Audio Roundup

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Audio Roundup

by Joel Rich

Question: What is the relationship, if any, between an individual who has already davened and the Chazzan’s repetition (chazzarat hashatz) of a minyan in a room in which he is sitting? Halachic and hashkafic input appreciated.

From The Rebbitzen’s Husband:

I expect to participate in a panel discussion next week on “Controversial Talmud” – dealing with three talmudic passages which seem to be in direct conflict with modern western ethics.

In my humble opinion, cherry picking Talmudic statements can make for an interesting discussion, but it seems to me that a ben Torah develops a weltanschauung based on the entire corpus of the Talmud, which includes seemingly contradictory statements on such issues (how this develops based on nature and nurture is its own fascinating question). Perhaps these contradictory statements are really just expressing divergent opinions that existed among Chazal. I myself prefer to think that Chazal were purposely ambiguous and avoided making ironclad rules, because they realized that no hard and fast rules could apply in every combination of future realities. Instead, they left us with words of wisdom and guidance to be applied to each situation as we see fit (as per R’ Kenny Rogers – “you gotta know when to hold’em, when to fold’em”).


  1. Rabbi Nosson Rich – Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 323-3

    More on lending foodstuffs on Shabbat – you can’t mention price if it’s not known. What about a meal ticket where you fold down amount owed? Maybe you are allowed to do so for Tzedakah? Carrying large amounts – maybe to with shinui (not normal way). Details on when you can wash dishes on Shabbat.

  2. Rabbi Uri Orlian – Contemporary Halacha Fall ’13 Chazara Shiur #1: Sukka, Ovens on Y’T, Fasting on Y’K, Women’s Issues, Kiruv, Childcare on Shabbos

    A review of the Contemporary Halacha classes given at RIETS. I find these fascinating on a number of levels:

    • how the high level lomdus is distilled into “accepted” halacha
    • how the “accepted” halacha has changed over the years in certain areas (or at least for public consumption)
    • what we expect a young professional to master in their training

    Topics include:

    • Sukkah construction – maamad – mats for schach (issues include ritual impurity, do they form a roof?) – canvas walls
    • Yom Tov – gas stoves (turning on and/or off) – Shabbat mode ovens (problem of grama, but they do have someone’s OK (pun intended)) – keeping one or two days in Israel (Me – In my humble opinion people are voting with their feet)
    • Kiruv – status of non-observant Jews ( as regards to counting for a minyan) – lfnei i’ver – giving food (issue is that they will likely not make a bracha) – inviting for Shabbat (issue is they will drive)
    • Yom Kippur – pregnant women fasting
    • Women’s issues (it all depends on mesorah/motivation?) – learning – leadership – kaddish – kavod ha’tzibbur – Bat Mitzvah
    • Kids and Shabbat – nursing and pumping – food preparation – diapers – injuries – them doing melacha for you or for themselves
  3. Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro – Clearly Explained; Why Orthodox Jews Refuse to Serve in the IDF

    This is one of the saddest I’ve ever listened to:

    • The Zionists are against us, and even if they forced everyone in the army to wear tefillin we wouldn’t join
    • Just leave us alone as we’ve always been ( this made me think of the phrase “be careful what you pray for, you might get it”). 
  4. A Debate Between R. David Hollander and R. Shlomo Riskin

