There are many questions on the site asking about 'parameters', such as:

Now some of these questions are perfectly fine, because despite their title, are actually asking something very specific. For example, the question on 'hakaras hatov' is actually asking 'is there a need to express gratitude for something that I don't directly benefit from'. However, many of these types of questions seem too open ended to be useful. It reminds me how, whenever R. Ahron Lichtenstein would hold open floor question and answer session, the rule was that you could never ask a question that began with "to what extent...", because it's too open-ended and requires a dozens of examples to be even partially answered.

Even if, let's say, there is a teshuvah that states 'a minhag yisrael is precisely defined as a practice that has been adhered to for at least 100 years by a community that never had less that 600 members at any one time'. Such a definition would be far from unanimous, but just bringing counter-examples wouldn't tell you necessarily how those poskim define minhag. The best we can hope for as answers to many of these questions (as have been done) is to bring a quote or two. If that's all the questioner is looking for, then should that be clarified in the question title or description?

(And to prove that I have nothing against the people who ask these questions, that last example up there is my own question)

  • Honestly I'm really just asking because such questions scare me with the thought of how many pages it would take to provide a comprehensive answer. I can't bring myself to answer the parameters of minhag by merely quoting Sperber's introduction to Minhagei Yisrael Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 4:25
  • 2
    Remember that not everyone knows how hard it is to define Minhag Yisrael when they ask the question.
    – Double AA Mod
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 4:32


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .