by Joel Rich
Recently there have been a number of events and debates that remind me that if we can’t agree on our axioms, debating the theorems can be an exercise in futility. In an age of autonomy and I’m OK/you’re OK, it seems hard to convince anyone of anything they don’t want to be convinced of (because I’m the father doesn’t seem to work anymore ). As someone once responded when I was reviewing a psak of R’Asher Weiss based on libi omerli, “Well, libi omer li differently” (as in R’H Schachter is a Rabbi and so is Rabbi X, and I choose to follow Rabbi X).
In this context, I thought the words of R’YBS (in the new “Halalchic Morality” – truly a Maggid Modern Classic) are worth considering “First the performance of Masorah is not to be identified with teaching. While the latter is a purely pedagogic dialectic gesture, the former signifies not only a technical act but also a spiritual engagement, a personalistic commitment of teacher and pupil . . . second the act of masorah involves a sympathetic relationship between master and pupil expressing itself in a personal union of hearts in a feeling of loyalty and devotion In this sentiment of sympathy, the pupil . . . considers himself as a bit of the other person.”
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Where do you stand on the famous machloket between Dick Barnett and Walt Frazier—Is a good pass defined as one which gets to its intended recipient or by the mechanics/probabilities at the time of its release?
- Rabbi Larry Rothwachs-Halachic Mythbusters – The Times of One’s Life
Common halachik “misconceptions”
• Always slam dunk to make brit in shul
• Husband must make birchat gomeil for wife
• Bar mitzvah boy must put on Tfillin 30 days before the bar mitzvah
• Bar or bat mitzvah must fast 3 fasts prior to bar mitzvah
• Must have sheva brachot every day for first week
• Can’t bury someone with a tattoo in a Jewish cemetery
• Can’t take food from a house of mourning
• Must get an aliyah after shiva
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 638-1
It’s not really sukkah (for muktzeh purposes) until you actually use it as a sukkah! Are edible decorations muktzeh? Explains differentiating between muktzeh for sukkah usage vs. Shabbat usage.
- Rabbi Jeremy Wieder-KJ’s Dr. William Major Memorial Advanced Shiur in Talmud with Rabbi Dr. Jeremy Wieder
“On the daf” Talmud shiur on idol/worship related issues including sources of building materials plus use of images.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Orthodoxy and LGBT
Outlines sources defining the specifics of the scope of the prohibition of mishkav zachar and the severity thereof. Describes current thinking on the nature of the challenge and how the community and individuals should approach it. Don’t give up and do your best. Shiur seems to cut off in the middle.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon -Derech HaLimud: Introduction to one of the important keys to Shas: is the Halacha determines by the reality or by the law, its structure & its rules? 5
The old halachic (legal) reality vs. reality reality conundrum. Examples from R’YBS’s shiurim are provided.
- Rabbi Aharon Adler-Rambam Changes His Mind
Provides examples of issues caused by faulty/preliminary texts of the Rambam being used when not recognized as such (Ravaad, Kesef Mishna through R’Chaim!)
- Rabbi Daniel Hartstein-Dedicating A Beis Medrash In Memory Of A Dog
Stories from the time of chazal forward concerning naming places after an animal that caused you to do mitzvoth.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring -Psak and History: Marrying Karaites and Ethiopians
How poskim have dealt with conversion issues when facing the competing pressures of practicalities/public opinion, technical halacha and historically scientific data. Karaite and Ethiopian communities used as examples.
- Rabbi Anthony Manning-Overview – What is a Contemporary Jewish Issue?
First in series—there are three areas of study in modern “change”situations 1) really no change at all (e.g., theodicy) 2) Issue doesn’t change but application does (ox to car) 3) fundamental (me- technology/cultural) change – (idol worship, cloning).
- Rav Asher Weiss-Amira l’nochri-Sh’vus
Examination of the fundamental nature of amira l’akum [asking a non ben brit] Does it apply on Shabbat only or for all mitzvoth? Does it depend on gavra/cheftza (person vs. object split)? Is it in the nature of shlichut (agency) or something else? Why were chazal lenient in hefsed merubah (great loss) case and how do you define such?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 638-2
Provides specifics on making a tnai (condition) that allows one to use the sukkah decorations during sukkot.Discusses other sukkah decorations rules.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 638-3
Do you have to wake someone who fell asleep outside the sukkah in order to get them to go into the sukkah to sleep? You don’t need much rain to “force” you to leave the sukkah. When do we say one who is exempt but does act is a fool vs. he receives a blessing?
