Audio Roundup CLIV

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by Joel Rich

Without comment.

“Serling fought furiously against censorship and ads, asking how you could write meaningful drama when it was interrupted every 15 minutes by “12 dancing rabbits with toilet paper?”
In one “Twilight Zone,” an inept screenwriter conjures up Shakespeare to help him. The Bard produces a dazzling screenplay but then storms out when the sponsor demands a lot of revisions. ”

OK, since you insist, I will comment for all those who couldn’t sleep after a twilight zone episode (especially the one where the real meaning of heaven and hell is exposed by a pool (billiard) shot).
2 contests are herewith announced: 1) write a more tongue in cheek line than the 12 rabbits; 2) write a screenplay summary starting with an inept Rabbi (instead of a screenwriter) and the Rambam instead of Shakespeare.


Re: Mishpacha. See the last sentence – I guess it depends on who “Us” is but if I were in chareidi leadership (surprise, I’m not), I’d be afraid, very afraid unless some education on how to deal with the “threats” of outside knowledge were provided.
“That makes a glimpse behind the scenes all the more surprising. At Mishpacha — which means “family” — more than half of the 250 employees are women, including reporters, graphic designers and the managing editor of the paper’s English edition. This, too, would have been unthinkable until recently.
The newspaper has set a new standard for its competitors, printing glossy supplements and human interest stories. Reporters have gently tackled previously untouched topics like child abuse and divorce. The paper’s agenda, which has included offering legitimacy for choosing to enter the workforce, has drawn the ire of some of the traditional Haredi papers it has eclipsed.
The issues published in the weekly paper “are the things people will be talking about around their Sabbath tables,” said managing editor Shoshana Friedman.
“It’s not a threat to us that our readers see what’s happening in the world,” she said. “I don’t think people gain anything from being kept in a little black box.””


  • Harav Hershel Schachter – “Was Bin Laden’s Burial At Sea An Acceptable Jewish Burial Process?”

    Quite a bit of info in R’HS’s usual wide ranging/”it’s pashut” style. I understand the link may be available after some editing? Some points include:
    * source of Kedusha is the torah “written” on the soul by angel before birth.
    * same day burial can be countermanded by kavod hameit (more people will come).
    * we stand for chevra kadisha at funeral not for dead [me – factually this is not what happens IMHO] * better to have aliyah of 4 sentences than 3! (but 4 may be = to 5)
    * don’t move already buried – their soul gets frightened (exceptions – 1) danger of defilement; 2) to family plot; 3) to Israel)
    * R’HS thinks better to give $ to Tzedaka than to bury in Israel (he totally lost me here – couldn’t you say this about any discretionary spending??? Why pick this particular use?)
    * Shmirah is from mice, R’Moshe thinks not needed now (but most do anyway – kabbalistic – soul is lonely?) [me – chas al mamonam – couldn’t this resource go to Yeshivas as above??? (or to tuition for family?)] * could really use metal caskets
    * burial on Yom Tov also due to mice (me – so why allow it today, shouldn’t concern of torah prohibited mlacha trump this concern??)

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb -“Pizza, Pizza!” The Proper Beracha on Our Favorite Italian Food

    Excellent summary of the “Pas haba bkissnin” issues regarding hamotzi and birchat hamazon: 1) what is it, really?; 2) when do you have kviat seudah (it’s a real meal). (me – here’s an example of halacha recognizing changes in reality (how, what and when we eat).
    R’MF vs. R’SZA on whether cake at end of a “non bread” meal is enough to require hamotzi.
    Old rule – 2 pieces of pizza = hamotzi
    – 1 piece of pizza = mezonot
    New rule – always hamotzi (it’s no longer a snack)
    Worthwhile to listen to whole thing for a clear understanding but as usual CLOR.
    Follow up topic for R’Gottlieb (or anyone) – When do our measures go by the “average Yid” and when do we go by the specific individual in question?

