Audio Roundup

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by Joel Rich

From the recent Klal Perspectives:
Most individuals involved in community matters are motivated by one or more of three considerations: a sense of accomplishment, kavod, and entertainment. (Me – sounds like a Bizarro Pirkel Avot)


So in R’Rosensweig’s Kaye Scholer Shiur he was waxing eloquent about the Ibn Ezra on Lo Tachmod (Shemot 20:13). While he seemed to agree the peasant/princess analogy doesn’t generally resonate today (gee – who prompted him on that?), he is enamored with the halacha defining one’s psychological attachments (or lack thereof). Having been accused locally of being Spock-like, I wonder besides R’MR and R’YBS, how many folks actually are capable of perceiving halachic reality in this manner!


  • Sean M Carroll on Origin of the Universe & the Arrow of Time

    The arrow of time (time only moves in one direction) is not muchrach (forced) by the basic laws of physics which seem to allow time to flow in either direction.
    The best explanation of why time does flow as it does is related to entropy. Good description of moving from high to low entropy and why entropy must have been highest at the big bang. A bunch of explanations as to why that might have been (me – worth listening – but as you might have guessed, they’re looking for an explanation other than HKB”H, perhaps a multiverse or a cosmic chicken laying a cosmic egg).

  • Joel Selanikio: The surprising seeds of a big-data revolution in healthcare

    Interesting how we don’t think about what little data we actually have vs. what could be of use in the developing world (especially in public health) – cloud based tools could change that.

  • Rav Asher Weiss – ‘Inyonei Aveilus’

    Discussion of relationship between private (e.g. lost parent) and public (e.g. tisha b’av) mourning. Example – why is there no chinuch (training) for children in private mourning but we do prohibit children from learning on days of public mourning?
    R’Weiss feels there can’t be a chiyuv (obligation) to learn Torah on a day where there is a prohibition of the joy of learning on that day. (Me – see Maharsha on Taanit 30A on whether the issue is joy or distraction from focus of day)
    Then a discussion of 4 types of fasts: 1) Tshuva (repentance); 2) Aveilut (mourning); 3) Ritzui (when asking for something from HKB”H); 4) zecher (remembrance of days gone by)

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 302-5

    Scraping or rubbing dirt of clothes on Shabbat – when is it a concern for the prohibition of cleaning?

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 302-6

    Wetting or soaking clothes on Shabbat – when is there an issue of cleaning?

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 302-7

    Exception from some of the Shabbat cleaning rules for taking stuff off of leather – does it extend to other smooth materials?

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 302-8

    Towel drying issues (maybe you’ll wring it) on Shabbat – what if you’re just using a towel to clean your hands?

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 302-9

    More on towel wringing issues

  • Rabbi Langer-Exhumation-of-Cemetary-Graves-1

    What’s the issue with disinterment? Not much mention in early halachic sources, apparently something to do with the confusion it causes the soul or some other body/soul connection or other possible reasons.

  • Rabbi Langer-Exhumation-of-Cemetary-Graves-1

    Discussion of possible leniencies to allow reinterment, especially if the original burial was done with intent of it being conditional.

  • Rabbi Reuven Brand -BRCA1 and Women’s Health Interventions: Halachic Perspectives

    Dialectic between need to take care of oneself medically and being trusting in HKB”H. Who should get screening may depend on the particular probabilities of specific genetic issues and what the alternative intervention is for a positive test result (how intrusive the action, likelihood of false positive (actually I added that) and what are the probabilities of the intervention’s success). It’s even more challenging when Drs. disagree on the proper intervention.

  • R’ Chaim Rappaport-Hishtadlus vs Bitochon

    Focus on how much effort (hishtadlut) we must make to secure our livelihoods. Recognize that our efforts are simply vessels to receive HKB”H’s blessing so only need enough hishtadlut so other people could think it was done on your own.
    How do you know how much that is? Ask your Rav or see the signs HKB”H sends you (me – it would be nice to have a sign reading class).

  • Rabbi Eliyahu Fink and Rabbi Shafran on “Talkline with Zev Brenner”

    Reminds me of why I don’t listen to talk radio. Particularly interesting how everyone’s reading of the R’Sacks “good bye” piece seems to reflect their own experiences and bias. Side point I always wondered about which came first – the idea to have community kollelim to do outreach as a part of a Yeshivish vision, or an imbalance of Yeshivish Rabbis/learners vs. available opportunities leading to a need to increase demand for such.

  • Rav Weiss -Devarim English 5773 Binyan H’Tzomot

    Expanded discussion of the 4 types of fasts with almost complete list of which fasts are in which category. Great story about locals suspecting R’Y Eibshutz of not saying “shelo asani goy” – turns out he was so full of thanks he said it as soon as he awoke (me – much like I don’t understand the practice of not saying birchat hatorah until you get to Shul!).

