by Joel Rich
Please take a shot at internally reconciling this statement, current practice, and what HKB”H wants from us:
Rama Y”D 249:13 (my free translation) – In any event one shouldn’t glorify oneself with the charity he gives, not only won’t he receive reward but he is even punished and in any event one who dedicates an item to charity is permitted to write his name on it to be a memorial for (to?) him and it is worthy to do so (Taz – so the community can not switch its use).
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Marcelo Gleiser: “The Island of Knowledge” | Talks at Google
An alternative universe of a different kind but very scary to me. This “Google Talks” dealt with some of the standard issues of how science and religion view the world (determinism et al).
I was particularly struck by a questioner at the end who seemed to strongly believe that ethics could (should?) be determined by some kind of social psychology experiments. I would love to drill down deeper to understand this kind of thinking.
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The Talmud prohibits food storage under the bed due to ruach ra. The Rambam codifies this prohibition but says that it is due to the danger of something getting into the food. The general consensus of poskim is to be stringent but after the fact to allow it. (Me – Is this because the public [and poskim?] don’t really buy ruach ra but need to be respectful of the Talmud?)
Can you adjust the candle base to adjust the oil flow on Yom Tov?
The Bavli seems in favor of burial in Israel, the Yerushalmi and Zohar not. The positive of burial in Israel may be in terms of it granting atonement or in an advantage at time of tchiyat hameitim. Most later poskim are in favor of it (certainly of living there first ).
All shiurim are halacha moshe misinai (divinely ordained), but specifics of which apply in what circumstances are rabbinic. Why did they pick “natural” measures (e.g., an egg)? (1) there were no systematic measures, (2) so there would be universal measures. So, do they change as nature changes? (Me – are they based on the individual or averages?) Provides a partial history of this ongoing debate.
Starts with some interesting academic insights into the history of some of the targumim and the compilation of the medrash rabba. Moves on to an archeological/historical discussion of the beit medrash and everyday life in Talmudic times. (I’ve been to the Talmudic village in Katzrin—it’s really interesting to put Talmudic discussions in context).
Parsha insights from R’Kaplan including:
• Differences in Moshe’s prophecy in different books of the Torah
• Don’t get caught up in unimportant detail
• Be careful when giving tochecha (reproof)
• The young need to respect their elders
Starts with a discussion of the treatment of the stranger (ger) in the Torah (both in to our community and out). Then moves on to the middle ages and the ability of the community to limit short- and/or long-term movement into their community.
R’Willing provides a review of specific practical psak concerning Havdalah, Mlaveh Malkah, and other Motzai Shabbat practices.
Starts with a brief biography of R’Lichtenstein. He followed R’YBS in engaging the outside world, accepting its challenge, and supporting religious Zionism. He wasn’t a chasid of R’YBS, but a talmid and expanded his derech halimud as well.
Does lo tachmod (thou shalt not covet) require an action or is thought sufficient to be in violation? If you pay for the object even though you badgered the person for it, is it still lo tachmod? How does the prohibition of lo titaveh differ from lo tachmod?
Is there an ethic outside of halacha? It depends on how you define halacha! (i.e., not really, if you look at meta halacha as halacha).
Bio of R’Akiva Eiger – Gadol and Saint.
Are the drashot of chazal creative halachic generators or rediscovering preexisting halachot (me – or something in between)? Discusses positions of Rambam and Ramban on the status of drashot.
Interplay of R’Lichtenstein, Richard Niebuhr, and Thomas More on the role of secular knowledge in general. Intellect, ethics, religion, and human culture are all together in a divine dance.
Gram Kibbui (extinguishing causation) issues including setting up a system so that the candle will go out on Yom Tov.
Shiur starts with more on gram kibbui. Then moves on to implications of the rule that in order to light a fire on Yom Tov, there must be a purpose for the candle lighting. (real issue with electric lights being on).
Discusses hachana (preparation) issues regarding lighting candles late in the afternoon on the first day of Yom Tov, both in home and in shul. Also discusses issues regarding creating a utensil on Yom Tov.
Rashi, Rambam, and Ramban on do chukim have reasons for them? Answers range from no, yes, to based on history, to totalyes. Are the reasons for chukim HKB”H-centered or man centered? Examples provided.
Shiur looks for a metahalachic message from the stories of Chamor/Dina, Zimri/Kozbi and Boaz/Ruth. The nations of Midyan/Moav must’ve had some good potential(as we see there were positive descendants), but we need to pick and choose the right folks.
Being in exile required the Jewish people to try to resolve the cognitive dissonance of their plight. There are a number of strategies they employed described herein.
Introductory discussion of amira l’akum on Shabbat—why is it prohibited and what are the parameters of the prohibition (e.g., rmizah [hinting] direct vs. indirect]?
Should one be saying lsheim yichud or hinnini muchan before doing a mitzvah? R’Weiss believes the opposition is really an anachronism from the original chassidim/mitnagdim days. This shiur provides the background to this conclusion.
Nice mussar on mitzvoth kalot (daily low profile mitzvoth) really defining us.
Insights into the hierarchy of prohibitions developed based on the three cases of yehareig v’al yaavor [one must give up on their life rather than commit the sin] (murder, idol worship, and certain sexual prohibitions) being paradigms of three types of relationships (man-man, man-God, man-himself).
Discussion of candle lighting on Yom Tov (especially 2nd night in the diaspora). When should you make the bracha? Should one light before nightfall or after? Do women make the bracha of shechiyanu?
Then, introduction to the status of objects brought from outside the tchum on Yom Tov.
Issues related to trumot, maasrot, orlah et al, both inside and outside of Eretz Yisrael today.
Discussion of how long one can wait to say a final blessing after eating. Is it dependent both on the amount of time passed and the subjective feeling of being full? Does it make a difference if you ate a little or a lot?
This shiur provides a general introduction to the rules of tvilat keilim and then analyzes their application to Keurig coffee makers. The technology changes but the basic leniencies may still be applicable.
Line-by-line analysis of a medrash in Eich Rabba.
On whom and in what circumstances does the mitzvah of chinuch (training children) devolve?
Language is an imperfect method of communication. Sometimes our hashkafie descriptions refer to the idea that one should experience the world “as if” it were true (not that belief isn’t important, too.)
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].