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by Joel Rich

Question: Is on permitted to learn while taking a haircut and not wearing a kippah? Can one be thinking torah thoughts then?


From R’ Kook
In general, this is an important principle in the war of views: that for every view that comes to contradict some matter in the Torah, we must not start out by negating it, but rather by building the palace of Torah over it. We are thus elevated by it, and it is for the purpose of this elevation that these views are revealed. Thereafter, when we are not pressed by anything, we may, with full confidence, fight against it, too. There are proven examples of this, but it is difficult for me to elaborate, and for someone as wise as yourself brevity will suffice, in order to know how to uphold Gods name above all the prevailing winds, and to use everything for our true good, which is also the good of all.

Me-IMHO that full confidence thing (or lack thereof) has a very high correlation coefficient with how many pisters and commenters react to issues on this blog


  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Parsha Shiur – Bo 5772

    Lots on Rosh Chodesh issues (including names/number ID of months) and Karban issues.
    Karban Pesach when no beit hamikdash (Ben Gurion probably not a real apikorus) and other technical karban issues.
    R’Moshe held value of pidyon habein coins set when monetary system set (1776?) Chazon Ish (and most others) 31st day after birth value.
    Zrizin makdimim (do it early) should outweigh brov am (bigger crowd). Shach said we don’t do pidyon at night because food tastes better when you can see it! Others say its because of minimum elapsed time issues. The reason would make a difference l’halacha.

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb -Matzah Kol Shivah

    Eating matzah other than at the seder – a mitzvah kiyumit (don’t have to do, but get credit if you do)? Perhaps it’s like a kiyum (completion) in a lo taaseh (negative commandment) since matzah is the anti chametz. Some discussion as to why no bracha according to this position.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Pinchas Teitz -The Necessity of a Yeshiva Education

    Poignant remarks to parents of yesteryear on the elements of a day school education and how students can cover all the needed religious and secular material (including experiential!). The well balanced education will shape the mind forever and allow students to see Jewishness from a positive angle.
    Money quotes (me – “the times they are a-changin”).
    “You may be under the impression we may be trying to make Rabbis or Rebbitzens out of your children, let me assure you this is not the case…..I’m too much of a friend of youth to wish such a thankless profession on anyone…the standard of the rabbinate is unfortunately such that one does not need much of a Hebrew education today in order to be a rabbi”.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-DNA evidence in Jewish courts

    Review of basic sources on what is acceptable evidence in a Jewish court. Discussion of Talmudic sources indicating how and when halacha may accept scientific and/or expert evidence. Certain signs (simanim) are considered slam-dunks (muvhakim) and others not. It also depends on purpose (e.g. inheritance vs. remarry vs. murder).
    Need reliability in lab testing, some discussion of how to ensure this reliability.

  • Rabbi Allen Schwartz -The Berachah Ahsani Kirtzonoh

    Review of oft censored Talmud munachot with versions of the “shelo” brachot (that you did not create me as a…). Men should acknowledge greater difficulty women face but can explain all the seemingly misogynous references.
    Interesting attempt to explain Ish priority in Horiyot by historical circumstances which may have changed (R’YBS) – [me – really need to understand in Horiyot priorities are duraita or drabbanan – anyone want to guess?] Kollel men always help wives. Need to build shared experiences and have a common vision for the future.

  • Shay Schachter -Mincha: The Prime Time

    Importance of mincha and discussion of sources. Primary issues better to daven at 12:30 or 3:45? Can you daven at 12? [all times are halachic based on a 12-hour day]

  • Rabbi Yonah Gross -Use of CPAP Machines on Shabbos

    Used for sleep apnea – review of technology and hilchot Shabbat. Generally consider as choleh shein bo sakanah (ill but not dangerously). Interesting discussion of whether shinui (doing mlacha differently) refers to you or to the actual mlacha (i.e. is it enough to turn on switch with your elbow).

  • Rabbi Michael Rosensweig -Judaism’s Unique Perspective on Law

    One might look at secular law as pragmatic and reflective of contemporary mores. One might also look at Jewish law as being a historical and representative of eternal embedded values that enoble. Even seemingly mundane commercial halachot are representative of the Torah values that surround them.

