by Joel Rich
I’ve never really resolved myself how I feel about the concept that the first people who do something are sinners but if enough of them do it becomes the norm and acceptable. Thoughts?
MB (3:11) points out that shir hamaalot is said before birchat hamazon on Shabbat (and non-tachanun days) in place of al naharot bavel. So how did the replacement become fixed and the original ISTM become abandoned?
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Bava Batra shiur 28a (צדקה של גוים)
Why is the collector greater than the giver of tzedaka? (is he?) Jews give unconditionally (lshma) – we realize we’re simply guardians of resources given to us by HKBH.
Should we be taking tzedaka from non-bnai brit? (Issues may include: private vs. public; gabbai vs. individual; from king vs. from individuals)
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Bava Batra 28 (שינוי מעות צדקה, צדקה לרשעים)
Repurposing tzedaka contributions (who – individual vs. gabbai vs bnai hair) for what – pure tzedaka, mitzvah, rshut; how – permanent vs loan) why would the gabbai and/or the giver make an accounting? Is it a mitzvah to give to reshaim and/or ramaim(tricksters)?
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Using Ma’aser Money to Buy Seforim
Analysis of three categories of purchasing sfarim with maaser money; 1. Buy for home with intent (and so noted) to lend out 2. Buy for library 3. Buy for mendicant. Interesting suggestions (logic not so clear to me) that as long as there’s opinion allowing such a purchase, you can deduct that amount from your maaserable income (but not count it as maaser)
- PODCAST: R. Yitzhak Twersky Between Law and Spirit
R’ Twersky fused halacha (the Yeshiva), secular (the Academy) and the shteibel (chassidut) into a coherent whole. He was halachic-centric but used meta-halacha (spirituality) as a complement. He was also very precise with his wording (and didn’t use any when he didn’t need to)
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Parsha Shiur- Vayechi
Parsha thoughts including: Kavod hameit and hachayim; Burial applications; Bet din of shevet; Bnai banim, Rachel’s burial; Kiddushin bkesef; Yaakov’s tfilot (not brachot): Hamalach hagoel (Gra’s understanding); Charbi vkashti (short term vs. long term prayer); Why say baruch shem out loud; Yehuda’s malchut meaning (especially shema); Malchut HKBH: Church and state separation: and Yosef’s sandakut and embalming (against halacha?)
- Rabbi Michoel Zylberman-Vayechi: The Obligation to Attend a Levaya
The gemara seems to strongly encourage attendance at a levaya (and chatuna), so why don’t more people do so on a regular basis? Perhaps the move to big cities made it impractical (me -may not sound like a rigorous answer but changing facts do change halachic applications)
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Medical Psakim Of R’ Eliyashiv Zatzal
1. Anesthesiologists for halachically prohibited procedures – not a good way to make a living 2. Ultrasound technician where reading may lead to abortion – ok 3. How to daven in response to various health challenges 4. Praying at the kotel trumps kivrei avot 5. It’s OK to get dressed before leaving to treat an emergency 6. Can one honor a non-halachic DNR? (yes) 7. Treat a vadai (you can save) patient first vs. first treating a number of questionable ones.
- Rabbi Jeremy Wieder-Bava Batra 11-22-21 HaShutefin – Lifnim miShurat haDin #1
The Rambam’s kedoshim tihiyu applies to all aspects of human endeavor – it’s important to see the forest as well as the trees. Kofin al midat sdom and bar metzra are examples where Chazal codified lfnim mshurat hadin but otherwise it’s not actionable. Any society that insists on pure din will fail not as a punishment but by nature.
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-Rav Eliyahu Dessler on Smoking. Mishneh Halachot: Is it Permissible to Diet? Chassidic and Philosophical Aspects of the Question
Some bio of R’ Dessler, smoking as an addiction and finding balance in life’s desires. Dieting is OK. Chassidim and mitnagdim have differences in their approach to life.
- Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik-Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik – Shemos 5782
Lessons from bat paro’s conversion. She allowed Moshe to be in contact with his birth family, adoptive parents have parents approaches, but (like a rebbi) do not replace birth parents.
A true Jew takes responsibility for others. The avot were Jewish as a family, we became Jewish as a nation at Sinai.
- Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh-Bava Batra shiur 29 (מחלוקת התנאים לגבי חזקה בשדה הבעל)
Intro to chezkat habatim. Does the first Mishna have a tana kama? Understanding the basic positions regarding the specifics of “three years” for different agricultural situations.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Malbish Arumim and VeHalachta BiDerachav
Imitato dei per Rambam means our actions follow the essence of HKBH.
- Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig-תיקון המדינה: הכל כמנהג המדינה ודינא דמלכותא דינא
Various possible citywide individual cost allocation methods discussed – what are their underlying theories?
