by Joel Rich
Creative Destruction? Did you ever feel you should walk away from an institution to hasten its failure (and hopefully rebuilding/replacement) rather than continuing to attempt to, at most, put band aids on the bleeding.
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Dairy Equipment? The OU thinks the Dairy Equipment (DE) designation is too confusing to consumers. I think it’s more likely that people assume D = DE unless there’s milk listed in the ingredients. Any anecdotal evidence?
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- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-oncept Of Kahal
A worthwhile listen to R’HS address to the RCA some 20 years ago. See what you think of where we, he and the RCA have gone since then (and is it for better or for worse?).
Rabbi’s function is to create a kehilla (community). Quite a laundry list including giving tochacha (reproach), practical classes, psak, fear of heaven role model, no false flattery, be true to mesorah (tradition). Lot’s on R’YBS’s true mesorah and who should be trusted to understand it and transmit it.
Direction to the RCA on its proper role in setting standards for members both in halacha and in personal practice. Importance of not engaging in tit for tat with other streams of orthodoxy and of going to engaged rabbinic leaders with meta halachic issues.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Common Kashrus Misconceptions
• All Starbucks drinks are Kosher (not)
• Your housekeeper can cook for you (Bishul Akum!)
• Glatt Kosher applies to things other than meat (only in marketing)
• Meat needs to be purchased special Kosher l’Pesach (only if processed)
• Sticking a knife in the ground can Kasher it (only gets fat off)
• Heimish hashgachas are better than national ones (certainly less legible)
• D is often really DE and you can rely on that (you can’t)
• China dishes need tvilah (CLOR)
• Dishwashing soap and water need hashgacha (they don’t)
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Tzitzis 25-8
Don’t take your tfillin off in front of the sefer Torah. Don’t turn your back on the sefer Torah (many seem unaware of this). Issues related to taking off tfillin for mussaf and does the chatzi Kaddish before mussaf relate to shacharit or mussaf? (This has a number of implications)
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Tzitzis 26-1 and 27-1
If you only have 1 tfillin, where do you put it on? What bracha do you make? Physical placement rules for tfillin.li>
- Rabbi Ari Kahn -דיני נקמה
Rambam and others on the prohibitions of Lo tikom, Lo Titor (revenge?) – Are they bad character traits as well as an enforceable monetary claim.
- Jonathan Ziring -The Role of Aggada in Psak
Should Talmudic aggadic statements be taken into account in halachic deliberations? Does it depend on the “Tall Tale” nature of the particular aggadah in question? On whether there is any halachic analysis within the aggadah? [Me – might it also depend on whether there is any other primary source material on the topic? On the poseik’s gut predetermination of the halacha?] Examples – Rebbi/maid death hastening story, IVF, Avraham using (angaria) talmidei chachamim in battle.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Tips for Chinuch
How to teach Chumash with pshat (and drash). How to teach Talmud with a focus on halacha.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Tzitzis 27-2
Tfillin rules for one-armed men. Placement of tfillin knot and keeping it in its proper place.
- Rabbi Ally Ehrman -The Obligation To Appoint A Married Shliach Tzibbur On Yom Kippur
Why must the Kohain Gadol must be married and what time period must he be separated from his spouse before Yom Kippur?
- Rabbi Shay Schachter -Can a Kohen Enlist Into the Israeli Army?
The Rambam’s position on Leviim and Kohanim being called into the army; perhaps it’s not a prohibition but rather like giving them a high lottery number (a Rorschach test for U.S. men of a certain age – especially for those who know who Phil Ochs was).
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin -Sunday Night Mussar @ the Gush : Matot
Mussar to Gush guys on work/family balance, being a role model, managing anger and adopting sensitive chumrot (stringencies).
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Tzitzis 27-3
Chatzitzah (interposition) between Tfillin and body issues – including impact of such interpositions on blessings.
