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.?
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?)
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.
A must listen for those in the helping professions (including Rabbis) and for those who might ever need help.
* 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?)
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!
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)
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?).
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.
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.
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.)
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).
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.
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
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)
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)