Audio Roundup XCVI

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by Joel Rich

For my B-I-L who liked this issue better than Tachanun. Here are 2 viewpoints on the 2 people in the desert issue where a third party has the water.

Chazon Ish
It seems that if someone has water and two thirsty people are in front of him, this too would be dependent on the argument; according to Ben-Petura he gives both equally and both will die and even if he gave one of the two, that one would have to split it with the other. And according to R’Akiva, he can give it to either one. And even though for the giver, there is no situation of “his life comes first”, even so since the one getting it will save himself, the giver can give it to one.

It seems that if Reuven has a jug of water, and both Shimon & Levi are thirsty, all would agree that you give an equal amount to both and they will both die, since if he gives it to Shimon, Levi will die now and Shimon keep the water for tomorrow.

Questions: 1) Is R’Chaim based on the understanding that R’Akiva’s “your life first” is the exception to the general rule? What is the principle behind the general rule? (me – who says your blood is redder?); 2) According to R’Chaim, if Reuven gave the water to Shimon, is it now a case for Shimon of “your life 1st?” If so, how does this inform on the case where it’s just Shimon and Levi and Shimon steals the water from Levi?; 3) According to the Chazon Ish, what does HKB”H want Reuvain to do (split or not, and how does he choose if he wants to give it to one – based on the mishna in Horiyot or coin flip or whim?

  • Rabbi Shmuel Marcus -Worms in Fish: When Torah and Science Collide?: link

    “Mr., is this fish fresh?” Well done (as opposed to sushi?) shiur tracing the worms in fish skin issue from Talmudic sources to shulchan aruch to 1970’s/80’s (comes around like Haley’s Comet?) to present day.
    Parallel to other seeming torah/science “conflicts” (e.g. spontaneous generation) and how halacha approaches these issues.
    Personally, I prefer the symmetric approach to halacha (i.e. call ‘em consistently as you see ‘em whether l’chumrah or l’kula). Funny that R’Slifkin has a letter to R’Belsky post up recently!

  • Rabbi Eli Ozarowski -Hilchot Hashevat Aveidah – Find Lost Objects: link

    1st in a series. Three mitzvot involved in lost objects and practical applications and exceptions. (Question – does returning a “generation lost in space” qualify?)
    R’Ozarowski’s call for help from YUTORAH listeners to understand the historical background of a R’Moshe Tshuva yielded the following link from a semi-alert, old fogey.

  • Rabbi Yona Reiss -Retroactive Nullification of Geirus: link

    Does geirut work on a snapshot basis (i.e. it’s yes or no at the split second of conversion, or can later events inform on the conversion?) [another “Daddy” issue – the whole space/time continuum in halacha] The Rambam’s famous unclear section on the issue. Differing opinions discussed (both as to the actions of the ger and of the beit din).

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory -She’elot uTeshuvot – Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner – Shevet HaLevi: link

    “Kulah” – can make a bracha on seeing a queen (no snickering please). Rabbi who forgot sfirah one night can count with a bracha in the shul future nights due to a kavod hatorah.
    “Chumrah” – driving is not Tzanuah nor is public speaking or singing zmirot or seeing a male ob/gyn.
    “Actuarial” – it’s not a lack of bitachon to save for retirement or buy life insurance (but “special” people can rely on bitachon?!)

  • Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman -Ona’as Devarim: link

    Good review of the general rules. Interesting insight from R’Bleich that underlying issue is treating people with lack of respect. Good discussion of the import of the talmud’s statement that embarrassing someone is akin to murder.

  • Rabbi Chaim Eisenstein -Bamidbar – kedushat seforim in halacha and machshava: link

    The halachot of selling sfarim from your personal collection (seems like shouldn’t be able to from the original sources). R’ Eisenstein – here’s the link to the R’YBS shiur on “Nosiim anachnu” – There’s more than one Baal habayit who cries when he hears this parsha being read: link

  • Rav Assaf Bednarsh -Theology – Divine Providence and the Natural Order Part 1: link

    a) Hishtadlut (making our own efforts) vs b) Bitachon (it’s all up to HKB”H)
    1) Rambam – heavily a) (= natural order) except for those who (almost) completely actualize their intellect to understand HKB”H; 2) Ramban – there is natural order, it would be perfect to rely on HKB”H; b) but no guarantee

  • Rav Assaf Bednarsh -Theology – Divine Providence and the Natural Order Part 2: link

    Mussar approach (chovot halevavot up through R’Dessler). There is no natural order – “but myself I can’t deceive, I know it’s only make believe”. So why make any effort? – a few reasons – my favorite – so others will have free will to be deceived into believing there is a natural order.

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Halachos of Paskening Sha’alos: link

    What do you need to be able to give psak? 1) Torah knowledge; 2) factual knowledge (mitziut); 3) ability to communicate properly; 4) not bfnei rabo (in front of his rebbi) – could be due to respect or concern HKB”H won’t assist in this situation. Does this only apply to rebbi muvhak (that you learned the majority of your torah knowledge)?
    We are not so concerned nowadays about answering our own questions!?
    Need a combination of fear of heaven and effort/knowledge.

