by Joel Rich
In my Sunday Rambam chabura, we’re up to hilchot Sanhedrin. I’ve been suggesting trying to deconstruct the halachot to understand the underlying theories (of HKBH and chazal-eg predilection to not convict the innocent and why). When the Rambam (Hilchot Sanhedrin 1:10) lists the role of the 120 people required in a town to have a Sanhedrin, I noted there is a bet din but not a rav. It appeared to me that historically(certainly Talmudic times) the leadership focus was on the be din and sometime/somewhere it reversed. If so, any idea when and (to me more importantly) why?
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Recently davened mincha at a minyan where I heard the gabbai instructing a visitor who was to be the shatz as to local protocols including saying mizmor 121. After davening I asked the gabbai why they were saying it. He told me that he initiated it some years back for a challenging situation but he didn’t remember why and they just never stopped. I wonder how many minhagim started that way?
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Q&A at KBY I’m not sure why this is labeled takfo cohen, IMHO a better label would be R HS’s overview of TSBP and why you must know it all to be a modern posek. Includes rov, chazaka, hangaga, birur, halacha moshe msinai, kol dtakun…
- Rabbi Yehuda Turetsky-Life Insurance, Bitachon, and Planning for the Future: Halachic Perspectives Earlier sources seem to imply that buying life insurance shows a lack of bitachon. The CI is quoted as saying it’s a bad idea (if others are taken care of, HKBH can be stricter with you). Almost all other later authorities allow (me-changing attitudes or halacha?)
Great example of Rich’s rule of unintended consequences – one authority encourages purchases since the company prospers if you live longer and we know the wealthy have good financial mazal. The unintended (perhaps) consequence is that one shouldn’t purchase opt for an annuity since the company benefits from the policyholder’s early mortality.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Fundamentals of Hafrashas Challah Hafrashat challa is drabanan today. What combinations of grains, volume, liquid, intent and viscosity requires taking challa?
- Rabbi Dr. Ari Bergmann-Sparks of History: The Formation of the Talmud There’s the traditional (R Shrira Gaon et al) and the non-traditional (R Halivni et al) “history” of the Talmud. R Bergman is somewhere in between.
- Rabbi Osher Weiss-פרשת וארא: זכירת יציאת מצרים Is the mitzvah of zchirat ytziat mitzraim duraita? We are yotzei with kriat shma, how about other parshiyot (eg shira)? Is it about hodaa or kabalat ol?
- Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst-Borer: silverware, peelers, strainer spoon, tea bags Continuation of borer series focusing on silverware, utensil used to separate (eg peelers, slotted spoons) and tea making.
- Rabbi Ephraim Glatt-Zimmun In A Restaurant Do different groups at a restaurant combine for a zimun? Only if there was prior intent to join together
- Rabbi Zev Smith-Tefilah BiTzibur; The Extent of the Obligation Tfila btzibur is much more important than many people realize.
- Rabbi Mosheh Aziz-Halacha and Common Law:Necessity. A Panel Discussion with Rabbi Mosheh Aziz and Gideon Shirazi Comparison of commonwealth law with halacha in cases of “compulsion” including: killing to save self/others, damaging to save self, stealing medicine to save family member, squatters rights when living outside is dangerous and devaluating currency to save the national economy.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Shechting Geese in Teives and Shevat Not a shiur for rationalists thinking of becoming baalei tshuva.
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Q&A- Pshuto Shel Mikra, Hyrdroponics & Werewolves title Q&A including: Esav’s hatred, Avraham/Rachel and idols, dealing with individual antisemites, hydroponics, Israel’s sea boundaries, Dvora x2, defining chochma, TSBP disagreements, Tora as history/metaphor, folk traditions, and who established parshiyot?
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-The Sun’s Path Around the Earth: Can Chazal be Wrong About Science? (1) We accept rabbinic authority but where does it flow from (neder, ratzon hashem, communal acceptance)?
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-What is the Source for Rabbinic Authority? How is that Expressed in the Binding Authority of the Talmud Bavli? Earlier authorities generally did not have a problem with chazal being wrong in science. Sixteenth century rabbis began an approach more of apologetics or rejection of such a contention.
