by Joel Rich
From R’ Aviner:
Flag of the State of Israel
Q: Does the flag of the State of Israel possess holiness? Does one have to kiss the flag if it falls on the floor? Must it be put in the Geniza if it is worn out?
A: No. It does not contain holiness. But one must obviously treat it with respect (see Nefesh Ha-Rav, pp. 99-100. Shut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 1:46. We heard from Rav Aharon Rakefet that Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein once said that he did not regret any of the Teshuvot he wrote, aside from in this Teshuvah about davening in a shul which has the flag of Israel using the term “Wicked” when referring to those who made the Israeli flag).
Here is the actual language of the tshuva (I would particularly note the closing prayer and reflect that even a gadol can use less than perfect articulation in the heat of the moment)
, ואף שאלו שעשו זה לדגל וסימן למדינת ישראל היו רשעים, מכל מקום הא לא החזיקו זה לדבר קדוש, שנימא שיהיה חשש גרירה דעבודה זרה, וידוע לכל שעשו זה לסימן בעלמא והוי זה ככל דבר חול.
ה’ וישלח לנו הגואל צדק ויערה עלינו רוח ממרום ללכת בדרך התורה והאמת לבלי לנטות ימין ושמאל.
Further on tcheilet: I’m told that the prices are driven mostly by labor and production costs, and not by materials (including the dye). Thus if they increase production significantly, they would realize efficiencies and the resulting cost savings associated with volume.
Question:Are folks aware of the tceilet issues? Rav Schachter is explicit as can be regarding his position and from what I’ve heard from many shiurim, it sounds like there is little reason not to wear them, at least msafeik that it is the real deal. So why do you think it’s not more widespread?
Classic R’YBS! A beautiful retelling of a lesson from his Lubavitch m’lamed concerning Yosef’s question to his brothers – hayeish lachem av o’ach (do you have a father or brother) – of course they had a father!
Lesson that a Jew exists not just in the present but in the past and future as well, our responsibility concerning transmission of mesorah and the old father teaching the young child how to think intellectually and how to experience Yahadut [the latter he found much more challenging].
Is counting the omer today a torah commandment or Rabbinic especially in the light of the Talmudic statement that it is zecher l’mikdash (reminder of the Temple). A review of halachic ramifications of this issue and the underlying issue – how close is the tie between counting the omer and the Karban ha’omer? R’YBS on the difference between zecher l’mikdash and zecher l’churban.
Halachic and Hashkafic analysis of Lo titgodidu / agudot, agudot (not making subgroups). Is it duraita or drabannan? Is it to avoid disagreements or to not look like we have 2 torah’s? does it differ in minhagim and Issurin? Are these questions interconnected?
Hashkafically – what does the ideal society/avodat Hashem look like? How do we find the proper balance between (my terms) the straight jacket of complete conformity and the hefkeirus of “do your own thing”? (BTW – thing is a great word – or as Phil Jackson might say, “We have a thing situation”).
Powerful Bechukotai drasha which cuts off before the end. Why does erchin (pledging valuation) follow tochecha (bad news on the doorstep)? Lesson of fixed valuations is we are all equal in the eyes of HKB”H so no need for the jealousy/pride/desire that brings sin. Why followed by temurah (no switching holiness of sacrifices)? HKB”H wants your unique kedusha (holiness) not that of your trying to totally copy someone else (me – “Every(thing)[one] is beautiful in its own way”).
R’Fischer analyzes the R’Shimon Bar Yochal coming out of the cave story (33b-34a), sees parallels and differences with the Eliyahu story and draws the lesson (similar to post holocaust) of being rooted in our past but engaged in the reality of our present circumstances.
Review of Yiftach and sacrificing daughter story – why of all the inappropriate vowers (e.g. Eliezer saying “He’ll marry the first girl” [anyone remember the musical Fiorello?]) was he singled out for the bad answer/result? Did he actually sacrifice her or send her to a nunnery (“Get thee to a nunnery” – any non-Google takers for a cite?)? If he did sacrifice her, why didn’t anyone stop him? Perhaps Yiftach bdoro but he was uninformed in this matter (i.e. the halacha was he didn’t have to sacrifice her)
2 lessons – don’t think you know everything and watch what you say!
