by Joel Rich
Moed Katan 5a – “Amar R’Shimon ben Pazi,” Remez l’tzion kvarot min hatorah, Talmud Lomar” and then responds with a quote from Yechezkel.
Any thoughts on the asking for a Torah remez and responding with one from Nach?
“Ben Torah for Life” – Rabbi Aaron Lopiansky
This book is addressed to the “Yaakov’s” who have spent their lifetime in full time torah studies and now, going out into “the real world” to make a living, feel they have sold out their learning for a “bowl of lentils”. (R’Lopiansky’s allusion to Esav selling his birthright). [me-This is the problem statement] R’Lopiansky’s response is multifaceted. On the philosophical side he states that Yaakov must realize that while extended full time learning was the right thing to do and forms his core, “the vocation that hashgacha has allotted you” now is not less valuable if viewed correctly. He is an agent of HKB”H and must maintain an appropriate (for self and family) standard of living which reflects his ultimate goals.
He must realize that the outside world is not black (it’s all foolishness) or white (they’re great). Our ethical/moral standards are key as Yaakov maintains his separation and sanctifies HKB “H’s name. He needs to look for/ form a strong. Shul, Community, Rabbi, Chevra and family while he sets aside time for more practical, focused, inspirational and engaged learning. He must set aside time to set/correct course and experience the sweetness of every mitzvah.
Yaakov must make tfila, Shabbat and Yom Tov different and meaningful. He must avoid spiritual pitfalls and use down time appropriately.
1) While Yaakov’s problem statement (and problem) is very different from Jack’s (my creation – his modern orthodox cousin whose problems stem from being reared to believe professional success is key), the advice is still generally on target for both of them
2) R’A Feldman’s (Rosh Yeshiva-Ner Yisrael) approbation includes the following statements worth discussing: “ It is a fact of our Yeshiva educational system that a good proportion of our students do not end up in Torah-related careers and therefore find themselves thrust, often unprepared, into an environment whose values and behaviors are radically different from their accustomed ones. Surprisingly, this problem has never been addressed by our Roshey Yeshiva.”
3) Also worth discussing – does the response to Yaakov fully address his problem statement’s root cause? If not, why? What other short and long term responses might be more effective for Yaakov or his children? How would they effect the rest of the community?
4) David Epstein in “Range” argues that “specializing” too early can be counterproductive and that generalists who find their path later in life tend to excel and be more creative, agile and able to make connections that specialists miss. (me-The connections part especially resonates with me). What are the implications for our educational systems (Limudei Kodesh and Chol across the orthodox spectrum?))
- Rabbi David Katz-Functional Illiteracy and Edutainment
Should our Jewish educational system focus on messages or basic literacy? Are our kids, parents and lay leadership too accepting of excuses? (me-or perhaps our schools actually reflect their true priorities?)
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Eruvin 356-1
Shabbat water drawing from a stream that runs through your property vs. from other water sources
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Horayot 3 (טעו במצוה לשמוע דברי חכמים)
Horayot continued – following the horaah of beit din – is it about truth or authority? Whom does who have to follow whom? (think Zakein Mamrei)
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Horayot 4 (יחיד שעשה ע”פ ב”ד חייב
Finishes off fascinating discussion of truth vs. authority (think Euthyphro’s dilemma) and the existence of objective truth. Then on to understanding the shogeig’s and ones’ (including intellectual) responsibility for their actions.
- Rabbi Asher Weiss-Q and A 5779
Q&A (me-general response-be normal) to gap year students returning to galut. 1) What kind of kipah to wear (it’s all good) 2) Tcheilet (no downside but R’Weiss doesn’t think they’re the real thing [baby-HT-Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell) 3) Kzayit size (minhag is to be stringent but it’s not the law) 4) What to learn when you’re in the “real world” (practical answer – what you enjoy) 5) How do you interact in the workplace? (be nice)
- Rabbi Michael Friedman-It’s Just a Matter of Time: The Age of the Universe in Jewish Thought
How do we reconcile Chazal’s estimation of the age of the universe with how science views the question?
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Beha’alosecha 5779
Lots of parsha thoughts including, but not limited to: The laws of Torah are immutable; Moshe’s prophecy was unique; Pesach sheini proves Moshe couldn’t have heard all 613 mitzvot at once; Defining derech rechoka (being too far for korban pesach) has application today (aveilut); Ger shenitgayer; Inverted nuns teach about going against the tide…
- Rabbi Micha Cohn , Rabbi Yehudah Hershkowitz , Ponovezh, Gateshead, R’ Moshe Shapiro, Dr. Alon Tal-6/22/2019 Global warming & environmental issues. What are our halachic requirements if any?
