Clearly a man with something on his mind! Begins with a beautiful riff that I call Lulei toratcha – how his attachment to torah got him through his triple mourning, his arduous schedule and the soft footsteps he heard when learning.
Then down to business – Kabbalat ol malchut shamayim (acceptance of the yoke of heaven) can only be through the truth of chachmei mesorah (transmitters of the tradition) on its own rules (i.e. no outside rules apply, e.g. historicism) no apologies to modern subjectivism.
Chazakah’s of chazal are not behavioral but ontological – Tan du l’meitav (a woman would rather be married) is existential! [when I listened again, I’m unconvinced that he meant just this chazakah since mentioned in torah].
If we apply Afkinu (Rabbi’s power to undo wedding) broadly, we can get rid of gittin. There are some problems that are not solvable (e.g. story of giyoret who fell in love with boy, helped him come back and then they found out he was a Cohain).
Click here to read more
Converts may not be judges but his is not an issue of their axiological worth. For example, Shmaya and Avtalyon were leaders of their generation. R’YBS says issue by judges is just by pragmatics (voting on specific applications) not getting general halacha.
Discussion of Rambam’s position on Stam Ger vs. Ger Tzedek (kiyum hamitzvot).
Classic R’YBS on "worship of the heart" as a metaphor for total surrender to God as well as total God intoxication. Kiyum and Maaseh (act and fulfillment) of the mitzvah of prayer according to the Rambam as well as the mchayev being awareness of need.
Discussion of definition of "time bound" as in time bound mitzvoth.
Really classic R’YBS on prayer – combination of halacha and hashkafa.
Rina = calling out
Tzelutah = bakasha (request)/petition/needs
Beutah = inquiry (longer term)/how guide self
In many ways petition within prayer is secondary, primary is "confrontation" with God.
Money quote in the name of R’Chaim-Rambam must be right that prayer is a torah requirement – can you imagine a Jew without prayer any time in Jewish history? Prayer is absurd yet all generations from Avraham on have done it.
Ashrei as a matir (gives us permission) to pray – we start praising (ashrei, bchol yom) yet then reflect on God’s greatness (gadol) and wonder how we can pray? Answer – every generation has done it (dor L’dor).
Makom kavuah (set place) in Beit Knesset for prayer is reflection of a rendezvous with God and allows Knesset Yisrael to form unique, singular prayer of Knesset Yisrael.
Iyov’s "sin" – he only prayed for self and family; "repentance" at end was to pray for others.
Shul is for prayer of Knesset Yisrael, learning torah and Tzedaka (charity/ concern for others) – last seen in requirement not to leave others behind in shul, Kiddush in shul Friday night. God and Israel excel at waiting (erech apaim)!
Jewish life in Bavel was very long (over 1000 years) and the Persians were primarily accommodationists so Jews were comfortable with local culture and spoke the language. Example of impact – Bavli spends much time (vs. Yerushalmi) on theodicy – because host culture (Zoroastrian) had easy explanation (2 gods). Gives example – what’s dependent on mazel (vs. other gemara which says no mazel) of parallel beliefs.
Bottom line – they were Tora U’madda Jews (ahh – I feel much better now).
Prophet’s job is to shape the future. He get’s the message from God of what the possibilities are and transmits it to the people. People need to play their role to actualize the potential. Redemption is a classic example.
Discussion of the nature of the requirements that we judge our neighbors positively and that there be no falsehood in court judgment. Bonus mussar on lessons of R’Akiva’s students and sfira.
Viewing Kohanim as vessel for Bracha may well inform on a number of halachik implications.
Is the focus one’s reputation or people learning the wrong lesson (from someone as chashuv as you >☺>).
Detailed analysis of eating fish and meat together. Why do caterers allow them so close to each other at a smorg? Why did the Rambam not mention the prohibition? Why did the Chatam sofer play it half way?
Bottom line – Geulah can be a slow and painful process but Tzipita L’yshua means belief that eventually it will be better/complete.
Discussion of an approach to the trade off in hishtadlut (efforts) and bitachon (trust). Bottom line – be proportionate! (need more help? Reasonable hourly rates available.)
Begins a series on Pirkei Avot (but can he get me into R’Lichtenstein’s Shiur in my Shana Alef??).
While the focus of pshat of being diligent in judgment may be for judges, avot d’rabi natan extends it to the rest of us (except those who are totally non-judgmental?) on a mussar level.
Series on Ruth and how it interrelates to other sfarim.
Why did it make the cut into tanach when it just seems like a nice maaseh? Medrash – reward for kindness. Dr. Ziegler questions based on other parts of tanach which fill the bill as well as the extraordinary level of selfless kindness. Zohar says reason is lineage of David. Dr. Ziegler joins the two – Ambivalence (throughout chazal) on monarchy (absolute power corrupts absolutely) requires genetic disposition to absolute kindness.