Audio Roundup CXXX

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by Joel Rich

The Rama in 3 places (O”C 621:6(yom kippur),Y”D 249:16(tzedaka) and O”C 284:7(shabbat)) mentions the custom of hazkarat nefashot. The S”A is silent on the matter but the Bet Yosef -O”C 621:6(yom kippur)-gives all the sources for it(mordechai, rokeach) even though the Tur has no mention. Any thoughts on the significance of the mechaber’s not bringing this down in the shulchan aruch even though he documents it in the beit yosef?

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook writes in his Orot ha-Kodesh (pt. II, ma’amar 2, no. 28):

The intelligentsia thinks that it can separate itself from the common masses; then it will be healthier in spirit, nobler in thought. This is a fundamental mistake, a mistake that does not recognize the healthy side of natural cognition, natural emotions, and natural sensations that were not improved, but also not spoiled by cultural influences.
Healthy integrity is more common among primitive people than among the educated and those whose morality is based on reflection. The educated are clearer on the particulars of morality, its laws and intricacies, but the basic sense of morality is found among the naturally healthy people, the common masses.
It is not only with regard to the basic sense of morality that the common masses rise above the select. Also the sense of faith, Divine greatness, beauty … is healthier and purer among the common masses.
The mass [of people], however, is unable by itself to preserve its strength and purity, it cannot nicely tie together its ideas, it also does not know how to stand up in war, when contradictory ideas and feelings battle within its soul or against the outside world. For this, it needs the help of those great in resourcefulness, who straighten before it the paths of the world.
But just as [the noble in spirit] bestow upon [the masses] counsel and resourcefulness, so [the masses] endow them with health. The common denominator between the noble in spirit and the masses is the force that maintains the two sides in their appropriate places, and protects them from moral and material decay and degeneration.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Gifter-Diversity in Judaism

    R’Gifter speaking of history of Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland and Europe.  He was not an orthodox Jew but a torah Jew.  There is no diversity in torah – just differing opinions (“orthodox” may have diversity but not torah – me – terms need more definition but it sounded like orthodox = “non torah true”)
    Paean to R’Shach and his love of every Jew and his one-on-one Kiruv skills and some sharp words for (Rabbi) Haskell Lookstein’s comments regarding R’Shach.  (Sounded like R’Hutner took offense to a Jewish week article).

  • Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh -Machshava 07 – The efficacy of tefilla

    Of course prayer is a relationship with HKB”H issue, but really, why should it work? (doesn’t HKB”H know all you want already and isn’t he perfect in his dealings with us anyway?).
    Either it changes us, our priorities and perceptions or it’s a means to connect with HKB”H and realize all we have is from him.  Next time – so then why would our prayer work for others?


  • Rabbi Elchanan Adler -The Status of Mitzvos Before Matan Torah

    Why were some mitzvot given before Sinai (Marah, leaving Egypt, Breishit)?  Is there any difference in their force?  When did they become permanent?  Various approaches discussed.


  • Rabbi Marc Penner – The Stages of Aveilut and the Journey of the Soul

    A review of the halachot of aveilut and how they resonate with how HKB”H created us psychologically as well as the kabbalistic journey of the soul back to its maker.  [me – different strokes for different folks related to the psychology of “the mourning experience” but as I’m often reminded by those closest to me, I’m psychologically “unique” (read quirky) – but perhaps that’s why Avi Mori Vrabbi Zll”HH arranged for me not to have to go through the “healing” shiva experience].


  • Rabbi Moshe Zvi Weinberg -Bo – Shevat 5771 – Torah Perspectives on Food and Eating @ CBY

    So it’s true – you are what you eat!  Some insights into the halachic and spiritual content of ingestion!!


  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Yonah: Teshuvah; 1:4-8 Wake-Up Call #1

    2nd in a series – here more text specific.  At some level it seems like Jonah was wary of too much mercy and looked for more truth and justice (and the American way?).  Some themes included wake up calls, wind, bigness and righteous of other nations.


  • Rabbi Elon Soniker -Trying to Blend In: Davening With a Minyan of a Different Nusach

    Part of series – Why different nusach’s for tfila?  1) transmission errors; 2) Anshei Knesset Hagedola (AK”H) only set final portions of blessings; 3) AK”h – only gave general guidance of brachot.
    Can you switch your nussach?   1) keep your own (chasam sofer); 2) switch to sfard only (R’OY); 3) switch
    What should you do it minyan davens different nusach (wide range of opinions).


  • Rabbi Aharon Kahn – Using the principle of Darchei No’am in halacha

    How does the halachic principle of dracheha darchei noam (all her ways are pleasant) work?
    1. It must be in the context of the (micro) halachic system (e.g. you can’t overrule mamzer status because it’s not “pleasant” for the child);
    2) Talmud uses it in the context of choosing between alternative reasonable scriptural interpretations;
    3) Examples where it is used as a “meta” consideration in later poskim.
    Listen for a great quote from the Kotzker on R’Yehuda Hachasid’s stricture being observed vs. asseret hadibrot being observed.


  • Rabbi Shalom Carmy -Ramban on Parshat Beshalach at Eretz HaTzvi

    Analysis of 2 Rambans and the grouping, meaning and understanding of the makot.


  • Rabbi Mordechai Gifter-Derech Halimud

    The importance of focusing on Yeshiva learning and only Yeshiva learning (minimum 12 hours per day).  Examples of European Yeshivot focus.


