Audio Roundup

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by Joel Rich

Heard on the history channel – “the biggest mystery in all of science…. We have no clue what set the big bang in motion” (I appreciated the humility-and wonder why some bash believers)


Brave new frontier for halacha
April 28, 2013, 11:00 am
Disruptions: Brain Computer Interfaces Inch Closer to Mainstream

By NICK BILTON

Last week, engineers sniffing around the programming code for Google Glass found hidden examples of ways that people might interact with the wearable computers without having to say a word. Among them, a user could nod to turn the glasses on or off. A single wink might tell the glasses to take a picture.

But don’t expect these gestures to be necessary for long. Soon, we might interact with our smartphones and computers simply by using our minds. In a couple of years, we could be turning on the lights at home just by thinking about it, or sending an e-mail from our smartphone without even pulling the device from our pocket.


  • Rabbi Dr. Jacob J Schacter -The Impact of Technology on our Ritual Lives

    The history of halachic discourse regarding the use of printing (or lack thereof) regarding a Talmudic discussion of the Shamir. The Taz assumed the Talmud could have “used” printing in the discussion, the Chavot Yair said they didn’t have printing so not using is no proof, the Knesset Yechozkeil says that saying they didn’t have it is insulting to Moshe Rabbeinu and Shlomo Hamelech, the Maharatz Chiyut says it isn’t insulting, HKB”H decided what technology gets developed in a progressive pattern.
    Then the Chatam Sofer on printing challenges: 1) no quality control (anyone can print); 2) it leaves a permanent record; 3) you can print heresy [maybe the internet was a mesorah that was only revealed to the world now].
    R’Schachter mentions R’Bruriah David’s Doctoral (shhh!) dissertation on the Maharatz Chiyut – I wondered when I read it if she did the Talmudic analysis herself.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 282-1

    Rules regarding Torah reading and extra aliyot including Simchat Torah, aliyah priorities, women and children aliyot.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 282-2

    More on aliyot and the closing Kaddish.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 282-3 and 283-1

    What if the baal maftir already had an aliyah? What if the baal kriah skipped something and only realized it later?

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 284-1

    Haftarah rules – why 7 blessings, should you be saying from a printed nach? From a haftarah book? Some haftarah rules.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 284-2

    Why wait for sefer Torah to be rolled up before chazzan moves ahead? Rules for which haftarah to say, misheberach’s and keil maleh’s as well.

  • Rabbi Beni Krohn, Rabbi Yitzchak Motechin, Rabbi Maccabee Avishur -t’s Talk Tachlis: Panel Discussion on Finances in the Life of a Jewish Educator

    Analysis of a number of interpretations of the prohibition of teaching Torah to non-bnai brit. Specific topics include teaching mixed classes, possible converts, children of mixed marriages. Interesting limud zchut for Artscroll, etc. translations.
    R’Weiss calls for no compromise in standards but strong outreach given today’s demographics. (kdarko b’kodesh – a very clear and practical approach).

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory-The Structure of Prayer #1

    First in a series – How to say modeh (modah?) ani properly. The lesson is to understand that it’s important to have a statement of thanks and make your first action of the day a meeting with HKB”H. Then a bit of how many times a day women must pray.

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb -Shemittah: Lessons for You and Me

    Understanding Rashi’s answer to “mah inyan shmitah etzel har sinai”? (why was the mitzvah of shmitah put next to the har sinai experience). Rashi’s answer (that all details of both shmitah and other mitzvoth were given at sinai) doesn’t seem specific to shmita. Why does it sound like the first year they finished conquering they started with a shmita year?
    First we must understand underlying reasons/message of shmita; here’s a partial list of suspects: 1) help the poor; 2) regenerate the land (anyone remember “The Modern Farmer” TV show?); 3) teach the farmer to let go (don’t be greedy); 4) ward off egotism (be HKB”H centric); 5) build trust (bitachon) in HKB”H; 6) see parallels to Shabbat message (HKB”H stopped to “rest”, one is chosen…)
    Answers – Shmitah is an out of the ordinary spiritual experience/message which is meant to flow over to the other “ordinary” years.

  • Rabbi Azarya Berzon -Pirya VeRivya in the case of a woman who became pregnant without a Ma’aseh Biah, and artificial insemination, Part I

    Who is the father in AI or IVF? For purposes of yibbum, pru u’rvu, etc. is the focus on the act or the result? Even if the former, how much of the “process” is required to be done by “the father”? Then IVF after death of father (me – I suppose could be mother as well)?

