by Joel Rich
My note on an argument why to buy life insurance:
Just keep in mind that if you think it’s a good omen to buy insurance because the insurance company will benefit from your long life (owners are wealthy and wealthy have good financial mazal, it would imply that one should not purchase an annuity since insurance company benefits from early mortality. You can’t take the actuary out of me 🙂
And then my follow-up thought:
Undoubtedly. It’s much like, in my mind the change in practice about going to doctors rather than just relying on faith. World changes, and certain risks that could not be dealt with in the past now can be. but sometimes folks seem to need halachic cover rather than just accepting that. Chazal were dealing with a different world.
Recently I heard the Taz quoted as saying “everyone knows what a kzait is.” I wonder what that says today about the “strength of the mesora” argument?
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Q&A with Rav Hershel Schachter Shlita at Yeshivat Har Etzion Q&A including: attending (non-YU) yeshiva and getting an online degree (RIETS is great), providing psychological support for talmidim (YU is great), more chassidut in yeshivot (unsure it will stick), MO day schools falling very short, rabbis today don’t need university – just speak English well and read the NY times (but if you might need to get a job, maybe need university), secular university leads to intermarriage, klei kodesh shouldn’t leave ch”ul (captain/ship analogy), and R YBS (RHS learned a tremendous amount from him but went to his own father for personal hadracha (Me-I wonder if that explains some (of what I perceive to be) differences in hashkafa between R YBS and R HS.
- Rabbi Yechiel Morris-Are we permitted and is it advisable nowadays to enter Har HaBayis? Coming up to har habayit is a contentious issue religiously and politically. Technical issues include kedusha rishona and shniya as well as the actual boundaries of the bayit itself. What role does the historical record play (me-not much as everyone interprets it according to their narrative). Meta issues play a large role (me-but again are in the eye of the beholder).
- Rabbi Osher Weiss-פרשת שמות: שלא שינו את שמם Using non-Jewish names is OK but using Jewish names is better
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Mishlei, Week 1: Outline, and What is a Mashal? Who was mishlei written for and what are its sources? How is it best broken up for analysis? What are the forms and nature of its educational messages?
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – How is Simcha a Religious Value? Sources on happiness as a religious value – ahava and yirah are both appropriate paths in our avodat hashem.
- Rabbi Moshe Walter-10 or 6? How many are necessary to answer Borchu, Kadish, Kedushah, and Chazaras HaShatz? Lchatchila you should have ten men actively involved for kaddish and chazarat hashatz and tfila btziburr. Bdieved six will do for kaddish.
- Rabbi Dr. Jason Weiner -Breast Cancer Awareness in the Jewish Community: New Life Saving Technology and Halakhic Issues One woman’s story. Genetic counseling and testing can lead to cancer’s early detection and treatment.
Also, discussed PIGD, CRISPR, prophylactic surgery and fast-forwarding cells to determine individual morbidity.
Q&A, including: tfillin winding practices, male head covering, books of the Maccabees, hebrew language, maser and non-cash items, Joseph and his brothers, involvement in general humanitarian causes, talmudic differences of opinion, eating foods that are kosher through bitul, differences between the 10 commandments and the rest of the torah, conquering Israel, and piyyutim.
- Rabbi Ezra Schwartz-Introduction to Pikuach Nefesh on Shabbos Introduction to pikuach nefesh on shabbat – practical implications of the different reasons provided by the talmud.
- Rabbi Yoni Mandelstam-A Halachik Conversation about Secular Music Can the source of music (melody, lyrics) automatically posul it? Perhaps we can view the music as medicinal?
- Rabbi Shua Katz-The Halachos of Shabbos Day Kiddush What is the nature of shabbat day kiddush/how does it differ from Friday night? Does it follow the same rules? Is it kiddush bmakom seudah a din in makom or seudah?
- Rabbi Baruch Simon-Can I daven facing a different direction than the rest of the minyan? When the aron and yerushalyim don’t line up, there are numerous opinions on which way to face during prayer.
- Rabbi Jonathan Muskat-Teshuvot That Changed Jewish Life: Rav Zerachya Halevi’s introduction to Sefer Ha’Ma’or and the justification to argue on previous generations The search for emet allows earlier generations to argue with earlier ones.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes–Parshas Shemos May One Name a Child After Someone Who Died at a Young Age? Sources on not using names of people who came to a bad end but where do you draw the line? Adding a name may be the best compromise.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Bishul Akum: Jewish Involvement, Oleh al Shulchan Melachim, Eaten Raw How much involvement by a Jew is required to make a bishul non-akum? How exactly do we define oleh al shulchan mlachim?
