by Joel Rich
The phrase “ad hayom hazeh” appears 76 times in Tanach and “ad hayom” another 12 times. Some authorities understand it generally to mean until the time the Torah was written while others understand it as forever.
Does the latter interpretation mean that some avenues of free will are foreclosed? According to the former, why bother telling us?
Is the pre-churban internecine infighting in the face of an outside threat more understandable how that we’ve seen our response to covid?
- Rav Mayer Twersky: Chilul Hashem in the Streets: Response to the Protests
Key messages: Remember you’re in galut in the US and any “protests” should reflect kedoshim tihiyu not naval (as in nveilah) brshut hatorah.
- Rabbi Judah Kerbel-Balancing Hiddur and Sha’as Hadechak in Limited Times
How should one mediate the positivity of hiddur mitzvah with the pressures of shaat hadchak (exigent circumstances)? [Me – should one with unpaid debts spend the money on hiddur or on repaying debts?]
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-Mitzvat Lulav and Tosefet Minim
Lomdus concerning the Rambam, the four minim and baal tosif. Also some sukkot/4 minim integration themes.
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Al Hamichyeh and Other Mezonot Issues
Some rishonim hold that al hamichya is a torah requirement. Issues discussed include: Why no Purim/Chanukah inserts; A R’Chaim insight; Errors made in the bracha and corrections (general rule – follow the chatimah)
- Rabbi Daniel Fridman-Sukkot and the Needs of Kiddush Hashem- Coronavirus in the Torah Community
The broad orthodox community must follow the rules!
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Hagomel Cases
There are a number of opinions concerning the practical applications of birchat hagomeil (Sfard vs. Ashkenaz; Travel; how present a danger is needed?)
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Inyonei Chol Hamoed
Chol hamoed lomdus topics including: Muktzeh; Ochel nefesh; Mitoch; Machshirin; Marbeh bshiurim; Hutrah/dchuya; Shaveh l’chol nefesh; Hoil; and Is bathing an issue of shaveh or balanim?
- Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman-Melachah on Chol Hamoed, Hilchos Lulav, and the Unique Rabbinic Power They Have in Common
What is the nature of the prohibition of mlacha on chol hamoed – duraita, drabanan or something in-between (masruha l’chachamim)? Masruha is generally applied when there’s a broad torah concept which needs specific definition.
- הרב אשר וייס-הידור מצווה, סוכות מועד: סוכות
Insights into hiddur mitzvah on sukkot; especially the binding of the four minim.
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Beginning Shabbos and Yom Tov Early – Unique Challenges This Year
Early shabbat/yom tov issues include early maariv, kiddush and seudah. Pesach has its own issues (as might sukkot). Do we really turn Friday night into Shabbat?
- Rabbi Chaim Brovender-The Death of Moshe
“Betzem hayom” has medrashic usage by Noach, leaving Egypt and Moshe. The usage reflects cosmic changes and new beginnings/ways of understanding the world.
- Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff-Should One Eat in The Sukkah On Shemini Atzeres
While the gemara clearly says a ben chutz laaretz should eat in the sukkah on shmini atzeret, there are a number of possible explanations for those who don’t, as well as for those who just make kiddush there. How do sleeping, eating and brachot differ for this application?
- Rabbi Michael Yammer -The Case of the Surrogate Mother
R’ZNG on surrogate moms – does Yahadut go by DNA or birth mother?
- Rabbi Dr. Yosef Bronstein Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-Finding Your Unique Place in Torah: The Rav, Rav Kook, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe
R’YBS, the Lubavitcher Rebbe and R’Kook were broad yet had specific areas of depth based on their personal circumstances and interests.
- Dr. David Pelcovitz-Making Change Stick: The Psychology of Enduring Change
How you handle mistakes is key to your growth. Plan for your eulogy virtues/goals and make change in small, repeated steps.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-The Nusach HaTefillah of Yom Tov
Prayer text issues including: Mentioning shabbat in yaaleh vyavo; Why leave out hamelech in yaaleh v’yavo; Hashlucha vs. shenishtalcha; not being yotzeih birchat hallel with the shatz; The Gra (and thus Briskers) don’t change text easily (e.g. not using sheotcha before duchening); Vatodienu; and Sukkot vs. Pesach hallel.
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Open Hearts: The Story of Hashanah Raba & Simchas Torah
Never give up (me – Jimmy V?), fill up on torah.
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-The Magic and Mystique of Torah Study at Night
Learning at night as a time management/priority issue or one of sincerity/connection to HKB”H.
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Torah of HaRav Amital for Breishit: The Two Voices of Living in Israel
R’Amital represented a traditionalist’s approach to new times balancing the national community with the individual as well as confidence with caution.
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Can I Rent My Basement To A Shul?
Best not to have living quarters above a shul but it can be worked out in many cases.
- Rabbi Evan Hoffman-American Rabbis and the Question of Slavery
Discussion of positions concerning slavery taken by American Rabbis during the Civil war period – who cared and why?
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-A Day in The Life of R’ Chaim Kanievsky
Some of (many prayer related) R’Chaim Kanievski’s personal practices analyzed in detail.
- Rabbi Shaya Katz-Mishlei & Modern Psychology 10:11-16
Part of a series; topics discussed include: Halo effect; Doing what’s right because it’s right (rare?! Someone I know always told his kids, “we do what’s right because it’s right, not so we can be honored at the shul dinner”); Do we always need to tell all the truth?; and When we do say something, whose itch are we really scratching?
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Hezek Reiyah (1) – Bava Batra 1
Introduction to the new zman of Baba Batra – starting with hezek riah.
- Rav Dovid Gottlieb -Parshat VeZot HaBerakha
Parsha insights including: Why Reuvain needed yichi; why was Yehuda blessed second; Naaseh v’nishma reflected the planting of mitzvoth in our nature; Appreciating eretz yisrael and its people; and Brov am.
- Rabbi Yonatan Shai Freedman-Do We Keep Shemita in the Wrong Year? The Missing 2 Years
How to understand the various calculations of when the shmitta year should fall.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Returning a Sefer Torah That Was Mistakenly Taken Out
Jump ball between tircha d’tizibura and ein maavirin/kavod when it comes to deciding on whether to roll a misrolled sefer torah or to take out a different one.
- Rabbi Jay Kelman-Four Days: Four Holidays
Understanding the nature of sukkot, hoshana raba, shmini atzeret and simchat torah. Shmini atzeret is about HKB”H’s closeness to us (fear), Simchat torah is about our closeness to him (love).
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Counting cases and mishaps
Numerous unusual sfirat haomer cases – are you yotzeih? Can you make a bracha? etc.
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