila, not a yom tov t'fila.  Chazal didn't leave it out because it wasn't important, they left it out because it's irrelevant.  (Similarly, in the bracha after the haftara on Shabbos chol ha'mo'ed, there is no extra bracha because of the yom tov; the yom tov is irrelevant as far as the haftara reading from navi.)  Since "y'aleh v'yavo" is irrelevant to m'ein sheva, it cannot help to act as a tashlumin for a shmone esrei that was missing an essential ingredient.

And people say halacha is dry.  Sheesh.

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: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…