by Joel Rich
From David Brooks: Over the past few decades, social media, the meritocracy and celebrity culture have fused to form a modern culture that is almost pagan in its values. That is, it places tremendous emphasis on competitive display, personal achievement and the idea that physical beauty is an external sign of moral beauty and overall worth.
From Jeremiah (and the Rich family coat of arms): ירמיהו פרק ט פסוק כב – כג
(כב) כֹּ֣ה׀ אָמַ֣ר יְקֹוָ֗ק אַל־יִתְהַלֵּ֤ל חָכָם֙ בְּחָכְמָת֔וֹ וְאַל־יִתְהַלֵּ֥ל הַגִּבּ֖וֹר בִּגְבֽוּרָת֑וֹ אַל־יִתְהַלֵּ֥ל עָשִׁ֖יר בְּעָשְׁרֽוֹ:
(כג) כִּ֣י אִם־בְּזֹ֞את יִתְהַלֵּ֣ל הַמִּתְהַלֵּ֗ל הַשְׂכֵּל֘ וְיָדֹ֣עַ אוֹתִי֒ כִּ֚י אֲנִ֣י יְקֹוָ֔ק עֹ֥שֶׂה חֶ֛סֶד מִשְׁפָּ֥ט וּצְדָקָ֖ה בָּאָ֑רֶץ כִּֽי־בְאֵ֥לֶּה חָפַ֖צְתִּי נְאֻם־יְקֹוָֽק: ס
Thought experiment: In the near future, virtual reality [VR] becomes available in a manner in which once connected, no difference can be perceived from actual reality. A physical support system is also available such that there is never a need to be physically disconnected from VR. In the virtual world one could “do” more mitzvot than in the real world. Is one permitted, required or forbidden to live full time in this virtual world? Would your answer be different for one suffering from ALS?
- Rabbi Asher Weiss-Q and A with Rav Asher Weiss in North Woodmere
PLEASE NOTE: I humbly request that you listen beginning at 54 minutes, and share your thoughts.
Q&A includes: Halacha and patient’s right to know (not everything); Mashiach (we don’t know); Chinuch is about balance; Reaction to tragedy (move on with emunah); Humans make mistakes; Shidduch crisis; Dr. sharing medical information for shidduch purposes (generally not); and Hashagacha pratit’s extent.
- Rav Asher Weiss-דינא דמלכותא דינא
R’Weiss accepts only two possible rationales for dina dmalchuta, either everything belongs to the king, or consent of the populace (autocracy vs. democracy). He understands these rationales capture the essential elements but the concept is the pre-existing one of din malchut. He holds DMD applies broadly (regulating bein adam lchareiro as well as to monetary issues). Application of DMD will be affected in cases where a core Torah principle is involved, but not in other cases.
- Parashat Korach with Rav Dovid Gottlieb
Parsha thoughts including: Vayikach – lessons of this word’s choice; R’YBS on Korach’s “common sense” rebellion; Being blinded by personal biases; The difference between machloket and disagreement; and Multiple dangers of proximity to evildoers.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Korach 5781
Parsha points including: Praying for miracles; Haftara relationship to inyanei dyoma (e.g., chatan or parsha); Shlichut; Ezra’s takana for leviim; Matnot kehuna; Need for kohain gadol to be married; and Akirat davar min hatorah.
- Rabbi Jeffrey Saks-TRADITION PODCAST: Eric Lawee’s “Rashi’s Commentary”
How did later commentaries engage with Rashi (explainers and resisters [rationalists?]) and what is his continuing impact? (and what will it be in the future?)
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Pesachim perek 1 shiur 62 (טבול יום, חרב הרי הוא כחלל)
Lots of tuma issues including; Tvul yom; Sheini, shlishi, revii; Kodshim vs. terumah; and Chalal cherev.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Zemiros at the Shabbos Table
Zmirot cause HKB”H to listen to our tfilot and increase the mitzvah level of our meals. There are possible issues (aren’t there always) of Kol Isha (relations, ervah) and using shem hashem (lvatala).
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-The Life of Rav Shlomo Carlebach From His Early Years Until the 1950s
Biography of R’Shlomo Carlebach’s youth and how diverse influences may have affected him).
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Skin Toned Kiki Riki and Lace Shaitel
Reprise of lace top sheitel shiur (R’MF – no new gzeirot) with additional information from Lakewood on why to assur.
- Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman-The Role of Wine in Kiddush and the Connection Between Brachos on Food and Shabbos
Wine plays an integral role in kiddush, there’s an important link between kiddush and birchat hanehenin.
