Audio Roundup 2023:2

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by Joel Rich

I heard an interesting comment from a Rabbi during a recent shiur. He stated that he had been contacted by an international bone marrow registry telling him that he was a partial match and to come down for further testing. He consulted with a number of poskim and they told him he was not required to get tested. He told one posek that if the recipient was an frum Jew, that he would do it. The posek told him, very good. The general response from the poskim was based on the fact that since the majority of likely recipients were not Jewish, he didn’t have to do it. (I’m guessing due to lo taamod only being for Jews)

I suppose we have a similar ethical question with heart transplants – if we won’t donate, but will take. It seems to me in this case there’s an additional halachic issue. It appears to me that if there’s a partial match, you can’t look at the general population of registrants and ask what’s the likelihood the person is Jewish, since the partial match gives us some further information and we would have to use Bayesian statistics to determine whether in fact the assumption that the majority of likely matches were not Jewish should be updated for the additional information that there is a partial match. Any thoughts?

This week’s parsha- The Rav on Ger Vtoashav – knowing when to hold ’em when to fold ’em in our relationship with host cultures is imho the biggest challenge to MO – what process/who do we consult when making such decisions seems to me what we will be judged on. Thoughts?



  • Matan Friedman-You Said What! Bakashos on Shabbos The general rule is no personal requests should be included on Shabbat. Exceptions may include requests for ruchniyut (TBD) and non-verbal requests. Misheberachs of any kind (other than for the dangerously ill) are problematic (but we do them anyway!?)


  • Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst-Lottery Tickets in Halacha A number of shaylot and stories related to lotteries. Included an interesting hashkafic undercurrent of HKBH working through the lottery (seemingly to be derech hateva/plausible deniability) to direct assets to specific individuals.

    Interesting side point – in cases of fetal reduction the first tie breaker is health but if that’s equal you can select by sex.

  • Rabbi Osher Weiss-Spanish Jewry & Its Torah Leaders History of great Spanish rabbis (eg Rosh) and communities. They experienced many trials and tribulations over long periods of time. How did they respond? The sfardic tradition (halachic) was more based on mesorah the ashkenazic on pilpul (continues today!)

    Tosafot’s idea that all of shas must be reconciled was revolutionary! (me-prior generations didn’t think this was the way to go? If so, then what was source for the change?)


  • Rabbi Michoel Zylberman-Bitul and Commercially Sold Milk Lomdus concerning milk kashrus including the concepts of rov (birur), chazaka (hanhaga), and chazaka haba mrov. Deals with how we can drink milk if the majority of cows (or a miyut hamatzui) have sirchot?

  • Rabbi Shay Schachter-Appreciating The Human Touch in Psak Halacha Stories of the sensitivity of poskim to individual needs (fifth chelek of shuchan aruch).
    In general, hirhur is not kdibbur but it may be better than nothing in an emergency situation. Shomea koneh is usually a better approach. Specific cases (eg sfira, limud torah …) discussed.

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  • Rabbi Zev Smith-The Watch in Halacha Is winding a stopped watch on Shabbat a tikkun kli (is it “broken”) (maybe) What about one that’s running (maybe not). What about a self-winding one? Is a stopped watch muktzeh? What about wind-up toys? (more room to be lenient since this is their normal function).

  • Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Ramban and the Spirit of the Law (and Contemporary Applications) Rambam on kedoshim tihiya. We piece together the spirit of the law as the connective tissue between the specific mitzvot. (Me-the challenge is that there are an infinite number of curves which will fit the data points so you still need an underlying theory of the case).

  • Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-Hashkafa Shiur – Avos Perek Beis: Talmud Torah and Derech Eretz 3 Understanding the Rambam on not taking money for learning.

  • Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Q&A- Yaakov’s Deception, Righteous Gentiles & Baby Wipes Q&A including: Land division in moshiach times. Relationship lessons from the avot (controversial!), Was yitzhak fooled?, Why did the avot marry at older ages (no answer), Israeli hashgachot, minhagim for baalei tshuva, Did the shvatim have twin sisters?, How could dina marry Shimon?, Lashon hara, Treat all people with dignity, Time zone impact on sending emails, Tattoos (permanent and not), Normal community standards determine “poverty”, Danger in living in Israel (it’s worse in the US), Public menorah lightings, and Baby wipes.

  • Rabbi Dr. Jason Weiner -Animal Experimentation for Medical Research in Jewish Law How do we navigate the tension between tzar baalei chaim and animal experimentation? Halacha (and other ethical systems to different extents) allow it if there is a real need that can’t be avoided. Interesting possible differentiation between more or less sophisticated animals.

  • Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-Rambam’s Perspective on Hashgacha Pratis Part 4: Resolutions So exactly what is the Rambam’s position on hashgacha when trying to balance the issues of free will, teva and hashgacha pratit.

    Interesting defense of why now you’re painted as an apikores if you believe there’s teva (position previously embraced by most rishonim). We reject Aristotelian approaches, kabala is more accepted now and/or the truth evolves)

  • Shulie Mishkin-Jerusalem’s History and Places (Part 4)/a> History and archeology of the Muslin quarter (north area). Includes gates, water systems, city center and shopping. The population shifted over time (Muslims, Christians and Jews).

