Audio Roundup: Rabbi Reisman Special
by Joel Rich
Thanks again to Counselor K for his persistence in obtaining these CD’s! We do make an odd couple, he a lapsed chosid and me a lapsed litvak!
Rabbi Reisman’s shiurim are available for purchase at: www.mp3shiur.com
BTW Someone might want to pass this on to R’ Reisman:
“The original Hungarian name of the town of origin was Szatmár. The name appeared at first in a document written in 1213 in the form “Zotmar”. Originally it was derived from a personal name. The Romanian name was first Sǎtmar, differing only in orthography from the Hungarian one, but in 1925 was officially changed to Satu Mare. That version means “large village”, with the Romanian Satu (“village”) deriving from the Latin fossatum, while Mare means “large” in Romanian.
There is a well known folk etymology, repeated both among members of Satmar itself and in outside literature about the group, that Satu Mare actually meant “Saint Mary.” Many Hasidim, occasionally including Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum himself, referred to the town as “Sakmar” to avoid use of its allegedly “pagan” name. The folk story notwithstanding, the vast majority of Hasidim now use the original Hungarian name “Satmar”.”
The major thrust was the importance of the love of the land of Israel and its associated holiness (not just a homeland but a religious center). “We” have become too familiar with the miracle of our access to the land.
Some interesting thoughts/issues:
*The Yeshiva and Chassidic worlds are “in the middle” between the followers of R’Kook and followers of the Satmer rebbi (I guess we all want to be considered in the middle!).
*Sounded like R’Reisman would say tachanun in a minyan that didn’t say it on Yom Haatzmaut – (me – what about in a Chassidic minyan that didn’t say it on their rebbi’s yahrtzeit?) [Also, would R’Moshe’s ruling about following the nusach of the minyan you are at apply? Also, what about appearing not to diverge from the minyan?]
*We” have lost our hashkafic intensity (from Ben Gurion’s time) and the most important question we have is where we can get good shwarma (me – probably true for U.S. Jews, not sure of Israel?)
*It’s meilah (forbidden usage?) to spend more to go to (fill in the blank) for Pesach than it would cost to go to Israel (i.e. go to Israel!)
*Great insight from the Gerrer rebbi – when asked where at the Yeshivot/Kollelim will fit when they fly to Israel with Moshiach – he responded, don’t worry, all the pizza shops and shwarma places will fly out and make room.
Differing opinions on whether man is greater than the angels or lower than the angels or it depends. Key take aways – 1) even Kabbalistic doings need to be grounded in our mitzvah actions let alone when we are not clear on how Kabbalah works; 2) for workers – working (really – like it’s a real job) faithfully is key.
Major focus on yayin nesech/stam yeinam issues. Production issues such as dumping grapes from the truck into the processing plant – juice separation caused by weight of grapes requires ben brit intervention. Lots of other issues and lots of kashrut supervisors who could be “an issue” so R’Reisman suggests using only the KAJ wine list. His family doesn’t use anything with grape flavoring (certified or not).
There are a number of basic issues not clarified in the Torah (location of Jerusalem, Messiah, and Kiddushin). Consistent factor is that these all require human intent to “make it so” (aye Captain Picard).
We must have a sheifa (desire) for Kedusha (holiness), especially when things aren’t working out the way we want them to over a period of time. Just as when the Imahot had problems conceiving, it was their ongoing burning desire which yielded the result that they were the matriarchs of the Jewish people.
So too today when people aren’t succeeding in shidduchim, talmud torah or Yishuv Eretz Yisrael maybe we just need to keep an ongoing burning desire (me-written with tears).
Take the lessons of battles in war and apply them to the war against the evil inclination:
It’s not about you, it’s about HKB”H
You need to hate distractions from learning
You should always be on the offensive
Interesting comment on where Brooklynites should buy their next cup of coffee.
R’Reisman often seems to come back to husband/wife relationships (no metrosexual he!). Common misunderstandings themes with sources in Torah and Chazal:
Why it’s the man’s job to remember anniversary’s
Why it’s always the man’s fault
Why men are expected to read minds
Why men are from Mars.
5) Why can’t I remember the other 5?
General rule – too much I, not enough us !
Kabbalistic stuff about the Zodiac (mazalot) yields Mars time 6-7 pm (to start) and thus some Chasidim have minhag not to make Kiddush then. The “mazal” of Shabbat is both hezek (damage) and shmirah (guarding). Lessons of coming and going, you need to hold onto Kedusha even as you leave, not just as you prepare.
Defining a bayit for purposes of Sukkah vs. Shabbat. It’s all about establishing the proper atmosphere. We need to feel for others. Interesting limud zchut for Satmer Rebbi’s “using” the eruv in Brooklyn when he was wheelchair bound.
Need to feel for soldiers just as if we were there!
Looking for love in all the wrong places (cue – Johnny Lee). Shidduchim have become complicated because we’ve made life too complicated. To be good at it, it seems you:
Need to exaggerate (at the same level of society around you)
Can’t be too smart (to see all the “reasons” it won’t work).
What one should look for is:
a) similar level of religiosity;
b) ability to communicate;
c) trustable common sense;
d) ability to feel for others. Most importantly, you need some who complements (and compliments?) you.
R’Reisman posits an interesting theory – most geirim decide on geirut due to intellectual reasons (emunah chakira) while most FFB’s are connected by emunah pshuta (defined by mesorah/tradition) so there is a natural divide. [I wonder if data supports this theory] In any event, FFB’s should better appreciate the challenges faced by geirim and “feel the love” [my summary – cue Rudimental]
Specific issues include respecting natural parents and shelo asani goy.
The purpose of cherem on books is not to change facts on the ground (it probably increases sales), it’s to make a statement. Example was the Maharal’s opposition to the Maor Enayim who implied that Chazal were using the science of their times. Must tread carefully in this area – science always changes. Same thing happens today (no – he didn’t say the word Slifkin).
He then told the history of the Vilna shas cherem story and how badly it went (I think he said the Lita gedolim sided with the Vilna “mitnagdim” shas while the chassidish gedolim were with the opposing chassidish publishing house. I thought gedolim weren’t supposed to look at things that way)
R’Reisman reflects on mortality (warms the heart of an actuary) in an interview with “the devil” (me – apparently a different one than in Charlie Daniels “Devil Went Down to Georgia” since this devil would never be “way behind and willing to make a deal”.)
No one dies before their time, the devil uses deception to convince us death is really a punishment (e.g. Sarah was going to die at that time whether or not devil told her about Yitzchak) but you really can die before your time unless the devil is given permission. There is a specific and a general community mortality factor – so your time may also depend on the community you are part of [message – be part of the right community].
So, why then do we cry when someone dies? Some say because they won’t have opportunity to do mitzvoth but R’Reisman says it’s because it takes something from us [cue Janis Joplin – “Piece of my Heart”]. The more connected (e.g. tzadikim) we are, the more impact death has (which is why death of righteous is an atonement).
Me – I think we cry for ourselves, the niftar is reunited with a loving HKB”H. I think we don’t really know much about how HKB”H makes decisions (have I said this before?) so everyone adopts a philosophy on these issues which will get them through the night even if it’s not really internally consistent.
Importance of all of the prayers at the end of davening when everyone is running out!
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