Question: Whether it
is on a Torah level or Rabbinic level why is it absolutely permitted to nullify
a prohibition by accident though on purpose it is forbidden since either way it
is inevitable (psik reisha) that it is nullified and a psik reisha is forbidden
even if done without intent?
A. The issue with nullifying a prohibition is not taking the prohibition seriously.
Answer: If not taking the prohibition seriously is the problem then if you nullify it by accident then the problem doesn’t apply even if the results are inevitable since the intent was never to make light of the prohibition.
- Question: What does Rebbe Akiva
Aiger hold is the difference between stoking the coals under a pot of meat stew
that belongs to a non-Jew (during the week) and dragging a chair or light piece
of furniture across a dirt yard on Shabbos in terms of psik reisha?
Psik reisha is when something is guaranteed to happen even if it is not your
The Rema in Yoreh Deah 87:6 says one shouldn’t stoke coals under a fire cooking
a non-Jews meat stew because maybe there is milk and meat mixed into the walls
of the pot and inevitably you will be cooking meat and milk together even
though you have no intention of cooking them together.
When one is dragging a light piece of furniture across the yard he certainly
doesn’t intend to plow his dirt, there is that possibility but it won’t
necessarily inevitably happen.
D. Why can’t you make the same argument that there is not necessarily any milk in the walls of the pot so you wouldn’t be cooking meat and milk together?
Answer: A doubt which is in the PRESENT like in the case of the dragging the chair is not considered inevitably going to happen but a doubt of what happened in the PAST is considered inevitable that you will transgress the sin even if it is not guaranteed that it is there therefore it is forbidden to take the risk. When there is a possible guarantee of a problem then you can’t take a chance but if there isn’t even a possible guarantee then you can take the chance even if something wrong might happen but since you have no intention of doing it, it is permissible.