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Author:  D
E-mail:  not available
Date:  11/2/2003 12:48:00 AM
Subject:  Permission to do the wrong thing?
Message:  Dear Rabbi:

I have been reading your t'shuvos with much interest these last few weeks.
It has, to say the least, been upsetting to me lately, and I therefore
would appreciate your advice on something.

What, would you say, is the better path to take...
Do things clearly according to halacha, or do what is permitted by halacha?

Are we to consult a Rav in the same way people consult lawyers these days?
They rely on lawyers to know all the "ins and outs" of civil law, all of the loopholes.
Irregardless of the spirit of the law or the clear intent of the law, these attorneys
"mine" the system until they find a clear "legal" pathway for their clients to bypass
the law as it is was intended to be followed.

"Rabbi, what SHOULD I do?" is the question that should be asked.
What I'm seeing asked on your site is, "Rabbi, what AM I ALLOWED to do?"
Chumra's aside, why are you not advising what is much more preferable along with
what is merely (though not the best way to handle things) permissible if all else fails?

I very much enjoy visiting your website, but it's starting to appear to be www.Hetter.com.
This note is for your eyes only, and I would certainly not want it posted.

Reply:  The Halachah knows when it wants you to keep something that is in the spirit of the law, and it says so clearly. It also says very clearly that you are not allowed to add. Many things that you might think is in the spirit of the law, is really a socially accepted view rather than the Torah's view. Whatever is asked, is asked. When I answer, I tell them what they "should do." For example, people asked if they can put a timer on their dishwasher and use it on Shabbat. I answered yes & I do it, too. Now to many people that might violate the spirit of the law. But they themselves have timers on their lights & air conditioners. Their refrigerators, and all things with thermostats are exactly that, timers. They go on now & go off in an hour & go back on later. That is Ok. No violation of the spirit of the law, but a dishwasher? How can you do that? Of course this is a case of people confusing spirit of the law with "I thought it was this way." If you realized that it has nothing to do with "Spirit of the Law, " you'll be following this Halachah & putting a timer immediately, once you are shown that what you thought was wrong. If our religion is truly based on whatever we thought it was growing up, then why learn. There would be no need. What, just to justify what you have been doing? That's irrelevant, because even when we don't find justifications we continue doing whatever it is we have been doing. True learning is to find out the law, & if you learn anything new, whether Issur or Hetter, to make those changes immediately (based on a decision by a Posek, of course). It says everywhere in the books of my religion, including the Gemara, Tosfot, Talmud Yerushalmi, Rambam, and many others, that you are not allowed to be stricter than the law. It is different than the stuff they taught us in school, but that's the problem. They just don't know.

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