  • Rabbi Yona Reiss-Halachic Issues of Teachers, Mechanchim, and Schools in the Job Market

    Employee (especially teacher) relations is a complex topic, both generally (B”H since that’s how I make a living!) and halachically. Issues to be considered include existence of contracts, timing of employee separation and ability to find replacements. There’s lots of details to be considered but it’s interesting that the employee/employer relationship is asymmetric in halacha (e.g. the employee is generally free to cease employment whenever he wants but the employer is not so free to terminate employee’s employment). Also interesting that in some cases there is no financial obligation, but you can say not nice things about the other party’s actions (assumedly without an issue of lashon hara).

  • Rabbi Aryeh (Robert) Klapper –Darkah Shel Torah (1)

    Do we view halachic system as a divine self-contained reality which requires no outside justification (i.e. doesn’t need to correlate with human experience)?

  • Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein -Davening from and outside of Israel/ תפילה בדרך ובחו”ל (H)

    Discussion of issues relating to davening times and airplane travel. Websites available to give you times according to multiple opinions – both specific geographic locations (www.myzmanim.com) and usual flight routes(. http://www.chaitables.com/chai_air_eng.php?look=20130715I) Includes practical advice (e.g. when to make a minyan on a plane, using after the fact (bdieved) times to daven on the ground…). Then discussion of practice outside of Israel of davening shkia mincha/maariv, tartei d’satrei and late neitz situations. (I won’t repeat my usual shkia maariv rant )

  • Rabbi Yehuda Balsam -Analyzing Tartei D’satrei

    Technical discussion of maintaining internally inconsistent positions in fact vs. in halacha. This was part of a multi shiur presentations so no conclusion.

  • Dovid’l Weinberg -(1) Fragments of Light: Selected Teachings from the Thought of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook Zt”l Kook (Tammuz & Av 5773- Developing the Divine Eye)

    Have to look at world through “good” eyes and have more and more dedication to looking for HKB”H in all facets of life.

  • Rabbi Aryeh (Robert) Klapper –Darkah Shel Torah (2)

    Continuation of philosophy of halachic systems. The issue with a wholly autonomous system is that there’s no external human experience that can validate the system.

  • Rabbi Aryeh (Robert) Klapper –Darkah Shel Torah (3)

    So there should be a one to one correspondence between the Torah and our existence and our minds – one should come up with a vision of the halachic system that works for them. (The series was philosophically oriented and is not for the faint of heart.)

  • Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-Priorities among tzedakas

    Priorities for a gabbai (collector) of tzedaka are different than for an individual (an individual focuses much more on relations). The Shukhan Aruch provides priorities and after much analysis R’Schwartz ends up with: Pidyon Shvuyim/Cholim > Talmud Torah (kids probably) > Shul > mikveh (plus other city needs) > poor folks

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 303-1

    Wearing strings and other hair add-ons on Shabbat – Is there a concern they might be taken off on Shabbat outside?

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 303-2

    Continuation – jewelry and other items such as hair pins, nose rings.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 303-3

    Continuation – other items which one might have on various parts of the body.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 303-4

    Continuation – other clothes add-ons and keys even not in full public domain.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 303-5

    Good summary of underlying theories of “carrying on Shabbat” in an unenclosed area and why the rules might be subject to change as circumstances change.

  • Shay Schachter -Mishenichnas Av, Magic & Mazalot

    Do you believe in magic (me – in a young girl’s heart?)? – Review of the various positions of whether kishuf (magic) really exists and impact on permissibility of magic shows.

  • 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.

    13 comments

    1. “Side point I always wondered about which came first – the idea to have community kollelim to do outreach as a part of a Yeshivish vision, or an imbalance of Yeshivish Rabbis/learners vs. available opportunities leading to a need to increase demand for such.”

      Joel-I think we can both guess the answer.

    2. “locals suspecting R’Y Eibshutz of not saying “shelo asani goy””

      Maybe they believed he was a mesis umediach. I read a book in the NYPL Jewish Division written a few decades agolaying out the argument for such a viewpoint.

    3. I hope this is not the last we see of your comments and hope that it is a hiatus but a hakaras hatov thanks so far Joel for your weekly comments and links it has been very much appreciated.

    4. R Joel wrote in part:

      ““Side point I always wondered about which came first – the idea to have community kollelim to do outreach as a part of a Yeshivish vision, or an imbalance of Yeshivish Rabbis/learners vs. available opportunities leading to a need to increase demand for such”

      I disagree with this premise. Why are both SEED and RIETS/CJF programs equally popular among those who staff them-not because of a hashkafic message, but because there is a need in the American Jewish hinterland of MO of men and women who are textually literate and can teach, and there are a lot of Bnei and Bnos Torah who want to teach, learn and be role models in showing the depth and profundity of Torah study and observance to those who live some distance from the main Torah centers of the US.( That being said, I do not understand wny RIETS/CJF has programs in some communities that are already MO citadels.)

