Audio Roundup CXXXIII

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by Joel Rich

Segula-From R’ Aviner
Q: Our debt continues to grow. Is there a Segula to reverse this trend?
A: Certainly. You should spend less than you bring in and not rely on the miracle of overcoming the rules of mathematics.(Me-ouch)

In Minchat Shlomo Tanina (2-3) siman 86 R’SZA in discussing medical triage says (my translation) – see mishneh and gemara in horiyot….but I think in our time it is very hard to conduct ourselves according to this.
Is there any insight as to whether R’SZA was saying this from a practical point of view (i.e. we should follow priorities in horiyot but what can you do no one will listen) or that something has changed in the halachic &/or fact realm that means these priorities no longer apply?

  • Rabbi Ilan Haber and Rabbi Joshua Ross-Challenges and Opportunities for Orthodox Students at Secular College Campuses

    (me – Shout out from me to Hadassah Haber’s father!) Poor audio at start. Anti-Semitism, Anti-Israel is not the main issue on campus (especially East Coast). Main issue is more subtle social gap – multicultural, secular….all have basic assumptions inconsistent with Orthodoxy.
    These challenges can yield stronger commitment, role modeling and leadership opportunity. [me – the usual Type I, Type II issue – how many come out stronger vs. OTD {in particular by secular campus vs. YU, a Touro…}] Analysis of “emerging adulthood” (= spoiled kids “looking for themselves” after college?). Studies show for entire U.S. population – people in this age bracket are less committed to religion (and this is especially true for Jews). Studies also show desired age of marriage is key indicator of staying committed to religion. [me – obvious questions – What is the independent variable?; Are there other root causes?; Are there other down sides to the urge to merge?] Caveat – each case is unique.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter – Gabbaim: Understanding the Halachot of Chiyuvim

    Covers lots of general issues as well as specifics (me – don’t try this at home):
    1) Chatan – Why does he get an aliyah? Goal is to give joy – what greater joy than teaching torah (which Oleh used to do by reading torah himself)?
    2) Priority in Kibbudim – mostly minhag (R’YBS on “made up” priorities which everyone fights about!).
    3) Yahrtzeit/Kaddish – really only direct descendants have/can provide a real positive to the neshana.
    4) R’Moshe hold maftir is better than a regular aliyah for a yahrtzeit chiyuv since you say more brachot (me – but isn’t it just a rabbinic add on to torah reading – how do we evaluate credit for one vs. the other?)
    5) R’Akiva Eiger instituted multiple people saying Kaddish after epidemic – if multiple kaddish sayers, need to say kaddish in unison and at least 9 answering.
    6) Chazan must be mrutzheh l’kahal. (good luck with that!)
    7) Psukei dzimra sayer is not shaliach Tzibbur and no additional credit to the neshama! (gabbaim alert!)
    8) Avoid hosafot to kriat hatorah (gabbaim alert!)
    9) Need to know where you can break in kriah for hosafa.
    10) No source for precedent for yahrtzeit during the week to have priority to daven maariv on prior motzai Shabbat. (good luck with that!)
    11) Mrutzeh/l’Kahal applies to aliyot as well (e.g. if Kahal doesn’t like adultery, don’t give aliyah to known adulterer).

  • Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman -The Hidden Cost of Free Speech on the Internet

    Not addressing porn availability or addictive nature of internet; yes addressing lashon hara aspects.
    Clarifies that applications of laws of lashon hara are not absolute but are complex and some sources are counter-intuitive (me – this combination is a great recipe for a tendency to overreact or ignore these laws).
    Some very specific comments on blogs and comments (R’Gil – was he looking at you?).
    Important reminder (about what comes naturally to some of us) be very skeptical (I could stop there) of anything you read online.

  • Dr. Shira Weiss – Personal Autonomy vs. Religious Authority: The Gan Eden Narrative

    The relationship between reason and revelation throughout the generations. R’YBS on Adam I and II, R’Sadia et al. Bottom line reason (which plays itself out as autonomy) has an important role in our lives but is subservient to revelation (mesorah). Key is to find balance (Hi boys – did I mention this to you before?).

  • Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb – The Mesorah (video on OU website here: link)

    At least now I understand R’Weinreb’s modern Orthodoxy as an oxymoron (I still disagree). R’W defines modernity as stating that life is not cyclical. Non-modernity (mesorah) is defined as the reproduction of the customs and practices (and following) the life path of your predecessors such that the end of life is given at the beginning. Interesting in that Thomas Cahill AIUI in “The Gift of the Jews” argues that the gift was the realization that life is not completely cyclical and that there is a destiny.
    After several metaphors, R’W discusses context vs. text (sounds like “you have to have a sense of things”) and tells a story which supports his position assuming his grandfather was an authority who knew text well enough to create context (of course IMHO the debate is always over who has this franchise right which gives you the ability to change practices).
    Then a discussion of who can lead Kabbalat Shabbat and why we must rely on the Chatam Sofer to determine kedoshim tihiyu etc. definition today. (Again the question of who decides what is kadosh when)

  • Dr.Moshe Simon-Shoshan-Aggadah Intro 1, Dr.Moshe Simon-Shoshan-Aggadah Intro 2

    First 2 shiurim in a 3-part series defining aggadah (vs. halacha? Terminology depends on time and place) and how it was viewed by Gaonim and Rishonim in terms of its interaction with other “halachic” material. (me – actually a very interesting question given how some poskim use aggadic material to deal with new technologies not clearly dealt with in existing halachic material.)

