by Joel Rich
Why do we take off tfillin before Hallel on Rosh Chodesh but before mussaf (for those who wear tfillin) on Chol Hamoed?
Shimon (or Nachshon) Haamsoni is quoted in the famous darshening and undarshening of etim (e.g., Psachim 22b) saga. [For a somewhat different version of the story, see Yerushalim Sotah Chapter 5, which is worthy of its own analysis and reconciliation as is the fact that this is the only context he’s mentioned in the Talmud].
The language of the story has his students questioning what will happen to all his previous drashot and his answering he’ll get reward anyway. The answer doesn’t seem to directly address the question. Perhaps they were asking whether the halacha will change or will other drashot be found to replace these?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Eruvin 345-5
Rights of way (mavoi, street, etc.) next to a rshut harabim—when are they considered part of the rshut harabim?
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Does Facing Eretz Yisrael During Davening Mean Anything?
Very passionate presentation of sources which seem to imply that many diaspora communities are dramatically failing what I would call the “tzipita l‘yshua” (did you eagerly await the redemption) test.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-May a Pregnant Woman or Wife of a Kohen Attend a Funeral?
What is the status of an embryo Cohain in terms of “exposure” by his mother to possible sources of impurity? Ancient traditions are generally respected (interesting Rashba quoted).
- Rabbi Shlomo Landau-The Halachic Status of Transplants
What is the halachic status of foreign bodies (e.g., transplanted organs, mechanical device) implanted in one’s body? (Me – this will only become a more complex issue as technology evolves. Think ship of Thesus.)
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon-When does the mitzva of Sefiras HaOmer begin? The great controversy between the Tzedukim & the Prushim
Analysis of the difference of opinion between the Tzedukim and Perushim as to when to bring the karban omer. Then on to R’YBS explaining the importance of connecting the geulah of Pesach to Shavuot and the difference between Hallel Hagadol and Hallel Hamitzri (daily “miracles” vs. out of the ordinary ones).
- Rabbi Andi Yudin-The Proper Response to Antisemitism
We survive as a nation by being unique but that can cause resentment. We must always remember where home is (Eretz Yisrael) and that achdut (unity) and love are the antidote to crippling baseless hatred.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Eruvin 345-6
More on makom ptur and other adjacent domains to a reshut harabim.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Public Displays of Affection
R’Ziring provides an interesting exercise in psak writing for his students. He provides sources, reviews some of them, and then his talmidim will evaluate conflicting priorities and reach their “psak” on providing physical comfort to a grieving spouse.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Using Your Roomates Stuff Without Permission
The general rule is that borrowing without permission is stealing. There is debate concerning exceptions for local practice and perceived mindset of the owner. There’s more wiggle room where there are personal relationships and you can return the object in its original state.
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-“To OBLIVION and Beyond”- WRONG Choices During Davening
Don’t look like you’re not with the program when others are davening.
- Rabbi Efrem Goldberg-Are We Making Progress or Going Backwards? Yeridas Ha’Doros and the Doctrine of Decline
We are vertically challenged standing on the shoulders of vertically gifted.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-The Orthodox Accountant: Providing Service on the Sabbath?
Issues regarding office work “needing” to be done over Shabbat. Professional responsibility and halachic workarounds discussed.
- Ezer Diena-Leisure in Halacha 1: Don’t I have to be Learning Torah?
Can you compartmentalize “religious” and “non-religious” activities? What algorithim do you use to balance your priorities?
- Rabbi Dani Schreiber-Discussing Judaism’s Biggest Questions: What is the Purpose of (my) Life? – Part 1
Gra, Ramchal et al—what is our goal in this world? (hint – he who dies with the most toys doesn’t win.)
- Ms. Hannah Abrams-Does our philosophy of halacha match our philosophy of life?
We should strive for holiness even in the smallest details of our lives and always consider the future implications of our actions.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Eruvin 345-7
Examples of karmelit and strange house situations.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Men & Women Changing Seats on Elal Flights
The S”A is very strict on intersexual touching issues, the Shach not so much. The real issues are derech chiba and the needs of the generation.
- Rabbi Yoni Levin-The Differences Between Muktzah on Shabbos, Yom Tov, and Yom Kippur
Differing opinions on both the existential equivalency of muktzeh on Shabbat, Yom Kippur, and Yom Tov and the related practical psak.
- Rabbi Jesse Horn-Nekudas HaBechira: Do We Have Free Choice, How Does Hashem Judge us and Do We Have a Soul
Explication of R’Dessler’s theory of nkudat habechira (point of choice). (Me – HKB”H will ask each of us, “What ROI did you give me? It scares me.)
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-Double Standard? Is there a DIFFERENT “Shulchan Aruch” for Converts and Returnees?
There are a number of examples where halacha takes into account “takanat hashavim” (promulgation for returnees) by making allowances to what might otherwise be required by the strict letter of the law.
- Rabbi Daniel Stein-Making Early Shabbos
Does early acceptance of Shabbat existentially turn that additional time into Shabbat or is it just a buffer zone? Yom tov and the 7PM Shabbat all summer long applications discussed as well.
- Rabbi Yona Reiss-From the Dayan’s Desk #59: Owning Real Estate in Jerusalem
Can one own (and rent out) a property interest in Jerusalem (especially if it is “corporate Israel” headquarters)? Psak depends on how you define the boundaries of Jerusalem, what time of year, how short a time period, and to whom.
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-Leaving Yeshiva to Go to Meron: What is and isn’t Bittul Zman?
Would you be better off on Lag Baomer sitting in the beit medrash or going to Meron? It’s like everything else in life, it depends on you and what you make of it.
- Rabbi Tzvi Ortner ,Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein,Rabbi Yoel Asher Labin-Training and Arming our Shuls in Halacha and Hashkafah
Muktzah, Hotza’ah, Women, Kovod Beis Haknesses, Correct to arm our communities, does it help?
Amazing story from Rabbi of Poway Chabad
Guns and security in the shul (in average parishioner’s hands)—hashkafa, halacha, and practical applications.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Pirkei Avos Perek Alef
Topics include: Why it’s called avot; nature of TSBP and who is entitled to argue with who; psak; subservience to Torah; following a poseik vs. family minhag; Toanim are not good, and more.
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-What is the Sefer Chafetz Chaim Really About
R’Schwartz posits that R’Kagen (the Chofetz Chaim), in both his halachic (mishna brurah) and ethical (Chofetz Chaim/shmirat halashon) works, was writing digests, not providing actionable decisions.
- Rabbi Yoni Levin-The Clash Between Halacha and Kabalah: Standing and Sitting for Sefiras HaOmer
When do we stand for mitzvot and when not? This shiur provides some philosophical debates (including halacha vs. kabbalah) and practical examples (e.g., Torah reading).
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-The Halachos of Shechita
R’HS covers shechita topics including: Is it a mitzvah or matir? (and implications); brachot—when?; done by akum, katan, or kuti?; what intent, if any, is needed?; kisui hadam, miyut hamatzi; TSBP requirements, and more.
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-“Frumer” than G-d?
A number of examples where halacha does care how “it” looks to others (e.g., converts who were brother and sister can’t marry after conversion).
- Rabbi Michael Broyde-Halacha and Secular Law- Rabbi Broyde
Commercial law (vs. ritual law) is an area where halacha recognizes public will (e.g., legislation, local practice). R’Broyde discusses the mechanisms for this recognition.
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