by Joel Rich
You are the gadol hador in the year 2525 (trick question since that’s after the year 6000 in the Jewish calendar? But it is a song title!) and scient Swing Man Golf ists (no not the “evil ones”) offer you an elixir which, if taken willingly by individuals, will allow you to command all their actions. Do you have all torah true Jews take it so you can ensure all their actions are torah true without them having to take control, (and this subcontracting is their preference)?
I would say that many Rabbis and individuals mention those no longer with us as attending or seeing our smachot; this in spite of the debate in shas as to whether the dead have any knowledge of what’s going on in our world (see for example brachot 18a and especially tosfot sotah 34b d”h avotai. The michtav m’eliyahu(yamim noraim) says those dead who do know were at the lowest level spirituality in this world and that’s why they remain connected to this world-so , imho according to his opinion, it’s actually an insult to say they know what’s going on.
However this imho is a great example man dama daba (look at what people do) as a method of psak – people want to believe the dead know, so they do!
First in a series on the ever popular science vs. halacha debate. This week focusing on the anti-science school [must….stop….those….evil….scientists……before……they….
R’Asher Klein, assistant Rabbi at Cong. AABJ&D (QRSTUVWXY&Z) is doing a series on “Forgotten Halacha” – really more regarding explaining halachic issues.
In the 1st session he describes in detail the great bug/berries issue [me – does anyone claim nishtaneh hateva by NYC water? If not, why try to say it by berries?] as well as the benefits of using a platta vs. a blech on shabbat.
The second session deals with the number of candles to light for Shabbat (some real imagination needed here to explain the “1 per child” minhag), Tcheilet (me – what is the cost of a pair of tcheilet tzitzit vs. the additional cost of chalav Yisrael? Which is “more important”) and wearing Tzitzit in our out? [me – R’Chaim Volozhin quoted as saying no yuhara (showoff by doing something above your normal level) by mitzvot any more – I find it hard to believe he would say that in today’s world].
When did prophecy end? Generally assumed Chagai, Malachai and Zecharya after Bayit Sheni began. However, other Chazal sources imply prophecy ended before then. Chazal also says Rabbis “took over” after prophecy ended but what was the transition?
Josephus mentions that there was no unbroken chain of prophets towards the end of prophecy. The implication is that religious history “stopped” when HKB”H no longer explicitly intervened in world. This cessation of intervention implies for us a shift from reception of tradition (prophecy) to interpretation of tradition (Rabbis). [me – sounds a lot like R’Tzadok] Bottom line – end of prophesy was the beginning of human initiative. [me – but does this comport with our picture of rabbinic tradition e.g. Sanhedrin’s role during the period of prophecy??]
Fascinating (to me) history of the Book of Jubilees – found in 19th century in Ethiopian language – from 2nd century CE.Its text is history with some halacha from creation to matan torah. Pro-rabbinic law source or geniza because it didn’t make the cut?? We’ll never know for sure!
Review of the story of Choni Hamaagal bringing rain and Shimon ben Shetach’s (negative?) reaction to Choni’s successful prayer – an “outsiders” threat to Rabbis?
The Rambam on charity as both a “feel good” effort and/or imitato dei (ma hu af atah, imitating HKB”H) – as in poteach et yadecha umasbia lchol chai ratzon). First in a series.
Welcome to the Upper West Side (but don’t get too comfortable). History of the eruv & local Kashrut issues. Problems with Shabbat electronics (doors, elevators, dishwashers). (Question: Why would we allow leniencies on Shabbat when no one is forcing you to live on a high floor in an apartment house?) What to do about mezuzot when you move out (meikil to allow removal). Sounds like a relatively hard line on amira l’akum (asking non-ben brit to do things for you on shabbat) , no mention of non ben brit bishul in the home issues.
Always have a contract with roommates to avoid problems.
Classic R’Sacks – R’Asher Weiss. We are commanded on the specifics at Sinai but learn the connective tissues (ratzon hatorah – will of the torah) from pre-Sinai and others mitzvot as well (e.g. zrizin makdimim (do mitzvot right away from Avraham) and Tzaar baalei chaim (no needless pain to animals from prohibition to muzzle etc.).
[me – worth thinking about – the Dor Rvii’s extension of this concept to inherent human ethics (e.g. cannibalism as more disgusting than eating chazir)]
New kinot and commemorations for holocaust are examples of puk chazi (Psak of the people)
Introductory level discussion of possible halachic issues on Shabbat hearing aid use.
Halachic status of our “bathrooms” in the context of halachic handwashing. General rule – permitted but better to do elsewhere.
First in a series. R’Akiva Eiger – his life and two responsa related to birchat hamazon – 1) women’s requirement for seudat yom tov (and saying yaaleh v’yavo); 2) can someone who is doubtful whether he said birchat hamazon be motzi someone who knows that he didn’t.
Beginning of series on meshech chochma on parsha – a brief history of the author (R’Meir Simcha M’Dvinsk) and some of his insights on Lech Lcha related to the land of Israel (of which he was a great lover).
Right over left – why? 1) kabbalistic chesed over Din; 2) Cohanim in beit mikdash were halachically required to favor right over left, therefore we do to remind us of beit mikdash (hmmm – wonder how many people think of that when they wash?!)
When can a Sanhedrin’s proclamation be reversed? What does it mean for a later court to be greater in chochma and minyan? A fair amount of detail.
R’HS clarifies why the application (and underpinning) of grama (indirect causation), especially on Shabbat, is subject to debate. How the various authorities try to cohere the basic talmudic sources regarding the scope (Shabbat vs. Yom Tov) and force (torah, rabbinic). Concepts such as koach gavra (man’s force), hasarat hamonea (removing a barrier) and process inception vs. Additional outside forces needed, all are part of the picture.
Not really why so prevalent but why so important (words have power, lashon hara means being tied to the yetzer hara). But why is the technical punishment not greater?