  • Rabbi Elon Soniker -A Daily Opportunity to Sanctify the Name of G-d in Public

    A review of the basics of tfilla btzibur and dvarim shebikidusha. Are they subject to the same requirements to get full credit (e.g. do you need 10 in attendance or 10 participating?) Are they mitzvot or good advice(i.e you have a better chance of getting the answer you want)? Is there a requirement for each on the individual, the tzibbur or both? (me – this could be a good example of where the philosophical underpinning of a mitzvah may inform the halachic specifics).

  • Rabbi Yoni Sacks -Logic – rediscovering the lost art -part one

    “When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead” (name that tune) Defining logical analysis from general first principles. First in a series. (Supports IMHO the saying “all facts are theory based”).

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -By Way of Introduction – V’yoel Moshe

    New series on introductions to various seforim. [A frustrating (to me) personal tale of a young lad whose parents were frum but he felt his rebbeim must be frummer so he would listen to rebbeim – also cautionary to those who think they can “supplement” hashkafa at home].
    Review of the philosophy of Satmar vis-à-vis Zionism – listen and weep.
    Question – do we really have more in common with those who think we represent the sitra achra then those who think we’re quaint? – it’s a great question.

  • Rabbi Adam Mintz – Did Zoroastrian Religious Practices Influence Babylonian Rabbinic Practice?

    Parallels between Zoroastrian written and oral traditions and rabbinic ones. Drs Elman and Secunda approaches to what might be seen as at least parallel cultural/law tracks. (Apikorsus? – you tell me)

  • Dr.Moshe Simon-Shoshan-Ein Yaakov Intro -Mishna as Literary Text

    History of Ein Yaakov – starts with construction of mishna and gemara. Here focus of the story of Rabban Gamliel’s sons coming home late from the party(Yeah-that was my makor in my younger days). Discusses the use of stories in the Talmud to open up meta discussions.

  • Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh -Machshava 11 – bechira chofshit – Omnipotence and omniscience

    1st of a 2-parter discussing free choice vs. omniscience – bottom line – which do you compromise in order to avoid cognitive dissonance (me – unless you believe in infinite multiple universes).

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-IBC Topics Shiur – Aliyah l’Har HaBayis

    R’HS covers the details of a number of issues related to the har habayit – ritual impurity, geography of har habayit (over time), Kedusha imparted to har habayit over time. The Rambam’s halachic decisions regarding the har habayit and beit hamikdash explored in detail and concerns if you do go up to the “permitted” areas.

  • Rabbi Shmuel Marcus -Maaser Money for Raffles and Dinners

    R’MF on use of maaser money for purchase of raffle tickets. Covers use of maaser money for organizational dinners, ads and shul membership.
    Leaves the actuary in me a bit stumped – issues include expected value determinations (based on if there are a limited number of tickets and time to sell?), who owns the ticket (why isn’t it owned by “maaser”?) and where did R’Belsky come up with 1/3 as the multiplier for shul membership that can be paid by masser value???

  • Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-Responsa 16 – Is there Rabbinic Power or only Secular Authority

    Rabbinic power in earlier generations. Yup – Rabbis could decide on a death sentence in the not so distant past. Interesting take on the Besamim Rosh as a forerunner of Torah U’madda.

  • Dr. Linda Klonsky – Best Theories and Practices for Synagogue Leadership

    How to have the difficult conversations that leaders must have. Be compassionate, be self-aware and get people to stay engaged with difficult issues. Need vision and clear roles, and leader must model Jewish values.

  • Rabbi Steven Weil and Rabbi E.B. Bunny Freedman -Fundraising: Not Just Dues and Dinners

    How to get to “the ask” in fundraising – you’re giving them something. Sounds like helpful advice for (shul) fundraisers (even though antithetical to “Joel Land”).

  • Dr. Linda Klonsky -Short and Long Term Strategic Planning for Synagogues

    Have a clear vision, organization, definition of responsibility and work on a consensus basis.

  • Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer -KOSHER CHEESE – NOT Made with EASE

    Detailed technical discussion of cheese production processes, associated kashrut issues and the appropriate kashrut solutions. Very helpful if you’re in the cheese production business

  • Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn -On Fire: Sparking Immediate Shul Growth

    Where do you want to go? What is your “secret sauce”? Once you know, take massive action and then reevaluate and readjust. Make it a “”wow” experience. Kid friendliness is the most important determinant of a shul’s success. Think of what a first time visitor to your facility sees.

  • 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. Shalom Rosenfeld

      “(me – actually a very interesting question given how some poskim use aggadic material to deal with new technologies not clearly dealt with in existing halachic material.)”

