There’s a great Rashi on some gemara, somewhere, that in my germ-addled state I can’t quite dig up from the recesses of my brain, and my searching skills (google and my CD ROM) are not helping today. It’s the one in which Rashi says, basically, “people who make a big fuss out of going to the humra when the kula is perfectly reasonable are silly.” Something in that general gist. I’m pretty sure it’s quite famous. Anybody know what I’m talking about? Where is it, and what’s the exact quote? (Actually, if you tell me where it is, I can probably find the quote myself….)
It’s Rashi on the first daf or so of Beitzah (3a, maybe?), on the famous phrase ×›×— ×“×”×™×ª×™×¨× ×¢×“×™×£. The big question is whether that’s a legal principle, a principle-driving pesak, or, as it seems from the context of that sugya, merely an organizational principle for the Mishna, i.e., that when you have the choice to phrase something in a humra way or a kula way, you phrase it in the kula way (probably because kullot are generally surprising/memorable), but that it has nothing to do with how the pesak was originally formulated. I think that Rashi expresses a preference for either for the first or second understanding there, that in fact ×›×— ×“×”×™×ª×™×¨× ×¢×“×•×£ is a legal principle/motivator, but it doesn’t work so well with how it’s used in that sugya. A broader examination of the principle might be in order.
Will, I knew you were going to come through for me again. Thanks!!!
(No wonder my searches weren’t working–I kept looking up “humra” and “kula”. Like I said, sick and woozy, not so on the ball).
We all have bad days 🙂 You’re welcome. Happy Thanksgiving from afar!