by Joel Rich
A High School student causes a teacher to be fired with false testimony that only his parent can refute. The parent lies to protect the child. What percentage of people would do this? (orthodox vs. non?)
2 from today’s Wall St Journal 11/18/2019
- For those who thought my actuarial musings about China over the years were a bit daft:
Old Age Will Put China to Rest
Retirees will be a fifth of its population by 2040, and productivity will quickly fade out.
Key quote: It turns out that China’s work-age population has peaked or is close to peaking—that pesky one-child policy worked.
2.For those looking for a good reason to start serious torah learning at any age (other than the will of the master of the universe )
What Science Tells Us About Preventing Dementia
There are no instant, miracle cures. But recent studies suggest we have more control over our cognitive health than we might think. It just takes some effort.
Key quotes: ….we have more control over our cognitive health than is commonly known. We just have to take certain steps—ideally, early and often—to live a healthier lifestyle.
Yaakov Stern, a professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons who has written about these studies and the impact of education on dementia, recommends maintaining “educational and mentally stimulating activities throughout life.” This fosters growth of new neurons and may slow the rate at which certain regions of the brain shrink with age. It also promotes cognitive reserve, he says
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Eruvin 367-3 and 368-1
What happens if someone changes their mind about being included in the eruv? What do you do if the eruv food disappears? Rules for when new people move in and how big must the eruv be also discussed?
- Rabbi Yoni Levin-The Working Jew (4): Finding Time to Learn
Tips to be kovea itim latorah [set aside time to learn] (BTW you can listen to audios during drive time!)
Some interesting ancillary points:
Do you really get more schar (compensation) if you learn at a time when less people are learning?
Is marketing really olam d’shikra [falsehood]? (me – does kiruv and/or fundraising really use them in an emet way?)
Does the actuarial route without grad school take more or less time than other professions? Can one balance learning, family, work (which gives study time!) and exams? (ask me offline)
- Rabbi Ya’akov Trump-Meeting the Minds: Ibn Ezra’s Introduction to the Torah
Introduction to the Ibn Ezra’s commentary – how not to learn and how to learn Tanach. Drash can’t be too far from pshat. We defer to Chazal when there are halachic implications but not necessarily in areas of pure medrash unless there’s a mesorah (me-but how do we know when it’s a mesorah and when it’s logic??) But of course this is a slippery slope and “we” can’t use it.
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Halachic Issues in the Writing of Sifrei Torah
Is separating connected letters in STAM considered writing (for sefer torah kashrut and/or Shabbat violation purposes?
There are differences between sefer torah and tfillin/mezuzah writing rules (e.g. the need to write in order, being a mitzvah in themselves). What are the practical applications?
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-The Impact of the Shulchan Aruch: Maharal, Chazon Ish, and Rav Ovadiah
Paskening directly from the Shulchan Aruch is an arguable approach but may be doable with all the later commentaries on it. R’OY was very dedicated to following S”A, others not so much.
- Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz-The Masorah: The Middle Tannaim
Rabbi Akiva’s history discussed, particularly regarding the Bar Kochva revolt after the Hadrianic decrees were lifted, the center of gravity moved north.
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-Conservative With a Big “C”
Interesting testimony in a court case defining Orthodox vs. non-Orthodox streams.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-The Structure of the Amidah
The Amidah is part of what R’YBS called a prayerful life (my analogy); we don’t fully appreciate the paradigm of the formal master/servant relationship that is reflected in the Amidah (especially the formal leave taking)
- Rabbi Dani Schreiber-Discussing Judaism’s Biggest Questions: Artificial Intelligence in Halacha – Part 4 – Robot Robbers and Tesla Tort
Primarily a discussion of the causation categories of grama and garmi (not a very clear distinction). So who is responsible for “accidents” in driverless cars? (programmer? owner? society? etc.)
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Legal Ethics: Avoiding Sharp Practice
Are sharp legal practices ever allowed (encouraged) under Canadian law? halacha? (me – keep your eye on the true prize and you’ll know the answer)
- Rabbi Efrem Goldberg-The Limits of Forgiveness: Accepting a Nazi as a Convert
Can a Nazi who repented convert to Judaism? Perhaps technically yes but on a meta-basis, maybe not.
