by Joel Rich
Re: Praying for something which is currently unknown (e.g. sex of a baby). There are conflicting sources on the issue, I’ve often thought that this conundrum is something that is existentially part of creation much like R’YBS on bein hashmashot , Perhaps when we are able to figure out the double slit experiment and how the electron can be probabilistically in two places at one time and yet will only be in one place based on an outsider’s observation, will we then be able to answer this question
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I recently attended a levaya in Bet Shemesh for the first time. After the kevura a mincha minyan was organized outside near the funeral hall (which was not in use) and the kollel room (also not in use). When I suggested using one of those venues rather than davening outside (see S”A O”C 90:5 et al) I was told that at this cemetery davening always took place outside. I understand it’s not forbidden but wondered why it would be done if there was an inside alternative. Anyone know?
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- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Pesach 447-6
What’s the status on non chametz items cooked in a chametz pot?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Pesach 447-7
On Pesach,, can you use “pesachdic” wine vinegar or wine from a barrel that was used prior to Pesach?
- Headlines- 2/10/18 One Thousand Dollar Sandwich – Is it Kosher? Secular Subjects in Yeshivas
Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz ,Rabbi Gedalya Weinberger, HaRav Shmuel , HaRav Dovid Yosef ,HaRav Mendel Shafran ,HaRav Nissan Kaplan,HaRav Hershel Schachter , HaRav Nochum Eisenstein ,HaRav Zalman Gifter , HaRav Mayer Schiller
It’s very difficult for me to review these interviews because of my strong feelings on the topics discussed (and my reactions to some of the positions and “reasoning” put forth). I’ll simply state the issues at hand: 1.) Is kashrut supervision on an establishment more than just passing on the technical kashrut of the food served? 2.) Is it OK not to teach any secular studies at the High School level?
Contact me offline if you want to discuss in more detail.
- Headlines 1/6/18 Kevurah in Eretz Yisroel – Is it important? And at what cost?
Kevurah in Eretz Yisroel – Is it important? And at what cost?
Rabbi Doniel Neustadt , Rabbi Avrohom Cohen ,Rabbi Elchonon Zohn – President, National Assoc. of Chevra Kadisha
Burial in Eretz Yisrael—it’s a nuanced question of prioritization of resource allocation on an individual and community leadership basis not much different from spending on smachot (pun intended) or other “inyanim” [my summary of all the speakers]. The general economics of the funeral industry are also discussed. Interesting that the moderator mentions his number one listener complaint is his interruption of guests. My biggest desire is for shows (I think Tim Russert and Charlie Rose [both no longer active for different reasons] tried somewhat to do this) where the moderator invites proponents of differing views and pushes both sides equally on their weak and strong points to better bring the issues into sharp focus. In the general media world (driven IMHO but customer demand) this approach has become less popular. We are not far behind IMHO. I’d also like to see this in shiurim/scholars in residence but that’s Joel land for you .
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Travelling on Sukkos
Under which circumstances can you put yourself in a position not to observe the mitzvah of sukkah? (e.g., travel for business)
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-What Gave Chazal Their Authority? Exploring a Range of Approaches
What is the source of rabbinic authority? 1.) Lo Tasur—we get accuracy and/or uniformity (Rambam vs. Ramban), 2.) Ratzon Hatorah—we are a partner in the process and exercise our free will by accepting it, 3.) Sevara/logic binds us
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Egalitarian Prayer at the Kotel? Three Approaches
How does/should orthodoxy philosophically respond to other streams’ demands for a seat at the Kotel? 1.) It’s historically a shul so no way, 2.) There is a need for hochacha (rebuke) for its impact on us (and them), 3.) There is a broader community issue and we need to look at the longer range impact on those not in our camp
- Rabbi Elli Fischer-R. E. Fischer The End of Expertise Psak Halachah in the Digital Age 2-4-18
Today’s technology has changed the halachic playing field much in the same way that the printing press did in its day. How do poskim reestablish their undermined expertise when everyone has access to all the same knowledge base? A poseik’s standing can be established by many things (bearing, community, manner of speech…). The approaches of 4 current poskim are discussed: 1.) R’Schachter (you need to know it all without a computer/be a b’aal mesorah), 2.) R’Rimon (organize the Religious Zionist halachic code with a clear hashkafic vision which you tie back into), 4.) R’Asher Weis (provide meta reasons for psak – morality, common sense, stability . . . (me – libi omer li)
My general take—what will give the governed reason to keep coming back?
- Rabbi Eli Baruch Shulman-Modern Orthodoxy: What’s in a Name?
What forms a community? Is it geography, hashkafa . . .? R’Shulman thinks MO is simply a shared experience, not a philosophy. (Me – it sounded to me that one could reach the same conclusion for charedim, etc., by the definitions/examples given). There are some who view YU as a flagship of a particular hashkafa, others (him) as pretty much like any Yeshiva but appealing to an experiential community engaged with the world. What did R’YBS think? [Me – usually whatever you think ]
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Sukkah 39 (לולב של אשירה)
Conclusion of the asheirah d’moshe sugya including Tosfot, Raavad, Rashi, and Rambam on bitul shel avodah zarah umishamsheha.
- Rabbi Zev Cinamon-Mechanics of Machlokes #3 – Some Final Thoughts
When can current poskim “argue on” earlier ones? Generally when there’s a “tradition” of arguing!
- Rabbi Dani Schreiber-Discussing Judaism’s Big Questions: Handling discrepancies in the Torah
Clearly the Rambam didn’t mean that we must believe that the actual text of the Torah we have today is the same as the actual one written by Moshe since the Talmud records variations. Rather, we believe HKB”H gave Moshe the Torah, Moshe did not write it on his own. The rest is commentary (e.g., discussion of Aleppo Codex, kri, and ktiv [reading vs. text]) . . .)
- Headlines- 2/3/18 Simcha: Should happiness be our end goal? What it is and how to achieve it
Simcha: Should happiness be our end goal? What it is and how to achieve it
Rabbi Moshe Weinberger ,Rabbi YY Jacobson ,Rabbi Shmuel Shtern , Rabbi Kalman Goldschmidt – Breslov Mashpia ,Dr. David Lieberman
Four well known mashpiim (motivational speakers?) discuss their understanding of the meaning of simcha (joy, happiness?). Is simcha really a mitzvah or a broader “requirement”? How does one cultivate being “b’simcha”? (hint – it’s not about he who has the most toys wins].
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Pesach 447-8
Does the kashrut concept of noten taam l’fgam (bad taste) apply for chametz utensils on Pesach?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Pesach 447-9
What is the status after Pesach of a mixture created on Pesach where the proportion of chametz was less than 1/60?
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-נעשה ונשמע
Bnai Yisrael’s naaseh v’nishma (we will do and we will listen) differs from their original response of naaseh (we will do). It means we surrender to the Torah and our norms flow from its values. Thus, Torah learning is the source of our ethical values (vs. a separate study as in the mussar movement).
- Rabbi Effie Kleinberg-Gemara Berachot In-Depth: Loopholes in Halacha
Examples of appropriate workarounds and inappropriate loopholes from times of Chazal and on. IIUC only baalei mesorah get to decide which is which.
- Rabbi Dr. Motti Klein-TorahPsych #7 Gmail Unsend, Foot in Mouth, & Toch K’dei Dibbur
The concept of toch kdei dibbur (do over time period) reflects a psychological understanding of how we process what we say (me – see J. Haidt –the rider and the elephant metaphor).
- Headlines- 1/27/18 When to go to a Rav & When to a Therapist: Preparing Future Rabbonim
When to go to a Rav & When to a Therapist: Preparing Future Rabbonim
HaRav Hershel Schachter, Dr. David Pelcovitz ,Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Schwartz ,Rabbi Larry Rothwachs
R’Schachter on daat Torah in all areas of human endeavor- you gotta know the territory (HT – The Music Man). Rabbi as mental health counselor—yes, but you should get some training and know when you’re in over your head. How do/should rabbis and therapists interact? RIETS does try to give its musmachim a leg up in this area.
- Rabbi Evan Hoffman-The Victory of Radical Reform in America
Discussion of the evolution of the American “Radical” Reform movement. It was different than the original movement in Germany and had its own right and left wing. It had an affirmative vision (i.e., not just we’re not orthodox) but eventually followed the laity’s “vision” (me – or desired lifestyle).
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Sukkah 40 (נקטם ראשו של לולב)
Analysis of opinions concerning the definitions of various disqualifying categories in lulavim including niktam, nisdak, hemnik, akum, kafuf, et al.
- Rabbi Daniel Stein-The Mechitzah in Shul
The Mechitza of the beit knesset is modeled after that of the beit mikdash but the beit mikdash didn’t originally have one, it was added by Chazal as a “big fix.” Why (and when) is a fix allowed if the original commandment (e.g., architecture of beit mikdash) is divinely ordained? Lots of discussion of R’Moshe’s position and whether the purpose is to cut off communication or sight?
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-EREV/EVE of Rosh Chodesh- What’s so special?
Rosh Chodesh has the strange aspect that we act before the day (no tachanun the day before, shabbat mevarchim), recognize the day and reflect on it afterwards (kiddush levana). The lesson is (me – as Thomas Cahill notes in “The Gift of the Jews”) that we know things will get better (me – we are a people of destiny).
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Pesach 448-1
Introduction to chametz sheavar alav hapesach (chametz after pesach) rules. If the Chametz belonged to a non ben brit, it’s fine after Pesach (in terms of Pesach at least ). What about Chametz owned in partnership with a non-ben brit over Pesach (e.g., stocks)?
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Mayim Acharonim
There are several possible sources in Chazal for mayim achronim (washing prior to birchat hamazon): melech sdomit (danger of salt in the eye), pasuk quoted (Torah requirement or asmachta?) or Kabbalah. There are a number of halachic ramifications of which you think is the primary reason. [me – is this an example of defending current custom or is the underlying theory the reason for current custom?]
- Professor Smadar Rosensweig-Memory and Destiny: Megilat Esther Backwards and Frontwards
The story of Megillat Esther is the story of a tikkun (fix) for Shaul’s/Binyamin’s shortcomings with regard to dealing with Amalek.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-B’rov Am Hadras Melech – Performing Mitzvos in the Presence of Many
There are three categories of b’rov am: 1.) One person does the mitzvah while many watch, 2.) Each person does part of the mitzvah, 3.) One person does it, others are yotzeih with him. There may be practical and/or philosophical counter pressures in each type of case (me – so of course CLOR or look into your mesorah).
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Fights Over Changing Seats in Shul
Is the requirement that the Mishkan’s planks always be assembled in the same spots a paradigm for all other priorities for precedence or is it unique to situations where the spot involves a certain amount of chashivut (importance)? Specific applications of this principle discussed.
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-Life in the Heights VI: when eruv is down
Communities should be honest and not announce the eruv is down (or any other well-meaning untruth) because it will undermine community credibility. R’Schwartz wrote up an outline of what to do (including workarounds) if the eruv is down. Another question dealt with is whether you can use items (especially food) brought in on Shabbat from outside the eruv.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-From Adam Smith to R. Asher Weiss: Capitalism in Halacha
There are many who think halacha is primarily socialistic in its economics but R’Ziring, based on R’Asher Weiss, says it ain’t so. Listen here for details.
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].