Audio Roundup CLIII

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

by Joel Rich

I recently saw the following question raised to R’ Aviner:

Question: I am always hearing that mixed society is forbidden according to the Torah. I hear this from all of the rabbis – Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Charedim, National Religious – except for a small minority of rabbis who do not belong to the first line of great halachic authorities. I therefore understand that the views of that minority are halachically null and void.
But I am still not clear on one point: Surely there are parts of our life that are gender-mixed against our will, and I don’t see how it is possible to change that. Therefore, instead of making a generalized decree prohibiting mixed company, wouldn’t it be better to provide us with guidance for those parts of our life which are mixed (against our will), so that we will know how to build a mixed society that is Kosher?

ME – Now there’s a lot I could discuss, but I’m struck by “Surely there are parts of our life that are gender-mixed against our will, and I don’t see how it is possible to change that.” Let me posit 3 situations
1. I am flying to Israel and am concerned that I will sit next to a woman “against my will” – why wouldn’t halacha require me to buy 2 seats to ensure this would not happen?
2. I can work in bnai brak as a rebbi or in Tel Aviv as an accountant – is it “against my will” to do the former and work in a mixed office?
3. why not set up frum yishuvim with total gender separation rather than live in a city, and why live in galut rather than in such a yishuv?


From a recent Cross Currents discussion, comments welcome:
joel rich
June 27, 2011 at 5:41 am
The third approach would seem most attractive, and is the one that Rabbi Belsky had been using till now. The gemara’s statement about worms coming from the flesh is taken as a principle that organisms whose entire (or majority) macroscopic development takes place within the flesh of a host can be considered halachically as part of the host, rather than halachically significant entities.


I agree that R’ Belsky’s (and R’Bleich’s) approach is intellectually consistent. I’m curious what you think the odds are that the principle articulated is actually what chazal had in mind (given the inability of the science of the times to use microscopes etc.)
KT

Yitzchok Adlerstein
June 28, 2011 at 12:11 am
I think that the odds are about 100% that Chazal had in mind that worms that originate in the flesh of fish are permissible. I also believe that they thought that the manner in which they originate in the flesh is through spontaneous generation. That, however, is irrelevant to the principle. The principle is similar to the kula that the Torah provides for drinking water with organisms that originate in the water without having left it, or eating fruit with insects that never emerged to the external world.


Modern Orthodoxy faces the 21st Century: Where are we today, where we should be headed and how do we get there?

In a panel discussion titled “Modern Orthodoxy faces the 21st Century: Where are we today, where we should be headed and how do we get there?”, leaders of three major Modern Orthodox organizations and institutions explored the critical issues and practical steps facing the community. Issues addressed include: the impact of the internet on the community, Jews in their “Odyssey Years”, communal roles for women and more.

Introduced by Rabbi Joshua Strulowitz, rabbi of Congegation Adath Israel, and moderated by Rabbi Gil Student, managing editor of OU Press and editor of the “Hirhurim” blog, the discussion included the following participants:

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, Incoming RCA President
Rabbi Basil Herring, Executive Vice President, The Rabbinical Council of America
Richard Joel, President of Yeshiva University
Rabbi Steven Weil, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union

I’ll start at the end because I think R’S Goldin ( [YU ’73 – what a long strange trip it’s been] nailed at least 2 of the big issues for M.O. in his summary].
1) Lack of self definition (me – frummer than X, not as frum as Y doesn’t cut it!).
2) Lack of inspiration (me – spirituality on demand only please). His #3 was lack of perspective (it’s not the best of times, it’s not the worst of times – we need to triage what’s important, what excites us [me – besides single malt scotch?].
I didn’t always get who said what.
Opening was who we are – “mainstream halachic Judaism”, being relevant, relate Rambam to 21st Century, sophisticated and educated in both worlds (but Lakewood is great too!). Be diverse but not too broad…[blah, blah] (me – interesting not really hardly a mention throughout of Israel or phenomena of M.O. – Lite)
Technology – Richard Joel and R’Weil are pro touchy, feely.
Half Shabbat is more an addiction not defiance. (me – based on whose daas torah?)
R’Herring – Jews seem cynical, distrustful (me – really??) about Jewish organizations and thus organizations need to be transparent and accountable and regain trust. Richard Joel isn’t sure there’s distrust (me – no comment) but institutions must speak to people/communities (me – not just spin!).
Women’s issues – M.O. must educate and must find appropriate roles (e.g. Yoetzet – although in the Q&A it was noted that only one Rabbi in Teaneck openly supports this!?!?).
R’Weil and others very pro-kiruv, we’re responsible for reaching out and saving the majority that are assimilating (me – how much resource are we allocating to this?).
R’Herring worries about schism’s within orthodoxy, financial problems and the best and brightest making allyah (me – halevai).
R’Weil thinks ultimate answer to cost of education is legislative but Richard Joel thinks we must affirm the non-negotiability of quality education (me – how many students is YU losing to Touro/Queens College, etc.?….. Why are people voting with their feet (see Englewood/Charter School)).
Some discussion of teaching more music, importance of nuance and more holistic teaching (me – great, but there are only 24 hours in a day). Maccabeats as an example of torah U’Madda (or something?).