What’s the orthodox response to climate change? (me-1) of course we care about the next generation 2) do I really think a Rabbi has particular insight into the veracity of climate change claims?)
- Rabbi Baruch Simon-Hilchos Aveilus: (19) When is Death in Halachah and Causing Patients to Die Earlier
This shiur reviews halachic definition of death issue and their End of Life applications
- Rav Asher Weiss-Shelach
Taking challah – Is it a matir (prerequisite?) or mitzvah? Is it comparable to shechita? This shiur was given a year ago when R’Weiss got up from shiva for his wife. His attempts to console himself are illuminating.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Shelach: The Thin Line Between Precaution and Panic
One must view events with both a contemporary bias and a historical perspective. One should be concerned with safety but not obsessed with it.
- Rabbi Dani Schreiber-Discussing Judaism’s Biggest Questions: Lab Grown Meat – Part 2 (Out of Sight, Out of Mind)
What is the halachic status of a microscopic object? Sometimes they’re ignored, sometimes not – the key is to know when ) R’Schachter’s unique approach on the pareve status of “test tube” meat is discussed
- Shmuel Reichman-Medical Halacha Chabura #15- Case Studies: Can You Sacrifice the Few to Save the Many?
Description of a number of cases involving trading off one set of lives for another set of lives not presently in danger. Halacha to follow next week.
- Rabbi Yitzy Radner-Fundamentals of Grama and Garmi
Very technical discussion of Garmi vs. Grama
- Rabbi Baruch Simon-Minhagim
R’Simon looks at a number of minhag related cases including spouses, kehilla and yom tov sheini.
- Rabbi Yonatan Shai Freedman-Waiting for a minyan or the rabbi
There’s a lot of judgement when you need to determine whether to wait for the Rabbi or for ten people to start chazarat hashatz.
- Rabbi Anthony Manning-How Do Minhagim Work? Outline and Overview
Introductory class on minhagim and the different possible sources (e.g. bottom up/Rabbinically approved, community etc.)
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Eruvin 357-2
Shabbat pouring water into a yard – when is it ok and when not? What allows indoor plumbing to be used on Shabbat if the water goes outside?
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-Yoma – The Persona of the Kohen Gadol #1
Each Yom Kippur is unique and each Cohain Gadol is unique and they define each other. This plays out in a number of halachot.
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Eruvin 357-3 and 358-1
Conclusion of pouring water in individual property rules (inside and outside the city). Then on to rshut hayachiad definitions.
- Rabbi Ira Ebbin-Life Boat Ethics
R’Moshe’s tshuva concerning splitting Siamese twins when one will surely die when split.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Siblings_ A Halachic Perspective
Sibling specific halachot including: Yibbum (levirate marriage), kavod (respect), Marital order; Shidduch info (I’d have stuck with first two)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – The Ten Commandments of Being a Camp Counselor
Ten issues include: 1) Lashon hara (with counselors) 2) Onaat dvarim (powerless kids) 3) Lo tachmod (well to do campers) 4) Chanufa (well to do campers) 5) Lo tisna 6) Making time for learning 7) Davening on time 8) Tsniut (in the bunk) 9) Shehakol-when to make it 10) Storing food under bed (me-a most interesting list effort)
- Rabbi Shlomo Landau-Whats really happening under the Chuppah?
What exactly is Nissuin?
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Shelach 5779
Lots of detail on matnat kahuna, pidyon habein, maaser, leviim and the lessons of tcheilet/lavan
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-Halachic Men Season V: The Life and Halachic Outlook of the RIF
Biography and intellectual history of the Rif. (me-so why exactly can The Gaonim be “ignored”)
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Eruvin 358-2
Rshut hayachid issues including mukaf, karpeif and mechitzot.
- Rabbi Dani Rapp-Holocaust Responsa #1: Reparations
Opinions pro and con concerning accepting reparations.
- Rabbi Yoni Levin-Choosing a Style of Drasha: When It Is Appropriate for Halacha versus Agadah?
Introduction to drinking and giving halachic decisions and or davening. Then onto how do you pick your drasha approach? It’s a function of time, place and audience
- Rav Asher Weiss-Shlichut in Mitzvot
R’Weiss thinks there are three categories of mitzvot, when it comes to shlichut (agency): 1) Maaseh (only the actions counts therefore agency doesn’t work) 2) Totzaah (only the result counts thus no need for agency) 3) Peulah (combination of 1 & 2 – agency works)
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].