Audio Roundup Special: Rabbi Lopiansky 2

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by Joel Rich

RABBI LOPIANSKY – Special – Part Two  (Last 21 on 42 Shiurim)


My comment to a magid shiur-Just wanted to mention that I thought your point about active learning versus edutainment is an underappreciated one. It’s probably true at all ages but I would reinforce that if you don’t keep up an active participation in learning, even if you are fortunate enough to be able to retire it’s not something easy to pick up. I’ve interpreted kshefneh eshne in that way. Even if you get the time, the tools will have become rusted

Da Mah Shetashiv

In this groundbreaking 42 part series, R’ Aaron Lopiansky presents a systematic approach to the fundamentals of Judaism. This series covers everything you need to “know what to answer” both to yourself and to others – from the basics of Emunah to the tradition of the Oral Law, and from the challenges of science to Zionism and the modern Jewish community. This series is also available as a podcast.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #22 – Toras Emes

Proofs of Judaism’s truth vs. others-no one else has a nation  as witnesses to revelation, flawed heroes, detailed histories and detailed laws (none of which could have been passed off later as factual)

Da Ma Shetashiv – #23 – The False Assumptions of Biblical Criticism

Textual biblical criticism is based on literary assumptions which are easily questioned and countered.  There are other explanations for differing styles in the same work.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #24 – The Archaeological Record

Archeology is a somewhat subjective discipline but it generally can be viewed as substantiating Tanach.  Includes specific discussion of the epic of Gilgamesh and the code of Hammurabi.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #25 – The Age of The Universe

The creation story in Bereshit can not be understood on a simple pshat basis (how explain dinosaurs etc.)  Evolution is “wrong” in that it assumes (me-implies?) a purposelessness in life.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #26 – Conclusion on Evolution and Our Mesorah

The transmission of the essential mesora has always been a serious priority and thus it’s been consistent over long periods of time (TSBP, tfilah).  We have always been extremely careful in accepting anything new, thus Ramchal and Breslov were not universally accepted but Arizal and R’ Chaim were (me-so vox populi decided?)

Da Ma Shetashiv – #27 – The Purpose of Creation

The usual answers to “why did HKBH create the world?” are: 1. To have a recipient of this goodness and/or 2. To reveal his influence in this world. Our job then is to total perceive this world through the eyes of religion (me-the ratzon hashem) and act accordingly.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #28 – Whats in It for Me

Long term pain and pleasure (taanug) are our starting point on the road to doing the ratzon hashem (me-see Rambam on teaching emuna at the lowest level based on reward and punishment)

Da Ma Shetashiv – #29 – Common Threads and Different Approaches

Klalim are important and must be grounded in halacha and torah values.  Different movements within orthodoxy have privileged emunah, mitzvot, talmud torah, heart, midot and/or kabala.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #30 – Finding Our Way

We have a national/communal destiny but each shevet had its own unique role.  So too we each have an individual tafkid which we (with rebbi’s guidance?) need to figure out.


Shevet Levi’s role (teaching) is central but that may not be your role – live with it.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #31 – Finding Our Purpose

Each tafkid is important, you can keep learning even after yeshiva and be both a yissachar and positive community influence.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #32 – Learning

Being productive (yishuvo shel olam) is a positive!  What should one learn if one leaves the yeshiva?  That which is necessary (halacha and mussar) and that which speaks to you and will keep you in learning (something that yields concrete results, but gemara is also important for a number of reasons)

Da Ma Shetashiv – #33 – Klal u’Phrat

Your core (torah) needs to be built in your early years (till 22?), then you figure out if your tafkid is to be in shevet levi or not.  Of course levi is central but they too have challenges.  Don’t get cynical or feel a failure, just do your tafkid (me-not an easy sale today.)

Da Ma Shetashiv – #34 – Jews and Non Jews

Our choseness doesn’t demean other nations, they have a tafkid too.  We have a responsibility to role model the tzelem elokim.  We need to be careful not to compromise our values and find a proper balance (TBD) with other nations/cultures.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #35 – Hilchos Yichud

You really need to stay far, far away from arayot.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #36 – False Ideologies and Their Followers

When thinking about the conservative and reform movements we need to differentiate between the movement ideology and the individuals involved in the movement.  If a movement rejects torah min hashamayim, it’s wrong at the core.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #37 – Zionism

A short history of (me-political) zionism as a solution (nationhood) to the “Jewish problem” in Europe.  The focus on nationhood is the antithesis of torah (me-IMHO a bit of a oversimplification.)  Why, post-state, is the yeshivish approach correct?  (me-question-did the chovevei tzion see zionism primarily the answer to the Jewish question or as Jewish destiny?)

Da Ma Shetashiv – #38 – Zionism and the Holocaust

An interesting take on the holocaust and Zionism.  IIUC

1 Jews would not have been safer in Israel

2 At some point they couldn’t get out to US or Israel

3 Before that point US was treif (as was zionism/Israel) 

4 HKBH misled (meishiv chachamim achor) the chareidi leaders


The chazon ish realized europe was failing so he was an exception to 3 and 4. (I think this was the point)  (me-counterfactuals come in many flavors and sizes – which comes first – the theory or the counterfactual?)

Da Ma Shetashiv – #39 – Rav and Community

Going from yeshiva (homogeneous, learning centered, hierarchical idealized), to a shul (diverse, more limited choices, murky relationships of rav to community) is like jumping into cold water from a hot bath.  What to look for in a community?  Interesting – no suggestion of moving somewhere you can be a role model.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #40 – Community, Klal, and Takanos

When one moves out of the yeshiva and into a community, they need to invest some time in communal responsibilities.  The heterogeneity means there will be more diverse (negative) personalities then in yeshiva (me-an interesting presumption).   Laws of lashon hara become more important – anything said will get out.  Sometimes you’ll need to compromise and sometimes hold fast.


Pan communal authority (e.g. “the gedolim”) is imperfect but it’s something and we need to be realistic about it.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #41 – Gedolim and Leadership

A particularly worthwhile listen as R’ Lopiansky struggles with the hagiographic (infallible) vision of daas torah and the actual historical record (the “good old days” weren’t so perfect) and current conditions.  Agudah is a loose confederations of tribes and tribal leaders with their own values, so some things emerge by consensus and others don’t. It’s all that we have and there are no easy answers as to how to better the situation.

Da Ma Shetashiv – #42 – Chinuch

Child raising tips up through the teens.


About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

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