Audio Roundup

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by Joel Rich

From Jpost: UTJ leaders Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and MK Moshe Gafni expressed optimism on their way out of talks in Kfar Hamaccabia in Ramat Gan Monday.

“It was a good talk. We were in the coalition with [Likud Beytenu] for four years, so we feel at home,” Gafni explained, adding that it’s hard to know what will happen as talks continue.

“We’re loyal coalition partners, who don’t make problems, which is why we expect Likud Beytenu to deal with issues that are hard for them in order to keep us,” Litzman added, in reference to issues of haredi enlistment.
How would you read this statement? My initial reaction was he was saying we are a single issue party and if you give us what we need on that issue, we won’t opine on anything else. I’d love to be wrong so I invite other explanations.

HMMMMM-the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe – that he spent many hours in the Louvre in Paris staring at a painting which stimulated many Chasidic ideas.

  • Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski -Q & A on Psychology and Religiosity

    A must listen – you may not agree with everything said, but there’s IMHO some real world discussion.
    *Being a Rav versus being a therapist – a Rav sometimes needs to approach the “client” who has a problem
    *The difference between the therapist and client is quantitative not qualitative (we all have problems). Need to be able to see it from the client’s view and then separate (especially if you have the same issue!)
    *Feminism – need to give proper respect but realize that halacha doesn’t view women as inferior (me – even if the right fielder can’t be the pitcher, we still might want to try to reduce his pain/not just say it’s his problem, get over it)
    *Great Steipler quote (Yiddish) – “Nervousness isn’t frumkeit”
    *Academic psychology doesn’t need to conflict with religion – though we should encourage finding meaning in life
    *Mishkav Zachor – don’t act on it, IIUC it is treatable but in any event can’t act on it
    *Internet pornography has become a huge issue – R’Twerski got a call from a major community (rabbinic) leader’s wife (you can guess about what)
    *Best Mussar – look at HKB”H’s creation, stay away from anger – there are a lot of people who act frum but have no fear of HKB”H!!!! (me-or as R’ Shapiro would say – there is a lot of fear of halacha, not enough fear of HKB”H)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Double Black Retzuos

    2-sided black straps – why you might want them? (they’ll stay black!). Why not? (tradition, insult to prior generations).
    Got a good laugh at rebuttal consisting of how could you say it was done differently in the past without proof (like we never assume past fact based on our sharp minds) but I really appreciated R’Lebowitz’s candor: “Any new innovation in Judaism is always going to be viewed with a very healthy dose of cynicism….That’s good….The question is at what point do we start to accept things…that’s a question everyone can figure out” (me – at least everyone who posts on hirhurim).

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -Kashrus of Milk

    A concise summary of the halachic history of chalav yisrael an R’Moshe’s heter. Question – people who only drink chalav yisrael – is it because they think R’Moshe got the mtziut wrong or the halacha wrong? What are the nafka mina’s?

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -Migo DHaaza Part I

    Technical discussion of interaction of migo (accept my claim/statement since I could have made a stronger/better one) and haazah (brazen claim) – why does it seem sometimes we’ll accept, sometimes not? A number of answers.

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -Migo DHaaza Part 2

    Continuation of #1 with focus on approach of R’Elchanan as well as another possible explanation.

  • Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank -Why do the innocent suffer?
  • Don’t confuse philosophy with how to give comfort! (me-Amen)
    Detailed analysis of Ramban’s approach to explaining how to understand (or really try to) why the righteous suffer. Ramban closes with an explanation why we keep trying to understand!

  • Rabbi Adam Mintz-The Education of Young Women in Nineteenth Century Russia

    Interesting history of educational change in Russia in the 1800’s – M. vs. F., cheder vs. “real school”, individuals vs. universal. Key takeaways – 1) understand the difference between secularization (OTD) vs. modernization (religion assimilations modernity); 2) the process of modernization doesn’t change that much (i.e. MO in U.S. hasn’t been much different than the experience described here).

