Audio Roundup CXXI

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

by Joel Rich

The Mishna (Shabbat 117b places a limit on the amount of food you can legally save from a fire on Shabbat (even though without this limitation you could have saved more without a violation – e.g. move food out of the house to an eruv enclosed yard).
Rava explains the reason as since one is bahul (in turmoil?) over his money, “if we allow” more to be saved, he might put out the fire.

Rashi explains – “if we allow” – him to start such an expansive saving, since he’s in turmoil, he’ll forget it’s Shabbat and may also put the fire out.

1) does this imply he can only save food and no other possessions? 2) What psychological process did Rashi see at work here? (e.g. if it is an extremely slow fire, could he save 2 meals worth, wait kdei achilat pras (or whatever) and then save more?) 3) what if we did a test and found that in this circumstance no one today would put out the fire rather than drag the food outside, would we change the halacha? (or would we say the test must be faulty if it seems against the Talmud?) 4)Without Rashi -when would you have thought the turmoil would’ve led him to put out the fire.

A recent post elsewhere discussed the L’maan Achai and Paamonim as “smart charities” that teach their clients to fish rather than give them fish. Are there any similar Jewish charities in the U.S.?

  • Mareh Mekomot on Avot observing mitzvot: link (PDF)
  • Rabbi Adam Mintz – The Sadducees: link

    Tzidukim (T) vs. Perushim (P) in a steel cage fight to the finish match. T fans tend to be aristocrats, long time elite Jerusalimites and fans of the old order. P fans tend to be the more numerous “6 pack Joe’s”. Winner declared after Temple’s destruction!
    R’Mintz gives examples where demographics (social preference too) made halachic destiny [of course I am not mkabel this!]. (Question to R’Mintz – do you think this was conscious or subconscious? Also, how was the composition of Sanhedrin determined on an ongoing basis?)

  • Rabbi H Schachter- Parshat Vayeitzei: link

    If today is Tuesday, this must be Belgium? Stops include:
    * HKB”H appreciates variety in his ovdim (he doesn’t want everyone dressing in black! B’H I am often the only person of color (dress) when I stop in Passaic for mincha)
    * Sanhedrin of a sheivet (I would really love more detail on how these functioned)
    * Halacha when kol yoshveha aleha doesn’t mean just majority of Jews but also need known representatives of each sheivet
    * Great story of R’HS visit with the Nazir who tried to get him to be a vegetarian (and asked if the rebbitzen if she studied Talmud)
    * Tzedakah – wealthy people (like him) can give more than 20%; at death as well – but save some for kids (hi guys!)
    * Some discussion of Jewish history being above nature
    * Yaakov kissing Rachel – “You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss!” (ok – he didn’t say that – just that it was minhag derech eretz (like a handshake??)
    * HKB”H sfatai tiftach – expand my boundaries/abilities to allow me to do more than I am “capable” of.

  • Rabbi H Schachter-Question and Answer Session for Rabbis: link

    A must listen for those in the helping professions (including Rabbis) and for those who might ever need help.
    Examples include:
    * if someone is unsure if they have unhalachic tendencies – get help clarifying
    * if counselor feels violating Shabbat would be helpful for client (ask a shailah but) pikuach nefesh (life in danger) takes precedence; so does “becoming normal”
    * what about mitzvah to give tochacha? Only if it stands a chance of being accepted
    * it’s infrequent that a counselor tells anyone what to do (me – but isn’t it like they are giving permission?)
    * sometimes have to walk away from a case if halachic issues (give it to someone else)
    * joint custody between frum and non-frum parent – do your best
    * you don’t have to lose your license/job for mitzvah of tochacha
    * wife cheating on husband – generally accepted counselor doesn’t have to tell husband even though there are serious halachic implications.
    * depression is serious and there are halachic leniencies available in treatment
    * parental separation issues may overrule kavod av
    * must tell of mental issues by 4th date (me – isn’t 4 dates already engagement?)

  • Rabbi David Weiss Halivni in conversation with Dr. Elliot Malamet -Can Faith Be Restored?: link

    Personal history and discussion of theology of the holocaust. Rejects thesis of punishment for sin, rejects that holocaust was just quantitively greater than previous Jewish suffering. He sees it as an act of Tzimtzum (withdrawal) and allowance of reentry to Israel. He also rejects the idea that survival is possible only at the expense of others. In the camps no one thought about theology!

