Audio Roundup CXIII

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by Joel Rich

I was recently asked to sit on a “beit din” for a hatavat chalom (bad dream fix) [as Councilor K, who joined me on the beit din as one of the members of the moetzet gedolei hatorah of West Orange, remarked (or close to it), “Wouldn’t you know it, they find the one rationalist in the town for this!”] Question: Is a rationalist permitted to suggest to the dreamer that he could save himself the time and just interpret the dream positively himself? Should he disclose that he believes the beit din’s impact is through psychology, not Kabbalistic impact?

From R’ Aviner (link): Shul is not a Chasidic Rebbe’s court
Do not make a long “Mi She-beirach” to which no one listens. A blessing will come to someone who is strict to forgo a “Mi She-beirach.” Donate money when you receive an aliyah, and I promise you that the Master of the Universe will bless you even without the Gabbai’s announcement.

  • Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig -Corporations and Ribbis: link

    Discussion of halachic status of banks/corporation. IMHO the discussion of the positions of various poskim reflects the “lev Shel Torah” (halachic heart tells me) approach sometimes inherent in new halachic issues. Please listen and tell me what you think of the level of business understanding of the poskim.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – The Ideal Time for Selichos: link

    Summary of “preferable” times to say Slichot: 1) Last 3 hours before morning; 2) after “midnight”; 3) morning; 4) evening (some say this may be worse than not saying).
    Limud zchut on 4) IMHO a classic group risk/reward issue in a number of communities – better to have more people say it, even if some who would say it at the proper time now don’t. (What % is the proper trade off?)
    Why do we say it first night at 2)? due to wording of 1st night’s slichot (I’m not sure this is really an answer. Just kicks the can down the road a bit).

  • Rabbi Eliakim Koenigsberg – Halachos of Building a Sukka: link

    A good detailed analysis of rules relating to every facet of sukkah construction and use. Includes some of my favorite sukkah topics – maamad, maamad d’maamad (the “no metal at all” rule), canvas walls, string bikini sukkah walls and mat schach (whose intent in making mats a kli is a major issue – apparently machloket achronim – would love maareh mkomo).
    In a way (nothing about R’Koeningsberg personally) this shiur underlines why there is perception that halacha today revolves around finding possible problems based on minority views and then aggravating your parents about them ☺.

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -Ta’anis Nidcheh: link

    General introduction to deferred fast days – analysis of underlying “prohibition” of fasting on Shabbat – may be different depending on the differing nature of the fast.

  • Rabbi Ari Kahn -Acher – is Teshuva always possible part one: link

    Part I explaining Elisha ben Abuyah story – a history and analysis of Talmudic story and an explanation of Pardes (getting back to the garden?).

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Eruv Tavshilin – Theory and Practice: link

    Sounds like one Shabbat shuva drasha for men and one for women. I’m curious – is this common in MO shuls in NY?
    Explanation of need for eruv tavshilin and specific issues (e.g. can you rely on for non-food preparation, what foods to use…).
    Great nugget – there’s a book that tells you for each food how much you need for various shiurim [of course a kzayit requires 3 average size olives – I kid you not!]

  • Rabbi Elchanan Adler -Kinus Teshuva Drasha 5771- Mechila in Human and Halachic Terms: How Can I Ever Forgive You? Can I Not?: link

    Major Questions:
    1) What are sources of requirement to ask for/give mechila (forgiveness)?
    2) Are the request and the response independent requirements?
    3) What is the role of mechila in repentance and/or atonement?
    4) Are there cases where forgiveness need not be sought? Granted?
    Followed by thoughts on forgiveness as a part of our humanity.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Silent Tefillah: Chanah, and more: link

    Discussion of sources on praying out loud vs. praying silently. Nice thought on silent prayer reflecting our realization of the limits of what we can articulate (me – like R’YBS on why we blow shofar at the end of Yom Kippur – we realize we haven’t articulated what we needed to).

  • Relationships Between Rav Kook and the Old Yishuv – Paul Shaviv: link

    Fascinating realistic philosophical history of the old Yishuv and how starting in the 1870’s it was “taken over” by Hungarian hard liners who hoped to fight the battle in Jerusalem started by the Chatam Sofer in Europe – my summary can’t do it justice but it’s definitely a worthwhile listen if you’re not ahistorical.

  • The Biography: link

    Historical/Intellectual biography – very broad and brilliant – not a meikil or a machmir but a visionary.

  • Rabbi Ari Kahn – one or two days Yom Tov for visitors to Israel: link

    S”A discusses “Israeli” going outside of Israel and the 2nd day of Yom Tov but not vice versa. Discussion of various opinions on outsiders going to Israel on 2nd day – there are a number of gradations between full two days to pure only one day! Answer may be a function of intent to stay (and how long), public vs. private, which part of Israel (was it settled way back when).
    Famous position of Chacham Tzvi of one day only when one visits Israel – why? The gzeirah of 2 days didn’t include these visitors so it would be baal tosif and bracha l’vatalah; 2) R’Shmuel Salant – in times of beit mikdash visitors never did this.
    R’Chaim thought Chacham Tzvi was right! Some compromise and say 1-1/2 days (daven; don’t do mlacha on day 2).