  • Rabbi Moshe D. Tendler -Halachic Resposes to Social Changes

    Circa 1983 a wide ranging discussion of psak/horaah.
    Chumrah vs. halacha – a lot of examples of overkill (and that was back then!) including 3 sets of drinking glasses.
    Discussion of minhag as a response to changing circumstances with a number of examples – change sometimes started by amcha and only later rabbinically recognized, sometimes minhag gets force of takanat chachamim (the Sheiltot states that minhag Yisrael gets the force of a din drabannan (rabbinic ordinance) if accepted).
    Two key points:
    1) How does/should halacha adapt to changing social circumstances? (e.g. b’eilat znut vs. civil marriage) [me – the mills of the God’s justice grind exceedingly slow but grind exceedingly fine”. This is what gets me through the night!] 2) R’Moshe felt chalav hacompanies was chalav Yisrael due to no doubt of fact. R’Moshe didn’t drink it because he didn’t in Europe and so would have to be matir neder here to drink it and he had a kabbalah never to be matir neder!!!

  • Rabbi Yisroel Reisman – Techeles Hachodosh

    Starts with interesting analysis that if he was 50% convinced that the new tcheilet is the real thing, he’d have to wear them and if miyut hamatzui (10%) then maybe….but it doesn’t matter because he thinks it’s 0%.
    [4 side points] 1) R’Reisman sounds a lot surer than he did a number of years ago in his navi shiur;
    2) when R’Reisman says the pictures of caves were not proof and were to “fool” people – you get the impression it’s more than just a halachic issue;
    3) comparing Tcheilet (a torah mitzvah) to black hats as a sociological statement – interesting but…;
    4) why the percentages above mean something in this context is unclear to me.
    R’Reisman then reviews all (IIRC there were a few others that Ptil Tcheilot quotes that he did not include) gemaras on tcheilet to show 0% chance. His major objections: 1) this tcheilet is molecularly the same as Kala Ilan (fake mentioned by Gemara); 2) Zevulun really didn’t have sea front property; 3) how could there be tzad (capture) mlacha on snails.
    [Me – I wonder how sure we are the rishonim (or amoraim) had a clear mesorah on what the tcheilet was]. Thus, he concludes we don’t change halacha on a small probability.
    Closes with mussar on supporting lomdei torah vs. other needs (interesting – why wouldn’t we follow priorities in Horiyot unless “true” talmid chacham [which many argue doesn’t exist today?])

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Techeiles: A Response to Rabbi Reisman

    R’Lebowitz responds to R’Reisman based on Dr. Baruch Sterman (of Efiat, formerly of Passaic Park when it was a small M.O. community). He gives refutations on each point [me – if I know who Pliny the elder was, everyone should!] but the bottom line is – do you really need 100% proof? what’s the loss? [me – a possible Torah mitzvah for less than the cost differential for Chalav Yisrael/Shmurah matzah for all pesach!?]

  • Rabbi Elchanan Adler Chateh K’dei Shetizkeh Chaverecha

    Kicks off with the mkosheish (gatherer) medrash – that he sinned purposely, he wanted to do this as a warning to Klal Yisrael not to sin. (HKB”H was serious about this!)
    Analysis of seemingly contradictory Talmudic sources on whether one can commit a lesser sin in order to preclude a greater one and how tosfot reconciles these sources to yield possible practical rules; perhaps:
    1) you personally can do lesser sin in order not to have your greater sin completed;
    2) you can do lesser sin to avoid someone else having a greater sin;
    3) you can do lesser sin to carry out a “great mitzvah”;
    4)=2) above but only if the other person wouldn’t be considered a poshea (purposeful sinner)
    Some examples from Sh”ut literature (ex. – can a Hatzalah dispatcher call an ambulance en route on shabbat to tell them they aren’t needed?) What trade-offs are allowed in practice? [me – sounds like many are public policy issues]

