Audio Roundup CXLII

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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)

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Charitable Triage

    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).

  • Mrs. Nechama Price -The Tensions of an Isolated Jew in a Foreign Land: Yosef and Moshe

    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).

  • Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank -When Were the Mitzvos Given?

    “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].

  • Rabbi David Horwitz -Sefer Ha-Madda: Maimonides on Beliefs, Ethics, Torah and Repentence

    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.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Questions and Answers with the Mechinah

    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.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Removing Rings for Netilas Yadayim

    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)

  • Rav Hershel Schacter – Pesach Customs

    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?!?!)

  • OU Kosher’s 5771 Pre Pesach Webcast with OU Poskim Rabbis Belsky and Schachter

    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).

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -By Way of Introduction – Iggeros Moshe

    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)

  • Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff -Daas Torah

    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…

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Parsha Shiur – Metzora 5771

    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?]

  • Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein -Q and A 03 5771

    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?

  • Rabbi Orlian- Ma’aser Kesafim- Part II- Applications

    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 for my related thoughts. BTW, my impression is he disagrees with R’HS quoted above re: American Cancer Society.

  • Rabbi Michael Rosensweig -The Role of the Non-Observant Jew in the Synagogue According to Halacha

    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??).

  • Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh – Machshava 19 – Tzadik veRa lo 2 – yesurin shel ahava

    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).

  • 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. “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 does “was batel lchatchila” mean? If the non-Jew is mevatel the issur, since when is that regarded as being mevatel lechatchila?

      Did anyone ask RHS why we are concerned about all these products with kitniyot since they are all batel be-rov?

    2. not that i recall
      moadim lsimcha

    3. At the OU they employ a rav moshe teshuva which says giving hashgacha to something which is done by a goy but asur for us is “mechuar hadavar”

    4. OU -I have heard that-was never sure exactly what pre-existing halachic category that falls under (I always assumed it was a smell test kind of thing)

    5. Joel,

      The link by “Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Questions and Answers with the Mechinah” goes to a different shiur by RMT on organ transplants.

      KT and CKVS

    6. Sorry-
      Moadim Lsimcha

    7. Was R. Moshe’s teshuvah dealing with a small company of which Jews would be a major consumer, or perhaps even a primary consumer? That would perhaps be a different situation than giving a hashgachah to something produced by Kraft Foods, which is producing food by the millions.

      OU – please explain the following. If a product produce by Kraft is kosher and involves bittul, and they ask the OU to testify (through its hashgachah) that the food is kosher, what is wrong with doing so? I repeat, if the food is kosher, how is the OU helping the kosher consumer by refusing to certify it as so? (The food is kosher without the OU symbol on it, but the problem is that the consumer doesn’t realize this without the symbol. In other words, the OU is preventing people from eating kosher food and punishing the company for doing something that has nothing to do with Jews. I don’t understand the logic of this.

      The hashgachah is simply a means that we know if a food item is kosher. If the item is kosher, because the non-kosher was batel (a 100 percent valid halachic category) what is mechuar in letting people know this?

    8. I can’t speak about OU policies.

      If you have a question about OU kosher policy, call their hotline or e-mail the Webbe Rebbe:

    9. “Hirhurim on April 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm
      I can’t speak about OU policies”

      My schul once invited R Genack for a Shabbos-at shelosh sudah he spoke about Kashrut and got into explaining OU. For example OU will give a hechsher on something that they believe does not require a heschsher-as long as the product is kosher they will serve their clients by giving a hechsher.
      I believe at time s the OU has sent people out to explain OU-why not ask them to send someone-they do have I believe an education department or something like that- in the Kashrut division.

    10. 1-iknow enough about Kabbalah to know that the Kabbalah Center is a sham (or worse). Cute quote from RAShteinzaltz. He himself is of course a popularizer of Kabbalah (his book The Thirteen Petalled ROSE,an itroduction to the Tanya le-havdil from the crass commercialism of the kABBALAH CENTER.
      2-RAviner along with RTau and RDov LIor has beenspeaking out lately on issues in current events like the Katz nd REilon cases and also the qusestion of selling/renting toArabs. Ibelieve it was RDLi3-or
      who who replied when someone asked him maybe it would be better to keep a low ptofile, he replied “Lema’an Tzion Lo echeshe”
      3- How was the Seder? Did you make an Azkarah for Saba AH? I made a siyyum masechet (Yerushalmi Ma’asrot) And Oz-Avraham made a siyyum on Mishnayot Moed Kattan. My father of course managed to botch the video including Risa’s dvar Torah on saying Kaddish. I think sh is writing a blog-post on it. Chag sameach, a freilicher yonteff!

    11. Mycroft wrote:

      “I believe at time s the OU has sent people out to explain OU-why not ask them to send someone-they do have I believe an education department or something like that- in the Kashrut division’

      Mycroft-the OU has been having Ask OU seminars on a wide variety of issues in Kashrus for a number of years. Like it or not, some companies view Kashrus certification even for products that may not need Hashgacha as akin to a Good Housekeeping seal.

    Leave a Reply

    Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter

    The latest weekly digest is also available by clicking here.

    Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter