by Joel Rich
R’Dovid Gottlieb (now of Ramat Shilo/RBS – formerly rabbi of Shomrei Emunah of Baltimore) was scholar in residence at Congregation AABJ&D in West Orange for Tisha B’av. His shiurim and kinot explanations were a hit with sneeches of all markings (thinkers and feelers).
Kudos to the indefatigable adult education chairman Harold (the real actuary) Dershowitz for sealing the deal. If Rabbi Gottlieb is available, your community should take advantage of the opportunity.
An important post for dwellers in galut (makes me think about Shelley’s `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’Nothing beside remains”
Review of medrash of children committing suicide “al Kiddush hashem” – examples of HKB”H suffering intensely with the Jewish people.
Discussion of issues of Yerushalmi explanation of dating of 17th vs. 9th of tammuz – HKB”H (who is with us in Tzarah) allows us to be “permanently” effected by tzarot.
Beautiful insights from R’Yichezkeil Sarna and the Aish Kodesh and R’A Lichtenstein – Imo anochi b’tzarah and imitato dei (we join with HKB”H) and when you know you’re not alone, it gives you strength (me – a la R’YBS and solving our finite awareness problem)
To know when to correct the Baal Koreh you need expertise in mikra (or mikra/grammar) and common sense (e.g. don’t scream at bar mitzvah boys or the only volunteer you have!)
Interesting discussion of various opinions on when you must return and correct even later vs. when you scream (ok – maybe growl) on the spot. Lots of interesting examples and what the current practice is.
Trading off individual and community priorities is not so simple!
Tension between what Moshe thought was needed to do his job and the abilities he felt he had. In Devarim Moshe repeats the Mitzvot where he has additional wisdom granted him by HKB”H.
Comparison of Tisha B’av vs. the other 3 fasts – when did they diverge in severity? Was there mourning on Tisha B’av during the second temple? Is it preferable to eat at night on Tisha B’av so one can fast during the daylight hours or just start at night and go as long as you can? Discussion of specific restrictions.
Briskers are more lenient on not fasting when there is illness (vs. Marcheshet who says even if you must eat, you should eat less than a shiur – huge chiddush).
Definitions of different levels of illness.
Important mussar – HKB”H is with us more so in pain than in joy!
Discussion of Kamtza/Bar Kamtza story. One of my favorite R’YBS insights – R’Yochanan Ben Zakkai’s fear on his deathbed re: 2 paths ahead and not knowing which one he would be taking – his whole life he was unsure if he had done the right thing asking for Yavneh Vchachameha, not Jerusalem. [Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and that has made all the difference (Robert Frost) – but did I take the road HKB”H wanted me to? (Joel Rich)]
A merry Tisha B’av? An analysis of the dual nature of Tisha B’av and some hints of practices which reflect this.
Mizmor L’Assaf (not Kina) – medrash tells us that we were happy that the Jewish people were not destroyed, only the beit mikdash.
R’YBS – the “devarim ra’im” (bad things) are inyanei d’yoma (elements of the day) – thus while there is joy in learning, it coexists with the sadness.
When Tisha B’av alls out on Shabbat, is it truly moved or just pushed? Discussion of elements of mourning vs. holiday vs. hybrid approach.
Discussion of nature of mincha reading on yom kippur and tisha b’av.
Certainly internet has positive elements but…. Here the focus on lashon hara – is it a midot issue or an issue of damages? All the usual issues include anonymity, blog sensitivities and the users responsibility to digest information.
Rambam’s discussion of “bchezkat mashiach” (presumptive) vs. vadai mashiach (definite).
What’s the deal with mashiach ben yosef vs. moshiach ben david?
Rambam’s view of “ymot hamashiach” (mashiach times) and some possible contradictory sources.
Interesting insight from R’Kook – with our technical advances we’re going back to the state of pre-sin Adam. (We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden)
Sometimes you have to have a quick trigger finger – this was up on YU torah but taken down (I guess you won’t catch someone giving it away – does anyone but my sister know this line from the Chad Mitchell Trio?)
Our society is plagued by narcissism because of our sense of entitlement. As usual there is a dynamic balance. Mussar – be sensitive and focus less on yourself and you’ll be happier. Be more of a notein (giver) and less of a noteil (taker).
We can be mekadeish (make holy) time as well as the physical world.(Time is on my side, yes it is)
A history of some of Agnon’s lesser known satires on the divisions within our society/country. Perhaps Israel would be better off with a separation of church and state. (IIRC R’YBS had similar feelings later in life)
One can’t put oneself in position of danger (sakkanah) – this may be a brand torah requirement with the specific applications being Rabbinic.
Interesting (to me) factoid – R’Chanina ben dosa never appears in the Talmud in an halachic status – he was an admor!
Examples of tzaddikim who did put themselves in danger and possible explanations.
Some very strong words about the halachic status of smoking (torah prohibition) and following safety rules when on vacation (they really do mean you – even if you are the best boy in the yeshiva).
Interesting pshat as to where the “credit” for Moshe’s prayers to get into eretz yisrael eventually landed.
Message of the neviim – do mishpat as a basic role/foundation – without this all else loses meaning. Our generation needs to focus on changing this to bring about the final redemption.
Excellent history/review of some issues with defects in sifrei torah.
* older sifrei torah generally larger with whitewashed backs (marketing reasons only). Whitewash makes them heavier and as it ages, it becomes acidic and covers some letters (with powder) as well as causing them damage
* climate control issues – too moist or dry can cause premature aging (like us!)
* need 62 cows for one sefer torah
* sometimes pays to replace a single cowhide section (perhaps not mehudar)
* letters turning colors – brown = ok, red = ?, red feet = ok
* letter popped off leaving letter shaped gold stain – no good
* what kind of problems are “resolvable” by a child’s reading a letter and what kind of child?
* YI West Hartford fellow reported that Declaration of Independence used sofer’s ink
* missing dots over letters – not pasul
* if Vav in briti shalom in parshat pinchas doesn’t have split, fix it!
* try not to scratch the letters with yad, scrape with your talit or spit when you read
* you can be yotzeh your kriah from any sefer torah with a valid mesorah (ashkenaz, sfard or chassidish)
Importance of Rabbi/Gabbai relationship (but who does the gabbai work for the Rabbi or the community? Does the ritual committee set policy or carry out that of the Rabbi?)
Some discussion of good written resources, women’s issues. Real question – is there such a briah (creation) as a “non-halachic” issue?
Projecting reasons for mitzvot – beneficial, dangerous or necessary? (correct answer – Yes!) Are they just for purification but no inherent value (we used to call this “mickey mouse”) or (Rambam) each has inherent value and benefit. Trying to explain chukim and various pros and cons to each approach.