Audio Roundup


by Joel Rich

From R’ Aviner:
Overcoming One’s evil inclination
Q: How great is the reward for someone who overcomes his evil inclination?
A: Very, very great.
Me- Hmmmmm-
1. What was the questioner really getting at?
2. Where do I get a copy of the relative value book for rewards (the one I got from green stamps seems a bit out of date – for those of you who have any idea what green stamps are!

From a recent WSJ article:
If you want to prolong your cognitive powers, Mr. Flynn suggests a simple remedy: Don’t retire. “If less analytic exercise after retirement is the cause of the bright tax, and if you resent the relative decay of those abilities . . . the remedy is clear,” he writes. “Keep doing research, keep teaching complex material, play more chess, keep up with developments in mathematics, and so forth.”

Me- I think he meant Keep learning Torah at an advanced level for yourself, for those who were smart enough not to say kshefneh eshneh (I’ll learn when I have time) imho not only because one may not get the time, but one might get the time and not have the skills to use it.

  • Brian Greene, Jay Griffiths, Ben Rubin, Dr. Oliver Sacks and Rebecca Solnit -Time

    Time is relative (as per Einstein), it’s a function of the observer. [Hmm – as is the location of an electron under Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle – I wonder if they are related?]
    I really loved Brian Greene’s insight on how one handles what one intellectually “knows” and what one actually experiences (e.g. in theory I could stick my hand through the table since atoms have space between them yet it feels solid – or better yet quantum physics in general); he says you train your mind to see based on intellect (shades [pun intended] of R’YBS/R’MS on seeing the sunset on Yom Kippur!).
    Then some fascinating examples of people who actually experience time differently as well as how athletes experience time when in competition.

  • Rabbi Jeremy Wieder -The Legislative Process in Halakhah – דבר שבמנין צריך מנין חר להתירו: Why is the Talmud Bavli binding?

    Right up my alley. Law must contain some ability to adjust to changing circumstances. Discussion of Talmudic sources on how halacha may change (e.g. decision by a greater court, general acceptance by populace, a different court’s determination).
    Why is halacha “frozen” pre vs. post Talmud Bavli (TB)? Perhaps (Kesef Mishna) due to Rabbinic leadership/communal acceptance of TB or there is no greater court than that of R’Ashi and R’Avina (Chazon Ish).
    So why do we dance with Torah’s on Simchat Torah when pure halacha seems to say no? It’s complex! (and if I told you, you might decide I was conservative – but argue if it should be with a capital or lower case c!)
    Me-it’s always about “who is “the man””

  • Rav Asher Weiss- “Bereishis 5773: ‘First Sin’

    Adam Harishon with the Eitz Hadaat (“tree of knowledge”)– was he an ones (forced/no choice) or a shogeig (inadvertent) sinner. Ramban points out that shogeig still involves some element of sin – either due to assumption one was not careful enough to avoid even an inadvertent sin or perhaps that there is still some “mark” left on the soul of the inadvertent sinner. R’Weiss, building on this, thinks that neither applies in the case of an ones and, thus, no repentance is needed for such a sin.
    Chatam Sofer held that in a case where a married women was initially forced but in the end willingly continued “the” sin, all would agree there is no punishment in heaven, it’s only a question of her ongoing marital status.
    Interestingly in the famous Monsey butcher kashrut fraud case (definitely a case of ones for consumers?), R’Weiss still told them to have a fast day (I guess it was more for psychological rather than halachic reasons).

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Parsha Shiur – Bereishis 5773

    Again, a long list of items touched on – here are a some topics:
    *All nations have Tzelem Elokim and our job is to be a light unto them
    *All of the “ideas” of the Nevim (prophets) were given to Moshe as well
    *Man is made of dust of 4 corners of the earth – explains peoples’ desire to travel
    *Abudraham – brachot (blessings) must use biblical Hebrew (there are exceptions)
    *Shmini Atzeret – is not a chag in biblical Hebrew (no chayiga sacrifice)
    *Why some women have minhag of biting off etrog’s pitum after sukkot (it’s complicated!)
    *Importance of self-control
    *Desire for chiddush (new approaches) is etched in human DNA but one must do so with care and take counsel of those who know (me – does WTG mean anything to you?)
    *In choosing between middot “ethical attributes” and hashkafa/.philosophy, Beit Haleivi as a youth used the medrash re: “naaseh adam”(let us make man) to prove that midot more important (HKB”H taught mida at expense of possible misunderstanding)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Hewlett Yogurt, Cheese Store Coffee and Kosher Food in Non-Kosher Stores

    Specific to an ongoing 5 towns situation, yogurt and coffee shops that sell “Kosher” products but the shop itself is not under supervision (gotta love the comment on the “outside” perception of the 5 towns given the availability of clearly kosher alternatives in other stores – Sheilaism strikes again?).
    Issues include neemanut (lack of halachic credibility of store owners), profit motive concern, fear of corporate oversight (e.g. you may lose your franchise if you cheat), maarit ayin.
    Interesting listening – why would a particular rabbi allow these products in these shops and why would another buy the stores chametz and not be concerned that people would extrapolate to the general Kashrut of the store?

