by Joel Rich
Jewish Jurisprudence contains a number of methods of “commercial” dispute resolution (whose initial source is unclear) when an unambiguous verdict is unattainable (Steve Wagner stop rolling your eyes right now!). Of particular interest to me are shuda d’dayna (judicial roll your own – poker, not weed, analogy) and kol d’alim gvar (might [height?] makes right) which are applicable in differing specific factual circumstances. The differences in how the Rishonim understand these concepts is breathtaking – IIUC shuda runs from the judge should do his best to mirror his best guess at equity, to HKB”H doesn’t care what the result is and the judge can do whatever he wants and feel good about it . Similarly IIUC kol runs from its judges absenting themselves (and the litigants can arm wrestle till the cows come home) to a one time reflection of a court action based on assuming the “right” person will win. So let’s start with an easy question. When HKB”H commanded the nations in dinim (courts), did he give them direction in dispute resolution or just say you figure it out?
You may have noticed the fiscal year has ended. So I’ve begun my annual “clean out the desk” frenzy in preparation for April 15th. One of the drawers has my records from “the troubles”, otherwise known as the rabbinical search. I’m curious how you would stack rank the following rabbinic competencies (yes, I know there’s overlap) in what you would prioritize in a mara d’atra (maybe just give me top 5 priorities):
1. Talmid Chochom
2. Pastoral skill
3. Experienced with practical psak
4. Public Speaker
6. Management/administration skill (include staff)
7. Time manager
8. Work well with lay leadership
9. Involved with broader community
10. Consensus builder
11. Rodef Shalom
13. Role model
19. Baal mussar
20. Open to different approaches
21. Outreach expertise
Absolutely fascinating topic(to me) – does a Beit Din and/or a king have the right to take into account outside circumstances in psak (e.g. impact on family). R’Weiss presents a number of possible precedents (me – they mostly sounded like authority flowing from King’s law vs. beit din’s law). Anyone aware of any more detailed analysis?
Then comments on one of my favorite scenes. Pharaoh tries to make conversation with Yaakov (how old are you?) and gets an earful in return (I always think of Pharaoh thinking, hey, I don’t really care, I was just trying to be nice and make conversation). Lesson – Live all your years to the fullest?
Part I of practical halacha review (you know I love these) including:
*technical details of mikveh
*kiruv issues (non shomer Shabbat count for minyan? Invitations to non-Shabbat observant for Shabbat, giving food if you know recipient won’t make a bracha)
*women’s issues (leadership, rabbinic, kaddish, bat mitzvah)
*Yom tov rules (Shabbat mode ovens, yom tov sheini observance)
*Yom Kippur and Sukkot related details (fasting, Sukkah, lulav, etrog)
Excellent review of practical halacha shiurim. While these won’t make you a posik, they will help you know when to ask.
Topics covered include:
*zmanim (you know the whole GRA/Tosfot thing)
*Shabbat “kid” rules:
- expressing milk
- making oatmeal
- using diapers
- asking a non-Jew/doing an act in a non-normal manner
- carrying a child
- status of electricity/light bulbs/Shabbat clocks
Rules concerning leaving on a sea cruise (cue Frankie Ford) within 3 days (is it Thursday or Wednesday?) of Shabbat. A number of possible reasons for this prohibition and implications for specific halachic circumstances. Most interesting point – general rule concerning not putting oneself in a situation where one will have to forgo a mitzvah.
More on sea cruises.
Similar rules for leaving 3 days before Shabbat for deserts, but more stringent?! Perhaps since here the only reason given y desert is chillul Shabbat concern.
A long pep talk to budding rabbinical students concerning having self-confidence in their halachic psak abilities.
Comparison of haba bamachteret (breaker in) and rodeif (pursuer) and do you have to disable someone who is threatening your life (rather than kill them), if you can.
“Back in the day” the dividing line between orthodox and conservative was making Kiddush on grape juice!? (oh, for the simpler days – BTW, it was the orthodox who didn’t). Issue is one of metziut (fact) – will our grape juice eventually ferment (I thought it was clear that it won’t???).
A group actually gathered data about their synagogues to inform on their decisions rather than just using anecdotal data!! (chochmah bagoyin taamin). And they think they are better for it!
Why was the Rambam the first to compile a list of required beliefs? In his time it was a topic of discussion which needed to be responded to.
Beit Din of American is professional, timely and will yield results. They take on a mix of cases and assign dayanim based on their specialty.
New conversion (GPS) process was important improvement (I assume some would disagree!). Prenups are important to combat agunot situations.
Detailed discussion of Yoseif’s relationship with his brothers.
Analysis of the lessons of the pit he was placed in:
1) Sometimes your destiny is inevitable
2) When you have trouble, it’s important to know HKB”H is with you
3) Sometimes you’ve got to run away immediately (e.g. internet)
More insights on Yoseif and the brothers. A key test is when you are doing something for heaven’s sake, how do you react if it doesn’t seem to be working?
Sources, mostly pro, concerning burial in Eretz Yisrael. Anyone need an “Eretz Hachayim” price list, let me know .
“Shilton” and “bitachon” appear for the first time in the time of David. The power of the government/King are primarily seen in:
*”off with their head” death penalty
*ability to take your money
*printing money authority
*ability to take wife without her consent
Tal Law – Chareidi draft must come from an organic understanding of the importance of supporting the state.
10th of Tevet – Abudraham says we would fast if it fell out on Shabbat because of the use of the word “Itzumo”. Mussar – 1) it was the beginning of the end (all flows from that day); 2) importance of truly celebrating Shabbat; 3) it’s the yom hadin of geulah. I like (1) – you can’t build a house on a foundation of sand!
Post-traumatic stress disorder is the one psychological condition whose onset we really understand. We now have treatments based on cues to fear and virtual reality therapy has made progress.
Some discussion of the Orthodox Union’s hurricane relief efforts.
History of “Year-end holidays” from Pagan times until today.
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