by Joel Rich
II wanted to bounce an idea off of you all.
I’m doing an ongoing class in Rambam’s Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah
Last week we compared the Rambam’s concept of “knowing” (cognitively) Of God’s existence with Rav Lichtenstein’s Source of Faith piece which focuses on experience.
It seems to me that there was a fundamental paradigm shift (as defined by Thomas Kuhn) probably with the enlightenment and scientific revolution at al
In thinking about it I would say in general that the traditional yeshiva beit medrash approach ( as articulated by the Rav)does not look at paradigm shift but independent continuity of a unique discipline of halachic man yet here it seems to have taken place
I’m not sure that came out as clearly as I might’ve liked but I hope you get the general idea. Thoughts?
Of course, as is generally true of information technology, the power contains risks, and raised questions. Will a local rabbi’s authority be undermined when his congregants can find (and disseminate) dissenting (or ostensibly so) opinions online or from a different shul’s electronic bulletin? Might our article in English about strategies for laining as Israeli minyanim opened embolden some distant readers to buck their local guidelines, where even “mirpeset minyanim” were forbidden? Or could discussion of the scenario be used incorrectly if matters took a change for the worse in the same place? Broadly speaking, the danger of Torah guidance being misapplied has always existed, but gains outweigh losses when done properly. Accuracy and sensitivity to nuance in writing are important in helping, but not eliminating, the problem. Thoughts?
- Rabbi Shlomo Riskin,Rabbi Daniel Korobkin,Rabbi Chaim Strauchler-State of the Community: Rabbinic Reflections on Modern Orthodoxy
We should be able to answer, “Why am I Jewish?” [Me-How about adding would I be Jewish if I hadn’t been born Jewish] Homes and schools need to be doing a better job at defining a mission statement. Also discussed – intermarriage and women/smicha. Two important points made by R’Strauchler – sometimes we seem to be looking for crises and some generations need to be more Yitzchak (me-consolidating gains) than Avraham (me-breaking through.)
- Rabbi Dr. Martin Lockshin-The Tension Between Halakhah and the Bible
Were Rabbinic drashot non-standard readings of additional words (Rashi), “asmachta-like” support of known halachot (Ibn Ezra) or rabbinic legislation (Shadal)?
- Dr. Elliott Malamet-Does G-d Talk to Us? Maimonides and Heschel on Divine Human Communication
How does modern man communicate with/relate to HKB”H? If it’s experiential how does that compare with the Rambam’s view?
I’ve been leading a weekly discussion on the Rambam’s Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah – we’ve struggled with the paradigm shift concerning us “knowing” anything cognitively (see R’Aharon’s “The Source of Faith”)
- Rabbi Pinny Sanders-Lefty in Halacha
There are quite a few applications where lefty’s need to figure out if they privilege right over left (tfillin, havdalah…) How much of a role does kabbalah play?
- Rav Asher Weiss-בדיקת הציצית כל בוקר (תש”פ)
One of my favorite topics – when must/should we be mvarer (clarify) when we have a chazakah or rov? Spoiler alert – there’s no clear agreement! [me – what does HKB”H prefer?]
- OTS Presents … “Considerations of Right and Wrong: Principles of Fertility Ethics”
Each society applies ethical standards by evaluating trade-offs and using common sense. IVF, surrogate motherhood are examples where halacha and Israeli policies has to wrestle with trade-offs.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Disagreeing With Parents
Parameters of disagreeing with parents while not violating kavod/morah.
- Rabbi Shlomo Gemara-Rav Saadya Gaon: The Unsung Revolutionary
History of R’Sadya Gaon in terms of: Developments in the Islamic world; Questioning the oral law; The exhilarch and the yeshivot ; Bavel vs. Israel rabbinic authority.
- Guest Hosted by Ari Wasserman,Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Lowy,Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman,Rabbi Yehoshua Privalsky,Rabbi Daniel Wasserman,Yakir Wasserman,Rabbi Paysach Krohn-6/13/20 – Show 276 – Machlokes in shuls; hear from Rabbis and Gabboim, what are the issues and how to resolve them, in Halacha and hashkafah
The shul (lay & rabbinic leadership) makes the rules, you follow them (priorities for davening, kaddish, temperature, breaking into two minyanim….). It’s best to be mevater(waive your rights).
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner,Rabbi Jonathan Ziring ,Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, Rabbi Sammy Bergman=The Synagogue: Force for Change or Leading from Behind?
