by Joel Rich
Avodah (https://www.aishdas.org/lists/avodah/) is an old fashioned mailing list for calm discussion of torah topics. Consider joining if you’re interested in such things.
Listened to an interesting podcast with a Jewish leader describing a meeting with a Saudi cleric. The cleric was describing an Islam education embracing secular knowledge. The leader mentioned YU and modern orthodoxy. The cleric didn’t want to use the term modern Islam. Me – Chochma bagoyim taamin. The branding of modern/centrist….. has been a real handicap in branding for those who think this approach is torah true as they shake in the presence of the dvar hashem.
Robert Pennock (see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_T._Pennock)
makes the case for preferring intrinsic (vs. extrinsic) rewards as the driver for scientists (seeking truth for truth’s sake). IIUC he also makes the case that The Scientific Method can’t prove (or disprove) the existence of a deity.
Me – How would different segments of orthodoxy view this claim of non-provability? How do you view it?
- Rav Asher Weiss-ההסתמכות על דעת והרפואה בהלכה
Seven examples where Chazal relied on expert scientific opinions, even in life and death situations. When the “experts” (vs. a single professional) agree, of course we give them great credence. Covid implication is obvious (me – apparently not to all or R’Weiss’ colleagues)
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Review of Masechet Eruvin – Practical Uses In Our Everyday Lives
Practical eruv issues discussed based on a review of basic eruv concepts including reshut hayachid, reshut harabim, mechitzot and tzurat hapetach.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Vayeitzei May a Younger Sibling Marry Before an Older Sibling
Was Lavan’s statement that in his community they did not marry off the younger sister before the older consistent with how halacha would view this question? Sources both ways. [Me – could this be an example of natural law reflected in halacha and local practice?]
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Vayeitzei 5781
Parsha thoughts including (but not limited to): Permission to pray; Maariv-reshut?; One time per day mitzvoth (source-kohain/duchen); Jews are like the moon; Neder beit tzarah; How much to bequeath charity/inheritors; 20% trend on mitzvah rule; Does simcha require meat today? (certainly wine); Learning from Lavan (we do!); and Mlaveh malkah
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Molid: Practical Applications
Molid is tough to define, and that makes its application to electricity less than clear.
- Rabbi Uri Orlian-Chazara Shiur Contemporary Halacha – Summer 2020 – 1st Semester
Brain death; Tumah/kohanim (including med school, hospitals, planes…); Dina dmalchuta (R’Schachter partnership model) – Mesira (R’Schachter quicker on the draw than R’Moshe); Shabbat/children issues (cereal, diapers, creams, carrying…)
- Rabbi Uri Orlian-Chazara Shiur Contemporary Halacha – Summer 2020 – 1st Semester
Electricity (Shabbat definition and applications); Pikuach nefesh (no kappara needed, non Ben Brit, hatzalah); Chol hamoed (what can you do?)
- Rabbi Uri Orlian-Chazer Shiur – Contemporary Halacha – August 2020
Wills (how much to leave to whom, circumventing the estate splitting rules….); Pru u’rvu (biah or raising, birth control…); Yom Tov (cooking, showers, eretz yisrael…); Yom Kippur (fasting exceptions)
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Pesachim perek 1 shiur 23 (ארנונא, יחד לו בית)
Finishes up defining arnona (is partnership defined as ½ of each molecule??) and yad goy beemtzah (may depend on the mitzvah on hand-pun intended). Then on to yichad lo bayit – what’s the heter from bal yiraeh? Is the gemara discussing a case of accepting achrayut?
- Rabbi Ya’akov Trump-The Gravestone in Halacha and History
Why do we mark graves? A number of possible reasons provided (me – man’s desire not to be forgotten??) Don’t overdo the amount spent on a marker.
- Rabbi Moshe Walter-Contemporary Chanukah Shaylos-Mitzvos Bo Versus Hiddur Mitzvah
Hiddur mitzvah vs. al yidei shaliach vs. zrizin vs. brov am etc. It’s all about relative priorities.