- Rabbi Ya’akov Trump-Two Roles of Government in Israel
The roles of cohain (future vision) and melech (present order) need to be in balance.
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Driving Halacha & Hashkafa
Driving a car gives one multiple opportunities to fulfill shmirat hanefesh (me – also kiddush and chillul hashem issues). There are also choshen mishpat issues (direct and indirect damages) to be considered.
- Rabbi Asher Weiss-Behind the Mask: Arriving at Halachik Conclusions During the COVID -19 Pandemic
Historical response concerning epidemics are not always precedent because they didn’t have the medical understanding we do today. (If I said that . . . ). Discussion of triage issues as well as hishtadlut and human imperfections.
- Rabbi Evan Hoffman-Demographic Trends in Recent American Jewish History
Post World War II waves of Jewish immigration to the US. The community became more comfortable and the various religious streams evolved.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Rules of Psak Halacha Part 1
The Shach on halachic process including: Sfeikot (duraita and drabanan); Follow poskim with the most talmidim/whom everyone turns to; Do you need both shaat dchak and hefsed mruba to rely on a minority opinion (does duraita/drabanan make a difference); Arguing on prior tkufa; Relying on a rejected single opinion; Defining higia lhoraah; and When doesn’t eilu veilu apply?
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – May a Woman Carry/Fire a Handgun?
Kli gever is determined by general local custom (me – lo shinu et malbusham?). At least certain weapons are excludable and there are even greater grounds for leniency for guns at a shooting range.
- Rabbi Aharon Kahn-Salachti Kidvarecha: When HaShem Says: “I forgive you, but…”
Why do we use the pasuk of salachti on Yom Kippur when it was said at the incident of the mraglim, not at the cheit haegel? One explanation was that it was on all failures up to then. Another is that it reflects an incomplete forgiveness and an invitation for ongoing improvement.
- Rabbi Zev Smith-Family Life and Shemirat Halashon
The rules for lashon hara between family members are pretty much the same as for non-family members with some additional complications (e.g., kavod av). Parents should be role models!
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Gaining Clarity in a Confusing World
HKB”H is our shepherd, protector and parent. We need to realize what we’ve lost with the destruction of the beit hamikdash.
- Rabbi Jeremy Wieder-KJ’s Dr. William Major Memorial Advanced Shiur in Talmud with Rabbi Dr. Jeremy Wieder
Why was R’Eliezer so upset concerning the tanur shel achnai? How are the concepts of adam chashuv shani and kavod habriyot applied?
- Mrs. Michal Horowitz-Lessons From The Avos: Connecting With Hashem and With Others (Technology Part II)
How to make technology your servant.
- Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein-Mediocrity as a Ideology?
Good enough is not good enough. Strive to develop yourself.
- Rabbi Yitzchok Isbee ZT”L-HHH_05_The_Modern_Kitchen_Domestic_Help_and_Other_Issues
Non-bnai brit in home can cause problems of bishul akum, kashrut, yichud, amira lakum and stam yeinam. Some workarounds provided.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Giants of Sephardic Jewry, Week 2b: Ramban (Nachmanides)
Biography of the Ramban including his various domiciles—he leaned more to the mystical side.
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Giants of Sephardic Jewry, Week 3: Ramban (Nachmanides)
Continuation focused on his works, disputations and the Maimonodian controversies.
- Rabbi Yitzchok Isbee ZT”L-H_SB12_Why_the_Righteous_Suffer_2
Why do the evil prosper? Reward for good deeds (them, ancestors); Preparation for future good descendants; Not really beneficial (set up for fall); Example of HKB”H’s patience; or a Test for the righteous (who see it).
- Rabbi Yitzchok Isbee ZT”L-H_SB12_Why_the_Righteous_Suffer_1
Why do the righteous suffer? Punishment; Growth opportunity (for self); Teaching opportunity (for others); Demonstrate to others (for acts of their generation); Sin of omission, Gilgul (probably the right answer in his eyes).
- Rachel Rosensweig-Universal Morality – Analyzing the Seven Noahide Laws
Mitzvot may be intuitive but we primarily do them because we’re commanded.
- Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman,Dr. Leslie Halpern,Dr. Richard Zweig -Aging with Dignity
It’s important both from a civic and halachic standpoint to treat elders with dignity.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Pesachim perek 5 shiur 1 (זמן תמיד של בין הערביים)
What is the exact zman of mincha gedola? Is there a difference duraita and drabanan? What is the status of a karban or tfila between 6 and 6 ½ hours?
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].