Audio Roundup CXVIII

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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!


  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Responsa that changed Jewish History: Rishonim on Science vs. Halachah, Part I: link

    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….
    arghh.. link)

  • Rabbi Asher Klein – “The Forgotten Halachot”: link 1, link 2

    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].

  • Rabbi Adam Mintz – The Origins of Rabbinic Judaism- Session 1 – The End of Prophecy: link

    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??]

  • Rabbi Adam Mintz – Halacha and the Book of Jubilees: link

    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!

  • Moshe Simon-Shoshan-Power, Truth and Suffering: Be Careful What You Pray For: Honi Hameagel: link

    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?

  • Rabbi Azarya Berzon -The Rambam and the Mitzvah of Tzedaka (Matnot Aniim 7:1): link

    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.

  • Rabbi Allen Schwartz -Welcome to the Upper West Side – Kashrut, Elevators, Etc.: link

    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.

  • Rabbi Yonason Sacks -Ratzon HaTorah: link

    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)]

  • Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff -2010-10-17 Responsa 05 – The Rav vs. The Rav: link

    New kinot and commemorations for holocaust are examples of puk chazi (Psak of the people)

  • Rabbi Ephraim Rimel -The Use of Hearing Aids on Shabbat: link

    Introductory level discussion of possible halachic issues on Shabbat hearing aid use.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Netilas Yadayim in the Bathroom: link

    Halachic status of our “bathrooms” in the context of halachic handwashing. General rule – permitted but better to do elsewhere.

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory – -She’elot uTeshuvot 18-19 Century Rav Akiva Eiger: link

    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.

  • Rabbi Zvi Romm -weekly shiur in Meshech Chochma: link

    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).

  • Rabbi Beinish Ginsburg -Why do we wash the right hand before the left hand?: link

    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?!)

  • Rabbi David Hirsch -Davar Shebiminyan Tzarich Minyan Acher Lihatiro: link

    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.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Technology on Shabbat: link

    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.

  • Rabbi Zev Reichman -Why is Gossip so prevalent?: link

    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?

  • Swing Man Golf

    About Gil Student

    Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief 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 serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also 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.


    1. 1-A song title?? I don’t get it.
      2-Maybe Mashiach will bring an elixer to help everyone lachazor betshuva, but something that controls them and annuls their free will? chas veshalom. Also without going into torat hanistar (you know that I’m not baki except for what I have learned in Chassidut and torat HaRav Kook)I would say that it is better not to mess with the Sitra Achra, although it would be just like scientists to open such a Pandora’s box as they have with genetic engineering,sperm banks, cloning etc. Only the Maharal could create a Golem and even he couldn’t control it.
      3-After listening to RHS’s shiur on aliya and yishuv EY I think WADR that the metaphor of the commander not leaving his troops is very weak.Look at Chabad. The Rebbe ZTZL is no longer with us but apart from “the Rebbe lives meshuggas” his movement is thriving.The same could be said for MO after RYBS ZTZL. In the IDF we learn that it is the commander’s role to lead.It’s not my place to judge gedolei hador,but IMHO if they would press for Aliya and as a result thousands or even hundreds of families would come, what a difference it would make here. It is high time for the generals to issue the proper marching orders to their troops. the example of R’Riskin proves that these things are not impossible.

    2. Shalom Rosenfeld


      Elixir — please tell me you’re kidding?

      Somewhat related — when we daven that the wicked abandon their wickedness; Chazon Ish holds that means we daven that their free will be modified; R’ Moshe says no, we daven that their external situation improves, giving them a better chance to exercise free will.

      Central thesis of Tanya (as I understand) is that the *real* tzadikim don’t even *think* about the possibility of sinning; citing David HaMelech’s “libi chalal b’kirbi” … I’m still not sure what to make of that.

    3. R’DT,
      1. me you’re a baki (at least compared to me:-)) chatai ani mazkir hayom

    4. Tcheilet-I read on the tchelet website that they asked R’Elyashiv shlita and he refused to rule on the kashrut of tcheilet itself, but said that at present it is wrong lechayev wearing tcheilet because of chesron kis. I don’t understand. If tcheilet is THE tcheilet then it is no less a mitzvah d’oreita than tefillin and must be performed whatever the cost. If it isn’t the real tcheilet, then why wear it even if it is cheaper than lavan? What does chesron kis have to do with it?
      Yohara-R’Dov Lior said that if someone’s motivation is leshem shamayim, then if others think it is yohara it is their problem.(he didn’t say it in exactly those words,but that was what he meant.

    5. Joel,
      The story about the chasam sofer and his father that you mentioned last week appears at the beginning of Chut Hameshulash:
      This book was written by the CS’s grandson.

    6. R’DT,
      I don’t understand the chisaron kis argument either. On yuhara, what is his makor that mechzei kyuhara is a din in the doer’s intent?

    7. Benny,
      thanks-this just confonds me even more quite honestly. I’ll leave it at that.

    8. “You are the gadol hador in the year 2525 (trick question since that’s after the year 6000 in the Jewish calendar?”

      Unless we nuke ourselves to death or an asteroid etc destroys mankind I expect there to be gdolei hador in 2525 as there certainly gdolei hador in 1485.
      Year 6000-not in miyah ahshtarot. Will we still use the system that is used cahn-who knows but I hope and ssume the SA will still be relevant etc.

    9. R’JR
      I don’t know what RDL’s source is but I think that it might be “libi
      omer li”.

    10. R’DT,
      My favorite!

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