Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Halachic Process

Rav Wolbe, zt”l, once explained why absolute honesty must be attributed to the true chachamim of each generation. “Every Torah Jew must have absolute confidence in the great achronim of every generation. We must never suspect the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, or the Chazon Ish, zt”l, of falsehood even in worldly matters and certainly not in the all important area of halacha.
“When the Chofetz Chaim rules in a certain way it is as if he says this in the name of his teacher and his teacher’s teacher all the way back to Moshe on Sinai. Someone who doubts this, doubts the veracity of Hillel and Rabi Akiva as well since what is the real difference? Even this confused person must concede that if the halachic process of our greatest authorities is based on falsehood, perhaps the same is true regarding the earlier authorities, chas v’shalom!
“When Hashem sent prophets to warn powerful kings that they would fall and their kingdoms would be destroyed, they did so fearlessly despite the terrible dangers involved. The word of Hashem burned in their hearts and they foretold these events without the slightest change. Even though some suffered blows or even imprisonment for telling people what they did not wish to hear, they would not falsify or even hold back their prophecy.
“Like the prophets, the sages valiantly taught Torah whatever the consequences, since their only interest was to promulgate the truth. There can be no doubt that regardless of pressure or political considerations, the great sages of each generations remained true to the halacha which burned in their hearts. It is not for nothing that Chazal teach in Shabbos 138b, that ‘devar Hashem’ refers to both prophecy and halacha! ”

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