- Rabbi Yehoshua Pfeffer, Dr. Zelig Schur ,Mr. Chaim Krausz-1/21/23 – Shiur 404 – Adoption in Halacha Is it a mitzva to adopt a child (me-Jewish vs non-Jewish)? Is it better (avoiding future prohibitions vs “saving” a Jewish child) to adopt a Jewish or non-Jewish child? Halachic issue and practical experience discussed.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Vaeira Davening With Outstretched Hands From Tanach sources it seems we should pray with outstretched arms/hands so why don’t we? (me-another angle of deflection question (HT-R Dr C Soloveitchik). A number of suspects rounded up for questioning.
- Rabbi Doniel Osher Kleinman-Parshas Va’eira: Do You Hear Yourself Daven? Tfila requires not just moving lips but some air/articulation. Mashmia lazno is lechatchila but no one else should hear you. What if someone is davening loud enough for you to hear, do you answer amen?
- Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank-The Complex Topic of Choseness First in a series on choosiness. Some earlier writings on the subject wouldn’t be appreciated today (me-an understatement) so maybe don’t teach them.
The torah focuses on our relationship with HKBH as parent/child (unbreakable) while the oral law focuses on the spousal (breakable relationship). Perhaps the former aspect is inscrutable and latter is based on behavior. It’s complex! (me-as is life).
- Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman-Reflections on Racism and Prejudice Racism is bad from the halachic viewpoint of lashon hara, kavod habriyot and onaat dvarim. Bringing false charges of racism is also bad.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Faux Gras Faux gras involves force feeding geese. Major concerns are treifot and tzaar baalei chaim. The OU gives hashgacha with strict safeguards (me-probably they don’t interview the geese).
- Rabbi Moshe Taragin-Rav Amital’s Grounded Redemptiveness R Amital taught that the geula doesn’t necessarily come quickly but we need to be aware that we are part of a historical process. We are all messianists!
- Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb-Bitachon and Hishtadlus: Finding the Right Balance Aspirationally we wouldn’t go to doctors or work for a living but in the real world some hishtadlut is needed (at lease to give something for bitachon to chal on). Defining a reasonable amount of histadlut is a challenge.
- Rabbi Michael Taubes-Rav Moshe Soloveitchik on “Af Hein Hayu B’oso HaNeis” Maybe af hein hayu boto hanes works when the essence of the mitzva is pirsum. The rest is commentary!
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Hechsherim In Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh Kashrut supervision (per R Kallus) is more problematic in Israel then in the US – lots can go wrong. You need a badatz mashgiach tmidi. (me – it would be interesting to evaluate the risk/reward profile of kashrut supervisions. IIUC R Kallus would only eat where he knows the mashgiach personally?)
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Sacrificing National Security to Save the Cholent/a> Quick review of current poskim on kidra chayta (put up raw cholent right before Shabbat) and tchilato mshum sofo (returning on life saving missions on Shabbat).
- Rabbi Zev Smith-Davening, Berachot, Etc. and the Irreligious Jew How do we view non-frum Jews in terms of counting for a minyan/zimmun, duchening, aliya, shatz and answering amen to their brachot. It’s complex because we don’t want to turn them away!
- Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst-Borer Cases: percolators, soda bottles, salt shakers, ice cubes, pitchers Practical borer issues including: picking soda bottle to refrigerate for non-immediate use pouring water from a pitcher with ice in it, and salt shakers with rice. Defining when you have a mixture is key.
- Rabbi Allen Schwartz-Philosophy of Rav Soloveitchik 01 First in a series. R YBS combined intellect and emotion. Some thoughts on Adam I and II, biblical evolution, criticism, and women’s Torah learning.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – Giving Hashgacha to a Restaurant That Enables an Aveira Even though eid echad neman bissurin, outside kashrut supervision is now required. Local rabbis should decide where the line is as to providing kosher food (reduce sinning) and encouraging sin (me-anyone remember the glatt yacht?)
- Rabbi Yona Reiss-From the Dayan’s Desk #107: Teshuvos of Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz – Yoreh Deah part 2 R DG Schwartz on converting the developmentally disabled, gps conversion program and health care options.
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Pat Akum (1): The Gemara History of akum and bread takanot one was nitpasheit and one wasn’t. How does that work?
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