Audio Roundup

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by Joel Rich

The main problem, the Kadima source insisted, was that the haredi parties refused to entertain the notion of personal responsibility for yeshiva students (me-personal responsibility, what a novel idea today)

Question: Rav Moshe says a baal nefesh should be machmir (stringent) not to listen to music played with an instrument. Why is the community that is so careful on his similar statement about milk not so careful on this one?

  • Rabbi Jeremy Wieder -Hilchot Aveilut S”A siman 340

    Second in the series – detailed discussion of hilchot kriah (ripping clothes in mourning process).
    Includes issues of:
    *who does the ripping (why have we moved away from the mourner doing it?)
    *when to rip (why have we moved away from doing it immediately?)
    *for which deceased do we rip
    *different ripping practices for parents vs. others
    *Do we rip for non-believers?
    *can the deceased waive your obligation (prior to his death) for you to rip?
    Interesting how many practices have changed over time. Would be interesting to catalog reasons (e.g. a less knowledgeable laity). [me – Is it yuhara to follow the original practice (e.g. to rip at death rather than burial)?]

  • Rabbi Nissan Kaplan – explaining the new takanos from the rosh yeshiva shlita-bein adam lachaveiro 1

    Don’t give up your world to come for honor or for putting down others. Lots of examples.

  • Rabbi Nissan Kaplan – explaining the new takanos from the rosh yeshiva shlita-bein adam lachaveiro 2

    Fascinating to an MO outsider (me) that the Mir has its own problems. Apparently, not everyone (sounds like the American students) listen to the Rosh Yeshiva (concerning not buying in certain stores). They don’t understand that a Yeshiva entails more than just the learning.
    Then important mussar on training oneself to stay away from machloket.

  • Rabbi Michael Taubes -Parshas Chukas Long hair and tefillin

    Some hold like R’Loggins and R’Messina { “Out of the Beit Knesset long hair,” oowee “You’re coming with me”. } Many authorities are lenient (including the Aruch, Hashulchan and the Rogotchover) based on R’Rado &R’Ragni { “Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen….”}

  • Rabbi Dovid Cohen-Why Foods Need Hashgacha: The Differences Between Recommended and Non-Recommended Hashgachos

    Good examples of issues in Kashrut which the lay person might not be aware of including:
    *processing ingredients not required to be listed in the ingredients list
    *natural flavors means the source is natural and it has flavor (e.g. natural vanilla flavor could come from a chicken, not a vanilla bean, and still be called natural vanilla flavor)
    *canned products may require technical issue resolution (e.g. bugs, bishul akum)
    Important discussion of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Kashrut supervision and why the CRC can’t recommend all supervisions(good, bad are obvious, ugly is supervision by sincere, well known, trusting rabbis who don’t have the technical knowledge and/or the forensic skills to be effective).

  • Rabbi Gil Student – Internet Part 3

    Never post anything with personal information, it’s there forever (make sure your kids understand that). We still need face to face relationships (but not extensive ones with the opposite sex, and keep their internet relationships to a minimum as well).

  • Rabbi Shalom Hammer-Shlach:Orthodox Rabbinate Business As Usual

    Rabbinate is not a business. If the orthodox (chief rabbinate) had exercised more sensitivity to non-orthodox, there would be a lot less problems.

  • Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein -Which books do you buy to establish and maintain a shul?

    Based on a tosefta a synagogue must purchase a sefer torah and neviim. Later sources add ktuvim. The Magen Avraham adds other later sfarim. Tosefta could be understood as having scrolls for reading torah and haftarah but then why were ktuvim added? May the answer to this question be a function of the purpose of a Shul – is it a place to pray and also a library (so if everyone had books at home wouldn’t need to have in Shul) or a place for spiritual (prayer) and intellectual (learning) growth? [me – learning in Shul also sets a tone when seen by others vs. being “hidden” at home, even with the same participants].

  • Rabbi Reuven Brand -Jewish History Crash Course: Framing the Talmud

    Sounds like part of a series – here the focus is on the history of the rishonim of Ashkenaz and Sfarad.

  • Rabbi Azarya Berzon -Tfillah: Crying during prayer, is it always commendable?; & The Chatam Sofer’s unique insight to the proper response to suffering

    Yissurin (travails?) come first in relation to sin but then seem keri (random) if we don’t respond with proper tshuva (repentance). Sometimes folks cry out of joy of dveikut (cleaving to HKB”H) and the opportunity to be in repentance process, other times in pain.

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-Separating Siamese Twins – An Ethical and Halachic Dilema

    Review of actual case involving R’Moshe Feinstein and C. Everret Koop. R’Moshe allowed the separation surgery knowing that one specific twin would die from it (it would have died anyway). No tshuva explaining rationale was ever printed. Listen for details of case and possible rationalizations of R’Moshe’s ruling (not mentioned – but I’d go with the C.I.’s maaseh hatzalah not rechitza – it’s an act of saving, not killing).

  • Rabbi Zvi Engel -While the Letters Soar Heavenward: Burned books in Jewish History

    Ties in book burnings of the Rambam (caused by Jews) to the burning of the Talmud in France plus the Rabbeinu Yonah Shaarei Tshuva being writen in response. Also, tieback to destruction of Temple sifrei torah.

  • Mrs. Talia Zisook-Post Modern Jewisih History: ICJA and HTC Rabbinic Alumni

    Rabbis Wein, Twerski and Finkel were all at HTC or Ida Crown at some point – here a brief summary of their life work (history, counseling/mussar and example of overcoming adversity).

