Mar 28, 2016

Rav Yosef on the authority of a rosh yeshiva in psak halacha

In the past we have already seen the issue raised and discussed of Sefardic roshei yeshiva requiring his sefardi talmidim to act like ashkenazim, even to the point of requiring them to perform halacha like ashkenazim rather than according to their own natural psak, such as requiring them to have a yichud room at their weddings, and criticism was levied by other sefardi rabbis against such pronouncements.

So, the fact that the Chief Rabbi, Rav Yitzchak Yosef, has criticized such pronouncements again is not all that exciting or new.

What is interesting is the way he criticized the sefardi roshei yeshiva.

Rav Yosef said that the rosh yeshiva who says such a thing should not be listened to. The rosh yeshiva has authority over running his own yeshiva, and anything to do with behavior in the yeshiva and what to learn, the rosh yeshiva must be listened to. However, in halacha it is a different story - one must tell the rosh yeshiva "who is greater, you or the Knesset Hagedola? you or the Beit Yosef?"

Rav Yosef said that in halacha there is no such thing as a Mara D'Atra. Presumably he means that Mara D'Atra has authority only over behavior but not over psak halacha.

I am not sure how many talmidim have the confidence within them, or the chutzpah, to tell the rosh yeshiva what Rav Yosef says to say.

I think the more effective solution might be telling boys to not be afraid and to leave the yeshiva before the wedding and to find a new kollel for after (as many will anyway, as many yeshivot do not support kollels along with the fact that often a new kollel will be looked for that is closer to where the young couple lives) the wedding.

It means the chosson might not have many of his friends at the wedding, nor his rosh yeshiva, as presumably the rosh yeshiva will carry out his threat, but I think after a few of these instances the Rosh Yeshiva will start suffering the loss of talmidim and will change his attitude and approach in most cases.

Either way, the main point was nto to figure out how to solve the problem but to point out Rav Yosef's approach regarding halacha, mara d'atra and authority of psak...

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  1. A Rosh Yeshiva isn't a mara d'asra anyway!

  2. Chutzpah. This is probably all for political reasons. The Ashkenazim should hold on to their mesorah and the same holds true for the Sephardim who should hold to their mesorah. This seems to be a slap in the face of one community to another community of the Bnai Yisrael. When Moshiach comes, all will be clarified.


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