Audio Roundup: R. Reisman Special

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by Joel Rich

Hat tip to Counselor K for providing the CD’s even as he busied himself with all the hachanot and tikkunim required by one who is so Pesach pedantic that he is only meikil to eat the minimum required so as to reduce the chance of exposure to chameitz. I’m told he stores water from the mighty Peckman River weeks before Pesach for drinking and Mikveh use over the Chag.These shiurim are available for $ at

  • J-121 – Incredible Imponderables

    General theme of imponderables – Tanach seems to contradict GAFB (generally accepted frum beliefs). [me – perhaps that’s why learning Tanach is not emphasized in Yeshivot?] Who and how many were the children of Menashe?
    The number of cities of refuge (arei miklat) in proximity to Gilad is explained by the Talmud based on the large number of murderers around there, but aren’t arei miklat for shogeig (“accidental”) murders? Some explain the need based on purposeful murderers pretending to be accidental (me – IIRC some commentators say all murderers go there pretrial, I assumed at least partially due to this Talmudic passage). R. Pam explained that even accidental killings would be rare in a truly sensitive society.

    Why weren’t the tribal borders straight lines? What exactly was the southern boundary of Israel?
    Zevulun was not a coastal tribe (but they were a fishing tribe?!?!).
    Levites did have a portion in Israel!
    Yehoshua and Hoshea use don’t fit neat chronological rules.
    There is no retroactivity in the physical universe but there is in the spiritual one.
    Most important – The land of Israel is a spiritual eretz chemdah (in addition to being a physical one).

  • J-122 – The Greatest Women Ever
    Man and wife as one unit = “Chad Gufah” (one body). (Think R’YBS and the basic unit of Jewish community).
  • J-123 – Plaques
    Great examples (IMHO) of limud zchut (rationalization) of common practice which seems inconsistent with aspirational vision.
    Given the prohibition against gaavah (hubris?) why do people put their names on donations? Reasons given include:
    Technical reason that community can’t replace the object if the donor is known
    Publicizing a mitzvah
    Encouraging others to give
    Main reason is to create a culture of giving (me – I’m not convinced).
  • J-124 – When Life Doesn’t Follow the Plan
    Accept what HKB”H has “planned” for you. R’Reisman and I share a distaste for 9/11 miracle stories because of what they might imply concerning those who didn’t survive. I agree that when looking back on life “acceptance” of HKB”H’s plan is the best coping strategy, the question is going forward does that discourage hishtadlut (human effort) in cases where it may be that HKB”H gives a test to overcome).
  • J-125 – Hallel vs. Psukei d’Zimra
    Starts with some grammar rules (and wondering about exceptions) [Licha turns to Lach at an etnachta or sof pasuk – similar for bicha, imcha, otcha, riticha].
    Psukei d’Zimra and Hallel are the only prayers which have 6 chapters of psalms in a row yet they are very different halachically (e.g. allowance to skip, to stop in the middle and frequency of saying). The major difference is Hallel is focused on “servants of the Lord (US)” and the spiritual world whereas psukei d’Zimra is focused on HKB”H’s creation and the physical. The key is to believe in yourself but it’s belief that you can do the ratzon hashem (will of HKB”H).
  • J-126 – The Dream Team
    Looking at both the Mishkan (focus on protection) and Mikdash (focus on growth) as models for what a synagogue needs to do, and who it needs to service, especially those who are no longer in Yeshiva.
    It takes “Levites” (gabbaim) who undertake all the thankless jobs with the proper attitude. It also takes “Yisraelim” (members) who view the synagogue with love as an ark/mikdash meat which can help them continue to grow spiritually by coming and praying and learning, even when they don’t have to. It also needs Cohanim (Rabbis) who love their congregants. All together they must love all Jews. We must view the shul as a holy place where we can imbue our time with holiness.
  • J-127 – Reb Itzel’s Lesson
    Introduction to the Halachic concepts of shaliach shel adam (agency), zachin l’adam (presumed agency) and apitropus (trustee) as discussed in the Talmud concerning the Tribes portions in Eretz Yisrael. Specific focus on zachin when it is not a complete benefit and how it needs to be complete in case of a minor for it to work. [me – note Talmud elsewhere accepts that even a gift may not be a complete benefit to the receiver due to the concept of soneih matanot yichyeh – he who abhors gifts will live] Mussar is that often times in life we need to do things which will have some downside for someone. The lesson is that when we do so we must do so reluctantly. A good example is going to work, one must feel that they’d rather be learning, then when they retire they will be able to learn all day [hmmm – did my friend R’Shloime have a discussion with him on this??? I have some thoughts on the matter, but does one size fit all?]
  • J-128 – History of the Rabbi
    Some frum academic Talmudic history. The key thing (as I understood it) that differentiates the frum approach is recognition of the importance of mesorah (tradition) and loyalty to our roots (vs. getting recognition by discovering something new).
    Since the Rishonim recognized that there were additions to the Tamud after Ravina and Rav Ashi, it’s clear that we must recognize those contributions (of the Sabboraim) but note that there are never any names used or halachic implications of what they added. Their acceptance of the Talmud and transmission of mesechtot ketanot were underappreciated contributions. Then discussion of Geonim and Bahag and Rabbeinu Channanel as key mesorah participants in the context of the general history of the world. Interesting assertion that the Rambam differentiated between his theoretical halacha in the Yad and practical halacha in his letters due to practical halacha needing to follow the mesorah. Then an analysis of the personalities and proclivities of Rav and Shmuel (very academic!).

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.

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