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by Joel Rich

From R’ Aviner

Woman reciting Birkat Ha-Gomel
Q: Can women recite Birkat Ha-Gomel?
A: There are three possibilities: 1. She can recite the blessing in the Women’s Section when the Gabbai quiets everyone down. 2. She can recite the blessing when 10 men are around, i.e. like before or after a class. 3. She can choose not to recite it at all because of issues of modesty (see Shut She’eilat Shlomo 2:87).

Me- Interesting that issue of modesty could outweigh opportunity to praise HKB”H


From R’ A Lichtenstein (imvho he rest is commentary)
God’s goodness and grace are pillars of our faith. How, then, can we account for evil? It is certainly true that “the impulse of man’s heart is evil from his youth”; our Sages have told us that man’s evil impulse renews itself every day (Kiddushin 30b). God has endowed man with free will, which sometimes goes unbridled and has catastrophic results. I have been strongly influence by the teachings of my revered teacher, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik z”l, who refrained, categorically, from providing answers as to why given events took place. I do not know the extent to which this was specifically because of the Holocaust; I presume that on principle he would have advocated standing humbly before the Almighty in any case. This attitude was deeply ingrained in the Rav’s personality and thinking. This humility dictates the conclusion that we are incapable of understanding Divine providence. But, at the same time, we are capable of responding to catastrophe – and thus also obligated to do so.
As such, faced with tragedy, it is our duty to respond. To whatever extent possible, we must draw the appropriate conclusions and continue on our way, determined as before. Our goal must be not to hobble along as wounded survivors, but to press forward with renewed rigor. The ideal response is a combination of humility and struggle. On the one hand, we accept God’s judgment. But on the other hand, we respond with readiness and determination – to rise up and overcome.
We know not why these events happen. But when evil manifests itself, we must confront it. At one level, we must confront its perpetrators directly – a realm beyond my purview. Leaving aside direct confrontation at the practical, political or social plane, this manifestation of evil demands that we sharpen our awareness of the evil that lurks within us, and stand guard with greater vigilance against it. When I say “within us,” I refer to the world at large, to the intimate society that surrounds us, and to the depths of the individual soul.


  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Parsha Shiur – Shoftim 5771

    No true ordination in these days so how do Rabbis have power to function? – “Shilichutayhu” (we are the messengers of earlier ordainees). Is shlichutayhu a torah or rabbinic issue? Tosfot assumes it’s Torah since else how could we have converts in our day since conversion requires a beit din. Rashba says rabbinic power today flows from hefker beit din, allowing converts is a chiddush (unique case).
    Beit Din Hagadol (sanhedrin) of shevet (tribe) – R’YBS assumes had 71 members, but we really have no historical records. Fascinating Zohar on how Yaakov asked for a number of delicacies implying that HKB”H likes variety. Implication for Sanhedrin of shvatim – each shevet should have it’s own derech (path/approach to life). [me – lack of geographic mobility made this easier?] The Beit Din Hagadol only dealt with big ticket new items which needed conformance (most of the time they were simply teachers of mesorah – [me – shades of R’YBS’s view of himself?]).
    Other topics include:
    *planting trees in synagogue yard
    *taking treif money for a shul (me – is it batel b’rov, shishim or never?)
    *following sanhedrin when you know it’s wrong (don’t) vs. when you think it is wrong (do)
    *Gadol hador is only if undisputed
    *It’s prohibited to be haughty (baal gaavah) [me – should have said yesh omrim?] *kohanim today – real or doubtful?

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Retzuos of Tefillin

    Black is black (cue Los Bravos) – details of coloration, measures and intent needed related to tfillin straps. (IIRC we once discussed making both sides black – This was practice of the Ari).

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Makkos 3 – Daf 2a – 2b

    Continuation of shiur on Talmud Makot.
    R’Yishmael omer – most of these midot never mentioned in the Talmud!
    Time/space continuum – are witnesses retroactively disbelieved or only for future testimony? Is there a difference depending on why they aren’t believed?
    Is the chiddush (unique element) of eidim zomemim that the second set of witnesses are actually believed or just that we act as if we believe them?

  • Rabbi Moshe Taragin – Democracy and Egla Arufa

    Lesson of eglah arufah – the importance of each and every life.

  • Rabbi Yona Reiss – Divrei Pesicha – Beginning of the Zman

    The importance of not missing an opportunity.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Sanhedrin Shiur 01 – Shiur Pesicha – Kiyum and Birur Hadavar

    Kiyum (establishing a status) vs. birur (clarifying facts) in witnesses, contracts and courts [Classic Brisk -R’ Chaim on differing levels of daat – but is it what chazal meant?]