  • Rabbi Osher Weiss-When Halacha & Kabbalah Clash The Beit Yosef was the first to bring kabala into halacha. There are a number of “rules” explaining how psak takes kabala into account (all seem to have exceptions). The Gra says they never conflict (if they seem to it’s because either you don’t understand the halacha and/or the kabala). Probably the Chatam Sofer and Nodeah Byehuda were so strong against bringing kabala into halacha because of historical reasons (chasssidut!) (I’m shocked, shocked – HT Captain Renault).

  • Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Chanukah and the Launch of Chapter III of Jewish History Chanukah represents: the transition from prophecy to tora shbal peh, mass kiddush hashem and last taste of Jewish sovereignty before the long galut.

  • <a href=”> Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Vayeitzei Facing Yerushalayim When Davening Which way (direction) do we pray? It can be complex but we should align our physical and mental selves towards Yerushalayim (me-shel mata and mala).

  • Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Roadtrip Rules Road trip issues including: grills, cutlery, plates, stove tops, microwaves and fridges. It can be complex!

  • Yair Lichtman-Minhagim Aren’t in the Torah: So Why Do We Keep Them? What’s the force of minhag? (neder, legislation, communal authority?) What are the different categories of minhag?

  • Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Hilchot Berachot – SCHNITZEL – Need We Say More? When flour is not added for nutrition (eg binding, taste) what is the rule for bracha rishona and/or achronal? R Kalus thinks schnitzel is always mezonot.

  • Rabbi Shalom Rosner-Weddings in Halacha & Minhag (Part 1 of 2 Practical wedding halachot up through chupa. TBC. Interesting “reasons” why we use a ring. (me-drawing the target after shooting the arrow?)

  • Rabbi Osher Weiss-Parshat Vayishlach: Gid Hanashe What is the purpose of the mitzvah of gid hanasheh? Zecher lnes, knas (shouldn’t have left Yaakov alone), or chizuk for future bad times.

    Understanding the difference between shelo bderech achila and not raui lachila. Do the normal rules of maachalot assurot (eg bitul brov) apply to gid hanasheh?

  • Rabbi Yechiel Morris-Shimon and Levi in Shechem: Contemporary Ethical Lessons for Jewish Self-Defense What are the lessons from the destruction of Shechem? Were the brothers or Yaakov correct, or were they both?

  • Rabbi Doniel Osher Kleinman-Parshas Vayishlach: Do You Ask Shailos About Hilchos Tzedaka? People don’t know and don’t ask about tzedeka priorities. Resolving conflicting priorities is a challenge (eg poverty, yeshivot, near and far ….) TBC

  • Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman-The Mitzvah of Nichum Avelim Which gets precedence, bikur cholim or nichum aveilum? (and why?) Issues include: what’s the focus of nichum, when to do it, and specific applications (and exceptions to the general rule).

  • Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig-Chanuka Q&A: Guests, Timing, Women, Electric Menorahs Chanukah issues including: lighting when staying outside of home, time and place to light, mitzvah of pirsumei nisa as separate from the mitzvah of hadlaka, aveil attending family chanukah gathering, electric menoras and when to light when are coming home late.

  • Rabbi Mayer E. Twersky-Perspectives on a College Education Non-exposure to a topic or group or faith often result in an inaccurate stereotyping/lack of appreciation. Finding balance in life isn’t always easy. Specific situations addressed.

  • Rabbi Doniel Osher Kleinman-Parshas Vayeitzei: Common Maaser Shailos First in (a different) series. Maaser ksafim as a minhag yisrael. Can the funds of the allocation be the first priority/majority. (me-so individuals decide themselves whether to be lomdim and then the community must provide support at the cost of others?) Includes defining ani who doesn’t have to give. Paying off debts is a tora requirement vs maaser which is a minhag.

  • Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer, Rabbi Mordechai Becher-12/10/22 – Shiur 398 – Seudas Shabbos – Eating out by others who have different Kashrus standards than you | Kiruv – Who should you and who shouldn’t you invite to your home Kiruv issues including: trade-offs between the impaction the invitee and the host family, as an invitee do you have to be mvarer the hosts’ kashrut standards? How do you determine the degree of neemanut standards (or your own yedia-per R Moshe’s tshuva) of a host? Shabbat
    Q invitations and chanifa if you attend an intermarriage etc vs going to keep the relationship.


  • Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Q&A- Neturei Karta, Tznius & Jewish Music Q&A including: avoid dissing gedolim, sancheirev’s resettlement impact, beauty of differing minhagim, going to har habayit, giving rebuke, interest calculations, finding out one is not Jewish, sexual relationships, tsniut for men, chazal and science, Leah and Rachel’s relationship, lashon hakadosh, relationship with Jews vs non-Jews, nturei karta, shechem story, sefer hayashar, jewish music and the importance of balance/being normal.

  • Rabbi Baruch Simon-DRS SHIUR(VAYISHLACH 5782): THE SWEETNESS OF LEARNING TORAH AND Q AND A Q&A including: Why believe? (mesora), learning (should be sweet), why thank HKBH for ytziat mitzraim if he put us there? (it was for our own good), lights/cooking on yom tov vs shabbat, emuna, changing picking minhagim, playing ball on shabbat (not shvita/shabbasdic), overindulging vs kedoshim tiyihu and watch your mouth.
  • Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].

    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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