  • Rabbi Yonason Sacks -Birchas Hanhehnin #3

    Analysis of birchat hanehenin as a matir (gives permission) and as hodaah (Thanksgiving). A number of possible implications (including is a blessing required if you eat less than a shiur or something dangerous?).
    Interesting insight from R’Asher Weiss on when can use logic to conclude that a certain practice must be followed – if it’s a din (e.g. monetary liability) then yes (as an ethical imperative) but a mitzvah can’t be “logicallyt inferred” since we’d still need a Tzivui (command).

  • Rabbi Jeffrey Saks -Lonely Man of Faith (Part 5)

    Most interesting question (undiscussed) – which came first – R’YBS’s philosophy on this issue or his analysis of the two creation stories?
    Here discussion of political philosophy (e.g. John Locke) and Adam I vs. II. Adam I is natural/biological/instinctive. A community only forms for Adam I where he can’t practically do something himself while there is an existential need community for Adam II.

  • Rabbi Yonason Sacks-Perspectives on Mitzvos Ben Adom LeChaveiro Tochecha Rebuking

    Giving tochecha (remonstrating?). There may well be differences depending on whether the offense is between man and man or man and HKB”H – 1) does it have to be accepted for the giver to fulfill his reqirement?; 2) is it done in public?; 3) does monetary compensation come into play?; 4) what intention is needed?
    Some issues will include: i) what if you know it won’t be accepted; (ii) what if the sinner is clear that he knows he is sinning?; (iii) do you need to show you care?

  • Rabbi Dr. Jacob J Schacter – Daas Torah and the Modern Jew

    From 1983 – an interesting review of some early later sources on daas torah, emunat chachamim and lo tasur. Interesting because R’JJS was clearly conflicted based on his background.
    BTW, Rabbinate started as a profession in the 15th century ashkenaz.

  • Rav Moshe Taragin-Pirkei Avot #03, by – Perek 3 Mishna 2 – Praying for the welfare of our host nation / avoiding a state of “moshav leizim”

    Avot 3:2 – worth it alone for the last 2 minutes – something like it’s easy to find a quote from chazal and harp on it (me – of course there is usually one that goes the other way, so don’t be so “it’s me and chazal against you!”)
    1st half – Jewish involvement in local government to improve society and a brief history of tfila l’shlom hamedinah (the chu”l version for the local government).
    2nd half – importance of even a single individual learning torah (and perhaps not disturbing their neighbor – though that’s not an absolute).

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Answering to a Minyan When Not Davening

    The S”A/Rama deal with responding to kedusha/saying shma with congregation that you aren’t part of (based on Rashba (being mkadeish sheim shamanim) /don’t look like not accepting heavenly yoke).
    R’Moshe extends to 13 middot in Slichot (even though the reasons above don’t apply) because you would help the tzibbur to be answered.
    Contemporary Poskim agree that if you are learning, you don’t have to interrupt, if you do, it’s very limited (i.e. not every amen).

  • Rabbi Elon Soniker -Conducting Business on the Internet on Shabbos Part 3

    More on Kinyanim (acts of acquisition) and banking transaction. Why and how vending machines may be permitted to be left on for Shabbat. Halachic status of products sales vs. services sales on Shabbat and services that cover chol and Shabbat.

  • Mrs. Ayala Teitcher -Once Upon a Time and Forever: How to Read Midrashic Stories

    Between those who believe every aggadah is literal, and those who believe none are, are those who know how to mine aggadot for what chazal intended? Some examples included.

  • Rabbi Hagay Elitzur -History of Halacha

    How is halacha made? There are 5 time periods – Tanach, Mishnah, Gemara, Gaonim/Rishonim, Acharonim. Examples of tracing halacha through these periods from tanach to current psak (e.g. new metals, does a toaster need Tvila?)

  • Rabbi Yonah Gross -Redeeming Our Captives: Assessing Modern Situations

    Review of the basic Talmudic sources (and how later authorities attempt to reconcile them) on ransoming captives. Then a review of the R’Hutner/black September case and why war may be a different story (me – as may be life threatening captivity when compared to ransom captivity – but that’s a much longer story).