  • Rabbi Ari Kahn -The Logic of the Commandments

    The meaning of l’emor (saying) in the asseret hadibrot – 1) famous Rashi – the Jewish people answered yes to the positive commandments and no (we will not do) to the negative; 2) it refers to the anochi; 3) it refers to the oral law; 4) it refers to future generations.
    Rashi really goes back to argument in Talmud – did they say yes – we will not do; or no – we won’t – R’YBS (my summary) is it commanded because it’s ethical or ethical because it is commanded?

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter – -Contemporary Topics in Halacha: Issues in Today’s Workplace

    The 2 big challenges nowadays are arayot (sexual) and gezel (commercial) – so we need to be extra careful in those areas. R’HS gives examples in all areas (e.g. taxes, yichud) and areas to avoid but understand not forbidden.
    I have always bristled a bit at the R’Kook/Sogatchover stories of avoiding using office workers/businessmen as eidim(witnesses). IMHO (and that of the IRS and most employers I know of) certain non-material personal uses of office supplies is non-taxable and expected . I know the gemara looks at certain professions with askance (shepherds) but I’d be interested in looking at all professions data (hameivin yavin) as a data basis.
    Interesting comments on how one should practice in the business world.

  • Rav Asher Weiss – Bo- Shalosh Seudot

    R’Asher reviews the rules of Shalosh Seudot – differing opinions as to when each of the Shabbat meals can or must be eaten and what they must consist of. The big chiddush is the third meal since in the time of the Talmud the standard day had two meals.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -The Halachos of Wills, Estates and Inheritances

    Wills and inheritances. Why doesn’t Dina D’malchuta (law of the land) allow you to leave whatever you want to whomever you want? (i) it’s not applicable between two Jews and (ii) inheritance isn’t mamonot ($) – it’s issur “v’heter(ritual?).
    R’HS reviews the default rules of inheritance and the various Talmudic “workarounds” for a tzavaah (will?). It gets hairier when you don’t want the sons to inherit. Topics include different types of property and loans, commands of the almost dead, and the like (lots of detail).

  • Rabbi Shmuel Maybruch -Smoking, Skiing and Cellphones: Risk Adversity in the Eyes of Halacha

    Smoking, skiing and cellphones – No, maybe yes. Drosh V’Kabeil Schar!

  • Rabbi Lavi Greenspan -A Life of Emunah

    Rabbi Lavi Greenspan’s (full disclosure – was close to avi mori v’rabbi zll”hh and still calls imi morati Y”L) first hand life story – his illnesses and surgeries eventually leading to complete blindness.
    My summary of his message – lulai toratcha shashuay, az avaditi, bonyi. HKB”H, family, Klal Yisrael and most of all Torah need to be our focus. Q&A as well.

  • Rabbi Joel Finkelstein -Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik: Biography as Philosophy

    The Rav’s biography – through snippets of his writings, a view of the vida dialectica.

  • Rabbi Daniel Hartstein -Tu B’shevat: Making Seder Out Of This Holiday

    Meaning of tu bshvat (philosophically) in Eretz Yisrael.

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Annulment of Kiddushin

    Understanding the details of hafkaat kidushin (annulment) – differing explanations of how it works and why one witness works in spouse’s death cases? When to use kidushei taut (mistaken marriage).

  • Rav Nissan Kaplan-refrigerator on Shabbos

    Most refrigerators are a problem for Shabbat use. Psik reisha, dvar sheino mitkavein, motor issues, fan issues, defrosting issues – very technical discussion. Sounds like according to R’Kaplan any system with a microprocessor (well, he just said new refrigerator) is a problem unless you insert another one to defeat it!!!!

  • Rabbi Michael Broyde -Case Files from the Beth Din: How Does a Dayan Arrive at a Just and Halachic Decision?

    Cases from the Beit Din files (always assume cetirus paribus):
    1) Mom split estate and gave 7 pictures to each child – turns out one picture was worth big bucks. Decision turns on Mom’s likely intent.
    2) Couple separated in preparation for divorce but husband dies suddenly without changing his will. His kids (from prior marriage) want all $. Our (U.S.) “minhag” is to ignore ketubah (hmmmm) so case result may well follow secular law.
    3) After parent’s death, one child wants to be reimbursed for expenses of taking care of that parent. No! (but could have arranged for it pre-death).
    4) Trust fund for organization whose mission disappeared and donor is in olam haemet – must guess donor’s original intent (secular law may get involved). [hey – at least we have a case where all agree original intent counts] 5) Can you (a male) apply for domestic partner benefits for a brother-in-law you are taking care of (wife died). Yes, if you’re not fibbing.
    6) Civil marriage 11 weeks prior to religious wedding for purpose of getting health insurance. Best to avoid – chillul hashem (and you might change mind).

