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!
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).
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.
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)
Scraping or rubbing dirt of clothes on Shabbat – when is it a concern for the prohibition of cleaning?
Wetting or soaking clothes on Shabbat – when is there an issue of cleaning?
Exception from some of the Shabbat cleaning rules for taking stuff off of leather – does it extend to other smooth materials?
Towel drying issues (maybe you’ll wring it) on Shabbat – what if you’re just using a towel to clean your hands?
More on towel wringing issues
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.
Discussion of possible leniencies to allow reinterment, especially if the original burial was done with intent of it being conditional.
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.
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).
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.
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!).
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).
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)?
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 )
Technical discussion of maintaining internally inconsistent positions in fact vs. in halacha. This was part of a multi shiur presentations so no conclusion.
Have to look at world through “good” eyes and have more and more dedication to looking for HKB”H in all facets of life.
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.
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.)
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
Wearing strings and other hair add-ons on Shabbat – Is there a concern they might be taken off on Shabbat outside?
Continuation – jewelry and other items such as hair pins, nose rings.
Continuation – other items which one might have on various parts of the body.
Continuation – other clothes add-ons and keys even not in full public domain.
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.
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.