by Joel Rich
From R’ Aviner:
Musical Instruments during Davening
Q: Is it permissible to play instruments during Hallel?
A: It is forbidden on account of “Chukat Ha-Goyim – following the non-Jewish practices” (Shut Chatam Yoreh Deah #84-96, Choshen Mishpat #192. Kaf Ha-Chaim, Orach Chaim 151:19. Shut Minchat Yitzchak 5:96). (Me-didn’t they do so when tehillim were written?)
Bringing the Torah to People to Kiss
Q: Is it permissible to bring the Sefer Torah in the Shul towards people who want to kiss it?
A: No. This is a disgrace to the Sefer Torah. They should approach the Sefer Torah. Piskei Teshuvot 134:6. (Me-how often is this violated?)
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Sukkot/Mitztaer explanations include that mitztaer contradicts teishvu kein taduru, or ki basukot hoshavti or kol ezrach simcha (me- ritual/cognitive/emotional).
Perhaps the kiton shel mayim/rain parallel is a positive one—it gives us opportunities to show it’s about HKB”H—not us.
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- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Yom Tov 527-6This shiur continues the discussion of eruv tavshilin—can it be used for a later yom tov? Is a partial eruv effective? When do you eat the eruv foods?
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Sukkah 10 (אכילת עראי ושתית עראי)Why is achilat arai (non-meal type eating) ok outside the sukkah? How do we define achilat (or shtiat) arai? Is there an objective definition of arai throughout Shas? Is it based on the type of food being eaten or the formality of the eating?
- Dr. Yael Ziegler -Megillat Eicha #04The chapter begins with a description of the destruction of Jerusalem and HKB”H’s anger. The central figures are the leaders of the Jewish people. Jerusalem has no words to defend herself but the loss of innocent children makes this an angry chapter focused on the question of theodicy.
- Dr. Yael Ziegler -Megillat Eicha #05Chapter 3 is the central chapter of the book of Eicha in both structure and meaning. It contains no discussion of Jerusalem or the nation but rather focuses on theological ideas. It could be describing either Jeremiah’s suffering or everyman’s suffering. It describes how we turn inward and progress towards the realization that suffering isn’t arbitrary.
- Rabbi Robby Charnoff-Derech Hashem Introduction: How to Organize and Hold All KnowledgeThis is the first in a series of shiurum on the Ramchal. It starts with his biography and focuses on his systemization of knowledge. Having an ordered mind is important. The first rule is to focus on the principles and the details will follow.
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-The Funeral and the ResponseShiur includes a description of the founding of the Agudas Haralanim—who could join and what were their founding functions and rules. Includes side discussion of acceptability of aliyot at night (especially simchat torah).
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-Introducing Taharos/Parah Adumah: What Makes Learning This Unique?The study of taharot is different from other halachic studies because there is no physical analog. What is the significance of Parah Adumah being given pre-sinai?
- Dr. Yael Ziegler -Megillat Eicha #06In the second half of the chapter hope is regained and we see the beginning of a reconnection to HKB”H and community.
- Dr. Lisa Fredman -Rashi’s Bible Commentary – Does It Really Reflect His Inner World of ValuesRecently scholars began to understand that Rashi didn’t just seek to explain the text but also to present his worldview in his chumash commentary. Examples include his focus on humility, not praising Esav (Rome) and sensitivity to Lashon Hara.
- Dr. Yael Ziegler -Megillat Eicha #07The first half of Chapter 4 discusses what happened to the children during the churban; second half focuses on the leaders. It’s much the same outline as Chapter 2.
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-Avoda Zara 4a – did Amoraim know tanach and Mutav She’yihyu shogegimDid Chazal know all the psukim in the Torah by heart? Mutav Sheyihiyu Shogagim (better they know not what they do!)—does whether we invoke this rule depend on whether people will listen or not? Whether prohibition being dealt with is written in the Torah? Whether “everyone” knows it?
- Dr. Yael Ziegler -Megillat Eicha #08Chapter 5 is different in structure from the rest of the book. The message seems to emerge some time since the churban and is written in the first person communicating with the community and HKB”H.
