Audio Roundup

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by Joel Rich

From R’ Ron Eisenman of Passaic, what narrative would you supply to explain the correlated towns and generations?:

Yom Tov is over and the in-laws and out-laws have all gone home.
The children went back to Lakewood and maybe the parents went back to
the Woodmere and maybe no one went back anywhere as everyone was home.

From R’ Aviner, is the implication that if you work at it you will see he was right?

Earth as the Center of the Solar System
Q: Rabbi Nachman of Breslov held firmly that the sun revolves around the earth. How can we understand this?
A: It is indeed difficult to understand.


  • Rav Nissan Kaplan-Tzav

    A must listen for those who think that the reports of Chareidi Yeshivot/chinuch antipathy towards the government of Israel is overstated. I can’t bring myself to describe the call to action.
    The main theme of the shiur is mussar – Amaleik’s strength being its ability to sow doubt in our minds and encourage us to procrastinate which will keep us from accomplishing our tasks.

  • Peter Singer-Practical Ethics-Course Introduction (7:46)

    The types of ethical questions that will be dealt with in the course – resource allocation, moral status of animals, climate change.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -ishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Hanhagas Haboker Siman 1-2

    Ask a poseik when to hold ‘em and when to fold them (in terms of practices{minhagim) to defend and when the practices might be considered yuhara [arrogance]). Then some detail on getting up in the A.M. and washing.

  • Uncommon Knowledge: Yuval Levin and the development of right and left in politics

    Edmund Burke and Thomas Payne and their political philosophies. While they both agreed on the correctness of the American revolution, Payne looked at it as a real revolution, Burke as an averted one (i.e. Americans kept the rights they should have had [me – sounds like R’Slifkin on M.O. being not revolutionary]).
    Burke built his theory on what he saw in practice (it’s a complex world) whereas Payne thought the theory of justice was plain and simple. Burke was focused on the tzibur (community), Payne on the yachid (individual).

  • Steven Savitsky -Interview with YU Basketball Coach Dr. Jonathan Halpert

    Nice shout out to Stuie Poloner and Larry Schiffman, two of the finest ball players and college gentlemen I have had the pleasure of knowing.
    Discusses grand themes in Dr. Halpert’s coaching career – Kiddush Hashem for the team, the school and the Jewish people. For some reason, no mention of the captain of his first YU team (oh wait, that was a rebuilding year ).

  • Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik -Shvuos and Bechukosai

    Shavuot is a function of the counting of the Omor, not of the date.
    Analysis of the atzeret (stopping) nature of both Shmini Atzeret and Shavuot, both of which have no separate mitzvah (like matzah, etc.)
    Some thoughts on tshuva.

  • Rabbi Ari Kahn -The Holy and Delicate Constitution of the Land of Israel

    While the beginning of Kedoshim seems to subsume many (if not all) of the Ten Commandments, its real focus is on what the Land of Israel cannot organically tolerate from its inhabitants, even non-Jews.

  • Rabbi Ari Kahn -שהחיינו על שיר השירים

    History of “minhag” to make a bracha when reading Shir Hashirim (from a Klaf on Shabbat Chol Hamoel Pesach). Focus on the GRA’s position.

  • Rav Asher Weiss-Kedoshim

    Topic is chameitz sheavar alav ha pesach (status after Pesach of chametz owned by a Jew during Pesach)- some interesting situations and psak. Raises another of my favorite issues,.when there currently exists a factual doubt, what length do you have to go to resolve the doubt(depending on which factors)?

  • Rabbi Zvi Ron -Pre-Chazal Jewish Philosophy

    Aristoblus, Aritis and Philo were all Jewish philosophers of some type – They reacted to Greek philosophy and thus dealt with issues such as anthropomorphism, mitzvoth as metaphor/allegory and proof of God’s existence from design.

  • Peter Singer-Practical Ethics-Reasoning in Ethics (13:41)

    How to think about Ethics. One approach to defining ethics is “Guiding one’s conduct by reason and doing what there are best reasons for doing, while giving equal weight to all those affected by one’s decision”. Hume disagreed and thought reason is subservient to desires. Kant thought reason could be totally objective. [me – once you define this “axiom”, it pretty much defines the results.]

  • Rabbi Zvi Ron -The Minhag of Upsherin – Rav Zvi Ron

    Earliest Jewish traces of this practice appear in 1500’s with people doing it at Nebi Samuel. Turns out many cultures (especially Moslem) have similar practices, maybe driven the concern for the comparative weakness/susceptibility of baby boys.

