Friday, February 13, 2009

Audio Roundup XXIX

by Joel Rich

  • Rabbi Nathan Kamenetsky - A Message to the RIETS Israel Kollel (5769): link

    An entertaining and informative listen.

    A certain Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva’s wife studied Talmud and was the subject of the Alter of Slabodka’s interesting analysis of his current state and prediction of his future impact (not all completely positive).

    Interesting quote from Maharil that women should learn torah and that the gemara concerning not learning was an eit laasot (emergency measure). [Clarification from R. Kamenetsky here: link]

    Childless gedolim (and greats of other streams) have no personal stake in posterity and can act irresponsibly (he names some specific names – will be very controversial).

    Mentions F-P attack on him on Michtavim blog!
    Fascinating family history and how they ended up in U.S.

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  • Rabbi Nathan Kamenetsky - The Closing of the Yeshiva of Volozhin: link

    Includes a very interesting example of how R’NK takes seemingly contradictory facts and “resolves” them with his interpretation (much like Talmudic commentaries – where I always ask did they have a mesorah or just making the best guess – here it’s clearly a guess).

    Sridei Eish would have been the gadol hador (greatest of the generation) except for his divorce.
    Fascinating history of European Yeshivot and family nature (some might say nepotism). Including sons-in-law in the pool dealt to an extent with the “quality” of Roshei Yeshiva but family squabbles continue till today. Mussar as a separate course of study discussed as well (castor oil or health food?). Why did Volozhin close?

  • S. Savitsky - A Jew in the Modern World: Understanding Opportunities: link

    Interviews with 2 religious individuals (a medical Dr. and an economist) in the outside world. Nothing seminal, gotta wonder why we never hear interviews with average M.O. Joe’s (are there any in Lake Wobegon?). Question: Does the Torah have a view on the stimulus package?

  • Rabbi Michael Broyde - Informing on Fellow Jews who Commit Crimes: Mesira in Modern Times (Pay): link

    Excellent summary of the issues involved in DMD – Dina Dmalchuta Dina (Law of the Land) and Mesira (handing over lawbreakers).

    DMD is a religious obligation! R’Broyde’s most favors the position of R’Wosner that DMD by definition includes handing over to authorities in our countries and exceptions will be based on “seriousness of crime” and level of punishment.

    R’Broyde’s position is “nuanced” - 1. one must generally obey DMD except in rare cases; 2. if there is a threat to life or other serious implications, you must turn the person in; 3. There’s a vast middle ground where you must use common sense (would you turn in someone for sprinkling their lawn at 8:01 am if no sprinkling from 8-6 was the law?).

    R’Broyde’s law school education was great enhanced when he told a police officer that someone was selling joints and the officer replied – “I can’t smoke, I’m on duty”. (I suppose you had to have lived through the late 60’s to appreciate this one.)

  • Mrs Aviva Feiner - Chesed: link

    Mussar on chesed (loving kindness) and balancing with emet (truth). Chessed as a two-way street.

  • Rabbi Hayyim Angel - Introduction to Divrei Hayamim: link

    An interesting analysis of how and why divrei hayamim differs (certain historical facts, focus and messages) from other books of Tanach.

  • Rabbi Z Rimon - Tefila: link

    So is the exact text of prayer important? – Chatam Sofer says yes since written by Anshei Knesset Hagedola (men of the great assembly) and thus had the advantage of the land of Israel’s and the people of Israel’s zchut (merit). General answer is yes either because of:

    1. Kabbalistic function of specific words
    2. Authors were mduyak (specific) in their approach
    3. All of us should have common prayer
    So why differences in nusach (e.g. ashkenaz vs. sfard)? Yaavetz says errors crept in, kabbalists say all are meduyak (there are different stairways to heaven).

  • Rabbi Y Kahn - kriat hatorah: link

    Baal Koreh (reader) functions as both a stand in for Moshe (as he received/taught Torah) and to keep those who can’t read from embarrassment when called up.

  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb - Daled Kosos and Chinuch: link

    Discussion of mitzvah of chinuch (instructing children) using Passover 4 cups as starting point and explanation of differing opinions on the mitzvah of chinuch as applied to the 4 cups. Questions to think about:

    Is chinuch a separate mitzvah or part of the specific mitzvah at hand (i.e. where does the grade go on your heavenly report card)?

    Is the mitzvah of chinuch on the parent, the child, the community, some, none or all of the above?
    Note the famous Ritva that whatever Mitzvah one is teaching still must be done correctly (e.g. giving a child a lemon for an etrog wouldn’t work). I assume the Ritva wouldn’t appreciate reading the Torah reading with Brachot at Junior cong?

  • Rabbi Ari Jacobson - Minding Others' Business:Parameters in Intervention: link

    Talmud Yevamot says bet din (court) must give Eitza hogenent (proper advice) to widow w/o children to marry or separate from former husband’s brother. The Vilna Gaon cites this as source of general requirement to give proper, timely advice. However, there are also issues of Lfnei Iver (not to put a stumbling block) so can’t give bad advice and there are also issues of lashon hara (bad talk) so lots of complexity as to how to navigate (but navigate we must).

    Usual rule – tell as little as needed to get the job done.
    How much do you have to give up in order to give good advice?

  • Rabbi Yona Reiss - Divorce Proceedings: link

    Lots of practical detail on gittin (writ of divorce) plus some hashkafic (philosophical) thoughts on the subject (you got to know when to hold them, when to fold them, when to walk away, when to run).

  • Rabbi M Lichtenstein - Tefilat Shabbat: link

    The chapters of tehilim that are part of the Kabalat Shabbat (accepting the Sabbath) prayer reflect creation and G-ds handiwork (glory of nature) through history.

  • Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein - Cholesterol and community- Why must every Jewish event have food as part of it?: link

    Our holiday/eating focus is designed to turn the animalistic (eating experience) into a religious experience. We should endeavor to make this transition true for all aspects of our lives.

  • Dr. David Pelcovitz - Happiness: link 1, link 2

    Funds, Family, Faith, Friends. Funds only an issue till basic needs met - otherwise comparative deprivation sets in (e.g. unhappy with $3M bonus because someone else got $4M). [Note to Avi Mori V’Rabbi ZLL”HH (usual caveat) – Thanks again on this one]. Other F’s above are key drivers of happiness.

    First in a series – sounds like will deal with “happiness” vs. “simcha”. [Me – what about a man’s reach should always exceed his grasp?]

    Happiness II
    Optimism is great but must be grounded in reality. Need goals.
    Some in Kollel have issue of depression – if no accountability, testing, connection or product – people can lose focus. So need connection!

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky - Halachah of Ribbis-Part 1(General Overview): link

    It’s important to know when ribbit (interest) is a torah prohibition and when not – since there are workarounds to be involved as a third party (e.g. lawyer) in Rabbinic cases (me – but does it stain your neshama (soul)?)

  • Rabbi Yona Reiss - Divorce Proceedings 2: link

    Part 2 of detailed practical halacha. Here focus on mechanics of giving and getting (excuse the pun). Particularly interesting at very end – when and how can a get (divorce) be “forced” and at very end discussion of N.Y. State get law and prenups.

  • Rabbi Eric Goldman - Tefilla-Is It Really An Avoda Shebalev?: link

    Interesting discussion of whether you get “credit” for Tfilla btzibbur (prayer with the congregation) if you are praying a different amida (e.g. musaf) then the congregation (e.g. maariv). Not an unusual question for those who work in the East Side (midtown NY area – where all the summer maariv minyanim are post-plag pre-shkia).

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