by Joel Rich
From R’ Aviner:
Q: Which is preferable – receiving a stipend or working and learning less?
A: Receiving a stipend and increasing Torah for Am Yisrael. And see further in Biur Halachah #231. Booklet “Shem Olam” of the Chafetz Chaim, sha’ar “Hachazkat Ha-Torah”. Letters of the Chafetz Chaim 2, 15.
Me- So if you could be fully self-supporting working 10 minutes a day, you should still take a stipend?
Many years ago we discussed anonymity in blogging (From a recent WSJ):
Why We Are So Rude Online- Online Browsing Lowers Self-Control and Is Linked To Higher Debt, Weight
My relationship with my alma mater is “complicated”. President Joel focuses on themes of shleimut (wholeness), Torah in conversation with the world and condemning cynicism but promoting skepticism (plus enable & enoble…). This year’s enrollment increase is beginning of trend not a blip. I’d be very interested in other’s reactions, especially faculty (and especially Jewish studies faculty).
Review of basic rules of lashon hara then critique of role playing examples of parent-child and spousal interactions. Interesting discussion of the “possible” mental health exemption for discussion between spouses. Then onto the internet and lashon hara (guess what!), then a reminder that rules of lashon hara apply to what you say about organizations (see above YU post).
A very detailed shiur on travel related issues, Rabbi Weinberger states he includes only strong majority/unanimous opinions (I’m not so sure). As I think you will see, many of these are ignored in practice by wide swaths of orthodoxy. Topics included, but not limited to:
*don’t daven outside unless you must
*don’t go somewhere where there is no minyan unless for health or profit
*pick appropriate vacation spots (It sounded like he said Ishto niddah means no tennis or ping pong? I’m not sure why)
*don’t leave town (even day trip) without talis & tfillin
*turn away from inappropriately dressed people when learning/davening
*airplane – generally daven in seat (several reasons, not clear which is controlling)
*airplane – no permission to wake someone who is sleeping to get by them
*it’s bdieved (after the fact) to daven when in motion
*heicha kedusha (short version of amidah repetition) – only in emergency
*mincha gedola (early mincha) – not preferable (me – zrizin (do a mitzvah as soon as you can)? IIUC there is a difference of opinion)
*go see a tzadik before any trip
*lots or birchat hagomeil and tfilat haderech
*mezonot rolls (not)
*kriah (tearing clothes) when seeing kotel (I strongly agree – should want to do this, not look for phony heterim)
*hand washing rules under adverse conditions
*whoever said there’s no tachanun only if no sefer Torah?
*erev Shabbat – leave enough time to get where you are going!
Two money quotes/issues:
1) Don’t bring proof from Yeshivas (re heicha kedusha/mincha gedola), they have different Torah, they have a mesorah [me – like saying do as I say, not as I do?] 2) R’Moshe’s psak (re gomeil, for trips by planes over land) wasn’t accepted, not even by his talmidim [me – since when do you get to ignore your rebbi and poseik hador?]
Part I – A very quick summary of Talmudic sources concerning when we say one should (could?) do a “light” sin in order to save someone (himself/others) from doing a more severe one. Then some specific examples and a hat tip to those with broad shoulders to make decisions (and some of the other factors that need to be taken into account in decision making) [me – Lev Shel Torah as a non-algorithmic approach to weighing conflicting priorities?] Part II – Carrying on Shabbat – what to do if you realize you inadvertently carried something out of your private domain? If there is a “makom ptur” (e.g. fire hydrant) within 4 amot, put the object there, if not, keep moving quickly to return home and toss the object in while moving.
I’d characterize this as a “moderate chareidi’s” guide to Zionism. Yes, the early Zionists were frum but their idea was commandeered by nationalists who wanted nationalism to replace religion as central to Jewish identity (religion might still be allowed a secondary role). This is akin to idol worship but the masses liked the idea anyway.
Satmar made rejection of Zionism as a principle of faith, others in chareidi world (listen to the stories) viewed Zionists “only” as ruffians/thieves and misappropriators but since the state exists you have to deal with them [me – not a recipe for good neighbors].
Now there is some mixing and unclear where will go but clear that the RW RZ are misled – you can’t make policy based purely on Torah’s promises.
Part of R’Lebowitz’s “introduction” series. The Ramban was a great lover of Zion. His commentary of Chumash is generally considered second only to Rashi but interestingly there are really no super commentaries on the Ramban. He generally is not thrilled with the Moreh Nevuchim and less so with the Ibn Ezra but is a big Rashi fan.
