by Joel Rich
Overheard in Jerusalem:
Potential Oleh: So I have to get my birth certificate validated??
Resident: What you do is when you get home . . .
Potential Oleh (interrupting): I am home, I think you mean when I get back to the US.
Resident: (smiling) Touché.
If you learned the Beit Yosef/Shulchan Aruch without reading the hakdamah (intro), would you have been able to intuit his method (algorithm) for psak?
- Rabbi Chezky Auerbach, Rabbi Ari Senter,Rabbi Shmuel Spiegal-1/12/19 Kashrus Expose Part II: Dealing with the issues and transparency from the world’s Kashrus Experts
More on the kashrut supervision industry—still trying to figure out who is naughty and who is nice (US primarily but a little Israel, too). Heimish hechsheirim and Star-K “issues” discussed. OU is excellent! Some interesting insights from the mashgiach’s point of view.
- Rabbi David Hirsch-The Priorities of Bein Adam L’Chavero
Technical discussion concerning the prioritization of nichum aveilim (comforting mourners) and bikur cholim (visiting the ill)—Is it the same priority order whether one can do both or only one? Our goal is that chesed be an internalized feeling (which isn’t easy to concretize into a law book).
- Rabbi Baruch Simon-Inyanei Birchos Hapeiros
Hilchot brachot hapeirot is complex (amen). It’s unclear why few wash for wet fruit. Many are unaware that snack foods (TBD) mid-meal require a bracha rishona and that mixes of food bracha issues (e.g., sushi, compote, granola bars) are complex. Do we have seasonal fruits for shechiyanu purposes? Do we feel joy on much today to say shechiyanu or hatov v’hameitiv?
- Rabbi Yosef Adler-R. Y. Adler Osek B’Mitzvah Patur MinHamitzvah 1-9-19
How do we balance the priority of the mitzvah of Talmud Torah with other mitzvot? (Me – not easily!)
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Traveling to Eretz Yisrael
Issues that confront visitors from the U.S. to Israel including: Is it a mitzvah? Do you say tfilat haderech and/or hagomeil?; When and where to rip kriah; Yom Tov Sheini observance; V’ten tal umatar timing; and taking trumot and maasrot et al.5
- Rabbi Yosef Bronstein-Aish HaTorah, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rebbe Nachman of Breslov on the Source of Faith
R.D. Gottlieb (and Kiruv people in general) focus on “proofs” (or weight of evidence) of (their brand of) Judaism’s truth. R’YBS and R’AL spoke of the experiential proofs but those are harder to sell (me – especially in mass production).
- Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf-One Truth or Many Truths in Halakhah
One truth vs. multiple truth theories of eilu v’eilu.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Can you Poskan Against the Halacha for Social Needs? (1)
Halachic theories as to how the gemara can suggest altering (TBD) psak to affect market pricing.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Bo 5779 – Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim, Kiddush HaChodesh, Korban Pesach
Parsha tidbits including: Use of secular calendar; setting of calendar Pesach (1st and following); Change of place impact on brachot; 2 mitzvot of matzah, aseih docheh lo taaseh, women and karban Pesach; Tfillin wearing at night.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon-Derech HaLimud: the contribution of HaRav Moshe Soloveichik zatza”l
R’Berzon looks at the contribution of R’Moshe Soloveitchik to the Brisker Derech, both on his own and as a bridge to R’YBS. He uses specific examples related to mitzvah aseih shehazman grama, af hein hayu b’oto haneis, tfilah and the tools of maaseh/kiyum.
- Rabbi Dr. Darrell Ginsberg-The Importance of the Brisker Derech – Matan Shiur
Teaching the Brisker Derech to seminary women with a focus on maaseh/kiyum and birchat hatorah.