R’ Frost’s book says no peeled eggs etc. if left overnight, no exceptions! The gemara does mention this (along with some other items that some might describe as “heebie jeebie” (תלמוד בבלי מסכת נדה דף יז עמוד א
אמר ר”ש בן יוחי: ה’ דברים הן שהעושה אותן מתחייב בנפשו ודמו בראשו: האוכל שום קלוף, ובצל קלוף, וביצה קלופה, והשותה משקין מזוגין שעבר עליהן הלילה, והלן בבית הקברות, והנוטל צפרניו וזורקן לרה”ר, והמקיז דם ומשמש מטתו. ) here’s a good article I once read on the topic, R” Aryeh summarizes a lot of the points link.
Interesting to me is we don’t dream of following medical advice in talmud that doesn’t work, I suppose the difference here is “it can’t hurt” even though in this case all the major rishonim seemed OK with not mentioning it!
General theory – Halacha and secular law really don’t much conflict on reporting abuse. Review of basic sources on msira (handing over suspects to government). Discussions of “senior poskim” on the issue. Sounded to me like the real issue is when is there certainty and when is there reasonable suspicion (raglaim bdavr) . Lack of clarity imho between the “normal” powers of beit din and the powers taken on by them (or other authorities?) when there is no melech. Their thrust seemed to be you almost always need to ask an “adam chashuv” before acting. For another opinion on the matter-see this video link
R Shafier started working on hashkafa for those who were in a Yeshiva for working men (or something like that) and only later found out that our best and brightest don’t know much about bitachon, emunah or history (ok I added history-hat tip Herman’s Hermits). Need to teach yirat shamayim to adults as well – not just “plain” limud torah (sounded at one point that he was aghast that a young women asked what did Moshe really get at Sinai – it’s actually a good question for discussion-the gemara does)
Our responses need to be relevant, real and resonant (R’ Shafier gives examples – truthfully I think they are audience based so his didn’t really resonate with me)
Scariest (to me) comment – families punt on this and expect Yeshiva’s to teach yirat hashem.
Review of original takanah for reptitioion of shmoneh esrai and current reasons. Then discussion of where you should start if you are not the shatz and are catching up or (in the very, very, very unusual situation of a legal “heich kedusha”)
Appreciation of Eim Habanim Smeicha. Discussion of how to talk to Jews who have not yet made aliyah – who don’t understand what it means to be a total Jew and part of a nation. Some discussion of holocaust issues and then a strange quote from “Echoes of the Nightingale” on not making aliyah.
On the eve of surgery with a 90% mortality rate, a man confesses monetary and relationship sins to his rabbi. He (the patient :-)) survives! Can/should a court act on the rabbi’s later testimony?
Varying sources on whether Eliyahu ever died and implications with regard to his personal status (e.g. could his wife remarry) and halachic status (e.g. is he able to give psak or is he forbidden due to “lo bashamayim he”).
Some answers include 2 different Eliyahu’s (like my favorite 2 rav kahana answer!) and sometimes he is a person and sometimes not. (Was he really a Kohain, can he really fly?).
Analysis of the various Talmudic sources on the requirement of Talmud torah. Are they just applications in differing circumstances or truly differing opinions? Is there just one mitzvah or two (learning, knowing all of torah)?
Ties together Shavuot, Torah Shebal peh and torah shebiktav. Sources on relative importance of each and bottom line message that Biktav is minimum, she baal peh is man’s involvement.
Can you read someone else’s email? No (general privacy/tzniut and some other specifics)
Can you fax something to someplace where it is already shabbat? Generally yes (unless you are a talmid of R’HS-based on a new girsa in the Rambam-thoroughly modern!)
Should you use a salutation? Yes (imitato dei)
Review of issues with regard to the Torah and rabbinic requirementsa for birchat hamazon.