Parshas Vayeitzei-Likkutei Sichos-The two wives of Yaakov Avinu & the lesson on balancing Chumros

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Parshas Vayeitzei

Chumras, not on the expense of others

(Likkutei Sichos Vol. 5 2nd Sicha)

In this week’s Parsha, Parshas Vayeitzei, discusses the marriage of Yaakov to the four sisters, Rachel, Leah, Billah and Zilpha, and the subsequent birth of the 12 tribes. While in today’s times, polygamy is illegal in most countries and has been outlawed amongst Ashkenazi [and also many Sephardic] communities since the 11th century, nonetheless, in previous times it was allowed and was practiced. Thus, while there not being an intrinsic issue with Yaakov marrying four wives, what is puzzling is the fact that he married four sisters, something that is completely prohibited according to Judaism. Now, although the Torah had yet to be given in the times of Yaakov, nonetheless, as we know, our forefathers carefully guarded the entire Torah even prior to its being given. Hence, it is quite puzzling that Yaakov would transgress a most basic command that all of his descendants keep till this very day, and that specifically from the offspring of this “transgression” should come the Jewish nation. The commentators on the Torah all deal with this basic question and offer various answers. The Rebbe records the explanations of the commentators and questions them, concluding with a new and revolutionary understanding in the story, which leaves us with a great lesson in how to balance our stringencies in religious observance together with our interaction with others.

 

Explorations of the Sicha:

1.      How was Yaakov allowed to marry for sister wives?

2.      Under which circumstances did our forefathers keep the Torah before it was given?

3.      Should we keep religion stringencies even on the expense of offending another?

 

 

1. The question:

In this week’s Parsha, the marriage of Yaakov to Rachel, Leah, Billah, and Zilpha, who were all the daughters of Lavan, is discussed. Now, although the Torah had yet to be given in the times of Yaakov, nonetheless, the sages state that our forefathers carefully guarded the entire Torah even prior to its being given. This is especially emphasized regarding our forefather Yaakov. In Parshas Vayishlach, Yaakov sent a message to his brother Esav, telling him that he had lived with Lavan. The sages state, as Rashi records in his commentary[1], that Yaakov was not informing his brother of information that he already knew, but was hinting to him that despite him living with his uncle Lavan he had carefully observed all the 613 commands, as the word “Garti/lived” can be interpreted to mean “Taryag” which represents the 613 commands. Hence, it is most puzzling that specifically Yaakov allowed himself to marry four sisters, a matter which is completely prohibited according to Torah and listed as one of the 613 commands, and 365 negative commands, as it states in Scripture[2], “One shall not take a sister as a wife.” At the very least, he should not have been as brazen as to brag to his brother and say that he guarded all the commands when he was by his uncle, when in fact he married all four of his uncle’s daughters. [In fact, the Talmud[3] states that in the future when Yaakov will be offered by G-d to perform Kos Shel Bracha by the grace of meals in the times of the redemption, he will refuse to do so due to the fact that he married two sisters which is prohibited by the Torah. Hence, we see Yaakov was fully aware of the prohibitory status of his marriage.]

The opinion of Rashi: The above most perplexing matter is raised by many of the commentators on Scripture. However, strangely, Rashi the great commentator of Scripture makes no mention of this question and gives no comment to help resolve it, and rather leaves it as if it’s accepted and valid for one to marry four sisters. Whenever a question is raised on understanding Scripture, Rashi is there to comment for us, and even when he does not have an explanation, he informs us that he doesn’t know the answer.[4] So why here does Rashi remain silent? One must thus conclude, then according to Rashi, the answer is so simple that it does not even require an explanation or comment at all. We will now begin the journey to try to understand Rashi’s way of thinking and why, in his opinion, this is not even a question to begin with. To do so, we must first introduce the various explanations given by the other commentators, and analyze what Rashi’s position would be regarding them and if such an answer is acceptable to the reader as a matter of fact without needing to even be explicitly mentioned.

