Rav Herschel Schachter states:
. A matter of halacha which has been accepted for centuries can not be overturned, unless one can demonstrate that there simply was an error involved from the very outset.
- Rif Rambam paskened 2 matzos at the Seder as per simple read of the Talmud.
- Gaonim have a tradition for Lechem Mishnah on Yom tov
- Rosh/Tosafos say 3 - that sugya is superseded by the requirement of Lechem Mishneh
- Rema says 3 ratifying Minhag Ashkenaz
- Bet Yosef says that minhag is like Tosafot and Rosh and paskens 3 despite his stated rule re: Rif/Rambam - Minhag Yisrael prevails nevertheless
- Shleah - as cited by kaf Hachayyim says the only way to be yotzei lechal hadei'os is to use 3.
- Were Rosh, Rema, Shulchan Aruch, Shelah all beta'us?
- If so does this impact their reliability on other matters of Halachah?
- Did the Gra feel bound by the norms Minhag Yisrael - or by his read of the Talmud?
- For those who have already switched to 2, should they switch back to 3 - since the shita of 2 goes against the norms of Halachic canons as posited by RHS? ""one can demonstrate that there simply was an error" . i.e the error here is going against Minhag Yisroel.
- Is there ever a time limit on overturning Minhag based upon error? IOW how many centuries of practice makes perfect or is it ALWAYS subject to revision based upon a better read of Talmud.
- How do recently discovered girsaot of old manuscripts play into this? Are they demonstrative of earlier errors and therefore dispositive of minhaggim?
Note: This was posted on NishmaBlog onThursday, April 15, 2010
Apparently some readers previously took my questions as requests for information or opinions. They were primarily rhetorical in nature and I was not expecting any specific answers, just a contemplation of the parameters
In other words, Its' great when A Gadol [EG RHS] pontificates a principle, but what are the realistic parameters of this principle? Do we think this is really a consistent Meta-Principle that applies globally? The rhetorical questions poitn out that such pronouncments may be a nice rhetorical fourish, but what valence do they have in p'saq? It's like Kol Yisra'el Yesih lo Heleq l'olam Habba. A great platitude, but it's meaning is not quite what it says, because along comes several mishnayot qualifying the generlization.
Kol Tuv / Best Regards,