- Rabbi Yitzchak Blau-Hashkafic Debates and Different Conceptions of God
Classic monotheism compares the world’s relationship to HKB”H to a potter’s relationship with his pottery. Chassidut uses the sun to its rays analogy. (Me – slippery slope to full pantheism?)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Rav Moshe Feinstein and His Greatest Halachic Ally
R’Dovid Feinstein’s biography (humility, family focus and brilliance) and his intellectual relationship with R’Moshe as seen in two tshuvot.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Inyonei Chanukah 5781 Part 1 – Mekor Hachag, Ofen shel Hachag, Al Hanisim, Neiros Chanukah
Chanukah issues including but not limited to: Mesechet taanit – beit mikdash related; Relationship to third beit hamikdash; Al hanissim rules; Pirsumei nisa; Mitzvah aseih shehazman grama exception – duraita only?; Women lighting their own; Tashmishei kedusha and Excess oil disposition.
- Rabbi Larry Rothwachs-Scheduled Spontaneity and Shaky Structures: Confronting the Paradox of Jewish Prayer
First in a series concerning the thoughts of R’Sacks on prayer. Formal prayer and the beit tfila were post churban. Fixed and spontaneous prayer are each important and the fusion of the two is best.
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-Doing an issur derabanan to prevent damage to the rabim
Is a public hazard considered pikuach nefesh?
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Living a Multigenerational Spiritual Life
Build on those who came before you and don’t rest on your children’s laurels.
- Dr. David Pelcovitz-Surf the Net Without Getting Caught in Its Web: Knowledge and Tools to Manage Technology Properly
Social media and technology issues discussed – how do we maintain connections? How will we avoid negative influences, willpower alone doesn’t work!
Also discussed – filters and outside eyes to reduce the risk.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Vayeitzei – The Kosel HaMa’aravi: How Close Can You Get?
What exactly is the kotel and what are the possible levels of kedusha associated with it and its proximity? (me – would this be an example where R’Asher Weiss would accept archeological evidence?)
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Pesachim perek 1 shiur 24 (יחד לו בית)
Finishing up bal yeraeh bal yimatzeih with special focus on achrayut issues. It’s all about connection to the chametz! (e.g. owned but not on my property and v.v.; Differing levels of “responsibility” [what if I’m insuring someone else’s?]…)
A brief history of Kabbalah and why it was popular in the time of R’Yosef Karo. Then a brief history of halachic codes to his time.
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-Rav Asher Weiss on Emunah: Appreciating the True Miracle of Chanukah
Ein od mlvado (HKB”H is the only reality?) – the rest is commentary.
- Avital Chizhik Goldschmidt Shlomo Brody Shlomo Zuckier- The Hock #4
Discussions include: Philosophical and practical issues related to the Supreme Court decisions on Covid limitations; Social media and halacha; Vaccine (triage, compelling participation by government and local institutions), and book reviews.
- Rabbi Avrohom Kahn,Betzalel Rothstein,Rabbi Twersky,Rabbi Yitzchock Gruenebaum-12/5/20 – Show 300 – Divorce process; Why is divorce so contentious-Is there a better way to get divorced? Best interest of the child? Mediation vs. Arbitration.
Mediation is better than going to beit din because it allows both sides to get what they need vs. what they have a right to (me – how do those who say din is HKB”H’s will understand this?)
Most problems arise when one party is not ready to divorce and the other is.
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-Parshat Vayishlach
Parsha thoughts: Rambam and Ramban of the destruction of Shechem; Lessons of shleimut; Understanding saaro shel Eisav; and katonti as a lesson of blessings being a source of humility.
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-How to determine the appropriate amount of Hishtadlus
Bitachon vs. Emunah vs. Hishtadlut – there are different ideas as to the definitions (e.g. R’Dessler vs. Chazon Ish and proper balance.)
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Vayishlach 5781
Parsha insights including, but not limited to: Today’s parallels to Yaakov’s preparing to meet Esav; Inappropriate chumrot; Don’t exaggerate danger of outside world; Rambam’s ikkarim (selected because of controversy); Meaning of ad hayom hazeh; Minhag vs. din; Notein tam; Why was the mikdash in shevet Binyamin; Geirut and much more.
- Rabbi Yoni Levin-Borrowing Without Permission: Chargers Left in the Outlet, Jackets Left in the Coatroom, etc.
Borrowing without permission is generally stealing but there are exceptions based on presumed consent.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Pesachim perek 1 shiur 25 (שכירות קניא)
Finishing up schirut lo kanya. When you rent or borrow what (if any) type of ownership do you get?
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Combatative Prayer
Night is reflective of desperate prayer. How do we reach an understanding Yaakov/Rachel interaction with regard to prayer for children?
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].