by Joel Rich
The torah has basic rules about inheritance. For all those who say halacha determines ethics, how does one justify arranging their will to bypass the halachic default rules?
How does “malach hamavet ma li hacha , ma li hatam” (bava metzia 36b) fit in with hashgacha klalit vs. pratit for animals?
My impression of the underlying theme – many Yeshiva High Schools must tell their smart kids that they walk on water (BTW – we sometimes get these kind of kids at work too and have to break it to them that they don’t and that even a note from their parents saying they do won’t help). R’MT’s bottom line is one needs to maintain a healthy balance between self-confidence and self-doubt. A similar balance is required between insulating oneself from negative influence and the ability to positively impact others (me – it’s a dynamic balance throughout life).
Sure you’re different and can withstand temptations, but don’t bet against statistics of what’s happened to prior superstars like you (me – unless you have objective reasons validated by your local actuary). Example of tactics – marry young for stability, don’t think that because R’Lichtenstein went to Harvard (after years in the Beit Medrash) you can do it successfully after a year in a Yeshiva finishing school.
Memo to M.O. – don’t think you can filter all of outside society’s influences (“baby, you’re only society’s child”), sometimes you need to run (“Nowhere to run baby, nowhere to hide”!)
First in a series of brief reviews series of Mishna Berura amud yomi. Here discussion of kavod and oneg Shabbat – specifically the Mishna Berura defining (limiting) the statement that one should make their Shabbat somewhat “profane” rather than rely on others for sustenance.
My favorite question – are meat and wine required on Shabbat or is it whatever turns you on that makes Shabbat special?
What is included in “guarantee” that dollars you spend on Shabbat items don’t come out of your “account” determined at the beginning of the year?
Doing laundry on Friday (here’s honesty – it’s unclear exactly when we say batal taam, batal takanah! [if the reason disappears, the rabbinic enactment does as well]). Challah making reasons – why is Friday special?
Importance of picking names – it impacts one’s life. Should you be picking names only from Tanach? Using secular names? What is the connection between the namee to the one being named after? What about naming after someone who died young?
Who gets naming rights and when? Timing of naming? Best advice – try not to fight about it. (My advice – it’s all how you think about it IMHO – worry more about them acting like someone you admired, not so much about naming them that way)
Divrei chizuk (positive reinforcement) to a Yeshiva in the Five Towns hit by Sandy at the same time as the Gaza war was going on. Main thing to do at a time of war/trial is to show unity and learn Torah (more than saying Tehilim!). For R’AW fans, you’ll find an interesting libi omer li (my heart tells me) interpretation of a story in Yehoshua and the angel and it won’t surprise you that the proper response/lesson from/to anything/everything is learn more Torah! (Kdarko bakodesh)
Three part session – 1st a summary of medical practice and payment systems from inception of US to current date. Then a paen to Obamacare from someone who makes Rachel Maddow look middle of the road. Last up is Rabbi Blau who notes the paucity of traditional/halachic literature on the topic and draws on related issues. Bottom line – society needs to have a system which deals with the issue, there are some general halachic parameters.
*Each of the Avot got an additional mitzvah. R’YBS – their status was somewhere between ben noach and full yehudi.
*Importance of fulfilling your potential (as Moshe did).
*Not all “quotes” in Torah are direct, HKB”H may have reformulated the “quote” to give us a message.
*Jacob marrying 2 sisters issue
*Lavan as the source of milaveh malkah! (I mean it!)
Expansive discussion on “the world(s) to come”. It’s important to believe in a world to come if you believe in ultimate justice. It will be an intrinsic result of our actions in this world (you build your own through your actions) – then discussion of how a number of commentaries define it(them).
Why isn’t the world to come specifically mentioned in the Torah? 1) It’s obvious; 2) The Torah only tells us things that are verifiable; 3) The Torah only tells us things that can be understood; 4) and 5) a combination of a “kach mkublani mbeit avi abba” that avi mori v’rabbi used to tell me in many ways “just focus on your job and let the big boss upstairs worry about how big and what color your paycheck will be”.
Including but not limited to:
*There may be a mitzvah kiyumit (don’t have to do it, but get credit if you do) of aliyah “l’regel” (going to Yerushalayim/beit mikdash) on Rosh Chodesh.
*”Musafin K’sidran” may mean we’ll bring karban mussaf according to oral law (somewhat different than what the written law seems to require).
*Rules concerning forgetting to say yaaleh v’yavo in shmoneh esrai on Rosh Chodesh (more complex since we no longer allow tfilat nedavah [extra, voluntary shmoneh esrai])
*What do we require today for someone to be a Jewish leader (Torah knowledge nice but not required )
*”Avraham holid” means raised the child (and implications of the differentiation between physical parentage and spiritual for parents and teachers).
*why is there anti-Semitism (am segulah jealousy)
*Why didn’t Rivkah tell Yitzchak of the prophecy she received about Yaakov and Eisav? (apparently don’t tell over a prophecy you got unless instructed to).
*Metzitzah bpeh – we follow our forefathers by following latest scientific/medical knowledge.
Sources on which is more important – intellect or emotion? Answer – today need both – more taste and more filling!
Quick intro to halachic sources on intellectual property/copyright issues. Interesting issue introduced but not explored – how do business model changes (e.g. giving content away on the internet as a part of new marketing strategies) impact halacha.
A review of the basics of two issues which play a key role in having non-bnai brit household help- bishul akum (cooking by non-ben brit) and yichud (prohibited seclusions) and some exceptions.
Do chesed now (Sandy)because it can’t be done by others, keep learning even though there are adverse conditions.
Importance of knowledgeable batei denim (courts) in areas of specialty (e.g. commerce). Discussion of insider trading and halachic sources on how to define and deal with it.
Technical details on yeush (giving up hope), tviat ayin (recognizing object), simanim (defining elements of an object), return object of non-ben brit, non-frum.
First in a series. Very introductory shiur discussing different opinions on Jewish philosophy regarding world to come. Opinions of Rambam, Ramban et al. Major issue – do body and soul stay together? What is the purpose of the body? (me – do we really get all the candy we want?)
R’AW believes the true source of age 13 as bar mitzvah is either halacha moshe misinai or an example of a Torah concept given over to the Rabbis to quantify.
Is 13 a siman or sibah (prescriptive or descriptive)? R’AW thinks it’s clearly descriptive. Then discussion of some specific issues – e.g. born in leap month, baruch shepetarani…..
Strong mussar against the roasting that goes on at aufrufs et al. Does the chatan ever really mocheil (waive his rights)? The parents certainly don’t!
Inflammatory (ouch – that’s hot) vs. neuropathic (ouch – it hurts in a non-protective way). There’s no objective way to measure pain! Very technical discussion of biology et al.
Do we focus on “saving” the rodeif (pursuer) [from himself] or the nirdaf (pursued). Are we required to try to “save” a suicide from committing suicide? If you can stop a pursuer without killing him, must you not kill him? Technical discussion.
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