Audio Roundup 2018:4

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by Joel Rich

“Hashem Yair Einai” (HKB”H please enlighten me) is something I say from time to time. Most who know me tend to think of me as a rationalist (OK—they think I’m Spock—but I’m not).
For the past couple of months I’ve been trying to put together a Shiur on chazakot (presumptions) in the Talmud and do/can they change. I’ve done a lot of research and spoken to a number of people (many of whom are not at all bothered as to whether the presumptions of “what most people do” no longer seem accurate). When you note that Chazal were not always crystal clear (chazakah is used to describe at least 5 somewhat different concepts, rov is sometimes used instead of chazaka and V.V.) and throw in the Brisker hachraa (presumption = 100% clarity) vs. hanhaga (presumption = we’re not sure but have to do something) it can be very frustrating (especially if intuitively you understand that a legal system may need to trade off accuracy for practical applicability BUT don’t like “halachic reality” dramatically diverges from “reality reality.”)
So, while I’m still in the midst of wrestling with this question (and the Rama has at least one example where a chazakah no longer applied in his day). YUTORAH decides to upload a 1985 Shiur by R’Schachter where he specifically clarifies R’YBS’s position on chazakot which is consistent with what I’ve been positing for years (short version—yes, they can change, Tan Du was an exception.)
Of course, even if everyone agreed, we’re still with how the halachic process would actually reflect this change (I suspect in continual fits and starts and workarounds that get the desired psak without specifically dealing with the chazaka until we have a Sanhedrin) BUT I thank HKB”H for sending that Shiur my way!

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From R’Bednarsh’s shiur: There’s a famous question concerning why the gemara needs “Lcha” to tell us you don’t get the mitzvah of sukkah in a stolen sukkah—don’t we already know this from the concept of mitzvah haba b’aveira? There are a number of answers one of which is a unique Meiri who explains that there’s no mitzvah haba b’aveirah when the object of the aveirah is the schach but the object of the mitzvah is the space you are in (parallel to shofar where the object of the aveirah is the shofar but the object of the mitzvah is the sound). The question was then raised whether one would get the mitzvah of lighting a Chanukah menorah in a stolen motor home (is the object of the aveira the motor home but the object of the mitzvah the menorah?) R’Bednarsh thought the hashkafa and halacha of this parallel would make a good between mincha/maariv drasha (or maybe he was just humoring me).2

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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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