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Adon Olam
Say Adon Olam with the correct punctuation and intent. This can include recognition of HKBH’s power and direct connection with us. It’s also an opportunity for proper intention when saying HKB”H’s name.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Bo 5777 – I – Korban Pesach: LeDoros, Zman Grama, Shiur, Chatzos, Shechitas Akum, Anus in Pesach Sheni, Kiddush HaChodesh, Tefillin
Some elements of the first Pesach were for all generations and some were only for that one.
Why isn’t Pesach a mitzvat aseih shehazman grama (time bound positive mitzvah)? Is the requirement to be done by midnight (chatzot) a Torah or rabbinic one? Could we make an altar (mizbeach) today?
- Rabbi Steven Pruzansky -inaugural Issues
Leave Jared and Ivanka alone, the whole car ride on Shabbat was probably OK (although it depends on facts not in evidence). May one put oneself in a position where “chillul Shabbat” will be halachically required? It depends!
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Bo 5777 – II – Shechentah, Ochel Nefesh, Afias Matzah,
Did we borrow or ask for gifts when we left Egypt? What is the meaning of the words rishon and acharon? Defining shimur and ochel nefesh. Are there siyags (fences) on a torah basis? Define shlichut (agency). Does ones rachmana patrei apply to lack of chiyuv (requirement) or punishment? What is the nature of pesach sheini? Also covers Rosh Chodesh issues, the Kuzari argument, the requirement of leaning and the concept of not wearing tfillin at night being a Torah or rabbinic issue.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -From The Rabbi’s Desk – Halachos of Waze
Can you enter the name of a place of idol worship in Waze? Yes, but speaking it could be an issue (whole writing vs. speaking issue is worth study).
Can you tell waze you are a passenger while you are driving? Interesting life endangerment issue (me – can you drive while tired or talking?) Is not telling the whole truth (or worse) an issue between man and man and/or man/self? (I’m not sure man/self is always “only” midot but I suppose it depends on categorization).
- Rabbanus & Chinuch: Incredible Privilege But Rabbi Shay Schachter -Overwhelming Personal Challenge
NCSY leaders need to be role models of kavod hatorah internally and externally and do so within their homes and their selves.
- Rabbi Ari Kahn -בשר ודגים
Traces the whole fish/meat continuum (cooking vs. being on the same utensil). Is it a halachic or health concern?
- Ibn Ezra – Poet, Commentator, Revolutionary
The life and times of Ibn Ezra and some of his most famous positions (defining day/night, added verses to Torah).
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Kidushin Shiur 54 – Oness Rachmana Patrei and Spending on Mitzvos
When do we say ones rachmana patrei and when not?
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank -Hashgacha Pratis Part 1: Introduction
Understanding direct hashgacha in the strongest sense (not a leaf falls etc.). Next time, focus on the Rambam’s position.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon -The Halachik status of a company with limited liability
A sukkah must be constructed in a place that you can complete all your normal functions. Discusses how limitations due to cold may differ from other limitations.
- Rav Yosef Karo – Halachist and Mystic
Life and times of R’Yosef Karo including the maggid, the smicha controversy, his game plan for the Shulchan Aruch and the resistance thereto.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon-The Halachik status of a company with limited liability
Struggling to find models in Chazal (e.g., Dina dmalchuta, bnei hair, inheritors prior to distribution) for limited liability corporations.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Inyanei Rosh Chodesh
Rosh Chodesh related topics including:
• Sanhedrin operations (pre- and post-smicha) especially relating to kiddush hachodesh
Kahal Yisrael defined based on those in Eretz Yisrael
• Mussaf prayer text
• No sadness on Rosh Chodesh
• What to do if you forgot Yaaleh V’Yavo
- Rabbi Yonatan Kohn -Not Sure About Nature: How Chazal Viewed Miracles
We must appreciate nature and miracles.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Special Aliyos
Aliyot priorities are trumped by local practice of selling aliyot (me – surprise!). Discussion of specific “special” aliyot (by aliyah number and topic)
- Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf-The World of Rishonim II
Why was there little Rashi type Talmud commentary in Gaonic times? 1) no need,
2) focus on face-to-face transmission, 3) retain exclusive authority of few (2?) major Yeshivot. Rashi completed “democratization” (counter to 3)) of Talmud.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 639-7
Discussion concerning four parshiyot (shekalim et al) and haftarot. Do you need to do shnayim mikra?
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