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Warming Drawers on Shabbos

    Good review of the basic issues of using warming drawers for reheating food on Shabbat – focus on mechzei kmavashel (looks like cooking) and gechalim (may adjust flame). Range of opinions presented – CLOR. [me – another example of some very basic differences of opinion in core halachic issues and, IMHO, the “last 20% is halachic heart” nature of halacha that needs to be better communicated to the public so as to avoid the “it’s all politics/personal bias” reaction].

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb – From Milan to Meah Shearim – Fashion and Jewish Identity in the Modern World

    A very good summary of the basic opinions (and sources) on chukat hagoyim and the implications for dressing. [Did you know the Borsalino avoids this issue because it was really designed for bnai Yeshiva as a combination source of shade/brain warming device?] Great quote from Chazon Ish by way of the Bnai Banim” assur l’hitavot l dmot” (it’s forbidden to have a great desire to be like them (mirror them) [me – you should be like Mike – to the extent he had a clear goal an extended all his resources to attain it] R’Gottlieb reveals that the dress/name/language medrash doesn’t exist (forms of it do) but the Meshech Chochmah says the idea of differentiation by dress goes back to Yaakov; others (includes Maharik) disagree on need to differentiate in this manner but we need to stay unique

  • Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz -ecision Making and Modern Medicine

    Review of sources on defining death and R’Schwartz’s support of brain death based on R’Moshe. Also some Q&A including when [not] to initiate a ventilator.

  • Rabbi Jeffrey Saks -Lonely Man of Faith (Part 6)

    Next in the series – Adam I vs. Adam II, dignity vs. redemption, community vs. individual, surging forward vs. retreating. Defining existential loneliness (me – to paraphrase the Supreme Court – I know it when I feel it).

  • 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.

    24 comments

    1. “R’HS thinks better to give $ to Tzedaka than to bury in Israel (he totally lost me here – couldn’t you say this about any discretionary spending??? Why pick this particular use?)” – IIRC he said the same thing about buying 2 ovens, one for meat, one for milk. I would think he’s probably consistent about this; rather than spend money on a chumra, spend it on a real mitzva like tzedaka.

    2. r’h,
      the logical extension being that there be no discretionary spending?
      KT

    3. the logical extension being that there be no discretionary spending?

      No, the question is, if you are balancing a chumra against a mitzvah, then chose the mitzvah. But this doesn’t (necessarily) say anything about non-religious discretionary spending, like, say, taking a vacation. There is no logical reason to believe that he is describing some universal priority list (although he could be). But he could just as easily be describing a religious priority list, and within that sphere, certain things come first. It’s not clear why you believe all the spheres (religious and non-religious, discretionary) must be unified?

    4. r’curious,
      why would discretionary spending (which by my definition means anything not halachically required) not be subject to the same analysis . For example, Mr. A. Gives his full maaser kesafim annually and is deciding between burial in Israel and a trip to disneyland – r’hs saying give that to tzedaka. he does. now he still has discretionary money which he wants to spend on burial in Israel or disneyland…..
      and while we’re at it then why would anyone pay a premium for chalav yisrael etc.

      KT

    5. Ye’yasher kochakha, R’ Joel Rich. By the way, in the Bin Laden shi’ur, RHS contradicted a point rendered by RMF in his posthumously published Darash Mosheh. Namely, RHS advanced the thesis that the kedushah of a Sefer Torah is even greater than the kedushah of the Luchot Haberit, because all the words of the Luchot are in the Sefer Torah, plus more. Since the Sefer Torah has more Torah information than the Luchot, the Sefer Torah is holier. RHS attributed this idea to the Rambam at the end of Hilkhot Sefer Torah.

      Actually, an examination of the Rambam at the end of Hilkhot Sefer Torah reveals that the Rambam is somewhat cryptic on this point (although RHS is certainly presenting a legitimate way of interpreting the Rambam). Moreover, RMF is recorded as sermonizing (Darash Mosheh, Parashat Yitro, first insight) that the Luchot were holier than a Sefer Torah. Nevertheless, I have to agree that – in terms of sevara – it seems to this small student that what RHS says appears logical: since the Sefer Torah contains all of the Torah Shebikhtav, surely it is holier than the Luchot alone. And as we know, Chazal prohibited assigning special emphasis to the Asseret Hadibberot (as per the gemara in Berakhot 12a). [On the other hand, I think there’s a Beit Halevi that the entire Torah was actually written on the Luchot Rishonot; that might shift the equation and explain RMF’s position.]