  • Rav Tzvi Einsteder-Blind in one eye

    Technical discussion of halacha regarding Yom Tov requirement of riyah and smicha for someone who is blind in one eye. Then ½ slave, ½ free halachot. (Eyesight halachot has been a topic of interest since my retina surgery and I didn’t realize the main topic here.)

  • /Rav_Dov_Shwartzman-mussar_sugya_teshuva_vtachlis_adam_ba_olam

    Discussion of tshuva (repentance) of Yom Kippur vs. Rosh Hashana, Viduy (confession) vs. tshuva, tshuva m’ahava (love) vs. tshuva m’yiah (fear). Major point – tshuva m’ahava (highest level) is from learning and understanding Torah. (Seemingly a favorite point of Roshei Yeshiva – hmmm)

  • The Jewish Reaction Ep. 3 9/20/12

    A weekly radio show – some interesting thoughts on how to involve partially disengaged teens in Yamim Noraim. Then onto political insights on getting increased government funding for Jewish education. This is followed by Kashrut tidbits on stoves, ovens, refrigerators and sinks (very lenient – ovens need not be destroyed after each use due to concern of mixing meat and milk, only not used for a year (366 days) and then exposed to lethal nuclear radiation ).
    High point – R’Gil student Shlita interviewed concerning Torah Musings blog!

  • physicist Brian Greene and neurologist Oliver Sacks –It’s All Relative

    History of standardization of time (I’ve been working on the …) and how we experience it.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – The Beracha on Granola Bars

    It certainly does sound like a yirei shamayim (fearer of heaven) won’t eat granola bars (at least if you eat them in quantity and/or frequency and hold like R’H Schachter or R’Belsky regarding the appropriate blessings). Bracha Rishona (prior to eating) and achrona (after) are very much a function of the type of grain, the normal process for that grain, the actual process used in the formulation of the bar used and the quantity (oy – I guess I’ll just reach for a good old unhealthy cookie!).

  • Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff -+10-14-2012 Mishpat Ivrei on Minhag Mivatel Halacha

    Intro – US Jewry too materialistic and strict (interesting correlation and probably true – who would worry about 3 sinks if they can hardly afford one). Then long discussion of how minhag (practice) can uproot (be oker) halacha – and not just in monetary cases (bottom line – we assume practice was implemented/ sanctioned(?) by great Rabbis for a believing community ) [me – would be nice to go back in time and see how often this was the case and how often it was just not perceived by the Rabbic as worth fighting over. Bigger issue today since everything is documented worldwide within 30 seconds – our self awareness impacts this change process].

  • Rabbi Ezra Schwartz -Thoughts on Shnayim Mikra

    Extended discussion of different reasons given for shnaim mikra v’echad Targum (review of weekly Torah portion) and, based on those reasons, details on different positions regarding how and when to accomplish this requirement.

  • Rabbi Michael Rosensweig -The Centrality of Sefer Bereishis in Judaism

    When Rashi in Breishit explains the reason for the Torah starting with non-halachic “history” as the “deed” of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, is it part of a broader concept? (R’MR aficionados can guess the answer).
    It’s part of the broader destiny of the Jewish people. Breishit is called Sefer Hayashar (book of the upright?) and shoresh kol hatorah (root of all Torah – by the GRA) and Sefer Habrit (book of the covenant) because we are to learn and apply all the values/lessons (imitato dei et al) therein.

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Shas Topics: Shlichus Part 1

    First in a series of “shas inyanim” (basic Talmudic principles) – we all know about shlichut (agency?), here a review of the sources for this concept (multiple) in Talmud. Questions:

    1) Is agency literally a shift of who is “the player” (“b’al chalot)?;

    2) Why is there no agency for commandments that are body based (“haguf”)?

  • Ms. Elana Flaumenhaft -A Captain’s Responsibility for his Ship: A Study of “Noach was Righteous, Perfect in his Generations”

    Noach vs. Abraham – round 2 x 10100! Why didn’t Noach try more kiruv –

    1) felt it was a lost cause?;

    2) knew himself – didn’t feel he had the strength or persuasive powers to be successful.
    B’dorotav (in his generation) – maybe it was only the need to fight against negative influences that gave him strength.
    We should all realize (like Moshe) we can reach out to all no matter what.

