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by Joel Rich

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“Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with … because we are determined not to drop the flag for the next generation,” Ms. Slaughter wrote. “But when many members of the younger generation have stopped listening, on the grounds that glibly repeating ‘you can have it all’ is simply airbrushing reality, it is time to talk.”
{Me-Nobody[including men) can have it all – if there’s one message I tried to give over it was that resource allocation (especially of time, our most precious resource) must be a continual, dynamic process reflecting timeless priorities and time bound circumstances)


Don’t you just love the free market for ideas (and printing presses?
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מודחי יתד נאמן עם הפנים קדימה: יוציאו לאור עיתון חדש • חשיפה


  • Rabbi Gil Student – The Internet Shiur Part One

    Fascinating how stating some very obvious things sometimes is perceived to require courage and caveats. The internet is here to stay, you won’t be able to live without it and it is a force multiplier of unbelievable proportion for both secular and Torah knowledge.
    Of course there are dangers including pornographic addiction as well as general time wasting addiction. See a therapist if you need one. Read a lot, learn a lot and spend time with your family, be cautious and confident. [Funny – this was also good advice 40 years ago as well!]

  • Rabbi Jeremy Wieder-Hilchot Aveilut S”A siman 335-339

    First in a series. I enjoy R’Wieder’s concise presentation style and pragmatic approach to smicha students (Cholim (people who are ill) and Aveilut (mourning) are the 3rd rail of the pulpit rabbinate!). Here focus on bikur cholim (tending to the ill).
    General rule – it’s not about you!!! Sobering remarks about wills and making sure all your affairs are in order at all times.

  • Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-11 Aveilus – Nichum Aveilim; Kaddish

    Lots of details on hilchot aveilut (mourning). A smattering include:
    *Ramban – mourner says “baruch dayan emet”, comforters then comfort
    *R’M Twersky didn’t speak much during mourning, just nodded head to tell people to leave (fortunate he had knowledgeable comforters)
    *Majority practice – if only women mourners are at the cemetery don’t make row of comforters (really?)
    *R’SZA – walking behind isha or between 2 not an issue today, back in the day they weren’t in the marketplace much
    *Single vs. plural (otcha, etchem) issues in the standard leave taking (hamakom yinacheim – btoch shaar cholei)
    *What can or can’t you do within 4 amot of mourner
    *Why only one person saying Kaddish is preferable
    *Women saying Kaddish issues
    *Paying someone to say Kaddish
    *Visiting sick of non-bnai brit – perhaps now it’s a social contract issue

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Parsha Shiur – Korach 5772

    Starts with classic R’YBS Korach’s common sense rebellion and insight on tcheilet representing areas of life where there is lack of clarity. Then onto:
    *get mekushar (tied divorce document)- philosophical message – In life, there are hidden secrets we don’t know
    *asking for outright miracles is only for Moshe and great righteous people, we are not allowed to do so (implications for misheberachs!)
    *tie of parsha and haftara – asking for miracles, leadership
    *HKB”H must continually will the world to exist
    *”Laasot” – Beit Haleivi – ten things created at creation for later use
    *24 priestly gifts
    *GRA – mitzvoth reshut (mitzvoth that are up to you to decide whether you want to do them)
    *trumah and pidyon habein
    *R’Velvel said Chazon Ish thought every problem had a solution, R’Velvel disagreed (R’HS posits a personality/outlook difference)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Going to the Chupah

    Under the stars is nice but not required (or really high priority). Who goes down the aisle when and with whom holding what – lots of different practices. R’HS says if we do something derech kavod (out of respect), it’s not considered chukat akum (following others’ ways) [me – why not?]

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Parsha Shiur – Shelach 5772

    *R’YBS on mission of “spies” as fiancée meeting betrothed
    *We argue with HKB”H sometimes, and it’s ok!
    *Were there varying Torah texts given by HKB”H? Why?
    *Do blessings need to be in biblical Hebrew?
    *Why is Challah a mitzvah tied to land?
    *Challah details (lots)
    *Tzitzit on Shabbat issue of carrying if no tcheilet?
    *Tzitzit – when is lshma needed?
    *Mkosheish – they weren’t sure which death penalty to give him since his violation of Shabbat was in public (does this make it like idol worship?)

  • Rabbi Gil Student-The Internet Shiur Part 2
    Scary – sounded a lot like my stock speech about the workplace being an opportunity to be mekadeish sheim shamayim (glorify heaven’s name) and that HKB”H watches every step you take and every breath you make (cue the Police).
  • Rav Asher Weiss “Parshas Chukat

    Cohanim (and their pregnant wives) becoming doctors, visiting hospitals and cemeteries? Isn’t there a prohibition based on likely prohibition of ritual impurity. Detailed review of various leniencies. Some interesting points:
    *The Chazon Ish’s definition of “choleh lfaneinu” (the one needing treatment, which would allow certain violations, is right in front of us) means the healing possibility is reasonably immediate.
    *R’AW says apply a statistical analysis to determine frequency of dead bodies in hospital
    *Now that child’s sex can be known before birth, must a Cohen’s wife find out if it’s a boy (actually that’s my question).
    Then some nice mussar on when to follow Pesach pattern for questions and when Parah (hint – see Blue’s Brothers – “we’re on a mission” response) or Naaseh Vnishma vs. Nishma v’neaseh.

