by Joel Rich
שו”ת חוות יאיר סימן ט
תשובה כתב ראש הפילסופים היוני אהוב סקראט אהוב אפלטון רק האמת אהוב יותר
Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas is a Latin phrase, translating to “Plato is my friend, but truth is a better friend (literally: Plato is friend, but truth is more friend (to me than he is)).” The maxim is often attributed to Aristotle, as a paraphrase of the Nicomachean Ethics 1096a11–15.
From the RCBC: Just as our exile from Israel was intended as punishment , but has become comfortable and even preferable to many, the same may be said about our exile from shul and yeshiva. (me- just stop at the reisha and think about it)
R’A Lichtenstein on tshuva including crying, davening, experiencing loss and true joy. Having a mesorah is important. Torah U’mada challenges in Teaneck don’t include trading-off time from Talmud to Shakespeare!
Some interesting thoughts on the rabbinic prohibition of medicine taking on Shabbat (more people grind their own today?!) Exercise on Shabbat might in general be ok today since many people do it for fun.
Me – (1) Sounds like some real data collection would be in order. (2) Whether we technically say something is an uvda d’chol may be different than whether we keep the aseih of zachor IMHO.
(1) The Rav’s personal experience an example of hirhurei (first thoughts of) tshuva (repentance). Especially worthwhile for those who only know of his cognitive genius and never experienced his poetic side.
(2) The difference between hirhurei tshuva and tshuva (the latter is more cognitive/planned)
(3) The dual elements of Rosh Hashana: Fear and Joy [tkiyot dmyushav represent the former, dmumad the latter] (holding both in mind is the hardest part for me)
(4) HKBH’s “greater availability” imposes a greater requirement on us to search for him!
A brief history of the challenges R’A Soloveitciik faced in Chicago. Conservative get has no force.
Why did the Rambam put free will in hilchot tshuva and why did he put it in the middle? (TBC)
Elul mussar including: Getting back up; Knowing you can make a difference (on your community as well as on individuals); and Your role in making people love torah.
Why read about Sarah, Hagar and Rachel on Yamim Noraim? They are role models for a relationship with HKB”H as well as for our prayers.
What are the lessons we can learn from whether Ezra changed our letters (script) and the comparison of Ezra to Moshe? Fulfill your destiny!
If the Rabbis make a takana, can you be considered on ones duraita if you violate it? Lots of “light” discussion. Highpoints: R’YBS vs all rishonim on understanding the nature of bein hashmashot; Is darkness a “thing” or just an absence of light? What’s the significance of lashon hamikra in nedarim. Introduction to haba amachteret (implications of safeik and vadai status of perpetrator)
Analysis of shofar blowing precautions in Covid times
Approach HKB”H from a position of complete dependence. Realize that each of us has unique needs that HKB”H can fill.
Tshuva for doubtful sins is more difficult than for obvious sins because in the former case we more easily rationalize our actions.
Detail on the benefits of saying Kiddush Levana and the specifics of how and when to say it.
Is it best to pass the Kiddush cup to each participant (R’SZA) or for each person to have their own pre-filled cup. (Shulchan Aruch Harav)?
Pas haba b’kisnin is a very complex area with many conflicting opinions. R’Belsky holds wraps are motzi, R’YSE disagreed. I was glad to hear that defining bread isn’t so simple. (I’ve had the issue when trying to teach this subject)
Parsha insights including: Status of converts vis-à-vis brachot; Shomea k’oneh; vidui maaser; Tochecha aliya practices; Must one have meat on Shabbat? Yom Tov?; Pressure on shochet (bad); Derech halimud; Hagbah; Imitato dei and Gilgul (reincarnation).
Ger redux – an insider’s and outsider’s view on derech halimud and the appropriateness (and reaction to) of leaving one chassidus for another. Bonus topic: Are you my (halachic) mother? [HT- P.D. Eastman]
Mah nishtana hashana hazeh? Shofar; What to leave out of prayer texts? Fasting; Handling 4 minim.
Intent (awareness) has halachic implications in kriat shma and shmoneh esrai [Me – It has deeper implications qua our relationship with HKB”H]
Can a rabbinic enactment (e.g. no shofar on Shabbat, no kriat shma after midnight) keep you from accomplishing a torah mitzvah? [me – is net reward/punishment an appropriate measure?]
Topics include: Basar bchalav/maarit ayin; Eggs found inside chicken (fleishig?); “Cooking” through smoking/hot springs; Other milk like fluids; and Safeik psik reisha/eino mitkavein
Bein hashmashot (start or finish), tzeit and the whole tartei d’satrei discussion.
Is the allowance to kill the ba bamachteret because you know for sure he’ll kill you or because he might? Is it a punishment or a din in pikuach hefesh? Implications explored.
Rosh Hashana practices including: How and when to say which text of lshana tova; Simanim and Shechiyanu/new fruit rules.
R’HS and R’Willig come to pretty much the same conclusions on leaving out Yamim Noraim piyutim but R’Willig couches it in more pastoral terms.
There may be differences between the judgements of the first and second day of Rosh Hashana. It’s really a positive thing!
Why is Divrei Hayamim the last book of Tanach if chronologically it came before Ezra? It’s all about rebuilding the Beit Mikdash related messaging (which is why its “history” sometimes differs from earlier prophets).
Kiddush b’makom seudah requires definitions of makom (e.g. differing rooms), seudah (does rice count?) and time (how attached is the kiddush to the seudah)
Tshuva on deot (characteristics) is much harder than tshuva on deeds – that’s why the Rambam couches the former in the language of yishtadel (try) and precedes it with the topic of bchira chofshit [free will] in order to make the point that you can do it.
Shnayim mikra is important! There are a lot of details to discuss including: when to say? How to say? Must you understand it? What’s the point?
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