    An “interesting” debate which got a little rough by my standards. Many issues are much the same today. R’ Hollander (R’H) starts by defining a “new” movement (Centrist Orthodoxy [CO]) in contradistinction to Right Wing (RW) Orthodoxy which is causing schisms within Orthodoxy. The key elements include:
    1) Zionism
    2) secular education as a virtue
    3) women’s rights and status
    4) relations with non-orthodox clergy and people
    He felt he didn’t have enough time to discuss the first three (but they are baseless differences). He later clarified that he was focusing on (4) relationship with clergy in their religious role (not in ADL, etc.) and that we can’t validate a Judaism outside of halacha. Centrists aren’t playing by the rules of listening to the gedolim/poskim and by not writing teshuvot on the topic (can’t “do” halacha in articles/interviews). R’ Riskin (R’R) says CO is much more than whether one participates in the NY Board of Rabbis and schisms are not new to Orthodoxy. He does write teshuvot and R’ Yosef Dov Soloveitchik was clear on guidelines for relations with non-orthodox. The bigger issue here is the state of American Jewry in regards to assimilation.
    R’H – obviously
    RW is interested in outreach but Reform and Conservative are source of assimilation and we need to build Orthodoxy by strict opposition and by absolutely not giving them any legitimacy. Also who is R’R to write teshuvot with no haskamot by gedolim. By the way, most orthodox scientists are RW. The real issue isn’t secular studies, it’s the atmosphere on campus.
    R’R – There’s a dangerous spirit of RW viciousness and haskamot shouldn’t be the measure of teshuvot. There’s room to disagree but not to delegitimize.
    R’H – It’s not vilification to call people out on their deviances.
    R’R – The real issue is the right to disagree. Stresses that he’d rather non-Orthodox Jews affiliate religiously than not.

  5. Rabbi Baruch Simon – Parshas at DRS -Vaeira: Morasha of Torah and Eretz Yisroe l- Ameilus bTorah and Q&A

    Divrei chizuk to teenage talmidim? Torah, Eretz Yisrael and Olam Haba are all a morasha (inheritance/heirloom) that you need to work for and is possible to achieve. If you don’t have a love for learning Torah speak to your rebbe. :
    Q&A :
    1) Beards are good, shavers not so much;
    2) popular culture – influence not so good
    3) [why I love R’Simon] shichvat zera livatala is assur but many succumb; so don’t exacerbate it but don’t get despondent
    4) picking a profession

  6. הלכות צבא #12, מיהו הפוסק בהלכות צבא חלק א, מאת הרב אביהוד שוורץ

    Who decides application of pikuach nefesh (life threatening circumstances) in military matters? One paradigm is the role of doctors in health determination for pikuach nefesh – do we follow the majority or a specialist, especially in case of doubt? Do military leaders only serve as input for the rabbi’s decision or are they also determinative on their own? How do less obvious factors play into the equation (e.g. group unity)? Most important issue – must a poseik be fully steeped in military weltanschauung to be an effective poseik (i.e. will he be zoche to amita shel Torah in any military situation)? Beautiful story of Rav Goren (my summary) getting his hands dirty in psak.

  7. Rabbi Hershel Schachter – Inyonei Pidyon Haben

    Issues include:

    • how much money is to be given to the Cohen (not simple)
    • why don’t we do it on Shabbat or Yom Tov (not so simple)
    • is it ever not done on 31st day? (yes)
    • why do we wait for the morning? Can it be done the evening before? after? [the whole zrizin (early vs. brov am (many) issue – zrizin should win!]
    • why have a meal/ceremony? (it’s not really needed but it adds gravitas)
    • can someone other than father (or child) pay the Cohen?
    • can the father eat beforehand?
    • can a woman (bat Cohen) be the recipient of the redemption money?
    • do we need a cohen myuchas (certified) [vs. chazakah (assumed)]? (me – do we really have cohen myuchas today?)
  8. Rabbi Uri Orlian – Contemporary Halacha Fall ’13 Chazara Shiur #2Mikvaos, Brain Death, Genetics, Zmanim, Dina D’malchusa Dina, Yichud

    Issues include:

    • how much money is to be given to the Cohen (not simple)
    • why don’t we do it on Shabbat or Yom Tov (not so simple)
    • is it ever not done on 31st day? (yes)
    • why do we wait for the morning? Can it be done the evening before? after? [the whole zrizin (early vs. brov am (many) issue – zrizin should win!]
    • why have a meal/ceremony? (it’s not really needed but it adds gravitas)
    • can someone other than father (or child) pay the Cohen? *can the father eat beforehand?
    • can a woman (bat Cohen) be the recipient of the redemption money?
    • do we need a cohen myuchas (certified) [vs. chazakah (assumed)]? (me – do we really have cohen myuchas today?)
  9. Rav Mayer Twersky – We’re Better Than They Are, Right? Examining Our Attitude Towards Other Segments of the Frum Community

    Every segment of orthodoxy has what to learn and what to teach. Don’t speak lashon hara about other segments. “We” could learn about the importance of focus on Torah, not having gratuitous socialization with the opposite sex and not being so materialistic. It’s certainly a nisayon (test) when other segments don’t respect you, but (my summary) just play the cards you’re dealt and let HKB”H sort it out.

