by Joel Rich
IIRC codifiers (Rambam, Tur et al) point to geographic and social upheavals (dating back to codification of the mishna) as the reason for the need for codes.
As my friend R’ OY Glickman Z”L once mentioned to me -no one rang a bell and said from 12PM tonight begins the time of the achronim. Much as R’ Schachter often comments that the amoraim could have argued with tannaim but chose not to, eras will be determined by the participants’ choices as whether to see themselves as a different era (I’ve heard we are in the era of the masfim -collectors)
IMHO the biggest corona impact will be the slippery slope/tipping point impact of the “shaat hadchak” psakim and the rethinking of attachment to traditional social models of our institutions
A recent podcast claimed that being terrified of our own mortality is a universal state of being. Is that empirically true of our community? Should it be? See Rambam Hilchot Tshuva 7:2.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, Rabbi Dr. David Shabtai , Rabbi Efrem Goldberg-The Techeiles Revolution: Archeology, Chemistry, Mesorah, Debate and More
A brief history of tcheilet and the efforts to restore its use. Presents arguments pro and con and concludes with a strong pitch in favor by R’Schachter.
The Diogenes put down your lamp award goes to Rabbi Mendel Shafran for saying he believes the tcheilet today is the right one but if the chareidi community accepts it, it might lead to mixed dancing (OK – I fudged the example, but the thought is accurate).
R’YSE rejected tcheilet on financial grounds (me – it’s less than a year’s worth of chalav yisrael excess spending!?)
- Rabbi Jeremy Wieder-Four Need to Give Thanks: Psalms 107, the Korban Todah and COVID-19
Birchat hagomel – halacha (# of people needed to say it; saying for others [including spouse]; Proper text and meaning; said for which occasions) and hashkafa (Thanksgiving—specifically U.S. based).
Leaving Yeshiva is an opportunity to elevate your kedusha (we’re always going to something greater). Time in Yeshiva is the time to prepare.
- Rabbi Noah Whittenburg-Thankful to be Here Or Time to Go?
My heart is in Israel but my body is in Skokie. Reasons to make Aliyah, reasons to stay outside (me – look deep inside – to thine own self be true—try telling your reasons to some objective party as well). At least it should be a dream! (Me – see T. Herzl.)
- Rabbi Aryeh Sklar-The Rambam on Can We Pasken Hashkafic Matters?
How do we reconcile statements by the Rambam in the Moreh and the Mishna Torah which seem to contradict each other as to whether there is psak in hashkafa?
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Time Dependent Mitzvot In Space
Various proposed approaches to halachic times for Jews in space.
- Rabbi Dr. Martin Lockshin-Bible Commentaries They Didn’t Teach Me in Yeshiva-5
R’DT Hoffman was a talmid chacham (often lenient in psak) as well as a biblical commentator. He felt biblical criticism was OK as an approach but that many critics misapplied it.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Toldos Dishonestly Speaking: Telling Lies and Behaving Deceitfully
Be truthful except in unusual circumstances, don’t worry about the exact level of the transgressions.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Shy Bladder and Davening
Bal tshaktzu – how seriously do you have to feel the “call of nature” in order for this prohibition to be a concern in prayer, learning, or anything else.
- Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Rabbi Raphael Ehrenpreis,Reb Boruch Stein-11/21/20 – Show 298 – Stories and Psakim of Hagaon Reb Dovid Feinstein זצ׳ל
Stories concerning the humanity and psakim of R’Dovid Feinstein
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Limitations on Hashgacha and the Obligation to Work
Part of a series. Trying to cohere yissurin (travails?) as an atonement, wake up call, or opportunity with the concepts of hashgacha pratit (divine control) bechira chofshit (free will), hishtadlut (personal effort), and bitachon (faith). Picking a career as an example (spoiler alert—each approach leaves an unanswered question. Me – it’s above our pay grade.)
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-Do Poskim Have Ruach HaKodesh? The Chasam Sofer’s (and Rav Tzadok’s) Approach
Lo bashamayim hi (psak is human driven only) vs. poseik has ruach hakodesh et al. The Chatam Sofer believed (at least) one individual in each generation gets divine guidance in his psak (even if his logic is wrong—see Chut Hameshulash letter story), similar thought from R’Tzadok when one learns lshma.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Pesachim perek 1 shiur 21 (בל יראה ובל ימצא, קבלת אחריות)
Starts with confluence of bal yiraeh/bal ymatzeih, tamun, one lav vs two, and seeing chametz vs. knowing it’s there.
