by Joel Rich
Steven Hawking has found that his understanding of physics does not require any outside force (e.g. God) to allow a universe to come into being. Does that bother a believer? Should it?
There are two downsides to the xxxxxx stories which need to be taken Into account depending on the audience in my humble opinion.
They are fine for those who want a little bit of chizuk (i.e. they have a confirmation bias. They can be counterproductive for those who have experienced tragedy and wonder why it didn’t work for them and for those who want to have a serious discussion.
The latter group would say OK that’s a great story, now let’s look at all the people who were in similar type situation and prayed or were good people and see what percentage of them it worked out for. The classic example is the one person who went to synagogue and was late for work on 911. How about those who went to an earlier service, got to work in time, and were killed?
Personally I don’t pretend to understand how HKBH runs the world . I’m soldier in the trenches taking orders and doing my best. Unfortunately that’s not an easy sell to others
- Rav Asher Weiss-מתו אחיו מחמת מילה
Concepts related to delaying or not requiring milah (for a convert or baby whose brothers died) including: Pikuach nefesh; Shluchei mitzvah; Acharei zman; Chamurah sakanta misuara, etc.
Some interesting issues including can you do a mitzvah but be scored negatively (e.g., is sitting in the sukkah in the rain still a cheftza shel mitzvah). Follow the rules in Covid times!
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-YIJE Yom Kippur 5781
A careful analysis of the Rambam’s description of the roles of the seir hamishtaleach and itzumo shel yom yields important messages regarding tshuva and kappara on both an individual and communal basis.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Bereishis 5781
Parsha insights including: Day follows night; International dateline; Eitz hadaat fruit; Husbands need to work; Tzelem elokim relates to free will and imitato dei; Mental illness as sakanat n fashot; Having kids right after marriage (yes); Improving on original creative ideas; and the serpent’s punishment (no prayer).
- Ari Wasserman,Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz,Rabbi Mayer Twersky,Mr. Ben Brafman,Dr. David Lieberman,Rabbi Moshe Hauer-10/24/20 – Show 294 – Police and Police Enforcement; what if it’s discriminatory
All the usual Covid/halacha issues. Most notably, R’Breitowitz doesn’t think Dina dmalchuta gives the government the halachic right to regulate minyan attendance even if the restrictions are non-denominational.
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-Introducing the Thought of the Chasam Sofer: Teaching Torah and Impacting Others
The Chatam Sofer was multifaceted as was his output. Key takeaway – he who has the most students wins!
- Mrs Shulie Mishkin-Tanach and Archeology: Modern Finds in an Ancient Land
A brief history of Israel archeology with a deeper dive into archeological “proofs” as evidenced by King David and the dig at Shaaraim.
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-ואהבת לריעך כמוך: זה כלל גדול בתורה: Vision and Implemention
How do we understand the commandment to love our brother? It’s aspirational yet is also specifically halachic. We’re all connected (me – NY telephone?) across a number of dimensions.
- Rabbi Avishai David-An overview of Tachanun on Monday and Thursday; Agada and Halacha
Tachanun has components of mora shechina, tzaar v’hachnaa and bitul. We act each one out in our body positions when we say it. More to come in future episodes.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Issur veheter 11 (92:2)
Lots of detail concerning Chanan in what I call “The drop of milk on the piece of meat in the stewpot (shaken or stirred [OOPS – covered]) affair
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Pesachim perek 1 shiur 13 (נאמנות אשה באיסורים, ניחא ליה לקיומי מצוה בממוניה)
Primarily a discussion of eidut vs. chezkat kashrut plus eid echad neeman bissurin. Then on to the chazakah that someone is happy to do a mitzvah with his property—is it a psychological fact or a philosophical aspiration?
- Rabbi Avraham Yosef-מקדש על כוס מלא יין שלא יהיה פגום סימן רעא סעיף י חלק ב
Specific requirements for kiddush (and some for havdalah)—what’s required and what’s nice to have?
- Mrs. Emma Katz-I Cannot Believe You Did That!-How To Understand Mistakes Made by Those That We Love
Two schools of thought – the Avot were perfect or they weren’t (Rashi vs. Ramban). The lessons of imperfection are to focus on actions not on personality, be respectful and focus on your relationships.
