Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: A Plethora of S'feikos

The general rule, of course, is "safeik d'rabanan l'kula" -- In a situation where one may or not be running afoul of a rabbinic prohibition, the halacha is that one is not running afoul of the prohibition.  I tried to state that carefully, because "safeik d'rabanan l'kula" does not mean that you can assume there is no problem.  It is the situation that has the s'feikos/doubts, not the halacha.  That can mean that sometimes s'feik safeik d'rabanan l'kula can lead to a chumra/stringency.  For example, we add "al ha'nisim"/for the miracles to bentching and shmone esrei during Chanuka and Purim.  If one is in doubt if he said them, then he is not obligated to repeat with the insertion.  Once he is not obligated, then he now not allowed to repeat, because the (now) unnecessary insertion becomes a forbidden interruption.

The interesting thing about "safeik d'rabanan l'kula" is all of the exceptions.  Consider the siman 325 -- concerning a non-Jew who does a malacha on Shabbos for a Jew's benefit.  The basic rule is that a Jew is not allowed to benefit from a malacha that was done for him on Shabbos by a non-Jew; even though the non-Jew was asking on his own volition.  It is rabbinic enactment to forestall a Jew from asking a non-Jew to do something for him; since he can't benefit, he won't ask.  Suppose you aren't sure if he did a malacha for you.  For example: A non-Jew brings fresh fruit to you on Shabbos.  If the fruit was brought from outside the t'chum/shabbos boundaries, then that fruit cannot be eaten by any Jew till after Shabbos sometime, and it is muktza for the one (and his family) for whom it was brought.  So far, so good.

What if he only might have brought it from outside the t'chum?  You would think "safeik d'rabanan l'kula", so we should be able to eat it, right?  Nope.  There is another rule that kicks in: "davar sh'yeish li materin"/the fruit will become permissible in just a few hours, so in that case the rabbis didn't permit it even in the case of safeik.

Unless the non-Jew has two houses -- one inside the t'chum and one outside the t'chum.  In that case you are allowed to assume that he brought the fruit from his house that is inside the t'chum.  That's a rule known as "kahn nimtza, kahn hayu"/it's here now, so we can assume it was here before.

What if has two houses outside the t'chum?  The biur halacha on syef 9 (d.h. shnei batim) brings the Ta"z who invokes the rule of "karov v'rov, rov adif"/when the safeik is about whether he came from the closest area or the area where he has the majority of his residences, the majority takes precedence.  The biur halacha takes issue with that, though, because we can apply the rule of "kahn nimtza, kahn hayu" to the non-Jew himself, which he feels probably overrides the "karov v'rov, rov adif" rule in this case.

One thing about which there is no doubt at all... this is so much fun!


Popular posts from this blog

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…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…