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by Joel Rich

Good advice – Similar to mussar given by R’YBS on many occasions
Before the establishment of the Jewish state, David Ben-Gurion sought the wise counsel of his trusted colleague Yitzhak Tabenkin in making a crucial decision. Tabenkin gave Ben-Gurion his counsel, and Israel’s first prime minister said, “I accept what you say, but from whom did you seek advice?” “From two people,” answered Tabenkin. “From my grandfather who died 10 years ago, and from my grandson who is not yet born.”


More good advice from a David Brooks column:

In his memoir, “At Ease,” Eisenhower delivered the following advice: “Always try to associate yourself with and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.” (me- challenge sometimes is finding them, imho the best ones don’t always hang out a shingle)


  • Yair Manas-Is Owing Stock in McDonald’s a “Kosher” Investment?

    Can you own stock in a business that engages in transactions that would be prohibited to us (e.g. cooking milk and meat together)? While this provides a good summary of the literature, there were even more interesting meta issues raised (in my mind). How does halacha respond to constructs unknown at the time of Chazal (e.g. corporations). Does it recognize new ones (a briah chadasha like a corporation) or put shareholders into an artificial category (creditor) or use older constructs (partnerships) with new twists (partners without control) or just use old one (partners) with possibly undesired results (no stock ownership)? Do we ascribe reasons to older prohibitions (e.g. no trading in non-kosher so as not to come to eat it) and then extrapolate (no possibility of eating means it’s ok)?

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Fasting on the Wedding Day

    The two most frequent questions R’Lebowitz gets from Chatan and Kallah are concerning fasting on the wedding day and birth control (what a fascinating juxtaposition!). R’Lebowitz reviews quite a few reasons given for fasting on the wedding day and some possible implications based on the various reasons (which assumes that one, and only one, is the “true” reason – I sometimes wonder if the reason(s) or the practice came first).

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb -Uh Oh, I Forgot to Light: The Laws of Shabbos Candles

    Shabbat candles are rabbinic in nature. Then various opinions in Kavod vs. Oneg.
    (i) Oneg is something which would have been unexpected during week (Chida)
    (ii) GRA – Kavod is something done before Shabbat, Oneg is during Shabbat
    (iii) Aruch Hashulchan – depends on which room – where the meal takes place is Kavod, others = Oneg
    Then some detail on when you have to take on extra lights – some specifics (but women will be strict anyway!). [me – still waiting for another example of a permanent “fine” like lifetime lighting another candle when you forgot to light]

  • Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas BeHaaloscha Reciting A MiSheberach on Shabbos

    Lots of sources seem to imply not to make a misheberach on Shabbat except for someone in immediate danger. Review of Talmudic sources including a Tosefta where Shammai says no (implying Hillel says yes). Saying Shabbat hi m’lzog isn’t a matir but we’re saying we shouldn’t need to ask on Shabbat. [me – so if you only had books and no traditional practice – the safe bet would be we wouldn’t say it]

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Parsha Shiur – Behaalosecha 5772

    Quite a few topics:
    *The incident of Moshe/Aharon/Miriam is the source of the Rambam’s ikkar of Moshe being the highest level of prophecy.
    *R’YBS – death by heaven is the punishment for not listening to the Navi, but only for those prophecies which are horaat shaah (temporary); most of Moshe’s prophecy was l’dorot (for generations).
    *Shishi is misplaced (there’s puraniyot at a stopping point in the current version).
    *There’s a direct correlation between humility and ability to learn.
    *Explanation of how certain things can change including:
    – Hebrew script
    – cities of refuge
    – kedushat leviim
    *5 years training for leviim vs. 3 year training in Daniel for government – which is general rule for knowing when training is working?
    *Learning success is simply do you understand what you are learning (not being the “best boy” in the Yeshiva).
    *Is Pesach Sheini a makeup or a new mitzvah (one difference – someone who converts in the interim).
    *Ones Rachmanah Patrei – does it mean no punishment or there was no chiyuv (one difference – if you were knocked out for a day, is there a need to make up last prayer?).
    *”Makom Karov” (close by location) – implications for aveilut – does rule change based on changes in modes of transportation?
    *Vzot hatorah – isn’t a complete pasuk – some say the whole pasuk
    *”Blowing chatzotrot and shofar rules
    *R’YBS on Sanhedrin sometimes act as representative of Klal Yisrael and sometimes as a voting court.

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-High-Risk Medical Procedures

    “High risk procedures” – Review of basic Talmudic sources on when one can put oneself “in danger” or what is an “acceptable” risk. The acceptable degree of risk may be a function of whether its incurred in thrill seeking vs. making a living.
    Is the issue one of immediate vs. deferred danger? What is the threshold risk which must be reached to trigger a requirement to have a procedure, a permissible procedure or is it a forbidden procedure?

