by Joel Rich
As â€œbraingateâ€ technology evolves (chip implant which allows thought to be turned into mechanical action â€“ this exists in experimental stage), will actions caused by thought alone be considered halachically as actions or thoughts? (Example 1 â€“ thought to donate $100 and computer transferred $ – is this a reversible transaction? Example 2 â€“ thought to shoot someone â€“ is it murder on a torah basis?)
Why do we cover the challah on Shabbat?
1) Not to embarrass the challah (and I thought my mom was a daat yechida on being concerned about the feelings of inanimate objects).
2) Zecher lâ€™man (manna)
3) To not have an issue of making a blessing on the wine before the challah.
If (this is a consistent theme to me) these reasons are prescriptive and not descriptive, differences in practical issues (cover bottom, when take off coverâ€¦.)
Harold Z! Your question on Yom Tov issues (did the manna fall?) covered.
Why do bad things happen to good people? (Good question). Here focus on â€œKol dâ€™avad rachmanaâ€ (everything HKBâ€H does is for the best), pure emunah (faith?) and Râ€™YBSâ€™s take on Brit Yeud (covenant of destiny) vs. Brit Goral (covenant of faith) as a (partial) answer.
What is mamlechet Kohanim (Kingdom of Priests)? We are Princes or servants or teachers â€“ Râ€™N Alpert ZTâ€L â€“ we create kiddush hashem by living a torah life (not by saying letâ€™s go do a kiddush hashem)!
If we focus on torah, avodah and gmilut chasadim we will be such a nation!
Fascinating contextual analysis of David/Bat Sheva. Why did Chazal (well IIRC it was one member of chazal) say David didnâ€™t sin? Itâ€™s a theological issue. Râ€™Levy (another ex West Orangite â€“ there must be an underground railway to Toronto?) posits the â€œsinâ€ was not an erotic one but a political one (Davidâ€™s feeling of personal military impotence/possible rebellion).
Mdvar sheker tirchak (distance yourself from lies) â€“ is it just judges (thatâ€™s the context of the original pasuk) or everyone (as expanded in oral law)? [Râ€™AL â€“ see Râ€™Asher Weiss on ratzon hatorah â€“ this could be in his extrapolation category.]
The fact that traditional language of prohibition isnâ€™t used (but only â€œdistance yourselfâ€ â€“ some view it as implying a greater level of severity, others a lesser. Is the focus on the act or the result? When allowed, is it hutrah (lying is bad but allowed in this case) or dchuya (this isnâ€™t considered a lie)? Some practical applications discussed.
Current state of orthodoxy â€“ be very, very afraid (i.e. it doesnâ€™t depend on how you define sex.) [me â€“ we should aspire to the protagonist in the one story I have in common with Râ€™YBS â€“ when wanting to drive home that something is emet â€“ â€œitâ€™s true, I heard it from my fatherâ€. (end of discussion!!!)]
Does the mitzvah of pru uâ€™rvu (be fruitful) require/permit â€œextraordinaryâ€ measures where natural conception canâ€™t occur? Answer may impact how interact with laws of Shabbat, etc.
AI, IVH, surrogate moms, stem cellsâ€¦â€¦discussed as well as who is the parent et al.
Interesting take on religious/secular medical ethics from one who started in the ivory tower and then moved into the trenches (me â€“ generally a good argument for exposure to the real world). Specific cases discussed (e.g. pain/where can you withhold care).
What is olam haba like? Answers here seem pretty certain (see my question last week here: link).
Hillel, Shammai, Bet Hill, Bet Shammai, Herod, Chasmonaimâ€¦.how they all fit together (caution â€“ not to be listened to in the beit medrash as it may lead one to think about historical personalities).
Oliver Stone where are you?
Historical reasons for Jews going into particular trades (allowability, market niches) and clothes sending a message as well as playing a functional role (me â€“ e.g. a mismatched davening jacket or wearing tight full body dress or gym shorts to shul).
Halachic history, samples cases and approaches to dealing with the Agunah issue.
Question â€“ is it coincidental that the here oft referred to â€œyouâ€™ve lost that lovinâ€™ feelingâ€ was recorded by â€œThe Righteous Brothersâ€. (I think not)
Thereâ€™s no vacation from torah! Tips for effective utilization of bein hazmanim and thereafter. (me â€“ I thought Torah was not given to the heavenly angels)
Wearing them all day? At mincha?
For a minute I thought Râ€™AL was saying Hirhurim was antithetical to tfillin, but more careful listening yielded that he was talking about hirhure taavah (lusting in Jimmy Carterâ€™s heart?).
Historical opinions and current psak (Râ€™HS – it doesnâ€™t look like Yhurah, it is!). For a number of reasons it isnâ€™t/hasnâ€™t been minhag Yisrael for a long time. (me â€“ so if you want to do it based on â€œlogicâ€, then reevaluate everything you do in that light).
Inviting for Kiruv purposes on Shabbat even though invitee will violate Shabbat â€“ strict opinion of Râ€™M Feinstein (lifnei Iver, misayeah) and lenient opinion of Râ€™Sternbuch. Râ€™Kahn wrestles with how much influence external conditions have on psak (IMHO the answer is fairly clear, just how self aware we are of it is in question).
Maybe Râ€™MFâ€™s opinion isnâ€™t so far afield?! Râ€™SZ Auerbach was very lenient (and didnâ€™t want it in print) for those with a proven record of kiruv (me â€“ catch 22?). Worthwhile just to hear Râ€™Kahn discuss macro vs. micro halacha (hmmm â€“ sounds familiar but I still like meta over macro).
Really needs more than 10 minutes. Râ€™Aryeh â€“ 1) is there any historical record of each shevet having its own nusach? Whatâ€™s the earliest reference? 2) whatâ€™s a sfardi to do in an ashkenaz shul if the shul Rabbi tells him to say ashkenaz kaddish?
Good intro to whose minhagim control in a marriage, temporary vs. permanent residence situations and practical issues (mothers donâ€™t let your children grow up to be different).
So youâ€™re moving! Can you take your mezuzah with you? Ask the new guy to pay for it? Just switch it for a less expensive one? Ask if painting is coming up and take it in advance?
Explaining how to understand Talmudic sources on not saying anything you didnâ€™t hear from rebbi. Question â€“ Does the writing down of the oral law (and everything else) change the balance of Sinai (facts) vs. mountain movement (intellect) in a winner take all match.