by Joel Rich
Maybe the chulent (of current Jewish philosophy) is “all good” but I was struck by a recent talk I heard from a mashpia. The message was an inspirational one (i.e.more message than demand on our actions) concerning our relationship with HKB”H. What struck me was the relative juxtaposition of quoting R’Chaim Vital (HKB”H created us because he needed someone to give to) and R’YBS [on American orthodoxy rather having davened then davening (IIRC that original quote was about mincha)]. I had just spoken the prior week concerning R’Chaim Soloveitchick’s (IIRC) statement that one may not ascribe motivation to HKB”H as it implies he has “needs” or lacks anything. The only answer we can give to why HKB”H created us is because that’s what he willed.
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Do you think most people (or you) would appreciate the ability (or information) “to see ourselves as others see us” or are they happier with their own perceptions of self (even if warped)? Why?
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank – Machshava 13: Can one argue with Chazal? The relationship between pshat and drash part 3Presents possible examples where the Ramban seems to reject Chazal’s aggadic interpretations of various verses. Specific focus on the famous religious philosophical disputations in Spain and why the Ramban might have said what he did at the debate(or at least what he reported he said).
Rambam also had similar positions on aggadic interpretations but generally defended them as taking sides in Chazal’s internal disagreements rather than rejecting Chazal’s interpretations.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Chanuka Siman 678-2 and 679-1 and 680-1How to prioritize Shabbat expenditures vs. Chanukah candles when one has limited resources. The discussion of Friday PM lighting procedures and mincha prayer timing on Chanukah erev shabbat.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Eating and Working Before Performing a Mitzvah or Davening Not eating before the time to perform a time-bound mitzvah (e.g., Lulav) is a big deal. There’s a real impact of this rule regarding activities prior to lighting the menorah. The issue of eating before prayer is even broader. In some situations, having a specific schedule (e.g. regular minyan that you attend) may help reduce the concern foer non-compliance.
Interesting psak from R’H Schachter and R’Asher Weiss that it’s OK to stay in the U.S. if you think the chinuch options are better here (vs. Aliyah).
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon-Parsha & Halacha for Miketz: What’s in a dream?How to reconcile contradictory sources in Chazal and poskim on what weight to give dreams in halacha and hashkafa. Tashbetz looked at mamonot (monetary cases) leniently and issur stringently. [Me – I’d go with thinking about when your subconscious might be giving you a message to “change your evil ways,” hat tip to Santana, versus giving a dream halachic weight].
- Rabbi Uri Orlian-Contemporary Halacha 5777 Chazarah IReview of shiurim concerning the use of secular courts by bnai brit, the saying of piyutim in prayer and shofar blowing rules.
- TITLE 6Review of shiurim including:
General Yom Tov issues (oven usage, keeping 2 days, showering)
Specific issues include:
• Yom Kippur (fasting for pregnant and nursing women)
• Sukkot (4 minim and sukkah rules)
• Shabbat electricity prohibition
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Yashka, Yeshu, Kratzmach, X-Mas, Cheese and CrackersWhich names can or can’t you use for the non Ben brit holidays and whom do they represent? Best to avoid use of such names but it’s a limited prohibition.
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank -Machshava 14: Psak in Aggada and the Miracle of ChanukaIs there such a thing as psak in Agaddah? Various sources examined (e.g., Rambam). Is this related to hilchta l’mishicha (we generally don’t finalize halachot which only will apply in messianic times)?
- Rabbi Yehuda Balsam-Learning Torah law from secular ethicsWe generally need to act above and beyond general communal ethics. Kdoshim Tihiyu and Dor Rvii et al on ethics “beyond” halacha.
- Rabbi Daniel Stein-Menorah Wars: Lighting in Shul and Public PlacesWhy do we light Chanukah candles in synagogue when the mitzvah is defined in the home? Whether the reason is it is done is for guests, for publicizing the miracle or for remembering what was done in the temple will make a difference in determining whether a public menorah lighting outside the synagogue is allowed. Blessings in such situations also discussed.
- Shabbat candles are lit for both reasons kavod and oneg. Lighting time for Shabbat and Chanukah candles need to be analyzed in this context. Holiness of the home also discussed.
- Rabbi Jeremy Wieder-KJ’s Dr. William Major Memorial Advanced Shiur in Talmud with Rabbi Dr. Jeremy WiederTorah laws demonstrate moral differentiation form ancient law codes.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich- Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Chanuka Siman 684-2
What to do on Chanukah when you forgot to say al hanisim in prayer or birchat hamazon? When can a mourner lead prayers on Chanukah?