- Rabbi Efrem Goldberg-Torah Reading: Origin, Reasons, Who is Obligated and When Do We Need to Correct? (Part 1)
History of kriat hatorah requirements including: Trop ;# of times to read; Communal or personal obligation?; Do missed parsha readings need to be made up?; and more.
- Rabbi Daniel Fridman-האדם באדם- The Status of the Unborn in Halacha in the View of Rambam
The Rambam calls a fetus a nefesh even though in utero. The punishment for destroying is not the same as for a person (no punishment ≠ no sin). Why does the mother’s life take precedence? What does “K”rodef mean?
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-Yeshiva University and The Swing to The Right
Why the Yeshiva world doesn’t like YU and how the student body has changed over the years. (Me – a bunch of reasons which imho really stem one root cause).
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Obligated to Levarer when there is Rov maar mokom 6 Part 3
More opinions concerning the rovs by shechita and chametz. If the Torah says you can rely on it, why do you think you need to check anyway?
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Mezuzah on an Elevator
There are a number of reasons not to require a mezuzah on an elevator. If you do put one up, which side do you put it on? Is it on the elevator door or the frame on each floor?
- Rabbi Jeremy Wieder-KJ’s Dr. William Major Memorial Advanced Shiur in Talmud with Rabbi Dr. Jeremy Wieder
Ongoing Talmud shiur. Eating (really, doing anything) before davening is a no-no but how about drinking coffee, sugar, milk, or tea? What about if you usually go to a set minyan, can you do something before minyan? Then on to brachot and related issues.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Issur veheter 12 (92:2-4)
Lots of lomdus on Chanan; Taarovet; Shishim; Taam kikar et al.
- Rabbi Shimon Schenker-Rav Chaim Volozhiner’s Understanding of all Machlokes Between Rashi and Tosafos
Do you view each gemara sugya as an individual unit or as a piece of a shas mosaic?
- Rabbi Ya’akov Trump-Rabbis, please start talking issues: The role of religion in a complex world
Of course Rabbis should have input based on their Torah knowledge—see R’YBS’s hesped for R’Chaim Ozer. (Me – yes, but a lot changed after 1940!)
- Rabbi Joseph Dweck-Effects of The Enlightenment on Sephardi Jewry (Part 2)
Part II – The sfardic community movements to the U.S. and Israel were very challenging given how different the systems were from their native lands. Their approach to education and their style of learning was very different from the ashkenazic community (and they may well have felt inferior to an extent and did not have many home grown educators.)
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Noach 5781
Parsha insights including: what HKB”H wants from us?; Flood story a fable; Why did the animals need to die?; Why did it take so long to build the ark?; Cherem definition; Pikuach Nefesh; Brain death; Ger shetaval vlo maal – keeping Shabbat?; Suicide; Hakarat hatov and more.
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-Racism, Politics, and the State of Our Country: Some Reflections
Judaism abhors racism and encourages the building of a just society. We need to play a role in society building following Torah principles both internally and externally.
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-Learning During Layning- Forbidden, Tolerated or Allowed?
One shouldn’t learn during kriat hatorah. There are possible exceptions depending on how you understand the requirement for Torah reading (individual as active listener vs. communal respect).
- Rabbi Shlomo Landau-Plaques, Dedications, & Your Name on a Building?!
Putting your name on a donation? In general one should lead a tzanua lifestyle but depending on the institution and/or the individual it may be OK (especially for avoiding loss of the naming rights). You know how I feel about this.
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Clothing Worn as Costumes
Can a woman wear Tzitzit as part of a costume for a play? Can a woman wear tzitzit at all? Can one wear shatnez as part of a costume or is the prohibition only when there’s hanaat haguf?
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-Is Conversion a Mitzvah?
The Talmud seems to have mixed feelings about converts.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Vaccine Ethics 2: Risk vs Risk, and Compelling Risk-Taking
More on risk/reward/cost tradeoffs. Remember medicine is an art and we don’t expect 100% success rates to make treatment halachically required.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Lo Sisna Es Achicha, Hating a Fellow Jew
When can or can’t you hate your brother? Is it only prohibited in your heart? Applications include shliach tzibbur. What about other mitzvot like bikur cholim and nichum aveilim?
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