How should shuls decide when to reopen? What is the role of a shul in the community? What values do we stand for? Reaction to racism as a case study.
- Dr. Elliott Malamet-The Scandal of Rationalized Suffering…
What are our responses to theodicy? Spoiler alert – none of them really fully satisfy a purely rational analysis.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-A Religious Response to the George Floyd Protests; The Religious Roots of Social Equality
Of course we support racial equality. Integration and balancing priorities can be complex.
- Rav Binyamin Tabory – -Understanding Minhagim #28,Pikuach Nefesh: Reb Chaim
R’Chaim was very sensitive to pikuach nefesh
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Aveilut 19 (simanim 399-400)
Shabbat and Yom Tov interrupting shiva, shloshim rules.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Are We Obligated to Go On Vacation?
Life is all about finding the proper balance. The rest is commentary
- Dr. Elliott Malamet-An Interview with Rabbi Nathan Kamenetzky
Some biographical background and then onto the controversies and bans of “the making of a gadol”.
- Rav Jonathan Ziring -The Process of Pesak Halacha 29: Theoretical or Practical Pesak – Which is Better?
Is psak in the moment better or worse than theoretical psak in the beit medrash? Practical and existential reasons for provided.
- Rabbi Ari Bergmann-Anshei Knesset Hagedola and the Transitional Period
A blend of beit medrash and academic methodologies to help understand the role of mishna and the anshei knesset hagdola.
- Rabbi Eitan Bendavid -Judaism and the ISMs – Matan 24 – Judaism encounters Coronavirus – Hareidism, Scientism, and Modern-Orthodoxy
Three views of chareidi/mo philosophical responses to corona times.
- Dr. Elliott Malamet -Finding G-d: The Constant Challenge
It’s not easy to find spirituality in orthodoxy in the 21st century. More focus on communal effort would help
- Special Shiur – Conversation with Rav Ezra Bick #3, Questions in Philosophy – OnThe Problem of Evil
Philosophical responses to theodicy: (1) R’YBS – Trust in HKB”H and try to figure out what he wants our response to be (HKB”H purposely made an imperfect world, we try to perfect it) (2) It’s a challenge to us to develop ourselves.
On an individual basis – don’t rely on the above in explaining things.
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-Rav Asher Weiss on Emunah: “In God We Trust” – Is Bitachon a Mitzvah?
Bitachon is a good thing, but is it a mitzvah? R’Weiss defines emunah as a more abstract philosophical concept, bitachon is the more practical daily application.
- Dr. Marc Shapiro-The Mir Yeshiva’s Incredible Escape to Shanghai, Part 4
More on Shanghai including fund raising allocation disputes and life in the ghetto.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Aveilut 20 (simanim 401-403)
Topics include: Aveilut practices on chol hamoed and purim; Shmua rechoka; Yahrtzeit practices (fasting, appropriate days to observe) and practical review of funeral practices in the US.
- Rav Yaakov Medan -The Making of The Gush-Part 1
First in a series on the History of Yeshivat Har Etzion starting with the pre–1948 settlements in the kfar etzion region up to the reestablishment post 1967. Important founding principles included bnai yeshiva are not better than anyone else (and can learn from others) and that if your learning keeps you from hearing the baby cry, there’s a defect in your learning (it’s a metaphor )
- Rabbi Tzvi Benoff-The Overlapping Worlds of Chabad and Brisk: Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and the Lubavitcher Rebbe on Volunteerism in Halacha
Did Avraham not do brit earlier in his life because it was forbidden chavalah(wounding) or because it’s a higher level/two way relationship when commanded?
- Rabbi Aharon Lopiansky-The Role of Attitude in Defining our Actions
In shamayim attitude counts (e.g. did you sin because of temptation or spite). We shouldn’t focus on chumra or kula but on motivation.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-When Political Allies are our Halachic Opposites
There are a number of downsides to allying with sometimes bad actors, but sometimes you do what you gotta do! (me-it’s all about balance)
- Rav Asher Weiss-פדיון הבן שחל בשבת
Are the pidyon habein’s five slaim paid as a kinyan or a hafkaat kedusha? Can you pay the money before Shabbat? Are brachot and their associated mitzvoth separate items or does the bracha become part of the mitzvah? Bottom line – no pidyon habein on Shabbat.
- Rabbi Daniel Stein-Brewing Coffee on Shabbos
Instant coffee, Via, French press and made with a time clock – can you make these on Shabbat? If so, how?
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].