by Joel Rich
From R’ A Lichtenstein on the shift in the view of baalei mesora on marital relations: “The allure of facile historicistic solutions in our case, of ascription to Sufi or Scholastic influences, regarding worldliness, in general, or sexuality, in particular – is palpably self-evident. In dealing with giants, however, we strive to avoid succumbing to its alluring temptations.
To be sure, post-hazal gedolim, rishonim or aharonim may be affected by the impact of contact with a general culture to which their predecessors had not been exposed and to whose content and direction they respond. Upon critical evaluation of what they have encountered, they may incorporate what they find consonant with tradition and reject what is not. In the process, they may legitimately enlarge the bounds of their hashkafah and introduce hitherto unperceived insights and interpretations.”
Me- That’s complex and not reproduceable – Thoughts?
A comment on the Israeli political negotiations to form a government including “Religious Parties”: What fascinates me is that if you were to present the situation to an outside analyst without disclosing the religious elements, they would likely see it as a run of the mill political struggle where a subgroup is trying to maximize its welfare (piece of the pie) at the cost of the larger community (size of the pie). See tragedy of the commons as an example: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tragedy-of-the-commons.asp
Determining the will of HKBH is complex but I’m pretty sure it involves getting someone’s opinion other than those in your echo chamber. Thoughts?
- Values In Conflict: Happiness Vs Meaning Kach mkublani mbeit avi abba, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. My take – whether coming to it on a positive psychology or hashkafic basis, we need to define happiness and meaning. Only then can you discuss “values conflict”.
Halacha by itself won’t bring happiness; connection with HKBH (or others) will bring happiness/meaning. Find a balance in giving/taking and selflessness/self-care.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Introduction to Issurei Akum Is bishul akum based on concerns of chatnut or kashrut? And what are the implications?
Chazal are sometimes gozrin gzeira to gzeira depending on what’s at risk.
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-Chatzitza by Tefillin Is any chatziza (buffer) permitted between the (shel yad vs shel rosh) tfillin and the body?)
Do the rules follow the standard rules of chatziza or does the pasuk of al bsaro require a higher standard?
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Post Chanukah: Are We Strong Enough to Withstand the Hurricane Outside Lessons of chanukah: importance of consistency, chinuch (goal is children stay lit on their own), HKBH is wiht us in galut. Our homes should be a mikdash and we need to keep on fighting (me-the darkness not each other)
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Milchiks, Fleishiks And Everything In Between Kashrut cases including taarovet fleishig equipment and ben yomo.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Did the Chashmonaim Take a “Wrong Turn” After Chanukah? Did the chashmonim as cohanim, do the wrong thing becoming kings or is kingship for Yehuda a promise not a mitzvah?
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Rav Soloveitchik on a Hidden Theme of Chanukah: Some Background Sources R YBS on an approach to the why eight nights of Chanukah lights and the dual nature of Chanukah (see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L96rbF-Rsrs ).
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Assara BeTeves While the “four fasts” were originally designated by month only, their eventual acceptance was for a particular day (thus no later “makeup” is provided).
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Moving a Menorah Generally we don’t move the menorah once it’s lit but it may be OK within the same room (house) and/or after thirty minutes. Using a shaliach may be a better alternative.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Maris Ayin on Chanukah and It’s Practical Applications Throughout the Year Maarit ayin examples – do they change based on changing community’s expectations? It’s best for community leaders to be purer than Caesar’s wife
- Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom-שעשה נסים לאבותינו: Evolution of a Berakhah Perhaps originally sheasa nissim was place based (where it happened), then time based (when it happened) and then a request for the future.
- Rabbi Osher Weiss-Lighting Neiros Chanukah in Shul Lighting the menorah in shul isn’t mentioned in the gemara it’s a minhag. Reasons given for minhag include: During shaat hagezeira we want some pirsumei nisa, zecher lmikdash, visitors, teach amei haaretz and prsumei nisa for the am.
Why do we make a bracha on this?
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Greek? Our Antipathy for Chochmat Yevanit Our concern with Greek wisdom is for assimilation. Greek culture was of special concern due to similarity to Judaism. (me-perhaps it was more advanced/admired than competitors)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – So, My Parents Bought a Donkey… The halacha and hashkafa of peter chamor (me- it’s an interesting hashkafic question – how do we view mitzvot kiyumit – as an opportunity to be sought out or a directive just in case or both?)
