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Thought for the Day: Your Life Should Get As Much Consideration As Your Car

The "Check Engine" light illuminated on my way home from learning Thursday night.  Nu, nu... not great, but not the end of the world.  I took it to the mechanic on Friday morning only to find out he was really backed up.  "You can leave it if you want, but I can't guarantee I'll be able to look at it before Tuesday."  Oh... right... Memorial Day weekend.  We only have one car, so I asked what he thought of my driving it all weekend.  "Well... the light is on steady and the car feels like it is running ok; you'll probably be ok.  However, I don't want to be responsible for you getting out somewhere and the car dying on you.  It's your decision and responsibility."  I also didn't want to take the chance of being stuck in the middle of nowhere, so I left the car.

I was once living in an area where there was a machlokes about the eiruv.  (Yes, as a matter of face, I did once live in an area where there was absolutely no machlokes about the eiruv.  It was in Dallas, Texas; before the built the eiruv....)  A neighbor remarked to me, "I don't know what all the issues are concerning the eiruv; so I use it."  As far as I know, "safiek d'oraisa l'chumra".  If he didn't know, then the only prudent decision would have been not to use the eiruv, right?  Maybe you'll tell me that he was confident that there were no issues at the d'oraisa level, so was relying on "safeik d'rabanan l'kula".

Maybe; but that doesn't actually help.  The Shulchan Aruch OC 202:18 (hilchos birkas ha'peiros) notes that the bracha of "she'hakol" is a sort of catch all bracha.  "Sort of" being the operative phrase.  The Shulchan Aruch says that if one is in doubt, then he should make the bracha of she'hakol.  So far, so good.  The Mishna Brura (sk 64), however explains from the gemara that the phrase "in doubt" means after one has learned and come to the conclusion that it is impossible to clarify.  However: "im mi she'lo lamad, lo yocheil ahd she'yeilech etzel chacham l'lamdo b'rachos"/if he hasn't learned, then don't eat until he goes to a chacham to teach him the laws of blessings.

Given that no rational person would drive his car given that kind of doubt, doesn't seem like much of a chumra, does it?

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