  • Rabbi Michael Taubes-Tallis For Married Men Only

    History of why we wear tzitzit today if four cornered garments are no longer in use. Then why is there a specific tie to prayer – (i) Zohar – can’t read parshat tzitzit without them; (ii) medrash – HKB”H wore one when he showed Moshe how to pray; (iii) Medrash x 2 = Avraham set shacharit and got mitzvah of tzitzit when refused booty at Sdom.
    Rationalization of why not start tallit at Bar Mitzvah (not overwhelmingly convincing) but nice chop why Kallah’s family buys talit (since she is “mchayev” him to wear) and chattan’s family buys candlesticks (he’s “mchayev” her to light).

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Pru Urevu or Talmud Torah Part 1

    “Shevet” (vs. pru u’rvu [be fruitful and multiply]) – is it a real mitzvah or just reinforcement of pru u’rvu for effect?

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Pru Urevu or Talmud Torah Part 2

    When can you delay a mitzvah? When is it a bittual aseih (bad) vs. just not being zariz (not so bad). How evaluate pru u’rvu vs. shevet? Bottom line – ask your poseik!

  • Rabbi Azarya Berzon -Hilchot Tfilla: The Role of Yichus in the efficacy of Tfilla, Part I

    Dynamic tension between sources – what is the key – Yichus [bloodlines] (assumedly with a better tradition of the specifics) or shafal ruach [humility] (always a favorite of HKB”H). Need to differentiate between those without great bloodlines and evil doers.

  • Rabbi Baruch Simon -Yayin Nesech and Stam Yaynam

    Detailed discussion of stam yeinam,yayin nesech sources. Then focus on defining yayin mevushal and its application today. The rules of 1 in 6 (not 60) bittul and how that plays out for blended whiskeys and soda.

  • Rav Asher Weiss-Korach

    Analysis of various approaches to shlichut with particular focus on hafrashat challah. Then on to rules of zechiyah (taking ownership for someone else) and then on to general issue for large industrial bakers and mashgichim taking challah.

  • Rabbi Michael Siev -Five Minute Halacha – Starting Chazaras Hashatz Without Nine Answering

    How many do you need answering for chazarat hashatz – is 6 enough in a pinch, do they all have to listen?

  • Rabbi Baruch Simon-Sfek Sfeika

    Is sfek sfeika (double doubt) an issue of rov (majority) or that the two doubts make whatever the issue is into a rabbinic and thus we are lenient. Discussion of chadash (new crop outside of Israel) chutz laaretz and other examples of how to distinguish between a safeik and a sfek sfeika (e.g. why isn’t every sfek sfeika really a plain safeik – it is X or it isn’t? [caution, it’s not really so simple]).

  • Abuse Cover-up in Orthodox Community
    R’Rosenberg posits a figure of 20% of children molested in “the community”. In general, very negative on DA Hynes and the ultra-orthodox community.
  • 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.

    16 comments

    1. “R’HS says if we do something derech kavod (out of respect), it’s not considered chukat akum (following others’ ways) [me – why not?]”

      I would think that the answer to your question goes back to the question of what chukat akum is.

    2. Shalom Rosenfeld

      אל תעבור שלא תפסוק אהבתנו — הרי זה מדרכי האמורי. ואם מפני [כבוד] ה”ז מותר.

      (Tosefta Shabbos 8:3)

      If the answer to “why” is “The Tosefta says so”, fine; if your question is the meaning behind the Tosefta, see anon 11:20. BTW this appears in the Maharik with regards to a doctor wearing some special cape signifying his membership in whatever guild.

    3. > (hamakom yinacheim – btoch shaar cholei) <
      Big oops: aveilei, not "cholei";
      small oops: sh'ar, not "shaar" (which could be understood as sha'ar, especially after you transliterated a sh'va na' as "i" [in "yinacheim"]).

    4. > Then why is there a specific tie to prayer…[three reasons]. <
      All the more reason to wear a talis when one is mispalleil, regardless of age (although I'm fine w/ the MB's minimum age of "knows when to keep two tzitzis in front and two in back"…and [as you reported to me privately that RMT mentioned] the MB railed against waiting 'til marriage to wear a talis [which should bother all you Ostjüden Out There :)]).

    5. Well aware of the different shitot in darkei emori. Does that imply that if Zoroastrian priests had mandated white dresses as a sign of honor for the kallah, we would be able to follow?
      KT

    6. r’mp,
      oops
      it does sound like bar mitzvah would have the most support as a starting age.
      KT

    7. joel rich:

      Caveat: I didn’t listen to the shiur. But based on what you wrote, I understood it to mean that if you are doing it to honor or respect – not to follow a Zoroastrian priest – it’s not chukat akum (i.e. to be darkei emori, it requires intent to imitate Emorim).