2. The answer in Mefarshim

  1. Ramban-Our forefathers only observed of the Torah while they were in the land of Israel: The Rambam[5] explains in answer to the above question that our forefathers only guarded Torah and mitzvah’s while they lived in the land of Israel. Hence, there was no issue with Yaakov marrying four sisters while he was in the Diaspora in the city of Haran. The question, however, on this explanation is that Rashi explains [as stated above] that Yaakov kept all the 613 commands even when he was by Lavan, hence negating the above novelty of the Rambam. Now, although one can conclude that the Ramban indeed argues on the commentary on Rashi, certainly this answer would not be acceptable upon Rashi.
  2. Parshas Derachim-Hashem commanded Yaakov to marry the sisters: The Parshas Derachim[6] explains that Yaakov was justified in his marriage to the four sisters as G-d had directly commanded him to do so in order so he have 12 sons born to him to establish the 12 tribes. Hence, he viewed his marriage to the four sisters as a G-d-given directive which must override the prohibition of marrying sisters which anyways only truly became obligatory after the Torah was given. The pushback against this explanation is the fact that we do not find anywhere in Scripture that such a command was given to Yaakov from G-d, and on the contrary, from Scripture it seems that all the subsequent marriages to the sisters after Yaakov married Leah, were done out of his own free will and voluntarily. Certainly, there is no room to accept that according to Rashi it is obvious that G-d commanded him to do so when no mention is made anywhere of such a command.
  3. The sisters were considered converts and were hence no longer considered to be biologically related: It is a well-known law[7] that one who converts is considered like a newborn child, and biblically is even permitted in marriage to his previous relatives if they too convert to Judaism. Hence, some[8] explain that since the four sisters all converted to Judaism, they all lost their biological relations, and are viewed as if they are no longer sisters, hence dismissing any prohibition from Yaakov in marrying all of them together. The pushback against this explanation is the fact that in truth the concept of conversion did not yet apply prior to the giving of the Torah, and the entire concept of “conversion” by our forefathers to start observing the commands was a mere stringency, and did not hold any legal weight. Hence, how can we use this artificial concept of conversion, of which its purpose was to show one’s stringency in keeping the laws, to then be lenient and say that due to it the sisters lost their biological relations, which is something that’s completely inapplicable to Gentiles. All this is in addition to the fact that we don’t find anywhere in Scripture this concept of nullification of biological relations as a result of conversion, and hence if this were to be the correct explanation, it would be deserving of Rashi to explain it explicitly.
  4. Only Paternal sisters: Some[9] explain that the four sisters whom Yaakov married were only paternal sisters, each having a different mother. Now, since there is no paternal lineage for a Gentile, and prior to the giving of the Torah everyone was considered like a Gentile, therefore it is not considered at all as if they are sisters in regard to the prohibition against marrying two sisters. However, this answer is difficult to accept being that the entire reason the Torah prohibits marrying two sisters is because of the enmity that it can cause between them, and there is no reason to assume that there would be any difference in this matter between paternal or maternal sisters. [In other words, the assumption that the prohibition would not apply to paternal sisters is possibly incorrect.]
  5. Other answers: Several other answers are mentioned in other Mefarshim, but not recorded in the actual Sicha of the Rebbe. Amongst these we find: 1) Daas Zekeinim[10] who explains that the matter of not marrying the sisters was a mere stringency which Yaakov could choose to disregard. 2) The Yalkut Reuveini[11] explains that Yaakov was already considered married to Rachel through his work of seven years, and hence the entire initial marriage to the second sister, Leah, was in error and against his will. 3) Leah and Rachel were reincarnations of the twins of Hevel, and the Yaakov was the mystical representation of Hevel and hence needed to marry the two sisters.[12]

3. The Rebbe’s proposed answers:

Additional explanations that can be accepted also according to the simple understanding of the common reader, hence relieving Rashi of the duty of explicitly stating it, is as follows:

  1. The entire reason behind the prohibition against marrying two sisters is because of the enmity that it can cause between them. However, in our case we know that Rachel personally gave over the secret passcode of marriage that she received from Yaakov to her sister Leah, hence proving that she did not find any issue with sharing her husband in marriage with her sister.
  2. Yaakov had promised Rachel that he would marry her, and hence due to this he could no longer be stringent against marrying Rachel even after he already accidentally married Leah. We will now elaborate on this second explanation.

4. A stringency may not override an obligation:

The entire concept that our forefathers accepted upon themselves to guard Torah and mitzvah’s even prior to it being given, is a mere stringency and matter of scrupulousness which was a result of their righteous behavior. However, under no circumstances was this an obligation. Accordingly, it’s clearly understood that these stringencies [of keeping the 613 commands] may only be kept and guarded if they do not contradict any direct commands or prohibitions that they are already obligated in, as certainly a mere stringency cannot override an obligation.