  10. Rav Mordechai Willig – Yeshiva Tuition, the Pew Research Study, and the Future of Our Community

    The tuition crisis is a problem, so give to your local schools and do without luxuries. Problem for the Modern Orthodox is sending kids to public universities – lots of znus and kfirah. Being too open is a problem, and as the host society moves away from our values we must take appropriate precautions.

  11. Rabbi Nosson Rich – Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 323-4

    Can you toveil a kli on Shabbat? Shulchan Aruch says yes, but it’s best to be machmir. Then an analysis of possible workarounds and whether they work today and their blowback (possible negative implications).

  12. Rabbi Shay Schachter – Fish & Meat & Changing Halachos in our Generation

    Parameters of danger (whose perception? how likely is the danger?) and then specific examples where nishtaneh hateva (changes in nature) necessitated or suggested changes in halachic practice. (Me – It seems to me that there isn’t an algorithm which explains when we change and when not [more than “you need a sense of these things”]).

  13. Rabbi Hershel Schachter – Likeutei Inyonim #2

    Brit shelo b’zmanah (a brit not on the eighth day) as a jumping off point for understanding some of the technical details of the nature of safeik drabanan l’kula (we tend towards leniency in case of doubt in rabbinic prohibitions) and b’al tosif (when is there forbidden adding to a mitzvah versus just continuing or redoing). Also includes thoughts on the nature of the status of derivations from the written law.

  14. Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz – From the Case Files; Interesting Halachic Chanukah Questions

    Revisits the question of lighting Chanukah candles when you’re flying through the night – including whether you should try to light on a plane, can you use a flashlight, or perhaps you’re just not chayav (and thus you don’t have to worry about spending money to change the plane ticket). Perhaps it’s a function of whether it’s a goal oriented process mitzvah? Introduces the concept of ones rachmana patrei (one is exempt if unavoidable) and analysis or what exactly that means. Then a discussion of the “minhag tov” of not eating meat on the evening of a mikvah visit.

  15. Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner – What Overrides Minyan?

    Analysis of how “important” it is to daven with a minyan. While a review of the sources is key, in my humble opinion the real challenge (here and in so many situations) is how do you weigh conflicting “goods” on a meta basis (or is the answer “this is what I heard Rabbi X did in a somewhat comparable situation” the best answer?).

  16. Prof Tamar Gendler,-phil 181: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature-Lecture 14 – The Trolley Problem

    I’m back to trolleyology, putting together a shiur with halachic and secular sources. Here an introduction to Kant’s categorical imperative (it’s not all about you!) and trying to extrapolate an underlying ethic based on the classes response to different cases (would you push the fat man?).

  17. Prof Tamar Gendler,-phil 181: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature-Lecture 1 – Introduction

    Sounds like this series is right up my alley – combining an introduction to philosophy, ethics and political science focusing on Adam I and Adam II (not really – but analytic man vs. emotional man?).

  18. Rabbi Ari Cutler – Parsha Shiur Vaera – Grandparents and their Crucial Role

    Why does the Torah interrupt a story with genealogy? Perhaps to teach us importance of elders and/or grandparents. Then on to Paroh’s free will and mussar on knowing who we really are.

  19. Rabbi Ari Kahn – המשך דיני הפסקת חשמל בשבת

    Tracing of the meta halachic trail of treatment in Israel of electric outages on Shabbat as pikuach nefesh (life threatening). R’ Shlomo Zalmen Aurbauch allowed dealing with them upfront as life threatening. The current sphardic chief rabbi, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, makes it after the fact even though now there’s less human intervention in dealing with electricity generation.

