by Joel Rich
An important thought IMHO for the MO community: C.S. Lewis reasoned that “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
What’s the deal with shuls that daven mincha right before shkia and get to the end of l’cha dodi well after shkia yet have the mourners come in at that point and greet them with hamakom yinacheim? Why isn’t this considered public mourning on Shabbat?
Purim is recorded in “Torah” (Tanach) yet Rabbinic in nature. Why was the inclusion in the cannon and agreement important (e.g. l’kayem, kimu v’kiblu)? It gave the Megila authoritative status as a source of knowledge, halacha and ethics for all times!
Example – May I advise someone else to give up their life to save the community? [me – there are some fascinating tshuvot on this] Then on to R’Mann story where he originally asked a shailah but then decided on his own (before he got answer from the Vilna Gaon) to give up his life for the community.
Money quote (IMHO prescient) [something like] now they expect you to be able to answer everything immediately over the phone (me – SMS text?)
R’Taragin provides an interesting history of the movement.
Kabbalah has always been around but was limited to a few individuals. Chassidut was the popularization of Kabbalah. To move it to the masses it had to 1) focus on actions vs. thought; 2) focus on imagined unification of HKB”H’s name vs. actual unification; 3) focus on dveikut (cleaving) to HKB”H vs. tikkun.
This yielded more of a focus on tfila (prayer) vs. Talmud torah (this was the major reason for the strong opposition to it), fragmenting (shteibalization) of society and the Rebbi as a conduit to HKB”H (i.e. you don’t need to know anything other than to grab on to the rebbi).
What has the impact on orthodoxy in general? 1) shteibalization of orthodoxy (I daven in the tall actuaries minyan); 2) Daat Torah on all human experience; 3) joy as a goal; 4) need for dveikut (cleaving) to HKB”H; 5) celebration of common man; 6) emphasis on messianism.
A couple of interesting points (to me) – (i) Background of Shabtai Zvi made many wary of this new movement; (ii) R’MT has liquor available to talmidim in Israel on Purim, since it doesn’t have the same stigma there as in the U.S. (me – but aren’t most of the talmidim coming back to U.S.?)
Spirited discussion on Chalav Yisrael. Reading R’Moshe’s mind – most here assumed his permitting “chalav hacompanies” was at most a b’dieved and shouldn’t be relied on except “out of town” where no Chalav Yisrael is available or by those who would eat treif otherwise.
Some meta issues – 1) can you have a nationwide hashgacha without using chalav hacompanies?; 2) Is there an obligation to have widely available hashgacha if it means using chalav hacompanies?; 3) Are there other priorities where resources being spent to be a “baal nefesh” here could be “better used”?
As a side point, anyone know what level of supervision is required for Chalav Yisrael?
A long presentation to the RCA apparently triggered by an RCA pronouncement which “recognized” other streams of Judaism. Discussion of R’YBS on fate vs. destiny and the love of all fellow Jews but not of all movements.
Another example of R’YBS’s imaginative reading of tanach coupled with outstanding presentation skills. Moshe sent mraglim (spies) to know the land much as a chatan (groom) must meet/know the kallah (bride) before marriage.
When Yaakov sent Yosef to look for his brothers, Yaakov and Yosef went from the mountain (broad view) to the valley. Yaakov was really sending Yosef [and the nation] into galut (exile) – this separated the clan from the land. Moshe’s charge was to go back to the mountaintop and lead the clan back to the land.
Our love for the land (even today) is “irrational”.
Very interesting discussion of the practical side of the geirut process in Chicago – timing, cost, requirements and areas of focus.
Why do we need to an extent to treat mishpatim (logical rules) as chukim (rules without a clear reason)? Because at the edges local standards change and we’d rationalize them away (e.g. euthanasia).
Hebrew presentation on the new book and areas of faith.
Good review of Talmudic sources and Sh”ut literature up to today on whether it is required (or permitted) for one to sacrifice (or risk the possibility of) his life (or limb or property) for another (individual or group).
Differing opinions on the status of different parts of har habayit (Temple Mount) and knowing which is what. Interesting quote of R’HS that there is a political component to the question of people going up to har habayit but since he’s not in Israel, he wouldn’t paskin (me – but on transplants???).
We don’t have copies of his original takanot. Interesting question as to why (per Mahaik) it wasn’t worldwide and why the application had a time limit. [me – and why we ignore the time limit]
What is the underlying reason – a takkana (for betterment of society) or gzeirah (avoiding prohibitions)? This may have an impact on its application in specific circumstances (e.g. if a mitzvah involved).
Then a discussion of the parameters of heter meah rabbanim (100 rabbis can undo it).
What is the Sabbath prohibition of uvdah d’chol (weekday activity)? Review of various rishonim’s position. R’Grunstein’s definition – Whatever the community determines as “not appropriate” for Shabbat. (Reminds me of R’Asher Weiss’s definition of makeh bpatish.)
Interesting (to me) – he gave the same dvar Torah I did two weeks ago on the zemer of Kol Mkadeish – that there’s a subjective element in Sabbath observance (“Karaiy lo”).
Examples of “bad guys” in Talmud (e.g. Biryonim). Followed by discussion of limit of kanoyim pogim (zealots can act) and importance of dracheha darchei noam (her pleasant ways) in our day.
Science posits theories which makes predictions which are then tested to see if they are consistent with the “facts”. Torah really is the same – so the “facts” of the big bang, wisdom of bnai brit and return to Zion are all “consistent” with “theory” of Torah.
Review of basics of R’Akiva story (why orphan says Kaddish) and sh”ut on women saying Kaddish. Then moves on to current practices in the MO world.