by Joel Rich
One of the many reasons I love R’ Steinsaltz: So what does the Kabbalah Centre have to do with classical Jewish mysticism? Not much, according to critics. The great Talmudic scholar Adin Steinsaltz has likened the connection to “the relationship between pornography and love.” (Me-not that I really understand mysticism)
From R’ Aviner:
Q: Why do Rabbis express their opinion when because of doing so, they lose “points” with the public?
A: If this is their opinion, they are obligated to express the Torah’s position. Rabbis are not searching for popularity, but for the truth. (me-not everything that one thinks needs to be said)
R’HS from 1991, sounds consistent with more recent Shiurim. Some practical applications of prioritization (see end of Mesechta Horiyot) plus some matched pairs comparisons (Mikveh vs. Shul, Dr. vs. Lawyer). Cancer research as a high priority (life danger? I’d love to hear more on the relative ranking of this priority l’maaseh).
Priority to lrcha (your city) – Definition should be expanded to include organizations you identify with. Jerusalem is also important priority, not because of holiness but because of its role as capitol.
Two elements in requirement for charity – 1) reciprocal obligation (bnai brit); 2) community as a partnership (includes non-bnai brit).
Both Yosef and Moshe stories can be either read as they were disassociating themselves from the Jewish family/nation for some part of their careers, or not. Important point is that in the end they used all their powers for the people (even through adversity).
“All” torah given at Sinai or not? There are differing opinions but Rabbi Wiederblank thinks that the differences aren’t that dramatic and quotes some approaches to minimize the differences. [me – my preference is not to minimize differences if it requires dulling occam’s razor].
Review of basic principles of Rambam’s sefer mada including virtue as its own reward and primary goal of the development of the intellect. R’YBS on why treatment of bechira (free will) is found in sefer mada (tshuva) and not yesodei hatorah? Constant awareness (how he generally defines layda) of existential need for repentance is key nexus.
1. Why did HKB”H wait till 6,000 years ago to create the world? He created many worlds to teach us to try, try again and some use this to explain fossils.
2. Prayer should focus on needs, can’t ask for miracles except for Klal or if you’re a tzaddik.
3. Ask friends for advice on Shidduchim. [me – beware of hidden agendas and remember it’s likely that you’re not too good for him/her] 4. Religion isn’t meant to calm you down – it means more struggle and you need to overcome the adversity (R’YBS – and I say amen although I realize that this is not how everyone experiences the world).
5. Don’t sin is a higher priority than doing mitzvot.
Do you need to take them off for washing? What if this diamond ring doesn’t shine for me anymore? R’Aryeh analyzes Shulchan Aruch and possible kulah’s (me – note – type of ring and male/female questioner may make a difference – CLOR)
Live, from West Orange, it’s Thursday night! R’HS covers Gebrochts, Kitniyot and soft matza.
High points (to me):
* Rashi’s “chumrah” (not really supported by the gemara) of requiring baking of matzot on erev pesach (due to linkage to Karban) is followed by Chassidim [GRA rejected since erev pesach could fall on Shabbat – Chassidim then bake on leil haseder] – [me – isn’t possible chametz created on pesach by matzah baking a big issue?] * GRA had no true shiurim attending type talmidim, R’Chaim Volozhin would visit occasionally and ask shailot (IIRC R’YBS said he used to throw up from nervousness before seeing the Gaon).
* Gebrochts is based on someone’s assumed yeridot hadorot (weakening over generations) amongst bakers! [else why weren’t they concerned about possible unbaked pieces in time of gemara] * Beit Haleivi was an extremely nervous person [me – so all Brisker’s have to agonize over whether they were yotzeh?] Netziv was grandfatherly.
* Really no problem with pita like matzot less than ½ inch thick (with proper supervision)
* Communal minhagim (e.g. gebrochst) have a built in “infrequent emergency” escape clause (e.g. your in-laws don’t hold from it)
* Ein mvatlin issura lchatchila includes if you could buy 2 products with equal cost and one of them has an issur that was batel lchatchila, you must buy the other.
