by Joel Rich
I The Mishna Brura in O”C 552 states that a “b’al nefesh” should observe the restrictions of Tisha B’av on the other minor fasts. Anyone know if any significant sub-community does this? How does observance of the compare with other b’al nefesh call outs?
A rav visiting a high school spoke to the students concerning acceptable approaches to avodat hashem. His major point was that they’re all ok as long as they have a gadol who supports the approach. I wondered to the student whether the rav, who identified with a branch of chassidut, felt the irony of making such a statement when chassidut’s originator would have failed this test. The student was not amused – are you?
- Rabbi Nosson Rich-Preventing Children From Doing Melacha on Shabbos and Having a Child Do Melacha for You
What Shabbat violations of halacha are children “allowed” to do? It’s a function of: age/maturity; passive vs. active adult involvement; torah vs rabbinic prohibition; parent vs. other adults; specific examples provided.
- Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Rabbi Nechemya Malinowitz,Rabbi Pinni Dunner-2/22/20 – Show 260 – World Zionist Organization, Once in a lifetime opportunity to join, Or a rejection of 120 years of our Mesorah?
Why is it now OK to be chareidi and vote in the WZ0 elections? Nishtaneh hatuaim! and “they” are all out to get us. (me – a very sad commentary on how many of us apparently look at our brothers and sisters)
- Rav Jonathan Ziring -The Process of Pesak Halacha 17: Minhagim: Geographic, Familial, and Ethnic
Locating the halachic source of the force to bind all members of non-geographical (and family) groups to a minhag is not so easy (me – or very easy, it’s the will of the people)
- Rabbi Avraham Gordimer-Practical Issues in Kashrus of Milk Today (SBMP)
Government supervision of the milk industries in the US today is even better than in R’Moshe’s time so unless you view chalav yisrael as more of a chok-like gzeirah, it’s fine. Includes Q&A.
- Rabbi Daniel Hartstein-Lessons From The Lev: Logic & Judaism Don’t Always Combine
Serve HKB”H even if you don’t see the specific logic at any point in time, it’s all from him.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Mezuzah on OB-Gyn Office
Do offices need a mezuzah? If yes, what about doctors’ examining rooms? (Would they even be permitted due to nature of the room’s use?)
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Q&A: Homosexuality, Christian Bible, Prostitution Money and more
Q&A including: Can you make shidduchim for non-frum (is it lfnei iver?); the Gra’s cherem against chassidim; Breslov chassidut; Dvarim shbelev vs. umdenah d’muchrach; Homosexuality; women’s influence on the home; Dreams (and halacha from dreams); Shabbat learning; Dogs etnan zonah; Secular literature (including R’Lichtenstein); Nachash hanechoshet; Sotah; and Meaning for humanity of eclipses (chazal vs. science).
- Rabbi Yona Reiss ,Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier-Contemporary Trends in Orthodoxy: A Conversation on Torah, Neo-Chassidus, and Technology
Contemporary trends including: less sh”ut literature being written in U.S./more “mlaktim” (collecting/reorganizing prior sources); Israel unipolar as source of halacha; Technology changes impact learning (social media, availability or source material/opinions etc.); More reliance on mimetics in psak (due to widespread text availability?); Gap year Israel experience less secluded; Why the great interest in chassidut/neo-chassidut (desire for spirituality)
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-מחוסר אמנה, רוח חכמים ותרעומת: Breaking a verbal agreement
Breaking an oral contract – what are the differences in Talmudic categorizations: (1) mechusar emunah (lacking faith) is stated in cases where the individual never meant to keep the promise (2) ein ruach chochomim nocheh (The Rabbis weren’t happy with him) is stated in cases where the original intent was good but not carried out (3) Taaromet (complaint) is stated in cases where there is fallout from the break – but is it actionable in court?
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Parshas Shekalim – Hilchos Machatzis HaShekel: Ketanim, Nashim, Minhag B’zman Hazeh
Everything you wanted to know about machatzit hashekel (e.g. how much, who, implications for other mitzvot)
- Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff-Amazon & Packages On Shabbos- Part 3
More analysis on amira l’akum and Saturday delivery (me – what about the possibility that they deliver after Shabbat is over?) Seven day newspaper delivery may also be a problem.
Also covered, Parshat shekalim details including: why is it read? Is it a Torah requirement?
- Rav Binyamin Tabory – -Understanding Minhagim #15,Beracha Acharona Part 2
More on the Gaon’s text of al hamichya – what is the meaning of the text plus some focus on the status of general holiday additions (meyein hameora)
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Public Health and Vaccines
Two tshuvot on coercing another individual to undergo needed medical treatments – one for the good of the individual (eye exams) and the other for the good of the community (vaccinations). Under what authority might coercion be appropriate? When?
