by Joel Rich
“D Shatz- R’JBS and Western Culture”
Worth it to read even just for this quote “We will see amply that, with Soloveitchik, nothing is straightforward”
Think about it-He also advises pointing out to the father and son conversion may not be the wisest choice, depending on what will happen after. For the boy to convert and become an observant Jew would be a positive; a conversion to assuage the father’s guilty conscience and give the boy access to synagogue rituals like standing at the Torah for an aliyah ignores the downsides of such a conversion, that the boy will be setting himself up for Divine blame and punishment.
Until this point, the non-kosher food the boy ate, the violations of Shabbat he committed, and all his other nonobservances of Judaism brought no opprobrium upon him, since he was not Jewish. Once the boy converts, each action of sin is just that, a punishable crime before God.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-The Challenges of a Believer: Evolving Dynamics & Varying Perspectives
Being troubled when the world seems out-of-sync doesn’t make you a non-believer (me – it makes you human). We all have issues but must remember “lo machshvotai machshvoteichem” (HKB”H has his own calculations which we can’t understand) and always be considering where we are in our relationship with HKB”H (as individuals and as a community).
- Guest Hosted by Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz ,Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, Rabbi Dovid Roberts-12/29/18 Rabbonim discuss the movement towards Chassidus
There’s a great thirst for a connection with HKB”H but you also need halacha—it’s all about balance. [Me – listen for the quote “looking for love in all the wrong places” and tell me we don’t acculturate.]
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-“Bobov Dances to a Different Tune!”
Bobover Rebbi came out in favor of using computer checking for sifrei Torah, R’A Weiss allowed laser scalpel for doing a brit for a hemophiliac convert.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-The Story of Max Nordow and How He Changed Jewish History
How Max Nordeau became a Zionist through the agency of a young religious girl.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Lo Tasur: The Source for Rabbinic Law
R’YBS felt people made too much of the difference of opinion between the Rambam and Ramban on the nature of rabbinic commandments (Lo Tasur vs. Shaall Avicha as a source, are rabbinic commandments a cheftza shel Torah? . . )
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Using Non-Kosher Dishes and Cutlery at Hotels
There are different opinions on using non-kosher plates for cold foods. It may depend on how often you do it. How do you define arai (happenstance) vs. keva (usual) in practical terms? (e.g., don’t make a habit of it?)
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Avodah Zarah 41: Entering Churches (2) – a Limud Zechut?
Visiting a church or mosque is an issue. Specific permissibility will turn on the nature of the prohibition (rabbinic or Torah), what parts of the building it extends to and the nature of the Avodah Zarah. Specific sources reviewed.
- Rabbi Efrem Goldberg-Survey of Shas Sugyas: Berya (Part 2)
Continuation of beriah (holistic being?) Shiur. Implication discussed for maakot, bitul, and bracha achrona. Is it duraita or drabaman? Is it because of importance or being a complete unit? Can you have a fruit smoothee?
- Rabbi Uri Orlian-Contemporary Halacha Chazara #2
It’s always best to listen to the original shiurim but this is a nice highlight reel. Topics include: Avodah Zara, Shabbat electricity, secular courts, and mezuzot.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-The Nature of Amirah in the Kiddushin Process #1: Introducing Kiddushin
The Rambam (and R’Lichtenstein) used the specific halachot of marriage to build a philosophical framework of the marital relationship (and ours with HKB”H?) Is it a mitzvah to marry? There are a number of implications including related to the brachot of the wedding ceremony.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-3 Great Modern Works of Jewish Thought : #1 – Mesillat Yesharim
Introduction to Mesilat Yesharim—it predated the mussar movement but was used by it as a text for personal growth. It’s very focused on the world to come which may cause dissonance for generations (such as ours) which give more focus to this world (me- which could be for good or not so good reasons!)
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon=The methodology and goals of Rav Yisrael Salanter, founder of the Mussar Movement
Continuation of discussion of R’Y Salanter’s programmatic mussar approach which was needed for his hardhearted generation (really). The message is don’t fool yourself, judgement day is coming! Of course, true Briskers don’t need the mussar approach’s medicine.
Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander-ברכות התורה והחיים היום יומיים
Why doesn’t the Rambam count Birchat Hatorah as a mitzva? Why does he have different wording for the bracha of laasok? Perhaps the first bracha is about the historical connection between the Jewish people and the Torah/Sinai. The second bracha then is about our individual connection and the third is a combination. We then focus on the importance of human endeavor and see the brachot on the “ofi (character/nature) of Shel Torah.”
- Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff-Are All Milks Really Cholov Yisroel
First in a two-part series tracing the history of “chalav yisrael.” While it seems the concern when Chazal established the prohibition of chalav akum was for mixing in of non-kosher milk, there may have been other reasons as well. Is lack of incentive, opportunity or existence of fear enough to support a lenient approach?
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Extenuating Circumstances in Psak, the Value of Persuasion, and Akirat Davar Min HaTorah (1)
A poseik uses Kentucky windage in psak to get to the appropriate result for the individual and community. “Uprooting” (akirah) prior law or “temporary change” (eit laasot) may differ in their passive/active, or their permanent /temporary nature axes.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Heroes and Villains: An Overview
Heroes and villains in Tanach? Life is very complicated and there are many different angles—HKB”H’s, Chazal’s and ours. We should maintain our humility and try to draw practical implications and meanings from the text.
- Rabbi Baruch Simon-Learning During Free Time
It’s about properly balancing all our activities (learning, chesed, making a living) and priorities in the framework of an overarching life of avodat hashem (some details provided).
- Rabbi Daniel Stein-Hilchos Ishus Review 5779
Everything a young rabbi needs to know about weddings from disclosures to pru u’rvu, ceremonies (ktuba, chuppah, eidim, brachot, microphones) to sheva brachot.
- Rabbi Motti Neuburger-Inyanei Sheimot
Names are important. This shiur discusses differing interpretations of the significance for us of the “lo shinu shmam” (they didn’t change their names) medrash. [Me – actions are more important!]
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Interesting Seasonal Questions @ Aish Kodesh
A few issues which R’Lebowitz’s followers may recognize from previous years: Jewish Santas, Jewish year end celebrations, and renting a property with an avodah zarah on it
- Rav Asher Weiss-Raising a hand on his friend
Does raising your hand against your neighbor put you in the category of a rasha (evildoer) who is ineligible to give testimony? Does the fact that the Torah commands that a relative is ineligible to testify mean that we don’t use logic to determine who might be ineligible to testify?
- Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz-Multiple Truths? The Concept of “Elu ve-Elu” and its Relationship to “Lo Bashamayim He”
Does elu v’elu mean
1.) There’s only one objective truth, all else is false, but nice try.
2.) There are several possibilities with truth in them, only one has most, but others may be “good enough”
3.) Even in heaven there are multiple correct truth.
- Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf-World of Rishonim: The Geonim
The Geonim maintained the model of a (or 2 or 3) central Yeshiva as the source of law. Geopolitics broke that model and there’s debate as to how much weight to give gaonic opinions. They understood that the Talmud was sealed (they fought for Bavli’s priority) and did not write full Talmudic commentaries due to quality control issues.
- Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf-The Early Spanish Rishonim
How did the central Yeshiva/Gaoniccentric world come to an end (or how did halachic authority in Spain become independent)?
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Eating Fish on Shabbos
Looking for love (of Shabbos fish) in all the Chassidic places.
- Rabbi Yoni Levin-Who Needs to Drink the Kidush Cup?
When we use a cup of wine as part of a mitzvah ceremony, does the bracha retain its nature as birchat hanehenin (benefit) or does it fundamentally change its nature as a birchat hamitzvah. There are a number of implications of this distinction. Kiddush may be different from other examples.
- Mindy Schwartz Zolty-Majority Rules: The Fundamental Debate Behind Lo Ba’Shamayim Hi
Tanur shel achnai is really about two fundamentally different (personal?) views of rabbinic authority. It’s placed where it is in the Talmud because there was an element of onaah in the interchange.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-The Nature of Beit Din Supervised Peshara
Is pshara (compromise) an extension of the court proceedings or a separate process? What are the halachic implications of this question?
- Rabbi Shalom Rosner-Mamlechet Kohanim V’Goy Kadosh: An Orthodox Jew in a Modern World
Being a mamlechet kohanim and goy kadosh means gmilat chasadim, avodah and Torah.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Making Traditions Soups on Shabbos
Can you make tradition soups on Shabbat? Probably yes, but it’s best to use irui of kli sheini (i.e., don’t pour boiling water directly into the container), etc. To avoid most possible bishul problems (from opinions we don’t hold like).
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