Halakhah / Halakhic Books/Works/Writings / Rabbis

“The ability of an individual halakhist to bring about a change depends…on one’s ability to foresee the opposition of one’s peers to one’s innovation”

…the ability of an individual halakhist to bring about a change depends, to a certain extent, on his ability to foresee the opposition of his peers to his innovation.

From these conclusions, it is possible to derive further practical conclusions. First, an authority who seeks to participate in halakhic discourse must be aware that by publishing a decision which contradicts conventional wisdom, he may be suspected of challenging rabbinic authority, and such a situation is likely to end with a sharp break and even ostracism.

Second, to bring about change it is not sufficient to have excellent proofs based on traditional sources and substantive arguments. One must take into account the limits of the tolerance of one’s peers to the proposed innovation. One of the elements of the limits of tolerance is the stature of a halakhic authority among his peers.

Aviad Yehiel Hollander, “The Relationship Between Halakhic Decisors and their Peers as a Determining Factor in the Acceptance of their Decisions – A Step in Understanding Interpeer Effects in Halakhic Discourse”, Jewish Law Association Studies, vol. 20 (2010), 108.