    5. “That being said, I do not understand wny RIETS/CJF has programs in some communities that are already MO citadels”
      Few possibilities-there is money to be raised in some of the MO citadels-sadly I am not aware of any lower middle class MO communities.
      Regional jobs to be rewarded in MO areas.
      Obviously, much more good could be done if the “outreach” were not found in areas where there are probably many lectures available every weeknight.
      Of course, Chabad does the same thing each Chabad House is a franchise and is required to raise its own money-thus much more Chabad houses in areas with upper middle class incomes than elsewhere.

    6. “I hope this is not the last we see of your comments and hope that it is a hiatus but a hakaras hatov thanks so far Joel for your weekly comments and links it has been very much appreciated.”

      I agree with mycroft.

    7. R’ Mycroft,Machshavos,
      TY – fortunately I just passed my 5th anniversary so I am fully vested in the very generous pension arrangements that R’ Gil provided as a condition of my employment. Let’s see what happens in 2 weeks. I like to think of this column as an artisanal effort (that’s my way of rationalizing the usual low comment count :-)) that allows me an outlet for [the rest is censored due to being to self revealing]
      KT

    8. Shalom Rosenfeld

      Three cheers for artisanal efforts.

      “how many folks actually are capable of perceiving halachic reality in this manner”

      ***************************

      From a yutorah mp3 a few years ago:

      Q: “is there the concern that if you take a bunch of young single men in a yeshiva and give them no outlet for their sexuality, that they’ll eventually find themselves attracted to other men?”

      Dr. Pelkovitz: “It’s a concern. I know a rosh yeshiva who purposely has dorm rooms with one or three boys, but never two.”

      R’ Meir Twerski: “The Rambam says if you find yourself thinking of bad stuff, think about Torah instead. So if you’re learning Torah properly this won’t happen.”

      ******************************

      My father recalls a mashgiach giving a shmooze: “The Rambam says people are affected by those surrounding them.”

      Someone called out — “but rebbe, we see some people out there are noncomformists?!”

      — “The RAMBAM SAYS people are affected by those surrounding them.”

      *****************************

      (Me — and you think the nonconformists would act exactly the same way if there wasn’t that surrounding environment?)

    9. R’SR,
      LOL – I guess it’s as good advice as take a cold shower
      KT

    10. re: halacha defining one’s psychological attachments

      If I’m understanding what you’re saying correctly, I think the following is appropos – I once heard R’ Sigi Handelman say in the name of Rav Avigdor Cyperstein (former Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS and chief Rabbi of Argentina I believe) that the fact that a smoker who generally can’t go an hour without a cigarette does not desire the cigarette on Shabbos shows that the halachic reality can define our psychological and even physical attachments, and that it’s true for the common man.

      Can any smokers out there comment on the accuracy of this statement?

    11. “From a yutorah mp3 a few years ago:

      Q: “is there the concern that if you take a bunch of young single men in a yeshiva and give them no outlet for their sexuality, that they’ll eventually find themselves attracted to other men?”

      Dr. Pelkovitz: “It’s a concern. I know a rosh yeshiva who purposely has dorm rooms with one or three boys, but never two.”

      R’ Meir Twerski: “The Rambam says if you find yourself thinking of bad stuff, think about Torah instead. So if you’re learning Torah properly this won’t happen.”

      I have a tough time believing the aqbove quote is not a Purim parody.

    12. Shalom Rosenfeld

      R’ Mycroft,

      Okay perhaps a bit more accurately: Dr Pelkovitz acknowledged a concern that men might experiment (hence the three-bed-dorm-room policy), though he was not aware of this leading to long-term shifts of orientation. Rabbi Twerski stated that if your strategy of avoiding hetero temptation leads to other temptation, your strategy must be wrong. And by the way, the Rambam says think about Torah instead.

      I’ve listened to the mp3 again and while perhaps I oversharpened the distinction, please listen and tell me if you feel it’s entirely inaccurate. (Using PhotoShop to increase the color contrast on the entire picture you took under the microscope — mutar. Using it to change the colors of only the experiment and not the control — assur.)

      Here’s the shiur: http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/717884/Rabbi_Mayer_E_Twersky/Maintaining_Kedusha_in_an_Overexposed_Society

      Listen from 1:27:00 to 1:31:00

    13. “Okay perhaps a bit more accurately: Dr Pelkovitz acknowledged a concern that men might experiment (hence the three-bed-dorm-room policy), though he was not aware of this leading to long-term shifts of orientation. Rabbi Twerski stated that if your strategy of avoiding hetero temptation leads to other temptation, your strategy must be wrong. And by the way, the Rambam says think about Torah instead.”
      Thanks for the link-I listened to the minutes that you suggested and I agree that you essentially have summarized their statements. Three bed dorm is a disaster -threes generally go to 2 vs 1. I’ds rather see a bigger 4 bed dorm room. I doubt there are too many teenagers would would be dissuaded from sexual thoughts by thinking of Reb Hayyim. Sex is at least as much a drive for normal teenagers as following the Celtics is.

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