Audio Roundup CXLIX

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by Joel Rich

Paging Rabbi Slifkin and Rabbi Meiselman

(my take coheres with R’ J Mitchell “We are stardust – Billion-year-old carbon – We are golden- Caught up in the devil’s bargain And we’ve got to get ourselves Back to the garden)

Link to WSJ article

In the End Is the Beginning A daring theory of how the universe, instead of expanding indefinitely, could start again in another Big Bang.

Mr. Penrose points out that, as one goes back toward the infinite energy density of the Big Bang, the geometry of the early universe could in some sense be called conformal. Likewise, as one goes far enough into our distant, boring future, if everything turns into massless radiation, there’s no usable energy scale—and the geometry is also conformal.

Mr. Penrose’s radical suggestion is that, somehow, this distant past and distant future can be matched together, since they share the same geometry. A universe at either extreme of its existence is one that has no fixed ideas about what is big and what is small. Perhaps this curious coincidence indicates that one can pass continuously from one extreme to the other, and this transformation is what happened at the moment of the Big Bang….

As Mr. Penrose acknowledges, there are various problems with his hypothesis. There is no real evidence that the universe will ever stop expanding, and it is unclear whether Mr. Penrose’s use of conformal geometry can really solve that. As far as we know, electrons are stable, with unchanging non-zero mass. That means they will always be around to provide an energy scale, no matter how far out into the future one goes, ruining the conformal symmetry needed to ultimately match up with the Big Bang.

  • Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik -Knesseth Yisroel – Dialogue

    R’YBS in front of an apparently sophisticated audience. Knesset Yisrael is an independent entity greater than the sum of its parts. An example is that the promise of the land of Israel was made to Knesset Yisrael – some very timely remarks about our connection to Chevron.The individual exists as part of that community as well as an individual connected through it to the past, present and future which allows him to overcome his existential loneliness. The dialectic between the individual and the community (sometimes surging towards it, sometimes withdrawing) plus further discussion of the relationship between the individual and the community.Kavod/Mora Av has both a natural and a metaphysical component.

    Some questions concerning therapists approach – even if long term goal is to bring them back to halachic lifestyle – can you experiment with some interim discordant actions (R’YBS differentiated between kavod av and arayot – you can guess which way) to get them to the ultimate goal (this is the question I always wonder about when frum folks go into the therapeutic field). What if an unmarried individual asks you about birth control, abortion (R’YBS says this is covered by lo tirtzach unless halachically allowed)? The social worker may be able to accomplish more than the rabbi because the social worker is viewed as objective whereas the Rabbi is perceived as subjective/biased. (Question-But isn’t the frum therapist always “biased” in the eyes of “the real world”?

    Discussion on how to gain influence to bring baalei tshuva back (don’t insist on 100% immediate performance).

  • Rabbi Dr. J. David Bleich Given On: Saturday March 09, 1985-Questions and Answers with Doctors part 1

    MD’s beware – Some fascinating specifics! Did you know that R’SZA held that issur of mashmia kol (e.g. setting a radio to go on) on shabbat is also an issue for a listener! Friday afternoon travel is not usually a problem these days (meaning that you don’t have to avoid it). Attending medical conferences on shabbat without dong mlacha is OK. There is no prohibition of maarit ayin even if people are misinformed (i.e. they think what you are doing is assur even thought it is mutar – like using an instrument with a light on shabbat)

    If a patient is already in the hospital, the Dr. would have to stay Friday night rather than go on shabbat. No fees for shabbat visits, may only return home on shabbat through rabbinic violations. Discussion of definition of different levels of choleh and what may be violated, no beepers on shabbat(except if part of clothing)! Treating non bnai brit on shabbat (not so simple!) Take off on Shabbat-do not have non religious substitute/partner – better for frum to take shabbat responsibilities.

    1/1,000 is a miyut to be concerned about , 1/100,000 isn’t , 1/10,000? (you know I love this question)

  • Rabbi Nachman Cohen -Our Fathers Sinned

    Related to my tikkun leil shavuot (but much shorter:-)) Yizkor really is from yom kippurim (plural for the dead as well). Deeds they set in motion count after their deaths, even if they were evil if you do good it counts (a lot of my tikkun is on this-it is by no means so simple). Our vidui counts for them so at some level must recognize bad things they did. See here ( ) for my maareh mkomot.

    Most important take away (do you see a pattern in my thinking on this?) – be a role model for your kids and others and (LZ”N avi mori vrabbi zll”hh ) DON’T TALK IN SHUL!

  • Rabbi H Schachter-The Mesorah of Kosher Animals, video

    Really wide ranging shiur on the topic of mesorah (tradition) -when do you need it, when are you completely bound by it, can it be rediscovered,what if against logic, when can it change (e.g. women aliyot) with a number of specific examples (including kashrut)

    Interesting issue as to whether you need to check for simanim if there is “an overwhelming majority” (surprise-no definition of overwhelming). then onto the kashrut of milk to non bnai brit (no pasuk allowing it for them?!) and a whole lot on chaser and maleih and is the vav in gachon really the middle of the torah?

    Nice insight from R’YBS – R’ Chaim did not think up chakirot out of the blue (nor did he use that term much) but rather just tried to understand rishonim, and a chakira without a practical nafka mina is no chakira at all!

