by Joel Rich
At the beginning of Parshat Haazinu, the heavens and earth are called upon to listen to the covenant made between HKBH and the Jewish people. Rashi explains that the reason Moses did not ask this of humans is that he understood that humans are only temporary dwellers in this world. The heavens and earth, however are permanent, as is the covenant between HKBH and Israel to which they will testify. We discussed the fact that we are the eternal people, and we do have the eternal promise from HKBH to his people. Our own mortality is insignificant in the context of the eternal people. Our role is to act as transmitters from one generation to the next, as well as to spread the word within our own generation.
We also discussed that parts of the shira seem to be negative. The Ramban comments that in the shira we see the span of human history, including the creation of the world, the selection of the Jewish people, their delivery from Egypt into the promised land, their sins and their punishments. We can take comfort in the fact that God has kept his word as evidenced by history and, if we keep our end, He will keep his word and deliver His chosen people to their promised land. This was particularly worth thinking about it as it was Shabbos Shuva, but we all understand that it’s also good to think about all year round.
I have noticed that in a number of chareidi shuls that I attend from time to time there seems to be a practice that if there is no chiyuv, a younger teenage boy goes up as the shatz. I was wondering as to the halachic underpinnings of this practice given: “Hence, the chazan must be an upright, highly regarded, humble, amiable person, who has a pleasant voice and is accustomed to reading the Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim” (Shulchan Aruch 53:4)
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-The Rav on the Yomim Noraim: Bridging the Gap Between Action and Experience in Teshuva How do we understand the Rambam’s treatment of tshuva and vidui? A number of answers have been posited (eg they’re part of one mitzvah). R YBS posited the maaseh/kinyun explanation which combined his concrete/external halachic intellect with his personal/experimental intuition.
- Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig-Agency, Responsibility, and Time Gotta love a rosh yeshiva who talks about Laplace’s demons! The Rambam’s putting bechira in the midst of hilchot tshuva is all about our having agency and responsibility (anti-determinism). Then on to R Rosensweig’s favorite squaring of the free will/foreknowledge/control circle.
- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Rosh Hashanah – Halacha and Mussar Insights into: the Rambam’s understanding of tkiat shofar, shehechiyanu on the second night of rosh hashana, and general rosh hashana musar.
- Dr. Beni Gesundheit-Tefilot in the Talmud: Comparisons Between the Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi (Part 4) The sukkot piyyutim (ana = ani vhu) demonstrates the eretz yisrael view of joyous partnership with HKBH (ie doing with HKBH v asking of HKBH).
- Sacks-Herenstein Center-To Forgive or Not to Forgive9/11 memories – why did the American people choose to honor/compensate the tragedy but not others ones? What is the nature of forgiving/forgetting?
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Q&A: Rosh HaShanah, Suicide & The Mezinka Tantz Q&A including: wishes on your birthday (not so much), yetzer hara, shabbat violation to prevent chilul hashem (no), suicide (physician assisted and other), safek (is anything ever100%), sheitals (unclear why OK), tzniut as a lifestyle, mazinka (can’t hurt), halacha by analogy (of course), saving your life at others expense (no, but understandable), magic (for show), how to spend your time on rosh hashana, schach (ties), minhagei tkiot (how could there be differences), machnisei rachamim (questionable), bitachon, and tchiyat hameitim.
- Rabbi Shalom Rosner-Preparing for Yom Kippur 5784 – Halachic Overview Quick summary of yom kippur practices following the order of the shulchan aruch.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Lesser Known Halachos of Yom Kippur & Aseres Yimei Teshuva Topics include: correct machzor texts, eating erev yom kippur implications of, candle lighting, mosif mkodesh lchol, yom kippur and torah shbal peh, safek sakana (reasonable doubt), shoes (defined), mikveh (why), kol Nidrei, and much more.
- Rabbi Asher Weiss-Inyanei D’yoma: Sukkot 5784-Hiddur Mitzvah There can be a hiddur in the cheftza of the mitzvah as well as in the kiyum. A number of applications discussed.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Preparing to be a Learned Working Person On your way out of YU you should know what to learn (and how) in preparation for leaving. Once out, have regular sedorim with a chavruta, learn shnayim mikra, marry a supportive wife, pick a supportive community/rav, and learn with your kids. Also discussed, what sfarim to have.
- Rabbi Jeffrey Saks-Free Will Why doesn’t the Rambam include free will as an ikar? It’s part of reward and punishment (see hilchot tshuva and the importance of free will).
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Must I Really Grant Everyone Forgiveness? There are situations where one does not have to grant mechila (eg rasha, good of requestor or requestee, motzi shem ra). Part of asking mechila is to humble oneself (me-in order to change).