      Just to state the obvious — when applying aggadic material to new technologies, it’s important to first check how authoritative the aggadic material is. If it’s a Mishna or Bavli that’s cross-referenced several times, that’s strong. If it’s a single random Yalkut Reuveni from left-field, think harder.

    2. When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead. Jefferson Airplane-White Rabbit.

    3. Remember what the doormouse said! Now for extra credit what did the doormouse say and what poem should that remind you of? (google loses 5 points from your score :-))

    4. With regard to MEDICAL TRIAGE OR ‘priorities in medical treatment please see comprehensive discussion by R.Prof.A.Steinberg in hebrew and ENGLISH ENCYCLOPEDIA HILCHATIT REFUIT or ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWISH MEDICAL ETHICS. library then “kadimiut”


    6. ddat y
      but the statement of r’sza doesn’t seem to be making that chiluk.

    7. “5) R’Akiva Eiger instituted multiple people saying Kaddish after epidemic – if multiple kaddish sayers, need to say kaddish in unison and at least 9 answering.”

      I don’t have the patience for audio recordings, so forgive me if I have misunderstood based on the text snippet you provided. But, thanks to Leon Wieseltier’s research for his book Kaddish, we know that having multiple people saying Kaddish pre-dates R. Eiger (1761-1837) by some time — in 1745, the Yavetz approvingly comments that this is already the minhag amongst the Sephardim.

    8. A segula for being in debt?

      Learn some good economics books, from some good Jewish economists- Milton Friedman, Von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Bert Blumert, Walter Block.

    9. Rabbi Leibowitz agrees (minute 30-32) with the Satmar that Zionism was founded by “the anti-religious” (of “the original kibbutzim” who took children and ripped them away from any tradition) and then the religious signed on after.
      Excuse me, there were religious Jews through the ages who understood that the survival of the Jewish people would be bound up in the return to Zion. And in the modern period Tzvi Hirsch Kalisher and Eliyahu Gutmacher (both of whom pre-dated Herzl by several decades) put forth religious arguments and practical plans for settling Jews in Eretz Yisrael. The first Zionist immigrants, the Hovevei Zion and the Biluim were neither kibbutzniks nor secular and they were here before the first Zionist congress. The first agricultural settlement Petach Tikvah was abandoned the first time shmita rolled around (they came back again and started anew) because they could not survive.
      So no, it didn’t happen the way Teitelbaum said. The good guys just weren’t listening and they weren’t doing it.
      No, it could have been different. It should have been different.
      The beloved was knocking.

    10. Perhaps an example of a narrative heard in one’s youth and taken for granted as true? IMHO you are correct.

    11. Joel my understanding was from the many articles on MEDICAL triage
      and not of RSZA.
      At the end of the teshuvah he says he knows others differ from him.(I originally could not find the teshuvah in tenina 2-3,but later found it in regular tenina)
      Interesting comment of RSZA which could have fascinating consequences.

    12. A beautiful comment on the issue of Whom to listen to Parents or Rebeim,I learnt from Rav Nebenzahl that parents should be considered your Rebbi Muvhak.-see Sefer Assia 6 p.145.

    13. Risa and Joel – I would have to go back and listen to how I presented it that gave you that impression. Suffice it to say I am very familiar with the rich history of gedolei yisroel who had zionistic dreams and in some cases turned it into a reality. I was just trying to say that many of the zionists around the time of the establishment of our State were far from torah Jews and were very very far from sensitive to torah ideals. The dreams of many (most) of the original kibutzniks were far from torah dreams. To deny that is revisionist history, which should be condemned in our camp as much as it is in other camps. The great people that you refer to are my true zionist heros (particularly Rav Zvi Hersh Kalisher) Suffice it to say, this is not an example of something I learned in my youth because in fact the school I went to didn’t teach us ANYTHING about zionism. They simply ignored it (which, frankly, makes me sick, and I believe I expressed that in the shiur).

    14. R’Daat Y,
      The R’SZA statement continues to fascinate me on many levels – I suppose kach hi darka shel torah but I continue to search for a TOE explanation to the halchic process 🙂

    15. I agree.
      TOE ,.Theory of everything.Wishful thinking -)
      (Of course I had to look up what TOE is)

    16. Rabbi Lebowitz,
      I was not trying to be revisionist, I am talking about the masses of observant Jews and their leaders who should have heeded the Zionist call way, way before the declaration of statehood (and way before the Holocaust as well). Those kibbutznikim didn’t have to be the majority. The historical fact stands, my argument is that it was the sitra achra’s work that prevented the Jews of Europe from picking themselves up and saving themselves both physically and spiritually in the early 20th century and moving en mass to the land of Israel and making it the kind of place where Jews could function as a Torah true society.

    17. Risa,
      Fully agree

    18. aryeh lebowitz

      me too – I apologize if I misunderstood your original comments. I took it as an accusation of promoting Satmar beliefs which is in fact that opposite of what I intended to do.

    19. “It didn’t have to be that way (that secular Jews lead modern Zionism” Adaerabba One of the major points HaRav Kook ZTZL makes is that it could have happened no other way. The force of MBY leads and makes way for MBD(OROT, Ma’amar HaDor,etc., etc.)

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