by Joel Rich
2 weeks ago I quoted::
Many people will tell you that having many friends, a fortune or freedom is essential to happiness, but Mr. Kagan believes they are wrong. “A fundamental requirement for feelings of serenity and satisfaction,” Mr. Kagan says, is “commitment to a few unquestioned ethical beliefs” and the confidence that one lives in a community and country that promote justice and fair play.
Does the frum community meet the last requirement?
Previously I posted on R’ Asher Weiss’s perception theory of miyut Hamatzui:
So given that now behavioal economists understand we have an availability heuristic (we predict frequency of events based on how easy it is to think of an example – and thus can overstate risks) and examples of everything are more commonly known (given technology changes/social networking), is it possible we need to redefine miyut hamatzui if R’AW is correct that it is a measure of what people think is common?
R’Taragin reviews the history of Yom Yerushalayim (how scared we were in ’67) and the truly miraculous nature of the events of what was truly a defensive war. He then moves to Jerusalem as the center of Jewish redemption and the center of history. Lastly, Jerusalem/1967 and its impact on orthodoxy and Jewish pride.
Discussion regarding perceptible changes you cause on Shabbat (e.g. light goes on). Discusses sensor technologies and possible leniencies – although one should try to avoid these situations. Leniencies are generally variants of it really not being a direct, immediately clear desired impact.
Issues include the kashrut of veal due to the calves being fed only non-Kosher basar v’chalav “all its life”. Possible “leniencies” within the halachic system to allow veal (always interesting to see where leniencies are accepted depending on whose ox (calf?) is being gored). R’Moshe raises the issue of tzar baalei chaim (animal cruelty) as well.
Interesting (or should be ) to Hirhurim readers, R’Bleich quoted as saying Glatt today expansively means that there was no Sheilat Chacham (no halachic question), so I guess glatt vegetables work!
Implications of understanding the problem of a break in your counting sfirah as either an issue of counting all 49 days as being 1 big mitzvah or being a lack of timimut (completeness). Some possible implications for halacha include crossing the dateline, aninut and surgery if you’re out for the day. R’AW is generally lenient in allowing a bracha in a doubtful case by sfira.
An introduction to the basics of bird pair sacrifices. Here halacha demands certainty! Lots of permutations and combinations. Dr. William sounds quite actuarial (that’s supposed to be a compliment!)
R’Wieder’s daily shiur gets into some fascinating areas of halacha including hafkaat kiddushin (retroactive annulment), forced get, prenups, meit mitzvah, takanot drabanan, aveirah lshma and rabbinic uprootings of Torah pronouncements.
Review of R’Moshe’s tshuva finding that buying insurance of all kinds is a normal commercial decision, not a lack of faith. Similarly, one must work for a living (with a few exceptions) and there’s nothing wrong with choosing employment which maximizes ROI where time is the I. (oh – am I projecting my priorities into R’Moshe’s tshuva???).
I enjoy these practical halacha summaries – they shouldn’t make you think you are a poseik but at least they help you know when to ask a question. Discussion includes:
*Chalitzah and Yibbum
– sperm donor impact
– amputee to do Yibbum on condition of follow-up chalitzah
*Kashrut of Starbucks and Whiskey
– if some problem ingredient is deminimus:
• can you buy the product?
• can you give the product a hechsher?
– do you need a will to do something out of the ordinary?
– what property is subject to the firstborn getting a double portion?
– Rabbinic vs. Torah issues
– Heter Iskah (profit sharing vs. interest)
Pretest review of major themes – including:
*It’s all mussar!
*Declining level of generations
*Comparison of kings and judges
*Relation of intermarriage and idol worship
*Spiritual vs. physical heroism
*Sinning for all the right reasons
*Self-reliance vs. power of group
*Chesed as a key life factor
Or Lagoyim is a Torah concept! We must be dignified (oy, abba ZLL”HH, I miss you!) and holy in all ways! (the rest is commentary).
Is it a Torah or rabbinic commandment? Based on this, should/could women say for selves. Yes, but practice is no where possible. Practice is for them not to drink wine (Shelah is first to state this) but beard thing is a stretch.
We are aware of some early sefarim which we don’t have copies of due to extensive quotes in later sources. In recent times some more manuscripts have been found. Then some example of interesting “finds”.
So how do “found” earlier authorities come into play? First we have to figure out if it’s authentic. While immediate halachic impact may be limited, the source, if genuine, will be totally acceptable in “learning”. Assumedly the open season in learning will eventually find its way into halacha.
Review of rules of 4 cups on Pesach – is it related to drinking or connecting mitzvoth to a cup of wine. Then some practical differences based on this analysis.
Sale of chameitz – historical development and philosophy of why we allow it (me – follow the money?)
Electricity – resultant issues – better or worse (e.g. time clocks)
Another of those parsha shiurim which leave you wishing for more detail. Topics include:
*hutrah vs. dchuya (never applied vs. pushed off)
*mesechtot ktanot (written by Gaonim)
*paying for “stealing”mitzvoth (Torah vs. Rabbinic?)
*technical ritual impurity issues
*V’Kidashto (Cohain 1st) – Torah or Rabbinic
*Is there a suspension of other prohibitions (e.g. sirus) to save an animal’s life?
*Kiddush and chilul hashem (glorifying HKB”H’s name vs. trashing it)
*9+1 = minyan (if 1 is a child? a woman?)
*Lo tasur – never follow real mistake except Rosh Chodesh
*Day before Pesach burials (hmmm – how unlikely)
*Starting Shavuot early (vs. making Kiddush early)
*Chadash outside of Israel
*Conversion before and after Matan Torah
*Briskers often take cause and make it into effect & V.V.
You really have to have a good imagination to see the black (smart?) board in your mind. Tosfot knew a2 + b2 = c2.
We’re all familiar with R’Akiva’s halacha that you must put your life first, but does that apply to non-life threatening situations (e.g. who gets the more comfortable bed).
R’AW feels (IIUC) that Bar Ptora (you split the water jug and both die) is only where you’re not sure if one will survive (and this is hard to know in most cases).
Then discussion of R’Akiva’s students – more was expected of them.
Understanding Kaddish as a Kiddush Hashem (glorification of HKB”H’s name) – The importance of focus and understanding the meaning of restoring the completeness of HKB”H’s name so all will recognize it.
Discussion of the source medrash of R’Akiva and Kaddish.
Then review of some laws.