Friday, May 18, 2007


The Gemora states that a heavenly voice declared that the halacha follows the opinion of Bais Hillel.

Reb Elchonon says that he found in seforim (Mikdash Melech in the name of the Arizal – he doesn’t cite this) that in the future world, the halacha will follow the opinion of Beis Shamai.

He explains: In truth, Beis Shamai had the sharper minds, but due to our intellectual deficiencies, we were not able to fully grasp and understand their intent; a judge can only rule according to what he sees in front of him and that is why we rule according to Beis Hillel in this world. It is written regarding the future that the world will be full with wisdom; Beis Shamai will be understood, and we will rule according to them.

I once heard that if one analyzes the disputes between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel, one can reach the following conclusion: Beis Shamai rules according to the spiritual level and Beis Hillel rules according to the physical level. This will explain why we rule according to Beis Hillel in this physical world, and in the World to Come, the spiritual world, we will rule according to Beis Shamai.

The Gemora cites the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua: He maintains that we do not pay attention to a heavenly voice dictating who the halacha should follow.

The Gemora later (122a) states: A woman can get married on account of a heavenly voice. This means that if her husband went overseas and a heavenly voice declares that her husband died, she is permitted to get married.

The Tosfos Yom Tov states that this is not referring to a heavenly voice since we rule that one does not pay halachic attention to a voice emanating from heaven.

Reb Elchonon explains differently: We do not pay attention to a heavenly voice regarding halachic matters because Torah is not in the heavens; it was given to human beings. The Sages of Klal Yisroel have the authority to resolve all halachic matters, not the heavens. However, a heavenly voice can resolve a factual doubt. We would not rely on a heavenly voice in regards to something that requires two witnesses. The Chachamim were lenient in regards to the testimony of a woman and they relied on the words of even one witness; that is why a heavenly voice can be believed in this matter.