by Joel Rich
Implicit biases (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/implicit-bias/) are the subject of a great deal of discussion and study. One issue I haven’t seen discussed in detail, which relates to profiling (explicit bias) as well, is does halacha allow for concerns to be based on (statistical) past experiences. For example, if studies showed that tall actuaries tended to have a significantly higher percentage of ritual impurity, would it be ok to ask them, but not other guests entering a mass celebration, if they had gone to mikveh recently?
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Compare the Minchat Chinuch (Mitzvah 263) where he says “Vnireh dmuchach mikan d’katan lav bar mitzvoth hu lo mitam sheino ben daat lmi mitzvah ela sheinam mtzuvim klal” with what he states in mitzvah 17 “Nireh dbemet katan ben mitzvoth, rak dlo shyach lomar d’hatorah hizhira oto d’lav ben data hu, aval b’emet chayav bmitzvot”. Me- Vyesh Lyashev?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Rosh Hashana 604-1 and 605-1
Discussion of tzom gedaliah, kiddush levana, and the extra prayers of the ten days of repentance (e.g. Avinu Malkeinu, is shir hamaalot a prohibited interruption? ) Being on your best behavior during this time of year is a good idea.
- Rabbi Ari Cutler-COMMUNAL ISSUE- WE NEED GOOD BAALEI KRIAH! “Correcting the Baal Koray” Is it not a problem of embarrassing someone in Public?
Some (R’Chaim) would say that we correct all errors made by the bal korei in Torah reading (pronunciation and tune). At the other end of the spectrum (the Manhig) are those who say we make no corrections because of fear of embarrassment of the bal korei (and Torah reading is only rabbinic). In the middle is the Rama (only correct meaning changes). Who should correct? When? All these are good questions.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Rosh Hashana 602-1 and 603-1
Do we eat (and what?) “erev yom kippur to prepare for the fast or is the eating in place of a festive meal on Yom Kippur (and why does it make a difference)? Discusses changes in prayer on erev Yom Kippur plus the pros and cons of live “Kapparot.”
- Rav Hershal Schachterl – “Tishrei Themes”
Tishrei “Themes” including:
• Nature of the Mitzvah of eating on erev Yom Kippur
• Nature of the Mitzvah of going to mikveh on erev Yom Kippur
• Nature of the Mitzvah of candle lighting on erev Yom Kippur
• Why daven mincha before the seudah mafseket(final meal)?
• When women should say shecheyanu—all year and erev Yom Kippur
• Adding (tosefet) 30 minutes to Yom Kippur (like the measure of samuch l’mincha)
• Kol nidre versions and saying it 3 times (anti-karaite measures were reinforced)
• Hatarat Nedarim’s relationship to tshuva
• Yom Kippur as the holiday of the oral law
• Duchening issues—do cohanim need a platform? (Ashkenaz, no; sfard, yes) Saying am kdoshecha k’amur (don’t) reading psukim (don’t), looking at cohanim (no issue if their hands are covered), saying at Neilah (Yesh V’Yesh)
• Extensive talit wearing on Yom Kippur is due to need for extra kavod to make up for lack of oneg
• You don’t need to stand when the aron is open, it maybe nice for responsive piyutim (R’YBS saw this as a semi davar shebikidusha)
• Shofar post-Yom Kippur—blown because Schechinu is leaving or to remember yovel or as a reminder to go home and eat celebratory meal for receiving a good judgment
• Sukkah and Schach rules (brief)
• R’YBS on the importance of sitting in the sukkah on Shmini Atzeret
• Lulav and Etrog and hoshanot rules (brief)
• Latest craze (have a “kisei shel ushpizin”)!
- Arnie Lustiger-Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik on Emotional Contrasts In Yom Kippur Machzor
Fascinating opening discussion of how R’Lustiger got involved with the works of R’YBS. Yom Kippur (and R’YBS) focus on the emotional content.
• Itzumo shel yom—through the day, we receive atonement
• Slichot as an alternative prayer structure
• HKB”H conflates time (see above)
• We each have a purpose in life
• Nature of birchat kriat shma
• Responsive readings as a davar shbikidusha
• Continual contrasts of happy/sad throughout Mussaf
• Great clip of R’YBS telling the Avodah/R’Chaim story
- Arnie Lustiger-Insights of Rav Joseph B Soloveitchik on the Rosh Hashanah Machzor Malchiyos Zichronos and Shofar
A hit parade of insights from R’YBS on the Rosh Hashana Machzor including:
• Fitting 10 topics into 9 brachot (why & how)
• Malchiot themes—coronation, physical and moral law parallels and differences (tshuva), Moshel (rule by force) vs. mlucha (consent of governed)
• Zichronot themes—HKB”H conflates time based on past and future generations as well (sifrei chaim and meitim)
• Shofrot themes—gilui shechina (HKB’H revealed)
• Hirhur(thoughts of) tshuva as an instinctive reaction rather than an intellectual process
• Slichot themes—13 middot are the key
me – buy the book (but listen to this as well)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Sous Vide Cooking For Shabbos (and Through Shabbos)
Sous vide cooking (another thing we’ve lived without but now sounds like it will be the next sushi). If you do it for, or over Shabbat, is there an issue of hatmana or shehiya?
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet–The Saga of One Conservative Rabbi
YCT—no good, see what happened to “well meaning” conservative Rabbis. Why and when after the destruction of the Temple can (or can’t) we listen to music?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Yom Kippur 605-2 and 606-1
How important are white chickens for kaparot? Discussion of asking for forgiveness from another (bring 3 people 3 times). Do you get forgiveness or not after the third asking? Do you ask forgiveness for lashon hara that an individual is unaware of?
