Audio Roundup CXXXI

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by Joel Rich

Questions: How, if at all, has the increased level of Torah education and ease of access to Torah texts (technology driven) for baalei battim impacted the actual (vs. theoretical) halachic process? What are the competencies (see here for a Human Resources type model – link – PDF) that a leading poseik should have and how would you prioritize them?


From R’Aviner:

Organ Donation
Q: If a person donates his organs after he dies, will he be resurrected with those organs?
A: Yes, with all of his organs, including those which quickly disintegrate into the dirt. Those which he donated will have additional light.

My alternative answer: and the rest of resurrection you understand? Just do the right thing in olam hazeh and let HKB”H worry about the rest.


From The Five Towns Jewish Times:
In shul this past week, the recent debate in the pages of the Five Towns Jewish Times between Rabbi Aryeh Zev Ginzberg and Ze’ev Gold became the subject of discussion. Ze’ev Gold posed the question as to whether the Rubashkin case was really Pidyon Shvuyim or not. Rabbi Ginzberg had received a ruling from Rav Chaim Kaniefsky Shlita that, indeed, it was full and complete Pidyon Shvuyim.
If so, asked Mr. Gold, why didn’t Rabbi Ginsburg’s shul empty out their Shul building fund? Rabbi Ginzberg was slightly evasive in his response but did refer Mr. Gold to the ruling of the Aruch haShulchan. Mr. Gold quoted Rabbonim who ruled that it is not real full-fledged Pidyon Shvuyim. Rabbi Ginzberg repeated unequivocally that it was complete Pidyon Shvuyim.
What is going on here?
Let’s first look at the ruling of the Aruch haShulchan that Rabbi Ginzberg cited in response to Mr. Gold but did not quote. The paragraph is in Rav Yechiel Michel Epstein’s (1829-1908) comments to the 252nd chapter of Yore Deah, in the laws of Tzedaka.
Rav Epstein writes (252:1), “And all this was in earlier times, and even nowadays in far flung wildernesses such as Asia and Africa, where bandits fall upon travelers and take them into captivity to the point where it is necessary to redeem them with large sums of money, as is known from the caravans that travel in the western wilderness.”
It seems that the Aruch haShulchan is suggesting that the full blown Pidyon Shvuyim and all its associated Halachos are pretty much a thing of the past and no longer applicable in the Aruch haShulchan’s time.
There are three possible reactions that one can have to this Aruch haShulchan.
Possibility A – One can argue and disagree with his position by saying, “the Aruch haShulchan writes that nowadays, Jews in prison do not constitute Pidyon Shvuyim – but we disagree. There is certain Pidyon Shvuyim here.”
Possibility B – One can say, “No, the Aruch HaShulchan is ruling that there is certainly a Pidyon Shvuyim here – it is just that he is positing a lower level Pidyon Shvuyim – a Pidyon Shvuyim Type B, so to speak. Granted it does not have all the Halachos of the full Pidyon Shvuyim in the Rambam and in the Gemorah, but there is certainly a Pidyon Shvuyim here.”
Possibility C – One can say, “The Aruch haShulchan is certainly ruling that there is no Pidyon Shvuyim here – even a low level Type B form. However, there is certainly an Inyan to help out here.”
It seems to this author that the Rabbis whom Mr. Gold quotes are proponents of possibility C. It seems also that Rabbi Ginzberg is proposing possibility B. This is why Rabbi Ginzberg’s Shul has not cleared its building fund account to help Mr. Rubashkin.
What was the position of Rav Chaim Kaniefsky Shlita? It is unclear whether he is a proponent of Position A or Position B. Rabbi Ginzberg responded to Mr. Gold’s question with a veiled hint that he personally is not emptying the account because he personally holds of position B. But it is not clear that Rav Chaim Shlita is of the same opinion.

Me 1.How much clearer can you be than “full and complete Pidyon Shvuyim.” 2.The AH’S is making up a new category “lower level Pidyon Shvuyim “???? Or is he positing that there are other halachic categories that this might fall under? 3.Is it possible the AH”S was writing for the censors?


  • Rabbi Moshe D. Tendler -Organ Donation – Halachic Imperative

    Some very strong words concerning the RCA “white paper” on brain death. A fairly extensive summary of his position on brain death plus R’Moshe and R’YBS. Detailed medical information plus a shout out to hirhurim and the baal hablog.

