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Learning practical Halacha

Question:

Hi.
I have a question which has been bothering me for some time. Many Kitzur sefarim on halacha have a disclaimer at the beginning that the halachos in here should not be followed – it was just written so people can know potential shailas rather everyone should either learn their halacha themselves from the sources (Gemara, Tur, Beis Yosef etc.) or ask their Rav.
One can see similar things to this even in depth halacha sefarim such as Orchos Shabbos etc.
My question is what should a regular person who wants to know Halacha do. Most people are incapable of coming out of a sugya with a clear halacha lema’asa especially in halchos which are not brought in Mishna Berura such as a hotplate Garuf V’Katum etc.
For the other option of asking a Rav, this works if one has a specific shaila such as the one I just mentioned but if one is for example learning Hilchos Shabbos it’s a bit impractical to ask a Rav every question which comes up especially as most times a Rav is a busy person with multiple commitments.
So why can’t someone learn for example let’s say with a chavrusa Tur, Beis Yosef and SA, MB and to know all the practical Halacha Lema’aseh learn for example Orchos Shabbos?
Thank you.

 

Answer:

One of the main reasons the kitzur seforim write this is because they are only the “b’kitzur”. Meaning, that they are only telling you in this situation, do like this. However the kitzur sefer is not taking the whole picture into consideration, and many times, the individual circumstances will change the halacha, as halacha is not a one-size -fits-all topic.

Similar to medicine, a person can read a quick fix medical book, and he reads there that such and such infection is treated with penicillin. Reading such a book will not make the person into a doctor, and the person is not yet ready to start prescribing medication. While it is true that penicillin will get rid of a certain infection, however, the doctor needs to know the patient’s medical history, what other ailments the person has, what other medications he is taking, etc. because medicine is also about the big picture.

Therefore, yes learn Tur, Bais Yosef, Shulchan Aruch, the commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch and after them the Mishan Berura. Then once you understand the sugya correctly, when you will see the Orchos Shabbos regarding a certain question, you will understand what he holds regarding that question. Howqever there is always a need to have a Rov to ask, because there are a lot of practical things that a person will get from speaking with a Rov about various topics. This is called shimush. For example when learning hilchos nidda, after learning the sugya well, there are many things that one still needs to know as to what the minhag of the poskim is, and a kitzur sefer will not be able to give you this breadth of knowledge.

Best wishes

 

 

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