by Joel Rich
Fine line between genius and insanity- the correlation is well known, the interesting new information in the study is the underlying biology. the interesting question to me has always been how does one separate the pits from the juice (or why was the rogatchover rejected for psak but not the gra (or is it just a matter of time?)
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So, if you’ve read “Thinking Fast/Thinking Slow,” the next book I’d suggest is “The Righteous Mind.” I’d skip the evolutionary parts (perhaps wishful reverse engineering) and focus on the current state. IMHO this is MO’s biggest challenge—how to live in a culture that puts most emphasis on the care and fairness receptors and much less of loyalty, authority, and sanctity.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 696-3
Interaction of dveikut, aninut, and the mitzvoth of Purim.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 696-4 and 697-1
Discussion of weddings, brit, pidyon, dressing up, wearing women’s clothes, and stealing on Purim. Be happy!
- Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff -Part 2 of What Really Needs to go into Shaimos
Review of a number of opinions concerning sheimos issues. Are printed materials different from written ones? Is the purpose of the originator of the material important? Are the triggers different for gnizah and/or bizayon? Discussion of specific issues for newspapers school work, invitation, people with names Shalom and Yisrael, and BS”D et al.
Mentions the Rogatchover’s brilliance but we don’t follow him in psak (me – compare and contrast over time with the GRA!?)
- Rav Asher Weiss-Muktze – Graf Shel Re’I
What is a graf shel rei (pile of waste)? Can it be moved on shabbat? Yes, but it’s a function of time and place.li>
- Rav Nissan Kaplan-purim
Focus on matanot l’evyonim and the dialectic between giving charity to an evyon (really poor person) and not being so careful as to who we give it to. Some other topics covered as well.
- Rav Nissan Kaplan-purim mukafim
Eretz Yisrael dwellers, especially Jerusalemites, may end up with 2 Purims or none, depending on their travel habits and times (same for visitors!) Lots of detail.
- Rav Nissan Kaplan-matanos laevyonim
Mussar on Purim being a day related to Yom Kippurim. Our avodah should be our msirut nefesh (sacrifice) and recognition that everything that HKB”H does is good, it may just take a while to experience it as such
- Mrs. Michal Horowitz-Simple Faith in a Turbulent World
HKB”H is all good. Emunah is harder today but we need it.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Starting and Stopping an Aliya with a Davar Tov (Not a Davar Ra)
Review of possible sources for why we generally don’t end an Aliyah on a bad note and possible explanations for the exceptions.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Kedoshim – Expanding Our Responsibilites
Tying together Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind) and Parshat Kedoshim; we expand Kedusha(sanctity) from passive to active.
- Rabbi Effie Kleinberg -Snapshots: Maimonides and the travails of Sephardic Jewry
Brief review of the Rambam’s pastoral role as evidenced by Iggeret Teiman and Iggeret Hashmad.
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Parshat Parah
Is Parshat Parah a Torah Commandment? This would impact what to do if an error is found in the sefer Torah while it is being read.
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-“We’ll Give you 15 minutes for Shacharis Rabbi”
In a pinch, what does a minyan daven if they only have 15 minutes to daven Shacharit?
- Rabbi Dani Schreiber -Yael and Sisra – Aveira Lishma and Halachic Honey Traps
Analysis of aveirah l’shma (sin for heavenly purposes) based on Yael et al.
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky -The Goal of Torah Learning: The “Opposite” Approaches of Maharal and Rav Kook
Maharal viewed learning as a vehicle to reduce physical focus and to connect spiritually to HKB”H. R’Kook viewed it as an opportunity to bring the spiritual down to this world.
- Rabbi Isaac Rice -Walking In Front Of Someone Davening
Can you walk anywhere within 4 amot of someone who is saying shmoneh esrai, or kriat shma, or kaddish? Specific cases and exceptions discussed.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -From The Rabbi’s Desk – Yichud, Aron Kodesh
1) Yichud questions – how many men/women are required to not have an issue? Is the concern for participation in the act or non-reporting?
2) Why is an aron kodesh considered tashmishei mitzvah? Which parts of the aron kodesh are included in this designation and why? Ability to dispose of may turn on was it built for beauty or function? (me – maker’s intent or public perception?)
3) Hey, you’re married already—get a life (or nicely tell your mom to do so)
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Ramban on Suffering
Suffering without sin? We’ll never truly understand it but a number of explanations are given (including reincarnation).
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Mussar Shmooze Ki Tisa 2017: Thoughts on Talmud Torah
Lifetime learning is our goal. As you age, you should find something you enjoy learning, keep a rebbi and commit to the values of Chazal.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes -Parshas Ki Sissa Violating One Shabbos to Enable the Observance of Many More
Pikuach nefesh (life endangerment) is docheh (pushes off) shabbat, but why? The whole v’chai bahem (you shall live by them) vs. ability to keep many shabbatot—does this make a difference in application?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 640-5
Defining mitztaer (suffering) for not being required to stay in the sukkah (applications include lack of comfort, being in mourning, and newly married folks).
- Rabbi David Berger-Who or What was Worshipped at the Chet Ha-egel
Did the Jews by chat haegel (golden calf) think they were worshipping an idol, or not? Indications both ways.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Legal Ethics: “It’s Not What You Think” – Dealing with Cognitive Bias
Kahnemann/Tversky summary and application in Canadian law and halacha.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring -יור קטנים 3
More on is it a zchut (positive) to convert a child in Israel if their parents aren’t religious? Why the answer may be yes.
- Rav Nissan Kaplan-Pesach Bedika Chametz
Bdikat Chametz issues for bnai Yeshiva and others. R’Kaplan is very stringent, perhaps because of the message of msirat nefesh (that’s why he hurried to burn the sheitels during the Indian hair crisis). Some seder practice insights are included as well.
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff -(17) When Rebbeim Are Angels!
More on the uniqueness of R’Hutner and how he planted the seeds in Torah in America. Some inside the Yeshiva politics and the importance of viewing one’s rebbi as an angel.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Sukkah 640-4
A seudat Brit should be made in the sukkah. Those on a mitzvah mission are always exempt from sukkah (but why not do so if you can?); plane travelers not so much.
Should you avoid situations where you might not be able to utilize a sukkah? Yes!
- Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin -A Haggadah For A New Generation: Pesach For Millenials
Lesson in how to make the haggadah both tasty and filling? 1) create memories by repeating certain themes; 2) have some family shtick; 3) repeat a family narrative of good times and bad.
- Rav Nissan Kaplan-Ki Sisa Parsha Para
Bnai Yisrael worshipped the Golden Calf due to their incorrect logic of worship, thus the Parah adumah is the antidote, similar to other “Kaasher Tzivah,” we do mitzvoth because HKB”H said so! Also, some mussar on “saru min haderech.”
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Hilchot Teshuva Chapter 9 Olam haba–The Torah’s focus on physical reward
The importance of attitude on mitzvoth can’t be overstated, since that’s what allows mitzvoth to change us. Thus, olam haba can be a naturalist result because of the transformational nature of properly executed (and thought out) mitzvot.
Ymot hamashiach will be when we can learn without pressure. We don’t focus on olam haba, but in a way it defines our focus.
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