An example regarding Avraham’s circumcision: This is one of the explanations behind why Avraham did not circumcise himself until he was directly commanded by G-d to do so, despite it being claimed that he kept all the mitzvah’s prior to them being given. The reason for this is because it is an absolute prohibition under the seven Noahide laws for one to injure himself and spill his own blood. Hence, Avraham had to wait for a direct command from G-d to do so, and override the general prohibition that he was obligated in under the seven Noahide laws, and could not choose to do so himself.

Moral edicts accepted by the nations have biblical status: Although in general there are only seven noahide laws, in truth there are many other laws that are obligatory upon Gentiles, including laws that were not ordained to them from G-d but were accepted upon themselves as a society. Thus, for example, we find that Rashi[13] mentions that after the flood the nations of the world distanced themselves from relations with certain relatives, such as a daughter, even when technically permitted. We also find that Rashi[14] mentions the concept of the command of honoring one’s parents in relation to Avraham and the Gentile nations, even though this was not one of the seven Noahide commands, being that even Gentiles accepted upon themselves to honor their parents. We then find that Yaakov was severely punished by G-d for not honoring his parents enough. From this it’s understood that matters of moral observance that the Gentiles accepted upon themselves as a society have biblical status similar to that of the seven Noahide laws. Accordingly, it would be forbidden for Yaakov to override a moral edict that has the status of a biblical Noahide law, due to a desire to keep a personal stringency, such as the guarding of the 613 mitzvah’s prior to the giving of the Torah. We will now explain how Yaakovs marriage to Rachel was the fulfillment of an absolute obligation which hence warranted him to override the stringency of not marrying two sisters.

Yaakov was obligated under the Noahide laws to marry Rachel: One of the laws of moral conduct which the Gentile nations accepted upon themselves for the sake of the function of a society was not to cheat and lie. Hence, we find that Yaakov confronted Lavan for cheating and tricking him to marry Leah, and forced Lavan to provide an excuse for doing so. Thus, it can now be understood why Yaakov was obligated to marry Rachel as he had already given his word to her that he would marry her. Once he made this promise to Rachel, owning up to his promise became a biblical obligation of proportion to the seven Noahide laws. Accordingly, even after he was tricked into marrying Leah he could still no longer back out from his promise, as abstaining from marrying two sisters is a mere stringency and not forbidden upon him from the letter of the law, in contrast to the prohibition of breaking his promise. Thus, despite the fact that he married two sisters, it remains correct to say that he did all in his power to guard the 613 commands while he stayed by Lavan. Meaning to say, that he guarded them to the best of his ability whenever he was legally able to, and Halachically permitted to do so.

5. Yaakovs marriage to Billah and Zilpah:

While the above explanation can suffice to explain the allowance for Yaakov to marry Rachel and Leah, it does not suffice to explain or justify his marriage to the additional two sisters, Billah and Zilpah. While not addressed in this specific talk, the Rebbe does address it in another talk[15], explaining there that since they were maidservants, they had the status of slaves regarding whom the Torah rules that they do not have any lineage, and hence are not considered biological sisters.

6. The lesson-Not being Machmir in another’s expense:

One of the great lessons that each and every Jew can deduce from the above talk is in regard to how to navigate his desire to be stringent in his religiosity in face of potential conflict with the feelings of another. From the behavior of Yaakov, we can learn that whenever one desires to guard a personal stringency it should never be on the expense of another individual. If a personal stringency can come to harm another Jew either physically or emotionally, then it should not be guarded. This does not only apply regarding physical matters and emotional hurts but also regarding spiritual matters. If keeping a personal stringency will come to compromise on the religious observance of another Jew, then it is better to ignore the stringency and focus on bettering the other Jews religious observance. For example, a Jew may desire to spend all of his time in the study hall immersed in the depths of the sea of Torah and service of G-d, and not bother himself with taking out the time to teach simple Jews Torah and the way of G-d. From the above lesson we learn that one is not allowed to be stringent in his religious observance in expense of the basic religious observance of another.

 

A practical lesson for today:

The lesson discussed above is one of great pertinence to our social behavior with family, friends, and communities. It is not uncommon for a rift between family, friends, or community members to erupt due to matters relating to religious obsernt of anyone who may get run over as a result. However, in Judaism we learn that at times what is required to give up his zealously of a religious custom for the sake of peace and not offending another. This depends on the severity of the religious duty and if it is an obligation, in which case it is forbidden to compromise on it irrelevant of the possiblevance. People naturally feel that their rights, especially their personal religious rights and beliefs, are sacred and to be held onto irreleva damage that it can cause in the relationship with others, versus if it is a mere non-obligatory stringency and custom, in which case the ruling is that for the sake of peace one is to let go of fulfilling his stringency. The following article in the addendum will deal with the specifics of the detailed laws relating to this matter.