- Rabbi Ari Wasserman-Parshas Vayeira – Makom Kavua – how important is it? what if someone is sitting in your seat?
There are a number of reasons given for having a makom kavua (set place – synagogue/home?) Don’t throw someone out of yours!
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-What are the Chovos Halevavos? Rambam, Kuzari and Chovos Halevavos on Mind, Body, and Soul
There are three primary books of Jewish philosophy: Rambam (focus on intellect); Kuzari (focus on actions) and Chovat Halevavot (focus on beliefs).
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Q&A: Jewish Lineage, Beards, Multiverses, and more
Q&A including: Writing torah for a reform congregation; kuzari principle; Eino metzuveh v’oseh; Beards; Multiverses-do they have the same torah? Reviving the dead; Golem stories; Tumat cohanim today; Tikkunim (spiritual fixes) sources; Mamzerim; Karov l’malchot being involved in the government; Bat mitzvah; Physical beauty and chumrah.
- Rabbi Sammy Bergman-Studying Other Religions
Generally the study of another religion is frowned upon but there are exceptions (e.g. to define idol worship)
- Rabbi Chezkie Glatt-The Most Underrated Part of Tefillah
R’YBS on tfillat hatzibur and some tfila tips for gap year students.
- Rabbi Steven Pruzansky-Great Rabbis of the 20th Century, Part 18: The Chazon Ish, Rav Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz
The life and times of the Chazon Ish. He had many unique opinions; some are outlined here. Worthwhile to listen to the transcript of the conversation with Ben Gurion.
- Rabbi Avi Schneider-Home is where the Heart is, but not where your Davening Should Be – The Importance of Davening with a Minyan
Importance and value of tfila b’tizibur
- Rabbi Daniel Korobkin-Social Orthodoxy, Orthopraxy, and Mimesis
Is social orthodoxy a cause for optimism or pessimism? How rare is true emunah? (generally all too)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Saying “God” in English
These are differing opinions concerning using HKBH’s name in a language other than Hebrew. Use is not as restricted as in Hebrew but it’s not a carte blanche.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Magen Avos (Beracha Achas m’Ein Sheva)
Magen avot on Friday night – can one be yotzeih (fulfill one’s obligations) with it in place of their own amidah? Why is it said only at a set minyan?
- Rabbi Zev Smith-Halachot of Kaddish
Discussion of the various kaddeishim we say and who should say them.
Some interesting questions:
who should say the kaddish after leining (torah reading)?
do you need a minyan of learners to say kaddish drabanan?
Why do people with parents get the heebie jeebies over saying kaddish?
- Rav Asher Weiiss-יאמר ה’ זעקת סדם ועמרה
Midat sdom and zeh neheneh v’zeh aino chaser as seen in a number of halachot. When will a court enforce them? When are they l’chatchila?
- Rabbi Berel Wein-Doing Mileches Shamayim: A Broad Perspective on Life
We need to recognize that we are part of a bigger picture (being the people of destiny)
- Rabbi Michoel Zylberman-The Role of Beis Din and Qualifications of Dayanim for Geirus
Do judges in a conversion case function as agents of the last judges who were smuchin (shlichutayhu) or through a gzeirat hakatuv (there always need to be a system that allows for convert)? Some halachic differences may result from the answer. Who is eligible to be a judge?
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-בענין עבודה לשמה
The Mesilat Yesharim seems to imply that we can do avodah (worship) in order to receive reward but perhaps he meant that doing prayer (and doings) mitzvot brings one close to HKB”H which is reward in and of itself (=olam haba).
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Our Constant Need for Recognition From Others
Stop worrying about recognition, start worrying about doing the right thing.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Moshe in Heaven and Rabbi Akiva
Agadot may be spread out in the Talmud but they are often meant to be in conversation with each other as well as to be analyzed individually. Moshe and Rabbi Akiva may be telling us something about a world run by din (strict justice) vs. one run by rachamim (mercy).
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Taking a Taxi In Israel On Motzei Shabbos
There are issues with asking a ben/brit taxi driver to pick you up right after Shabbat is over but it’s probably ok (me-technically; I’m not so sure ethically but that’s a bigger discussion)
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-בענין כח התפילה (1)
How does prayer work (for ourselves? For others?) Primarily through self-improvement including the recognition that it’s all in HKBH’s hand.
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].