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Correcting the Bal Korei

    Discussion of well known Jewish blood sport (reminiscent of Roman gladiators), when (and how) to correct the baal koreih? [empirical evidence suggests often and loudly!] It may be a function or type of mistake (e.g. musical, pronunciation, additional or missing letter/word).
    Best quote was concerning being overly punctilious in pronunciation (be normal! [sounds like R’HS influence])

  • Rabbi_Yehoshua_Grunstein/Aleinu-that vital for thrice a day

    Aleinu was originally part of the Rosh Hashana service (malchiyot) and later spread to the rest of our prayers. It is either said for segulah like reasons or as a mental strengthening exercise before going into outside world. Differences based on these reasons would include exactly when to say (must it be very last thing) and what to do when saying mincha and maariv in close proximity. [side point – still unclear to me why more aren’t makpid to daven later maariv if available] Nice mussar from Kiddush levana concerning our unique role to fix the world.

  • Rabbi Shmuel Marcus -Eating at the Home of Irreligious Family

    Discussion of R’Moshe’s position on trusting someone who isn’t religious who tells you the food is Kosher [e.g. non frum child who a parent “knows” would not lie about this]. Difference between “knowing” and “trusting” (it’s a very high threshold, but he would allow in “knowing” case [IMHO public policy issues may well have been involved as well]).

  • Rabbi Moshe D. Tendler -Questions on Brain Death

    R’Tendler responds to questions to clarify his position on brain death.

  • Rabbi Ari Kahn – Avoiding Arguments – Not to be like Korach

    Is there a torah prohibition against machloket (or is it only on machloket against Aaron’s selection)? Examples of Sh”ut based on this issue, discussion of sources.

  • Rabbi Jeffrey Saks -Lonely Man of Faith (Part 4)

    Covenantal man (Adam II) – close, yet far relationship with HKB”H, maintains naïve/childlike wonder. Adam II is a poet vs. Adam I as a scientist, he seeks redemption vs. mastery of world.

  • Rabbi Daniel Stein -Chazra – Ishus

    A great detailed review from soup to nuts of wedding related issues (e.g., ketubah, witnesses, Sheva brachot, rings, etc.).
    Interesting tidbits – 1) R’YBS said R’Chaim as a mesader kiddushin did not spill a little from the cup to lick for the brachot; 2) R’HS thinks biggest Talmud chacham in attendance should get sheva brachot.
    [me – Very interesting how RIETS rabbeim each seem to have their individual issues/concerns on certain practices. Also, very interesting how we seem to find work around (when we want to.)]

  • Rabbi Shalom Rosner – Mitzvah 2: Bris Mila

    Is it removing an “evil” or adding good? Then some detail including relative ranking of priority of girl naming and the purpose of mitzitzah. Concludes with admonition to do brit ASAP when delayed (I guess that means don’t wait until the next Sunday?).

  • Rabbi Shalom Rosner Mitzvah 1: Pru U’rvu

    I guess we were commanded pre-Sinai? (Whatever happened to Hachodesh Lachem being the first mitzvah?). Discussion of Pru U’rvu vs. Shevet. Interesting insight from R’Yosef Engel dividing mitzvot into: 1) result based vs. 2) process based – only in 2) does ones rachmana patrei mean you get full credit as if you did it (worth discussion!). IVF, adoption, mamzer, do they count? Must should infertile couple spend money to overcome (this IMHO is a fascination halachic/emotional intersection).

  • Rabbi Elon Soniker – Conducting Business on the Internet on Shabbos Part 2

    Lots of audience participation trying to figure out how to define exactly when a transaction (kinyan) actually takes place. Could be very dependent on the specifics (e.g. is paypal different than a credit card? How do we treat check?…)
    Simtuta (local custom as to when a deal is considered sealed) also an issue!

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky – Talmud Torah Chinuch

    Chinuch – everyone agrees that the father has a chiyuv, there’s debate about the mother. Must the chinuch be of the type that you would have been yotzeh with as an adult (e.g. can you give a kid a lemon instead of an etrog?) Detailed analysis of these two issues.

  • Rabbi Michael Taubes -Parshas Korach Eating before Maariv

    Can you eat, etc. once chiyuv of mincha or maariv has devolved upon you? If you have a regular minyan or some other regular reminder, it’s probably ok, but a number of poskim are uncomfortable with this.