  • Rav Moshe Taragin -Talmud Torah – Torah of Love and Torah of Fear: link

    The study of torah as a step in increasing both Yirat Hashem (awe of HKB”H) and Ahavat Hashem (love of HKB”H). A very nice insight on the meaning of the Shimon Haamsoni story (he learned something from all the etim in the torah and then unlearned them when he got stuck on one) – a lesson in coherence.

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory-She’elot uTeshuvot – Divrei Yetziv – Rav Yekutiel Halberstadt – Sanzer Rebbe: link

    The Klausenberger Rebbi was very active in the community (Kiryat Sanz) as well as writing many sh”ut.
    Discussed here 1) Bar mitzvah boys – no tfillin prior to bar mitzvah; 2) Tfillin on chol hamoed – pre marriage the boys wear tfillin, post not! Perhaps based on seriousness that people at those ages exhibit; 3) bringing weapons into a shul (how it is ok?); 4) status of mosques in halacha.

  • Rabbi Moshe D. Tendler -Geirus I: link

    Geirut is a transfer of Kedusha (holiness) by the beit din, assumes at the point of geirut a total commitment to following commands.
    Discussion of locating the mitzvah of geirut.
    R’MT defines 2 classes of geirim – 1) Kedushat Yisrael; 2) Kedushat Kahal Yisrael and some differences in rights and requirements.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Talmud Torah Kineged Kulam: link

    Some nice stories about torah learning’s centrality. Importance of simple pshat & knowing what and when to learn.

  • Rabbi Moshe Shulman-Seeking G-d in a Turbulent World: The Mystique of Kaddish: link

    Some of the standard source material on Kaddish transitioned into an interesting take on why Yehei Shmei Rabbah remains in Aramaic. He ties to the saying of baruch shem kvod after the churban and the angels not understanding Aramaic (don’t ask me about this) – angels see things in black and white (and immediate?). We see future (yhei shmei is reference to messianic era where all recognize HKB”H).

  • Rabbi Ari Enkin- Kol Isha: link

    Good review of sources on Kol Isha (women’s voices) and specific possible exceptions to a broad based prohibition (me – “once upon a time – there was a tavern; those were the days my friend”).

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz – Intuiting Ratzon Hashem: link

    2 requirements – 1) want to do good; 2) know what HKB”H wants of you. R’Asher Weiss talks of the ratzon hatorah or ratzon hashem where the key issue is to be yashar and connected to the ratzon hashem (R’AL – only through talmidei chachomim?) There are no specific directives.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Seudah Shelishis: link

    Good review of the specifics of shalosh seudot:
    *Rabanan of duraita
    *women’s Chiyuv
    *earliest, latest, most appropriate time slot
    *what foods
    *lechem mishna?

  • Rabbi Eliakim Koenigsberg -When is Oseik B’Mitzvah Patur Min HaMitzvah: link

    Discussion of the parameters of haosek bmitzvah (if one is doing one mitzvah they are exempt/not bound by another). Exempt/not bound is the issue – e.g. if it’s a temporary exemption (ptur) then maybe should do make up later, if not bound (eino chayav) then not.
    Discussion of why talmud torah is not subject to this rule – one possibility mitzvah is to learn when no other chiyuv.

  • Rav Moshe Taragin -Talmud Torah – The Clarity and the Mystery of Torah: link

    Duality/dynamic tension between the clarity and magic/mystery of torah. (Nice illusion to creiti and pleiti representing these.)
    I loved the comparison of the Brisker and scientific methods (ha to all of you who make fun of me for calling sugyot “data points”.)

  • 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 has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five 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.

    One comment

    1. David Tzohar 06/04/2010 03:56 AM
      R’JR-Yasher koach, thats more like it! Could you give links for Chazon Ish and R’ Chaim ? Before seeing the sources some thoughts al pi ha-svara. You use the words “someone” and “people” I assume that we are talking about a case where all three are MOT. If not it changes the whole equation. If one is a talmid chacham and one an am haaretz he gives the water to the talmid chacham.( I dont remember the source). If both are TH orAHA he should set the bottle in front of both and kol d’alim gvar. In any case the water is his and he can give it to whom he pleases.The same is true if one has money to buy a life saving drug or operation for only one person.the priorities are 1- one of gedolei hador 2-talmid chacham 3 family 4- any Jew of his choice.
      I really don’t understand the svara of R’Chaim to let both die/ It seems to me that leman d’amar grama b’retzach chayav he would be guilty on two counts!( see the sources I quoted on the last “bottle of water” query)
      joelrich 06/04/2010 03:17 PM
      chazon ish-b”M likutim siman chof al b”m S”B
      gilyonot lchidushei hagrach al harambam – yisodei hatorah 5 (or *-my copy is hard to read) L:1

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