The rule of Dashu Bah Rabim and Shomer Pesaim Hashem

The rule of Dashu Bah Rabim and Shomer Pesaim Hashem:[1]

In Tehillim[2] that is a verse which states “Shomer Pesaim Hashem” which is interpreted to mean that God guards the fools, those who are too ignorant to guard themselves.[3] This verse is recruited in the Talmud[4] and Poskim[5] to defend the practice of the masses to not abide by certain dangers recorded in the Talmud and Poskim [i.e. Dashu Ba Rabim], as “Hashem guards the fools,” and hence nothing evil will occur to them. [By Segula dangers, this is interpreted to mean that the danger becomes completely abolished, while by natural dangers, while the danger is lessened, it is possible that some danger still remains.[6]]

In which cases of danger may one apply this leniency? Some Poskim[7] rule that we only apply this rule on an individual basis and not collectively to all Talmudic dangers that the public is no longer careful to keep, and hence unless explicitly stated or understood from the Poskim that a certain danger does not need to be abided by due to Shomer Pesaim Hashem, then one must abide by it even if the masses are lenient. Furthermore, some Poskim[8] rule that one can only apply leniency to cases that involve a Mitzvah, as a joint leniency with the rule of Shomer Mitzvah Lo Yada Davar Ra. Other Poskim[9], however, rule that this rule can be applied to any danger that the masses now ignore, even if the danger is recorded in the Talmud and Poskim without any mention of Shomer Pesaim Hashem. Practically, we are lenient in this matter to apply the leniency even to dangers recorded in the Talmud and Poskim as active.[10] This especially applies towards matters that are considered the custom of the world to perform, such as to fly on an airplane and the like.[11] Likewise, it applies by a matter that is considered a very distant danger and is of low risk.[12] This leniency applies to both Segula dangers and natural dangers.[13] Some write that this rule may be applied more freely by dangers which are due to Segula, while by those dangers which are due to natural causes, then some danger may still remain even though the rule and leniency apply.[14] Others write that one may apply this rule to any case in which the leniency of “Nishtaneh Hativim” can be applied to, and hence they conclude that today there is justification for being lenient in the majority of the Talmudic warnings, and cannot protest any member of the Jewish people for doing so.[15]

How many people must be accustomed to being lenient to apply the leniency: Some Poskim[16] rule that this rule can only be applied if even Torah scholars and God-fearing Jews are lenient in the recorder danger however, if only ignoramuses are lenient while Torah scholars are stringent, then one may not apply the rule. However, other Poskim[17] imply that once the populace is accustomed to being lenient then even Torah scholars may choose to be lenient, even if they are normally stringent. The Chabad ruling follows this approach.

If there is a difference of custom of communities:[18] Whenever there is a difference of custom and communities such as if in some countries and communities the custom is to ignore certain dangers while in other countries and communities the custom is to be careful in them, then each community may follow their custom. The communities which are stringent may not be lenient and on them we do not apply the rule of Shomer Pesaim Hashem, while the communities which are accustomed to being lenient, we apply the rule towards them.

Relying on this rule even initially: Some Poskim[19] rule that this rule only applies Bedieved, however initially every person should be stringent upon himself, even by those dangers upon which we apply the rule of Shomer Pesaim Hashem. Other Poskim[20] rule that one may even initially rely on this protection of fools, and hence in all cases that the masses are accustomed to being lenient in one of the dangers mentioned in the Talmud and Poskim, even a total scholar who is aware of the danger may be lenient against following it. Practically, the Chabad custom and ruling is like this latter approach.[21] This especially applies to dangers which are due to Segula, in which seemingly even according to the first opinion one may be even initially lenient as when the masses ignore the danger it becomes completely abolished.[22] However, some are stringent even by Segula dangers.[23]

Man Delo Kapid Lo Kapid Bahadaiyhu:[24]

Understanding the rule: A concept that we find both in the Talmud[25] and Poskim[26] is “Kol DeKapid Kapid Bahadaiyhu, Udelo Kapid, Lo Kapdi Bahdei.” This means that if one is paranoid that a certain action will endanger his life, then the paranoia itself causes the danger to become real, while one who chooses to ignore the danger is safe from the danger. The Talmud[27] uses this concept regarding the danger of Zugos [drinking and eating in pairs] saying that it damages one who is paranoid of the danger, while one who ignores the danger is protected. This rule seems to imply that the actual danger associated with various actions recorded in the Talmud and Poskim, and certainly those which are mere folklore, is subjective to the person. One who is superstitious and paranoid about it, then specifically he is prone to the danger, while one who ignores it, is protected.

