The Risks and Dangers of Chumras: A Guide to the Sources

55 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2017

See all articles by Hershey H. Friedman

Hershey H. Friedman

City University of New York - Department of Business Management

Date Written: December 23, 2017

Abstract

The Talmud asserts that one who prohibits that which is permitted, will eventually permit that which is prohibited. Clearly, a chumra (religious stringency exceeding the normal requirements of the law) can have negative consequences and one should therefore be very careful before imposing it on the community. This paper provides numerous sources and examples to assist one who wishes to examine the issues involving chumras. Stringencies are not always appropriate and may boomerang and cause more problems than they solve. Indeed, there are chumras that (1) make one appear arrogant; (2) result in one being called a boor; (3) result in one being called a sinner; (4) cast aspersions on previous generations that did not require this behavior; (5) border on heresy and might even warrant excommunication; and (6) result in one being called “the fool who walks in darkness.”

Keywords: Chumra, Esther, Mordechai, Gedaliah, Boaz, Lifnim Meshurat Hadin, Talmud, Pharisees, and Hiddur Mitzvah

JEL Classification: J50, M12, M14, M54

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Hershey H., The Risks and Dangers of Chumras: A Guide to the Sources (December 23, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3092766 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3092766

Hershey H. Friedman (Contact Author)

City University of New York - Department of Business Management ( email )

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