- Rav Asher Weiss-Korban Pesach (5779)
The shiur begins with a technical discussion of whether there is one mitzvah of karban Pesach or two (achila and hakravah). Includes R’Weiss’s insight into the difference between sippur and zchirah related to Yetziat Mitzayim.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-בדינא דגרמי
At least now I understand why I never had a clear understanding of the difference between grama and garmi. Provides a technical discussion including duraita/drabbanan, meizid vs. shogeg, bari hezeikah and miyad.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-The Rav on Kiddush haChodesh
Rambam vs. Ramban on when “Sanhedrin” (TBD) stopped setting the new month based on witnesses seeing the new moon. Then on to the two roles of Sanhedrin (one representing the Jewish people) and the power of the Jewish Nation in Israel to set the new moon.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-The Nature of Sanhedrin Hagedolah (Great Sanhedrin) Part 1
Two part series starts with some general thoughts on what I would call thinking like a scientist vs. like an engineer. Applies this to two lists of Sanhedrin’s functions and their organizing principles (R’YBS).
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-The Nature of Sanhedrin Hagedolah (Great Sanhedrin) Part 2
Continues the list analysis as the basis for differing approaches of the Rambam and Ramban on Kiddush Hachodesh (R’YBS).
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-General Care of Clothing on Shabbos
Seems many don’t know there can be Shabbat issues with water of any type meeting clothing (or dry dusting, etc.). Even hanging up wet clothes could be an issue. Then a few short thoughts on tying and sorting.
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-Missing the Sabbath Because of the International Dateline
R’Menashe Klein was against voluntary armed forces enlistment (even chaplains) because it would put one in a position (even though then it would be ones—beyond their control) of having to violate Shabbat laws.
- Rabbi Todd Berman-Yom Iyun: Torah Approaches to the Non-Orthodox World: Reform & Conservative: Past, Present and Future
Primarily a discussion of the U.S. conservative and Reform movements and their evolution from founding till today.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Chadash biZman hazeh
Review of the debate concerning the status of Chadash (new season grain)inside and outside Israel with an interesting case study.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-The Unique Challenges to the Halachot of Privacy in the Digital Age
How should we (halacha) think about the privacy of data issues when the data (and the pushes based on algorithmic analysis of such data) are anonymous? (me- must be Halachic intuition)?
- Rabbi Yona Reiss-From the Dayan’s Desk #50: Heter Iska, Credit Unions, P2P lendin
Review of the whole Quicken loans/heter iska issue followed by thoughts on partial Jewish ownership of loans, credit unions, and peer to peer ribbit issues.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Can you Poskan Against the Halacha for Social Needs? (2)
Different poskim fall out in differing points on the range of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in taking social realities into account in the halachic process.
- Rabbi Yona Reiss-From the Dayan’s Desk #49: Heter Iska_ Quicken Loans case
Discussion of the Quicken loan heter iska klali (general vs. individual loan basis). Do you get a mitzvah for loaning money if you employ a heter iska? Does money’s evolution from a means of trade to a traded commodity impact how halacha looks at it? Not all Rabbis were happy with the Quicken result
- Rabbi Daniel Hartstein-#MeToo: Are Women Second Class Citizens In Judaism
Women are already perfected (vs. men who aren’t). [Me – is that how it was really understood throughout the generations?]
- Rabbi Moshe Miller-Things you should know A brief Guide to the Newly Perplexed Part One of Three
We may pretend not, but “orthodox” Judaism has gone through several paradigm shifts and is due for another one.
- Rabbi Ian Shaffer-Zionism in 21st century
A brief history of anti-Zionism in the orthodox community (it’s wrong). Discussion of Religious Zionism and its rabbinic proponents. We need to be more passionate (me – full stop) in our support.
- Rabbi Etan Schnall-It’s Balancing Conflicting Emotions in Avodas Hashem
Mussar to Bnai Yeshiva (with halachic and Tanach examples) of conflicting emotions and finding proper balance.
I think the Rambam got it right—we just can’t comprehend the whole free will/predestination thing.
- Rabbi Ari Kahn-Is Elu V’ Elu a Post-Modern Concept
R’Kahn prefers the approach of eilu v’eilu applying to rabbinic application of HKB”H’s word rather than to HKB”H’s word itself. (Legitimate vs. Truth.) Did Bet Shammai respect Bet Hillel or were they intellectual meritocratists? (My polite way of saying it.) [Me – as a general rule, one must be able to argue the other side in order to really understand it.]
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