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha -Wearing a Borrowed Talis: link

    Borrowing talit – do you say a bracha? From a friend – for a longer usage – yes; for a shorter one? Best to have intent not to be yotzeh (arghhh – that’s why R’YBS IIRC said birchat hallel with the shatz – to avoid to have to have intent not to do mitzvah). Shul tallit – if you look at the books, you should make a bracha but minhag yisrael is not to (must listen for the verbal gymnastics trying to justify/giving alternative intent you and/or donor should have to justify this approach. Bottom line – the gedolim gives you a pass on this one! me – but does that mean HKB”H wants you to make a bracha, not make a bracha or is ambivalent)

  • Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Schwartz-Fair to be Frum? Identification and Treatment of OCD within the Orthodox Jewish Community: link

    Description of different types of OCD. Within orthodoxy it can be seen as righteousness (tzidkut) or scrupulosity (not so good). R’Schwartz feels religion doesn’t cause OCD – but it does attach to core values (but, if you see someone who can’t start davening because he keeps readjusting tfillin…) [me – another question – even if religion doesn’t cause OCD does it attract/intensify those who have it?] There is cognitive treatment and you need a Rav and a therapist who understand the difference between psak and treatment (me – really means that “psak” must take into account the individual’s circumstances?).

  • David Mandel-When is Enough Enough? Living with a Mentally Ill Family Member/Relative: link

    Very moving discussion of the impact of mental illness on the patient and family. Also discussion of support available. Especially worthwhile I think for those who haven’t been touched by the issue.

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory-She’elot uTeshuvot 18-19 Century – Chatam Sofer: link

    Chatam Sofer – a bit of history (I agree – it would be interesting to understand why the Haflaah didn’t have more of a philosophical (Chassidic) impact on the Chatam Sofer). Also, why he didn’t print any sfarim during his lifetime?
    Mention (of course) of Chatam Sofer’s vision of working the land of Israel as a mitzvah.
    Tshuvot 1) women being motzi men in birchat hamazon; 2) do mishloach manot need to be received to complete the mitzvah; 3) saying machnisei rachamim (he didn’t); 4) kavod and oneg Shabbat as a torah commandment.

  • Rabbi Michael Taubes – Parshas Toldos Wedding Minhagim and Forgiveness of Sins: link

    Sources on sins being forgiven on wedding day and some implications on wedding day practices. Fasting, kittel as examples (although other reasons given as well.)

  • Rabbi Ari Kahn – Walking, Speed Walking, Jogging, and Running on Shabbat: link

    Running, walking for health and enjoyment on Shabbat. There are a number of opinions – may be a function of the age of the individual, do you change clothes, how fast you walk, do you sweat, is it obvious you are exercising?
    There is an obvious greater meta issue (me – unless you’re of the “if it’s not specifically assur, it must be ok l’chatchila” school).

  • Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky- AKO Conference with the RC’s and RFR’s: link

    He trusts the OU is always L’shem shamayim (didn’t mention whether he trusted the hechsher J). Important thing to remember is kashrut for the klal – shout out to Lubavitch in this regard.

  • Rabbi Yaakov B. Neuburger – Risk-Taking In Halacha: link

    Discussion of acceptable levels of risk. Examples include plastic surgery, birchat hagomel and smoking. General rule: Society (me – general or Jewish?) sets the definition of what’s considered acceptable

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Honoring Kohanim: link

    Discussion of Kavod for Kohein – Ritual cases vs. monetary vs. other (R’Aryeh – mishnah in horiyot is only IIRC ceterus paribus – i.e. Talmud chacham would come before Kohain)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Siyum: link

    What can you make a siyum on? When can you market time? (e.g. speed up to make it on erev pesach) Who can participate? Generally not everyone but minhag yisrael on erev pesach is different (me – see talit above J)

  • 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 and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance 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. Can you double-check the link for the Rabbi David Weiss Halivni interview?

      is the mp3 store to download from – if it’s not there, please email them.

    3. Shalom Rosenfeld

      Re: derech eretz

      In fact, Brooklyn’s Rabbi Dovid Cohen quotes R’ Hutner as saying “a handshake isn’t derech chiba, it’s derech eretz.”

    4. R’SR,
      So it’s ok to initiate a handshake? and in France it’s OK to kiss?

    5. 1-Only food and only enough for the remaining seudot of shabbat
      2-The time element is irrelevant he can only save what he needs for shabbat
      3-Chazal dont need a test. They knew human nature.Adam TAMID bahul al
      4- Because of the turmoil he forgets that it is shabbat. His major
      concern is saving as much as he can.
      Question- If he really forgets that it is shabbat, is he shogeg? shogeg karov lemeizid?

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: