by Joel Rich
From an email I recently received: (Modern Technology in the service of an ancient tradition? Of course the next step is to virtualize the meeting as well – perhaps a reduced resource option where the information transfer occurs on line through avatars?)
It gives us great pleasure to inform you that
Maran Harav Asher Weiss Shlita
Will be in New York
From Sunday June 30 through Tuesday night July 2
The Rav will be available to meet privately with Talmidim and friends, to offer advice and to give Brachot. If you are interested in meeting the Rav, please press the link below to schedule time with the Rav.
CLICK HERE To Schedule A meeting
From R’ Aviner (I’d love to know the algorithm as to when we don’t just say “it’s an ofeneh mishna brurah”)
Talit which Falls Off
Q: Does one have to recite another blessing if his Talit falls off?
A: No. Shemirat Shabbat Ke-Hilchata 1:69. Not like the opinion of the Mishnah Berurah 8:15.
A commemoration of the life and times of R’Dovid Lifshitz ZT”L (The Suvalker Rav – where my father’s ZLL”HH family hailed from). R’Dovid is remembered as:
*steadfast in his avodat Hashem
*zariz (quick to act) in his avodat Hashem
*a warm and caring and concerned teacher
*a Talmid Muvhak of R’Shimon Shkup (whom he quoted verbatim)
“Yeshiva” means Torah only; one must be “meimit atzmo” (kill himself figuratively) in dedication to Torah learning and only Torah learning. A baal habayit (non-Yeshiva student) who learns 8 hours a day still thinks Torah is not the most important thing. [me – one might say the exact opposite]
We now know (me – sounds like Rambam in the original – not really mamin (believe) but leyda (know) of HKB”H) that universe could spontaneously occur (hmmm – a real maamin, that’s enough to satisfy his curiosity?). In theory probability should be high of other intelligent life in the universe (me – and we are intelligent?) yet we don’t see it (me – so maybe theory is wrong?). Our best hope for survival is space travel so some seed remains if we destroy earth.
Religious Zionists have the ability to form the bridge for the chareidi and chiloni societies to get on board to bring moshiach, but we have to improve ourselves first.
Interesting to see what’s on students’ minds. Some Q&A include:
1) One must believe in the world to come because the scores don’t add up in this world.
2) Diaspora is partially rehabilitative punishment, we can bring it to an end by doing the right thing and getting others to do so as well.
3) Talmudic cures – why don’t they work? Science of the times or times were different.
4) Sociological Chazakot – some change, some don’t – only great Rabbis can draw the lines! (me – does Tan Du sound familiar?)
5) How do blessings (like Isaac to Jacob) work? We don’t know, but they do.
6) Is there an ethic outside of Halacha? Yes, but not outside HKB”H.
7) Morality is based on what’s practical in the world (it was ok to have slaves until the economy could get along without them) but general society doesn’t seem to be doing so well in the moral arena and its impacts on a healthy society
8) Women’s issues (“and he will rule over you”), etc. – Perhaps overcoming original curse to Adam and Chava (like working by the sweat of one’s brow) is a good thing to bring redemption (or maybe not).
Parameters of Pru U’rvu (be fruitful). To channel Uncle Moishy – “It’s a BIG Mitzvah”. The Torah does not provide timing parameters (me – similar to marriage?) so the question is, is putting off completion of this mitzvah a bittul aseh (passive indifference?) or a lesser offense of lack of alacrity? Revierw of sources. R’Kahn thinks Ø allowance to postpone having kids if you don’t have any, but may be room for “leniency” if already have one (quotes – R’OY, R’MF and R’Henkin).
Using a cane and other prosthetics outside on Shabbat. The general rule is if you couldn’t walk without it, it’s permissible.
You can’t use a non-clothing item to go outside with on Shabbat to protect you from the rain. Discussion of what you can wear for wound protection.
A government required badge may be attached to your clothes even for outside Shabbat use. Then discussion of bells and/or hankies attached to clothes for Shabbat use.
Amulets – not really germane today. (see R’Mizrachi shiur on fakirs)
Analysis of Cozbi/Zimri sin for its lessons in leadership. Why did Moshe forget the halacha of kannoim pogim bo (Zealots put them to death)? Why was Moshe held responsible? What about the Zekeinim (elders)? Perhaps the “guilt” was that they could have stopped the sin from happening by an earlier intervention.