    6. If we assume (for the moment) that the religious and non-religious discretionary spending occupy separate spheres, then within the religious sphere, giving priority to one mitzvah over some sort of chumra seems perfectly reasonable, if for nothing else than pedagogical reasons, to teach people correct beliefs and understanding about the nature of mitzvahs. As the Aruch HaShulchan writes (in hilchos Rosh Hashanah):
      וכמה פעמים נמצא שכדי להורות הלכה – עשו דבר שיש לעשות יותר טוב, ורק כדי להורות הלכה

      Now, if your question is why non-religious spending could reasonably be differentiated from religious spending, even if both were of a discretionary nature, then I think that is fundamentally philosophical, and hinges on the extent one believes religion informs mundane matters in life, but I think reasonable people can disagree on whether halacha has an opinion on Disneyland (and what it is) or whether halacha is simply silent on the matter. But that is not a matter of logic, hence by disagreement that it was a *logical* extension. It may be reasonable, but not necessary.

      I don’t understand your question about chalav yisrael. People who think it is a chiyuv buy it; people who don’t, don’t.

    7. As promised, here’s the Beit Halevi (derush no. 18) which might arguably be the basis of RMF’s sermonic assertion.
      http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14068&st=&pgnum=191

    8. And here’s the cryptic Rambam (Hilkhot Sefer Torah 10:10) comparing Kedushat Sefer Torah with Kedushat Luchot Haberit.
      http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=39979&st=&pgnum=227

    9. 12 dancing rabbis pre-tearing toilet paper.

    10. I don’t understand your question about chalav yisrael. People who think it is a chiyuv buy it; people who don’t, don’t.

      ===========================
      R’Moshe (the poseik hador) said a baal nefesh should be machmir. So uynless being a baal nefesh is a chiyuv, it’s a chumrah one may take upon oneself, so why do that , rather give the money to tzedaka.
      KT

    11. but I think reasonable people can disagree on whether halacha has an opinion on Disneyland (and what it is) or whether halacha is simply silent on the matter.
      =================================================
      So in my example a rav would say to the individual it’s fine to go to disneyland but if you want to spend the money on burial in Israel, you should give it to tzedaka instead? and if the individual really wants to be buried in Israel then iteratively he would continually be told to spend all his discretionary $ on tzedaka?
      KT

    12. r’davidwag, I’d say with pretorn toilet paper so as to reduce the bizayton 🙂
      KT

    13. “joel rich on July 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm
      I don’t understand your question about chalav yisrael. People who think it is a chiyuv buy it; people who don’t, don’t.

      ===========================
      R’Moshe (the poseik hador) said a baal nefesh should be machmir. So uynless being a baal nefesh is a chiyuv, it’s a chumrah one may take upon oneself, so why do that , rather give the money to tzedaka.
      KT

      joel rich on July 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm
      but I think reasonable people can disagree on whether halacha has an opinion on Disneyland (and what it is) or whether halacha is simply silent on the matter.
      =================================================
      So in my example a rav would say to the individual it’s fine to go to disneyland but if you want to spend the money on burial in Israel, you should give it to tzedaka instead? and if the individual really wants to be buried in Israel then iteratively he would continually be told to spend all his discretionary $ on tzedaka?”

      Not that Joel needs my haskama but I agree with both posts.

    14. The only people I know who strictly keep cholov yisroel (chasidim) do so because they do not follow R. Moshe’s psak. He may have been the posek hador, but he certainly wasn’t accepted universally, and certainly not on that point.

      I don’t understand your followup on Disneyland. Are you trying to argue a reductio ad absurdum? Your wording isn’t clear but I hope my point is. In the religious realm, your priorities might be determined by a particular calculus driven by pedagogical reasons, which might have no bearing on discretionary non-religious spending. I’m not saying this is necessarily so, just that it is a reasonable possibility. You claimed your point was logical; I claim it was reasonable, but not logical in the sense that other people could disagree.

