Audio Special: Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff

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by Joel Rich


Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff   – Torah-in-Motion Audio Special


In the Lehrhaus MO special series Dr. Stadlan wrote: Another misunderstanding is the confusion between the inherent value of an activity versus the allocation of time. Some approaches to Judaism treat choices in life as a video game, where the player can gain or lose mitzvah points based on what they do or how they spend their time. They claim that since “Talmud Torah ke-neged kulam” (Pe’ah 1:1)—learning Torah is equivalent to many other activities (or greater than other activities), one should learn Torah as much as possible to acquire as many mitzvah points as possible. I think this is a false dichotomy. Of course we have an obligation to learn Torah, and we have an obligation to encourage Torah learning. But I suggest that a life of pursuit of knowledge, observance of mitzvot, and fulfilling the obligation of Torah learning is one valued and encouraged by our religion. One does not have to devote oneself exclusively to Torah learning,[2] especially if one is drawn to the pursuit of other knowledge or other occupations.

My note to the editors: Perhaps he (or you) might address what algorithm should be used (if not “reward”) by an individual seeking to maximize HKBH’s happiness with them.

Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff-MAR 21, 2022-Making Passover American (Part 1)


The peanut’s journey to becoming a staple in general society and a Passover (non-kitniyot) stalwart oil R Eleff with the gedolim’s blessings.   This status changed due to the Hungarian influx to the US post-Holocaust – so how come quinoa is OK? It’s more about sociology and historical trends.

Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff-MAR 28, 2022-Making Passover American (Part 2)

The study of Jewish history is more recent, we’ve generally been more about memory. We’ve sorted evildoers into various paradigms (Pharo, Amalek, Egel hazahav etc) based on their attributes (e.g. should’ve known better, pure evil, internal to our people)

Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff-APR 4, 2022-Making Passover American (Part 3)

The pictures of the 4 sons in different hagadot tell us more about the psyche of the community at the time than about the hagada.

Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff-NOV 27, 2020-Turkey Traditions: Getting a Jewish Footing in the New World

Which rabbinic authorities did early US Jews look to? Is it possible to have a “minhag America” (me-other than what was much later published by Artscroll)? The mesora of Caribbean etrogim and Turkey as case studies (with local Rabbis assent)

Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff-AUG 3, 2020-Mourning in this “Happy Land”: Tisha B’Av and the American Jewish Experience

In the early years in America, reformers viewed the US as a happy land and did not view return to Israel as part of Jewish mission or destiny. Thus, Tisha Bav was viewed as a counterproductive anachronism. In later years, with continuing European tribulations (and summer camps and R YBS), it came back on the agenda of American Jewry. It’s a day of blending the past and the future.

Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff-APR 7, 2019-Contemporary Issues from a Historical Perspective

Panel discussion including: Historical vs. valuable truth, Use of medrash, Gedolim biographies, Modern (vs non) Jewish history value and current trends in Orthodoxy.

Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff-APR 7, 2019-The Yeshiva World and Rabbi Hayim of Volozhin’s American Prophecy


Which R Chaim cried (and when) because he knew that torah would make its final stop in the USA before the redemption. For what purpose was this story used in the USA by R A Kotler and others?

Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff-JAN 16, 2015-Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch: Ancestor of Modern Orthodoxy?

How as R’ Hirsch viewed in the US in his own time? Why was/is he more of a force in Canada than in the US. His rejection of academic Jewish studies and Zionism as well as his policy of separatism is very different from TUM and made for his eventual acceptance by aguda with a minimum of body language.

Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff-APR 7, 2019-The Curious Invention Named Modern Orthodoxy

History of the branding of MO and its norms (me-a rose by any other name would smell as sweet – HT WS) They all carry baggage. (me-nuance isn’t an easy brand to sell.)


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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