by Joel Rich
Statement: This is #200! – Time flies when I’m having a good time (Ein simcha ela b’torah) Or as one of my rabbeim once said to me “You’re nothing but a good time Charlie” – I never was sure what he meant, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t a compliment.
Question: See here http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2012/05/do-scientists-pray.html. Is there any parallel between the debate as to whether life is deterministic or random and the interpretations of Eilu V’Eilu as either there really is only 1 right answer, we just don’t know it vs. multiple truths?
What should a Sfardi do in Ashkenazi minyan when it comes to the extra words in Sfardi kaddish? Is there an issue of lo titgodidu (having separate practices in same place) by minhagim (practices) or only by denim (pure law)?
R’O Yosef initial psak – a Sfardi; must say Vyatzmach Purkineih because it’s kabbalistically important but the other additions may be (not must be, later seems perhaps should be) skipped.
R’M Feinstein is clear anything out loud must follow the Congregational practice.
So if Sfardim say there is no lo titgodidu and Ashkenazim say there is, you get an unresolved dialetic between the Ashkenazi gabbai and the Sfardi minyanairre – R’Lebowitz is unsure of resolution. (I’ve said CLOR and the CLOR in the Shul is the ashkenazic mara d’atra; done.)
Wow – used just about everything I would have with the exception of making your associates say “Blessed is the God of Shimon Ben Shetach”.
Always make a kiddush Hashem and exhibit impeccable integrity because people notice your every action (me – just don’t make up lost time for holidays/Shabbat, do more than that).
On the other hand must maintain distance (R’YBS – Ger V’Toshav anochi) and always have dmut dyokno (Father or Rebbe’s) visage in mind – (me, former more than latter). Make your learning (no matter how long, or what topic) very set.
Any ben yeshiva would take a pill to be R’Akiva Eger vs. Bill Gates. Talmud Torah Kneged Kulam is reality – more important to learn than to support Torah learning with money. It would be better for all to learn than to give money, but we can’t tell people because they wouldn’t learn and wouldn’t give as much money.
No names named, but insight into some of the technical issues as to what is an acceptable hashgacha (sounds like it’s acceptable if most others in the know accept it). Importance in hashgacha business of networking for expertise and sufficient geographical coverage (poison analogy – would you take a chance with this person?). Plugs for only buying in supermarkets that are under hashgacha, Pot Yisrael and Chalav Yisrael (if you spend money on shops, you should spend on this) [me, what about if you’re taking scholarship money – do you have the right to demand the community pay for a chumrah that others in the community don’t keep?].
Discussion and examples of consistency of Rabbi Shimon’s focus on intentions in terms of halachic impact.
Discussion of hashkafic and halachic issues when dealing with Artificial Insemination with spouse or donor supplied sperm. Issues include mitzvah of pru u’rvu, donation techniques and quality control.
Discussion (in Hebrew) of excluding/tracking students based on Hebrew skills, ethical attributes, family history or other “markers”. Some halachic sources as well.
Kabbalah & halacha – Mishneh Brurah says kabbalah can’t overrule halacha but can add on where halacha is silent. Chatam Sofer rejects this – for the masses it’s halacha only, for a few, kabbalah plays a role.
Then a bunch of examples which flesh out the interrelationship.
Compare and contrast Ruth with Avraham as conversion experiences/processes – based on text and medrash. Baai Yisrael needed to regain Avraham’s inclusiveness and hishtadlut (efforts vs. just relying on HKB”H). Chesed, tzedek and mishpat are key drivers.
Disposable cups at Kiddush – OK or not to be yotzeih the mitzvah of kiddush? There’s no requirement that the kiddush cup be nice but is a disposable cup really a kli (utensil?)? Various opinions stated, although it may also depend on how disposable the cup is and how common it is to reuse such a cup.
A highlite reel of stories of the GRA, R’Chaim et al as role models of Ish Hahalacha (Halachic Man). Unbending emet (truth) and tzedek (chesed) – much like requirements of Kings.
Birchat Hatorah – Rabbinic or Torah commandment? If you are unsure if you did a Torah commandment and there is an associated blessing, do you have to make a (rabbinic) blessing when “redoing” the commandment?
Perhaps it’s only a Torah commandment when it’s public in nature (which would explain why you would make it again when you get an aliyah).
Some insight on what qualifies as Talmud Torah (e.g. saying Tehilim). Sleeping how much and when requires a new bracha?
Sources include Chana and Rabbi Akiva. A long amida can be viewed as yuhara (ego/pride) or as an issue of distressing others. Is it an issue for any individual or only those who others would wait for – or for the prayer leader?
Hebrew shiur – is there an issue with starting Shavuot early? Taz is the first to think there is. May turn on the old “does making Shabbat early really turn Friday PM into Shabbat?” Special issues when it happens on Saturday PM. One issue is not pure halacha but perception.
R’Lebowitz outlines why it really shouldn’t work to make Shabbat day Kiddush on whiskey (especially one ounce shot class) and then Mishneh Brurah reasons for allowing (hmmm – so M”B was subject to mimeticism).
Chofetz Chaim only wrote when he saw need. Being commanded in chesed (bring kindness) which would be “natural” only increases the reward. Lots on scope and importance of “imitato dei” treat others with tzedakah/chesed but expect only mishpat from them (me – we call that managing your expectations).