Audio Roundup: Special Reisman Edition

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by Joel Rich

You can download these shiurim for a fee from Ishiur.
Thanks once again to Counselor K for his continued contribution to Torah True Judaism!

· J-3 – Serious Philosophical Questions

I must start with this one because while I wouldn’t compare myself to R’Reisman, his first two questions have been high on my list for a while [of course, like him, I’m not questioning, just trying to understand (I love that matir phrase!). Important thing is to think!!!] And, if that weren’t enough, he opens with “my” speech (“be like mike” = use whatever HKB”H gave you to the fullest (i.e. not everyone can be the gadol hador (objectively) but you can be subjectively!).
1) Stories about Tzadikim giving away their olam haba and (seemingly) thus getting greater reward. So they didn’t really give it away? (e.g. Mkosheish – was he rewarded for sinning to keep others from sinning?) [me – as I say, “I’m not HKB”H’s accountant but… Who says the reward for punishment is yours to transfer?? See Chasdei Olam 605 for one who wanted to sell his sins?!] 2) Timtum haleiv (spiritual defect received when eating non-kosher) [this one’s for Harold Z. – I’m still waiting for him to start MRI’ing cows for our super – hechsher] – If halacha says you can eat it, how could it be harmful?? [me – why not, mtziut (factual status) might rule. And, anyway, then why worry about chalav stam? Or pat palter?] And if it is so, aren’t we all in trouble since there are kashrut issues we don’t check for (miyut sheino matzui?)
3) Why did HKB”H create need to sleep? (me – and why he created us at all you understand?)
4) Tachanun is underrated – why lose the ability to say it when a chatan is there? [me – or a rebbi’s yahrtzeit] Great quote from R’Moshe (who also didn’t understand the M”B saying a chatan shouldn’t go to minyan (if he does, they lose tachanum)) – something like that din must have been written for Shuls where people would be angry at having to miss tachanun!! [me – we should miss the opportunity to pour out our souls!!!!!!!!!] Bottom line – view all these as opportunities which are part of the system – to do the best you can within whatever limitations.
Giving shiur bzchut a neshama– can you transfer credits, is it multiple credits etc?? [me – do your best, let HKB”H sort out the bookkeeping]

Y-233 – The Weakest Generation

A brief introduction as to whether Chazal’s measures are prescriptive or descriptive (more on this would have been great – e.g. if the average egg/fist size changed over time, does the absolute measure change as well?).
Then understanding nitkatnu hadorot (monotonic decreasing “stature” of each generation) – it started from Moshe but really accelerated after the destruction of the Temple. R’M’Shapiro explains this is caused by the dimunition of “cochot hanefesh (soul force?)” which leads to distractedness and inability to focus.
Interesting, R’Reisman says that nitkatnu hadorot is only really difficult for the non-religious to understand (hmmm – it’s distracted me since high school).

· Y-234 – Yirmiyahu’s Last Message

The change in the avodah of the individual leads to a group approach/change and more so vice versa – if you sit with them you are one of them (“Koach hachabura”). Followed by siyum but low audio.

J-1 Hakdamos

Abarbanel was the first thematic Tanach commentator. He was willing to explain things differently than the Talmud did (more on this would have been great)!
Importance of writing down your torah insights, setting up time to learn (surprise).
Malbim really opened up Navi. Starting a Navi with Vayihi (with a vav) is to teach us that everything is connected, nothing is by chance, all is hashgacha pratit (me – so if everything is as it is supposed to be, why not just “go gentle into that good night?”)

· J-2 – A Haggadah Lesson

Question on the inclusion (and relative importance) of splitting of the sea in the Haggadah? It was an extra treat to show HKB”H’s great love by doing something he was not obligated to do by prior promise (we should do the same in our relationships).

· J-4 – Bein Hazmanim

Is the requirement to learn torah a constant one or just to learn some each day?
(Sidepoint – R’Reisman translates chachmah yivanis as science – I think there may be more to this!)
Bein hazmanim – could it really be a time for not learning? 1) use it to develop interests in learning what you enjoy but don’t waste time; 2) Baal habatim should certainly learn then; 3) wives are always late (a recurring R’Reisman theory)

· J-8 – The Vienna Get

A famous divorce case which split the European rabbinate [and you want to know why avi mori rabbi Zll”hh taught me (as I later heard from R’YBS) dan l’kaf zchut (give the benefit of the doubt) for the past but cavdeihu vchasdeihu (trust but verify?) for the future.] Ties to mussar on knowing what’s important and what’s not and not breaking a relationship etc. for small stuff.

· J-5 Buying Aliyot

The practice of buying aliyot is based on kavod hatorah (respect for torah). It’s good to pay for mitzvot, it shows your love/their importance [me – and if you gave those dollars without recognition?].
Is it a monetary (purchase) transaction [mekach umemkar] or a neder [vow]? – some practical implications of this question discussed – including can you pay from maaser (tithe) funds? [surprise – the minhag haolam is yes!]