  • Shay Schachter-“The Rebbe’s Ohel” – Kohanim Entering To Daven

    Why is there any benefit to prayer by the grave? (me – personal inspiration – i.e. it’s about the impact on you, not them). Quick analysis of medrash about Eliyahu (who was a Cohen) and the body of R’Akiva, how could Eliyahu touch?. Bottom line – CLOR.
    Bonus point from R’HS – There’s an issue of Cohen following hearse under a bridge!

  • Rebbetzin Smadar Rosensweig-Can Destiny be Reimagined in Tanach: The Saga of Shevet Levi

    Can you change destiny? (me – yes ) Levi and Shimon in Breishit show their inability to control/channel their anger in the case of Schem and Dina and then didn’t do tshuva when they had a similar circumstance with Yoseif. Yaakov rebukes them in the “blessing” at the end of Breishit. Then in Shmot the women of Shevet Levi (Miriam & Yocheved) perform a tikkun/fix by their actions with Moshe and Bat Paroh; Shevet Shimon does not (see Cozbi et al).

  • Rabbi Baruch Simon -Bircas Hagomel (Part 1)

    Review of the primary Talmudic source on the blessing of hagomel (Thanksgiving for deliverance) and the parallel to the Thanksgiving sacrifice. Is the blessing/sacrifice voluntary or mandated? Chatam Sofer on saying at night and that sea journey is a different category from the other 3 cases.

  • Shay Schachter -Rosh Chodesh: A Women’s Holiday

    Understanding why women have (had) an ancient minhag (practice) of not doing mlacha (work) on Rosh Chodesh – 1) related to rejuvenation of monthly cycle; 2) reward for not giving jewelry for Golden Calf. All this relates to the nature of females vs. males.

  • Rabbi Baruch Simon -Bircas Hagomel (Part 2)

    Is birchat hagomel (Thanksgiving blessing) required after any long trip or just when crossing a desert. Differing practices in Ashkenaz vs. Sfarad. R’Ovadia Yosef is fairly stringent on requiring it for intercity travel. Is the measure one of time or distance? Must there have been any perceived danger?
    Interesting topic raised of when can you make changes in a takkana based on changes in circumstances (warning – IMHO the data does not fully substantiate the usual theories).

  • Rabbi Azarya Berzon -Menachot 53a: How does a Rebby give Chizzuk to a student when the latter is disheartened?

    Analysis of Agadot dealing with the personal relationship between klal Yisrael and HKB”H with particular focus on learning as part of that relationship.

  • 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. “Why is the community that is so careful on his similar statement about milk not so careful on this one?”

      Because cholov yisroel milk had no precedent heter (well almost) and music does. Moreover music was always enjoined notwithstanding the requirements set out in the Rema. The prevalence of music was such that many teshuvohs of the Gaonim say that the prohibition against music is only on shirei agavot (love songs) which does not have any support in the Talmud itself. It seems like this constriction of the prohibition was forced because otherwise it would seem that the takkanah was not observed at all.

    2. Rabbis Wein, Twerski and Finkel were all at HTC or Ida Crown at some point

      Which Twerski?

      the current Novominsker Rebbi was at HTC, as was Suvalker Rav, Rav Dovid Lifshits (during different eras)

    3. r’ephrayim,

      interesting-so following r’moshe (poseik hador) is context based. btw one could argue the opposite-since “chalav hacompanies” did not exist at the time of chazal, it couldn’t be included in the takana.

    4. r’shasdaf,
      AJ, these were students

    5. > Based on a tosefta a synagogue must purchase a sefer torah and neviim….Tosefta could be understood as having scrolls for reading torah and haftarah but then why were ktuvim added? <
      For chameish m'gilos (read in Shul during the year)? JEC of Elizabeth, NJ has scrolls for the m'gilos read on r'galim; perhaps even such shuls don't acquire a m'gilah for Eichah because we hope to see 9Av truly become a mo'eid (and to cease reading it publicly)….

    6. R’MP,
      The megilla issue was mentioned, but rejected since wouldn’t need all 5. The topic of when and why we stopped using klaf for haftarot and megilot (except Esther) is a fascinating one, as is where in the hierarchy of community resources that should stand (i.e. if we stopped due to cost reasons, what % of communities would need to be able to afford it to make it mandatory, and does it come before fancier chairs etc. in the pecking order)

      I pray that tisha b’av become a holiday this year!


    7. Doron Beckerman

      but I’d go with the C.I.’s maaseh hatzalah not rechitza – it’s an act of saving, not killing

      Chas Vechalilah. The CI is speaking about diverting an arrow (maaseh hatzalah) which lands on someone and kills him. R’ Chaim Kanievsky was not sure about blowing up a plane (in the 9/11 scenario; maaseh hatzalah), since it has people inside, so it might be viewed as blowing up the people (maaseh retzichah), not the plane. But when the act itself is an act of killing (which cutting away the sister from the heart unquestionably is), it is 100% an act of retzichah. RMF was handeling din rodef.

    8. R’DB,
      Actually the CI was talking about steering a bus away from killing 5 people when you knew it would kill one after the diversion. I’m not sure why surgery to reroute the blood flow so that baby A would survive is that much different (but then again I don’t know the details of the mtziut).


    9. Doron Beckerman

      The bus case might be an application of a case where the Chazon Ish was uncertain. He does not speak of it directly. In that case, the act of swerving, per se, is an act of hatzalah, which results in killing the oeople in its path.

      In the case of the Siamese twins I do not think there is an act that can be separately defined as an objective act of hatzalah with a “result” of retzichah, rather than an act of retzichah mamash. But you may be correct if the metzius is different.

    10. R’DB,
      The oral tradition (I don’t recall who told this to me) was this CI was in response to a maaseh shehaya with a bus. Again it could be apocraphal I suppose. Let’s pray it’s never a shailah lmaaseh for any of us.

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