Then on to differing levels of achrayut (shomrim) and their impact on baal yiraeh/yimatzeih (underlying theories of why you are liable) as they inform on how much “yours” it is.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Toldos 5781
Parsha related topics including: Antisemitism as a reaction to our chutz min hateva nature; Ger vtoshav anochi; Judeo/Christian?; Chazir status in the future; Baruch shepetarani; Yitzchak as a parent, an olah, and the son of Avraham (each has his own job); what mitzvot did the avot keep? Aveirah lshma; Modern parshanut method (bad); Maaseh avot/galut; Learning from inappropriate teachers/what’s the job of the rebbi?
- Rabbi Josh Blass-How Does a Community Choose a Ba’al Tefillah – Does One’s Past Count?
Seemingly conflicting sources on whether a tzadik ben tzadik (zchut avot) or tzadik ben rasha (humility) is a better choice for tfila. Maybe whether it’s communal or individual prayer makes the difference?
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-When Halachah Encounters Kabbalah
Must one take extraordinary efforts to fast (e.g., caffeine suppositories, IV fluids?) Example of kabbalah/halacha interaction—where and when to first take the lulav for mitzvah purposes.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Issur veheter 19 (94:5-6)
Finishing up spoon and pot interactions and moving on to the onion/knife/cooking interactions.
- Rabbi Daniel Fridman-Kibbud Av and Kibbud Em: Competitive Considerations
Father/Mother/Alive/Dead kavod priorities – based on responsiveness to perceived immediacy of the need is the key.
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-The Rav’s Position on Synagogue Council
Synagogue council pronouncement—was it psak or daat Torah? R’YBS on brit yiud vs. goral (fate vs. destiny). Interesting question—why did R’YBS always speak from notes?
- Dr. Jacob L. Freedman -Corona, Forms of Addiction, and Mental Health Issues of Your Time in Israel
Mental health issues are like physical health issues. We are all responsible for each other and can save lives.
- Rabbi Andrew Markowitz-Vacuum of Leadership: Introduction to Sefer Shoftim
The shofeit is a leader/guide/teacher. How does the shofeit differ from the melech and why did we need to have shoftim rather than jumping straight to malchut?
Why didn’t Yeshoshua ask HKB”H (or do so himself) to appoint a successor as his teacher Moshe Rabbeinu had done?
- Rav Dovid Gottlieb-Parshat Toldot
Why did Yitzchak want to give Esav the brachot? (He didn’t realize his true nature, he wanted to get him on the right path, both Yaakov and Esav were to have specific brachot). Did Yaakov want to trick Yitzchak? What was the meaning of vayitrozzu? A relationship with HKB”H is a real bracha! Are the blind chayav in any mitzvot duraita?
- Rabbi Aharon Kahn-Hashkafa lessons from Rav Moshe Feinstein’s teshuvos: shiur 3: Music after the Churban
R’Moshe’s tshuva on listening to music traced in detail from original sources. Why is it ignored? We’re just too weak? (Me – an interesting case study of the delicate dance between the laity and the poskim.)
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Pesachim perek 1 shiur 22 (קבלת אחריות, דבר הגורם לממון, ארנונא)
Finishing up the relationship vs. ownership debate vis a vis the requirement for getting rid of chametz. Then on to davar kgoreim lmamon kmamom dami and defining arnona.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Treating the Child for the Parents
Mental health issues—when can we invoke pikuach nefesh? Specific application of continuing to work on a dead baby to soothe the parents.
- Rabbi Etan Tokayer-A Kiss is Just a Kiss or Is it?
Pay it again Sam (actually never said in Casablanca). Whether Yaakov’s kissing Rachel was romantic in context, it was symbolic of his finding his soul mate in fulfilling his destiny.
- Rabbi Dr. Martin Lockshin-Bible Commentaries They Didn’t Teach Me in Yeshiva-6
More on R’DT Hoffman. Examples of his use of critical methods as well as his rejection of some applications.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Hilchos Nissuin
An extensive tour through the laws of marriage. Most interesting may be R’Schachter’s presentation of the nuance in many practices that most assume are a slam dunk.
- Rabbi Asher Weiss-קיבלו עלייהו חובה
Application, besides maariv, where we say an action that was considered a reshut (voluntary) was accepted as a chova (requirement). For an individual perhaps it becomes required as a neder (oath) or just keeping one’s word (to HKB”H). As a community perhaps it becomes a “minhag” or like a takannat hatzibur.
Bonus point—why R’Weiss uses the Besamim Rosh while acknowledging it’s a forgery.
- Rav Dovid Gottlieb -Parshat Vayetzei
Parsha thoughts: Was Yaakov making a deal with HKB”H? (No – just reflecting reality and/or importance of living in Israel.)
Yaakov teaches us that we engage in the “real world” on the basis of our torah/ethical foundation.
Each individual leaving a community has an impact. Be a giver not a taker.
There is a right to strike but there are limits when the public good is affected.
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