· J-6 – Worried About Parnassah

Blessed vs. non-blessed income. If the tirdah (concerns?) pull you away from other priorities, it’s not blessed.
R’Reisman admits he is an apikoros (about Segulas). Parshat Haman as a segula for parnassah (livelihood) on specific days has little [no] history; in general R’C Kanievski explains it’s to understand parnassah is from HKB”H, do your hishtadlut (efforts) and don’t worry.
Mussar about setting priorities correctly – make sure you set aside time for learning, mincha even though you are working.

· J-7 – Precisely Imprecise Words

Looks at different words (chatzi, kol, rov) and concepts (e.g. rounding) in Tanach that don’t always mean what we generally think they do. Mussar is that not everything is the way it seems (hashgacha pratit) and it all depends what you do with it. (me – seems to be on R’Reisman’s mind)
Life is imprecise (or as we say in the shop – inherently risky).

· J-11 – The Sorites Paradox

My example – they say you can put a frog in a pot of water and turn up the heat incrementally and he won’t jump out but will boil to death, so too us and the outside world, therefore you need a Rebbi to give you Tochecha.
In passing, R’Reisman mentions he doesn’t know the heter for going in the NYC subway in the summer. To me it raises an interesting question – what tradeoff in standard of living does R’Reisman counsel his congregants to make to avoid this (or does he suggest aliyah to RBS-A, etc?)

· J-9 – On the Things People Say

Sometimes I’m in perfect resonance with R’Reisman (see J-3)! Things not to say (act on): 1) it doesn’t matter what people say, if I’m right I do it (this is somewhat OK by mitzvot); 2) when someone suffers – “What can you do?” (implying you know better than HKB”H and would have done differently [bonus – he didn’t like WTC survival “stories” – what about those who didn’t?]; 3) HKB”H never gives you a nisayon (test) that you can’t overcome (I struggle with this – for a long time I believed it – I still do but have modified my definition of overcome); 4) Freewill means doing what you don’t want to do (me – it’s a more complex definition)

· J-10 – Hamelech Hamishpat

1) Mishpat Hamelech (King’s law) vs. 2) Mishpat Sandredrin (court law) – 1) is subjective, 2) is objective. [me – which is why having same authority do both may be tricky! (oops – never mind)] Mussar for yamim noraim – we want HKB”H to act as the melech not as sanhedrin!

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.

15 comments

  1. “me – as I say, “I’m not HKB”H’s accountant but… Who says the reward for punishment is yours to transfer?? ”

    People have a tough enough time understanding GAAP-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles how do they expect to understand CAAP-Celestial Accepted Accounting Principles

  2. “In passing, R’Reisman mentions he doesn’t know the heter for going in the NYC subway in the summer.”

    Because you have to get to work? That old thing?

  3. ” I wouldn’t compare myself to R’Reisman,”

    Of course not R Joel is much more sympathetic to science, knowledge etc. R Reisman is an effective packager for his hashkafa which is different than that of the vast majority of YUs at least 40-50 years ago,

  4. r’nachum,
    but do you “have to”? what is the $ trade-off for working locally and avoiding it that must be made?
    KT

  5. Do you have to do anything? I can make a living giving popular Nach shiurim to segregated audiences in Flatbush, and I’d never have to take a train (or, say, walk through the streets of central Jerusalem in mid-July) again.

  6. “I don’t know what the heter to ___” is a rhetorical comment of disapproval, not a pesak issur.

  7. ““I don’t know what the heter to ___” is a rhetorical comment of disapproval, not a pesak issur.”

    Seems to me it’s an easy way to voice disapproval without taking the responsibility to deal with the issue seriously.

  8. Seems to me it’s an easy way to voice disapproval without taking the responsibility to deal with the issue seriously.

    My impression is many people nowadays are even willing to say “totally assur” without dealing with the issue seriously.

  9. “Joseph Kaplan on July 17, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    ““I don’t know what the heter to ___” is a rhetorical comment of disapproval, not a pesak issur.”

    Seems to me it’s an easy way to voice disapproval without taking the responsibility to deal with the issue seriously.

    Shlomo on July 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm
    Seems to me it’s an easy way to voice disapproval without taking the responsibility to deal with the issue seriously.

    My impression is many people nowadays are even willing to say “totally assur” without dealing with the issue seriously”

    elu velu divrei….

  10. I’m obviously a bit more naive but to me R’ Reisman raised an important issue, and I know he is well respected by his congregants, so what practical psak would one get in this situation (trading off commuting by subway for an x% reduction in compensation)?
    KT

  11. bike to work

  12. If I had a choice, I would certainly prefer to work in my neighborhood than work in Manhattan. First of all, I find myself with less patience for standing either on a local bus and the subway, either to or from the office. That concern aside, female attire in Manhattan resembles the beach-Shemiras Einayim is no longer just a Midas Chasidus. If one looks in the first volume of Halicos Shlomoh, RSZA strongly suggests keeping one’s eyes in a sefer.

  13. Wasn’t the subway issue already addressed by Rav Moshe, ztz”l? Igros Moshe, Even Ha’ezer, 2:14.

  14. Scott-Yes, RMF addressed this issue and his Psak should be compared with that of the recorded views of RSZA.

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