* What’s minhag to be kept and what’s not? Be reasonable! Sounds like a general trend in his thought.
Listen to the answer at 1:16:00 concerning use of non-bnai brit ovens (who would have asked him that?!?!)
Bdikah rules – home, office, travel – R’HS – be reasonable. Wait to burn till after sale? Should you sell chametz gamur?
Shiurim for Kzayit (different purposes in seder), wine, grape juice?
Hagadah – what must be said? Who reads? Chal hamoed work – Davar Havud – R’HS includes “opportunity cost” of future promotion!
Kashering one element of a double oven? (probably ok) Medicines (generally fine if not good tasting), toothpaste (generally fine), paper and plastic plates (generally fine), vending machines after pesach (problem).
R’Moshe’s strengths – total recall and creative applications to all comers’ questions. Yiftach b’doro c’shmuel bdoro/e atah rshai l’hibatel mimenah & Maharatz Chiyut on when modesty is misplaced as explanation of why he had to pasken and why he had to go with his understanding even against earlier authorities. Me- note R’MF’s “instant answer” approach differs from R’YBS who held this was not the appropriate way to paskin (without looking up – if rov torato vchachmato is from sfarim, then not looking up is like being posek in front of rabbo – iiuc this wasn’t necessarily a literal psak as much as an approach to psak)
Not sure when he gave this shiur, it was during R’Shach’s lifetime.
Agudah’s definition of daas torah (something akin to ruach hakodesh) is a new thing. He brings examples where it’s clear that we don’t ask rabbis. Agudah’s understanding of daas torah is contrary to one of the most basic principles of creation – the sanctity of the individual.
R’YBS recanted his ode to daas torah (found in his 1940 hesped for R’Chaim Ozer) in the chamesh drashot (“The Rav Speaks”).
Agudah engages in revisionist history, not just about R’YBS. Examples where they were wrong – holocaust, Israel, Soviet Jewry, tzahal…
Technical details vis-à-vis metzora, karbanot, measures ( Kdei achilat pras depends on food type!), zav, zavah and baal keri.
When do we say miktzat hayom k’culo – R’YBS – if its not a calenderic day (e.g. aveilut -yes, Shabbat – no)
The story of the 4 metzoraim (great quote about Eliyahu not accepting gifts but certain rebbis do) as an example (rather than proof) of when can “take a risk” – when you are the decider of your fate (captain of your destiny?) [halacha doesn’t always tell you what to do! Me- but does it have a preference?]
Conversion for marriage – historical background and today’s applications.
How to understand tanach commentators with “problematic” approaches.
Jewish vs. Palestinian national aspiration (IIRC Menachem Begin would point out who the first Palestinians were (us)).
Brisker torah – is every other approach 2nd rate?
Who to give and how much? Me – I’m struck by the amount of technical Q&A over the years on something that is generally agreed to be “only” a good practice. [Listen for the list of stipulations suggested for us!] Is it because of desire for certainty/tell me what to do, by the people or a desire by the poskim to be able to say “here’s what to do” vs. here’s general guidance”? See here https://www.torahmusings.com/2011/03/audio-roundup-cxxxviii-2/ for my related thoughts. BTW, my impression is he disagrees with R’HS quoted above re: American Cancer Society.
Rabbis Rosensweig discusses halachic and practical issues regarding participation of “not yet frum” in synagogue activities (I believe this is a repost?). Finding balance between kiruv (bringing them back home) and chanifah (false flattery).
Applications include aliyot, duchening and leading services. Categories include plain sinners, sinners for lust vs. sinners for spite, intermarried and Sabbath violaters (and does the treatment vary by time and place).
Interesting historical view of American Orthodoxy (dances??).
How do we understand Yissurin shel ahava (trials/tribulations of love – without sin)? 1) it’s a minority opinion which was rejected; 2) they are “in payment” for “accidental” sins; 3) they are to get you extra credit; 4) atonement for generation not individual; 5) pass the “test” as an example for others; 6) they make you less gashmi (physical).