  • Rabbi Yonasan Sacks – Ask the Posek

    Caveat – I’m a big fan of R’Yonasan Sacks – a rare combination of mastery of torah and sensitivity (plus a great transmitter of Torat Harav).
    Here a great Q&A session demonstrating his source mastery [plus first time I remember him referencing something like “the Kantian ethic”.] 1) Affiliate with organizations where you are comfortable with the rabbinic hashkafa (a Rav is not just for halacha).
    2) TUM has a number of strong points (secular studies, relations with non bnai brit, appreciate culture, healthy openness). Balance is more difficult to communicate than extremes (but we need to work on our passion). [I’m curious as to whether R’Sacks was speaking of his own hashkafa] 3) Electricity on Shabbat – assur, why is more an issue! (This one is for you Harold Z.) Using in Eretz Yisrael on Shabbat – it’s ok (listen why). Issue in US if there’s an interruption of service on Shabbat – can you use food “reheated” after the service restart.
    4) Tzedakah – Fairly broad definition of eligible institutions but prioritize Tier I and Tier II. What about chareidi poor who don’t work “b’shitah”? – talk to their leadership, don’t blame the individuals. Defining priorities in terms of who to give to (e.g. supplicants who make the rounds of minyanim) is a challenge, everyone finds their own coping mechanisms for demands.
    5) Women’s prayer – prioritization of various prayers.
    6) Copyright rules – it’s complex.
    7) On line transactions and businesses on Shabbat and Yom Tov – try to avoid.
    8) Attending non-orthodox services for a simcha – try to find another way to show your connection.
    9) Backing politicians – don’t need 100% agreement with their policies.
    10) Priority of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael – “A” priority but not necessarily “the” priority.
    11) DNR etc. – should have, with proper rabbinic supervision.
    12) Avoid chillul Hashem rather than taking off kipa and doing the act.
    13) Great quote from R’Asher Weiss (sarcasm alert) – Smokers should be allowed to smoke on Shabbat since they are in the category of shotim (not in control of their mental faculties).
    14) When to be machmir (e.g. kids returning from year(s) in Israel)? Need a reasoned, deliberate approach.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -History of Jewish Publishing: Censorship of Jewish Books

    Very interesting history from 12th century on differing approaches (book burning, expurgation, self censorship, etc.)
    Attempts to control printers output (me – not just Jewish) through pre-publication restraints, post publication fixes.
    Specific examples of individuals involved, approaches, “problematic” texts and fixes.
    Me – Think about the ‘transmission errors” from censorship on the mesorah (e.g. Rashi on Nedarim) and how this may have impacted the seeking original intent of chazal vs. it’s the process that’s key schools of halachic thought.

  • Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh -Machshava 08 – The efficacy of tefilla 2

    Prayer for others (part 2). Why should it work? 1) We’re all connected (NY Telephone?); 2) You deserve to have your pain relieved (when you make his pain is your pain); 3) This will make you grow spiritually (??); 4) Then some Maharal that I didn’t get

  • Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig -The Internet- The danger, Issur Yichud, the importance of filters and ‘Areivim’, fill your mind with Torah

    1) Internet has an issur yichud
    2) Intoxication is forbidden! [hmmm – good luck with those]

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Making Tea on Shabbos

    Tea issues – including discussion of kli sheni, kli shlishi, kalei bishul, borer and tzoveah. CLOR but realize there are a number of opinions/issues (surprise!)

  • Rabbi Mayer Schiller- Learning Talmud

    Message of Chanukah – oral law sets us apart and allow us to battle the influence of the world around us. Some interesting Q&A from the audience.

  • Daniel Fridman -Praying in the Dark 1: The Raging Controversy Surrounding Ma’ariv

    Discussion of what it means for tfillat Maariv being a rshut (optional is not a good definition). History of machloket and how the status changed over the years.

  • Rabbi Azarya Berzon -Jewish Morality in Financial Dilemmas

    Series on interesting Chochen Mishpat issues – here can you save a “gift” siddur at a simcha for someone coming later? For someone invited but not attending? Can you save a seat? detailed analysis.

  • Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein -What happened to the Yasher Koach culture?

    Just acknowledging others’ existence is a worthy attribute in all our interactions.

  • Rabbi Netanel Javasky -Health, Exercise and Rav Kook

    Be healthy and exercise in the service of HKB”H. Plus some insights on this directive from R’Kook.

  • Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh -Machshava 09 – A more kabalistic approach to tfilah

    R’Chaim on prayer (how can we say baruch – can we bless HKB”H?). Perhaps prayer as a way of relieving HKB”H’s pain – then explaining why Kabbalah is ok even if not your mesorah (I didn’t really get this – surprise).

  • Rabbi Refael Feuerstein, Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, Rabbi David Joseph Mescheloff-Arabs, Halacha and Democracy

    Panel generally agreed that “rental prohibition” letter was a bad idea, as well as a complex halachic issue. Most of the discussion centered on the trade offs between democracy and the unique character of the State of Israel.

  • Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler -Yitro – A Long Day In Court

    Ktav Sofer’s take on Moshe’s initial court system goal (people would learn directly from him). IMHO a good example of trying to thread a hashkafic needle – how could Moshe have needed Yitro’s advice, yet clearly he accepted it.

  • Rabbi Azarya Berzon -Jewish Morality – Part II: Taking the Law Into One’s Own Hands

    Can you take the (monetary) law into your own hands? Talmudic sources and case studies as to when and how far you can go.

  • Rabbi Jeffrey Saks -Jews of Poland and the Path to Eretz Yisrael

    Shiur from Poland – focus on parallel between an S.Y. Agnon story of a worm hole from Poland to Tzfat and R’Shimon Bar Yochai’s cave. It’s all about galut (me – sigh, tata zisa).

  • Rav Asher Weiss – Law of the Land

    A brief overview of the philosophy and associated scope of dina dmalchuta (the law of the land). Importance of us excelling as role models as citizens. Q&A includes bankruptcy and other examples, interaction of beit din and secular courts.

  • About Joel Rich

    Joel Rich is a frequent local lecturer on various Torah topics in West Orange, NJ and supports his Torah listening habits by working as a consulting actuary.

    One comment

    1. One of the questions in pidyon shvuyim is whether the captives’life is in danger. This is one of the conditions which has changed in the case of Jonathan Pollard, since his health is reportedly failing.
      Lehavdil there is the case of the Yeshiva bochers who are being held in Japan on drug smuggling charges. They have trouble getting food that is kasher lemehadrin (nebbech). IMHO let them eat sushi.r

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