by Joel Rich
From a comment on a recent mishpacha article: link):
interesting how people can be so wishy washy as to listen to the opinion of 3 individuals who i might add dnt really count as ”gedolim” who really have a say!
Me –interesting juxtaposition with the following from the same article: “A few years ago, I asked a gadol whether he had addressed certain socioeconomic problems in a new work on contemporary issues. He told me that he could not do so, because if he did, the kano’im would marginalize the influence he could have on Klal Yisrael by denouncing him in public. In other words, he could not address pressing issues because if he did he would become so discredited that no one would listen to him anyway. And then we complain that there is no leadership.”
From a recent Cross Currents post (link):
“I can accurately answer any question you may have” I boast. “As long, as you realize that ‘I don’t know’ is a perfectly valid answer.”
Me-what’s the next sentence- so don’t bother ever thinking about it, or, put it in your pocket and work at it as you can till your satisfied? (btw I would have substituted “I humbly admit” for “I boast”)
R’Simon considers where changes in society impacts our ritual observance of Chanukah. Examples – what time people are on the street, who is the main audience for the lights.
R’Simon seems taken with something he thinks he heard in the name of R’Bick that (if I got it right) the takanna of chazarat hashatz was only for shuls because people who didn’t know how to daven would go there and, thus, there is no need to have it at a minyan at a law firm or a wedding. I really didn’t get this – 1) what about R’YBS and tfilat hatzibbur?; 2) everyone at a law firm and a wedding is a baki?; 3) what’s the harm, especially at a wedding; 4) any historical evidence?
R’YBS was against brachot on public lightings not in a shul.
Money Quote: “Need to have a person of the caliber of R’Moshe Feinstein to be able to discern what’s considered a change we can accept and what’s considered a change that we can’t accept….and even at his level not everyone accepted”. [me – but what is the algorithm?] Kiddush on grape juice, electric menorah’s and weddings in shul are issues where sociological issues (e.g. conservative and reform) came in play.
Most hold the requirement of zimun is drabbanan, the chazon ish says it’s duraita.
Original practice – mzamein (leader) says the entire birchat hamazon aloud and everyone answered amen to be yotzeh. Practice changed to each individual saying it because “we” (they?) couldn’t concentrate as well as prior generations [I’d love to see the academic research on that] Rama – leader says 1st paragraph/bracha out loud, S”A – he just says zimun.
For Elokeinu (10) – at least 7 must have had bread. Sfardim count children if they understand.
Practice is levi gets precedence if no kohain (hmmm – why is this not same machloket as by an aliyah?).
Kohein vs. talmid chacham precedence discussed. (I never remember my talmid chachamometer when I need it!?)
Conclusion of politics shiur – be flexible, understand that Torah wisdom from those steeped in it is important. When voting we should keep a broad range of issues in mind even if at certain times one (or a few) of them become paramount.
Most of the halachot of batim of tfillin seem to be halacha moshe m’sinai – some detailed here. Best part is reason why to wear “average” size batim (me – b’toch ami ani yoshevet?)
The goal of testimony in Jewish law is the collection of objective facts. Judges can draw conclusions not witnesses.
Summary of underlying controversies concerning Sabbath mode ovens. Issues include:
*grama (causation) – is time delay enough?
*can you really lower flames on yom tov
*use of computer chip
*use of electrical current
If you don’t have Shabbat mode, do new ovens have automatic safety features which are problematic anyway?
Review of basic issues of endangering oneself, even where there’s a mitzvah involved. How do we explain Talmudic stories of rabbinic self endangerment? Perhaps (a la Rambam) exceptional people have exceptional hashgacha. Then discussion of allowable “normal” risk.
Interesting Achiezer – we don’t force someone to rely on “shomer psaim”! (me – think of cases re: pru u’rvu, etc.)
Distinguishing between Mishpat Hamelech (laws promulgated by Jewish King) and Dina Dmalchuta (law of state). By the former it’s a mitzvah to listen (much like any mitzvah – there may be a punishment for violating, but it’s an inherent wrong even without the punishment) by the latter it’s a din (law) to listen.
R’Kook on the authority for the mishpat hamelech reverting back to the people if no King and then review of the various theories underlying the rule of dina d’malchuta (me – why didn’t shmuel tell us where he got it? Did he start it or just articulate it?)
Practical issues for the modern lonely man of faith. While he would have existential loneliness in any event, for moderns it is an even greater challenge due to societal issues.
Adam I and II both have a role in broad society. We need to communicate that religion can’t be relegated to a secondary, narrow focus.
Prophets as Adam I and II – Sometimes they are rejected. It’s a challenge to be a lonely man of faith. Remember there are both universalistic and particularist messages in this work.
A replay of his AMI/Cross Currents piece. He’s not righting (pun) out the far left (you’ll have to do that yourself), just saying they have their own approach (not relying on those who know more) which is not consistent with orthodoxy as understood by many in the RCA and certainly by the chareidi world. But they’re nice people. (Perhaps Mr. Savitsky should have pressed him a bit more on where the dividing line is – usually it’s just to the speaker’s left and right. I’d have also asked him about meshichists.)
The usual wide ranging potpourri. The idea of needing a mesader kiddushin was amoraic, it’s like a beit din and thus better to have weddings during the day time and not have a relative as mesader kiddushin (“we are lenient”!).
Gaonim moved nesuin and erusin together (me – what were the conditions that caused this and why is it permanent?).
Kallah’s silence is consent (hmmm – so if she has a speaking part, why do some folks get upset).
Wine was introduced for erusin by geonim (why?). Thus the whole R’Chaim spilling/taking a sip is only an issue by erusin not nesuin (and it seems unclear if he really did it).
Kiddushin witnesses “to the exclusion of all others” – really means the witnesses have in mind not to join with any others (R’HS blames this language on R’YBS early years, when he wasn’t facile in English!).
Lots on what is chupah, then minhagim (R’YBS – it’s all to make people happy! me – our minhag was to do what the in-laws want).
A long experimental shiur focused on analyzing spiritual messages (not simple pshat) in the torah.
Focus on very beginning of Breishit and messages of creation ex-nihilo (briah) vs. formation (yetzirah) thereafter. In Judaism (Yediah) belief must always turn into action.
Imitato dei, relationships, commitment and creativity are some of the lessons imparted.
Then someone else at the RCA convention chizuk to trustees and graduates – be a ger and a Toshav.
Certainly negative ones are not appropriate and even others may be problematic due to either general issues of respect or what it does to the caller’s personality or the negative questions the name may raise. Implications of each of these possible reasons on possible exceptions (e.g. calling someone captain in general, and what if it’s because he was captain of a team that won maybe 4 games in 4 years.).
Fact filled review of practical halacha shiurim given to RIETS students. Way too much to summarize. This session is on Yom Tov issues. Includes mtoch, marbeh b’shiurim, hutrah vs. dchuya, lighting unneeded candles, turning off gas burners (shhh! R’MF is ok with it but…..).
Sukkot issues include – 4 minim (esrog etc. not non-believers). What to look for, what is hiddur, what constitutes “yours”, when to make brachot; schach issues (who would’ve thunk mats really work). Yom Kippur – pregnant women fasting.
I would have loved a longer discussion on when there is leidat hasafeik (a doubt worth considering) given that there seems to be a lack of rigor on what is anecdotal data, etc.
Tanach and Talmudic sources on extraterrestrials. Philosophically – man as center of the universe or just a piece of the bigger puzzle?
Rabbi Yehuda Balsam-Self Deprication and Palginan Dibura
Very technical discussion of when we split someone’s testimony.