by Joel Rich
From R’ Aviner
Long Hair (cue Kenny Loggins – Your mama don’t dance)
Q: Is it permissible for a boy or man to have long hair?
A: No. There are three severe Torah prohibitions that are transgressed by having long hair: 1. Creating an impediment between one’s head and Tefillin, and therefore causing a blessing to be recited in vain when putting on Tefillin. 2. Following the ways of the non-Jews (which includes acts of conceit and haughtiness). 3. “Lo Tilbash” (the prohibition of men dressing or appearing as women) (Shut She’eilat 1:23).
Q: How than did the Rogachover (Ha-Rav Yosef Rosen, author of Tzafnat Pane’ach) and Ha-Rav Ha-Nazir (Ha-Rav David Cohain, Rosh Yeshiva in Mercaz Ha-Rav) grow long hair?
A: The Rogachover did not go to the barber because of a concern of “Bitul Torah” (taking away from Torah learning), but he is an exceptional genius, who is not a figure to be imitated. And regarding Ha-Rav Ha-Nazir, the Torah, the Torah commands a Nazir not to get a haircut.
[me- I think I mentioned that back in the day in MTA the Rogatchover was a role model, but is it assur to learn while having ones hair cut? I prefer the story that when he sat to get his haircut before a son’s wedding he said “oy, tzar gidul banim”]
Even if you’re not excited about the possibility of “condorsement” (I did not make this word up – they did) of GAAP (U.S. accounting) and IFRS (everyone else’s) you should pay attention to the “nature of standards”. I posit that “Rules Based” more encourages “What can I get away with” vs. “principles based” (if participants buy in) encouraging “what’s the right thing to do” [hameivin yavin].
BTW- Hat tip to Mycroft who suggested CAAP-Celestial Accepted Accounting Principles for those who wish to be HKB”H’s accountants (warning – CCPA credential is currently not policed by an authoritative standards setting group but rather individuals can (and often do) hang out their own shingle!)
Heading the wisdom of the Fab 4 (come on baby take a chance with me) I threw caution to the wind and for a moment abandoned two of my algorithmic rules for shiur picking (i) no pure gemara shiurim (too hard to concentrate on the blatt while picking my way through traffic – exception R’HS “jumping off from blatt” topics shiurim); (ii) no daf yomi shiurim (even though I still give the daf once a week) – too many out there and anyone who is interested can find their comfort zone.
HKB”H rewarded me with R’Lebowitz channeling R’HS on one of the classical actuarial topics – Rov (majority). Gemara quotes 10 possible sources for the concept and R’HS lists 5 types of rov (I once asked R’HS why the gemara used the same term [my case was chazakah] for disparate concepts – wasn’t it confusing (and lacking precision). I got the classic R’HS shrug (and a look that was probably benign but I couldn’t help but interpret as “oy, what I have to put up with).
1) Rov garua ( about 51%) – This rov doesn’t outweigh chazaka because rov is a birur (it answers the fact question), while chazakah is a hanhaga (tells us what to do). We can only rely on hanhagah if no birur but 51% isn’t enough of a birur.
2) Rov bari (70-80%)
3) Rov yotir bari (90%) – or the complement of miyut hamatzui (use for bug checking and present danger)
4) miyut bmiyuta (1%?)
5) 1/1000 – really doesn’t exist
Then discussion of Ruba d’leta vs. d’ita
(me – interesting that chazal were not obvious quantitative probabalists but by the 19-20th century all this analysis was built on their sources (especially the hanhaga chiluk))
How do we reconcile the prohibition against divination, etc. with the concept that certain times are predisposed to non-positive results (e.g. 9 days) “It’s not superstitious if the gemara says it”.
More on existential loneliness/unique individuality. HKB”H joins the equation with (hat tip – Eddie Holman/Ruby and the Romantics) Hey there lonely boy [of faith] let me make your broken heart (finite awareness) like new.
Some good discussion of the practices of the 3 weeks but the real exciting material is the Q&A. Some fascinating questions related to:
* bugs in peanuts?
* food under bed – does an airline seat count? Should you toveil them (I didn’t make this up) in negel vasser?
* Starbucks coffee redux
* fruit juice (why is red cheek apple juice in brown bottles?)
* Quinona – is it kitniyot?
* refrigerator technology (oy)
* bugs in vegetables (now playing at a supermarket near you!)
* Baltimore tzedaka authority
Analysis of women’s chiyuv to pray followed by specific rules (what and when to daven)
The Rama says not to wait for the Rabbi to start davening (maariv) or to start chazarat hashatz. Magen Avraham and Mishneh Brurah say “minhag” is to wait. Review of some sources on the issue.
