by Joel Rich
There are several mitzvot where HKB”H seems to give us a choice (marriage/divorce, Yibum/Chalitzah, Pidyon Haben/Give to Cohen, Pidyon Bcher Chamer/arifa) and also some prohibitions with a special fix (leftovers/burn). Anyone see anything written up (or have any thoughts) on why specifically these mitzvot?
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Why do we no longer allow (in most cases) tfilat nedava (voluntary prayer)? Has human nature dramatically changed over time since the Talmud so as to make such prayer generally suspect? What are the observable indications of this change?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich- Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 639-4The first night of Sukkot one must eat in the sukkah, after that eating in the sukkah is “voluntary.” This “voluntariness” ( and other issues) may be dependent on how seriously we take the hekesh (parallelism) to Pesach (e.g., does challah in sukkah have to be plain like matzah?)
- Rabbi Tzvi Sinensky-Mock MarriagesAnalysis of specific considerations allowing leniency in a teenage “will you love me forever” (hat tip—Meatloaf) exchange of a bottle cap and meaningful looks.
- Rabbi Jonathan Bienenfeld-Life, Times, & Torah: Rav Yosef KaroAs advertised, the life and times of R’Yosef Karo together with an explanation of what his goals were in writing the Beit Yosef and Shulchan Aruch (and why he set those goals and how his writing methodology tried to accomplish them.)
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-The Friday “NIGHT” Mincha DilemaIs it more important to daven mincha (even by oneself) early enough to get credit for Tosefet Shabbat or is it better to wait to daven with a minyan? Can you still daven mincha if you, as an individual had already accepted Shabbat? (See his next shiur for the answer.)
- Rabbi Eliav Silverman-Matana al mnat lhachazirHow does matanah al manat l’hachzir (gift given on condition that it be returned) work? Is it a “full” gift given with a condition that it be returned (and if not returned the lack of fulfillment of the condition means the gift is retroactively void [me – the whole space/time continuum thing]) or is it a “limited time” gift (so, for example, no kinyan [act of acquisition] is required upon its return)? Other implications of this distinction are also discussed.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 639-5Discusses learning, davening and Havdalah in the sukkah rules. Do you make a leisheiv for the wine you drink at Havdalah?
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Davening in Other Languages (English)\ Reviews attempts to reconcile seemingly contradictory Talmudic sources concerning allowablility of using a language other than Hebrew for prayer. We generally do not do so. (Me – what were the meta changes that caused this cessation or was it always so?)
- Rabbi Tzvi Sinensky-Jews and the Civil WarProvides history of some notable Confederate Jews plus Rabbinic opinions on the slavery question. Grant’s flip flop on Semites is also covered plus a quick analysis of the Jewish swing to Lincoln’s way of looking at things.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon-Parsha & Halacha for Parshas Vayechi: Must we fulfill the wishes of a dying man? Must one follow the financial instructions of a relative who is near death? If so, under what conditions, why and who does the requirement apply to? (These are all related questions.)
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Religious and Developmental Challenges of Internet, Cellphones and Social MediaThree separate issues discussed—internet access, mobile access, and social media. There are developmental and religious challenges in each area.
Don’t use your cell phone for davening! Be present! Don’t use social media for self-promotion, but rather for true connecting with others.
- Rabbi Reuven Brand – email Hacking and Personal Correspondence in Halachic traditionDiscusses extension of takanat Rabbeinu Gershom to cover modern communications (e.g. email).
- Rabbi Ari Cutler-Learning and Working- What is the Ideal? Part 1All the usual Talmudic sources on learning vs. earning. Practical applications will be discussed in the next shiur.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 639-6When it rains on the first night of Sukkot, it’s complicated! As a general rule, once you’re inside, you’re inside
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin -מצות כבוד ועונג שבת לפי הרב סולובייציקExplanation and expansion of R’YBS’s chiddush that sometimes Divrei Kabbalah (e.g., kavod and oneg) are extensions of Torah requirements (e.g., shamor v’zachor). Thus, there’s not an issue of ein navi rshai l’chadesh (a prophet can’t institute new mitzvot).
- Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg -Understanding the rules of Shabbos cooking
Talmud shiur focusing on Shabbat shihiya (leaving on flame) and chazara (returning to flame).
- Rabbi Yoni Levin -Learning Halacha vs AgadataDon’t underrate aggadita, it has both plain and hidden meanings.
- Rabbi Ari Kahn -The Blessings of Yaakov?Analysis of what Yaakov wanted to do and actually did , when giving his children “brachot” (blessings).
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring -הקדמה למחלוקות בעניני גירות במדינת ישראלDiscussion of current conversion practices in Israel—especially the issue of the necessity of the convert’s accepting mitzvot.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon -Parsha & Hashkafa for Parshas Shemos: Do the ends justify the means?Moshe rabbeinu wouldn’t take the job of redeeming Israel because he feared Aharon might have been hurt at being “passed over” for the job. This implies the ends don’t justify the means. Yet, in other halachic situations we see it does? The Torah allows us to differentiate the applications based on HKB”H’s will.
- Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman- Safek DerabananHow do we understand safeik drabanan l’kula (in case of rabbinic doubt we are lenient??) First issue is what is the source of the general authority for rabbinic enactments? ( lo tasur or something else?) Do the Rabbis have both legislative and judicial authority? By the way, is safek duraita l’chumra ( in case of Torah doubt we are stringent). A Torah rule or a rabbinic one?
- Rabbi Daniel Stein -Wills and Estate PlanningDiscussion of default halachic laws of inheritance and associated workaround (secular wills et al).
- Rabbi Michael Taubes -Parshas Vayechi Fasting on a YahrtzeitThe departed is judged on an ongoing basis after death and there are a number of practices (including Yahrtzeit) based on this. Includes a discussion of fasting on the Yahrtzeit—when it’s not done and why practices in place of fasting have been established on the Yahrtzeit when one would think fasting should take precedence.
- Rabbi Aharon Adler-Asarah B’Tevet: A Piyut from SlichotNature of Asarah B’Tevet as seen through events that are attributed to that day, especially through piyutim. The message of Ezra’s death on that day is related to the small numbers of those who returned in second Temple times. We’re doing better now.
- Rabbi Zvi Ralbag-Jh177 – Opposition to the GeonimHistory of Babylonian Jewish community (Gaonim and Reish Galuta) as the rulership changed from Persian to Moslem. Also discussion of what was happening in Eretz Yisrael at the same time.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Minority Rights in IsraelAre minority population rights in Halachic Israel lchatchila (strict law) or bdieved (after the fact)? Various opinions explored.
- Rabbi Hanan Balk -Shabbat Hagadol D’rasha 5769: The Death of the First Born as the Death of an Idealogy–The Torah as an Anti-B’chor DocumentThe bchor (first born) was recognized as the primary assistant to the father so he really earned preference. Halachic bchor transitioned from a position of power to one of holiness, it’s earned based on one’s relationship to HKB”H.
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-Fridah Mincha-Personally Covered or Communal Sacrafice?Can you get credit for tosefet Shabbat by accepting Shabbat early and still daven mincha afterwards? It depends on whether accepting Shabbat early means you’ve existentially turned Friday into Shabbat or you just accepted the prohibitions of Shabbat.
- Yishai Fleisher-1967: Religious Destiny vs Political Reality. What will the next 50 years hold?Discussion related to Israel politics and religion as well as staying in the diaspora.
- Rabbi Philip Moskowitz -Great Rivalries: Rav Kook and Rav SonnenfeldBiography of R’Shach and Lubavitcher Rebbi Lessons include (IIUC) it’s understandable (or OK?) to deride others f Torah burns within you. Last Lubabitcher rebbi changed the thrust of Lubavitch. It wasn’t personal but R’Shach denounced Lubavitch.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-“Chanukah Candles on Motzaei Shabbos”Havdalah candles light is for us to benefit from but the light of the Chanukah menorah is not. Which should be done first on motzai Shabbat? 2 opinions and multiple reasons for each.
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].