by Joel Rich
Question: If Baruch Hashem L’olam was only added to Maariv so latecomers to Shul could catch up, why is it not dispensed within non-shul minyan (say like some say we do at mincha with dispensing with full chazarat hashatz?)
Question: What is the source for the seemingly common practice of crowds visiting mourners in a room prior to the Chapel Service? Why isn’t this considered consoling the mourner while the deceased is in front of him?
Very worthwhile shiur on whether smicha (ordination) can be revoked (a recently perennial topic on hirhurim ).
Is current day smicha reflective of that of days of yore (a hearty hi-ho Silver, away!)? Is it simply receiving permission from one’s rebbi?
Sources in Sanhedrin inform on whether “smicha” could be or is conditional on the actions of the person or the opinion of the grantor of the smicha. Can there be a partial smicha or one on condition? Can that condition be implicit?
There is a historical report of R’Revel “revoked” a smicha, but the text of the smicha involved is not known.
Given this lack of clarity, and no other RIETS history, can’t say RIETS can revoke smicha but in any event, given current dynamics, it would probably be counter- productive.
Intro to rabbinic literature approaches. Most interesting points to me:
*Some authorities go from specifics (individual data points) to general (underlying theory) and others visa versa.
*Some magidei shiur (e.g. R’Rosensweig) give long, excellent overviews before diving into the texts.
This made me think about how for 98%(?) of talmidim the overview/maareh mkomot approach gives structure and insight but for the other 2%(?) it risks keeping them from new approaches which might better explain the data points.
The Rav’s approach to minhagim is to find their basis in pre-existing dinim (laws). Examples discussed include:
Please keep your hands inside the ride at all times! A partial itinerary follows.
R’YBS on needing to show gratitude to people or will eventually not show to HKB”H (that’s why text is “rov hatishbachot” and not “kol hatishbachot”).
Talmudic statement on how to tell sex of baby (nature has changed?!) Great line on how women always know sex of baby and are right 50% of the time.
Transplants – why he disagrees with psak of Israeli rabbinate.
Why sometimes one must go to one extreme to counteract other stimuli (me – Danger, Will Robinson).
Timtum haleiv issues still operative – see R’MF Tshuva on iron pills.
Many Gedolim weren’t geniuses, they just worked hard (me – hmmm)
Moshe, Moshe – repetition implied he achieved his full potential .
Leviim singing drowned out cohanim so people didn’t hear the sheim hameforash (ineffable name) – explains why the ineffable name had to be passed down but then not clear how the people were then yotzeh the mitzvah.
*Ameilut b’torah (real effort in learning Torah)
*Personal surrender to halacha
*Take pleasure in learning
*Sensitivity to others
*Strive to feel presence of Shechina when learning
*Mesorah is important -stories
*Humility (know strengths and use them)
*Don’t respond to detractors
Mothers’ mental state impacts children in utero. Then analyses of how the shevatim (Yaakov’s children) were impacted by their mothers’ mental states. Very imaginative.
Analysis of the spectrum of positions concerning kings of non-Davidic lineage. Runs the gamut from not allowed to roll your own & everything in between.
Discussion of birchat hamitzvot being said before doing a mitzvah as either an opportunity to enhance kavanah (intent) and/or as a matir (permission) to show appreciation of ability to do mitzvoth. Applications to Chanukah, hand washing and candle lighting.
Segues into importance of mesorah and how only gedolim can identify when need to change (me – shouldn’t they be able to explain?) Money quote: “If we do things the same way we did 100 years ago we’ll be ok”.
Opinions on what credence is given to a bat kol, why and halachic implications.
A brief history of the (Jewish) world from Alexander’s defeat of the Persians to the events of Chanukah. Understanding the geopolitical, cultural and religious stimuli leading up to Chanukah (careful – you might be lead to believe greater [human] forces affected Jewish history rather than viewing Jewish history as the driver).
Happiness vs. simcha? R’Pam defines the difference based on how you feel the next morning (cue – Merrilee Rush – Angel of the Morning). Overcoming habituation can be a real challenge, the best way to overcome habituation is by focusing on all that you have and bringing gratitude into your life.
Mussar on relationships and also on how even the greatest have an evil inclination which is very powerful.
Tough to summarize a bunch of topics which great minds have been debating forever:
*proofs of God’s existence
*mitzvah to believe
*foreknowledge vs. freewill
*reasons for mitzvot
Land for peace type issues – part of the sichot series but still timely.
Beit din topics. How the Beit Din of America tries to have competence in the areas it adjudicates (me – how novel!) and function under civil law as an arbitration tribunal to be just, fair and increase peace.
Using Joseph and Pharaoh’s dreams as a jumping off point for discussing what we can learn from dreams as well as how we can understand them.
Shabbat and Yom Tov prayer may be a torah commandment even according to those who generally hold that prayer is a rabbinic obligation due to the phrase “mikraei kodesh” appearing in association with them.
Possible explanation of why davening summers at 7 pm on Friday may not be internally inconsistent (tartei d’satrei) [but better not to].
Friday night m’ein sheva – just a time filler or a short chazzarat hashatz? (and implications)
Oh, and by the say, that 1st paragraph above may not apply to Friday night maariv!
3 steps forward before Amidah – based on Vayigash in tanach 3 times. 3 steps back less clear – preparation? humility? Steps at end of amidah mentioned in Talmud. Then some specifics on various situations.