    15. Ye’yasher kochakha, R’ Curious.
      Parenthetically, a new reason to keep chalav yisra’el emerged with the publication of RJDB’s “Contemporary Halakhic Problems V”, where – on pp. 192-220 – he advocates drinking so-called “chalav yisra’el” because the “chalav yisra’el” companies are careful to avoid taking milking cows whose abomasums have been punctured in order to correct the condition of left displaced abomasum. This is totally unrelated to the classic issue of chalav yisra’el per se; it’s a curious coincidence that by being strict on so-called “chalav yisra’el”, one is protected from drinking (what RJDB envisages as) chalav treifah miderabbanan. RJDB’s chapter relies on dairy sciece statistics from New York State. In a telephone conversation on June 6, 2006, I asked RJDB whether I in Quebec have to also be strict. RJDB answered that his chapter focuses on New York State and that I need to investigate with the dairy scientists in Quebec. However, he continued, until I can prove that less than 1/60th of Quebec cows undergo a puncturing of the abomasum, I have to be stringent even in Quebec.

    16. The issue of possibly treif cows has been discussed by several poskim. It should be noted that not all agencies supervising chalav yisrael are particular to remove cows which have had this procedure performed on them. For a detailed teshuva on the topic, which supports the OU’s permissive ruling see: Be’Mareh Ha’Bazak 7 p.182, which can be found here: http://files.eretzhemdah.org/files/onlinebm/habazaq7.pdf
      See also the OU’s take on the issue:
      http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/articles/single_print/8406
      and
      http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/articles/single_print/8406

    17. R’J,
      of course R’HS doesn’t indulge in any dairy products at this point. The statistics in general about treifot plus the treifa of an intervention for improvement of the cows health/milk producing/whatever gives me a headache.
      KT

    18. R. Joel – Indeed. However, I presume that he regards this as a personal stringency, as opposed to a psak halacha – does he eat from dishes that have had dairy on them? Do his wife and children act similarly? And I presume that he has no issue with the OU certifying dairy products, although I’m not sure of his exact relationship with their kashrus policies (are he and Rav Belsky advisors or poskim to the OU; is the OU bound to their pesakim? Do they require unanimity on every policy or is one rav more dominant than the other or do they have different areas of involvement?)

    19. they certainly are the poskim. I don’t know when they have a machloket how the OU decides but i would guess that as the CEO of OUKOSHER Rabbi genack decides who to follow if there is a difference of opinion.
      KT

    20. R’ J.,
      Thank you so much for the vast treasury of Torah knowledge you have made available by the links you provided as well as your insights. May I request the privilege of knowing your full name, so that I can be “omer davar beshem omro”? [Similarly, when the Chazon Ish books were originally published anonymously, readers all over the Jewish world wanted to know who is the anonymous Chazon Ish who deserves the credit.]

      Thank you, also, R’ Joel Rich, for the illuminating response to R’ J.

      To explain RJDB’s approach, I would distinguish between RHS’s issue and left displaced abomasum. RHS is concerned that we have always known since time immemorial that there are 10% cows naturally possessing pulmonary pathologies in every herd. It used to be, in pre-industrial times, that only cow’s milk was imbibed at a time. Today, however, when I drink a glass of milk, I’m drinking the milk of many cows together, 10% of which a treif. Therefore, why “is the milk we drink kosher?” (exact title of article by RJDB devoted to this subject in Tradition 41:1). I think RJDB’s answer can be summarized based on R. Shimon Shkop’s thesis in Sha’arei Yosher, sha’ar no. 3, ch. 1. R. Shkop distinguishes between an empirical majority (ruba di’eeta kaman) and a conceptual majority (ruba dileita kaman). An unidentified item arising in the context of the former type of majority is classified as a safek, in which case the Torah adjudicates any safek to follow the majority class. By contradistinction, an unidentified item arising in the context of the latter majority is not a safek at all, but rather is automatically considered to vadai follow the majority class.

