From R Micha. Berger - esteemed moderator of the Avodah List
First see this.
" This brings up the meta-issue of how halakhah works. And therefore gives me an opening to re-post what I wrote on the 5 Towns Jewish Times site and RDE's blog.
Rabbi Yair Hoffman writes on 5TJT
So what do you do when you open up the newspaper and find two diametrically opposed Kashrus rulings and letters from leading Poskim? The newspaper was Wednesday's issue of the HaModiah and the two ads appear on pages D5 and D14 respectively.
That paragraph frankly scared me.
What a sad comment on the fall of normative halachic process! We apparently have gotten so used to deciding things for ourselves based on English popularizations of the halakhah that the obvious answer is missing. You aren't supposed to decide halakhah from letters in the newspaper. Halakhah is detemined by consensus, not majority. You don't need to find
the one true halakhah -- if there are still conflicting letters from gedolei haposeqim, there isn't one. (And even that's unclear, one of the signatores is also on record refusing to pasqen about anasakis.) So what do you do?
Go to your own poseiq! Yes, that's right, Judaism is supposed to be based on a personal relationship with one's mentor. You get a pesaq from someone whose path in Torah observance is similar to yours, who you know, and who knows you well enough to know where you are holding and what you're capable of.
Pesaqim in newspapers? It just doesn't work that way. The ads have value, informing LORs that there is an issue to research. But you can't decide halakhah for yourself from newspaper ads!
We have become neo-Karaites, we turn to texts. No concept of the value of shimush rabbanim -- the quality that recommended Yehoshua as Moshe's successor and the loss of which created such doubt and confusion in the days of Batei Hillel veShammai. Judaism is supposed to be a living tradition; Oral Torah is after all, oral. "Asei lekha rav"!
I have even found such people that have told me that they would trust what's written in a sefer of R Moshe over what R Moshe said to them in person!Well, said R Berger
Sometimes I wonder if these people really want to do away with Rabbis and Communities and live on a desert island and have a Shas or Shulchan Aruch parachuted from Heaven and call THAT Torah sheb'al Peh!