- Rabbi Eliav Silverman -The Nature of the Heter of Ben Pakua
Very Brisker analysis of Ben Pakua (mother animal was schechted (ritually slaughtered) with fetus inside) – is the fetus considered Kosher because it was considered schechted or because it was considered appendage of mother? Possible halachic implications of this dialectic.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Brushing Teeth on a Fast Day
Differentiating between true Taanit Tzibbur (e.g. Tisha b’AV, Yom Kippur) and Taanit Yaachid (e.g. 17 of Tammuz; me – at least in our time) as well as between water (which one might drink) and mouthwash (which one likely would not). What do we mean by rinsing (shallow vs. deep) and tzaar (pain)?
- Rabbi Alan Haber -Did Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai Make the Right Decision?
Reviews the stories of R’Yochanan Ben Zakkai asking for Yavneh and his death. He quotes (what I heard from R’YBS) from R’Herzog – that R’YBZ was unsure whether he did the right thing not asking for Jerusalem instead of Yavneh.
Yerushalayim was destroyed by our sinat chinam (baseless hatred) not by the Romans.
- Jonathan Ziring -Halacha Al Regel Achat: Bracha on Granola, Puffed Grains
For those seeking clarity on brachot before and after eating granola bars, not much help.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Tzitzis 27-4
Tfillin and lefty’s – it’s not so simple – how do you determine leftyness and what are the applications.
What if wearing tfillin is painful – are you required to anyway?
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Holding Food in the Right Hand When Saying a Beracha
Why hold a mitzvah object when making a bracha? Better concentration! Why in right hand? Show importance! What about lefties? Depends who you ask!
- Rabbi Reuven Brand -Jewish Living: Best Practices
Torah She b’al peh as source of concept of best practices (l’chatchila) vs. after the fact (bdieved). Is this structure a positive flexibility and/or reflective of a lack of final central authority?
- Rabbi Aaron Kraft -Conflict or Confluence: Historical Approaches to Modern Culture
Torah and secular wisdom – perfect together or mortal kombat? It seems a function of time and place.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Tzitzis 27-5
Placement of head tfillin and knot.
- Mrs. Malka Simkovich -Was Zionism an Ideological Concept in Ancient Judaism?
How did diaspora Jews relate to Israel in the 2nd temple period? Some viewed it as central to their lives, others supported from a distance and others made them selves at home where they were (Me – it’s the same old song).
- Dr. David Shyovitz -What is Jewish about Jewish History?
Two views of Jewish history: lachrymose or embedded in host societies (not so sad). Early crusader period as an example.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Buying Clothing During the Three Weeks and Nine Days
During the 3 weeks is the issue avoiding joy or not saying shehechiyanu? (clarifies some different applications).
During the 9 days is clothing purchase more stringent based on the prohibition against washing clothes (me – an interesting example of changing circumstances but not halacha – how different clothes washing is now!).
- Rabbi Michael Taubes -Parshas Balak Bedtime Shema
Is the Kriat Shma we say prior to going to sleep said to protect us or so we should go to sleep with Torah thoughts on our minds? Some possible halachic application differentials based on this question.
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-Looking Back and Navigating a Way Forward: Reflections on Murders of “Our Boys”
When the three boys were kidnapped and killed, there was unprecedented unity.
How do we understand the unanswered prayers? (i) sometimes the answer is no; (ii) sometimes there is a delayed effect; (iii) sometimes it could have been worse and (iv) we must view it in the context of Jewish history. Our goal should be to take our destiny into our hands.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Do We Need a Mesorah For Mitzvos?
Do you need a mesorah (tradition) for all questions of mtziut (facts) in mitzvoth (e.g. Tcheilet, bracha on rice). R’YBS had a family tradition that you need a tradition – but this is a minority opinion.
- Mrs. Miriam Jaffe -The Talking Stones/Using Archaeology as a Tool to Study Tanach
Very enthusiastic presentation of viewing history through the lens of Torah. Number of examples where “we” were eventually proven correct.
- Rabbi Michael Myers -Fear and Faith: Are they Reconcilable?
“Byado afkid ruchi b’eit ishan v’aera, vim ruchi givayati, Hashem li v’lo ira” – Into his hand I commit my spirit, in the time and sleep and am awake, and with my spirit, my body, Hashem is with me, I shall not fear.” The rest is commentary!
- Rav Asher Weiss-The Laws of War on Shabbat (5774)
Reviews some of the underpinnings of defensive and offensive war on Shabbat. Laws of war = win!
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