by Joel Rich
It occurred to me there’s a great juxtaposition in my tfila every morning. I start out with modeh ani focused on HKBH’s great compassion in giving me another day. A minute or two later I’m saying ma tovu focused or the beauty of klal yisrael. It’s between those two poles that one’s life dynamically oscillates.
Despite his status as the gadol hador, the Rav thought himself a failure. He told Rav Yehuda Amital (as Rav Aharon Lichtenstein related):
And therefore I affirm that I can identify one of those responsible for the present situation, and that is none other than myself. I have not fulfilled my obligation as a guide in Israel. I seem to have lacked the ability—the personal power—required of a teacher and rav, or perhaps I lacked some of the desire to fulfill the role completely, and I did not devote myself completely to the task. To a greater or lesser degree, as an educator and teacher on the plane of gadlut hamochin, “mental greatness,” my students have received much Torah learning from me, and their intellectual standing has strengthened and increased during the years they have spent with me—but I have not seen much growth on the experiential plane. I have not succeeded in living in common with them, cleaving to them and bestowing some of my personal warmth on them. My words, it would seem, have not kindled a divine spark in sensitive hearts. I have fallen short [in my role] as one who spreads the “Torah of the heart”—[a Torah] that is transmitted by the power [of the teacher’s deliberate] diminishing of [of his own towering stature, to the point of katnut hamochin. And the failing lies with me.
(Me-One thousand levels below, I resonate completely)<hr style="border-top-width: 1px; border-top-color: black; border-top-style: solid;" /><ul><li><a href="https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/1001598/rabbi-reuven-brand/two-aspects-of-torah-in-the-tradition-of-brisk/">Rabbi Reuven Brand-Two Aspects of Torah in the Tradition of Brisk</a>
Brisker dialectics explained with talmud torah as an example.
Should Rosh Hashana simanim be eaten before kiddush (kabbalistic) or after (halachic)? Also discussed, why honey might be considered the main element of apples and honey. How to we deal with brachot hanehenin issues on simanim? (it ain’t easy)
Technology been very, very bad to me.
Q&A including: Issues with handshaking; Why is orthodoxy so focused on details? (but need emotion); Why is wine such a focus in Judaism?; How bad is lack of Sabbath observance?; Pets; Taking revenge; Addiction; Jealousy; Special children; and Suffering.
It’s all about the relationship! Communicate, keep up to date and remember it’s never too late. Issues discussed include differing levels of stringency, growth and age.
There are a number of issues for cohanim today regarding army service. They include: allowance to serve; tumah and can you duchen if you’ve killed in war (majority opinion yes)
Interesting discussion of the techinot that various of the amoraim added to their tfilot (me-very revealing about their individual priorities).
If kavod hameit is important, how much more so kavod hachayim. When kavod habriyot overrides a mitzvah, is it due to relative priorities or built in mechila?
When the gemara talks about leaving Israel, is the concern the importance of being in Israel (perhaps due to the mitzvah of yishuv eretz yisrael) or not abandoning eretz yisrael or simply not leaving. One possible difference – if you think you can do more mitzvot/lead a better Jewish life elsewhere.
R’A Kotler was a strong believer in R’Chaim Volozhiner’s torah ishma for the benefit of all clal yisrael. Rebuilding was key concern.
(Me – so why don’t we simply take chazal at their word that there are a number of mitzvot which are shakul kneged kulam?)
There’s a range of opinions concerning how much to take non-rational stimuli (dreams, bat kol) into account in halacha. (me- the simplest explanation is to say they caused rational reconsideration).
Specifics and philosophy of handwashing, removing shoes and approaching the duchan.
Part II including: Husband must “own” the get; Identifying the parties; Being sure no nedarim or shavuot were involved; and Cherem of casting any aspersions
Tanach is replete with meaningful songs and art. The important thing to realize is that they are in service of meaning.
Rambam v. Ramban on whether one who would have been exempt from going to battle can leave the battlefield. What about civilians today – can they leave? Should they?
Approaches in psak: Maharshal (re-adjudicate); Bet Yosef (2 out of 3); Rama (minhag)
History of tachanun beginning with tanach. There’s a relationship to shmoneh esrai and it’s a very powerful reshut – but can it be said after shkia?
Bitul is defined as making decisions based on what HKB”H wants from us. There’s no retirement in a mission driven life.
Review of the general duty of kavod and the specific applications to one’s spouse.
How do we view transferring inheritances from the default inheritors? It may depend on how one views Yaakov’s dealing with Reuvain.
There are a number of halachic issues with making early shabbat. Listen here to get at least some workarounds.
Shabbat candle lighting is a mitzvah on each individual but the whole household is yotzeih through one hadlaka. Discussion of a number of situations of what to do when some or all are away from home.
Cases of onaah (don’t), avoidable damage (liable) and deposits (not a contract)
Haosek bmitzvah patur mmitzvah – is it a “yesodosdic” issue (hutra or dchuya) or a more local one? Can one leave one mitzvah for another? How do the concepts of mitzvah overet, yachol lkayeim shneihem… interact?
What are the rules today concerning making (or learning about) idols that are no longer worshipped?
In town, out of town, all around the town – what’s it like to be a pulpit rabbi.
Enough info to know that you need to call in an expert for stam issues. A bit of detail on psulim and where to put mezuzot in differing situations.
The avot were on a different level than us. Don’t allow the Ramban’s description of possible short comings “at their level” mislead amcha.
Parsha points including, but not limited to: Seven sfarim in chumash; Moshe’s level of nevuah; Tashmishei kedusha; Kedushat kehuna and leviah; Pesach sheini’s nature; Makom karov; Fish gathering; Sanhedrin roles; and Humility’s importance in torah learning.
Rambam vs. Ramban’s take on the scope and reasons for the allowance for Joshua’s soldiers to eat treif during the conquest. What are the applications today for non-pikuach nefesh situations?
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