Audio Roundup Special – Orthodox Union Torah New York 2019

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by Joel Rich

Torah in NY





Two insights from the R’YBS machzor:


How accurately is kavod defined here when measured against the definition used by most seekers?



Kavod becomes a negative trait, however, when it gets confused with gedulah, which can be loosely translated as superiority.  Gedulah is a relative term; it has meaning only when contrasted with the status of another person.  The disparaging statement of Chazal about one who pursues greatness refers specifically to gedulah rather than kavod.  Honor is a positive trait when kavod is bound within its etymological root kavod heaviness.  When one feels God’s charge as weighing heavily upon him because the imperative of his assignment is constantly on his mind, as he yearns to accomplish an exalted objective, then pursuing kavod is indeed a fulfillment of Imitato Dei.  (Derahot HaRav pp. 45-64).

I sense that much of the current debate in the MO community concerning mishkav zachor comes from folks not really being totally bought into:


Before You, Hashem, our God, they will bend every knee and cast themselves down.  Man subjugates himself in many ways during the course of his day-to-day existence.  In truth, however, it is to God alone that man is to feel subservient.  The Torah teaches us, for example, to love and cherish our children.  At the same time, the story of the Akeidah demonstrates that parental love is not an absolute value.  Whether it be family, friends, the government — we must not pledge absolute loyalty to any of them.  It is prohibited to subjugate oneself to any power or cause other than the Master of the universe (On Repentance, p. 142)


Finally how much kedushat hayom do you perceive is felt by amcha on Rosh Hashana when not in shul?

A Halachic Overview of Hilchot Rosh Hashanah – Zvi Sobolofsky


Discussion of some elements of Rosh Hashana practices including the number and timing of shofar blasts (kolot); how the simcha (joy) of Rosh Hashana differs from other holy days; why simanim are not divination; tashlich and not sleeping.

Ani Ma’amin: Emunah in 2019 – Rabbi Judah Mischel


Divrei chizuk related to emunah and our relationship with HKB”H.  We have a natural well of emunah and HKB”H believes in us.

Unconditional Love: What are the Limits of Responsibility Toward our Children? – Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein


Parents are the key to chinuch (children’s education).  Here’s how they can be more effective.

No Justice, No Peace: Halachic Implications of Judgments Issued by Secular Courts – Rabbi Avraham Kahan

Why is there a difference between the halachic status of proceeds from an inappropriate Jewish Court (e.g. 2 Judges) and a secular court (archaot)?  There is a requirement for courts for all humankind so going to a secular courts, with permission, can be positive, without permission though it is forbidden.

A Cheshbon Nefesh for Mothers – Mrs. Dina Schoonmaker

You should know both your positives and negatives.  We may have a natural positive feeling for some people/situations but it’s the second take that we should focus on.  Here are some ideas for self-improvement in those types of situations.

Yom HaKahal: What Makes Us One – Rabbi Aaron Lopiansky

Differentiating between Tzibbur, Edah and Kahal.  A Tzibbur is a temporary unit existing for the moment (e.g.. Tfilla)  An Edah is a unit formed to deal with a specific purpose (e.g. tzedaka to fill a need)  A Kahal is an ongoing organic unit (e.g. Torah based community).  Worthwhile to listen to if only because it comes obsessed to using one of my favorite lines “If you don’t agree on the axioms, why would you think you would agree on the theorems?”

Why Would God Not Want Us to Eat From a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? – Rabbi David Fohrman

R’Fohrman wrote a book twelve years ago on the eitz hadaat.  This shiur represents an update of his thinking on the topic.  Included are thoughts on:  Replacing HKB”H’s view of good and evil with our own; understanding all is from HKB”H; maybe the prohibition on eating from the tree wasn’t a permanent prohibition – maybe our job was to eat from other trees first to sop up HKB”H’s love.

From Royalty to Redemption: Dovid HaMelech, the Quintessential King – Rabbi Eytan


Torah learning in a sports stadium – it’s the most exciting.  Divrei Chizuk

The Missing Pages of the Machzor: A Textual Study – Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger

Recognizing HKB”H as sovereign ties into our asking for our own needs (both are part of the nature of the day)

Yom Teruah: The Revealed and Concealed Significance of the Shofar – Rabbi Yonason Sacks


The shofar is inextricably linked with tfila (prayer).  There is both a physical act and an emotional attachment.

Historical Teshuva Drashot and Their Contemporary Significance – Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter

One must attend their local tshuva drasha and it should be short and on point.  R’Y Eibshutz’s drasha used as a jumping off point for the importance of intrapersonal relationships and spending time with your kids.

What Will Shabbat Look Like in 10 Years? Smart Homes, Artificial Intelligence and Shabbat Observance – Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon

Building blocks for analyzing A.I.’s actions for you on Shabbat.  Bottom line is that meta issues (the sanctity of Shabbat) will prevail.


About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

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