  • Rabbi Barry Gelman -History of Teshuva – Case of the Mamzer

    Can true repentance by those involved in an illicit relationship reverse the mamzer status of the offspring (given Talmudic statement of true repentance turning sins into positives)? No! Interesting that some audience members were upset with this answer (me – but parents sin causing child mamzer status you understand?)

  • Rabbi Allen Schwartz -What Happened After Tisha B’Av?

    Long shiur analyzing Yirmiyahu and the prophecies and events leading up to the destruction of the Temple and the events thereafter.
    Key themes – *when can a prophecy be overturned?
    *our role in the world – a light unto the nations – we should never give up!

  • Daniel Fridman -Tehillim Mizmor 1: The Scholastic Persona of the Righteous

    Lessons of the first chapter of Tehillim. Think deep, contemplative, intellectual thoughts rooted in the eternal (i.e. not in yourself). Self-discipline also a plus and keep away from evil.
    Not much meat for us kabbalists!

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Talking Texting and Eating in the Bathroom

    Talking, texting et al in the bathroom– Are there differences between the bathrooms back in the day and today that changed some of the rules. Food and drink being brought in – there are no early sources prohibiting this, sounds to me more like an “ick” factor.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Niddah Daf 20 – How To Pasken On Dam Niddah

    Listened to this daf yomi shiur due to (what is to me) a fascinating difference of opinion between Artscroll and Soncino (actually it’s earlier) as to whether “Tiva” (or matbia) means the science/climate of Bavel or the currency! [Unfortunately, for me, since it was daf yomi, it wasn’t mentioned.
    BTW – is there any scientific evidence that the difference described in different types of blood actually exists/correlates?


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    About the author

    Joel Rich

    Joel Rich is a frequent local lecturer on various Torah topics in West Orange, NJ and supports his Torah listening habits by working as a consulting actuary.

    The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.

    6 Responses

    1. TI says:

      Well, for one, I expected three “very”s.

    2. David Tzohar says:

      Sure, I remember green stamps. Are mitzvot that we do “spiritual green stamps” that we can cash in when we get to that great checkoutline in the sky? Thats a pretty simplistic metaphor. I think that the questioner was asking R’Aviner the classic question of the relative worth of the tzaddik as opposed to the baal teshuva. But the Tzaddik also has to overcome his evil inclination. Avraham avinu doessn’t have much of a yetzer hara of his own so hashem has to create ten nisyonot culminating with the Akedah in this week’s parashat hashavua.

    3. joel rich says:

      Probably, my point was that some questions shouldn’t be asked (or answered?) in text message format

    4. David Tzohar says:

      I agree 100%. In general I am against the text message SHUT format especially for complicated questions.

    5. mycroft says:

      “(me – but parents sin causing child mamzer status you understand?)”

      No-much of yahadus one can’t understand-but since we believe its from God that’s it. Mamzer is a big problem of the hashkafa of ish becehto yumot.

    6. mycroft says:


      “Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Hewlett Yogurt, Cheese Store Coffee and Kosher Food in Non-Kosher Stores
      Specific to an ongoing 5 towns situation, yogurt and coffee shops that sell “Kosher” products but the shop itself is not under supervision (gotta love the comment on the “outside” perception of the 5 towns given the availability of clearly kosher alternatives in other stores” …
      The 5 Towns are split geographically, economically and in various other hashkafic ways-the Yogurt Store is a few blocks away from the girls HS associated with Rabbi Leibowitz’s boys yeshiva-the girls sometimes walk there to the yogurt store in question-there are very few chareidi Jews in that area-as one moves closer to Far Rock in general the area gets more chareidi-the nearest schul to Hewlett Yogurt had Sara Hurwitz as a scholar in residence. The only other store in the area a Dunkin Donuts is also not under the Vaad Hakashrus but another private Rabbi. Most people who live in the immediate area would eat at both places-probably most in Far Rock and those near 878 wouldn’t.

      There are some who like to
      “Interesting listening – why would a particular Rabbi allow these products in these shops and why would another buy the stores chametz and not be concerned that people would extrapolate to the general Kashrut of the store”
      One pulpit Rabbi not only “sells” the chametz but also signs a document attesting to that fact that is displayed in the yogurt store. Another pulpit Rabbi sent out 2 different e-mails-one stating which machines one can eat from in the Yogurt store which is not under any hashgacha-the second a few months later not to eat in the Donut store which is under a hashgacha not of the Vaad but is under another hashgacha. One can see why for better or worse there are many who suspect politics can have something to do with kashrut.


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