A long presentation debunking phony kabbalists and other fakirs and magical imports from outside of real Torah. Interesting side point, apparently R’Mizrachi can prove the truth of HKB”H and Torah to anyone who will listen.
Short analysis of the three cases (mesechta,ushpiza,puraya – all defined herein)where a Talmid Chacham is allowed to not tell the truth due to other considerations.
Children are not really blank slates when they are born and pretending they are is counter productive. Apparently the idea that they are is current academic gospel.
Tzaar baalei chaim (causing pain to animals) is a Torah prohibition, but it’s unclear as to specific source. R’Weiss categorizes it under “Ratzon Hatorah” (HKB”H’s will). Lists a number of possible sources given by others. Depending on what you think the source is, you may come to different conclusions on how extensive the exemption from causing pain is for human needs (e.g. using animals for drug testing vs. hunting).
Why no daily blessing for Kohanim “that you made me a Kohain”? Perhaps since no special daily duty for Kohanim. Ties into shelo asani eved (“that you did not make me a slave”) etc.
[I have to admit, I still don’t get it – it always seemed to me we should say thank you for making me what you did[yes I know there are several reasons given why not]]
More on amulets plus protections for cuts on bottom of foot. Then on to wearing a talit outside with no eruv (or one you don’t hold of ) – it’s got to be really worn not just draped on the neck. (General rule – wear things the way they are usually worn)
Conflicting sources on what the world will be like in the future (e.g. Messianic times). Will halacha change? Will facts on the ground (metziut/teva) change? Maybe we’re talking about different future [my standard response is – just let mashiach come already and we’ll “worry” about it then].
Daniel Fridman-A Portrait of the Artist as a Spiritual Man: Judaism and Aesthetics
Some folks reject all forms of art (philosophically & experientially) as bitul Torah, others assume it’s 100% kosher/appropriate. The Beit Mikdash is full of examples of art in service to HKB”H. Even art not directly used in service of HKB”H but using the talents that HKB”H gave you is a reflection of HKB”H and can help you cleave to him [me – but still must be measured in context of glorifying HKB”H?]
Focus on the nature of “Maaser” (tithing) today and how the various opinions impact on the use of our maaser funds for causes other than the poor (e.g. for different mitzvoth like buying an aliyah).
Specific discussion of status of Shul dues, Yeshiva tuition and support of Torah learning. Wide range of opinions may also be related to the specific facts and circumstances of each time and place.
Parsha Shiur includes:
*Can we learn halacha from Bilam quotes (derivative of issue of Bilam being a great prophet)
*Chumash doesn’t always have direct quotes from protagonists – HKB”H put the “quotes” in a way we can learn things for future generations
*Mashiach related issues
*Mikra (words) vs. Masoret (pronunciation) discussion
*Abbreviations in Torah
*Defining parhesia (public) for purposes of Kiddush Hashem
*Balak was rewarded for the sacrifices he brought, even though he was evil
*Some think we shouldn’t say mah tovu due to its source (Bilam); others say HKB”H put it in his mouth so it’s ok
*”Am Lvadad Yishkon” (a nation that dwells alone) is inherent in the nature of the Jewish people (me – relates to our discussions on sociological Chazakot – which are inherent in nature)
*Bilaam’s curse may be source of rule that as long as you started Shma or amidah within the proper time, you get credit even if finished after the proper time
*R’YBS on emotions being private as a part of humility
R’Moshe held that sunset is determined by what would have been seen on level ground even when you are surrounded by mountains, whereas tzeit (night) is by actual facts on the ground! Discussion of davening time determinations related to skyscrapers, airplanes and the like.
Review of sources in Talmud and Rishonim concerning Tircha d’Tzibura (burden on the assembled). Perhaps it’s related to the honor of the assembled (Kavod Tzibbur). Quotes R’Asher Weiss as it being a Torah requirement left to the Rabbis to establish parameters.
Interesting how the Mishneh Brura took the established rule of the Shatz not waiting for the Rabbi to finish the amida and turned it on its head for all to wait for thr Rabbi due to current circumstances (actually sounded like someone before him did it and he justified it).
Rabbi Ari Kahn-יין של מחלל שבת (H)
Detailed review of sources concerning status today of non-mevushal wine touched by a non-Sabbath observant Jew. There may be room to be lenient after the fact.
Messages of Rosh Chodesh:
*We can sanctify time
*Importance of each moment we have
*Celebrate looking forward to the future!