  • Rabbi Baruch Simon -Halachos of the Shabbos Meals

    Lots of practical detail on Kiddush rules including timing.
    If I had to guess which elements are the least known: 1) drinking even water after davening before Kiddush is worse than before davening; 2) it’s not appropriate to delay making Kiddush Friday night (schmoozing, etc.)

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Overview of Techum Shabbat

    Tchumin – Torah or rabbinic? Lots of detail including defining cities and where they end based on geometry. Interesting insight on how differences in community architecture impact halacha (e.g. so much about mavui etc. which were common then). Then on to eruvei chatzeirot.also covered – how does eliayhu get to all those britim on shabbat? When are you stuck where you are?

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Bringing One’s Child to the Mikvah
    Going to Mikveh Friday is ancient (although source unclear). Halachically and psychologically it’s not good for a child to see a parent unclothed. Me – it’s not rocket science so figure it out, you can do it without that result if the minhag is important (e.g. come back later with your child).
  • Mr X of Bet Shemesh Speaks And Explains His Worldview

    If you understand Hebrew and want to cry, listen here for what one brother thinks of broad swaths of his brothers and sisters. HKB”H yiracheim al amo.

  • Rabbi Ezra Schwartz -Hearing Aids on Shabbat

    Nicely detailed shiur on the permissibility of hearing aids on Shabbat. To the untutored ear () one might conclude that the majority of poskims’ lev shel Torah “knew” that hearing aids are allowable, the question was how/why.
    Issues include electricity, causing noise, carrying and muktzeh.
    Interesting historical notes on the days of yore when orthodoxy allowed use of microphones and R’Moshe’s understanding of the physics of michophones and hearing aids. Also note that to be stringent in not allowing use is likely to be lenient in terms of human decency (Kavod Habriyot).

  • Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Weinberg0The Rogatchover Gaon: The Life, Teachings and World View of Rav Yosef Rosen zt”l (Part I) @ TABC Alumni Kollel

    The Rogatchover was a big hero back in the day in MTA (I posted this once). He was brilliant, had total recall (not the movie) and a great sense of humor. A number of reasons given for long hair (is it forbidden to learn while getting a haircut?). Did not waste time!

  • Rabbi Chaim Brovender -Museum Midrash: A Visit to the Israel Museum

    Review of 3 pieces of art in the Israel museum (unfortunately art doesn’t really speak to me – it’s a chisaron [defect] in me).
    1) Rembrandt – light (hope) overcoming despair.
    2) Impressionist still life – importance of everyday objects to life.
    3) Rothko (abstract impressionism) – Picture about colors – connects to creation but not quite perfect.

  • Rabbi Chayim Soloveichik-The relationship of teffilin

    Tfillin represents our relationship with HKB”H.

  • 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.

    9 comments

    1. Korban, not karban (even for Sephardim)

    2. R’ Hadarda”i,
      I noticed at least one typo as well. I will have to have a word with my proofing, editing and peer review staff. Let me close my eyes and my office door for a minute and I’ll take care of it 🙂
      KT

    3. Who was Rav Kook writing to when he wrote “someone as wisw as yourself” ?

    4. Joel,

      The problem is that most people use that statement as an excuse to surrender to the prevailing views wholesale and ignore the subsequent admonition:

      “Thereafter, when we are not pressed by anything, we may, with full confidence, fight against it, too”

    5. r’dt,
      i’m pretty sure I copied it out of one of the vbm series found here http://www.vbm-torah.org/igrot.html
      i’m pretty sure it wasn’t me 🙂
      KT

    6. r’aiwac,
      amen – i was actually thinking of red bendels when i read it
      KT

    7. “Interesting historical notes on the days of yore when orthodoxy allowed use of microphones ”

      Use of microphones on Shabbos, or reading megillah?
      THere was probably more machlokes in the past-butreally tell me when it wasclearthat it was allowable onShabbos?

    8. He was talking about shabbat usage.
      Kt

    9. “joel rich on February 19, 2012 at 11:06 am
      He was talking about shabbat usage.
      Kt”

      It was never genrally accepted that it was clear that it was allowed on Shabbos-there were certainly big opinions saying so-Rav Unterman etc but it is my impression -never accepted lemaaseh by the vast majority of Orthodox Jews.

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