Do You Really Need to Ask a Rav?

The purpose of this article is to challenge the firmly entrenched idea within the Torah community that rabbinical counsel should be sought in all crucial life decisions or halachic quandaries. In this article, I will argue why the rigid interpretation of this belief may have made sense in the past, but no longer does.

The widespread conviction that when in doubt, ask a rav is premised upon the utopian belief that every Jew has access to a grandfatherly figure with a warm smile and a long white beard who will patiently listen to his or her problems with sensitive attunement to every fine detail of the situation, and offer a fits-like-a-glove, customized answer embodying the ultimate harmony of halachic expertise, divine intuition, human wisdom and compassion. In every Torah publication, rabbis of all stature are glorified as having mastered this sublime skill, herding the yidden under their influence with the patience of a shepherd through life’s many confusing and dangerous ups and downs.


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