Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Questionable Violation

A certain man wished to purchase a new woolen suit in a bargain-priced store. But he wondered whether he was allowed to try it on. After all, what if the garment he chose was shatnez? Surely it was no simple matter to even try on a garment which is shatnez, since clearly wearing shatnez owned by another is forbidden. The fact that it is only questionable shatnez is most likely irrelevant since the halachah is that one must also avoid a questionable violation of a Torah prohibition. But he decided to ask despite his many misgivings. When this question reached the Chochmas Adam, zt”l, he ruled that it is indeed forbidden. “You certainly may not put on a garment which may be shatnez even if one only wants to verify that the garment is the right size. Since the person intends to wear it for that short time, he transgresses the prohibition if it is shatnez. This is equally true regarding people who purchase hats or other garments with the possibility of shatnez.” But the Minchas Yitzchak, zt”l, disputed this conclusion. “According to the authorities that one may wear shatnez to fool a dishonest tax collector since wearing this garment is a פסיק רישיה דלא ניחא ליה—an unavoidable result of a different purpose—just trying on a garment that may be shatnez may also be permitted since this too is merely an unavoidable result of his need to ascertain if the garment is his size. Since we hold that an unavoidable result of an action that may or may not be a prohibition is permitted, it follows that he may try the garment on.”

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