      Thus, R. Shkop’s categorization explains why we don’t have to worry about the 10% of all cows that naturally harbor pulmonary pathologies. A ruba dileita kaman of all dairy cows are free of pulmonary pathologies. Therefore, when any given cow is being milked, we automatically assume that the cow is vadai kosher, and so the 10% of pulmonary pathologies are completely eradicated from consideration. There is no chozer vinei’or when the milk of the various cows is subsequently mixed at the industrial scale.

      On the other hand, if one should assume that perforation of the abomasum to correct left displaced abomasum is a halakhic problem (as RJDB assumes, but as R’ J. correctly notes is contested by the OU), and we know which cows undergo the perforation, then only a ruba di’eeta kaman of cows remain unaffected, and so every cow that is milked is treated as safek kosher. Once the milk of all the cows are mixed, the minority of tereifah milk becomes chozer vinei’or. And since about 5% of cows undergo the perforation of the abomasum, RJDB believes we cannot drink the milk from companies that are not careful to avoid the abomasal perforation.

    21. R’SS,
      1.Of course the “probability” of “treif” is the same in all cases (now,preindustrial, displaced whatever)-what is the underlying message of halacha treating them differently
      2.would r’jdb feel differently if they didn’t keep good records of which animals had been treated?
      3.interesting that halacha defines a procedure for the benefit of the cow as one that makes it “treif”(mortality wise)
      KT

    22. R’ Joel Rich,
      Thank you for clarifying the issues. Sorry I was a bit unclear due to a typographical error. I meant to write

      “It used to be, in pre-industrial times, that only *one* cow’s milk was imbibed at a time. Today, however, when I drink a glass of milk, I’m drinking the milk of many cows together, 10% of which a treif.”

      [In other words, I forgot the word *one*. I meant to highlight that in pre-industrial times it used to be one glass of milk = one cow, and so we would follow rov. But since today one glass of milk = many cows (e.g. a few drops from each of 100 cows), and 10% of these are treif, RHS was wondering how anyone can drink milk, when we know 10% of the contents of the glass are treif [and 10% is evidently not batel beshishim. R. Shimon Shkop’s distinction between two classes of rov answers RHS’s question (-though, interestingly, at no time does RJDB mention R. Shkop by name in his “Is the milk we drink kosher?” article. But the article has R. Shkop’s name implicitly written all over it.]

    23. 2. Excellent question. On p. 202 of Contemporary Halakhic Problems V, he writes “Since many farmers customarily retain written or computerized records of all veterinary procedures performed upon dairy cows, whether or not such a procedure has been performed upon any of the farm’s cows may be readily determinable.” So it sounds as though the record-keeping is the source of the problem. But I don’t know if ignorance is bliss here. I.e., even if a farmer would refuse to keep records, the fact that the farmer could hypothetically keep records if he wanted to might be enough to trigger the “rubba de’ita kamman” diagnosis.

      3. Correct; this is a point of discussion between RJDB vs. R. Yisroel Belsky (Mesorah no. 10, pp. 62-73) and R. Menachem Genack (Tradition 29:2, pp. 44-48). Namely, the gemara in Chullin 68b establishes that “once a treifah, always a treifah”. R. Belsky and R. Genack assert that the dictum connotes that if a certain perforation ever heals, then by definition it never made the animal tereifah in the first place. This is the interpretation with which the phrase has been endowed by Torat Yekuti’el on Yoreh De’ah 44:6. And since it is known that virtually all animals successfully recover from left displaced abomasum-correcting surgeries, those surgeries by definition do not render any animal treifah, according to this interpretation of “once a treifah, always a treifah.”
      However, the foregoing is not the sole legitimate elucidation of the aphorism. In footnote no. 21 of Contemporary Halakhic Problems V, RJDB marshals proofs that “once a treifah, always a treifah” should indeed be read to mean the opposite, viz. that a perforation automatically renders an animal treifah forever, even if the perforation heals. Summarizing the dispute, R. Yaakov David Lach, in his Chullin Illuminated (Hamesivta Publications, 5764), pp. 146-148, concedes that either interpretation is equally plausible.

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