  • Rabbi Shalom Rosner – Individual_vs_Community_5770: link

    Be part of the tzibur (community) and be needed by the community and you will get merit of the community when being judged by HKB”H.

  • How is Rav Kook Relevant for our Generation? (Hebrew) – Rabbi Moryosef: link

    Can the Zionist enterprise survive without being religious? Is there a possibility of a jewish “civil religion” in Israel?
    What would R’Kook do(say?) Who knows but we can guess in a number of areas (e.g. shoah, politics, science).

  • Dancing With The Chalutzim – Professor James Diamond: link

    R’Kook is not easy to understand (non-rationalist approach) especially given the background needed to understand his language. Orot were often journals “edited” by his students so there is already one filter.
    Some “deep” philosophical mystical discussion – politics as an outgrowth of his mystical thought on unity.
    Nice side point – people’s (even gedolim) thinking evolves over time.

  • A Comparative Look at Teshuvah – Rabbi David Horwitz: link

    A comparison of R’YBS and R’Kook (the Rav and Ha Rav) on Reish Lakish’s statement of repentance out of love turning sins into positives – similarity (reorientation & using energy for good) and then onto R’Kook’s “reunification with the cosmos” with stops at foreknowledge and freewill. (My 2¢ – Kant’s differentiation between how we look at something and the thing itself sounds like a reformulation of the Rambam’s we just aren’t capable of understanding.)

  • 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.


    1. that shiur was not a shabbos shuva derasha, though I do give two separate derashos (usually the same derasha twice) because 95% of the people in my shul have young children so both spouses cannot attend at the same time. I don’t know of other shuls that do this but it seemed like the logical thing to do in our situation.

    2. “though I do give two separate derashos (usually the same derasha twice) because 95% of the people in my shul have young children so both spouses cannot attend at the same time”

      Rabbi Leibowitz:
      Are both sexes welcome to both derashos?

    3. aryeh lebowitz

      “Rabbi Leibowitz:
      Are both sexes welcome to both derashos”

      yes, though it very rarely happens especially since the lomdus part is pretty much the same and the mussar/hashkafa part is sometimes geared to gender specific issues

    4. R’ Aryeh,
      Did I get the kzeit comment right?
      Moadim Lsimcha

    5. Re: R’ Aviner: Hear, hear! I think all Mi Sheberachs should be eliminated, period (yes, even the “standard” post-aliyah one), apart, maybe, from the communal ones (the one after Yekum Perkan, Tzahal, Bahab, etc.).

      Little known fact: Reconstructionism arose in part because Mordecai Kaplan was tired of too many Mi Sheberachs.

      It reminds me of when R’ Yaakov was sick and they couldn’t remember his mother’s name at MTJ. Said R’ Moshe, “Hashem knows who ‘R’ Yaakov’ is.”

      Back in elementary school (post Bar-Mitzvah), a classmate used to have us sit as a post-dream Bet Din for him a number of times. Shortly after graduation, he had a very bad accident. Irrational of me, I know, but I don’t scoff so much at the idea anymore, although I generally dismiss my own dreams.

    6. R’JR-Maybe a confirmed rationalist should recuse himself from serving on such a bet din.I dont think that it makes any differrence wether the impact is psychological or mystical/ The same is true when a tzaddik blesses a sick person. If because he believes in the power of the tzaddik and that helps him get well or the KBH changes his decree because of the prayer of the tzaddik, who knows? If it works, it works.

      I am surprised that mori verabi R’ Aviner shlita is so against giving a mishebeirach. I remember that I mentioned to you that I didn’t like the custom of in your shul of giving one mishebeirach for all the cholim. But then I believe in the “kabbalistic” impact of the mishebeirach.

    7. aryeh lebowitz

      Joel Rich – you got it almost right – I believe the book said three LARGE olives are a k’zayis (five average olives), but I could be misremembering to make for a better story.

    8. The Yakar shul in Katamon skips nearly all misheberachs, and even besides that, has very nice Shabbat morning davening, especially Nishmat in the tune they usually use for it. Highly recommended.

      In my recollection the kezayit book says a kezayit is 3 large or 18 (!) small olives. Part of the issue is the gemara’s statement that a kezayit includes the volume of the pit, which is not eaten. But that’s not the whole issue.

    9. R’DT – I agree on the misheberach’s at our shul, but many people would be agahst at dropping it.

      I wonder if the kzait thing had gone the other way over time, whether anyone would reduce the # to .5 or do our adjustments just fo one way (and what does that say about the symmetry (or lack thereof) of the system, and what does that say about the system?)

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