 

Addendum-Keeping stringencies/Chumros at the home of a host:[16]

When one is a guest in someone else’s home for a meal, it is common to be faced with a dilemma in which partaking in certain foods being offered may compromise one’s religious observance or stringencies, and the question is raised as how one is to properly navigate the situation. On the one hand, one should not do something which may offend the host, such as refusing to eat the food on his menu.  Likewise, one is required to respect the wishes of his host, in his home.[17] On the other hand, one cannot compromise on his religion simply because others choose to be offended. The following is the Halachic ruling on this matter:

A prohibition: Any matter which is prohibited according to Jewish law, and is not a mere custom or stringency, it is forbidden to transgress even if doing so has the potential of making another feel offended.[18] This applies even if the prohibition is only Rabbinical in nature.[19] Obviously, one must try the utmost to perform the matter in a way of Darkei Noam and Darkei Shalom, and thus sanctify G-d’s name in the eyes of the public.[20]

A stringency or custom: Any matter which is a mere custom or act of piety, and is permitted from the letter of the law, may be compromised on in a case that it can cause a host to be offended, and it is not possible for the custom or stringency to be done inconspicuously and go undiscovered.[21] There is no need for Hataras Nedarim to be performed in such a case, even if this stringency has the status of a Neder.[22] Accordingly, we find in Halacha that one is required to transgress the custom of his community, when he is found in a community which does not keep that custom, and guarding that custom in that area will cause strife and dispute, being that it is not possible to perform it inconspicuously.[23] This however, only applies by a custom or Chumra that is not based on a Biblical or Rabbinical requirement.[24] If however the custom or Chumra is based on a Biblical or Rabbinical prohibition, such as that one is accustomed to follow a certain opinion in Poskim which prohibits a certain matter or a certain food, then one must keep his custom even when he is a guest in another’s home, even if the matter is a mere Chumra.[25] In cases that one’s custom considers the food to be an actual prohibition, one may not even eat from foods that were cooked in his pots.[26] [See Q&A for full details regarding the pots!] Likewise, if the act of piety is kept because there is even a chance of prohibition involved in doing this matter, then one is not to break his stringency.[27] Thus, if a host asks his guest to eat or partake in a certain matter which contains no prohibition at all, and is a mere act of piety which one avoids, then one is to inconspicuously avoid this matter, and if he can’t then he is to compromise on it.[28] If, however, there is even a chance of prohibition involved in doing this matter, then one is not obligated to listen to his host.[29] One can simply tell the host that he does not like the food in question that is being offered.[30] The one exception to this rule is Pas Palter, in which case one who is eating by another person who is serving Kosher bread baked by a Gentile bakery, he may partake in the bread even though in general he holds of the stringency of not eating Pas Paltar.[31] This exception does not extend to other cases of matters which one holds to be forbidden, whether due to letter of the law or stringency.[32] Nonetheless, in certain cases, the custom or stringency of avoiding a certain food may only have been initially accepted in one’s own home, and not when eating out by another. Thus, we find that in Reinitz, those who generally avoid eating the fat of the stomach, would nevertheless partake in foods that contain this fat in the home of one who is lenient, and they would also eat foods that were cooked in their dishes.[33] Likewise, we find that although Chassidim were very careful to only eat meat that was slaughtered with a certain type of hewed knives [Sakinim Melutashim], nonetheless, it was permitted for them to eat by a Seudas Mitrzvah of people whose meat was not slaughtered with such knives, and in all cases they could eat foods that were cooked in pots of those who ate other meats, even if the pots were Ben Yomo.[34] One is to contact a Rav for further guidance in this matter.

 

Summary:

When one is a guest in another’s home, he is to be careful not to offend or hurt the host by avoiding eating their food, in all cases that the food does not pose any real Kashrus concern and is a mere act of piety. The following guidelines are to be used regarding what foods one must avoid and which may be compromised on:

In all the following cases one is to avoid eating the food, or foods cooked in Ben Yomo pots, even if it may offend the host:

1.       The food is Biblically or Rabbinically forbidden.

2.       Furthermore, if one follows an opinion who rules the food is forbidden, even though there are opinions who hold it is permitted, he must avoid eating the food, or foods cooked in a Ben Yomo pot.

