Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rav Herschel Schachter - A posek can give binding pesak concerning whom you must marry

Seforim Blog by Dr. Marc Shapiro

Among other interesting comments in R. Schachter's shiur  [“Da’as Torah – What are Its Parameters in non-Halachic Issues”]is that he states that a posek can give you a binding pesak concerning whom you must marry.[3] This too I find difficult, since where does a posek get the authority to tell someone whom he must marry? An individual can certainly consult with a posek for his advice in this matter, but since this consultation is done voluntarily by the potential groom, how do we go from there to a situation of pesak which binds the person asking the question? 
[Subsequent to writing these words I saw R. Schachter and asked him about this matter. He reaffirmed his position, stating that whom one marries is a halakhic matter and therefore a posek can indeed tell you whom you must marry. He added that this is almost always theoretical since in order to make such a ruling the posek would need to know both the bride and groom for many years so as to be sure that what he is saying is correct. But he also insisted that if the posek does have the requisite knowledge he can indeed give a binding pesak about whom one must marry.] 
3] At 1:14:30. The Lubavitcher Rebbe had a different perspective. See Joseph Telushkin, Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History (New York, 2014), p. 189, who quotes what the Rebbe told R. Leibel Groner: "When it comes to a marriage, not I can help you, not your father can help you, not your mother can help you, not your seichel [your intellectual faculties] can help you. The only thing that can help you is your heart. If you feel for her, go ahead. If you don't do not."

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