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring -נחת אשר בעניני מכשירי חשמל בשבת (3)
Further analysis of R’Asher Weiss’s position on electricity. Since he’s focused on human perception as a determinant of halachic status in this case, his positions would seem almost schizoid (e.g., texting could be a Torah prohibition, but an ankle bracelet GPS tracker could be permitted).
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky -Overview of הלכות ד’ מינים
Quick review of basic rules for picking etrogim, lulavim, aravot and hadassim followed by some rules on how to use them. Ownership and first day vs. other days also discussed.
- Rabbi Gil S. Perl -The First Flowerings of Redemption – The 19th Century Roots of a Contemporary Debate
Looking at the history of religious Zionism and messianism. Many early religious Zionist thinkers were not messianic but there might have been an impact of an anti-reform reaction as reformers wanted to get rid of references to redemption in prayers. World events (WWI. WWII, 1948, 1956, 1967) many have led the R’Kooks to think that something was up. R’Amital was messianic at first but later rejected it.
- Morah Stacey Goldman -Sukkat David HaNofalet
What is “Sukkat David Hanofalet” referring to? Maybe it’s the beit hamikdash but most think it’s malchut beit David—it’s waiting to be put back up.
- Rabbi Moshe Sokolow-Jewish Society in Jerusalem
Primarily reviews in detail the 165-year gap between the rabbinic and secular dating of years in the calendar. Was the gap purposely placed there to confound those who wanted to determine when the messiah would come or were some of the numbers of the years in the calculation of the gap more symbolic than actual?
- Professor Hayim Tawil-Insights into Tanakh through the Study of Ancient Languages & Texts, Part I
Analysis of the Hebrew language and layers of its development through looking at the relationship to Arcadian language (we have much more of their original words).
- Professor Hayim Tawil-Insights into Tanakh through the Study of Ancient Languages & Texts, Part 2
Focuses on a theory of the development of Ravshaka’s speech in Mlachim II, 19:24 based on surrounding nations’ history.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Does Teshuva Apply To Non-Jews?
Does a non ben brit have a “mitzvah” of teshuva? (me – do we or is it simply a good idea?) If he doesn’t have such a mitzvah, can he still do it? Discusses sources both ways. Maybe the “mitzvah” is just at a different level than that of a ben brit.
- Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig -ענין נזק, גזל, גנבה, ועושק עכו”ם
Technical discussion of the status of robbing, stealing, and damaging a non ben brit; directly and indirectly. Torah and rabbinic levels are also considered. Includes up-to-date, practical psak.
- Rav Nissan Kaplan-moadim-rosh_hashanaa
What can or cannot the shehechiyanu you make on the second night of Rosh Hashana cover? What is the proper [bracha] order for the simanim? What if you forgot to say hamelech hakadosh? If one fasts on erev Rosh Hashana, must one have a formal acceptance of the fast? What vows does hatarat nedarim apply to? What’s the deal with not eating nuts and does that not eating rule apply to any other foods?
- Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein-Tzitz Eliezer on Lashon HaRa (4 Tishrei)
Don’t speak lashon hara don’t, if you know you shouldn’t then you won’t (hat tip—Uncle Moishy)
- Rabbi Eli Pielet -HaGra on Sefer Yona
The book of Jonah was viewed by the Gra as an allegory for the soul’s mission in the world. Sometimes reincarnation is needed to complete this mission.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon-Halacha for the days of Teshuva & Selichot: the status of י”ג מדות הרחמים
Are the 13 midot considered a “davar shebikidusha” like kaddish? Do we need a minyan to say them? Should you interrupt learning or anything else to join in them? Can an individual say them?
- Rabbi Ari Cutler-Religious Arrogance? What are Parameters that one can be machmir?
Examines cases in the Talmud of Yuhara (religious haughtiness) and extracts various conceptual approaches. Specific examples from R’Schachter (don’t be frummer than your Rabbi!)
- Rabbi Dr. Jacob J Schacter -God, Torah, and the Jewish People: Reflecting on the Yamim Noraim
Answering a number of questions based on an understanding that Yom Kippur is about removing sin/not being punished but also about restoring our relationships with HKB”H.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Yom Kippur 606-2
You have to ask your Rebbi for forgiveness more than 3 times. One should not withhold forgiveness. How do we ask for forgiveness from those who are no longer here? 3 dunks or 1 at the mikveh (and why)?
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz -Teshuva on Bein Adam Lchaveiro
Asking for forgiveness, even if not granted, may still accomplish its goal through your embarrassment or because each man to man issue also includes a man to HKB”H component. In fact, some say you get no man/HKB”H forgiveness if no man/man forgiveness was requested (we’re all part of a greater community).
- Morah Stacey Goldman -LeDovid Hashem Ori Ve-Yishi
Analysis of varying interpretations of the specific wording of “L’Dovid plus some Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur applications (bzot = 408 = Tzedakah . . . )
- Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Weinberg -Teshuvah: A Return to Normalcy
Tshuva is about returning to yourself (per R’YBS) and your mission (Tafkid). [Me – I wish I could be so certain about what my tafkid is, it sounds so easy]
- Rabbi Tzvi Sinensky -Introduction to Chasidei Ashkenaz
Part of a history series. Chasidei Ashkenaz were a very ascetic group but it’s not clear who and how many there really were. They felt that the 613 mitzvot were just a starting point, past that point is the ratzon hashem and it’s required! Questionable how many of the sources come from magic and superstition.
Anim zmirot is a good example of their focus on describing the heavenly abode.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Leining Before Mincha Gedola on a Fast Day
In a pinch (school busses need to leave) can you read the Torah for mincha before the earliest mincha gedola? Most sources seem to think mid-day and after is fine unless you say reading/learning of torah here is part of prayers.
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].