Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Beyond Halakha & Hashakafa

I posted Dilbert's H&H hock without thinking about it.  But in the day since, I had some time to access my thoughts on the matter.  (Many things I have thought through, but since, for the most part, I haven't thought about them in years, it takes a while for me to access them.)

I once spoke to Professor Jeffrey Woolf about this matter a couple of years ago & he pointed out that categories like Hefsed Merubah are part of the Halakhic Process.  I (building off the work of others) want to push this further and suggest that every Posek & Community of Interpreters sets up its rules of interpretation. 
This includes (but is not limited to):  Which sources are used and which ones are ignored?  How much weight do they give to principles like hefsed merubah, not casting aspersions on earlier generations, or kavod ha-bri'os?  Are aggadic sources valid as sources of halakhah?  Has anyone given this particular interpretation in the past?  What are the people currently practicing?

All these are principles/sources which a Posek may or may not use.  Are any principles considered invalid?  When Tosfos will Pasken off Aggaditah or Achronim will Pasken off kabbalah is that a unique approach or an invalid approach?

All these questions have been discussed extensively in Legal Theory.  Unfortunately the Journal of Torah & Legal Theory hasn't been published, yet .

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