Audio Roundup CXXXV

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by Joel Rich

I was recently talking to a rav who told me he remembers learning (but couldn’t identify the source) that “there is an inyan” to say a keil maalei on the shabbat before a yahrtzeit as well as on the (closest) Torah reading day before (M or TH).Does anyone know of a source? (granted the whole thing seems fairly late on the scene etc.)

From a recent WSJ article – Let me see, can I think of any groups that meet the 4? The 2?

Many academics and observers of cult phenomena, such as psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo of Stanford, agree on four criteria to define a cult. The first is behavior control, i.e., monitoring of where you go and what you do. The second is information control, such as discouraging members from reading criticism of the group. The third is thought control, placing sharp limits on doctrinal questioning. The fourth is emotional control—using humiliation or guilt. Yet at times these traits can also be detected within mainstream faiths. So I would add two more categories: financial control and extreme leadership.

Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman -Halakhic and Societal Challenges Arising from Recent Progress in Human Genetics

Review of situations where genetic DNA testing and halacha intersect (identifying body parts for burial, defining cohain by lineage, disease testing (Tay Sachs, PIGD, BRCA…), parenthood, lineage, confirming death….)

Remember Judakim isn’t genetic, halacha evolves (e.g. R’MF on why Tay Sachs testing is called for even though shomer psaim) and halacha is a legal system with its own rules (meaning even though you believe DNA is 100% certain, halacha might ignore it and require 2 witnesses) [me – oh how I long for coherence and consistency in halachic technology applications]

See here for some secular business issues: “Genetic Testing Causes Concern for Plan Sponsors” (PDF)

  • Rabbi Mordy Friedman – Tefillah Yom Iyun Feb 10, 2011 We All Pray Differently – Some very different models of prayer from our History

    Perhaps free form prater was ideal but what are the advantages of fixed form?

    1) You’ll ask for appropriate things; 2) Take advantage of habit to make prayer habit forming; 3) Share a common language with others; 4) Don’t pray against others; 5) Practice makes prayer instinctual.

    How to learn to pray? Have model parents! But anyway – make your case to HKB”H, use music if it works for you, meditative techniques if you have them, write your own prayers, pick a good minyan, have a good spot and remember the text is just a starting point! (me – and feel like your life and those of your loved ones depend on it, because they do!)

  • Rabbi Yonatan Rosensweig – Solving Conflicts Between Ethics and Halacha

    Pure halacha is an intellectual pursuit of “truth”, putting ethical considerations in would ruin its purity. The goal of halacha is to provide boundaries within which other consideraions (e.g. kedoshim tihiuyu) may operate.

  • Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky -Shaliach Tzibbur His Mission and Meaning

    (me – hey don’t I know you?) Shatz used to be a position of respect and authority. A discussion of Chazarat Hashatz (including R’YBS) and R’Kaminetsky’s claim that the takana was never for Yeshivot (I’d love some academic reference on this one).

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Mechitza Part 1 – Source and Severity

    Why the requirement for separation? Biblical? Chukat Hagoyim? Minhag Yisrael? Prevent staring? Why isn’t it found in Shulchan Aruch (No one asked)?

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Mechitzah Part 2 – Height, Material and Circumstances

    What’s the need? Don’t mix, don’t stare? Implications for height and materials (e.g. glass). R’YBS felt 10 tfachim was enough (after the fact) to remove the chukat hagoyim issue – but still not a good idea! Interesting issue of mixed classes in Shul. R’HS feels the separation is preferred but it’s “tzniuta b’almu”, thus if people won’t come to learn because of it, it’s not worth it to request.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Kiddush Levanah

    Is it a birchat hashevach or mitzvah? A number of implications flow from this chiluk. When, who, where, which direction and how to dress to say (lots of opinions on preferences and allowability). [me – classic risk reward decision – take the sure thing in less than optimal circumstance (e.g. say it right away by self in shorts) or try for most preferred application (e.g. motzai Shabbat) but risk not doing at all!]

