by Joel Rich
From a recent WSJ article:This latest case in Kansas takes matters a step further, requiring that the state make explicit accommodations for Witnesses to follow their beliefs with regard to health care. “I love life,” Ms. Stinemetz told the Kansas City Star when she filed the suit. “But when it comes to obeying our creator, I am going to obey my creator before I do anything else, because he gave us our life. You’ve got to follow his laws.” And maybe change some of man’s laws while you’re at it.
I couldn’t help but think of the recent Traditon article on multiculturalism – I’m all for religious freedom but when do you have the right to observe your religion on my dime?
A powerful resource for Talmudic research is now available freely on-line. The latest version of Eidei Nusah. This site contains the text of almost all manuscripts of the Talmud Bavli. Previous versions were available on CD-ROM. Many geniza fragments have been added to this version. Some actual images of Talmud and Mishna manuscripts are also available.
All I can say is Wow, I wish this were more mainstream in the beit medrash
For my main question this week, see the first shiur review below:
If we only knew what the 1st R’YBS really held about the need for a mesorah (tradition) – was it that “once was lost (but now I’m) [can be] found; or is it “if the (glove)[fish] does not fit, you cannot (convict)[make it into tcheilet].
R’YSE thought the latter, so the source couldn’t be the fish (which was well known throughout the ages) but could be something else (murex).
Proofs of new tcheilet plus R’HS position must wear from at least doubt and better to wear no tzitzit rather than plain white.
Then R’Abraham Twerski on overwhelming evidence, that R’YSE didn’t take a position on this issue due to financial impact and then some mussar on seeing tzitzit vs. seeing other things (e.g. internet porn). [me – I don’t get the R’YSE thing – wouldn’t the community be better off not being “baalei nefesh” and drinking chalav ha companies and using the savings to fulfill a torah mitzvah of tzitzit??]
Discusses mitzvah of chinuch – duraita or drabanan, Dad vs. Mom, before and after Bar Mitzvah.
What about direct abetting (e.g. feed non-kosher food)? Is this prohibition related to chinuch? What about for one who will never have mitzvot (e.g. shoteh)?
V’Kidashto – related to first aliyah – is it duraita or drabanan? If no other Kohain, do you give the first aliyah to a Kohain Katan?
Zonah assurah l’kohain – in current culture need to ask about some folks past history (dai l’chakimah b’rmiza).
Does the Kohain Gadol mourn or is he exempt due to his need for simcha (joy) as being lfnei hashem? Is being left handed a blemish? This and lots more!
R’HS takes on the deterministic (we’re all pre-programmed) scientists. We believe in a soul reflective of HKB”H and free will. Some interesting topics, not fully fleshed out, including the halachic standing/implications of thoughts, drug therapy trade offs (not the kind that makes you think you’re more creative) and programmers responsibility for future actions carried out based on their programs.
What is the definition of a choleh (person who is ill)? When is it appropriate to say a “misheberach” for someone? How long do you say it for? When is it considered in vain? Why not just pray? What should you pray for in “end of life” (or possible ones) situation? Why say tehillim? Which ones?
General thrust (or maybe I’m projecting) – Life is not about searching for the right “segulah”, it’s about our relationship with HKB”H.
Medrash that Moshe was not originally ok with Pinchas’s killing of Zimri – was it just because of due process issues (l’havdil would the Navy Seals have been legally justified in killing an unarmed, unresisting Bin Ladin?) or was it more?
An interesting analysis based on the parallels between Eliyahu post har carmel and moshe. After the message to Eliyahu of “Kol dmamah dakah” (the small still voice) – it’s not in the zealousness, it’s in the soft small voice, Eliyahu continues to cling to the zealous approach and therefore can’t continue his prophecy. Moshe, after the nikrat hatzur (HKB”H passes by him) understands 13 middot (e.g. mercy) – not zealousness. Thus Moshe was “anti-zealous”.
So why did HKB”H approve of Pinchas zealousness?
Moshe himself was zealous earlier in his life when needed, now it was Pinchas turn.
Worthwhile for 1st lines – although I think it goes far beyond medical careers – picking a career entails thought plus preparation since often in the heat of battle, there’s no time to ask halachic questions.
Then a detailed review of the underpinning of halachic issues involved in pikuach nefesh (life threatening) including dchuyah, hutrah, shvut d’shvut, gzeirah, drabannan and mlacha.
Some in pre-inquisition Spain felt Spain was their homeland. Wrong! Keep this in mind today and come home while you can. (ouch!)
Not the TV show! Importance of friends in your avodat hashem and how to make friends. (There’s more to it than “Hello, my name is Joel. Would you be my friend?”)
Questions from the Gaza war including:
1) can you take your tfillin with you on Shabbat
2) prayer in a tank with no disposal facilities
3) teaching with powerpoint on Shabbat
Some inspirational stories. Message on approach – A Rav must be a patient incrementalist.
Chananya et al, Rabbi Akiva – as role models for self sacrifice – it’s not about reward, it’s about the ratzon Hashem.
Celebrating birthdays – yes, no or maybe (milestones)
Me – “Nothing is good nor bad – only thinking makes it so/hakol holchin acher hapeh” (non-googled/BICD cites anyone?).
Me – English or hebrew birthday – perhaps depends on how you define mazal?
A very introductory shiur to mesechet Maakot – basic definitions.
R’Steve Brizel’s favorite (IIRC) R’YBS shiur. Korach’s rebellion was different in that in the prior ones Moshe faced were generated by the physical needs of the masses. Korach’s was premeditated based on prior grievances with Aaron’s (and Moshe) appointment, Mraglim gave him an excuse.
His claim was Moshe was a usurper – since the whole community was holy. This is true, there is a communal holiness but there’s also an individual one based on many things including personal commitment.
If you look at the arguments Korach raised you’ll see it was a “common sense” rebellion. Torah, however, has its own scientific/conceptual rules (as does any discipline) which must be followed.
IMHO this point is often exaggerated as simple logic doesn’t apply to halacha, I think this interpretation is incorrect if it leads to “halacha is magic” thinking (i.e. only those who know the secret handshake can understand it).
An analysis of “Vayichal” as a lesson in the tshuva process.
R’Willig reviews miscellaneous issues concerning the return to Zion and how we relate to the state, primarily based on R’HS (and R’YBS).
How do we related to the flag of the state? R’YBS on the symbolism of the flag for the sacrifices made to establish the state.
Then an attempt to explain the significance of the Magein David (all interesting, but are they true?).
Doing Tzedek/Mishpat (“the right thing”) is our calling card! Discussion of a number of bein adam l’chaveiro (intrapersonal) examples – gneivat data (deceptive practices), IP, Kashrut certification for dishonest business (oh, oh – isn’t that not an Orthodox issue, next we’ll hear tikkun olam is important:-)), pshara (compromise), bar metzra (neighbor’s right of 1st refusal)…
Then explaining why “we are family” isn’t [negative] discrimination.
Hallel on yom haatzmaut – no “safe” choice – depends on your read of history, miracles, Yom Tov, first stirrings of redemption and salvation (short and long term).
While saying hallel or not is not necessarily reflective of one’s Zionism (me – but may have a strong r2), hakarat hatov (recognition of good) to HKB”H for the shivat tzion seems a minimum. [me – sometimes you just have to say “I was wrong”].