Audio Roundup 2018:23

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by Joel Rich

The more I learn S”A and M”B the more I understand the Maharshal’s opposition to codification vs. relearning the basic sources to obtain the clearest understanding possible of Chazal’s underlying theories for extrapolation to new cases (each iteration away from the primary source can cloud fine points, or Godel’s incompleteness theorem).
I also see much more of the implicit sociological assumptions made over time (and wonder how we define the community [e.g., town, city, continent . . .] and time [every decade, exile . . . ] that we measure). Two examples: 1.) S”A O”C 153:12 (MB:76) discusses an individual who had a stipulation with a community to build a Beit Knesset, it stays with him and his family but it’s not transferable. Why not? “Mistavra” (it’s logical) that that’s what the community had in mind unless specifically stipulated differently at origination (me – who measured? How?) 2.) S”A O”C 153:18 (MB:95) concerning a private object (e.g., Menorah) used by the synagogue. Originally, the assumption was they became kodesh once used, however, “now” it’s assumed that they remain totally private (as if this were the original stipulation). So how, when, and where did this change?

We know as a general rule that the advice is given not to take on a stringency without saying bli neder. The reason usually given is that if one does not say it, it becomes a requirement to continue keeping that stringency. Question – is the reward that one receives for doing the stringency greater if one takes it on as a requirement vs. saying bli neder?

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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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