When and how to apply the rule: This rule can seemingly be used as a defense for those who ignore the various dangers recorded in the Talmud and Poskim, as since they do not give these actions any significance, therefore it is not dangerous for them to perform. Nonetheless, in truth the Talmud concludes there regarding Zugos that even though the danger is lessened when one stops worrying about it, he should nonetheless suspect for it as some level of danger still exists.[28] Furthermore, some Poskim[29] learn that this rule can only be used by specific dangers, and does not apply to all types of dangers. Practically, we only apply this rule on an individual basis and not collectively to all Talmudic dangers, and hence unless explicitly stated or understood from the Poskim that a certain danger can be chosen to be ignored, then one must suspect for it, as the Poskim[30] sate that whoever transgresses the Talmudic dangers that are brought in the Poskim and says, “I will endanger myself and it’s none of anyone else’s business,” or says “I [do not worry of the chance of danger and] choose not to be careful about this,” is liable to receive lashes known as Makas Mardus. However, those dangers which are optional to be kept, such as the various dangers found in Jewish folklore which have no source in Jewish literature, or those dangers which are not recorded in the classic Poskim, then a person may choose to not be paranoid about these dangers and in such a case he is protected from their damage.

Application by Ayin Hara:[31] The concept of an evil eye is only applicable to the perpetrator, however, the victim, can avoid the evil eye, even if another person placed it on him. This can be accomplished through completely removing one’s mind from the matter, and not contemplating it. One who contemplates the evil eye, and enters paranoia that people are casting it upon him, causes the damage to befall him. One, however, who ignores the evil eye, and remains steadfast that it has no true power over him, can deflect any of its damage. [The Rebbe on various occasions discussed the necessity of ignoring the evil eye and removing one’s mind from it.[32] This however does not mean that its potential does not exist, and thus all the above laws brought in Halacha relating to Ayin Hara remain in place.[33] The Rebbe’s message was not that Ayin Hara is not existent and does not have any effect, but that one can protect himself from falling a victim towards it, if he removes his mind from it and gives it no credence.[34]]


[1] See Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] Mavo Chapter 11; Shemiras Hanefesh chapter 12; Pilpul Hatemimim Kefar Chabad 20 p. 362

[2] 116:6

[3] Metzudos Dovid ibid

[4] Shabbos 129b regarding Erev Shabbos; Yevamos 12b [regarding Mishmaeish Bemoch] and 72a [regarding Yoma Deiba]; Kesubos 39a; Avoda Zara 30b; Niddah 45a; Sanhedrin 110

[5] All Poskim in coming footnotes; Custom recorded in Terumas Hadeshen 211 regarding Torah scholars marrying a Katlanis; Shut Tzemach Tzedek E.H. 11; Pilpula Charifta Avoda Zara 30:29; See Admur 477:11 that there is no issue with hanging meat and fish being that it is common for these foods to be hung, and Igros Kodesh 2:144 regarding Mayim Shelanu in metal; So rule regarding talking while eating: Perisha 170:1; Elya Raba 170; Shaareiy Teshuvah 170:1; So rule regarding food under bed: Chochmas Adam 68:63; Aruch Hashulchan 116:11; Kaf Hachaim 116:40; So rule regarding peeled garlic: Kav Hazahav 12 [14]; So rule regarding drinking in the dark on Tuesday and Friday night: Peri Chadash 116; Imrei Yaakov 10:19; So rule regarding raising a calf born to one’s animal: Kaf Hachaim 116:116; So rule regarding not isolating by an epidemic: Rav Avraham Azulaiy writes in Chesed Leavraham Mayan Chamishi Eiyn Mishpat Nehar 28; So rule regarding day 90 of pregnancy: M”A 240:5; Abayey in Niddah 31a; So rule regarding auspicious and non-auspicious days of the month to move: See Avnei Tzedek Y.D. 44; So rule regarding Marrying a Kohenes: Tzemach Tzedek Even Haezer 11; Likkutei Sichos 19:509; Igros Kodesh 11:115; So rule regarding not talking to a Niddah: Divrei Malkiel 5:103; Igros Kodesh 3:374 ; So rule regarding walking between two people of the opposite gender: Tav Yehoshua 2:12

[6] Igros Kodesh 2:143

[7] Chaim Shoel 59; Divrei Yatziv 2:33; Chelkas Yaakov 4:12

[8] Zecher Yosef O.C. 28; Negated by Yabia Omer 3:7

[9] See Ashel Avraham 3 that one can apply the rule of Shomer Pesaim Hashem in all cases of doubt even those not explicitly stated; Toras Menachem 5743 1:382 regarding wet feet; Igros Kodesh 2:143 regarding Mayim Shelanu Bekli Matchos

[10] See sources in previous footnote.