3.       Furthermore, if one is stringent upon himself to suspect for opinions that consider the food forbidden, even though he agrees it is permitted from the letter of the law, he must avoid eating the food, or foods cooked in a Ben Yomo pot [unless he only accepted to be stringent in his own home].

4.       Furthermore, even if from the letter of the law the food is permitted but one’s community custom is to prohibit such a food and they are not accustomed to be lenient even upon eating elsewhere, then he must avoid eating the food, or foods cooked in a Ben Yomo pot.

5.       One suspects the food may have non-Kosher ingredients mixed in.

In all other cases in which the stringency is a mere act of piety and does not hold any suspicion of a Halachic prohibition and is not a community custom, one may partake in the food, if he is unable to inconspicuously avoid it.

 

Examples of matters which are based on prohibitions or community customs and hence are not to be compromised even when eating by a host who is lenient based on his custom or other Poskim:

  • Chalav Yisrael
  • Heter Mechira produce.
  • Gebrochts/Matzah Shruya.
  • Foods that contain a true Kashrus concern and do not have a reliable Hashgacha.

 

Examples of matters that may be compromised on when eating at a host if one is unable to avoid the matter inconspicuously:

  • One may eat from non-Chassidishe Shechita that contains a reliable Hashgacha.[35]
  • One may eat from all Hashgacha’s that are reliable, even if in general one is Makpid to only eat from a certain Hashgacha in one’s home.[36]
  • Personal Pesach Chumros and acts of piety which have no basis in Halacha or community custom may be compromised on when eating by others. [To note many avoid eating by others over Pesach in order to avoid uncomfortable circumstances that can be created due to personal Chumros. However, in the event that an invitation was accepted, the guest is to act accordingly.]

 

 

Eating by host who does not serve Lubavitch Shechita

  1. Question: [Tuesday, 29th Sivan, 5781]

I am generally careful to eat only Lubavitch Shechita. I would like to know what I’m to do when I eat at people’s homes as a guest who may not be careful in eating only meat and poultry of Lubavitch Shechita. I used to ask the host as to the Hashgacha of the meat but when I noticed some of them starting to get offended by my question, I simply started to avoid eating meat and chicken by other people’s homes being that I’m unsure if it is Lubavitch Shechita, but this too does not always pass without offending the host. What is the correct approach for me to do? Should I compromise on my values, or should I continue to avoid eating foods that are not according to my level of Kashrus?

Answer:

It is incorrect both according to Halacha, Chabad custom, and the general demands of Derech Eretz and Ahavas Yisrael, to avoid eating meat and chicken that is served in the home of your host simply because it is not a Lubavitch Hashgacha. So long as they are serving a reliable and reputable Hashgacha for meat and poultry that does not contain any worry of prohibition involved, then if you have chosen to be a guest at their meal [which of course you are not obligated to choose and may choose to eat alone at home], then you should partake in the meat course, and not be stringent in matters that are not required according to Halacha, on the expense of the feelings of your host. Being Machmir in the feelings of others is also a “Chumra”, and overrides the Chumra of Lubavitch Shechita. The same would apply when attending a wedding, that one should not avoid partaking in the meal and eating the meat if it is under a reliable Hashgacha, just because it is not Lubavitch Hashgacha. There is no need for Hataras Nedarim to be performed in such a case, even if this stringency has the status of a Neder.