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Chanukah: The Books of the Maccabees There were four sefer maccabim (not written in Hebrew two and after Tanach was sealed) first were historical last two were philosophical. We accept them as historical documents. They don’t mention the pach shemen. Eight days of chanukah were patterned either after chanukat habayit or sukkot. The first mention of pach shemen was years later in mesechet taanit, perhaps because at that time the spiritual element required reinforcement.
- Rabbi Daniel Stein-Kiruv At All Costs There are seven mitzvot in kiruv (hochacha lo taamod). Chanukah (mehadrin) teaches us that kiruv (personal and communal) should be without compromise and that we must light ourselves/home first. Kiruv should be done by those overflowing with knowledge (self-sufficient (Rabb Stein doesn’t apparently believe in each one teach one))
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-A Different Type of Gadol: Hesped for Harav Chaim Druckman R Druckman’s love of eretz Yisrael, am Yisrael and torat Yisrael made him a unique gadol.
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Short Q&A: Rape, Feminism, Techeiles, and more Q&A including: mussar (do your job), respect women but our roles are different, tora’s view on rape (it’s complex), R Kook and R Tzadok on elevating nitztzot(it’s dangerous to teach to one unitiated), tcheilet (no good reason not to but that’s what gedolim say), when to ask a rebbi (not on everything) and when to listen to parents (generally yes).
- Rabbi Eliav Silverman-How much money does one need to spend on mitzvot? Is the 20% limit on charity a takana or reflection of one? What are the exceptions and why?
- Rabbi Eliav Silverman-Halachik Maturity: Shanim and Simanim Are the tests for halachic maturity (age and hairs) equal double triggers or is one the test and the other a clarification? What difference does it make?
- Ari Wasserman, Dr. Rivka Schwartz,“Dovid”, Mrs. Leanne Forman,Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, Rabbi Daniel Feldman,“Sara”,Dr. Debbie Akerman -12/24/22 – Shiur 400 – Drug and alcohol use in our high schools – how big a problem is it? What can be done? Some interesting statistics on drug and alcohol abuse in the community. How should it be dealt with? (Prevention and cure). Maybe start with how our community relates to addictive substances (me- eg not allowing a mentality of “he who has the best whiskey at his simcha/fundraiser wins” mentality).
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-הנרות הללו קודש הם: The Special Status of מצות נרות חנוכה In mesechet sofrim it seems that haneirot halalu kodesh heim is integral to the brachot of chanukah. Why? Kedusha (transcendence) is at the core of our differences with Greek culture (which also had a focus on intellect), thus our focus on the kedusha of mitzvot as represented by the Chanukia.
- Rabbi Zev Smith-Somech Geulah l’tefilah in Depth Smichat geula ltfila is important. When do we allow and how do we avoid interruptions?
- Rabbi Eliezer Brodt-Why Is There No Maseches Chanukah | The Chanukah Omission Several answers to the question of why there is no mesechet chanuka ranging from that the information was well known, to it was lost, to it exists in some form to Rebbi felt there shouldn’t be one.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – The Beracha on a Personal Miracle Is a personal miracle defined as something outside of minhag haolam (natural experience)? It’s probably best not to make the bracha with shem and malchut. There are a number of other ways to show appreciation.
- Rabbi Chaim Jachter ,Binyamin Jachter-The Aggadic Mindset: How Talmudic Tales Shape the Jewish Outlook Discussion of a new book concerning talmudic aggadic methodology including some specific examples of analysis.
- Rabbi Dovid Miller-shiur klali -Chanukah Why did chazal decide to make ner chanukah contingent on the bayit? Specific possibilities include threat of yaavan, as well as the paradigms of sukkot and pesach.
- Rabbi Zev Smith-Hilchos Kedushah; When is learning and Davening Prohibited Can one learn/make brachot in the presence of the uncovered hair of a married woman? Issues considered include: wife, non-Jew, habituation, closing eyes and focusing elsewhere. Be careful not to be insulting! (me-good general policy)
- Rabbi Yona Reiss-From the Dayan’s Desk #104: Teshuvot of HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz Orach Chaim Some of R Schwartz’s tshuvot including: heicha kdusha, number of minyan members who must answer the shatz, which way to face when davening, women as shul president, hearing leining of a different nusach, funerals in shuls, microphones on shabbat, nemanut of restaurant owners, shabbat hachzara and enlisting in the army.
- Rabbi Zev Smith-Answering Kaddish Kaddish is very important be careful about an amen yetoma (a non-immediate response). Amen and yhei shmei are separate items for this purpose. Also discussed are how loud, standing vs sitting and phoning it in.
Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].