  • Rabbi Efrem Goldberg – Parshas Korach: Personal Autonomy vs. Centralized Authority

    Based on R’YBS drasha here: link

    R’ Goldberg defines it as a rebellion for freedom from centralized authority and personal autonomy [me – I understood it more as for “common sense” as he discusses later].
    Three types of knowledge – 1) chochmah; 2) bina; 3) daat
    1) is extensive knowledge (technical) in a particular field;
    2) ability to analyze and make distinctions;
    3) common sense – sound practical basic judgment
    Korach was in favor of religious subjectivism where personal feeling is primary. R’ Goldberg explains why this is not good. Another example is a parishioner who “believes” in brain death (me – but if he understands basic issues, must he follow his LOR?)
    Again, IMHO this shouldn’t be understood as meaning halacha is not logical and that Rabbis shouldn’t explain results!

  • About Joel Rich

    Joel Rich is a frequent local lecturer on various Torah topics in West Orange, NJ and supports his Torah listening habits by working as a consulting actuary.

    25 comments

    1. “Very interesting how RIETS rabbeim each seem to have their individual issues/concerns on certain practices.”

      Why do we care lemaaseh-shouldn’t practical halacha follow generally accepted halacha in the community where one lives. Isn’t that the authority of the Schulchan Aruch?

    2. “Closes with mussar on supporting lomdei torah vs. other needs (interesting – why wouldn’t we follow priorities in Horiyot unless “true” talmid chacham [which many argue doesn’t exist today?])”
      Why is suppporting a moderate income RY a higher level than supporting a poorer baker?

    3. “R’Moshe felt chalav hacompanies was chalav Yisrael due to no doubt of fact. R’Moshe didn’t drink it because he didn’t in Europe and so would have to be matir neder here to drink it and he had a kabbalah never to be matir neder!!!”

      There seems to be a distinct lack of clarity as to R. Moshe’s exact shita on chalav stam. On the one hand we have R. Tendler’s edus, on the other there is a teshuva to the yeshiva in Toronto advising them to stick with chalav yisrael, then there’s his encouragement to ‘baalei nefesh’ to be strict on chalav yisrael, and finally there is the practise of his family members (some of whom are outstanding talmidei chachamim in their own right), who I have heard are not strict on chalav yisrael. What’s the story?

    4. Why do we care lemaaseh-shouldn’t practical halacha follow generally accepted halacha in the community where one lives. Isn’t that the authority of the Schulchan Aruch?
      ======================================
      perhaps, but lmaaseh if you listen to the practical halacha shiurim you will see hakpadot (e.g. what do you include to identify the town on the ketuba)
      KT

    5. r’j,
      that’s why i was struck by this statement. i could (as any actuary would :-))posit a theory that fits these data points but it would just be a guess.
      KT

    6. The following YWN thread has a long discussion (which made my head spin) trying to find the ‘line of best fit’ between all the given data points:
      http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/cholov-akum
      I’m not convinced there’s a seamless resolution.

    7. r’j
      wow-perhaps when i retire i will read through the thread- imho the whole issue of cost benefit analysis for hakpadot (those used and those not) would be a fruitful one for analysis
      KT

    8. Shalom Rosenfeld

      I don’t see any inconsistency re: chalav stam. According to R’ Moshe’s family he felt it was basically okay but wouldn’t quite do it himself, but he recommended it as a chumra so the concept wouldn’t be lost. What he wrote to various rabbis and communities fell on a spectrum within “recommended” … I’m not losing sleep over this one.

      Interesting how the techelet/indigo thing is used as a proof in both directions. Rabbi Reisman seems to say if it’s molecularly identical to fake it must be fake; techelet-ists say the same compound is mitzva if derived one way, fake if derived another way.

    9. R’SR,
      when I heard the techelt/indigo issue it made me smile – you can never “prove” anything!(or as I like to say – all facts are theory based :-))
      KT

    10. Joseph Kaplan

      “(e.g. Yoetzet – although in the Q&A it was noted that only one Rabbi in Teaneck openly supports this!?!?).”

      That was me who did the noting.

    11. R’JK,
      And from what I understand the yoetzet in Teaneck fielded 1,000’s of calls – I guess the lack of open rabbinic support was not a big concern for many?
      KT

    12. “2) when R’Reisman says the pictures of caves were not proof and were to “fool” people – you get the impression it’s more than just a halachic issue”
      R Reismam at times has a disdain for science and other secular knowledge even in cases where it is demonstrably true.

