Audio Roundup

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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).

  • Rav Asher Weiss-Pidyon Shevuyim

    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.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Non-Kosher Business Lunches

    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.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Davening Early When Neitz is Late

    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?))]

  • Rabbi Elon Soniker -In G-d We Trust, Who Needs Insurance

    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
    I think)).

  • Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-The Purpose of Mitzvos

    Meaning of mitzvot and the details. First in a series focus on the approach of Rambam vs. others.

  • Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Lech Lecha Mitzvos Is There a Greater Reward for Each Step and Effort

    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?

  • Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein -My community # 13- better a good question then a lousy answer

    Better to give no answer than give a bad one. Lots of discussion on holocaust, etc.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Parsha Shiur – Lech Lecha 5772

    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

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Do malachim have Free Will?

    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?)

  • Rabbi Reuven Brand -Sholoshim for Steve Jobs

    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.

  • Jonathan Sacks in conversation with Leon Wieseltier-The Power of Prayer

    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.

  • Rabbi Shimon Isaacson -Community Kiddush

    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).

  • Ms. Adina Levine -The Unsuccessful Murderer and the Talmudic Crime of Attempt

    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.

  • Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-My Community # 12-1000% Questions and 1000% faith

    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.

  • Rabbi Ezra Schwartz -Marriage in Halacha #1

    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.

  • Rabbi Dr. David Shabtai-Halakhic Challenges in Medicine (12) – Review for Midterm

    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!).

  • Rabbi Jeffrey Saks-Lonely Man of Faith (Part 10)

    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).

  • Mrs Ilana Saks-Jerusalem on the Euphrates

    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].

  • 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.


    1. Honeitz, not Neitz. Neitz is a non-kosher bird.

    2. r’ hadardal,
      true, but usage has kashered the neitz 🙂

    3. Just a quick comment on Rav Asher Weiss’ Gilad Shalit shiur:
      I emphatically agree that the ‘price’ here was not $. But, he said a few times that the ‘price’ was over 1,000 non-Jews and he is proud that we value one Jew so highly. That would be true if those non-Jews were random non-Jews who through no fault of their own just happened to be in Israel and were wanting to leave. That, however, is NOT the case. Those non-Jews were supposed to be serving several hundred life-sentences for their direct involvement in the deaths of hundreds of people in Israel. THOSE people, shoppers, pizza eaters, babies in their carriages and folks on their way to work, the vast majority citizens and not soldiers, are the real ‘price’, paid in full, even before Gilad Shalit was drafted.
      While it’s true our army advocates saving every soldier (we don’t leave the wounded on the field)during battle we must also keep in perspective that the soldiers in the army are there to shield and defend the civilian population. They are supposed to make it safe for babies to sleep in their cribs at night.
      Our government failed to champion Gilad Shalit’s release in the international channels and use many non-military forms of pressure on PA and Gaza in addition to the controversial ‘lo mavrichim’ and was therefore forced to put us all in grave danger. Of course we were happy to see Gilad hugging his parents. But now the rest of us have to figure out how we’re going to prevent the next tragedy.
      I could go on, but it’s almost time to light candles.
      Shabbat Shalom.

    4. R’ Risa,
      Just to be clear-I’m not saying I agree or disagree on the decision, just saying what I think the proper framework for the decision should be imho (much like R’YBS on land for peace – not saying we should or shouldn’t, just who should answer the question)

    5. Shalom Rosenfeld

      IDF Uniform — what helps even further is they don’t have a dress version worn domestically (l’fi Rabbeinu Vikipedia).

      The “Russian nobleman” was a dig at Hassidic garb, I assume? (Let’s not go there…)


      Community Kiddush — glad someone is addressing this.

      I once attended a shul where there was a barmitzva lunch; many people stayed around for the salmon appetizer then went home. The caterers were guarding the table with cookies and not letting anyone touch them!

      Jewish Action a few issues ago had their health-and-nutrition lady write up about how much bad food is at kiddush, and how they should have baby carrots etc. instead. I wrote back that’s great, but what about the halachic role of kiddush food? It would actually be assur to serve just baby carrots. Either serve unadulterated whole-wheat crackers, “or ask your rabbi if being yotzei with grapes is right for you.”

      Of course JA printed a million letters back and forth on RA”L on the angry book, then Rabbi Broyde, etc. on the halachic process; but the nexus between basic halacha and the health-and-recipes column? ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה. (Grumble.)

    6. R’SR,
      I long ago concluded (meaning based on the empirical evidence of the local practices and rabbinic reaction or lack thereof I actuarially intuited an underlying function) that the operative halachic principle by kiddush was mutav sheyihiyu shoggigin.

    7. Shalom Rosenfeld


    8. Shavua Tov!
      I didn’t mean I was disagreeing with the Audio Roundup, “just” disagreeing with Rav Asher 🙂

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