Audio Roundup LXXXII

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by Joel Rich

Al Tivtichu bnidivim (place not your trust in princes)-This week not a question but a comment – Some of my friends (well maybe I should say acquaintances) think of me as a cynic (moi?). After the events of the past few weeks, at least a few of those individuals that I care about have begun to better understand kach mkublani mbeit avi abba – kavdeihu vchashdeihu (thus was the mesorah I received from avi mori vrabbi zll”hh-treat everyone with honor and respect and realize that all humans are mortal beings subject to shortcomings so place your complete trust in HKB”H and to varying degrees -usually as little as possible- in man ) or as R’Jean Sheperd titled his book – “In God We Trust, All others Pay Cash”

Click here to read moreChochma bagoyim taamin (and how does this square with our approach-from a NY Times article) -Jonathan D. Moreno, a professor of medical ethics and the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania, thinks reactions have to do with a long tradition that goes back to Plato. The idea, he said, is that someone who is very intelligent is assumed to be “morally wise.” And that makes it hard to reconcile the actions of Amy Bishop, with her Harvard Ph.D., her mantle of scientific brilliance.(me -now erase Amy Bishop and substitute the scandal du jour)

  • Rabbi Ozer Glickman -Halachah and Human Reason-Can a Command-based Legal System: link

    Accommodate Rationality-Evidence from Sugyot, Rishonim, the Rav, and the Modern Poskim
    The language of law (me – and statistics) can help us articulate and communicate halachic concepts [me – unless you feel chazal were being purposefully blurry so as to maintain greater flexibility?]2 theories of law – 1) legal positivism (because I (the lawmaker) said so – end of discussion); 2) natural law (embodiment of “natural” principles. Medrashim support both approaches (but remember according to R’OYGH aggadita is often hyperbole and not subject to the rigorous coherence requirement of halacha)
    Rambam is primarily a positivist (gemara too – often asks minalan – wanting to identify command)
    Discussion of how to extend positivist law to new areas. Rambam based on L. Tasur (torah tells you to listen to Rabbis) based on coherent logic (his metaphysics impacts his jurisprudence) [IMHO this latter portion needed more time – hopefully R’OYGH’s forthcoming (IIUC) article will do this].

  • Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff – covering the hair: link

    First of two. Is Kol Isha and hair covering a subjective definition? While next week R’AR will present his view (head covering for married women required), this week he presents the case for subjectivity (worth listening to for the quotes from R’YBS and R’Yitzchak simcha halevi Horowitz) [me – A very wise man once told me “every generation thinks they discovered sex for the first time (in human history)”]

  • מחשבת הלכה #03, מאת הרב חיים נבון: link

    Why an oral Torah in addition to the written?
    1) Makes it always unique to the Jewish people
    2) Flexibility for future generations/couldn’t encode everything in writing
    3) Written communication is less effective than oral
    4) Will require more effort to transmit/remember therefore will remember better

  • Rabbi Eliakim Koenigsberg -Hilchos Geirus: link

    Very good discussion concerning the seemingly unclear Talmudic and Rishonic material on the need for a convert to accept all mitzvot. IMHO none of the approaches are so compelling as to prove the others must be wrong.
    A few interesting assertions of possible positions:
    1) One could argue that not accepting the mitzvot is a fatal defect, but not telling the convert is not (i.e. we accept he says I accept even if he is clueless as to what he’s accepting).
    2) Bet Din doesn’t have to witness acceptance but only technicalities (e.g. immersion)
    3) It’s ok as long as he doesn’t reject mitzvot (except some – like Shabbat, Kashrut!?)
    4) Maybe bet din “accepts” mitzvot for a minor convert!
    5) Maybe if a minor were converted and his parents weren’t frum, he needs reconversion later.
    6) If minor convert rejects at bar mitzvah, it’s retroactive (I was unclear as to his position on status of converts actions between then and now – the old arrow of time dilemma)

  • Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig – Halacha Engages Modernity – Part 10 – Conversions: link

    Review of Talmudic sources (see my note above) and 19th and 20th century psak. Why he considers this part of his “modern” series (me – modern = since the emancipation).

  • Rabbi Hayyim Angel -Cut the Baby in Half: Understanding Shelomo Ha-Melekh’s Divine Wisdom: link

    Discussion of story of splitting the baby in half and Shlomo being the wisest of all men (vs. Moshe? Did story really show so much wisdom?) R’Angel’s take – wisdom was really fairness (i.e. he heard prostitutes’ case)

  • Rabbi Eytan Feiner -Loving and Living Seforim – SOY Seforim Sale 5770: link

    Importance of sfarim (books) and lots of nice stories about gedolim and sfarim. Importance of talmidei chachamim and need for a rebbi. Some fancy drush on R’Akiva.
    He’s a big believer of nothing can stand in front of the will (IIRC so was R’YBS – till his year of triple aveilut). He says kiss sfarim but there’s an institution for those who kiss CD’s! I thank HKB”H often for my Bar Ilan CD-Rom.

  • הלכות בישול בשבת #03, מאת הרב יוסף צבי רימין – דוד שמש: link

    Solar water heaters (dud shemesh) on Shabbat – technical discussion of physics and halacha. Summary – lenient opinion not a slam dunk but enough to rely on especially if real need.

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory-She’elot uTeshuvot Rav Aharon Kotler – Mishnat Rav Aharon: link

  • About Gil Student

    Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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