by Joel Rich
from a shiur by rav elchanan zohn- chevra kadisha of queens-
“educate that there is no family greeting hour before funeral for nichum aveilim – it’s some American thing maybe for FD’s to make more money.”
The most considerate of my friends say I march to a different drummer (nice way of saying I’m an odd ball). For years I’ve avoided the pre-funeral chat with aveilim since AIUI one is not to be menachem the aveil while meito lfanav. Of course, this reticence was questioned by many as not minhag Yisrael. A young Talmud chacham recently sent me the following:
Tzahal Uniform (From R’ Aviner)
Q: Based on the law that one must daven in clothing that one would wear when standing before a king, is it permissible to daven in a Tzahal uniform?
A: Certainly. This may be the most honorable clothing we have. And see Shut Avnei Yespeh 8:29 #5 (It is related that at the time of his wedding, Ha-Rav Shear Yashuv Cohain [current Chief Rabbi of Haifa] was serving as a Rabbi in the Army, and came to his wedding in Yerushalayim wearing his Tzahal uniform. Some people there did not look upon this positively. Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook was surprised by their reactions, “Wearing the clothing of a Russian nobleman – this is appropriate?! But wearing the uniform of Tzeva Haganah Le-Yisrael – the Israel Defense Force – this is not appropriate?!”
Tal Chermon – Moadim, p. 135).
Aha – finally someone agrees with me on something (or V.U.)! R’AW doesn’t think the whole pidyon shvuyim analysis really applies by the Shalit case. Firstly how do you define appropriate price in a non $ situation. Also, the basic contract between the state and its soldiers needs to be considered, and we must recognize hilchot milchama (laws of war) is a different reality than “standard” halacha.
Discussion of Maarit Ayin (how it looks?) as a concern over whether people will think less of you or think something wrong is OK to do. Implications for bringing in Kosher meal to a non-Kosher restaurant. Traditional approach = no can do but some possible leniencies (i) if there’s a potential loss; (ii) this particular case not mentioned in the Talmud; (iii) changing circumstances (everyone knows that people do this). (me – another great example of the first people perhaps doing “something wrong” making it right for the future.)
Discussion of fruits, veggies prepared in a non-Kosher kitchen – lots of detail, worth listening to if this is an issue for you.
Using an office microwave – I think R’MT is more machmir than R’HS.
Dr. You Know Who You Are – any haarot for your S-I-L? Discussion for us poor working folk who go to very early minyanim. There is a lack of clarity on definitions and a number of differences of opinion on paired comparisons (e.g. better to daven with a minyan at X vs. without a minyan at X+30 minutes). [me – does the invention of atomic clocks, clarity of astronomy and the fact we live in a non-agarian society make a difference? What about geography (e.g. if your shul is in a Pleasant Valley (Sunday?))]
A review of the interplay between hishtadlut (need to make our human efforts) and bitachon (HKB”H will help). Should you take a job you like? Will it make any difference to your income which job you take? (R’Moshe – yes – and it’s not a lack of bitachon). Q. So can you buy insurance or is it a lack of faith? A. Yes you may (and R’Moshe gives advice on term vs. whole life (actually endowment like
Meaning of mitzvot and the details. First in a series focus on the approach of Rambam vs. others.
Trading off schar halicha (reward for walking to Shul) vs. ein maavirin (don’t pass up a mitzvah). (me – need to look at opportunity costs). Does driving count?
Better to give no answer than give a bad one. Lots of discussion on holocaust, etc.
Another associative walk through the mind of R’HS
*mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael
*was Avraham wrong to leave Israel?
*goy(nation) vs. mishpacha (family)
*centrality of Israel for community(Tzibbur) mitzvoth
*kibbud av vs aliyah (if you’re “only” going because it’s a mitzvah)
*Avraham/Malkitzedek/Melech Sdom – who owned what? (Avraham – owned all conquered through war) and who got what? (Malkitzedek-Maaser for Yeshiva) and who wanted what (Melech Sdom – some money back)
*what did they learn in Yeshivat Shem v’Ever (hint – not shas & poskim)
*status of avot as “commanded” and our source of being commanded
*preference of right over left (from Cohanim/Avodah – not Kaballah)
*outside chuppah for fertility blessing
Sources in Tanach and Rambam’s understanding of what an angel is (me – Just call me angel of the morning = saro shel Esav’s answer to Yaakov?)
1) Positive – live every day as if it’s your last; 2) technology can be great [but must be towards a goal and not undermine critical thinking]; 3) too much I in Ipod, Ipad. Judaism is about community.
Individual prayer (techinot) vs. group prayer issues. The siddur contains much in the way of hashkafa and can be used as a jumping off point for contemplation.
R’JS accepts hester panim (HKB”H withdrew) as the explanation for the holocaust.
Two disturbing (to me) thoughts: R’JS seems to think Kellner/Shapiro hold that a Jew doesn’t have to believe anything (deed not creed etc. – that’s not how I understand them). R’LW seems to think that the destruction of the temple was not such a bad thing since we were only a local religion till then.
Excellent review shiur covering a number of technical details that many are not aware of (many which I put into the mutav sheyihiyu shogigim/forgive them father they know not what (oops – wrong religion category)). Who, When, What and How all answered (please back away from the whiskey sir and let me see your hands at all times).
Comparison of Jewish and secular law on culpability when lack of intent. In Jewish law it’s not usually punishable but may still be wrong. [me – the major difference between secular and religious law you always have HKB”H to backstop all errors]. Then analysis of eid zomeim and explaining why it’s different.
Based on R’Amital – our response to bad things happening to good people – 1000% questions coupled with 1000% support. We don’t make false faith statements and we do experience evil as evil.
Beginning of a series – here focus upon whom does the mitzvah to marry devolve upon and possible exceptions. Some interesting comments on the comparative religious trajectories of aging singles – male vs.female.
Review of a number of topics – Hatzalah phone #, prayer for healing, Dr.’s requirement to heal, when can violations of halacha be overlooked (or they don’t exist) for the sake of healing, bikkur cholim….(glad I didn’t have to take the test!).
Review of last year’s Adam I and Adam II summary. Here focus on Chapter 7 – prayer = we pray to a covenantal partner, not a king. This chapter is the least universalistic of the entire work (which was generally universalistic).
Understanding the poetic implications of the chapter of tehilim we say before birchat hamazon during the week to remind us of the galut we’re in. (me – some places and times need more of a reminder).
[My take on Im eshkacheich vs. Im lo ezkereichi – there’s a huge difference between totally forgetting and not actively remembering [R’YBS on Habein yakir li Efraim….ki mdei dabri be, ezkerenu; if you’re speaking, you must have already remembered! Thus ezkerenu must be is a remembrance which brings you to action].