- Dr. Yael Ziegler -Megillat Eicha #09The challenge to chazal in writing Medrash Eicha is to try and be creatively upbeat based on a downbeat text. Medrash Eicha tried to show we deserved the churban but HKB”H is on our side. This restores our hope and we know that Torah will sustain us in exile.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Democracy, Religion and HumanismThere are some real challenges out there for us in the modern world including:
• Democracy vs. our dependency on HKB”H
• Rights vs. our responsibilities
• Moral relativism vs. our moral clarity
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Yom Tov 527-7
Do you need to make an eruv tavshilin if all you need it for is candle lighting? Can you join in someone else’s eruv? If so, how and when?
- Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig-Keeping the Flame Alive: Capturing the Spirit of the Holidays Focus on the simcha of being lifnei hashem. Look at the glass as at least half full and take this message into the rest of the year.
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-An added GUEST or a new FAMILY-Shabbat Rosh Chodesh revisitedMore on the nature of the day when Rosh Chodesh falls out on Shabbat—how does this differentiation play out in halacha?
- Rabbi Yona Reiss-Beis Din & Hetter ArkaosGood summary of many of the issues of going to secular courts. We’ve previously analyzed R’Reiss’s series on this topic. Issues include the prohibitions of going to secular courts and when they might be waived. Israel and US specific applications also discussed.
- Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff-Discussing Torah & Mitzvos With Non-JewsTeaching Torah to non bnai brit is generally prohibited but may be allowed in certain circumstances-=-it’s complex! Issues that may need to be considered include: 7 mitzvot Bnai Noach; written vs. oral law; halacha vs. mussar; correcting misconceptions and mixed groups of listeners.
- Rabbi Evan Hoffman-Frankfurt Reform and the Circumcision ControversyShiur reviews the early history of the Reform movement with a particular focus on the controversy (within orthodoxy) as to how to treat one whose parents had not given him a brit.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Throwing Aravos (Hoshanos) On Top of Aron KodeshIs throwing the Aravot on top of the Aron Kodesh proper respect to the Aron? (or maybe it’s an Aron beautification project). There are other minhagim as to aravot disposal as well.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-The Importance of Following the Law of the LandIntroduction to Dina D’Malchuta (the law of the land is the law)—be a good (and honest) citizen but when doing so seems to conflict with halacha, it’s complex.
- Dr. Shnayer Leiman-Tzadik v’Ra Lo, Rasha V’Ra Lo
R’YBS was right when he said that we can’t “solve” the problem of theodicy (oh, for the day when the most famous Kushner was Rabbi Harold—even if he got theodicy wrong). This shiur tracks Jewish thought on theodicy from Tanach through Chazal. There are many voices in Chazal, the key thing to remember is to affirm life.
- Rabbi Avishai David-Yirmiyahu V- Individual and General Hashgacha
Primarily a study of the Rambam on hasgacha pratit and clalit (both for humans and animals). Some thoughts on hashgacha vs. bechira as well.
- Rabbi Aharon AdlerTorah U’madah
Some sources on Torah U’mada and the benefits thereof
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-ור “השחתה” ודור “בונה” – חטא דור המבול מול חטא דור הפלגהThis shiur analyzes the sin-causing nature of the dor hamabul and the dor hahaflaga. We face many of the same challenges today.
- Rabbi Elchanan Adler-Kesubos #30: Tosfos – Miyom Shecharav and Rishonim on HashgachaThis shiur discusses the various Talmudic sources concerning hashgacha and bechaira chofshit. We’ll never really know how these really work but we should use the process as a source of chizuk.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Yom Tov 527-9 and 528-1 and 529-1This shiur finishes up the section on eruv tavshilin, discusses eruvei chatzeirot and moves on to simchat Yom Tov. Is there “and inyan” of aliyah l’regel today?
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Nedarim Chaburah: Various Levels in Da’asR’HS discusses possible different levels of deah (cognition?) in different situations (daat makneh, nedarim, gerushin, kiddushin).
- Rabbi Yoni Levin-Rabbinic Institutions from Moshe Rabeinu: The Torah Reading in ShulWhat is the nature of the chiyuv of Kriat Hatorah? Torah, rabbinic, or halacha l’noshe Misinai (what is the nature of “Moshe Tikein?)? Individual vs. Tzibbur?
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