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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.


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