by Joel Rich
From Majesty and Humility (R’ Ziegler) Emet L’Amito IMHO – Point 1 describes why The Rav so resonates with me, point 2 why everyone can quote something that supports them, but that doesn’t make it so:
1.Dialectic, complexity, plurality of demands – these are the fundamental difficulties in studying and teaching the Rav; but they also represent his greatness. People are often looking for simple, monochromatic answers to the great questions of life. In his unflinching honesty, the Rav does not, and cannot, provide these, for he does not believe they exist. In his eyes, man contains conflicting tendencies, God sets forth multiple demands, and the world must be perceived under differing aspects.
2.Problems arise when people undertake the opposite process: through a selective reading of the Rav, they pick out those themes congenial to them, and ignore the rest. Although such selective readings frequently result from someone’s personal or communal agenda, they can also be innocent and unintentional. Part of the Rav’s greatness is that he touches a chord in the hearts of many readers. However, while grasping an insight which resonates deep within us, we must not allow it to blind us to other, possibly opposed, strains in the Rav’s oeuvre.
are there halachic parameters for this? I assume there is no chiyuv to donate
There’s literature on giving up your life for a greater person – seems to start with sefer chassidim 698 and a r’ akiva/ reuvain ben itztrolibi which I cannot trace any earlier. If anyone has earlier cite, let me know please.
The whole rshut/chiyuv/recommended question is fascinating.
I share it with some chaveirim:
Thought u might find this of interest
One Chaver replies:
What bs. Can’t take it.
I respond thoughtfully
Unfortunately imho a lot of the orthodox world, including MO, buy into this kind of thing.
Right. Very unfortunately.
OK – now it’s your turn to comment!
I’d love a poll on the proper balance between humor and content in presentations.
Discussion of Intergalactic Straus center (it’s all good – surprise!), R’Meir’s testimony before Congress and future programs.
Three important issues:
1) The most famous quote R’MS was looking for was “I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer” (when “Bones” [Dr. McKoy] was asked to tend to a silicon based patient).
2) Chapter 14 of Majesty and Humility would’ve been a good reference concerning whether R’YBS believed the dialectic could be reconciled (IMHO – not really, just dealt with).
3) R’Moshe’s tshuva on Tachanun always struck me as a missed opportunity to discuss the balance between the individual and the tzibbur – why would we have asked an individual chatan to give up tfila btzibbur? Why does a nameless chatan abrogate the tzibbur’s right to tachanun? (my own – why does a Sandak at mincha not say tachanun but a tzibbur does?).
Can’t beat R’Kaplan for details of current psak and technical issues. Issues including why we have the announcement of rosh chodesh, why we stand for it, why we hold the sefer torah (me – why are tfilot more accepted with sefer torah?)
Can you announce Yaaleh V’Yavo in mid-maariv if someone has already given a klop? What if you daven maariv early on the day before rosh chodesh, do you say yaaleh v’yavo? (yes)
What if you have no siddur and don’t know yaaleh v’yavo – should you say shmoneh esrai without anyway? (yes). Do you have to take your tfillin off in shacharit if the Tzibbur is saying Kedusha of mussaf (the whole keter thing)?
Money quote (on singing in Hallel) “It’s not a baaleh batish minhag, it’s an inyan!”
Lessons from Lin. Issues include use of nicknames (there are limits), why isn’t saying nice things about him lo tchaneim violation (don’t worry – lots of leniencies since this isn’t just an M.O. issue ), can you have dolls without a disfigurement? can you move up seats in the Garden? and, of course, we don’t accept racism. (me – halevai!)
There’s a particular concern for Off the Derech (OTD) from families of Baalei Tshuva (returnees)[BT] and there are more Baalei Tshuva than ever. Life is challenging especially for BT (me – you mean it’s not all like dancing around the Shabbos table in “A Stranger Among Us?”)
One thing is for sure – If you break off contact with a kid over religious observance, they’ll never come back.
There’s big problem in Jerusalem of chareidi street kids. (see here: http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/02/terrorist-of-off-derech-children-in.html) In a Jerusalem study they found that being from a BT home is a risk factor but a U.S. study said not.
In the U.S. a study found the risk factors are: 1) is it a chatoic family?; 2) Is it an engaged family? 3) Is the family integrated into the community?
This can be an issue for large families especially if any of the kids are very needy.
At older ages kids react negatively if you push them, you need to give them space. You will only impact by example.