What did Moshe write and when? Neviim wrote their own words divinely inspired. R’Yaakov Kaminetsky stated that we could’ve derived all the messages that are in the Neviim from the Torah (had we been zocheh).
Ramban said not to focus on his kabbalistic notes.
This is source of the commonly quoted All of Torah is the sheimot (nanne) of Hashem.
A quick review of the rules regarding forgetting maashiv haruach and vtein tal umatar.
Discussion of sources and scope of prohibition of b’al taschit (wasting?). Need to evaluate gain vs. loss in each situation. R’Yehuda Hachasid added the issue of “danger” as a consideration.
Some classic R’Zylberstein questions:
1) Renters accidentally leave freezer open, toss out turkey and replace it. Turns out owner had hid lots of cash in the turkey. Does the owner have believability that the money was there? If yes, are renters liable even when it’s not reasonable to expect them to think of it?
2) Person parked in taxi zone, taxi drivers boxed him in while he was gone and wouldn’t move. He calls taxi firm and orders a taxi crosstown. Does he owe them $$?
3) Restaurant owner wants to sell, posts notice to all needy to come in for free meals, brings potential buyer who sees lots of customers & buys. Mekach taut (fraudulent sale)? [me – what about Onaah?] 4) Seller tells Yeshiva guy (who never saw a microwave) to microwave esrog to get green out never realizing the guy will take him seriously. Is he liable? What about friend who microwaved it?
Rabbi Eliezer Lerner-Halacha and Minhag in Sefirat Haomer – Shiur Klali
A review of some of the practical basic rules of sfirat haomer.
Review of halachot where DNA ID could make a difference if it were to be accepted. Discussion of # of witnesses needed in different cases and of acceptable simanim (signs) as a function of case and strength of sign.
The Magid Mishna codifies the different types of simanim and what level of acceptability they have.
Next shiur focusing on how chazal saw all the oral law in the written law. Includes a brief discussion on competing theories on the construction of the mishna.
Moshe established his own gzeira shava’s. But don’t they need to be divine? Not those that are explanatory (e.g. defining what “Kicha” in the marriage process means).
Interesting take on the Moshe/Rabbi Akiva story (sitting in on R’Akiva’s shiur) – Moshe was assuaged by the compelling logic since he (a la Rambam) was highest level of intellect = halacha moshe misinai. (ok – that’s not exactly what the medrash leads you to believe)
Part of my attempt to find shiurim on gzeirah shava. Really a basic review of hekeish rules – can you roll your own? Must the words used be mufneh (“extra”)?
How is it that HKB”H is not a vatran (does not waive what is due him) but is soleiach u’mocheil (forgiving)? Issue is we need to build our olam haba (world to come) so he can forgive (much as we may forgive our children for messy room) but he still wants us to learn what we need to build our olam haba (much as we might have to let our kids cry but not pick them up so they will learn to walk). [me – not the greatest analogy but you get the idea]
Analysis of sources on what age kids should be brought to Shul (and +’s and –‘s of too early an age “bringing” policy). Upshot – Once the child is old enough to understand and know how to daven. (me – the rest is commentary) You must take noisy kids out ASAP no matter where you are up to in davening. Be reasonable about kids’ dress (i.e. be tznuim).
Based on original Talmudic source (note to self – how could Rava ask how to do the Torah reading on Rosh Chodesh? Assumedly he had been in Shul. Same answer as shofar blowing conflicting practices?) Then examples of where we don’t seem to follow the rule of not breaking up biblical passages (e.g. Kiddush) and trying to explain (i.e. rationalize) exceptions (a number of different approaches) and examples of those Rabbis who didn’t accept the rationalization of accepted practice.
I’ve been going back to one of my favorite topics – gezeirah shavah. This shiur focuses on a specific example involved with a not completely mufneh (where specific words used are “extra”) one. I still wonder if we do our young students a disservice by oversimplifying something (i.e. gzeirah shava) which it’s clear from a study of the commentaries is a set of data points which defy simple explanation. Much of the shiur focuses on abnormal birth results (the mishaneh habriyot kind).
Star K seminar – major thrust – only trust major Kashrut organizations and even then stay focused on their update lists. Also local Vaad’s need peer review from experts.
Also anecdotal history of Kashrut fraud in the U.S. from 1700’s up through current day.
Someone I respect told me he finds R’Wachsman very inspiring. Here R’Wachsman speaks of the importance of transmitting the mesorah (tradition) at the Seder. We also need to remember that even one thing we do can make a difference.
Presentation includes stories re: emunah and HKB”H working miracles. Also includes calculation that Birchat Hachamah only occurred 2x before on erev pesach (IIRC this was disproven).