Audio Roundup

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by Joel Rich

question I never got clarity on -why is one allowed to move into a Manhattan high rise and put oneself into the position of having to rely lchatchila on a combination of kulot

What is the (is there a) role of (for) a public intellectual in orthodoxy? If that individual is not viewed as primarily grounded in the beit medrash, can they impact the crop of beit medrash grounded Rabbi’s? If they can’t impact the beit medrash, can they have a long term impact on the trajectory of orthodoxy? (I do have some thoughts on the matter but prefer to hear yours)

  • Rabbi B Lau-Rabbinical Creativity

    I’d suggest reading his book(s), The Rabbis – Volume I is now available in English. (Good News – I understand Volume II is out as well!) R’Lau’s general approach is to look at both the text of the Talmud and the context of the individual Rabbi’s lives and histories so we can better understand their values, histories and approaches and apply them to our own unique time and circumstances. Here R’Gamliel, R’Eliezer studied and R’Akiva noted as the combination of one’s creativity and the other’s groundedness in linking to tradition.
    Issue of how “halacha of deaf” has changed is a great example of system dealing with change.
    To me this raises all the questions I’ve raised before about the marriage of the beit medrash and the academy (nuff said, yes, all my kids are married, but I do have grandchildren to worry about!)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Basement Plumbing on Shabbos

    A combo of heteirim to allow an installation below grade of an industrial sized sewage pump for use on Shabbat. [me – kavod habriot to have a bathroom on every level?]

  • Dr. David Pelcovitz -Leadership Influence and Professionalism

    Panel discussion to YU guys on becoming “askanim” (me – “shift right hut, hut, hut” continues?). Need to clarify your goals (trying to help people). Done right it’s beneficial to your kids as well. You need to find your own voice!
    Some random interesting assertions:
    *We have enough folks these days becoming “klei kodesh”
    *Fatherhood is being abdicated post HS
    *You still need to be learned to be an askan
    *Ambition is a prerequisite to success
    *Don’t make wants into needs
    *Ability to fail is important
    *Yeshiva world is short on rebbi relationships but you must have one

  • Dr. Jacob J Schacter-The Menorah from Ancient Times to Contemporary Israel: History and Controversy

    History from traditional and academic sources re: the menorah. So why did State of Israel pick to use the model from the Arch of Titus? Issue turns on how to be authentic to the mesorah while making it continually meaningful. (hmmm – see R’Lau above?)

  • Rabbi Uri Orlian -Tevilas Keilim – Electrical Appliances

    Review of all the usual heterim when trying to not toveil electronics. Might want to listen in conjunction with the fabled candy dish series. [BTW, I was one of the data points that turned R’HS’s the “just let it dry for a week” approach into the “but some can’t be toveiled without ruining so not necessary to toveil” approach]. If you string enough opinions together, you get to where you need to be.

  • Shay Schachter-What in God’s Name To Do?!

    Good summary of all the technical points in the “oops, I wrote HKB”H’s name on the blackboard” problem [IIRC it also happened when I was in MTA].

  • Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky-Chinuch: Challenges, Opportunities and Advice
    Panel Discussion with Rabbis Chaim Hagler, Yisroel Kaminetsky, and Yehuda Rothner

    Upfront discussion for those thinking about going into chinuch – includes speakers’ personal histories, challenges, how to know if it’s right for you, impact or social life and your goals. Hashkafa, Israel and compensation issues also discussed.

  • Rabbi Steven Pruzansky -The Law and The Law Part 11 Miranda Vs Arizona and The Torahs View on Confession

    R’Pruzansky’s usual blend of confident social insight and halachic analysis. He touches on my earlier post on testimony but doesn’t address the issue I raised. He claims that while the Torah does not allow for self- incrimination in criminal cases but within the sanhedrin system, the King had wide powers to ensure the social welfare…..

  • Rabbi Dr. David Shabtai -Halakhic Challenges in Medicine II (14) – Meihush and the Prohibition of Taking Medications on Shabbat

    The whole “making medicine” on Shabbat issue. What about dual use (e.g. things not clearly medicinal). How does that whole “the reason no longer exists” thing work and how do you define “no one” as in “no one does that anymore”.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Medical Halachah: Minyan vs. Medicine

    Beginnings of a fascinating discussion on trade-offs in mitzvoth. Some basics regarding if one is involved in one mitzvah; when can (should) one continue and when not? Question – (me) is making a living a mitzvah? Are the parameters different for a shoemaker and a cosmetic plastic surgeon?

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Should Rabbis wear jeans to ‘connect’ better with their congregations? What would Rav Soloveitchik say?

    I would love to see the newspaper article proclaiming a new group of cool Israeli Rabbis who wanted to wear jeans and be popular and not stress keeping inconvenient Mitzvot. Anyway, they shouldn’t claim R’YBS as their patron saint.
    Then R’HS take on the halachic heart/intuition as source of psak – but only for one who knows all of Torah. R’YBS hashkafa built on halacha (me – yes, but…)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-By Way of Introduction – Aruch Hashulchan

    Intro to Aruch Hashulchan and his approach (we’ve been down this road before). Most interesting highlights:
    1) His approach not as useful for psak (me – unless you want to be able to apply it in real world situations).
    2) Anthology sfarim (here are 18 opinions, be machmir) [me – approach of always be machmir will eventually totally lose the ability for psak].
    3) There is no real “poseik acharon” [I agree,but does the rest of the world?].

  • Rabbi Yehuda Balsam-Killing one to Save Many

    Discussion of whether saving the life of the pursued by killing the pursuer is primarily saving of pursuee or punishment of pursuer? Then onto the classic cases of the baby “pursuing” the mother and of sheva ben bichri (if marauders threatened to wipe out a group unless a particular individual is turned over).
    He’s also perplexed by the Kesef Mishna’s statement that mai chazit (who says your blood is redder) is only descriptive, not prescriptive.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Married Women Covering Their Hair

    Discussion of how much needs to be covered, when, where and by what. Interesting issues should be raised – is it always good to be machmir? Why was this particular practice such an area of focus? Why wasn’t the limud zchut approach used here as it has been for other practices that seem hard to support textually.

  • Rabbi Avishai David -The Importance of Having a Rebbi

    Very Important

  • 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. “To me this raises all the questions I’ve raised before about the marriage of the beit medrash and the academy”

      May I ask where you raised them?

      Personally, I don’t think a marriage is possible – only a relationship where some subjects are simply not raised at the dinner table.

    2. On this blog from time to time, as well as in personal conversations with orthodox academica

    3. what kulos must one rely upon in a Manhattan high-rise?

    4. elevator kulahs

    5. Shalom Rosenfeld

      In a different context, R’ Rakeffet quoted a newspaper interview with a woman defending a life choice of hers that involved — well, less than ideals — she said she was used to living בסטייל.

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