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-Mishneh Halakhot by Rav Menashe Klein: 5:299 and then 12:472: Is it Permissible to Diet? Baseball and R’ Shlomo Polachek: The Meitscheter Ilui. Wasting Time. Advanced versus Basic Secular Education. Scientific Jewish Scholarship.
Dieting, even just to look good, is OK. Finding the right balance in life (e.g. can a talmid chacham ever just chill out or is that bitul torah?) is a challenge.
- Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig-גבייה לצורכי העיר: לפי נפשות, לפי ממון, לפי קירוב בתים, לפי מנהג
Dina dmalchuta flowing from mishpat hamelech. Where does the power of minhag hamedina (or municipal ordinances) flow from?
- Rabbi Daniel Stein-The Grave Crisis: Burial in Buildings and the Comeback of Catacombs
Is burial (or covering) the meit a torah requirement? Rambam emphasizes direct burial in dirt (in US caskets legally required, not so Israel) also burial in earth provides an element of kapara.
Crowding in European graveyards led to covering lower levels in dirt and reducing minimum separation between bodies. There are differing opinions on different forms of above ground burial.
- Rabbi Philip Moskowitz-Running From or Returning To: Developing a Relationship with HaShem in a Modern World
Lessons from Egypt – it’s all from HKBH (not us) and the importance of work) having a mission in life.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Tagim on Bedek Chayah Letters: Are Our Mezuzos Kosher?
Apparently there are a lot of mezuzot being written which are only kosher bdieved due to missing tagim. Make sure you use a reliable, knowledgeable sofer.
- Rabbi Uri Orlian-What is the Anatomy of a Krus Shafcha & Petzua Daka
The what (type of injury/shortcoming) and where (which parts of the reproductive system) of krut shufcha. It is defined by an inability to father children or is it a gzeirat hakatuv? Some interesting applications discussed.
- Rabbi Dov Winston-The Torah, Life and Thought of The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Extensive bio of the last Lubavitcher Rebbi and a brief review of his various initiatives (no discussion of why there seems to have been no succession planning. I’d be interested in that topic)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Great Rebbeim and Great Talmidim – Rav Nosson Adler and the Chasam Sofer
Biographies of R’Nosson Adler and his student the Chatam Sofer. Very different personalities and career trajectories but inextricably linked together.
- Rabbi Reuven Brand-Moshe Rabbeinu and the Question of Our Perfection
Whether the “medrash” that the Tiferet Yisroel quotes concerning Moshe Rabbeinu’s “natural” personality is accurate or not, the message of free will to overcome challenges is indisputable.
- Rabbi Yoni Mandelstam-The Naming of Moshe Rabeinu and a Halachik view on Secular Names
(Me – Did the mfarshim who debate whether bat pareh actually named moshe with that name have a mesora or were they projecting their values) Is a pure translation of a name ok? What does the historical record show?
- Rabbi Jeremy Wieder-Ashreinu Mah Tov Chalkeinu: Learning to embrace our identity
Chukat hagoyim defined – intrinsic problematic actions (idolatry related) and/or not motivationally based (be like them). Our community needs to give more thought to the meta-issues of identity and what we aspire to (me-Amen!)
- Rabbi Dovid Cohen (cRc)-Eating in Eretz Yisroel During Shemittah (Timing, flowers, Northern Arava, Greenhouse produce, yevul nochri, heter mechirah, otzar beis din, zeriah mukdemes, kedushas shevi’is)
Sfichin, kedushat shviit and a general review of pros and cons of the various approaches to shviit applicable in aretz
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Schnaps (Whiskey) In Halachah
Whiskey (and cognac and brandy) production methodology (zeah) and normal usage (small amounts) make for a number of halachic questions. Topics include: Chametz status; Bracha (before and after/shiurim/order); Drink before tfila (gaava, drunk); Kiddush; Medicinal; Purim, Nine days; and, of course sherry casks(asur; asur and asur!)
- Rabbi Zev Smith-The Berachot When Putting on Tefillin
Everyone agrees that the shel rosh and yad are separate mitzvot and that lhaniach covers both but (Sfard vs. ashkenaz, Rashi vs. R’Tam) is there a reason to make a second bracha? Lots of practical applicable cases (e.g. cast, spoke in between). Baruch shem is not because Ashkenazim are in doubt; it’s just a nice deference to the machloket.
- Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig-גביית מסים לפי ממון, נפשות, וקירוב בתים
Continuation of allocation of communal cost methods – are those mentioned in the gemara single or multivariate? Does communal authority come from the King?
- Rabbi Mordechai Benhaim-Sichot Mussar of Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz (29): “The Precious Gift of Living Life”
We must appreciate the gift of life that HKBH gives us. Hatzneah lalechet means always being in front of HKBH.
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Emunah and Hishtadlus in the Thought of Rav Kook
R’ Kook – The greater our level of bitachon the more HKBH allows our hishtadlut to function (we see him in our hishtadlut); the less our bitachon the more openly he must intervene!
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].