by Joel Rich
My comment to: https://cross-currents.com/2020/03/25/an-open-letter-to-the-ribbono-shel-olam/
R’ YA is writing chizuk, not an objective actuarial analysis. He picks a lot of positive data points and, IIUC, hopes they outweigh the negative ones (some of which you mention). I listen to a lot of shiurim from a number of sources and though not scientific, I get the impression that most of the “you’ve got to change your evil ways” mussar is focused on important, yet generic, topics. Each community IMHO has some 800 pound gorillas which are not being addressed in their internal mussar (offline for details)
Comments on the new edition:
The Oral Law – Chaim H. Schimmel
This book provides an approach to understanding the roles of Rabbis in transmitting and building the oral law. They have functioned as transmitters interpreters, legislators and regulators. There has been much debate throughout Jewish history as to what “oral torah” Moshe directly received and which rules have the force of torah authority.
One underlying theme hinted at, but not fully addressed, is why, in practice, is rabbinic interpretation and legislation binding and how is it constrained?
Not light reading and the Hebrew texts in the appendix, as well as Rabbi Simcha Wasserman’s notes (which in some cases undercut the author’s point), may not be easy reading for some.
Perhaps this would be a good textbook for adult education on the topic!
- Dr. David Pelcovitz ,Dr. Rona Novick ,Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz ,Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman-Living, Learning, and Thriving in the Era of COVID-19
YU is great, the orthodox community is great, the orthodox professionals are great….. [see here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pack_Up_Your_Troubles_in_Your_Old_Kit-Bag
]. R’Berman delivers general chizuk. R’Lebowitz then talks halacha for davening b’ychidut – makom kavua; daven by windows, wall and general environment; saying avinu malkeinu, ketoret, Torah reading and timing. Dr. Novick then speaks about letting go of the old educational paradigm and making a new normal. Dr. Pelcowitz closes with how to deal with the stress (great insight that a generation whose parents protected them from everything can’t be protected)
- Rabbi Doniel Neustadt,Rabbi Dr Daniel Roth,Rabbi Yehudah Kassirer,Rabbi Avrohom Sandler -3/21/20 – Show 264 – Covid 19; pressing Halacha and hashkafic questions discussed
Minyan, mikvah, maaros, yotzei over phone, mesirah, rodeph, medical precedence, messages HKB”H is sending us. And much more…
Corona virus program including all the usual suspects such as minyan, triage…. Most interesting to me – articulating a requirement to follow the authorities guidance and then explaining why R’C Kanievski doesn’t have to. Also of interest – defending doing nothing because not so many people have died(as of the date of the broadcast).
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Q&A: Corona Pandemic, Leaving Yeshiva, Shabbos and more
Q&A including: Avraham’s kiruv and kiruv in general (rational only confirms emotional); Don’t disband minyanim due to kiruv (me – see here https://www.timesofisrael.com/synagogues-top-coronavirus-hotspot-list-epidemiological-report-finds/
); V’al kein nikaveh; First day yom tov vs. other days; Bare foot davening; HKBH controlling leaders; Corona lessons; Value of the internet; R’CKanievski’s ruach hakodesh; HKBH’s messages
- Rabbi Yonah Gross-Why Is This Happening? Causality in Jewish Thought
Sources concerning “knowing” (or not) why HKB”H sends troubles our way. R’Gross’s takeaways: Don’t prefer unsolicited advice; don’t be arrogant and assume you know – just pick something and work on it; fix yourself and not someone else.
- Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Schwartz-Profiles from the Pandemic – Rabbi Akiva Eiger in 1831
R’Eiger’s bio plus reaction to the cholera epidemic – Pray for all including the King, Say the ketoret and keep your distance. The specifics of the takanot are interesting and some (kaddish saying) had long lasting effects.
- Ron Yitzchok Eisenman-Rav Kook Shiur Part One
Part I – R’Kook’s bio and the tension created between the old and new Yishuv by R’Kook’s embrace of a new approach (not relying on the chalukah charities)
- Rabbi Efrem Goldberg-Keva and Kavuah: The Critical Tools Necessary to Weather This Coronavirus Storm
Make davening kavua (set) in terms of place but make it meaningful in execution.
- Rabbi Ari Wasserman-Parshas Vayakhel – is it proper to put up donation plaques with donors’ names in shul
Sources pro and con concerning putting names on donated items (or plaques). Covers the general rule (if there’s toelet [value]) and some specific applications [me – shouldn’t toelet be a net measure based on time and place (i.e. Is the “good” outweighed by the “bad”)]
- Rabbi Michoel Zylberman-Coronavirus and Laid Off Employees
Does the employer or employee bear the burden of the breaking of an employment contract due to black swan events (makat medinah)? Various opinions explored (up through current day poskim)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Requirement of a Minyan for Life Cycle Events
Weddings should have a minyan, funerals it’s better to as well and brit can be done by Zoom.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Fasting for an Eis Tzarah
Fasting a half day in times of crisis is a good idea.
- Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky-Rav Soloveitchik on Vayakhel Pekudei
Parsha insights including: The importance of Shabbat due to its public testimony nature; why repeat all those instructions post cheit haegel?; Tzedaka as tshuva (shows it’s not all about you); Tshuva as a dialectic (I’m a sinner/I can be great); The mishkan as a mashkon from HKB”H (think Tisha B’av afternoon); and the role of cohain (uniform/ongoing) vs. Navi (new realities)
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Halacha During Time of Emergency
Primarily a discussion of tfila b’eit tazarah troubled times (like now). It’s a chance for real closeness with HKB”H
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei Proper Respect for a Shul
The mikdash m’at (synagogue) has a unique holiness (defined and described herein) and we look forward to being back inside.
- Ron Yitzchok Eisenman-Rav Moshe Shiur on Adoption
R’Moshe’s tshuvot allowed for adoption/step parenting with “normal” parent/child physical relations. Listen here for details
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-“Al Shelosha Devarim HaOlam Omed:” Reconnecting to the Foundations of the World
Pirkei Avot – were Torah, Avodah and Gmeilut Chassadim the reason the world was created or why it continues?
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Gittin 46
Continuing Talmud shiur. Part I deals with making the shin on the tefillin bayit. Part II deals with the efficacy of handing over a get where the husband retains ownership of part of the paper.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Hilchot Aveilut shiur 1 (Simanim 335-339)
First in a series of in depth aveilut (mourning shiurim. Starts with bikur cholim – how, why and who. Interesting point concerning name changes, misheberachs on Shabbat (no) and Dr’s charging for services. If you can only do bikur cholim or nichum aveilim, do nichum, but if can do both, bikur comes first. Then on to saying vidui and defining goses (tough).
- Rabbi Daniel Hartstein-Busienss Review: Frum People Doing Bad Things
R’Hartstein’s take on the efforts to free R’Rubashkin in particular and the status of “frum” law breakers in general.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Shakespeare, Shylock, and a Shaylah in Beis Din In Commemoration of the First Yahrtzeit of Professor Leo Taubes, Aryeh Yehudah ben Yaakov Shmuel, z’l.
Review of R’Zevin’s article concerning what beit din would’ve paskined for Shylock. Spoiler alert – the deal was not valid from the beginning (we don’t own our bodies)
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-Korban Yachid and Korban Tzibur: The Unique Status of Tzibur in Halacha
In general a (karban) tzibbur is more than the sum of its individual participants. Pesach is in between – it’s at a family levels
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-הגדה של פסח – צא ולמד #1 ירידת יעקב למצרים ותוכנית ההפרדה
The drashot on the 4 psukim of tzei u’lmad are worth spending some time on. My take away – HKBH runs the world his way, not ours, but he knows what he’s doing!
- Rav Menachem Leibtag -From our Siddur to the Seder, a new series , Part 1
Prayer must be a Torah mitzvah the pasuk is secondary (me – R’Chaim?). It’s all about HKBH’s house and reputation. We need to focus on what we can do better.
- Rav Menachem Leibtag -Shiur #2 Kriat Shema and the Shemoneh Esrei, and their Connection to Yetziat Mitzrayim
There is order to our prayer and it reflects our purpose as a nation and our allegiance to HKB”H.
- Rabbi Moshe Heinemann-Halacha for these Unprecedented Times
Virus messages then Q&A including: How to go to the hospital, Triage, Putting oneself in danger (no); Vitamins on Shabbat (no); Cabin fever leniencies (no); Davening bychidut; Online sale of Chametz (yes); Virtual seder/minyan/amen/siyum; Koshering; Hand vs machine matza; kitniyot (no); Making minyanim (no)
- Rabbi Dani Schreiber-Discussing Judaism’s Biggest Questions: Do Torah and Mitzvot protect from physical dangers?
Sources on the “protection” provided by Torah learning. It’s always good to learn but….
- Rabbi Aryeh Klapper- How is Halakhah Organized?-Part 1 of Halakhah: A User’s Manual
First in a series. There are a number of organizational theories that can (and have) been used for halacha (e.g. ease of reference, ease of retrieval, sequential and conceptual)
- Rabbi Chayim Soloveichik-Fasting half day – minyanim in the time of social distancing
What’s the efficacy of half day fasts and when then can you say aneinu.
- Rabbi Allen Schwartz-Teaching Neviim by Selecting Themes
Advice to future tanach teachers on how and what to teach
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Hilchot Aveilut shiur 2 (simanim 339-340)
Continuing aveilut shiur including: Goses (status, leaving alone); Pouring out water; Kriah (lots of detail); and tearing for others (any kosher yid, Rabbis…)
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].