  • Rabbi Jeffrey Saks -Lonely Man of Faith (Part 1)

    No-for my friends this is not about me 🙂
    First in a series-biography of R’YBS and his approach to Torah and secular studies as well as Zionism. Then some thoughts on Ish Hahalacha as a description of the world of his father and grandfather , and Lonely Man of Faith as his modern world. Bonus insight on religion not being the opiate of the masses (sometimes I wish I experienced as an opiate)

  • Rav Asher Weiss-Haaromo in Halacha

    “Work a rounds” (I like that definition of Haarama better than legal subterfuge) come in many flavors (e.g. selling chametz). Does it work for Torah prohibitions or only rabbinic? Three types of workarounds discussed – 1.kinyanim (acts of change of ownership – Like selling chametz) 2. non-kinyanim situations 3. dissembling. R’ Asher reviews the history of the selling of chametz and other examples (e.g. heter Iska)

  • Rav Mordechai Willing-Parents, Kids, Spouse & Me: Who Comes First?

    R’ Willig’s general approach to all these priorities in relationships is to be reasonable, maintain balance, and remember that certain responsibilities (and it is all about responsibilities!) are time and place based[like women in our time vs.. that of the Rambam and their travel schedules out of the house! ) (wow-slippery slope)

  • Rav Hershel Schachter-The Priorities Crisis: Allocating Our tzedaka & Chessed Resources Properly

    Priorities and amounts in Tzedakah (I’ve summarized R’HS’s take on this before). Here a stronger focus on 1. keeping charity money local, 2. knowing that there is no requirement to give charity to someone who can earn a living but refuses to 3. Yeshivas/Kollels in Israel will need to consolidate 4. NJ schools closing should get charity money before Israeli schools-even from New Yorkers 5. The whole system (Yeshiva funding) needs to change – old folks need to keep kicking in!

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb -Going to the Doctor

    Review of famous opinions on going to a doctor. Ramban-originally one would never go, HKB”H is the only real Dr. Now there is a two track system (i.e. it’s better not to go but you can).
    Ibn Ezra-No go! (except man induced injuries ) . Rashba -Yes! Tzitz Eliezer and R’OY – even Ramban would say OK now (the times they have a changid :-))

  • Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig -Women in Halacha #16: Women in Positions of Authority & Future Challenges

    A review of the issues involved concerning women and srarah ( positions of authority ?). Specifics include R’ Moshe and R’YBS practical cases, shul officers and board members, geirim , and of course, Rabbah! Bottom line – “when we’re older things may change, but for now this is the way they must remain” (Hats off to you if you can get this one without Google) and only a prophet can know the form that change (based on facts on the ground) will take. Rabbis must be strong in ensuring that any changes are consistent with the Torah way of life (TBD)

  • Rabbi Menachem Genack -Concepts of Shechita

    Some general concepts on shechita including: 1. R’YBS on the role of a shocheit in Europe as being one of srarah (authority) and the implications concerning who can fill that role 2.Is shechita a matir or is it built into the definition of neveilah 3. the relationship of “plain shechita” vs. shechitat kodshim 4 . lots of other technical detail.

    Discusiion of current and historical efforts to ban shechitah and differences between US and other countries rabbis on shackled shechita.

  • Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman -If the Rambam Were Alive Today: Contemporary Jewish Medical Ethics Through the Eyes of the Rambam Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman

    History of the Rambam including his medical writings.. What might he say about: saving one of a pair of conjoined twins at the expense of the other (yes), selective fetal reduction (yes), embryonic stem cells(yes), shidduch telling (yes but),organ selling (yes, if legal), brain death(breathing), assisted suicide(no) , cloning (only if we can clone the Rambam and find out if he looks like the picture on my elementary school machberet)

  • Rabbi Jesse Horn-Rabbinic Personalities: Rav Yosef Karo

    A history of R’ Karo and his works – sounds like tzfat was a real happening place back in the day (as it s now from what I hear)

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -shev Shmaysa Sugyos Part 4 (sfeik sfeika)

    Part of a series, here focused on understanding sfek sfeika(double doubt) – is it related to the issue of whether a doubtful case in a torah issue is only resolved lchumrah(stringently) due to a rabbinic determination or a torah one? or perhaps that’s simply based on follow the majority. Lots of technical discussion and some possible practical differences discussed. (I am interested in the “probability explanation since a double doubt where the doubt is 10% in each case still would yield a majority probability in the other direction)

  • Rav Aharon Kahn -Definitions of basic Kabbalah terminology: Chochmah, Binah and Daas

    Chochmah is the idea HKB”H plants in your head, Binah is developing it , daas is fulfillment in action. Then some nice R’YBS stories and mussar about overcoming our own nature and realizing the example we set for others, especially our kids.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter – Pesach Sheini

    Pesach sheini – is it a holiday in itself or a date based on pesach rishon only if the karban is brought in purity on pesach rishon? Then a lot on mid period chiyuvim (e.g. convert to Judaism between Pesach rishon and sheni) . Then some aveilut (derech rechoka) rules.

  • Our Feet Within Your Gates Mrs Ilana Saks

    Yerushalayim as the center of our world- historical approaches to perek in Tehillim

  • 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. The link to the Rav’s shiur on Knesset Yisrael isn’t working.

    2. That doesn’t seem to be working, either.

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