  • Rabbi Yoni Levin -Creating Court Systems

    Is it a mitzvah for each shevet to have a beit din? Perhaps part of the issue is how much is each shevet its own entity (federalism vs. states’ rights?)
    Is the purpose of local courts to offer ease of access or to have a positive effect on the local populace.

  • Rosh HaYeshiva Norman Lamm -The Blind in Halacha

    Blindness in halacha – can a blind person get an aliya? Does shomea k’oneh (hearing is like saying) work for him? When we say a blind person is patur from mitzvot, does it include negative commandments? 7 mitzvot of bnai neach? (poor Audio)

  • Rabbi Michael Rosensweig – 01- הקדמה למס’ יבמות א

    Introduction to Yevamot (RIETS shiur). Don’t focus on cases, focus on concepts. Is the yevama’s relationship an outgrowth of original marriage or something new? Why does yevamot begin the ishut section of the Talmud (what does it say about family relationships)?
    How does it relate to other relationship forms (e.g. kiddushin)? Is the prohibition of brothers wife overridden or is it as if it didn’t exist? Stay tuned!

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Personal Piety and Psak

    We are not baalim (owners) of our bodies or our reputations (me – just trustees).
    Talmidei chachamim and bnai yeshiva need to take into account chashad (people will think you did wrong thing) maarit ayin (people will reach wrong conclusion based on your action), hold self to higher standards (adam, chashuv, hidur mitzvah, daat yachid…) except if it will be counterproductive (oh yeah, he’s the rabbi…) – Be aware of other opinions and local practice.

  • R’Aaron Levine – Included in the shiur above

    Discussion of gneivat daat (false favorable impression) in the business setting – review of standard Talmudic sources. How does advertising fit in? How does a white tornado clean? [what is a white tornado?] Does a student have to tell his teacher if the teacher made a grading error in the student’s favor? (surprise – yes!)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Sheva Berachos

    “Nesuin Khalacha” sounds like another indispensible anthology of psak. Lots of technical detail. 1) So why isn’t a woman eligible for “panim chadashot”?; 2) So if you sponsor the standard seudot that the shul would have anyway, is that “lkavod chatan v’kallah”? (If not, no saying sheva brachot)

  • Rabbi Chaim Eisen – Chosenness and its Ramifications: How does Halakha relate to non-Jews?

    Extensive review of how we relate to non-bnai brit. Presents the negative towards non-bnai brit data points and then presents more extensive rebuttal information including specific cases – focus on Meiri.

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb -Kiddushin #1 – Is Kiddushin a Mitzvah?

    Rabbi Gottlieb begins a community kollel shiur at Yeshivat Lev Hatorah in Ramat Shilo (I like all 3!). Here he introduces mesechet kiddushin analyzing if there is a mitzvah of kiddushin or is it related to other mitzvot? What type of mitzvah might it be?

  • Rabbi Yosef Blau -How does Teshuva work?

    Mussar on how tshuvah works.

  • Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank -Rambam Hilchos Yesodai HaTorah Ch. 1 Part 1

    Medieval philosophy including cosmological proofs, spheres and physical existence.

  • About Joel Rich

    Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

    5 comments

    1. R’Joel- Modesty only outweighs a woman praising Hashem in front of a group of men. That is why MVR R’Aviner is mettir benching hagomel from behind the mechitza. A minyan of men hears the praise and responds without having to look at the woman. Tzniyut issues are important espcially within the shul. Bemechila, your tmiha is not much different than that of the Conservatives who don’t understand whats wrong with sitting next to their wives (and their friends wives)during dovenning; after all they all are praising Hashem. IIRC Rav Naftali Bar Ilan paskened that Risa should bench hagomel after shul at the kiddush where men and women were standing together anyway.

    2. R’DT,
      Apparently there are those who believe that the mechitza is not sufficient to outweigh the “tzniut” issue either. What exactly is the concern, that a women’s speaking voice is heard?
      KT

    3. R’JR- I agree that there seems to be no modesty issue if the woman is behind the mechitza. Perhaps R’Aviner wanted to emphasize that since hagomel needs a minyan in any case it is reshut for a woman, so if she feels uncomfortable she can decline to say it even though there really is no issur meta’am tzniut. This would hold also in the question of a woman saying kaddish yatom from behind the mechitza.

    4. Rabbi Y.H. Henkin

      Why do many women say Birkat haGomel after childbirth but not after illness, air travel, etc.? See Bnei Banim 4:5 and Responsa om Contemporary Jewish Women’s Issues (Ktav) ch. 8.

    5. Steg (dos iz nit der shteg)

      They’ve now come up with a technique for staining tefillin straps black all the way through, so if the top black cracks it’s still black on the inside.

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