  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Medical Halachah: Halachic issues in treating anxiety and depression

    Halachic issues in treating anxiety and depression.  Focus on if and when Shabbat, kashrut and fertility rules are waived.  Case studies discussed.


  • Rabbi David Horwitz – Bechira Chafshis According to the Rishonim

    An analysis of the approaches of several rishonim to the questions raised by discordant Talmudic discussions of free will, predestination and foreknowledge; focus on R’Sadiah, Ibn Ezra and the Rambam.  Nice review of Moslem and Christian approaches from the same time frame.
    Ibn Ezra on Pharoh’s free choice quote various approaches all of which interpret the text to say HKB”H did not take away Pharoh’s free will.  Rambam understood that HKB”H took away his free will to repent (but not to do the original act).
    Similar discussion that most rishonim felt HKB”H’s foreknowledge is not causative (i.e. free will remains).  Rambam explains this as HKB”H existing outside of time.


  • Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz – Overcoming Hardship with God Consciousness

    Some chizuk on nisyonot as a way to get closer to HKB”H.


  • Rabbi Uri Orlian -Sacrificing Karbanot in the 21st Century: History & Halacha

    : Could sacrifices be reinstated?  Insights primarily based on Drishat Tzion by R’Tzvi Hirsch Kalisher.  Lots of differences of opinion on issues such as ritual impurity, bamot, rebuilding of temple, rebuilding of altar……..


  • Mrs. Yael Goldfischer -The Covenant of Sinai and its Reverberations

    What mitsvot did Moshe get and when?  There are 3 covenants – Sinai, Arvot Moav, Har Eival (Yehoshra).  How do these relate?


  • Rabbi Asher Klein-“The Forgotten Halachot are Back!”

    Reviewing the laws of Yichud at an intermediate level.


  • Rabbi Asher Klein Mini -Series :-The Forgotten Halachot Are Back! 2

    1.  Mlaveh Malkah – Is it a chiyuv?  Does it need candles?  What is the minimum intake required?
    2.  Hats, jackets and gartels – why and how?  Very commuity based!  Wearing a jacket with only one arm in a sleeve – not so simple (interesting limud zchut given).


  • Rabbi Jeffrey Saks -Asceticism Rejected

    Part of a series on Rambam/Pickei Avot.  Bottom line here – asceticism is not fundamental to Judaism/life is a dynamic balance.

  • About Joel Rich

    Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.


    1. “so then why would our prayer work for others?”
      One answer I heard to this question is that when you pray for someone else, that person is indirectly causing you to come closer to G-d and elevate yourself spiritually. That creates a merit for them and it is through that merit that your prayers on their behalf are answered.

    2. “(“orthodox” may have diversity but not torah – me – terms need more definition but it sounded like orthodox = “non torah true”)”

      If I remember correctly from the many tapes of R’ Gifter that I listened to in my youth, he objects to the term ‘orthodox’ on the grounds that it is not jewish in origin and that it implies that Orthodoxy is a branch of Judaism of equal standing with other branches. In his view, since the only authentic form of Judaism follows the Torah, ‘Torah jew’=authentic jew is more accurate than Orthodox jew.

    3. RJR- You left out the concluding paragraph in the piska, where Harav ZTZL defines the force which is the common denominator of all components of clall Yisrael. Here it is in my translation.
      “Prophecy,which comes through the divine conduit,comes for this purpose;to unify the common spirit with the noble spirit of exceptional individuals (yechidei segulah). Thus the common expression is unified with the ideal thought of the rich in spirit.”
      I think that this ma’amar shows that the thought of Harav Kook is light years away from the insular intellectual snobbery of the Litvishe Yeshiva world (Volozhin) from which he came.

    4. r’dt
      thanks-what i posted was all that was in the piece i was reading. i agree with your conclusion.

    5. In terms of halachos left out of SA- read introduction of Shulchan Aruch where he writes this book is just for quick review, real halchos come from Beis Yosef. This point is against the SM”A who assumes SA’s ommission of entering a safek sakana to save someone from vdai sakana- means mechaber changed his mind.

    6. R’Ezra,
      I’ve always wondered about that since we seem to “paskin” against the S”A’s own intention by using the S”A and not the B”Y as the primary source But then again, I’m always left wondering about the “it doesn’t matter what he meant, it’s how the chachmei hamesora understood it” school of thought.

    7. Re Yizkor: A rabbi just enthusiastically told me that Yizkor was originally only said on Yom Kippur and Sefardim and Western Europeans still only do that. The reason is simple — there is a mitzvah of simcha on Yom Tov. In Italy and later in Eastern Europe, they extended it to Yom Tov also but only the second day. Eventually, because of Simchas Torah, it was moved to Shemini Atzeres. The Levush is at pains to explain why Yizkor was extended to the Regalim and says that since people were pledging to tzedakah for the living (a different custom), they might as well pledge on behalf of the deceased as well.

    8. R’ Gil,
      That is what my research yielded – probably tied to the crusades. Btw not everyone agreed that giving tzedakah really works and the source in the Talmud is not a slam dunk. The Gesher Hachayim says to give tzedaka before but I couldn’t find his source – although to me it makes a lot more sense.

    9. aryeh lebowitz

      the first Rav Gifter link doesn’t seem to be working

    10. The correct link is

      Warning: The Mp3 starts in the middle of the speech, however the beginning of the speech is in the middle. (Side 2 comes before side 1)

    11. R’ Aryeh,
      After you listen, tell me who you think R’ Hutner was talking about as not torah true.

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