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by Joel Rich

Question 1: You know you will be going to a wedding where they will daven mincha and (i) not say Tachanun and/or (ii) say a heicha kedusha. Is there “an inyan” (for (i) and (ii) or both) to find a different minyan to daven mincha at?

always nice to see someone agrees with me (even if it’s an op-ed in the NYT)-another example of Rich’s law of unintended consequences:

Dirtying Up Our Diets


OVER 7,000 strong and growing, community farmers’ markets are being heralded as a panacea for what ails our sick nation. The smell of fresh, earthy goodness is the reason environmentalists approve of them, locavores can’t live without them, and the first lady has hitched her vegetable cart crusade to them. As health-giving as those bundles of mouthwatering leafy greens and crates of plump tomatoes are, the greatest social contribution of the farmers’ market may be its role as a delivery vehicle for putting dirt back into the American diet and in the process, reacquainting the human immune system with some “old friends.”

Increasing evidence suggests that the alarming rise in allergic and autoimmune disorders during the past few decades is at least partly attributable to our lack of exposure to microorganisms that once covered our food.

  • FlatbushInternetAsifa – Rav Yisroel Reisman

    “They” made fun of Daniel’s takanot as well (to reduce interfaith relations) but only those who observed them succeeded in resisting the blandishments of the host society. Thus, you must:
    * install filters and know how they work
    * protect your password from your kids
    * understand this is about protecting good people
    * understand we’re not really talking about just kids, we’re talking about you
    Put “Shiviti Hashem L’negdi Tamid” on your computer (me – I have “un vos zogt gott” – my favorite R’Wein quote)

  • FlatbushInternetAsifa – Rav Matisyahu Salomon

    The Flatbush gathering is an extension of the Citifield assifa. Kdoshim tihiyu (you will be holy) is a promise – but you have to want it! After the assifa it was as if everyone said “Rotzeh ani” (I want it).
    Me – R’N’Alpert on “Vayar Hashem ki sar lrot” – as soon as Moshe turned to see the burning bush, HKB”H revealed himself, the key is to turn!

  • Rav Asher Weiss- Shlach-Asei Dochhe Lo Taasei’

    R’Asher Weiss analyzes differing approaches to understanding aseih doche lo taaseh (positive commandment pushes off a negative one). Famous Ramban on positive commandments being rooted in love of HKB”H and negative ones being rooted in fear of HKB”H.
    Interesting juxtaposition of “ones rachmana patrei” (one is relieved of guilt if there are circumstances beyond one’s control) in terms of tnaim (contractual conditions) between people where failure to carry out a positive condition is still treated as a failure to carry out the condition even though circumstances were beyond your control vs. between man and God where good intention is treated as acted upon but negative intention is not !
    Perhaps lack of Yirah (fear) is “worse” (because it is a “lower” threshold than ahava (love)) – so HKB”H says aseih docheh because he wants our love; yet failure to reach the even lower threshold of Yirah (fear = lo taaseh) is punishable by lashes whereas higher threshold (love = aseei) isn’t punishable by lashes (i.e. lacking yirah is less understandable).
    Then some beautiful mussar (me – very tied to the brain series on physical “seeing” vs. brain processing of visual signals) on seeing the good in Eretz Yisrael and in people.

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-Surrogate Motherhood_-_Who is the Real Mother

    The fact that poskim grabbed at aggadic material to try to determine who is the halachic mother in the case of an egg donor reflects the lack of clear halachic sources (although there are possible hints both ways from some geirut examples). Four different positions each have their adherents (i) birth mom; (ii) genetic mom; (iii) neither mom; (iv) both moms! Given the lack of clarity and the high stakes, many are stringent in all directions (surprise!)
    And as the “Big D” would say – now I understand why Ploni Almoni was concerned about a future beit din saying moavi means both male and female!

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Hafrashas Challah in bakeries

    Minimum size and process for requiring challah to be taken with bracha.
    Important insight regarding the halachic status of corporations – perhaps (and this impacts a number of halachic areas!) they have separate existence much like hekdeish and tzedaka have a separate chalot sheim (name/existence) rather than being “partnerships”.
    National hechsheirim must follow all stringencies or advertise where not!
    Technical challah issues involving who must make declaration of challah.
    Lots of interesting detail on mass prediction – how many batches of dough can you exempt? How close in time and place must it be? OU introduced important improvements in this area.
    Important discussion of K’bolo Kach Polto – (as it comes in, so it goes out) – Does this mean exactly (e.g. if the liquid never gets hotter than 130 degrees in a pot can you kasher it by heating water in it to 150 degrees) or just methodology (i.e. can kasher by heated liquid (but need 220 degrees). [for heated liquids we are lenient in time of great need).
    What about koshering with heated liquid other than water? (example make milk chocolate then “parve” batch as koshering process). We generally say only after the fact in case of large loss (both need definition).
    In the “alte heim” there were no Jewish owned bakeries and they weren’t allowed by bakery owners to use libun (white heat) to kasher pans, due to the importance of bread the Rabbis allowed use of pans not used for a day!.
    Pot akum and bishul akum only requires a majority of “Kosher” substance to make the “akum” substance non-material (so why do we require kashering the pot?)
    Interesting – radio isotopes show no transference from inside a can to outside if submerged in boiling water – yet we are still concerned for such a transfer as per Talmud.