  • Rabbi Chayim Soloveichik -The Halachick Validity of Elections in Israel

    Discussion of the importance and halachic stature of governments and leaders, as well as appropriateness of public selecting (or agreeing to) leaders. One rule – the leaders can’t contravene Torah law (me – King had pretty broad powers, not always clear where that interaction is).li>

  • Rabbi Ya’akov Trump -Origins of the Siddur

    Why did Anshe’s Knesset Hagedolah need to establish set prayer? It was the end of era of prophecy and lack of mesorah/proper education of the generation.
    But we have spontaneity within a fixed text!

  • 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.


    1. Joel: UTJ, unlike Shas, is somewhat happy to get their money and special treatment and not seek more power. That’s why Lapid, among others, like them more.

    2. R’ Joel –

      re: refrigerators
      When you say “Most refrigerators are a problem for Shabbat use.” Does “use” mean opening it while the motor is not running or even opening while the motor is running?

      Also, could you please elaborate on what the microprocessor does in the new refrigerators, for those of us who are not as technologically savvy?

    3. r’Sass,
      It means opening the door anytime.I’ll try to describe but you may want to listen to the shiur and the follow up. R’ Kaplan’s description (as I understood it) is that unlike the old thermostat which was basically an open/close circuit (depending on the temperature and the setting), refrigerators now basically are taking a continual reading and sending a continuous coded signal as to whether to turn on or off which will change when you open the door.

    4. Wow, that sounds problematic, ok thanks.

    5. Isn’t cholov yisroel a chumrah today? In his teshuvah, even R’ Moshe says that certain segments shouldn’t rely on his psak.

    6. In addition to the chalav yisrael issue itself, there is another reason to drink only chalav yirael in America today, and that is the LDA (left displaced abomasum) issue, which Rav Moshe did not address. Although I’m not sure how many of thsoe who are makpid on chalav yisrael do so because of the LDA issue, but it is a legitimate reason to do so.

    7. R’ Hoffa,
      It’s a great question. IMHO on a pure halachic view, if one were to disagree with R’ Moshe on the svara of “knowing” based on government supervision, then it’s not a chumra, it’s avoiding treif. If one is saying they are a b’al nefesh, then it would be a chumra/hiddur. The question of why R’ Moshe felt this was an appropriate point to put in a bal nefesh proviso is a fascinating one. I have my guess, but that would bring us back to the macro/micro halachic analysis.

    8. R’sass,
      Is R’HS drinking milk?

    9. Not that I’m aware of
      But the LDA issue is separate from Rav Schachter’s issue, iow there is definitely room to be makpid on LDA and drink only chalav yisrael even if you are not machmir for Rav Schachter’s shita on milk in genera;l.

    10. *Great Steipler quote (Yiddish) – “Nervousness isn’t frumkeit”

      Kierkegaard would disagree 🙂

      there are a lot of people who act frum but have no fear of HKB”H!!!! (me-or as R’ Shapiro would say – there is a lot of fear of halacha, not enough fear of HKB”H)

      Two separate problems – some are misguided and others are faking it.

      is it because they think R’Moshe got the mtziut wrong or the halacha wrong?

      I once asked a prominent rabbi the following: if the techelet that some people wear nowadays is from the same animal as the original techelet, would you be doing a mitzvah by wearing it, or do you need a continuous mesorah? He cut me off and simply said it’s not the same techelet. The impression I got was that he’d never taken the issue seriously, I took that to mean that to even ask the question means admitting an outlook which you can’t accept. I assume the same is true here with chalav akum.

      Don’t confuse philosophy with how to give comfort! (me-Amen)


    11. R’ shlomo,
      On the fear issue- trueand maybe it’s a subset but I sometimes think its the torah shebal peh having been written down that makes people believe it can all be captured in a book.

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