- Simi Peters-The Prophet Yona and Maftir Yona (Part 5) Yona felt ninveh deserved some punishment because they did not repent bein adam lmakom. HKBH’s message to Yona was the key to tshuva is accepting responsibility – klal yisrael would be punished for not doing tshuva, not for the original sin.
- Rabbi Moshe Shulman-KOHELET! The Sphinx of Scriptures (Part 5) At the end of his life Shlomo was told all his accomplishments would disappear. Perhaps he made the same mistake as adam harishon by picking the eitz hadaat (knowledge) over the eitz hachayim (obedience to hashem).
- Rabbi Asher Weiss-כנס להלכות צום יום הכיפורים לחולים: הרב אשר וייס, פרופסר יונתן הלוי ועוד Panel discussion (Hebrew) for medical professionals concerning general rules and specific applications of pikuach nefesh on yom kippur. You must know the mtziut!
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Overview of the Halachot of Living in the Sukkah We should be more stringent about sleeping in the sukka then eating in it. Is the exemption for rain a subset of mitztaer or is it no shem sukka? (there are nakfa minas).
Also covered briefly; rules for brachot and eating outside the sukkah.
- Rabbi Yona Reiss-From the Dayan’s Desk #124 – The 9-11 Agunot Review of the post 9/11 halachic process in victim identification (including agunot, dna, simanim, mayim shein lahem sof … )
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Halachos of Yom Kippur 5784 Yom kippur topics including: why is rosh hashana yom hadin, fulfilling titharu through vidui or mikveh, lighting candles (when, why and lighting’simpact on shehechiyanu), changing nusach hatfila (don’t), when to stand (must v minhag),
Eat the night before (maybe), short v long slichot and why hatarot nedarim.
- Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst-Fasting on Yom Kippur with Medical Health Issues; mental health, pregnancy, postpartum, fertility (Dayan Fuerst with Dr. Dinner and Dr. Bittan – Kav Halacha) Yom kippur medical issues including: daily psych and other medicines (better to not take water), fasting is more important than going to shul, dehydration, hypoglycemia, kidney involvement (including donations), how to do shiurim, nursing, pregnancy, and birth control pills.
- Rabbi Reuven Brand ,Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-A Teshuva Conversation: Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz & Rabbi Reuven Brand Discussion of the nature of mchila and tips how to improve ourselves. Key is to channel Elwood Blues’s (AKA Dan Aykroyd) famous insight, “We’re on a mission from god”.
- Rabbi Yitzy Weiss-Parshas Ha’azinu: What we can Learn from Beethoven When I was in consulting school they taught us that more than 70% of communications were nonverbal. A shir is deeper than the words and can be used to tighten our relationship with HKBH.
- The Road Back: Rabbi Sacks and Rabbi Soloveitchik on Sin and Forgiveness We must understand the function of the sair lazalzel, the difference between guilt and shame and the importance of conquering the evil inclination. We should also see tshuva as a retreat and catharsis. David Hamelech personified honest self-criticism which is the key to tshuva.
- Rabbi Michael Rosensweig-The קריאת התורה of the כהן גדול on יום כיפור and its Implications for the Nature and קדושה of the Day The yom kippur elements of avoda, tzom and mlacha are inextricably connected. It is a day to embrace pure spirituality.
- Rabbi Dovid Miller-Shiur Klali – Hilchot Yom Kippur and Yom Tov Sheni R miller reviews the YU Israel practices (sourced in eretz yisrael and RYBS for yom kippur. Also discussed: yom tov seini in israel for ch”ul talmidim.
- RavBerkovits-OhrS-Aish-Machon The great yeshiva leaders believed their derech was right and everyone else is was wrong! That’s the only way to be successful. (me-shivim panim ltorah?)
- Rabbi Jonathan Ziring-Eating on Erev Yom Kippur There are a number of reasons given for the mitzvah to eat on yom kippur (eg preparing for the fast, a yom tov seudah, causing innuy). There are nakfa minas (eg what if you know you can’t fast).
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Questions About Birchas Kohanim Q&A re brichat cohanim including topics such as: not looking saying psukim, shabbat modifications, shatz duchening, children duchening, losing intent, and more.
- Rabbi S Rosner-Preparing for Sukkot 5784 – Halachic Overview (4 Minim) Specific instructions on what to look for in daled minim.
- Rabbi Dr. Nachum Amsel-Antisemitism There are many reasons for antisemitism discussed herein. (me-and why did HKBH bake it into the bria, if he did?) How should we respond?
- Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig-ויבין כל יצור כי אתה יצרתו: מלכויות, אמונה, תשובה Outstanding discussion (with great pushback) concerning what it means to “believe” in HKBH in 2023!
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