    8. r’h.g.,
      source for intent requirement (i.e. iiuc you are saying in my example as long as I don’t know it was introduced by zoroastrian priest, even thought others do, it’s ok?)
      KT

    9. From pages 232-233 of Posts Along the Way:

      The Torah commands us, “Do not walk in the ways of the nation . . .” (Lev . 20:23) and “Do not walk in their ways” (Lev . 18:3). The Talmud204 relates the details of this prohibition and leaves to the commentators the task of formulating a general theory of this law. According to Tosafos, any practice that Gentiles estab-lish is forbidden to Jews unless it is mentioned in Scripture as being a Jewish practice. However, if the practice is related to an-other religion then even a custom mentioned in the Bible may no longer be continued.205 Rabbenu Nissim of Gerona explains the parameters of this prohibition differently.206 According to him, if the practice is idolatrous, reflective of promiscuity or simply irrational and inexplicable then it may not be followed by Jews. Otherwise, however, this practice is a valid option. The basic halachic decisors are split between these two views, with R. Moshe Isserles ruling like Rabbenu Nissim and R. Eliyahu, the Gaon of Vilna, arguing strongly for Tosafos’ approach.207 According to either of these views, it would seem that the intro-duction into the synagogue of any church practice would be for-bidden.208

      There is, however, a third approach that has wielded con-siderable influence. R. Yosef Colon’s important responsum on the subject yields a much more lenient attitude.209 R. Colon rules that as long as a practice is adopted by Jews for a reason other than imitation of Gentiles it is permissible.210

      204. Shabbos 67a-b; Bava Kamma 83a
      205. Tosafos, Avodah Zarah 11a sv. ve-i; Sanhedrin 52b sv. ela. An example of the former type is execution by beheading. An example of the latter type is erecting lone-standing stone memorials.
      206. Commentary to Hilchos ha-Rif, Avodah Zarah 2b sv sor’fin.
      207. Shulchan Aruch¸Yoreh De’ah 178:1; Bi’ur ha-Gra, ad loc. no. 7.
      208. Even according to those who rule that Christianity is not considered idolatry or polytheism for Gentiles, it is still considered as such for Jews. See R. Moshe Isserles, Glosses to Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 141:1; R. Shabsai Cohen, Sifsei Cohen, Yoreh De’ah 151:17; R. David Tzvi Hoffmann, Responsa Melamed le-Ho’il (New York: 1954), vol. 1 Orach Chaim no. 16; R. Ovadiah Yosef, Yabia Omer, vol. 2 Yoreh De’ah no. 11.
      209. Responsa Maharik, no. 88. On this responsum, see Jeffrey R. Woolf, “Between Law and Society: Mahariq’s Responsum on the ‘Ways of the Gentiles’” in AJS Review, 25 (2000/2001).
      210. Cf. R. Chaim Halberstam, Responsa Divrei Chaim, Yoreh De’ah no. 30 that R. Moshe Isserles did not follow this approach of R. Colon. R. David Tzvi Hoffmann (supra note 208), ibid. argues that, even according to R. Colon, an idolatrous custom that has a rational basis may still not be adopted. Cf. R. Mordechai Horovitz, Responsa Mateh Levi (Jerusalem: 1979), vol. 2 no. 6 who disagrees with this analysis of R. Colon’s view.

    10. I didn’t necessarily mean ignorance of origin. Suppose a custom was started by a Zoroastrian, and was liked and adopted by people, who would now feel insulted/slighted/disrespected if it was not carried out (even though they actually knew it was Zoroastrian-born, but they just liked it objectively).

    11. Chukat akum and darkei haemory are not one and the same. Chukat aku is following a practice or custom prevalent among the Goyim, particularly their religious practices.On the other hand darkei haEmori refers to divining , necromancy and witchcraft. Here ISTM the discussion is referring to chokot ha goyim.

    12. r’h.g.
      ok, but Iiuc your definition would mean that if the custom was to bow down in front of them in respect to them and the diety, that could be ok?
      kt

    13. R Joel-The NYT article with the link to the Atlantic article, reminded me of an old song from the late 1960s-“you can’t always get what you want”, etc. Like it or not, the struggles depicted in the articles come down to individual priorities and how a husband and wife determine what is a priority between careers, children and where to live in the context of their values and communities. I don’t think that the choice for a young Torah observant couple should ever come down to the extremes of a high powered twin income couple in a fancy house with no time for each other versus a Kollel lifestyle, but rather on deciding what are their religious and material priorities and setting the same as a constant and non-negotiable.

    14. R’sb,
      agreed-of course the devil is in the details
      KT

    15. There are always red lines you can’t cross.

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