  • Charlie Rose Brain Series 2: Depression

    Hippocrates thought depression was caused by an excess of black bile (see Theodoric of York! link). It is the major cause of disability in the U.S. for those between ages 15-45.
    Discussion of bipolar and unipolar – fascinating how brain scans show impact of medication and counseling! It’s a disease like diabetes in that it requires a lifetime of treatment.

  • Rabbi Chaim Eisenstein-Questions & Answers: Giving Care for People with Developmental Disabilities

    For summer camp counselors of children with disabilities (always ask based on your specific situation):
    – Toilet paper on Shabbat (tear it away from the perforations)
    – Diaper tabs on Shabbat (ok but not to use when ready to throw away)
    – Opening can on Shabbat (puncture first)
    – Tfillin on Shabbat (if emergency can move)
    – Shower on Shabbat (ask non ben brit to turn hot water on)
    – Therapeutic touching (try to avoid)
    Learning Torah on the job – don’t

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – The Shul Kiddush Part 3 – Kiddush B’makom Seudah

    Kiddush in shul – does it require Kiddush bmakom seudah and is that requirement Torah or rabbinic ().
    Defining “makom” – what is the same place? What if you have in mind to move? Do you have to be able to see the place you’re moving to? What is needed to be included as a seudah (meal)?
    R’Moshe allows this Kiddush as a matir (permission) to eat even if you weren’t having Mezonot.

  • Rabbi Solomon Drillman -Prostate Surgery

    Issues of sirus ( castration ) in prostate surgery – is there a difference if sirus occurs to start because of heavenly intervention and finishes due to man’s intervention (yes, most say OK). Discussion of different surgical procedures and who (religion wise) should do the surgery. Is the individual who had such surgery Mutar b’kahal (?) – most say yes.

  • Rabbi Michael Rosensweig -73- ממאנת ג

    Rambam and R’Chaim et al trying to understand the nature of the connection between the man and the wife in case of miyun. Maybe some things are fully retroactive and others not.

  • Museum Midrash: Another Gallery Talk with Rabbi Brovender

    Use of art to get closer to HKB”H (me – we all need to go with what speaks to us – cue Sly and the Family Stone – Different Strokes). Art can take ideas into reality and create worlds (borei olamot). R’Brovender talks through a few examples.

  • Rabbi Ari Kahn -Honoring Parents in Dysfunctional Relationships

    A general review of the mitzvah as natural yet commanded anyway. Interesting remark as to how many parents today are as immature as their kids!
    But what if parent is negative? Certainly one’s life (literally) takes precedence but you still have to give them “what they deserve”. Best to ask a rav in specific circumstances. (Surprise!)

  • Mrs. Miriam Baumel -Our Talmid Zecharya Baumel is Still Missing – 30 Years Later

    Heartbreaking review by Zachary Baumel’s mom of efforts over the years to get information on her son. HKB”H should give the family strength and may we have no more similar cases.

  • Rabbi Steven Pruzansky -The Law and the Law 15 State of Florida v Dept of Health and Human Services and the Torahs View of Obamacare

    R’Pruzansky provides his definitive analysis of the history of health care and insurance reimbursement in the U.S. as well as the issues with “Obamacare” in the Supreme Court (of the U.S.). He then provides the definitive Torah viewpoint on the individual’s responsibility for healthcare and how historically provided for those who can’t afford it (allocating limited community resources to unlimited demand, etc.). IIUC the free enterprise system gets high marks.

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Shofar_-_Yom_Teruah_and_Zichron_Teruah

    This was all about Tkiat Shofar and the associated psukim.

  • Rabbi Moshe Weinberger -Insights of the Chassidic Masters: Endless Circle

    Circles reflect that there is no highest or lowest, each depends on the other and impacts the other. That’s why for Rosh Hashana challah is round and why we dance in circles. At any high moment one must understand that we are interconnected.

  • About Joel Rich

    Joel Rich is a frequent local lecturer on various Torah topics in West Orange, NJ and supports his Torah listening habits by working as a consulting actuary.

    2 comments

    1. 1-Was Tabenkin just saying that he doesn’t take advice from anyone?Or is there a point that I’m missing?
      2-The challenge is having the humility to say to yourself that this or that person knows more than I do on this subject, I should take his advice. Interestingly it seems that Eisenhower had that kind of anavah.

    2. r’dt
      aiui he was saying one must see oneself as part of an eternal mesorah chain.
      KT

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