Source #1: Pesachim 66b | פסחים פו
Click here for a translation of this source from Sefaria: https://www.sefaria.org/Pesachim.66b?lang=bi
This source serves as our introduction to the role of מנהג (popular practice) within halakha. Specifically, it highlights one of the most important roles of מנהג within the halakhic system: a creative force used to recover/transmit lost or forgotten halakhot. In this case, while the correct halakha has been forgotten, the Rabbi instructs his students to go see what the people commonly practiced with regard to this law in order to determine what it should be. Additionally, this source also presents a new rationale for exceptions within Jewish law. In particular, the question revolves around whether the need to perform a mitzvah is justification for exception within halakha, which builds off of the study of leniency (מקום צערא, מקום פסידא, כבוד הבריות) at the end of LaHaV's Talmud 1 course.
- What is one of the functions of מנהג within halakha?
- What types of situations would allow one to violate a Rabbinic prohibition on Shabbat?
- Who is more powerful - the people or the Rabbis?
- Does minhag make halakha more rigid or more flexible?
Role of מנהג
- One of the functions of מנהג within the halakhic system is to recover lost or forgotten halakhot. Within a tradition that is based down from generation to generation, popular practice is one mechanism by which errors and breaks in the chain of transmission are corrected for.
מקום מצוה - exception to דרבנן laws
- This source picks up off of the end of the 9th grade course by continuing the discussion of exceptions and leniencies within Halakha. In particular, a new exception is introduced here, by which we allow for leniency regarding דרבנן laws when it comes to an action that is done for the sake of performance of a mitzvah.
(See below for downloadable Word and PDF versions of students worksheets that can be used in the classroom)
- כלאחד יד
The role of מנהג as a “corrective” force within Jewish tradition and history has been extensively written about. In particular, Professor Jeffrey Woolf of Bar Ilan University has written about the explosion of the recording of מנהגים in the aftermath of the Crusade massacres, and Professor Hayim Soloveitchik has similarly written about the role (or loss) of מנהג, or “mimetic” memory, in the aftermath of the Holocaust in his well known article, “Rupture and Reconstruction”.
- כלאחר יד
- מקום מצוה
- Concept of doing melacha on Shabbat with a Shinuy
הלכות שבת - מקום מצוה
- שולחן ערוך או"ח תקפו:כא
- violating shabbat b'makom mitzvah - שבות דשבות במקום מצוה. We do not violate Shabbat to blow shofar, however one is allowed to ask a non-Jew to carry the shofar for them, since asking a non-Jew is only forbidden mid'rabanan and this is for the sake of performing a mitzvah.
- שולחן ערוך או"ח שז:ה ומשנה ברורה שם
- One is allowed to ask a non-Jew to perform an actoin on Shabbat that is prohibited mid'rabanan as long as it's in a case of sickness, great need, or for the sake of a mitzvah.
- (שולחן ערוך או"ח רעו:ב (רמ"א
- Quotes the opinion that one is allowed to ask a non-Jew to even perform a deoraita prohibition in cases of mitzvah, however the Rama prohibits this based on the majority opinion of poskim.