- Rabbi Sammy Bergman-Marit HaAyin: Does it matter what other people think?
Finding the balance between caring about what others think about your actions and doing “the right thing”. Maarit ayin specifics covered.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Gittin 39 (כולכם, אתי לאחלופי בשטרות דעלמא)
Regular Talmud shiur. Some interesting insights into the nature of eidut in gittin vs. shaar shtarot.
- Rabbi Judah Kerbel-What Went Right and Wrong in the Haskalah?
A review of some of the major haskala figures and their opponents. While some were well motivated, their values may not have been sufficiently rooted in torah and they weakened rabbinic authority.
- Rabbi Mayer E. Twersky-Q And A @KBY 5780
Q&A including: why aren’t we born fully grown?; what’s the purpose/need for hishtadlut?; can someone else’s free will impact me?; studying other religions; approaches to learning; picking a profession; how does prayer work? ; and Torah/Science conflicts?
- Rabbi Daniel Fridman-Leaders of Faith: Spirituality in the Presidencies of Washington and Lincoln
The Rambam discusses the importance of communal values and the role of leadership in establishing/enforcing them. We see their patterns in Washington and Lincoln’s history as well.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Birchas Haoreach (Guests Beracha for Host in Bentching)
Why did the birchat oreach (visitors’ blessing) in birchat hamazon fall out of favor (no good reason) and when and why did it return? When should it be said?
- Rabbi Sammy Bergman-MYOB a Jewish Perspective?
There’s a dynamic tension between giving the benefit of the doubt vs. giving hochacha (rebuke).
- Rabbi Ike Sultan-Ribbit: Investing in Bonds, Stocks, Short Selling, Naked Shorts, Buying on Margin, Buying Futures, Options, Money Market Funds as they Relate to Interest
An interesting topic requiring a deep background in finance and understanding of all of the responsibilities/liabilities in different financial transactions. You then have to apply the laws of ribbit to these transactions (me – unclear sometimes as to the application as many modern hybrid’s theories did not exist back then).
- Rabbi Mayer E. Twersky-Obstacles In Learning Vs. Other Mitzvos
Everyone struggles in learning, even gedolim. Some parts of learning resonate with an individual more than others. We pray for success in learning and as a part of that, being close to HKB”H.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-The Definition of Bitachon According to Rav Aharon Lichtenstein- Part 2
R’ Lichtenstein felt that emunah is about feeling that you want to be close to HKB”H no matter what is going on in your life.
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-The mitzva to lend money
The “requirement” to loan money is written twice in the torah – the second time is more specific to helping someone who needs help to keep on his feet.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes- Mishpatim May One Lie to Protect One’s Property?
- Rabbi Yaakov Klein-Parshas Mishpatim: The Mystery of Reincarnation
Mishpatim insights including: HKB”H evens up all monetary matters; Don’t go to civil court; HKB”H reveals himself when tsaddikim get together; and dialectics of HKB”H being close and fear/ahavah (love) and yiraah (fear)
- Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky -Rav Soloveitchik on Mishpatim
Parsha insights including: Belief requires an experimental component; we feel HKBH’s presence when we learn; Our civil law is also divine religious law; Everything (including ourselves) belongs to HKB”H – thus not using all we got from him is equivalent to stealing from him.
- Rabbi Yoni Levin-Halacha’s View: Houston Astros Sign-Stealing
Every trade has agreed upon (sometimes formal sometimes not) rules. Breaking them may not just be gneivat daat but actual stealing if it causes someone a financial loss. Includes a review of the opinions as to what constitutes actionable garmi (vs non-actionable grama). To me, R’Asher Weiss’s psak that garmi is a rabbinic ordinance when an infraction is frequent is reminiscent of his psak that maakeh bpatish is anything chazal thought should be prohibited on Shabbat.
- Rabbi Ya’akov Trump-Altruism: Selfness or Selfplus?
R’Rice believes pure altruism can’t be explained by evolutionary psychologists (me – their side not really fully explored, there has been much work in this area). We know for us it’s all about imitato dei.
Mdvar sheker tirchak (distance yourself from falsehood) has some exceptions. [me – another “you have to have a sense of such things?”]li>Rabbi Isaac Rice-When Amazon Sends You Something Extra By Mistake
Mistakenly delivered merchandise from a ben-brit must be returned under the mitzvah of hashavat aveidah (lost object). It may be prohibited to return it to at least certain non-bnai brit (idol worshippers) but if it’s a kiddush hashem it may be required to be returned to them.
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