Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Simple Question: Yes Or No?


Do you find that when you are learning halacha you just want to know the final ruling and are not as interested in the myriads of discussions throughout the centuries that leads to the final resolution?

All of the discussion revolving around each halacha reminds me of a recent conversation in my house:

I asked my wife whether she wanted me to to take an old cardboard box out to the trash. She responded, "Well, it is full of ...... and then again we could..... so.....maybe it would be good to...or..."

I replied, "Should I take it out? Yes or no?".

And then I got my answer, "Yes".

This is how I like my halacha.

As a working person with limited time for learning, I am a Kitzur Shulchan Aruch kind of guy. I just want to know the final psak.

18 Comments:

At May 5, 2009 at 6:53:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Yitz said...

I think, at least for me, the derivation of the halachah is much more interesting when I'm familliar with the history and/or style of the posek involved.

Just like (l'havdil ain sof havdallot) randomly reading blogs on blogger is almost always intensely boring, (most have one or two entries usually of the whiny contentless teenager variety) reading the blogs of people familliar to you whom you care about is rewarding and gives you an additional feeling of closeness to them.

Personally, I find halachah study difficult because all the time i'm trying to eliminate my ego, and in order to really enter into halachah (at least in the beginning) you need to give your own ideas, understandings, and opinions a certain amount of weight.

Lastly, learning halachah on your own and with a chevrutah are two totally different experiences. I believe you do most of your learning on your own which might (coupled with what I mentioned above) bias you towards kitzur shulchan aruch style.

Does your preference change when it comes to hearing a shiur from a good teacher?

 
At May 5, 2009 at 6:54:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yitz: I agree that learning halacha is a completly different experience learning with someone else. I do enjoy it much more that way. By the way you might be interested in this 2005 post on the topic from Hirhurim here. I actually just bought this book to aid my solo learning of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch last night and so far it seems to be very good

 
At May 5, 2009 at 10:35:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

ASJ, I've been told that the Kitzur does not always give the accepted psak. What does your Rav say about this?

 
At May 5, 2009 at 10:45:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Bob: The Sudilkover Rebbe once suggested that I learn Kitzur every day with the caveat that if I ever had questions that I could ask him.

 
At May 5, 2009 at 10:58:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil said...

Firstly, I have that poster hanging in my son's room (I got it when I was in yeshiva).
I'm actually curious about what a the halachik route a particular psak takes.

 
At May 5, 2009 at 12:50:00 PM EDT, Anonymous ACB said...

ASJ -

Regarding yesterday, I tried my best to be concise and to the point!

:-)

 
At May 5, 2009 at 1:01:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

ACB: You absolutely were! Thanks again :)

 
At May 5, 2009 at 1:03:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no expert, but my understanding is that the rulings of the Kitzur are often quite different than the modern accepted halachah. Some people recommend against using it, especially for BTs, since its strictness can scare people away. Of course a lot of people, like Rav Lazer Brody for example, still recommend learning it. I learn the Kitzur myself (in translation) on and off, and although I do appreciate it I also find it a little confusing at times. But this might be partly due to the old translation I use.

What would be really nice is a modern version of the Kitzur that gives the modern accepted halacha. Is anyone working on this? It would be so helpful.

 
At May 5, 2009 at 1:07:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Artscroll's version includes rulings of the Mishnah Berurah and Igros Moshe. I have found it to be the best one I have seen out there.

 
At May 5, 2009 at 1:08:00 PM EDT, Blogger DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Knowing the practical halacha is a must for observance obviously but the path to that point is where most of the fun is!

 
At May 5, 2009 at 3:31:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, ASJ. The Artscroll version looks great, but it's five volumes. What made the Kitzur so useful (for those of us without the time or taste for extensive halachic discussion) was the fact that it was one volume giving one opinion. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for someone to create such a volume for our time.

 
At May 5, 2009 at 3:44:00 PM EDT, Blogger tea mad hatter said...

My freind (sounds funny - hes a rabbi) says its impossible to psak halocha without having an intrinsic knowledge of the gemora through the shulchan aruch because one needs to understand the underlying principles, not the end ruling. the end ruling may not include the minutia of that situation. well, makes it very daunting for me, but when i see him in action, i can appreciate what he is talking about.

 
At May 5, 2009 at 4:17:00 PM EDT, Blogger Menashe said...

I personally appreciate the discussions the Mishna Berurah and the Shulchan Oruch HaRav have about the way the final psak came down through the acharonim. Especially interesting is learning the same siman with both seforim open in front of you and comparing their reasoning and conclusions. With one caveat: that it be a nice long shabbos afternoon when I'm doing the perusing.

 
At May 5, 2009 at 11:17:00 PM EDT, Blogger Crawling Axe said...

My problem with Kitzur Shulchan Aruch is not lack of derivation and debate but lack of possible details. I am always paranoid that I am missing some special case which may come up in everyday life.

 
At May 6, 2009 at 4:58:00 AM EDT, Blogger Ploni Almoni said...

I have a friend who's a Munkatcher and a former Rav of a town in E"Y, and he said, "Nobody ever went to Gehinnom for following the opinion of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch!"

 
At May 6, 2009 at 4:59:00 AM EDT, Anonymous steve mcqueen said...

It may not be right to say that any type of learning is "not for you" or "not as enjoyable as..." People change/ grow and what might not suit you today may be what inspires you tomorrow.

 
At May 6, 2009 at 8:57:00 AM EDT, Blogger Crawling Axe said...

Ploni,

“Ich vill nit Oilam HaZeh; Ich vill nit Gan Eiden tachton; Ich vill nit Gan Eiden elyoin. Ich vill Dich alein.” (“I don’t want this world. I don’t want Lower Gan Eiden; I don’t want Higher Gan Eiden. I want You alone.”)

 
At May 6, 2009 at 3:02:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know how they say life is a journey, not a destination. Halachah is a destination AND a journey.

 

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