    13. Joseph Kaplan

      Our shul’s yoetzet is leaving on aliyah (a new one is starting) and in some of the departure literature it noted that she fielded over 2500 calls. What is interesting is that although my shul was the only one that agreed to sponsor her (the original idea was that she was going to be the Teaneck community yoetzet), many many many of the 2500 calls were from women who were members of the shuls whose rabbis would not agree to join, including one who said it would weaken his relationship with his female ba’albatot. Well, it’s clear that many of those ba’albatot thought otherwise. And, of course, the other shuls get the service for their members without paying for it. (Goodness gracious — I’m beginning to sound like Mycroft and MMHY. :-))

    14. “Goodness gracious — I’m beginning to sound like Mycroft”

      Is that the worse type of aveirah that teshuva can’t be mechaper?

    15. R’JK,
      It occurs to me (of course we never collect data) that it may be of those 2500 shailot, some % would simply not have been asked (much like imho the building of a easy to use keilim mikveh improved the % of tvilat keilim in West Orange). If so, interesting question for the rabbis who opposed-is the possible decrease in their relatinship with some % of women worth the upside?
      KT

    16. “It occurs to me (of course we never collect data) that it may be of those 2500 shailot, some % would simply not have been asked”

      I am sure that is the case. I was told that there were plenty of women who said this was the first time they ever asked a shaylah. With some, their husbands probably did, but with others they just never wanted to discuss these issues with a man. And I heard from many women that asking shaylot about taharat hamispacha had absolutely no effect on the strength of their relationship with their rabbi. I see only an upside; no downside at all.

    17. “Goodness gracious — I’m beginning to sound like Mycroft”

      Is that the worse type of aveirah that teshuva can’t be mechaper?”

      Didn’t you see the smiley face?

    18. re: relationships with rabbis, I prefer to call basically anyone other than the rabbis with whom i have a previously existing relationship, at least for maros and/or questions that are very personal. (I am happy to call my shul rabbi with “can i dunk with stitches?”…) Basically, I do not want to share these things with someone with whom I will later have to work on, say, programming for our shul.

      I wonder how many rabbis get anonymous or quasi-anonymous sensitive question, and whether they put two and two together to realize that a lot of their congregants ar probably doing the same to other rabbis?

      Perhaps conversely, there is one yoetzet with whom I went to school and have a pre-existing social relationship, and I am often more comfortable calling her than I would be a strange woman or man(and certainly more than I would be a male rabbi with whom I also went to school and had a similar relationship).

      Another note: even women who ask shailos may give more details, or allow the conversation to segue into freer-flowing discussions of their relationship to mikva in general, etc, with a woman. In other words, women looking for chizuk may just not get any (because they don’t open the topic) if there are only males available to give it.

      Just one woman’s perspective. But that makes it slightly less second-hand than the observations so far…

    19. RJR-during the panel discussion that you posted a link to, was there any discussion as to the nature of competition and factors leading to factors from Touro and Queens College to YU?

    20. R’SB,
      None at all – and I do think YU should be giving that a lot of thought.
      KT

    21. R’Emma,
      Don’t confuse us with the facts 🙂
      KT

    22. RJR-IMO, YU should take a look at what Touro offers, especially for young women ( speech, physical and occupational therapy and/or special ed, etc, for example) who view the the same as very marketable and portable skills for women who view their mission as earning a salary while a husband learns. The other lesson that YU should be investigating is why other than reasons for cost and he absence of air conditioning in the dorms, young men go to Queens and partake of the DRS learning program which has excellent lecturers, and allows them to go to Queens at night. I should also note that the former RY of Mvaseret,(a RIETS Musmach who wrote about his experiences as a talmid of RYBS), a fairly large “gap year’ yeshiva for American young men and recentlty in Toronto, will be giving shiurim at Lander CM this fall.

    23. “Didn’t you see the smiley face?

      No

    24. “The other lesson that YU should be investigating is why other than reasons for cost and he absence of air conditioning in the dorms, young men go to Queens and partake of the DRS learning program which has excellent lecturers, and allows them to go to Queens at night.”
      Those are plenty good reasons by themselves.

      ” I should also note that the former RY of Mvaseret,(a RIETS Musmach who wrote about his experiences as a talmid of RYBS), a fairly large “gap year’ yeshiva for American young men and recentlty in Toronto, will be giving shiurim at Lander CM this fall”

      It would be news if the person was offered a position at RIETS and had turned it down.

    25. ““Didn’t you see the smiley face?”

      No”

      Read more carefully next time; it was there.

    Leave a Reply

    Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter


    The latest weekly digest is also available by clicking here.

    Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

    Archives

    Categories

    %d bloggers like this: