Audio Roundup 2017:50

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by Joel Rich

I’ve been listening to some interesting classes on neural networks. One of them posed a fascinating question—Is what we consider human reasoning fundamentally different from the results of big data/neural network programs, or is it really the same but our neural networks (brains) are just much bigger (orders of magnitude more neurons)? That got me thinking about how we define a bar daat which has always bothered me because of the seeming step function nature of the designation (e.g., IQ =70 Yes, IQ = 69 No).

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Why do we “ki thilateinu ata” in the bracha of rfaeinu? Perhaps looking forward to our prayer being accepted (but then why just in this bracha) or perhaps to remind us that it’s in HKB”H’s hands and not the doctors? Any other reasons?

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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.


  1. As a father of a child with Downs (now 19), the pesaqim we’ve gotten are far from the boolean bar da’as vs non bar da’as dichotomy you assume. We’re told that each chiyuv or issur applies or doesn’t apply based on my son’s ability to understand that particular din.

    • I very much appreciate the response. I wonder if there is one universal standard for all mitzvot and then a ” higher bar” for individual mitzvot. Once the universal bar is reached.

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