Beged Ish (Subjectivity and Objectivity in Halacha Part 2)

  • In the previous shiur we started to look at some of the foundational principles concerning the objectivity or subjectivity of halacha and the halachic process.
  • We saw that this process occurs in two stages - psak and pesika.
  • Psak is the process of formulating a theoretical halachic ruling for any given situation. This occurs in two stages - (a) collecting all the relevant halachic data from textual sources, custom etc; and (b) analysis this creatively through the application of lomdus (deep conceptual analysis) and, where relevant, extracting new concepts or principles. The process of psak is overwhelmingly objective, although the nature of analysis will depend on the background and approach of the person learning.
  • Pesika is the practical application of the psak to the specific context of the questioner and the potential use of metahalachic principles where relevant, such as darche shalom, kavod haberiyot, relying on minority opinions etc. The process of pesika is far more subjective, not only in relation to the specific circumstances of the questioner but also concerning the personality, training and background of the posek.
  • In this shiur, we will look in depth at Beged Ish - a topic in which there is considerable subjectivity even in the process of psak.

Delivered at the OU Israel Center, 19 Iyar 5783 / May 10, 2023

Rabbi Manning's series for 2023 has been sponsored

לעילוי נשמת ברנה בת בנדית וזליג בן קלמן