by Joel Rich
Part of the challenge of the modern world, I think, is breaking out of the manic oscillation between authority and personal freedom, finding not so much a middle ground, but a balance, however fraught, between the two. W. Kolbrenner (Me-Amen)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It seems to me the halachic definition of anoos (“circumstances beyond one’s control?”) has been enlarged in my lifetime, perhaps over the last number of generations (since the enlightenment?). At one extreme are determinists (it’s all out of our control) and at the other are “will vincet omnia” (it’s all under our control). Once you get past the Torah’s case, how is the line drawn (and why there?)
Includes a survey of opinions concerning what may or may not be held during prayer. Discussed possible concerns with davening from a cell phone including distraction (normal and needless), disrespect, holding something which is a burden and how it looks. Why is a siddur permitted to be held and how do those reasons apply to a cell phone? Bottom line- It’s probably OK in an ad hoc situation (if on airplane mode) but best to avoid.
Interesting discussion of holding babies in shul but see notes on the website for an update.
Stay awake during the megilla reading! Don’t read it in English and do have the proper intent (both reader and listener). Includes the old “staam daat” (no particular intent “ intent”) discussion.
The desire to be closer to HKB”H seems to be increasing but there also seems to be a desire to have “It” all now without hard work or sacrifice. Instant personal gratification is driving out submission and group responsibility. Great thought on bracha of shehakol bara l’kvodo.
Keep a positive attitude, we can do it. We need unity.
Rationalizing current popular atarah (tallit adornment) practices—there are worse things (Me – or you have to pick your spots!)
What to do if the reader makes a mistake in reading the megilla? Rules for certain words and verses which required repetition. Does the congregation read the names of Haman’s sons aloud?
On the daf shiur continuation—discusses Rabban Gamliel’s use of scale models.
We haven’t had state institutions for 2,000 years so halacha has a steep catch up. R’Weiss outlines his approach and some interesting applications. Money quote—“In the Modern World, sometimes halacha is intertwined with norms and ethical values.”
1) Choices in setting up a non-religious male Cohen for marriage—how much background checking of the Jewish partner should be done when you know the alternative is a non ben brit?
2) Intermarriage questions—attending such a wedding, maintaining connections with intermarried et al. Interesting range of approaches—seemingly based on meta halachic resonances and (perhaps) time and place.
3) Listen for the difference of opinion—between R’Schachter and R’Weiss on understanding how rov functions (R’Schachter seems more actuarial!)
Begins with a range of opinions on how hashgacha works. The Rambam views the “strength” of hashgacha that an individual experiences as a function of that individual’s connection to HKB”H. If you have a hesech hadaat (break in concentration) your hashgacha is reduced.
The life and times of Yossele Rosenblatt–frum and funny, but financially—not so good.
Racism is not good hashkafically or halachically. Issues include: lashon hara, tshuva, real harm, onaat dvarim, kavod habriyot (human dignity) and kaballat lashon hara. (Me – kavdeihu v’chashdeihu for everyone).
Intolerance is bad, especially on the left. We must properly balance universalism and particularism. Remember to differentiate between personal and business (respect the person if not his positions)
The end goal of imitating HKB”H is to be like him by being:
• A giver
• Defined by self, not others
• One who draws in
Discusses sources on treatment of sheimos (HKB”H’s name vs. general verses, etc.) What is the level of violation and what is the required treatment? Introduces a possible leniency where the item is not for holy purpose and not for permanent use. Practical applications to be discussed in his next shiur.
Who is responsible for a child’s (m vs. f) Torah education and what areas of Torah are covered? How should Torah study time be allocated? How to balance one’s personal responsibility vs. paying for education? How many generations?
Anavah (humility) is the key to getting close to HKB”H. Our generation focuses on telling students they are chashuv (important) but humility is very important.
Biography of the Shach focusing on his relationship with the Taz, his life on the run, and his death at young age.
So why exactly can’t an Amora argue with a Tanna? (or an acharon with a rishon?) The usual suspects (Rabbinic enactment, common agreement, mass agreement, fundamental learning methodology shift). IMHO what makes certain individual poskim appear “out of the monotonic decline” is also very much a function of sociology (who/what do we accept).
Keep focused on the overarching goals of Purim and drink responsibly.
Understanding Torah and rabbinic trapping prohibitions (how confined is confined? Whose perspective do we take?) Worthwhile to listen to the last 5 minutes on lice, science and Chazal
Dress standards-in general and for prayer- seem a function of what’s considered local respectable practice, but you can certainly rationalize “the levush”—even hanging jackets over the shoulder during prayer.
The whole frum vs. good/ethic outside of halacha thing discussed. Finding a balance between hyperhalachic practice and apikursus may be a challenge, but focus on deepening one’s emunah can help.
Possible implications of Torah reading being a tzibbur (communal) or yachid (individual) responsibility.
Defining requirements of Pru u’rvu and R’Willig’s approach to when birth control is appropriate. Analysis of appropriateness of different birth control methodologies.
Really a gemara shiur focused on understanding Chanania et al on cooking, leaving on the heat . . .
Clapping and/or stomping at Haman’s name—appropriate? How does it impact one’s responsibility to listen? How do you handle saying/listening to the “special 4” verses? R’SZA’s position on “stam daat” (one generally has in mind whatever HKB”H wants me to have in mind).
Should/must one have a minyan for hearing the megilla? Some rules on writing a megila are also discussed. Can you touch a megila with your hands? Probably it’s okay, but you should wash your hands first.
If a shochad (bribe) is given, must it be returned? If judges are paid the “wages of idler” (schar batala), must it be obvious to all how much they are giving up to be idle? How material must a non-monetary bribe be to be considered a bribe?)
Discussion of how the Rambam deals with the story of Job in terms of hashgacha. He defines three types of evil 1) natural (based on being a physical being), 2) generated by others (e.g., war); 3) generated by self (eatind bad foods). Most evil comes from sources 2 and 3. One must also have the correct value system and then your attitude will protect you from pain. Discusses reconciling seeming inconsistencies in the Rambam’s position on hashgacha. Bottom line is there may be limited somewhat hashgacha but we still need to use perceived evil as an opportunity for self examination and growth.
Maharal’s take is it’s about closeness to HKB”H. R’YBS compares Rosh Chodesh to Shabbat and Yom Tov to draw lessons on internal vs. external holiness. The more intense the emotion, the more private. (Me – good luck selling that today!)
Please direct any informal comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.