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by Joel Rich

Implicit biases ( are the subject of a great deal of discussion and study. One issue I haven’t seen discussed in detail, which relates to profiling (explicit bias) as well, is does halacha allow for concerns to be based on (statistical) past experiences. For example, if studies showed that tall actuaries tended to have a significantly higher percentage of ritual impurity, would it be ok to ask them, but not other guests entering a mass celebration, if they had gone to mikveh recently?

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Compare the Minchat Chinuch (Mitzvah 263) where he says “Vnireh dmuchach mikan d’katan lav bar mitzvoth hu lo mitam sheino ben daat lmi mitzvah ela sheinam mtzuvim klal” with what he states in mitzvah 17 “Nireh dbemet katan ben mitzvoth, rak dlo shyach lomar d’hatorah hizhira oto d’lav ben data hu, aval b’emet chayav bmitzvot”. Me- Vyesh Lyashev?

Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].

About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent local lecturer on various Torah topics in West Orange, NJ and supports his Torah listening habits by working as a consulting actuary.

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