Some interesting discussions based on insights from psychology. Studies show Israel gap year comes at a developmental stage when kids are very open to mentoring, etc. (me – hmmm – so that’s the best time to take them out of the home?).
To me key point is mindfulness (= kavannah) – how do we encourage focus and realization that prayer is standing in front of HKB”H. (I’m sure now that we’ve identified this point, it will be resolved QUICKLY!)
Everyone has to find their way back to the garden and your road may be different than mine.
Me – one question – is it true that prayers by kotel have special value to HKB”H? Kach Mkublani mbeit avi abba – It’s always the same distance to HKB”H, but the circumstances you pray in can change you.
Maharshal wanted to write a work which includes all opinions/explanations rather than an halachic cookbook but eventually realized it was too overwhelming. Lvush tried to find a middle path between the brevity of the S”A and the detail of the Beit Yosef.
History of the Shach and Taz (not pretty, but I think even frum folks agree with this telling). The fact that they both wrote on the S”A established it as the basic halachic text for all times.
One of R’Mintz’s best IMHO. Focus on the Aruch Hashulchan (Ah”s) and Mishneh Brurah.
I think I’ve mentioned before my partiality for the Aruch Hashulchan’s style for summarizing history of the halachic process resulting in current practice. He discusses three examples where the Ah”s dealt with changing realities of different types:
1) Wearting rubbers on Tisha B’av – shows history of rubbers (galoshes) evolution fits perfectly with the Ah”s description. He allows!
2) Chanukah candles not lit outside (baby it’s cold outside!). Therefore not required.
3) Saying Shma in front of women (sounds like unmarried too) without their hair covered.
He then turns to the Mishneh Brurah and the tendency to say things like yesh l’hachmir or raui l’hachmir (one should be stringent but it’s not mandated) or what Dr. B. Brown calls “soft stringency”. Dr. Brown calls this aspirational (more to come on this next week – how did this become the norm vs. the exception?).
Interesting commentary on how the Chofetz Chaim injected halacha into mussar works (lashon hara) and vice versa (yesh lhachmir in Mishnoh Brurah).
My question – did the Chofetz Chaim have an active awareness of the shift in publishing towards mass consumption for the proletariat or did he luck out (hashgacha)?
The western alliance is safe! A list of things that don’t work for allowing full candy dishes to be sold without a lfnei iver concern, then possible approaches that work – 1) only make the package up after you order it (and then you should toveil first); 2) don’t use glass but something that doesn’t require tvila; 3) rely on R’Asher Weiss’s opinion that store can toveil anyway; 4) only fill the dish with pre-packaged items so dish isn’t really used (me – not sure how this actually works once you open a candy bag, it usually isn’t of much use – so not sure why this is better than putting plastic sheeting under the candy).
Interview with R’Eisenman concerning his new book – “The Elephant in the Room” – The book deals with sensitive topics (e.g. child abuse) as well as uplifting stories.
Discussion (in Hebrew) of the requirement of respect for one’s older brother – Is it Torah or Rabbinic in nature?
Provides a history of publishing of Talmud and indices to the Talmud (e.g. Soncino). His new index is needed and important now because Artscroll has opened up the Talmud to all types of lay people.
Long discussion of how to understand hashgacha (HKB”H intervention in the world). Take it from me – there’s no easy answer.
History of Torah and “secular” subjects from R’Sadia and Rambam through present day. Possible objections to secular studies were raised and dealt with. Then discussion of TUM models.
If you read R’Ziegler’s “Majesty and Humility”, you’ll understand why R’YBS said no TUM synthesis – he did not experience life with synthesis (but others disagree).
“Suicide is Painless” [do I hear choppers in the background?] or is it (halachically, that is)?
All the traditional sources quoted including the Ashkenazi/Sfardi split (Rabbeinu Tam vs. Rambam). Then onto the application at Masada and in the IDF.
Have I mentioned the whole chiyuv, rshut, advisability issue fascinates me?
Sefer torah is not moved for our convenience (based on Yerushalmi). Then a whole list of leniencies which eviscerate the “prohibition” except for “non-important” individuals.
Technical discussion of when halachically you can take the into your own hands. Interesting questions (in a very technical discussion) include can you do damage when enforcing your rights and why do we need smuchin (original ordination) to have knasot (penalties)? Do they have the authority to establish halachic “reality” which doesn’t exist elsewhere without 2 kosher witnesses?
When can minhag (common practice) override law in monetary matters? Interesting insight from Chazon Ish that haskamat hatzibbur (community agreement) may have the same force as a pronouncement of the court).