Explanation: The above question touches upon a general wide misconception that people have, that they think that all degrees of one’s personal standards of religious observance are to be observed even in the expense of causing hurt feelings in others. Ahavas Yisrael, and not offending another Jew, are biblically mandated mitzvah’s which certainly override personal stringencies. Halacha teaches us the exact cases in which one is actually obligated to give up personal stringencies in face of the possibility of causing Machlokes, or offending another. The Halachic rule is as follows: Whenever one is in a Shul or community that is lenient on a certain matter that is not required from the letter of the law neither biblically or rabbinically, and does not touch upon a worry of transgressing anything either biblical or rabbinical, and is simply a mere Hiddur and Chumra, then it is actually forbidden for him to be stringent in that Shul or community due to the possibility of it causing a dispute, unless he can be inconspicuous about it. Halacha extends the same standards to a guest eating in someone’s home, that he is not allowed to be stringent in avoiding eating a certain food that is served due to a personal Chumra, as doing so may be offensive to the host, unless one can do so inconspicuously without the host noticing. Now, regarding Lubavitch Shechita, even with regards to the original Lubavitch-Chassidishe Shechita in the times of the Alter Rebbe in which there was an actual difference between the form of knives used for Shechita that was done between them and others [i.e. regarding the Sakinim Melutashin, iron hewed knives], the Alter Rebbe explicitly ruled in a responsa to the Chassidim [in response to the question asked by the Misnagdeshe Rav of Vilna] that while there is basis to be stringent to eat Lubavitch Shechita, they should not be stringent to avoid participating in the weddings of those who don’t. Now, if this applied back then when there was a real concept of Lubavitch Shechita, then certainly today when there is no difference at all regarding the knives of Lubavitch Shechita and other Shechita’s, and in fact there is no policy difference at all between Lubavitch Shechita and other Shechita’s [and on the contrary, there exist non-Lubavitch Shechita Hashgacha’s that are more particular and Machmir in their standards and policies than the various available Lubavitch Shechita companies that are on the market], and the only difference is that it happens to be slaughtered by someone who is affiliated with Lubavitch as a sect, then certainly one cannot choose to upkeep his personal standard in face of possibly offending his host. While it is beyond the scope of this article to give a full treatise on the subject of Lubavitch Shechita today and if in truth such a stringency today is even authentic, let us suffice with stating that in the previous generation of Chassidim, the concept as it is understood today, was unheard of, and Chassidim and Rabbanim from all over were not particular in this matter and the main thing was to make sure that the slaughterer was G-d fearing. Rav Yaakov Landau z”l, who was known for his extreme scrupulousness in Kashrus, ate meat and poultry that was slaughtered by non-Chabad Chassidim, so long as they were verified to be experts and G-d fearing. Likewise, the Rebbe Rayatz himself when he was in Moscow chose to eat from the Shechita of Reb Nasan Balivor, who was a student of Navardik, even though he had meat available that was slaughtered by the Chabad Shochet of Moscow. The main thing is the expertise and level of fear of G-d of the Shochet, and not the sect that he affiliates with.

Sources: See Admur 468:14; Michaber 170:5; Rama Y.D. 112:15; 119:7; Shach Y.D. 112:26 and 119:20; Shaareiy Teshuvah 170:6; M”B 170:16; Piskeiy Teshuvos 170:8; See Igros Kodesh 14:391 regarding Nussach of Davening; 5:91; 16:12 and 99; 19:249 regarding wearing a Tallis as Chazan; See regarding being lenient even if one stringency has the status of a Neder: Rama 568:2; 581:2 [regarding a Bris during Bahab or Aseres Yimei Teshuvah]; Shach Y.D. 214:2 that one may eat by a Seudas Mitzvah even though it breaks his Chumra which became accepted as a Neder; M”A 581:12; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Degul Merivava ibid and Yoreh Deah 214:1 and Pischeiy Teshuvah Y.D. 214:1 that a temporary lifting of a Chumra that becomes a Neder is allowed in a case of need; Piskeiy Teshuvos 170:8; See Hearos Ubiurim Ohalei Torah 627 in which based on all above, his questions are answered, as there is no Issur of breaking a Neder in such a case. See regarding Lubavitch Shechita of back then: Shut

[1] Rashi 32:5

[2] Acharei Mos 18:18

[3] Pesachim 119b

[4] See Toldos 25:5

[5] Toldos 25:5

[6] Derech Hasarim Derush Rishon in name of Maharsh Yafo

[7] See Yevamos 22a

[8] Chizkuni 29:29

[9] Chizkuni 29:29

[10] Parshas Vayeishev

[11] Vayeitzei

[12] Yalkut Reuveini Vayeitzei

[13] Rashi Vayishlach 34:7

[14] End of Parshas Noach

[15] Likkutei Sichos Vol. 5 p. 230

[16] Based on: Admur 468/14; Rama Y.D. 112/15; 119/7; Shach Y.D. 112/26 and 119/20; Shaareiy Teshuvah 170/6; M”B 170/16; Piskeiy Teshuvos 170/8

[17] Michaber 170/5 “One who enters a home is to do everything the host instructs him”

[18] Admur 468/14

[19] Admur ibid in parentheses; Peri Chadash 496/16 

[20] See many examples brought in our section on refusing to shake the hand of a woman, and how one is to politely avoid the situation.

