Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More on Halachic Authority

In the comments section Rabbi Moshe Crisco responded to my post regarding the halachic hierarchy:

In this post (heading #5), Marc Shapiro discusses "Daas Torah" and makes a very similar point to R. Slifkin:
"Anyone who is honest will admit that the current practice of Daas Torah is completely phony. My proof of this is very simple. If tomorrow R. Elyashiv would declare that everyone has to say hallel on Yom ha-Atzmaut, would the Lithuanian yeshiva world listen to his Daas Torah? Of course not. They would simply replace him with another gadol whose Daas Torah is more palatable to them. In other words, the gadol only has Daas Torah because the masses, or the askanim, let him have it, and only when they like what he says. (I am curious. Has R. Elyashiv's ruling that fashionable sheitls are forbidden had any effect on his supposed followers?)."
As for R. Slifkin's point about Halachik Hierarchy, that can get tricky. We certainly do traditionally defer to early authorities, but at the same time there is a rule "Halacha Ke'Batrai". It's hard to know how to reconcile these contradictory traditions.

I've decided my response was worth making a new post (It's a slow news day):

I think that its fairly clear that the Halachic decision is meant to lie with the Rabbanim of your age - Even - and this is common, especially the bigger the black hat they wear - they tell you that left is right etc. What has changed over the last few years is that the Rabbanim no longer have to give a proper and intelligent accounting for their ps'aks. They can just pull out the "Da'at Torah" card and get out of jail free. We have moved from a system that is built around RATIONAL argument, to a system of authority revolving around personal "greatness".
What irks us common non semicha folk is that somehow "Da'at Torah" always corresponds exactly to their personal political/community viewpoint. Is life really so straightforward?

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