  20. Rabbi Tzvi Flaum – Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research: Halachic and Hashkafic Implications

    General/review of IVF, PIGD and cloning. Covered in detail in audio roundup in earlier editions.

  21. Rabbi Nosson Rich – Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 323-5

    Issues dealing with Shabbat cleaning/washing cups and utensils based on their contents or cleaning materials.

  22. Rabbi Nosson Rich – Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 324-1

    Possible issues with animal food preparation including borer, measuring and lisha.

  23. Rabbi Etan Schnall – More than Meets the Eye: Understanding Kri U’Ksiv

    Importance of reading, rather than reciting, the Torah Shebichtav (written law). Shulchan Aruch actually includes a story a bal korei who insisted on reading a word as written (ktiv) rather than the mesorah of how to read it (kri) and how he was removed. Difference of opinion as to whether you must see the word when reading for the community if the kri is different than the ktiv. Then a discussion of the ineffable name and why kri and ktiv came about (me – only for those above the age of 40?).

  24. Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 324-2

    Feeding animals on Shabbat – when is it allowed, how much and you feed them? Don’t change the water in your fish tank!

  25. Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein – “Psak Shopping” part 1

    The concept of psak shopping (or not) isn’t mentioned in Shulchan Aruch. Discussion of why a second rabbi can’t overturn the ruling another rabbi gave you and possible implications for exceptions to the rule.

  26. Rabbi Allen Schwartz – Maddah in the Service of Torah Studies

    Tips for teaching Tanach to high school students. Issues include:

    • perceived contradictions between science and Torah
    • use of current archeological findings to support/understand Tanach
    • using politics, physiology, psychology, music and biology to understand/illustrate Tanach
    • when can you interpret psukim differently than Chazal did?
  27. Rabbi Hershel Schachter – Inyonei Milah

    Lots of technical detail!

    • what is the relationship of priah to the mitzvah of brit and what are the implications?
    • how much must be cut?
    • bein hashmashot babies – need testimony from frum person to clarify actual time of birth
    • milah shelo bzmanah (not on 8th day) – should it be done ASAP? does it take precedence over one on the 8th day (mekudash [holiness] vs. zrizin/bitul mitzvah [do right away/don’t leave one w/o mitzvah])
    • why is chatzot the hurdle time for zrizin?
    • must the meal have meat? (maybe not), wine (yes)
    • does the use of forceps mean the baby is yotzeh dofen (not natural birth)
    • when to make bracha, drink wine, name baby
    • why make a big deal of not inviting to brit but don’t do so for a wedding (not at all clear)
    • who can be a mohel (better a frum woman than a krum man?)?
    • Shalom Zachor reasons
    • metzitzah – if not needed halachically, then it should be prohibited on Shabbat?!
    • Illness deferral of brit rules
  28. Prof Tamar Gendler,-phil 181: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature–Lecture 2 – The Ring of Gyges: Morality and Hypocrisy

    A history of Plato’s development and the question of whether justice and morality are intrinsic to humans or are they simply a means to an end (do people aim to be moral or to appear to be so) [do you act differently bchadrei chadarim]. Includes some interesting modern psychological testing on differences in behavior when one thinks one is being observed [me – think of all the mussar on knowing HKB”H’s observing us].

  29. Prof Tamar Gendler,-phil 181: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature–Lecture 15 – Empirically-informed Responses

    Last time we posited that people acted as they did because the fat man’s rights trumped the “utility” of a one for five trade-off. Now consider a 3-track problem – the trolley will hit five unless you flip a switch which can be set to kill someone else or you! Many think we just give post facto explanations for what our gut (emotional) system made us do. Should we follow rational reasoning instead? (see the whole Kahneman “thinking fast, thinking slow”). MRI testing shows emotional systems lighting up when the cases are made more personal (e.g. given names, etc.). It’s scary how much is dependent on how the case is stated vs. “objective” moral reasoning!

  30. Rabbi Nosson Rich – Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Shabbos Siman 324-3

    Untying bundles on Shabbat for animal feed and other issues related to feeding. Key point – is it edible in its current state?

Please direct any informal comments to [email protected]

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.

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