[21] Admur 468/14; See Igros Kodesh 14/391 regarding Nussach of Davening; 5/91; 16/12 and 99; 19/249 regarding wearing a Tallis as Chazan

[22] Rama 568/2; 581/2 [regarding a Bris during Bahab or Aseres Yimei Teshuvah]; Shach Y.D. 214/2 that one may eat by a Seudas Mitzvah even though it breaks his Chumra which became accepted as a Neder; M”A 581/12; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Degul Merivava ibid and Yoreh Deah 214/1 and Pischeiy Teshuvah Y.D. 214/1 that a temporary lifting of a Chumra that becomes a Neder is allowed in a case of need; Piskeiy Teshuvos 170/8; See Hearos Ubiurim Ohalei Torah 627 in which based on all above, his questions are answered, as there is no Issur of breaking a Neder in such a case.

Opinion of Michaber and Shach: The Michaber 214/1 rules regarding the Hiddur of fasting during Aseres Yimei Teshuvah, that even if one became weak, he is required to do Hataras Nedarim. The Shach 214/2 explains that the reason for this is because only those circumstances that are publicly known not to be included within the Hiddur, such as eating during a Bris Mila during Aseres Yimei Teshuvah, do not require Hataras Nedarim. However an unexpected circumstance is included in the Hiddur and thus requires Hataras Nedarim. The Degul Merivava ibid argues against the Shach’s explanation, and says the Michaber’s ibid ruling referred to a case that due to weakness the person wanted to revoke forever his custom, and for this everyone agrees that Hatara is required.

[23] Admur ibid; Rebbe ibid

The reason: As the sustaining of peace is of greater importance than a custom, if the custom is not a Biblical or Rabbinical requirement.  [Admur ibid] As Machlokes is a Biblical prohibition according to all. [Igros Kodesh 14/391]

[24] Admur ibid

[25] See Rama 112/15 that only by Pas Paltar do we make an exception of compromise; [See however Rama 115/3 that this exception applies also to butter and the Levush explains that this is because it is an Issur Kal; See however Taz 115/13 who negates the Levush and explains that butter is also an exception because in those areas that people eat it, they make it in a way that is Kosher without suspicion] See also Rama Y.D. 119/7 that it is forbidden for a host to feed his guest a food which the guest holds to be not Kosher from the letter of the law, or due to stringency; See Shach 119/20 and Beir Heiytiv 64/10 regarding the Chelev of the Keres that if the custom is to forbid the Cheilev then one may not even eat in the dishes of one who follows those Poskim who is Matir; See Rama 64/9 who permits eating from the pots of Bnei Reinitz and Shach 64/12 who even permits eating from their food. The Shach and Beir Heiytiv ibid explain that this Heter only applies for communities within Reinitz who are accustomed to prohibit, unlike the widespread custom to be lenient. However, those who come from a community in which everyone accepts the matter as a prohibition, then there is no leniency accorded even regarding the pots.

[26] Shach Y.D. 119/20

[27] Shaareiy Teshuvah 170/6; M”B 170/16

[28] Shaareiy Teshuvah 170/6; M”B 170/16; See Ashel Avraham of Butchach in Tehila Ledavid, brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 170 footnote 40

[29] See Shach Y.D. 112/26; Shaareiy Teshuvah 170/6; M”B 170/16

[30] See Shach Y.D. 112/26

[31] Rama 112/15; Shach 119/20

The reason: As if one refuses to eat the bread, which is the main staple of the meal, it can cause enmity between the people. [Rama ibid; Shach 112/26]

[32] Rama ibid; Shach ibid; Taz 115/13

[33] See Rama 64/9 who permits eating from the pots of Bnei Reinitz and Shach 64/12 who even permits eating from their food. The Shach and Beir Heiytiv ibid explain that this Heter only applies for communities within Reinitz who are accustomed to prohibit, unlike the widespread custom to be lenient. However, those who come from a community in which everyone accepts the matter as a prohibition, then there is no leniency accorded even regarding the pots.

[34] Letter of Admur printed in Beis Rebbe “Heaven Forfend to separate from the Seudas Mitzvah of one’s area and consider them to be eating not Kosher meat”

[35] Letter of Admur in Beis Rebbe regarding a Seudas Mitzvah; See Ashel Avraham of Butchach in Tehila Ledavid, brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 170 footnote 40

[36] Piskeiy Teshuvos 170/8

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