  • Rabbi _Y_Borow-Dairy

    Part of a series on (Israel) Kashrut issues found here: link. Detailed discussion of milk products, processes and related Kashrut treatment. Issues include farm and plant supervision, Shabbat milking, milk from outside Eretz Yisrael, Chalav Yisrael status, aged cheese, powdered milk, cheeses and operations on cows

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Parsha Shiur – Terumah 5771

    Usual potpourri – Beit mikdash as center for torah learning, sifrei torah, prayer and prophecy. Bayit sheni missing holy utensils issues. Why is the mizbach ketoret parsha separated – I didn’t really get this. Why learn parts of torah that are only historical? 1) Understanding words is still a mitzvah; 2) Need knowledge for future reference (halevai bmheira byameinu).

    Tcheilet summary. Discusses making copies of beit mikdash utensils, placement of menorah and shulchan and implications. Application of derech gidul and does amira l’akum apply to mitzvot other than Shabbat?

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Nefilas Apayim When There is No Sefer Torah

    Tachanun flop on which arm? You’re probably OK but R’Moshe did on both arms! If you can’t sit to say it, then at least lean.

    What about if there’s no sefer torah in the room do you still flop? Some say it’s enough if there are any sfarim in the room. Others say if there’s an Aron Kodesh even without a sefer torah (if it’s away for safekeeping). Some say in Yerushalayim (due to Kedusha) you always flop anyway.

  • Rabbi Avi Heller – Pirkei Avot 5:13 “Is America Like Sodom & Gommorah

    The essence of Sdom was not caring about others rights. U.S. must be careful – seeds could be there.

  • Rabbi Nachman Cohen -Blowing Shofar on Shabbat: Historical Basis for Rabba’s Decree

    Why no shofar on Shabbat? An interesting explanation tied to muktzeh and the need to make a point about the kedushat Shabbat.

  • Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky – Hashkafa Schmooze – Your Decisions: Your Rebbe’s or Your Own?

    M.O. problem – lack of kavod for Rabbis. You should have a Rebbi to give you the torah’s outlook. He should really know you but won’t make a decision for you (because you have ultimate responsibility). Ask others who have knowledge as well. (Me – questions: 1) what is the optimum ratio of talmidim to rebbeim in this model?; 2) does what works for one (i.e. R’Kaminetsky) automatically work for all?)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Klapper- Rav Dessler on Machloket b’Hashkafah

    Why couldn’t R’Dessler accept that there could be a machloket in Aggadah/Hashkafa? Perhaps difficult to accept that at 120 you might find you believed the wrong things your whole life. Or perhaps he valued certainty or perhaps his world view was such that he couldn’t see competing hashkafot as having an element of truth.

    Would have liked more of a discussion of the line between “secular” studies and torah – is it all in the mind (e.g. if you study a science textbook in light of an halachic issue, can you read it in the bathroom?)

  • Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman -Lifnei Iver Lo Siten Michshol

    The issur of lifne iver is defined by (i) not tripping someone; (ii) not giving good advice to someone; (iii) helping someone to do a sin. Are these separate prohibitions or expressions of a major topic of not tripping up? Is it between man and man or man and G-d? Nafka mina’s – what if it’s not a sin for the helper? What if the sin never occurs?

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Walking in Front of Somebody Davening

    Prohibition of walking in front of someone saying shmoneh esrai – is it due to ruining their Kavanah (intention) or walking between the individual and the shechina (whatever that means)? Some nafka mina’s – Especially (for me) issue of someone who comes in after you and stands behind you and people who come late and stand by the door. Best advice – someone should tell them nicely (warning – be sure you are wearing full body armor).

  • Rav Asher Weiss – Democracy in Halacha

    Review of need for communal approval for certain positions – appointing, removing and passing on to son. Rabbi, king, “zayin tuvei hair” (communal leaders). Looks at sources in tanach and Talmud.

  • Rabbi Adam Mintz-How Did the Jews of Persia in the Talmudic Period Interpret the Book of Esther?

    Analysis of several medrashic threads related to Purim showing parallel sources in Persian sources. Hmmm, what do all those parallels imply?

  • 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. Why are the professor’s criteria applicable only to cultic behavior? It seems to me that they would fit normative religious behavior. (Even RYBS’ “Homo Religiosus” certainly Chareidi Orthodoxy and especially Chassidut, where you can include “extreme leadership”}

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