[11] Koveitz Shiurim Kesubos 136

[12] Mishneh Halachos 5:234; See Igros Moshe C.M. 2:76

[13] Ben Poras 11; So rule regarding talking while eating: Perisha 170:1; Elya Raba 170; Shaareiy Teshuvah 170:1

[14] Igros Kodesh 2:143

[15] Ashel Avraham 3

[16] Tiferes Tzvi 91; See Toras Menachem 5743 1:382 that even “Torah scholars are lenient”

[17] Tzemach Tzedek E.H. 11:8; 89

[18] Shulchan Menachem 2 p. 75

[19] Terumas Hadeshen 211, brought in Beis Yosef E.H. 9, that he is unsure if a Torah scholar may even initially rely on Shomer Pesaim; Yosef Ometz 49, brought in Tzemach Tzedek E.H. 11; Daas Torah O.C. 455:1; Zivcheiy Tzedek Y.D. 116:77; Peri Hasadeh 3:159; Ben Ish Chaiy Pinchas 2; Yabia Omer 2 Y.D. 7; 3 Y.D. 7; See Beis Yosef Y.D. 262 in name of Ritva on Yevamos 72a in name of Ra’ah that one may be stringent not to trust Shomer Pesaim Hashem

[20] Tzemach Tzedek E.H. 11:8; 8; Implication of Gemara in Yevamos 12b regarding Mishmaeish Bemoch; 72a regarding Yoma Deiba; Terumas Hadeshen 211, brought in Beis Yosef E.H. 9, regarding the custom of Torah scholars marrying a Katlanis; Ben Porat 2:11; Shevet Meyehuda Shaar Harishon 19; Shem Aryeh Y.D. 27; Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 33 footnote 2; See Igros Kodesh 2:143; 3:374; 6:196; Toras Menachem 5743 1:382

[21] Tzemach Tzedek E.H. 11:8; 89; Igros Kodesh 2:143; 3:24; 3:374; 6:196; 9:79; Toras Menachem 5743 1:382

[22] Igros Kodesh 2:143

[23] Daas Torah O.C. 455:1; Yosef Ometz 37:1; Zivcheiy Tzedek Y.D. 116:77; Peri Hasadeh 3:159; Yabia Omer 2 Y.D. 7; 3 Y.D. 7

[24] See Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] Mavo 14

[25] Pesachim 110b regarding Zugos; Yerushalmi Shabbos 6:9

[26] Nimukei Yosef end of Moed Katan regarding Leich Beshalom, brought in Darkei Moshe Y.D. 402; Sefer Chassidim 459; Chasam Sofer E.H. 116

[27] Pesachim 110b

[28] Pesachim ibid and Rashbam on Pesachim ibid; Shivim Temarim Kapos Temarim 4

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one who ignores the danger is completely safe from it occurring to him. [Shem Aryeh Y.D. 27]

[29] Mili Dechassidusa on Tzavah 50

[30] Admur C.M. Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh 4; Michaber 427:10

[31] Igros Moshe 3:26 “Ayin Hara is certainly a matter to suspect for, however on these matters the rule is not to contemplate it, as one is not particular on it, Hashem is not particular on him.”; Igros Kodesh 8:154 “One who is not particular, it is not particular with him”; 13:94 “The complete removal of one’s mind from it nullifies it”;

[32] Igros Kodesh ibid; See Heichal Menachem 2 p. 91; Hiskashrus 903

[33] See Birkeiy Yosef 141:6 and Yad Ahron 141 that even if one is not Makpid, Ayin Hara still exists; We also Daven every day to save us from Ayin Hara

[34] The Rebbe discussed the concept of Ayin Hara and its power on various occasions: See Toras Menachem 2:187 that it does not have power on concealed miracles; Igros Kodesh 10:280; 18:38; Toras Menachem Reshimos Hayoman p. 316 that the tzemach tzedek wore glasses on his forehead to protect him from Ayin Hara; On various occasions the Rebbe said “Bli Ayin Hara.”

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