- Rabbi Shimmy Steinmetz-לא תעמוד על דם רעך in the Hospital: Refusing to Treat and Refusing Treatment Teachers (bitul tora) and medical (lo taamod) strikes may be the exception to the general rule of halacha allowing strikes but you really got to know the territory (HT-Meredith Wilson).
Can/should you force a patient to take lifesaving medicine or treatment? It’s complex (even more than discussed here) It’s best to cajole!
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Q&A- Civil Rights, Cherem & Kivush Eretz Yisrael Q&A including: why work at eish hatora, physics indeterminacy and Jewish thought (aligned), you can’t always get what you want (HT by R Breitowitz to Mick Jagger although his quote is a bit off), civil disobedience (OK if against immoral law), theodicy, shalom bayit within religious disagreements, do we proselytize, tora as history/metaphor, relating to intermarriage, yetzer tov/ra, relating to the reform movement vs individuals, minhagim, mashiach, science and religion, dreams, mamzer, finding, meaning, religion and race, and hashgacha vs bechira (R Breitowitz’s biggest ponder).
- Rabbi Aharon Lopiansky,Rabbi Binyamin Rappaport,Rabbi Zevulun Schwartzman-1/14/23 – Shiur 403 – Does yeshiva prepare us for life-after-yeshiva? Should it? To me one of the biggest hanging curve balls – R Lopiansky’s statement concerning the issue of preparing for after yeshiva – “surprisingly this problem has not been addressed by our roshei yeshiva”. (me-is it a surprise? Why hasn’t it been addressed?)
Suggestions provided for what the yeshivot and/or the individuals about the matter and when it should be done. The various yeshivot may well look at things differently (me-the individuals and the yeshivot may have differing priorities and time horizons – see R Dessler).
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-The Status of Mitzvos Before Mattan Torah Q&A including: reflections on R A Lichtenstein (personal and derech halimud), borrowing shekels and paying in dollars (ribit issues), tzitzit/bracha order, balance learning and health, early commitment to college (can reneg), daven better without minyan (no), R YBS (just new terminology but traditional), how know when to move on (advantage of your teaching to your learning), what to learn when you leave yeshiva (you should give a shiur), aseih lcha rav (and when to change (but be consistent), and going to secular court.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Strike One: Hitting Somebody With Permission Wounding oneself or others is generally prohibited (derech nitzayon or bizayon)? Can one (me-should one) be mochel?
- Rabbi Ari Shvat (Chwat)-What Did Rav Kook Really Say on Vegetarianism- part 1 R Kook wasn’t a vegetarian but viewed it as an aspiration when we are ready for it (like monogamy and ending slavery).
- Rabbi Doniel Osher Kleinman-Practical And Essential Guidelines To Properly Daven And Recite Brachot Every Day: Need-To-Know Halachot And Hashkafot Defining amen chatufa and yetoma, what should you have in mind when answering amen?
- Rabbi Zev Smith-The Proper Place to Affix the Mezuza Details of the physical placement of the mezuza -m how high what angle and how/when to fix errors (with or without bracha). Most interesting (to me) – what I perceive to be the standard practice of putting the mezuza outside when the door closes flush with the doorpost (or with a swinging door) is wrong. You must bore into the post so the mezuza will be flush.
- Rabbi Ya’akov Trump-Do Ideas Matter? You can’t kill an idea and Jewish ideas are totally grounded and work in practice. Examples provided.
- Rabbi Moshe Walter-Business Law- Outbidding Another Home Buyer and Poaching Employees: Muttar or Assur? Review of ani hamihafech (no interference in negotiation) rules including when triggered (eg close to agreement), is the sale efficacious and application to unique items/employees. Local standard practices will generally take precedence.
- Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig-Survey of Hilchos Gittin Roshei prakim of inyanei gittin with focus on practical issues such as proper name utilization.
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-The Unspoken Betrayal Of Marriage Part 2> Part 2 – apparently pornography on the internet is a big challenge even in R Kallus’s community.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Whose Children Will Become Talmidei Chachamim? Want to raise a talmid chacham? You should be humble and have a constant connection to torah.
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Trolley Problems in Halachah Introduction to trolleyology – it’s complex!
- Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner-Medical Halachah: Eating Disorders in Judaism Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia) defined including statistics, risk factors and halachic categorization (choleh, shoteh). There may be specific eating disorder risks and benefits in the orthodox community.
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Stay Away From Har Habayit Schmooze that people who go up to har habayit don’t take it seriously enough. Major poskim say not to go.
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