So why is practice different than the psak of the Rama? [me – still looking for the Pdf (probability distribution function!) that underlies when the Rama is inviolable and when not] 1) we want to give “cover” to slower daveners; 2) technical issues may come up needing Rabbi’s input; 3) being a Rabbi shorten’s life, longer shmoneh esrai prolongs it; 4) not waiting is a defect in kavod hatzibbur (since it implies community has no respect for Rabbi). [me – each minyan and Rabbi should use discretion/sechel].
When will Eliyahu come – before, after or at the same time as mashiach?
Then discussion of the role of Eliyahu in halacha – not a simple question! The usual suspects (Eliyahu can tell us facts not halacha; he will act as a Rabbi) are discussed. [me – if choni hamaagal couldn’t get halachic credibility when he woke up 70 years later, how will Eliyahu do it?] Good news – R’Taubes is a Maharatz Chiyut fan (me too) although he was unaware of Rebbetzin Hutner – David’s doctoral thesis. [To me the irony of a doctoral thesis, heavy with Talmudic references, by Rebbitzin David attacking the “modern” Maharatz Chiyut is striking]
Understanding Rebi and Ben Azzai – should we be focused on reward or just on doing? Importance of trait of zehirut. Behavioral vs. metaphysical approaches discussed.
Interesting insight from a charedi educator as to why they wouldn’t show alternative approaches (e.g. Gush) to their students.
Beginning of a series. Is it good because HKB”H wants it or does HKB”H want it because it’s good? (yes – you’ve heard this question before!) From Avraham and Sdom it appears the latter.
Interesting insight – the more rational the mitzvah, the less we respect it (i.e. people won’t stop smoking due to danger but would if you told them it was treif!)
Ramban on filling in the “gaps” (v’asita hatov vhayasher) then Dor Rivi on cannibalism vs. eating treif (yes, we’ve discussed it before!!)
Detailed discussion of blessing on consuming oil (olive) – issues of short term vs. long term enjoyment vs. damage and their impact on brachot.
Historical examples of Italian Jewish scholars (this was from a cruise trip shiur) – their history and examples of far reaching psak – Tosfot Rid, Bartenura, Sforno, Maharam m’padua and Ricanti. (At least two have wines named after them!)
Some issues regarding rebuke [me – always a difficult balance between knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, when to walk away and when to run].
Go through the following checklist before trying this at home:
1) are you sure you are right? (i.e. is there no minority opinion? [me – try to stay away from thinking “of course I’m right, I am wrapped in the torah”])
2) be sure it’s something you don’t do [me – are you a pot? a kettle?] 3) if the issue is a torah violation which isn’t specifically mentioned in the torah, and you know the person won’t listen and doesn’t “know” it’s forbidden, then don’t rebuke [me – (i) requires you to be a Talmid chochom and a psychotherapist; (ii) R’Lebowitz mentions mixed dancing in the category? Hmmm – with your wife? Non-contact (no body can do the shingaling?)] 4) if the act is being done willfully – must rebuke
5) if everyone does it and not specifically stated as prohibited don’t rebuke [me – like lashon hara?] 6) If someone is a complete “freethinker”, maybe don’t.
Next time: How to rebuke (me – I’m guessing “You will burn in hell for eternity?”)
Covers a lot of practical halacha (as he implies at the beginning at the cost of a deeper understanding of the issues involved).
* the chazan’s calling out yaaleh v’yavo before shmoneh esrai of maariv (is this a frequent practice?)
* seriousness of missing yaaleh v’yavo
* say yaaleh v’yavo in maariv when you accept Shabbat early? (generally yes)
* all the rules of forgotten yaaleh v’yavoh
* singing in Hallel is “brought down in the sifrei hakaoshim”
* Barchei Nafshi – why said and when (based on why)
* tfillin off at musaf (we don’t say keter but we take them off anyway – I never really got that)
* prohibition (semi) to work
* requirement for Seudah
* requirement for special dress
Lots of “
Full Disclosure – I know many of the parties involved. Steve Savitsky applauds the West Orange Cooperative Yechiva. Plan is to keep costs down by volunteerism, very limited scholarship, using public school resources (this was particularly surprising to me) and inexpensive underused synagogue space.
Extended technical discussion of the rules of time to say kriat shma and its brachot. Grave concern about bracha l’vatala issues but some limud zchut for those who are lenient (and sleep late Shabbat morning).