by Joel Rich
Re: contact sports. I know there is a debate as to whether the ability to waive liability refers to both monetary and spiritual liabilities. I was wondering, according to those who said you can waive the spiritual liability, whether that would also work retroactively (e.g. would somebody escape lashes for less than a penny’s worth of damage -if the aggrieved party waived the spiritual damages after the fact of the hit)
From Ross Douthat – To Change the Church:
“And if it is the latter. If it has a changeless core, there must come a time when a given set of proposed reforms would mean not adaptation but rupture, not reading the signs of the times but surrendering to the spirit of the age. There must come a point at which the rigorists are right about what cannot be surrendered and the accommodationists are wrong. There must come a point at which the Jansenists of the right, too scrupulous and too ascetic, find their mirror image in an anti-Jansenism of the left, too worldly and self-satisfied and no less destructive in its effects upon the faith.” Any parallels to schisms in orthodoxy.
“This idea was very Kasperian, akin to the cardinal’s suggestion that the church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality asked too much of the “ordinary Christian.” It also came perilously close to contradicting not only John Paul and other recent popes but the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century and countless teaching documents in between. The idea that some circumstances do “not allow” Christians to avoid sin, that God’s grace is sometimes insufficient and the moral life sometimes resembles Star Trek’s no-win Kobayashi Maru training exercise, would be a serious revision of the church’s traditional position—closer to certain Protestant theologies than to Catholic moral teaching as defined and defended by past councils and past popes.”
Do we believe that HKB”H ever puts us in a situation where sin is inevitable? (R’Dessler’s nkudat habechira)
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Practicing Medicine in the Jewish Community, Part IICan a Doctor charge for his services? (Yes – reasons provided.) Can a Doctor charge for his services provided on Shabbat? (Yes – reasons provided.) Can a Doctor provide services that his Rabbi forbids but the patient’s Rabbi approves? (Yes – reasons provided.) (Me – is it possible that the Rabbi’s role in halacha is like the observer effect in quantum mechanics?] Can a Doctor provide effective referral for a service his Rabbi prohibits? (Yes – reasons provided.) Can a Doctor treat a patient of the opposite gender? (Yes – reasons provided.) Can a Doctor report another Doctor to the authorities? (Yes – reasons provided.)
- Rabbi Josh Blass, Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Weinberg, Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin-Sichas Mussar Panel – Three Decisions: Five YearsWe’re losing people in their twenties due to the pressures of family, community, and work (profession??). How to deal with it?—connect with HKB”H and maintain your balance in all elements of your life.
Me – it’s been a while since I mentioned that there might be a benefit to bringing people who work in the outside world (Yes – even apparently people whose work has no inherent meaning, like actuaries) and can tell the Talmidim what it’s really like out there.2
- נאום שלמה יהודה רכניץ – ישיבת קמניץAn ode to Yeshivat Kaminetz and its Rabbeim. This is not the one where R’Rechnitz discusses not funding machloket(divisions).
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Hoshanos After Hallel or After MussafThis shiur reviews reasons why saying hoshanot after hallel, after mussaf, or at other points in tfilah, might be reasonable. Changing shul minhagim should not be taken lightly!
- Rabbi Evan Hoffman-The Yishuv’s Political Landscape on the Eve of IndependenceDiscussion of early and mid-twentieth century Israeli political groups’ philosophies and central figures therein.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Nesiat Kapayim for a Kohen With a DisabilityWhile a simple reading of the texts would indicate that birchat cohanim is a very important Torah mitzvah, we see its application is limited (e.g., not done by unmarried, outside Eretz Yisrael).
Can Kohanim with disabilities duchen? It depends on how you understand the reason for not looking at a Kohain while he’s duchening (examples provided).
- Rav Asher Weiss-Sheva Mitzvot Bnei Noach
What is the relationship between the requirements of shevet and pru u’rvu? What is the nature of a woman’s obligation in pru u’ru? What is the difference between something being a mitzvah and being “the ratzon Hashem”?
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-Paying Workers on TimePaying workers on time can involve five Torah requirements. Some specific applications addressed.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Vezos HaBracha 5779Zot Habracha parsha insights including: Nature of last eight verses in the Torah, what does it mean to say there are 612 mitzvot? Morasha vs. Yerusha, special status of the sefer haazarah(temple) and making judgments in the case of safeik sakanah (possible danger).
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – The Pregnant KallahR’Lebowitz addresses an unusual case of a single woman who is impregnated through artificial insemination and then wants to marry while pregnant. Can a Rabbi take part in light of the 24-month rule?
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Bava Kamma 12 (עבד ואמה)Shiur begins with the responsibilities (or lack thereof) of an owner for damages caused by a slave. There’s also a discussion of kum leih mdraba minei and how all-encompassing is the statement “adam maad l’olam” really is.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Noach 5779 – The Miracles of the Mabul, Following Hashem, Defining Death, Mechusar Eiver, Ethics. Vs. EtiquetteParsha thoughts including: Mabul(flood) was miraculous but did happen, defining death, how did Noach know to bring sacrifices (and lessons for us), wine as a comfort for mourners, ethics vs. etiquette and why wasn’t the Avraham/fiery furnace story included in the Torah?
- Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky-HaKsav H’Hakabalah on Noach: The Influence of the World’s GashmiyusNoach themes from Ktav V’hakabalah including: dangers of too much material success, the main point of sacrifices, prayer, and elevating food through eating it.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Parsha Bytes – Noach 5779(HT – M. Rich) Per R’A Lichtenstein, Noah’s mistake may have been allowing his occupation (Ish Haadamah) to define himself.
- Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz,Rabbi Avrohom Kahan,Dayan Elimelech Vanzetta,Meir Seewald-10/13/18 Brett Kavanaugh – What would Halacha say on rumors and removing a Dayan or Rav?Neemanus of a woman, What is considered a proper “kol”?, Believing an Eid Echad.Insights into dealing with allegations and repentance. It’s complex! BTW – The Twilight Zone episode referred to is “A Nice Place to Visit.”
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-Introducing the Thought of the Sfas Emes: His Impact and Unique StyleThe Sfas Emes stems from the intellectual stream of chassidut. His “mhalech”(approach) focuses on Medrashim, Zohar, Maharal, and Chidushei Harim. Various examples of his mhalech are provided
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Fifteen Minutes of Toras Rav Schachter – Eretz Hatzvi Siman 13(b) – Asmachta and Hischayvus M’daasCan you contract a liability (hitchayvut) with a verbal commitment alone? What about without complete certainty (asmachta)?
- Rabbi Dani Schreiber-Discussing Judaism’s Biggest Questions: Allegory and History – Did everything in the Torah “happen”?Based on a previously reviewed shiur by R’Wieder—when must, should, can, or must we not take the Torah “literally?”
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff- “To Boycott Hitler — Yes or No?More on R’Silver and the Agudah in the U.S. Including the first Moetzet Gdolei Hatorah and the opposition to boycotting German products in the 1930’s.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Bava Kamma 13 (אדם מועד לעולם)This shiur continues the analysis of adam muad l’olam especially in the case of ones gamur (and sleep). Then moves on to maaveh/eish or mayim and the link between shomer and maazik.
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-Why did the Torah Begin with Bereishit?Folks oversimplify the Rashi/Ramban (Torah only/open to secular) divide which can also be read into their opening thoughts on Breishit. (Should start with halacha of new month/natural order?). R’Rosensweig demonstrates how they are more intertwined than you might think.
- Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier-Why Does the Torah Prohibit Interest? חבורה בענין טעם איסור רבית לישראל, ומצות (ואיסור) רבית לגוי
Technical analysis of both why taking interest is prohibited: 1.) stealing, 2.) lack of chesed (loving kindness), 3.) lack of faith in HKB”H) and what is the nature of any interest transactions with non bnai brit.
- Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein-Drashot haRan 11Rambam, Ramban and Chinuch on the nature and role of angels.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Mental Health and Halachah: Human DignityKavod habriyot (human dignity) may overcome other rabbinic, financial and Torah (at least passive ) priorities. It may be based on embarrassment, honoring the image of HKB”H or the importance of self-image on health. Examples and applications provided. Unfortunately, R’MT ran out of time before addressing in detail my favorite question—is it measured in objective or subjective terms?
- Rabbi Yonatan Shai Freedman-Should One Wait For Marriage To Wear A Tallis?The reasons for not wearing a tallit till marriage seem underwhelming (best one—it’s an incentive to get married!) Detailed discussion of reasons and possible exceptions can be found here.
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-The Unity of the דור הפלגהWas the unity of the dor haflagah (tower of Babel) a paradigm or was their unity deficient? The latter (it was based on the lowest common denominator and thus diluted and pragmatic—not a unity from respect, especially since it was disconnected from HKB”H).
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Iyun Berachot Shiur #1 – Brachos Nehenin, d’oraisa or d’rabanan? Part 1A very Brisker analysis of the requirement to make birchat hanehenin (torah or rabbinic? Focused on positive praise or avoiding the negative or impermissible use?)
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-Does Avraham need to be converted to Judasim?What was the nature of Avraham’s commandedness? Is there such a thing as being a partial metzuveh(commanded)? Is there a halachic status of Zera Yisrael (Jewish father – not mother)? Did we all convert at Sinai?
- Rabbi Aaron Greenberg-Allegations, Evidence, Appointing Judges, The Statute of Limitations, and Testimony in Contemporary Jewish LawWhat are the disqualifiers for appointments to (which on ones?) Jewish command positions of authority? How do the rules differ pre- and post-appointment? How do we deal with rumors? Community support is a key element for leadership!
- Rabbi Michael Friedman-Out of this World Torah: the Jewish View of Extraterrestrial LifeTraditional sources both ways on the existence of other worlds.
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].