by Joel Rich
My comment on a recent cross currents post: As to the Rav himself, my personal take from years of reading and listening to everything I could get my hands on is that the idea of deconstructing him is the problem in the first place. In the volume that Dr. Bill refers to it is clear that many writers chose to see their reflection in the mirror of the Rav . to my mind it was the incredible balance and complete honesty in all facets of human existence ( which I would call Torah) that should be imitated ,each of us at our own level. There’s a lot more to say about how this informs on viewing “secular knowledge”, perhaps another time because I think the application is clear.
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I’ve been thinking more about this “staam daat” thing. (I have in mind “whatever HKB”H wants me to have in mind without actually knowing what that is [e.g., to be yotzeih the chazan’s bracha]). Is there an equivalent theory in interpersonal issues? (e.g., I want you to take possession of this object, whatever chazal says works, that’s what I want to think/occur).
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 691-2
Rules for writing a megila, especially writing the names of Haman’s sons.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 691-3
Rules for sewing the parchment of the megilla. Can you use a chumash, even one written on parchment? Can you have vowels written in? Can the megilla be illustrated? What about using a stolen one?
- Rabbi Efrem Goldberg-The Shift from Biblical Judaism to Rabbinic Judaism to Today
Begins with how to differentiate between Rabbinic and Biblical rules. Tradition is very important, even today one must have hot food on Shabbat or be suspect of Karaism. (Me – really?) Three places where early Rabbis have made a big difference in saving Judaism—Shabbat, Prayer, and Kashrut. Rabbinic leadership plays the same role today.
- Rabbi Larry Rothwachs-Calendar and Holiday Myths
1. Hand waving by shabbat candle lighting (needed?)
2. Kiddush – as part of a group or by self?
3. Women making havdalah?
4. Looking at Cohen’s hands (is it a problem?)
5. Pesach cleaning stringencies
6. Eliyahu’s cup – purpose?
7. Staying up Shavuot night (is it really necessary?)
8. Shalach Manot requirements (two brachot?)
9. Schach density requirements (seeing stars?)
10. Good Shabbos and Shabbos going away
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Kiddushin 40
While in Aretz I attended R’Bednarsh’s gemara shiur. He’s an excellent b’al masbir (explainer in chief!) and extremely analytic. His use of the white board to summarize opinions is outstanding. You really need to “halt kup”! Here, he discusses kiddushin 8B including toch kdei dibbur, minui shlichut, arev and mashkon/kinyan gamur.
- Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig ,Dr. Kenneth Prager -Patient Autonomy and Medical Decision Making
Q&A concerning medical/halachic situations including end of life and general medical decision making (ALS, dialysis, and others). One must differentiate between permitted and required options, but decisions must be rational!
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Letter Carriers in Megillat Esther
The Megilla should be understood in its timeframe. We see that the “disintegration” of language (Hebrew) reflected the challenge of the first stages of diaspora. The king’s rule was also reflected by language and the long distance messengers delivering the message. Note that the first two letters were not translated into Hebrew (a dead language?) but then in last letter it is. Thus we see rebirth of language (and the people?) Daniel was anti-assimilation and we see his aggadic presence throughout the megillah as part of the message.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Mishpatim Applying the Principle of “Rov” in Different Halachic Situations
Understanding ruba d’ita kamman, d’leta kamman and the classic two kosher and ono trief piece of meat “bittul.” (Can you eat all three? Why or why not?)
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Mishpatim May a Woman Serve as a Judge in a Beis Din?
Discussion of the original smicha and the requirement to appoint dayanim (judges)once the original smicha was lost. Seems to cut off in the middle of the shiur.
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Hashgacha Pratis Part 4: Ramban part 1
Introduction to the Ramban on hashgacha pratit discussing some seemingly contradictory sources. Resolution will come in the next shiur.
- Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman-The Definition of Death: Historical, Medical, and Halachik Perspectives
History of the definition of death from Tanach through current secular and halachic positions. Nice summary.
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig -Mishpatim and Ribbit
The everyday “civil law” in halacha shows the uniqueness of Dinei Torah. Laws concerning Ribbit (interest) and loans demonstrate the balance between pure monetary law and charity.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-When is Purim Observed in Ramot?