  • Rav Asher Weiss-Behar
    Discussion of the rules of O’naah (charging price in relation to 1/6 over market value). Is it a rule related to “stealing” or to being upright (yosher) and some implications. Interesting insights into the 1/6 being an example where Chazal were given the task of quantification (masruha l’chachamim). Sad insights from R’Weiss concerning the lack of concern about yashrut he sees as a dayan (judge).
  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Parsha Shiur – Behar-Bechukosai 5773

    *How does Simchat Torah leining work in a 3 year Torah reading cycle.
    *Why do we follow gaonim vs. Talmud on certain Torah/Haftorah readings
    *Kedushat mikdash – ongoing or not, implications for temple sacrifices and bamot in our day
    *laws learned from the tochecha
    *laws of yoveil and shmita, including calculation of yoveil year and shofar blowing on Yom Kippur
    *heter mechira
    *onaah rules
    *Ir hanidachat

  • Rabbi A Mintz-Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in the Cave

    Review of the R’Shimon Bar Yochai in the cave story with close reading of some of the specifics plus the differing version in the Yerushalmi. His thesis is that the Bavli added in the details of the Romans and the heavy emphasis on Talmud Torah k’neged kulam.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – What To Do When You Realize You Are Carrying Outside the Eruv

    What to do if you suddenly realize you are eruvless? Assuming original akira (picking up) was mitasek (without any realization) there are a bunch of possibilities in an almost hierarchal structure. Most important “Just don’t stop (while) thinking [about tomorrow?]”.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Presence and Physical Support of Husband During Childbirth

    R’Asher Weiss’s simple “of course you can” (do whatever for a wife in childbirth) because she is in the choleh status seems not to be accepted. R’Lebowitz tries to explain why (me – M-E-T-A!) but balances with rejecting the Badei Hashulchan that water breaking by itself puts woman in nida state.

  • Rabbi Azarya Berzon -Pirya VeRivya in the case of a woman who became pregnant without a Ma’aseh Biah, and artificial insemination, Part II
    Further analysis ofpPru u’rvu – is the mitzvah defined as the I nitial act, having children or is the act a hecsher or tchila (preparation or beginning) of the mitzvah.
  • Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Rabbi Dr. Zalman Levine, Dr. Kenneth Prager -A Timeless Mother: Considering the Social, Ethical and Halakhic Impact of Elective Egg Freezing

    Excellent summary of biology of sperm, eggs, cryobiology and risks/rewards involved. Not much halachic analysis other than the meta rewards (and possible risks). Worth listening to R’Branders frustrations with the shidduch world participants!

  • Rabbi Michael Rosensweig -The Mizvat Aseh of Shabbat and Yom Tov: The Relationship Between Halakhic Law and Values

    Spirit vs. letter of the law analysis – Shabbat example.

  • Harav Asher Weiss-Chazakah Ein Adam Porea toch zmano(h)

    We have a chazakah (presumption) that a person doesn’t pay back a loan prior to its due date. How does that work? – is the presumption similar in authority to witnesses? A rov (majority)? Issues with each approach deemed “chazakah” (e.g. presumed status, usual approach) in the light of R’Shimon Shkop’s approach. Includes ruba d’leita and ruba d’ita (statistical majority – whole set in front of us or not) – both as emanations of the divine will.

  • HaRav Shlomo Amar -Entering the Temple Mount in Our Time (kenisa le’har ha’bayit b’zman ha’zeh)

    What is the halachic status of the kotel and the area in front of it? Depends on whether the kotel is the wall of the Azarah or of Har Habayit (there was some debate historically).

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Medical Halachah: Treating Anxiety and Depression

    Review of halachic implications of depression with regard to treatment on Shabbat, overriding pru u’rvu, etc.

  • Harav Asher Weiss-Nogea Badavar(h)

    What is the nature of the exclusion of witnesses who are nogea badavar (personally involved)? Is it because we’re concerned they will lie or because a person is considered karov l’atzmo (close to himself)? Implications of answer to this including whether the criterion is if one is nogea at time of event, and will later disentanglement allow him to testify?

  • Rabbi Chaim Brovender-Types of Reward – This World and the Next

    A message of Behar is that individual ownership in the land of Israel is an inalienable right, Bechukotai describes reward in earthly terms but it’s really a metaphor for reward in the world to come.

  • Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank =Rav Kook on Machlokes

    Next session on Eilu V’eilu – it could also mean that one of the truths is “more right” than the other or that at some level the opinions are not mutually exclusive (have I ever mentioned the double slit experiment?).
    I liked the explanation of how lesser people looked at Rambam (me – same for Rav Kook, R’YBS) and could only see limited facets (and then tried to explain away parts they couldn’t chop).

  • 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.

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