  • Rabbi Yonason Sacks-60 Bava Kamma

    Koach kocho (2nd degree action). Related to “ones rachmana patrei” (HKB”H “relieves” one who was forced) – does it mean simply there’s no punishment for this individual or there’s totally no attribution of the act to him?
    Implications for adam muad l’olam (a human is always responsible) – does it apply if total ones? (difference of opinions)

  • Rabbi Elon Soniker -Introduction to the Rambam’s 13 Principles

    Intro to deed vs. creed. Issues include what does it mean when we say the result of an action or belief is that one will not be part of klal yisrael? When did folks start to worry about defining Ikarim? And why does one lose the world to come – is it a punishment or intrinsic result of an act or belief?

  • Yonah Bardos-Please let this be my child: Ovarian Transplants and Maternity in Jewish Law- a New Approach 8

    Much of the same initial materials as R’Gottlieb but then branches to a philosophical/halachic basis to be able to call the mother raising the child – mother (even if not full halachic mother for all purposes).

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb -Counting Towards Minyan: Who’s In and Who’s Out?

    Interesting alternative source (Yerushalmi, R’Bachaye) for 10 for a minyan (shvatim, not the bad spies!). S”A seems to count just about any Jewish man for a minyan but then Pri mgadim/M”B list exceptions – focus here is on what it means to be excluded based on public non-observance of Shabbat in current times.

  • Shay Schachter -Benching Rosh Chodesh: Shabbos Mevorchim

    Purpose of Kiddush Hachodesh is to remind people when Rosh Chodesh will be so they will remember to say Hallel, etc. It’s done on Shabbat because that’s when people are there! (R’Willie Sutton)
    Why do we stand for Kiddush Hachodesh? Perhaps like when beit din delivered psak (verdict) the baalei din (litigants) stand, so to when say mekudash (new month), we stand; or perhaps we stand because sefer torah is picked up. Why need sefer torah for this pronouncement? It’s to add importance since otherwise people might give lower regard since announcing new moon is not from Anshei Knesset Hagedolah.
    R’YBS posited that since we say “chaveirim kol yisrael” to show we’re all together which allows us to mekadesh, we need it to show we’re together.

  • Rabbi Hanan Balk -Episodes in Shoftim I: Introduction/Seeking the Definition of a Shofet

    List of similarities and differences between melech (king) and shofeit (judge). Then where (if anywhere) were shoftim in the transmission of mesorah?

  • Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer -The Internet Asifa and R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch

    How would R’Shimshon Rfael Hirsch react to the internet? A challenge and opportunity (very Chinese!) – we need to inoculate ourselves with kedusha (holiness) and use it as an opportunity to influence others (parallels to Haskalah/emancipation). We bring Torah and nobility to world but “mind the (generation) gap” (hat tip – LIRR)

  • Rabbi Zupnik – Mitzvas Bein Adom l’Chaveiro

    If you are lacking in bein adam l’chaveiro (between man and man) then you are missing the proper tools (midot) for between man and HKB”H (adam l’makom). Gratitude is tied to Emunah (belief). Many examples – a’la R’YBS – if you don’t show hakarat hatov (recognition of the good someone did for you) to a fellow human, you will eventually do the same for HKB”H or as R’Zupnick intimated interact with HKB”H as you do your fellow man. Some good remarks on real tzniut (humility) and not wasting!

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky- Hilchos Shabbos Asiyat Melacha Kodem Havdala

    Is havdalah a torah requirement or rabbinic? (Rash vs Rambam) Do you need to have havdalah and hakos (formal havdalah with wine) to do mlacha (work)? Which kinds of work? Women’s requirements and hefsek (forbidden interruptions) issues also discussed.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman-Eretz Yisrael: A Land For Those Who Walk Humbly With Hashem

    Tach Vtat (1648) holocaust hit places where people talked in Shul, notice sfardim weren’t hit hard by WWII holocaust – they had reverence for beit knesset (me – I remember reading that sfardim were hit hard). Lots of good mussar on seeing good in eretz yisrael, being humble and learning Torah.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – The Chosson’s Tisch

    Why give a drasha at tisch? 1) marriage is symbolic of matan torah (receipt of Torah); 2) R’YBS – you are giving simcha (joy) to assembled (on your personal yom tov). People interrupt so those who can’t give a drasha aren’t embarrassed.
    Tnaim – no meaning today, kabalat kinyan (authorization to act) is by those responsible (usually fathers)[me – divorced parents?] Details on a number of issues including:
    (i) Witnesses must know what’s in ketubah (why?)
    (ii) Different practices of when to sign ketubah
    (iii) Prenup – maybe do at tisch to publicize
    (iv) Must also complete civil marriage (why?)

  • 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. 1-IMHO there is no “inyan” to say tachanun. If you are with a minyan that says it you say it if the minyan doesn’t say it reason,for whatever reason(wedding, brit, yom haatzmaut etc} you don’t say it-period.
      2-The main reason we have to wash fruits and vegetables today is not to rinse off the dirt which can have positive microorganisms,but rather to rinse off the traces of harmful even carcinogenic pesticides. This is the main reason for eating “organic” fruits and vegetables

    2. R’DT,
      On food I was thinking of the 10 second rule on dropped items 🙂

      BTW what if one prefers to say tachanun, would it be OK not to daven with the chatan’s minyan or perhaps it would be a dimunition of his simcha?


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