  • Rav Zvi Ron -Jewish Philosophy during the time of the Geonim

    Major focus on R’Sadia Gaon and the issues dealt with in Emunot V’deiot. He was the first really frum philosopher.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -ishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Hanhagas Haboker Siman 1-3

    Prayers and passages remembering the Mikdash (temple). Saying fewer prayers with kavannah (concentration) is better than saying more prayers without it. Good information on Karbanot and various other appropriate additions. (As usual, lots of information packed into a short time period!).

  • Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank -Ore la-Goyim: What is our responsibility to the world?

    What is our relationship with non-bnai brit based on bchirat Yisrael (“Choseness”)? There are differing approaches ranging from complete responsibility (like an older brother) to none at all (I am a rock, I am an Island). R’Wiederblank presents a middle ground.

  • Steven Savitsky -What to Make of the Mazinka Dance?

    A close friend once asked me (he knows my interests too well) for background on the muzinka for a dvar Torah at a vort. I told him IMHO there was no halachic source, most likely a harmless European folk custom since no Rabbis had called it Chukat Haakum.
    Turns out it’s a Ukranian custom (the cause of the current crisis?)

  • Peter Singer-Practical Ethics–Subjectivism (4:25)

    Relativism/Subjectivism – Are ethics a matter of taste (not really subject to debate)? If so, why do we talk about them so much?
    Ethical Culture Rationalism – Ethics are neither individual taste nor a universal given but culturally determined.
    He rejects both of these.

  • Peter Singer-Practical Ethics–Cultural Relativism (14:13)

    Descriptive vs. Normative relativism and problems with both as an underlying ethical philosophy.

  • Peter Singer-Practical Ethics-Objectivism (19:38)

    So rejecting the other approaches already mentioned, he analyzes Kant, the categorical imperative and some refinements to deal with challenges to the universality criteria.

  • Peter Singer-Practical Ethics–Religion and Ethics (9:08)

    If you’re religious, is it good because God said so or God said so because it’s good? (Is there an ethic outside of Halacha?)
    He rejects the former (as in so if God said kill your son, would anyone believe it’s good?) [me – yes?]

  • Rav Benny Eisner-Machshava (Rav Kook)

    Religious Zionist musings.

  • Peter Singer-Practical Ethics–Religion and Ethics (9:08)

    Lol – Bible can’t be the total basis of ethics because we all pick and choose (with the possible exception of an “ultra-Orthodox Jewish person”. [me – apparently he buys the chareidi anti-MO line ]).
    In a democracy you need to have public discourse across religious lines – it can have religion involved but must engage non-believers. (IIUC meaning you can’t say “this is right because God told us so”.)

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -ishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Hanhagas Haboker Siman 1-4

    Karbanot should only be said during the day. Discussion of how much our saying of Karbanot should follow the rules of bringing Karbanot (e.g., must you stand when saying them?). Interesting question – is it better to skip part of Karbanot or of psukei d’zimra if you are late?

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz –By Way Of Introduction – Sha’arei Yosher

    History of R’Shimon Shkop (some YU time!) and Telzer derech. Each person should focus on the good of the tzibbur but should also take care of themselves. View ourselves as HKB”H’s fiduciary agents and work hard in Torah.

  • Rosh Hayeshiva Harav Mordechai Greenberg, shlita -Different approaches in Halacha

    Psak in modern times. Torah must be a torat chaim. Examples from R’Kook.

  • Rabbi Moshe Taragin -Sunday Night Mussar @ the Gush : Emor/2014

    Some important insights on the difference between just caring about your own (i.e., Orthodox in U.S.) vs. all your relatives (i.e., all of klal Israel). Lessons from the Karbanot including don’t be overly aggressive and be frum in all places and times in your life.

  • Rabbi Allen Schwartz -Learning Shmuel Bet in an Hour

    One hour summary was great for those of us not well grounded in Mach (still some difficult stories!).

  • רב אשר וייס – פ׳ אמור – המלבים פני חברו ברבים

    Lessons from Sfirah and R’Akiva – treat your comrades with love and honor.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Hanhagas Haboker 2-2 and 3-1

    How to get dressed properly (feel free to self-report how closely you follow this!). List of actions that cause learning to be forgotten.Is the list Kabbalistic or science of the times based? That would make a difference in modern applications. Then some clothing and shoes rules.

Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].

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.


  1. Re Rav Aviner: Very unlikely. He has written multiple times that he accepts R. Avraham Ben HaRambam’s view on science and sages. More likely, he was puzzled that Rav Nachman accepted the geocentric view (so did Reb Tzadok).

  2. Nachum:
    Is that a statement or a question? The reason I posted it was exactly that. Why can’t one just say that in my opinion he was wrong?

  3. Rav Nissim Kaplan’s story at 36:50, where he tells of Rav Aharon Leib Steinman calling for a war against the “Amaleiq” that is the Israeli government, and his nachas that his son wants to know whether in his lack of swords, a hammer would be okay, is horrifying. But, they are of a piece with a recent talk by R’ Itamar Schwartz, author of the very popular Bilvavi series of sefarim. Because their popularity includes Modern Orthodox circles, such as the shiurim on them offered at YU by R’ Moshe Weinberger (who may not have heard this shmuess yet), I think it’s important that people know his blatantly hostile attitude toward chilonim.

    The talk is #008 at
    It’s in Hebrew. There is an English summary at

    This present exile is the exile of the Erev Rav. There was the Egyptian exile, the Babylonian exile, the Persian exile, the Greek Exile, the Roman Exile, the Arab Exile and the Exile of the Erev Rav. The exile of the Erev Rav is very different from other exiles in that it is a great mix of good and evil…

    The Chofetz Chaim did say that the Jews returning to Israel is the beginning of the redemption. That was true then, but now, much evil is coming along with this. …

    We cannot mix with them without being affected by them. Their mixture with us causes areivus — evil sweetness. It makes people think that they have discovered “sweetness” in the evil desires of the Erev Rav….

    Frum Jews that want to deal with them are obviously so captured by this evil that they don’t even realize.”

    So, I wrote the webmaster when this reached my mailbox. Keep in mind their “the Rav” refers to R’ Itamar Schwartz. Here’s the email:

    Dear webmaster,

    After seeing this piece, I am no longer interested in receiving these emails.

    In truth, it depressed me and pained me greatly to see one of the rabbanim who is reviving hislahavus and mussar today being “credited” as actively state something that appears to me to be an outright call for sin’as chinam and an increase of pirud. Even before I reached the bit speaking ill of the success of kiruv in Eretz Yisrael, to liken even chilonim to the non-Jewish force behind the eigel, calling the civil government leadership such names… (Realize that even after the Shaked Law and all the other budget cuts go into effect, they will still be the largest supporters of learning Torah in history [even including Chizkiyahu haMelekh or the three ashirim of Y-m during the churban], with the sole exception of the government before 2013!)

    This isn’t what I expect Mussar to be or produce. It causes me question the efficacy of the Rav’s entire derekh. I pray the effect is in the summarization and not the original shmuess. But regardless of which, I have no interest in receiving these emails any further.

    Thank you.


    The reply convinced me to explore the topic further before judging. I won’t share private email without the author’s agreement. But I did learn that this notion of the attack of the erev rav and the need to finally clean it up before mashiach is in the Zohar and discussed by acharonim. But casting it into yet more of the Israeli chareidi us-vs-them approach to chilonim is uniquely his. For example, according to the Gra, the erev rav today are rabbis (the word play is in the source) who are in it for self aggrandizement and power.

    But then the next email from Bilvavi was about ahavas Yisrael and I felt the cynicism welling up inside. So, I followed up with a second email:

    Further on my previous topic and why that previous thought ruined my ability to appreciate Bilvavi’s derekh….

    My first reaction was that this suffers from a No True Scotsman fallacy. (An assertion of the form “No Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge.” If any Stoccish people come by and tell you they do indeed put sugar in his porridge, it obviously means they aren’t true Scottsmen.)

    There is a mitzvah to love every Jew. And if some Jew’s position is unlovable, it is simple enough to conclude that this shows he’s eirev rav.

    Never mind the fact that the person calling him eirev rav is only surviving because of his subsidies, his funding the building of shuls, miqva’os, batei kenesios and batei midrashos, and that Mishpacha’s recent survey proved the metzi’us isn’t as R’ Schwartz assumed anyway.–What-They-Think

    One thing about a “pure Torah viewpoint” [quoting the reply email’s explanation of why I shouldn’t rush to judge his rebbe’s words -micha] — it means you know less about the realia and people you’re applying that viewpoint to.

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