- Rabbi Uri Orlian-Contemporary Halacha Fall 5777 Chazarah IIIQuick review of rules of:
• Yichud (various combinations of members of both sexes, Torah and Rabbinic prohibitions, etc.)
• Mezuzah (R’Simon’s preference, etc.)
• Brit (R’Tendler – especially on Metzitzah b’peh, etc.)
• Dina D’Malchuta (R’Schachter on partnership model of government, etc.)
- Professor Steven Fine-On the Shape of the Menorah from Bezalel ben Uri to Menachem Mendel SchneersonOpinions on the physical depiction of “the Menorah’s” branches, base and color through history. What will determine what it looks like in the future?
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-A Secular Zionist ChanukahSecular Zionists like the national element of Chanukah but not the religious element. Even within the secular Zionists movement, different elements of the rebellion were emphasized (e.g., military vs. proletariat). Religious Zionists like both the national and the religious elements.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz- What Do Birchos Hamitzvah Tell Us About the Mitzvah?What is the relationship between the text of a bracha and the nature of the related mitzvah (if any)?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich- Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Chanuka Siman 682-2 and 683-1 and 684-1Rules for Torah readings, etc., for Chanukah/Rosh Chodesh and/or Shabbat.
- Rabbi Adam Mintz- Inquisition Trial Of 1341 In Aragon: The Fate Of Early Converts To ChristianityCase in pre-expulsion Spain of ben brit who converted out and then back in (but was told to allow himself to be burnt at stake as an act of repentance). Interesting assertion that the expulsion was due to concern that the Brit community would encourage/support converts out to continue to do mitzvoth/return (but not about bnai brit observing mitzvot).
- Rabbi Adam Mintz- Could A Jew Get A Fair Trial In Seventeenth Century Poland?Political issues between Polish King and powerful Dukes may well have played out with regard to the local Jewish community court case of a stolen wafer. In “early modernity” we see ambiguous treatment of the Jews.
- Rabbi Adam Mintz- The Role Of The Jews In The Triangle Shirt Waist Fire Of 1911Interesting history of the U.S. immigrant Jewish community and the Triangle Shirtwaist (blouse) Corporation. Jewish immigrants’ role in America is highlighted.
- Rav Asher Weiss-Haro’eh Ner ChanukaWhat is the nature of birchat hariyah (blessing on seeing) like sheaseh nissim? Are they primarily on seeing or lighting or just on the time? Some possible differentiations in practice.
Interesting theory as to why the oral law had to replace prophecy!
- Rabbi Adam Mintz- The Leo Frank CarseWas Leo Frank convicted (and lynched) because he was a northerner, a Jew, or both?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich- Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 629-5Schach issues—material and size (especially boards and mats).
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Staying Clean in the Eyes of God and in Eyes of Other Peoplere maarit ayin and chshad interchangeable terms? (Me – if yes, why did Chazal use two terms for same concept and how does that inform on how mdakdeik [specific] Chazal were in their use of language for purpose of extrapolating from their words?) Can we institute new applications of these concepts and exclude old ones based on changing times? (Me – and shouldn’t we consider modern data gathering techniques rather than seat of the pants=I know it when I see it, determinations of change of times?)
- Rav Nissan Kaplan-Avodah of ChanukahYavan’s darkness is combatted by our learning Torah and mesirut nefesh
- Rabbi Ari Cutler-What is the Problem of שו”ת “SMS?More of a focus on asking a question of a rebbi on a topic he’s not currently learning.
- Rabbi Eitan Bendavid-Halakhic, Theological, and Historical Reflections on Chanukkah by Rav Yosef MessasElectric menorah’s status in sfardi Halacha Chacham Ovadya and R’Mesas) plus R’Mesas’s insight as to why electricity wasn’t invented earlier in history. Interesting description of how Chanukah was celebrated in Morocco.
- Rav Nissan Kaplan-VayeishevParsha thoughts including:
• The meaning of Yosef’s dreams
• The meaning of Yosef’s being thrown into the pit
• When you know adversity is from HKB”H you can overcome it
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-What Did the Chashmonaim Do Wrong – Or Did They?Opinions concerning whether the Chashmonaim did the right thing in taking on the role of monarch even though they were priests. Maybe it’s okay as a temporary measure. Did they really view themselves as kings or just leaders?
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