Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Psak and Respect

I was studying with a friend of mine a few weeks ago, when the well-tread Flatbush Eiruv issue came up. My buddy mentioned to me that Rabbi X hold it's okay, but he doesn't publicize his psak out of respect for R' Moshe. Rabbi X is a prominent Rav who is normally associated with the black-hat community, so I was surprised by his psak.

The question bothering me is as follows: in this case, A) Can we actually go out with our strollers and tallis bags? After all, the Rav didn't publicize his psak, but if he holds it's okay, we can certainly rely on that? Or B) is the respect for Reb Moshe not just the non-publicizing of the psak, but our actual following of Reb Moshe's psak? Was the Rav implying that by using the Eruv, we are disrespecting Reb Moshe?

To me, the side of A makes more sense. This is because almost every time we act like one side of a machlokes, we are implicitly saying that we don't hold of the other tzad. According to B's logic, if we put on Rashi tefillin and not Rabbeinu Tam, aren't we implicitly disrespecting Rabbeinu Tam by not wearing his tefillin? And if you'll tell me that really it's not disrespectful because "eilu v'eilu divrei elokim chayim," then B's argument falls apart. After all, what disrespect is there--- it's all good!

A similar incident that comes to mind occurred in April 2002, right before the huge rally in Washington. We asked our rosh yeshiva if we should go. He said he didn't want to paskin unlike the moetzes/Agudah, who opposed the rally, but said that if he was our age, he would have gone. So the rosh yeshiva never said we should go. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the yeshiva went.

I don't mean to compare a relatively minor issue to potential chillul shabbos, but if going to the rally would've been deemed disrespectful to the gedolim that opposed it, I think the situation would've been handled differently. Perhaps the rosh yeshiva wouldn't have said anything, the mashgiach or someone else would've discouraged us from relying on the "hetter" as it would've been disrespectful to the other gedolim, etc.

Based upon this incident, I think it's safe to infer that side A takes the cake. But, considering my lack of knowledge of how psak works, I remain unsure.


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