Audio Roundup CLII

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by Joel Rich

Here’s my story, sad but true (cue Dion/Runaround Sue)! Waiting for the late Maariv last night; I walk to the pushke (Question: Am I the only one whose minhag is to give Tzedakah before Tfila (see Bava Batra 10a, S”A O”C 92:10)) and hear one YU guy talking to another. (Me – paraphrasing) – “You have to take bio over the summer at “Not YU university”, it’s the best, a piece of cake, no work at all”.
Now I really tried to hold my tongue (that worked for a nano second) and then I led with my chin and said “Well I suppose it depends on how you define best, but it doesn’t sound like you’ll learn very much bio”.
The response “but it allows bnai torah more time to learn torah” was what I knew was coming.
“There’s a lot of torah you can’t learn if you don’t know bio” said I. (I really wanted to discuss the Rambam on seeing HKB”H in nature and TUM but thought this a better sound bite).
“I hear you” said he – which I’m sure was true – the vibrations emanating from my vocal chords certainly were picked up by his ear drums.
Oh well, as I tell my boys, I will go down fighting.
Cue Don Mclean
Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen; they’re not listening still —
Perhaps they never will…

Merits and Demerits(r’ Aviner)
Q: It is written that if a man speaks Lashon Ha-Ra than his merits are transferred to the person he spoke Lashon Ha-Ra about and that person’s demerits are transferred to the speaker of Lashon Ha-Ra. Is this correct?
A: Yes. It is in the book “Chovot Ha-Levavot”, brought in the Chafetz Chaim’s “Shemirat Ha-Lashon” and it is also found in the Zohar.

(Me- is it a zero sum game? Can reuvain pay shimon to talk lashon hara about him to transfer demerits?)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Ice Cubes and Whipped Cream on Shabbos

    The story of Ice Cube (not the rapper) on Shabbat reminds me of the analysis opening containers on shabbat – some very basic differences in opinion as to the underlying halachic issues which then get magnified in the halachic process and yield very different results (in addition to requiring some serious reverse engineering of what chazal were really getting at and projecting that forward, e.g. what is the mlacha, etc.,) how do you define changing form?

  • Rabbi Elon Soniker -Conducting Business on the Internet on Shabbos Part 1

    Websites on Shabbat? Looks at 3 types: 1) informational only (e.g. Shul website); 2) deferred sales (widgets to be delivered in the future); 3) immediate sales (download computer programs).
    Well, what’s the issue for Shabbat? (Rashi in Beitzah) I) business prohibited under Mmtzoh Cheftzocha; or II) maybe you’ll come to write because of the transaction.
    Mishneh Brurah says must be “obvious” that it’s business for internet so: I) wouldn’t be a problem; II) might be.
    Detailed discussion of time clocks/zilzul issue (but leaves out R’HS unique shitah based on “new” text of Rambam).
    Another issue – What if ownership action takes place on Friday but on condition that it not take effect until Shabbat day.

  • Rav Nissan Kaplan–Shavuos Dinim and Minhagim

    Discussion of Shavuot related issues including:
    * haircut on Friday if Sunday is Rosh Chodesh Sivan
    * what exactly do you have to wait until dark for on erev Shavuot
    * eating dairy (why and a bunch on what you have to wait for [e.g. cheeses])
    * reading megilah from Klaf/standing for

  • Rabbi Yonason Sacks -Birchas Hatorah

    A review of some of the basics of birchat hatorah plus some nice mussar that it really is ok to enjoy learning! (but see here for a different opinion link)

  • Rav David Debow – Between Fact and Opinion [Me – were chazal conflicted about the mraglim’s original intention? Why?] Lesson of the mraglim (and tzitzit) – facts (data?) are one thing, conclusions/theories are another – need to view data through torah lens (and hire a good actuary!)
  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -Pesachim 24 Who Says Your Blood is Redder

    Analysis of tosafot position on culpability active vs. passive involvement – in killing (based on logic) and extrapolation to gilui arayot.

  • Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein -Davening at the same time of the Minyan…at home- relevant in 2011?

    The Talmud gives value to tfila btzibbur, tfila b’beit Knesset and tfila at the time a tzibbur prays. Is this an issue of a special eit ratzon? How important is it to be part of a community?

  • Dr. Barry Kinzbrunner – End of Life Issues in Halacha and Secular Law

    Review of sources on end of life care including advance directives and living wills. General thrust in each case is different and need an educated Rabbi and Dr. to analyze each.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Parsha Shiur – Shelach 5771

    Today’s stops include:
    * # of mitzvot in sfirat haomer and tfillin
    * tzitzit – tcheilet and lavan relationship
    * asiyah lshma – when needed
    * hafrashat challah details
    * hilchot brachot – shinui makom
    * removing mezuzah
    Interesting insight into Moshe’s concern for Yehoshua with the mraglim – he might be too humble to resist them.

