Audio Roundup 2017:12

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by Joel Rich

Part of the challenge of the modern world, I think, is breaking out of the manic oscillation between authority and personal freedom, finding not so much a middle ground, but a balance, however fraught, between the two. W. Kolbrenner (Me-Amen)

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It seems to me the halachic definition of anoos (“circumstances beyond one’s control?”) has been enlarged in my lifetime, perhaps over the last number of generations (since the enlightenment?). At one extreme are determinists (it’s all out of our control) and at the other are “will vincet omnia” (it’s all under our control). Once you get past the Torah’s case, how is the line drawn (and why there?)



  • Rabbi Jonathan Ziring -Davening from a Cell Phone

    Includes a survey of opinions concerning what may or may not be held during prayer. Discussed possible concerns with davening from a cell phone including distraction (normal and needless), disrespect, holding something which is a burden and how it looks. Why is a siddur permitted to be held and how do those reasons apply to a cell phone? Bottom line- It’s probably OK in an ad hoc situation (if on airplane mode) but best to avoid.
    Interesting discussion of holding babies in shul but see notes on the website for an update.

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 690-4

    Stay awake during the megilla reading! Don’t read it in English and do have the proper intent (both reader and listener). Includes the old “staam daat” (no particular intent “ intent”) discussion.

  • Rabbi Menachem Penner-Yiddishkeit In The Modern World – Rabbi Menachem Penner and Rabbi Yaakov Bender

    The desire to be closer to HKB”H seems to be increasing but there also seems to be a desire to have “It” all now without hard work or sacrifice. Instant personal gratification is driving out submission and group responsibility. Great thought on bracha of shehakol bara l’kvodo.
    Keep a positive attitude, we can do it. We need unity.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Atara on a Tallis

    Rationalizing current popular atarah (tallit adornment) practices—there are worse things (Me – or you have to pick your spots!)

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 690-5

    What to do if the reader makes a mistake in reading the megilla? Rules for certain words and verses which required repetition. Does the congregation read the names of Haman’s sons aloud?

  • Rabbi Jeremy Wieder -KJ’s Dr. William Major Memorial Advanced Shiur in Talmud with Rabbi Dr. Jeremy Wieder

    On the daf shiur continuation—discusses Rabban Gamliel’s use of scale models.

  • Rabbi Asher Weiss -Halachic Challenges Facing the IDF and Mossad Long Term and Indirect Pikuach Nefesh

    We haven’t had state institutions for 2,000 years so halacha has a steep catch up. R’Weiss outlines his approach and some interesting applications. Money quote—“In the Modern World, sometimes halacha is intertwined with norms and ethical values.”

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Forbidden Marriages

    1) Choices in setting up a non-religious male Cohen for marriage—how much background checking of the Jewish partner should be done when you know the alternative is a non ben brit?
    2) Intermarriage questions—attending such a wedding, maintaining connections with intermarried et al. Interesting range of approaches—seemingly based on meta halachic resonances and (perhaps) time and place.
    3) Listen for the difference of opinion—between R’Schachter and R’Weiss on understanding how rov functions (R’Schachter seems more actuarial!)

  • Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Hashgacha Pratis Part 2: Rambam

    Begins with a range of opinions on how hashgacha works. The Rambam views the “strength” of hashgacha that an individual experiences as a function of that individual’s connection to HKB”H. If you have a hesech hadaat (break in concentration) your hashgacha is reduced.

  • Rabbi Evan Hoffman -The life of Yossele Rosenblatt

    The life and times of Yossele Rosenblatt–frum and funny, but financially—not so good.

  • Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman-Racism and Prejudice in Halakhah and Hashkafah

    Racism is not good hashkafically or halachically. Issues include: lashon hara, tshuva, real harm, onaat dvarim, kavod habriyot (human dignity) and kaballat lashon hara. (Me – kavdeihu v’chashdeihu for everyone).

  • <a href=” Rabbi Steven Pruzansky -Tolerance: Is it a Jewish Value?

    Intolerance is bad, especially on the left. We must properly balance universalism and particularism. Remember to differentiate between personal and business (respect the person if not his positions)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz-Imitatio Dei: Classical and Innovative Understandings of Man’s Obligation to Imitate God

    The end goal of imitating HKB”H is to be like him by being:
    • Ethical/moral
    • Holy
    • Creative
    • A giver
    • Defined by self, not others
    • One who draws in

  • Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff -What Really Needs To Go Into Shaimos

    Discusses sources on treatment of sheimos (HKB”H’s name vs. general verses, etc.) What is the level of violation and what is the required treatment? Introduces a possible leniency where the item is not for holy purpose and not for permanent use. Practical applications to be discussed in his next shiur.

  • Rabbi Efrem GoldbergBRS Men’s Afternoon Kollel: Kiddushin 30a, Do Grandparents Have to Pay Tuition?

    Who is responsible for a child’s (m vs. f) Torah education and what areas of Torah are covered? How should Torah study time be allocated? How to balance one’s personal responsibility vs. paying for education? How many generations?

  • Rav Nissan Kaplan-Anava 1

    Anavah (humility) is the key to getting close to HKB”H. Our generation focuses on telling students they are chashuv (important) but humility is very important.

  • Rabbi Jonathan Bienenfeld -Rav Shabsai HaKohen

    Biography of the Shach focusing on his relationship with the Taz, his life on the run, and his death at young age.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Intergenerational Debate – R’ Asher Weiss on Disagreements Between Tannaim, Amoraim, Rishonim, Acharonim

    So why exactly can’t an Amora argue with a Tanna? (or an acharon with a rishon?) The usual suspects (Rabbinic enactment, common agreement, mass agreement, fundamental learning methodology shift). IMHO what makes certain individual poskim appear “out of the monotonic decline” is also very much a function of sociology (who/what do we accept).

  • Rabbi Yaakov Glasser-The Mitzvah of Drinking on Purim: Mandate or Menace?

    Keep focused on the overarching goals of Purim and drink responsibly.

  • Rav Nissan Kaplan- Shabbos Tzeida
    Understanding Torah and rabbinic trapping prohibitions (how confined is confined? Whose perspective do we take?) Worthwhile to listen to the last 5 minutes on lice, science and Chazal
  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Hats and Jackets for Davening

    Dress standards-in general and for prayer- seem a function of what’s considered local respectable practice, but you can certainly rationalize “the levush”—even hanging jackets over the shoulder during prayer.

  • Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Torah of Rav Lichtenstein : Being Frum and Being Good

    The whole frum vs. good/ethic outside of halacha thing discussed. Finding a balance between hyperhalachic practice and apikursus may be a challenge, but focus on deepening one’s emunah can help.

  • Rabbi Yoni Levin -Krias Hatorah: Communal or Individual Obligation?

    Possible implications of Torah reading being a tzibbur (communal) or yachid (individual) responsibility.

  • Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig-Family Planing & Contraception in Halacha
    Defining requirements of Pru u’rvu and R’Willig’s approach to when birth control is appropriate. Analysis of appropriateness of different birth control methodologies.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg-Understanding the rules of Shabbos cooking
    Really a gemara shiur focused on understanding Chanania et al on cooking, leaving on the heat . . .
  • Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 690-6

    Clapping and/or stomping at Haman’s name—appropriate? How does it impact one’s responsibility to listen? How do you handle saying/listening to the “special 4” verses? R’SZA’s position on “stam daat” (one generally has in mind whatever HKB”H wants me to have in mind).

  • Rabbi Nosson Rich -Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Purim 690-7 and 691-1
    Should/must one have a minyan for hearing the megilla? Some rules on writing a megila are also discussed. Can you touch a megila with your hands? Probably it’s okay, but you should wash your hands first.
  • Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-The Issur of שוחד

    If a shochad (bribe) is given, must it be returned? If judges are paid the “wages of idler” (schar batala), must it be obvious to all how much they are giving up to be idle? How material must a non-monetary bribe be to be considered a bribe?)

  • Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Hashgacha Pratis Part 3: Rambam continued

    Discussion of how the Rambam deals with the story of Job in terms of hashgacha. He defines three types of evil 1) natural (based on being a physical being), 2) generated by others (e.g., war); 3) generated by self (eatind bad foods). Most evil comes from sources 2 and 3. One must also have the correct value system and then your attitude will protect you from pain. Discusses reconciling seeming inconsistencies in the Rambam’s position on hashgacha. Bottom line is there may be limited somewhat hashgacha but we still need to use perceived evil as an opportunity for self examination and growth.

  • Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-The Unique Kedusha of Rosh Chodesh: Maharal and Rav Soloveitchik

    Maharal’s take is it’s about closeness to HKB”H. R’YBS compares Rosh Chodesh to Shabbat and Yom Tov to draw lessons on internal vs. external holiness. The more intense the emotion, the more private. (Me – good luck selling that today!)

  • Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].

    About Joel Rich

    Joel Rich is a frequent local lecturer on various Torah topics in West Orange, NJ and supports his Torah listening habits by working as a consulting actuary.

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