How do we determine today which areas have the law of a walled city for purposes of reading the megilla? Does it turn on their identity at the time of Joshua or their current identity? What if there is a gap between the new area and the older city? How about if it’s within the same eruv? What if it has a shared identity (e.g., charged same municipal tax?) What if it can be seen or is nearby?
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff -(18) Must One Wear A Hat To Be Mitpallel?
Hats and Jackets (as a uniform?) as seen by the Chatam Sofer and R’ARR!
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring -ור קטנים כפתרון -2
Continuation of the discussion concerning conversion of minors according to R’Rabinovich. Meta issues of how to deal with conversions in Israel vs. diaspora. Cuts off in the middle.
- Dr. David Pelcovitz ,Rabbi Ari Zahtz –You Are Not Alone: Parenting A Child With Mental Health Challenges- Project Ometz Launch
Launch of a mental health support program. Discussion of how to deal with the affected family member, other family members, and friends. Support is important!
- Rabbi Yona Reiss -From the Dayan’s Desk 10: Role of Lawyers and To’anim in Bet Din Proceedings
Is there a role for an attorney in the beit din system in general? What about in the U.S.as part of arbitration law requirements? As an advisor, advocate, or proxy (who has taken over your liability)? As a protector vs. one giving an unfair advantage to one of the parties?
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-The Value of Mesorah and Minhag in Contemporary Jewish Society
R’YBS on mesorah and relating to the Chachmei Hamesorah. Why not changing minhagim is so important (and a bunch of stories to support this position). So, how do we address changes in society that are not consistent with Torah values (e.g., egalitarianism)? More detail next time, but the short answer is sometimes you have to say no!
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -Hilchos Aveilus Marathon Shiur Part 1
Lots of good detail on:
• Aninut – only applies to those involved in burial preparations?
• Aveilut – for whom do you mourn primary and secondary? For whom not?
• Aveilut – when do the prohibitions begin and end? For whom?
The connection to the observance of Tisha B’av is the driver for this series.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Heicha Kedusha – Mincha Ketzara
Provides all the reasons not to make a heicha kedusha (shortened repetition of amida) except in very limited circumstances, but we do it anyway!??? My take – Rabbis have other fish to fry.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 692-1
Various brachot rules plus remember no talking during the reading of the Megilla.
- Rabbi Yehuda Balsam-Passing the Torah around the Shul
Discusses reasons why passing the Torah through the Ezrat Nashim may not be such a good idea. BTW, Men’s section using a circuitous route isn’t really such a good idea either (disrespectful to Torah).
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -Hilchos Aveilus Marathon Shiur Part 2
Second in a series covers mourning topics in detail including:
• Prohibition of work (davar haavud, mniat revach)
• Washing/showering (especially in today’s times)
• Foot wear (what types, when)
• Torah learning/permitted discussion topics (limited)
• Atifat rosh (some still do this)
• Kfifat hamita (that’s why we cover mirrors, sit on low chairs)
• Wearing tfillin on first day of mourning (no)
- Rabbi Shmuel Braun -Lonely Man of Faith #40: Spirituality, Religion and the Total Faith Commitment
Part of a series – focus of this session is the need to objectify our relationship with HKB”H in order to experienced HKB”H.
- Rabbi Reuven Brand -Dealing with Ambiguity: Safek Berachot and Gender Identity
Discussion of tumtum status and relationship doubt in brachot and/or not required bracha problem
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring -Law and Chance in Megillat Esther
Discussion of three themes in megilla—Law (as a cover for doing what you want), reversal and chance. Message is there is order to the world, the question is will you take your part (chance?)
- Rav Asher Weiss-Mitzvah of building Beit Hamikdash
Rambam and Ramban on the mitzvoth relating to building (and/or rebuilding) the beit hamikdash, its utensils, the altar and the aron.
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -Hilchos Aveilus Marathon Shiur Part 3
What are the rules regarding mourners wearing fresh clothes or new clothes? When can they shave? Rules for them concerning parties, social gatherings, and generally leaving the home during shiva. How do we define public aveilut of shabbat? What to do if aveilut and sheva brachot conflict.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 693-1
Prayer rules for Saturday night megilla reading plus morning megila reading prayer practices.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 693-2 and 694-1
Discusses Torah reading for morning of Purim as well as some rules of Purim gifts and machzit hashekel.
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