  • Rabbi Hanan Balk -The Application of the Concept of Evolution to Difficult Moral Issues of the Torah

    When science and torah seem to contradict?

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Newspapers on Shabbos

    Issues include: Nolad, business, mlacha being done for you, Maaseh Shabbat.
    R’Lebowitz thinks it’s a big problem, doesn’t know explanation why some are lenient.
    [Personally, I stopped reading the newspaper on Shabbat years ago, but only because I realized it generally just aggravated me. I’m not sure it’s realistic to prohibit unless you’re willing to prohibit other items (e.g. how do you handle general leisure reading, old magazines and all those parsha sheets with ads???)]

  • Rabbi Ari Kahn -Flowers and trees in Shul on Shavuot – Chukat Akum?

    Review of basics of chukat hagoyim and need for us to be distinctive (in a positive way in case you were wondering). He’s sure that the Gra was only concerned with trees (as in Xmas), not flowers.
    Surprising comments on grave flowers (actually mentioned as ok in the gemara).

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Medical Halachah: Medical Imaging on Shabbat

    Shabbat issues with x-rays, MRI, et al. Detailed discussion of koteiv (writing) prohibition on Torah and Rabbinic levels. Includes discussion of rmizah (hinting) to non-ben brit as well as msayeah (assisting in prohibition). Is the haircutee’s “assisting” responsibility unique or would it be the case by any prohibition (e.g. standing in an MRI)?
    Danger to limb or internal wounds generally should be dealt with fully and immediately.

  • Rabbi Meir Orlian-How to take Terumos & Maasros Part 1

    Eretz Yisrael based discussion of agricultural gifts – philosophical and practical status today. Live examples – you’ll have to provide your own visualization.

  • Rabbi Moshe N. Reichman -Leaving Yeshiva as a Ben Torah

    Year end mussar. Understanding how bnai torah are in a different category than others [per R’Chaim] – not my favorite approach to the issue.
    Grow and always keep torah sweet, take the Yeshiva with you wherever you go.

  • Rabbi Shalom Rosner – Toch Kdei Dibur

    An analysis of the parameters toch kdei dibbur (within a short timeframe).

  • Rav Aharon Kahn -Does Torah learning weaken a person?

    Understanding how learning can be both a weakening and strengthening exercise – perhaps initial commitment weakens, but then actual learning strengthens, or perhaps l’shma (intent/purpose) status makes a difference.
    Interesting discussion of why 1st Luchot (tablets) were given with public fanfare if this would turn out to be their fatal flaw.

  • Rabbi Michael Rosensweig – Halakhic Perspectives on War and Peace

    Analysis of halachic issues regarding hilchot milchama [war] (e.g. leaving enemy an escape route, milchemet rshut, pikuach nefesh…) and the value of peace. Is war a different halachic reality?
    Some reflections on the lessons of TSBC & TSBP. It’s not true that war is good for absolutely nothing (cue Edwin Starr), in many ways the priorities and approach define us.

  • Tzurba me-rabbanan חוברת 27 – דיני תפילת נדבה ותשלומין

    Hebrew series, tracing halachic development to current day (series found here with lots of class discussion.
    Current halacha limits tfilat nedavah (freewill amidah [vs. required]) to cases where you are unsure if you prayed already and similar situations – and need full attention and now additional thoughts [me – I wonder why we discourage it].
    Interesting insights from R’Chaim on forgotten Havdalah in amidah make up (Maariv and/or Shacharit) and more interesting position of Shulchan aruch that if you forgot to say asher yatzar and then do another act requiring it, you’d have to say it twice!!! [perhaps, same for birchat hamazon?] We don’t hold this way (me – but if it’s safeik brachot lhakeil then why not be stringent by birchat hamazon).

  • 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. 1-It is a widespread custom to give tzedaka before tefilla. We have plenty of schnorrers around to remind us.
      2-Is bio a cumpulsory subject? If not then I can see the point of the bachur you spoke to. High school bio should be enough for a ben-torah. I never felt that I should have taken science in the University. Aderaba,I wasted enough time on other “liberal arts” subjects that I never used. It was definately a lot of bittul torah.
      3-Paying someone to slander you? Thats kind of over the top. It sounds like the case of the gabai in our shul who on his 50th wedding anniversary gave his wife a get and then married her again the next day so as to have the mitzvah of “machazir et grushato”. Our Rabbi Rav Avraham Rubin publicly repremanded him for pulling such a stunt. “Mitzvot haTorah are not a game to play with”

    2. There was an old radio show called “It Pays To Be Ignorant.” Well, that was before your time, and before mine too.

      I have a hard time justifying this doctrine that glorifies ignorance of the world around us. But maybe it’s just my upbringing. I was raised to believe that knowledge was a wonderful thing. Other people received other beliefs.

    3. I think it’s time for me to express my hakarat hatov to Joel for his delicious musical allusions. I’ve been humming Run Around Sue for two days now, to my great enjoyment and my kids equally great annoyance.

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