by Joel Rich
Anyone know the source of covering the sefer Torah with a tallit when it’s left outside the aron (e.g., during Yizkor drasha)?
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From Ethiopia To Sinai
A fascinating account of Ethiopian Jewry’s (Beta Israel) history and practice along with R’Shalom’s suggested halachic and hashkafic approach to merging Beta Israel with “mainstream” Jewry.
On a personal note, having attended The Sigd festival overlooking Yerushalayim, any feelings of strange customs and language were overwhelmed by the joy of seeing two thousand year old prophecies being fulfilled. V’shavu banim l’gvulam [the children will return to their borders] and u’vau haovdim m’eretz Ashur, (and farther) indeed!
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Chanuka Siman 675-2Chanukah menorah can’t be lit held up in your hand but must be placed down on the surface. It must have enough fuel upon lighting to last the minimum amount of time required (30 minuted). Then, proceeds discussion of who can/should light for whom.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-שיטת החזון איש בעניין חשמל בשבת – למה הוא הגיע למסקנתו?Discusses halachic intuition and the need for caution in poskim explaining their reasoning in reaching their halachic positions due to danger of non compliance. (Once others know the reasoning, they may decide it doesn’t apply to them, especially in our age of autonomy)
- Rabbi Daniel Stein -The Kashrus of Turkey, Muscovy Duck, and the American BisonSummary of the numerous opinions as to the requirements for a bird (and an animal) to be considered kosher. When do you need a tradition and how “strong” must that tradition be? (Lots to discuss on this issue.)
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Legal Halachah: Shabbat and the Jewish LawyerFocus on Shabbat workarounds where some employees/partners are bnai brit and some are non bnai brit. Lawyers can be involved in pikuach nefesh (life at stake) situations in their roles as advocates.
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Machshava 4: How could Rabmam study books of philosophy and idolatry?How did the Rambam learn topics which he said were forbidden? How do we deal with contradictions in the Rambam’s philosophical works? Important point (to me) – one must take the Rambam holistically in the context of all his works!
- Rav Nissan Kaplan-VayishlachParsha thoughts mainly focused on real emunah (faith) and the dangers of fraternization with the wrong people.
- Rabbi Jeremy Wieder -KJ’s Dr. William Major Memorial Advanced Shiur in Talmud with Rabbi Dr. Jeremy WiederInteresting discussion of fish eggs, fish and bird kashrut. Reconciling Talmudic descriptions of various facets of animal life with our understanding of realities can sometimes be a challenge.
- Rabbi Tzvi Sinensky -Laws of Chol Hamoed – Hebrewa>Understanding the nature of the prohibitions on certain activities on chol hamoed and the exceptions thereto. Shaving as a specific example.
- Rabbi Eli Reich ,Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz ,Rabbi Ezra Shapiro -Yat Kislev in Sha’alvim: Perspectives on the Contributions of ChabadRah Rah Lubavitch, Tanya, Kiruv and shulchim. Me – the baby crying story links Lubavitch with Yeshivat Har Etzion.
- Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks,President Richard Joel ,Rabbi Ari Berman ,Rabbi Josh Kahn -Inspiring the Next GenerationR’Sacks shares ten rules for successful child raising (generally be a role model and then let them fly).
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Machshava 5: Should we interpret Genesis literally?When do we not take things literally? (if we have no choice).
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Chanuka Siman 676-1Candle lighting protocol—the newest candle is lit first.
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank – Machshava 7: Torah and Science Part 2Epistemological pluralism is one way to explain science/Torah disparities. You can also appeal to them having disparate agendas or understand them as applying under special conditions or reinterpret one or the other.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon-Hashkafa & Halacha for Parshas Vayeishev: R”A Eiger on Divine Providence & the שר המשקים; Are Jews meant to celebrate birthdays?Understanding Joseph’s dreams interpretations—one lesson is to realize we don’t always understand why things happen. Then, some thoughts on birthdays’ significance.
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank -Machshava 10: SufferingSuffering can be viewed through both a philosophical and emotional lens. When we suffer we can understand that we trust HKB”H but still feel pain. R’YBS explains religion as not being a quick fix and the real question being not why we suffer but what is required of us. We need to channel our grief into our avodat Hashem.
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky -Making Gemara Relevant: Rav Tzadok and Rav Shagar on ChanukahChanakah is the holiday of Torah she b’al peh because it reflects man’s initiative. Some thoughts on R’Tzadok (he’s not so much into free will) and R’Shagar (Learning Talmud should be reflective of spirituality, e.g., how do we relate to kesef [money]?)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Kli Shemilachto L’HeterYou certainly can’t twiddle a bookmark but can you twiddle a fork? There’s room for leniency!
- Rav Hershel Schachter-“The Rabbis Response to changes in Jewish Practice”R’YBS was against the cermonialization of Judaism. Minhag only makes sense if you are in fulfillment of a mitzvah (e.g., Zmirot enhance Kiddush).
Sometimes, minhag is just to be a midat chassidut when being stringent for minority opinion.
Discussion of the force of minhag for an individual and community. Only a “big” Rabbi can start a new minhag and it’s got to be l’sheim shamayim (heavenly purpose [TBD]), within the spirit of the law and can’t show disrespect to the past. Real question is where is it coming from?
[Yes—the title is a bit misleading.]
- Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf -The World of Rishonim IExplanation of roles of rishonim but the primary focus is on Bavli vs. Yerushalmi and why the Bavli was accepted as authoritative.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Torah of HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l on Chanukah – Greek Culture and Judaism: There’s a significant difference between the Hellenist and Jewish view of HKB”H and the world. Transcendence is crucial to our world view.
- Rabbi Ari Lamm-Jews, Gentiles and Arguments Over What the Christian “Origin Story” Should Be (Fall 2016: 1)Review of the book of Acts and the transition to a focus on Rome, Paul, and gentiles. Lesson to us is that we must mine our “Judeo” traditions rather than just assume hyphenated, (Judeo-) traditions are our own.
- Rav Asher Weiss-Chanuka candle -Narot HamikdashIs there more hiddur in bigger candles (or a bigger lulav for that matter) in a flame that burns longer? Then a review of parallels between the menorah in the beit mikdash and in our homes.
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].