by Joel Rich
At what point in Jewish history did the concept of halacha as an objective ethical standard (max and min) vs a floor become a topic of discussion (consciously or subconsciously)? Example –is slavery presumed to be an existential institution supported by halacha or an institution which must be dealt with halachically but not encouraged?
During the early stagrs of Covid, some rannis mentioned the contrast with the rampant materialism of many pre-covid celebrations. Has anyone noticed any communities where , on average there have been ongoing, noticeable cutbacks?
- Rabbi Isaac Rice-It’s Not Ossur, But It’s Not Nice Did I ever mention kach mkublanei mbeit avi abba vima: just because something is permitted doesn’t mean you should do it.1
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Believing Dad About Kehunah Do we believe someone who says they are a Cohain? What if a non frum parent tells their child that they are a Cohain (and there’s no independent verification)? Does the determination affect all family members? The gedolim are thinking about it – stay tuned (me-it’s an old question but sometimes different people want a different answer –lkula or lchumra).
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-Women and Tefillah: Hashkafah (part 1) First in a series focusing on women and tfila. Tfila is about our vulnerability and our relationship and dialog with HKBH. What is the nature of the chiyuv for women? TBC
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Pronouncing the Word “Echad” in Shema Rules of proper pronunciation for each letter and word of echad in shma.
- Neima Novetsky-Grappling With the Ways of Hashem (Part 1) First in a series. We all have free will but it can be impacted by many factors. How do we understand HKBH taking away Pharaoh’s free will? Was it part of his punishment, the result of Pharaoh’s own actions, an inability to do tshuva …
- Nava Finkelman-Foreigners in Biblical Narrative who Speak of God (Part 1) First in a series. General rule – good people recognize there’s some higher power. There are a number of hints that Malkitzedek was good people.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Siyum Maseches Kesubos – Learning Halacha From Aggadata Defining agadita isn’t so easy. The extent we don’t paskin from aggadita is up for debate (eg three shavout, amta drebbi) but generally aggadita is more for transmitting ethical/moral lessons than for psak halacha.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon-Introduction to Sanhedrin Perek Ben Sorer Umoreh Introduction to ben sorer with particular focus on which death penalty and why.
- Rabbi Reuven Brand-When Should We Daven Shacharit? Review of earliest, latest and preferred time for shacharit.
- Rabbi Yona Reiss-From the Dayan’s desk #99: Lineage of Kohanim – Part 1 Cohanei chazaka today – definition and applications. What evidence is acceptable or preferable? Is it an all or nothing designation?
- Rav Asher Weiss- באיסור מאבד עצמו לדעת Is suicide murder or a separate issur? It’s a very weighty sin yet, once committed, we’re very lenient due to the honor of the family.
When might it be permissible or at least explainable? (Yissurin, religious persecution?)
- Rabbi Yoni Levin-The Beauty and Purity of the Hebrew Language Don’t say a dvar meguneh, use lashon nkia and remember that brevity is the soul of wit.
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Hilchot Rav Kav The halachot of rav kav are determined based on the mtziut of the laws of the state of Israel and the financial impact on the bus companies. (Me-I’m not sure that the driver technically has the ability to waive the fee!)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Selling Aliyos Is selling an aliyah a davar shein bo mamesh? (else how can you sell them on shabbat?) Does a “sale” override other rules of precedence (eg Cohain, Yartzeit)? Is it proper to give up the opportunity to do a mitzvah by giving it to someone else?
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Lashon Hara in Front of Three and on Social Media How do we weave together the gemaras that discuss saying something in front of three people and the various shitot of the rishonim as to what constitutes lashon hara? How do the concepts of ambiguity, confidentiality, toelet, truth and intent fit in?
In the internet age, does a true statement that is not a fair representation of the individual create a category of lashon hara?
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Hishtadlus for a Tzadik The Rambam’s position on whether a tzadik needs hishtadlut is not clear. R Wiederblank thinks his general rule is that a tzadik needs to do hishtadlut with some exceptions. TBC to understand the position of the chazon ish.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Coffee, Photo Grey Lenses, Lipstick & Makeup on Shabbos Studies in tzovea including R A Weiss’s position that normal daily activities can’t be a mlacha (eg walking outside with photo grey lenses). There are many applications (eg medical test strips) where we look for leniencies (eg eino mitkayem).
- Shulie Mishkin-Jerusalem’s History and Places (Part 1) History, residents and topography of Yerushalayim stating with Ir David up through Jewish Christian and Moslem rule. The city expanded and contracted.
- Rabbi Doniel Osher Kleinman-Parshas Noach: Do You Make A Bracha On A Shul Tallis? Can/should you make a bracha on a shul tallit? It depends on why you are wearing it (individual davening, shatz, aliyah…), how you wear it (over your head?), what you had in mind (koneh or not), and is it considered a tallit of shutfim?
- Matan Friedman-Exemptions from Tachanun Lots of Tachanun questions for a kahal including: situations involving chatan, kala, meal, aveil, pidyon, siyum, bar mitzvah and late mincha.
Interesting psak of the CI on saying tachanun at a brit on yom haatzmaut (me-so how many people went away saying, “I guess you do say tachanun at a brit?”)
- Rabbi Shimshon Nadel-Is it a ‘Mitzvah’ to Vote in Israel’s Elections? R Kook and R Nathenson on establishing a government without a king.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Noach Becoming Accustomed to Reciting Mashiv HaRuach U’Morid HaGeshem What’s the halacha (and psychology) of repetition triggering habit? Is shor muad a paradigm for memory?
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Does V’Sein Tal U’MaTar Follow Your Community Needs? Why don’t we take local weather conditions into account when deciding when to say vten tal umatar? Because that’s the way we did it last year.
- Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst-Choshen Mishpat: wall between neighbors, food allergies in schools, travel agents Does hezek riah practically exist anymore? Me-one has to wonder if psak modified practice or practice modified psak.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Burning My Yeezys Can you burn kanye west (ye) brand sneakers as a statement or is it bal tashchit? Maybe it’s better to give them to the poor.
- Rabbi Ya’akov Trump-From Sinaitic Idea to 21st Century Practice Introduction to the oral law – basically following the Rambam’s definitions. I wonder if R Yehuda Hanasi ever told anyone he wasn’t using tight organization I order to ensure the rebbi/talmid relationship (and did the artscroll folks undo that?)
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Startling Rav Kav Facts The Israeli government says that if you don’t swipe a rav kav you are subject to a fine but don’t have to pay the fare back – (not discussed – how do you do tshuva for the gezel?) Communal/government expectations make a big difference in the halacha.
- Rabbi Zev Smith-Revering Parents – How, When, and When Not Specific applications of mora for parent and rabbi. Is it good for a parent to be mocheil on an ongoing basis? Probably not!
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Lessons from the Nefesh HaChaim The nefesh hachaim (R Chaim Volozhiner) and the baal hatanya agree on almost everything. The Torah is a description of HKBH.
- Rabbi Azarya Berzon-What is the Authority of the Rabanan? Given a torah mitzvah where it’s given to Chazal to set parameters (masruha lechachamim), how do we view a violation of the guard rails?
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