Friday, May 01, 2009

Audio Roundup XXXIX

by Joel Rich

Reminder: TIM as a courtesy to Hirhurim readers is allowing their reviewed shiurim to be downloaded at no cost. Go to and enter coupon code 7508956 (NOTE THE NEW CODE) upon checkout

  • Rabbi Daniel Feldman - Competing Needs: Prioritizing our Charitable Dollars: link

    Conundrum – There’s lots of halachik material yet in the end lots of judgment! (me – how does this comport with "daat torah"?).

    GRA – The torah uses the language of hand by charity because the fingers look the same size when the hand is closed but when opened we see they differ (as do needs).

    Click here to read moreSince Rabbis are well versed in halacha and priorities, many feel Rabbis’ discretionary fund is the best approach (let’s discuss offline).

    Rambam felt giving less to more recipients yields greatest spiritual growth and thus preferred (Maharal and R’Yakov Emden disagree).

    There may also be differences in priorities between whether one focuses on the giver or receiver as well as between individual givers and trusteed public funds.

    R’A Levine (yu) says Dai Machsero (to his level of need) for a formerly well to do person is only for a transition period (source??). Rama says Dai Machsero is a responsibility on the community but not on the individual giver (others disagree).

    While priorities should be merit based (righteous vs. not, working vs. not), these aren’t applied now since we aren’t able to know (hmmm – what do you ever really know?). So family first then local (but Chatam Sofer says that’s only when equal level of needs).

    Perhaps it’s like a series of concentric circles. Chatam Sofer says it’s not like PBGC priority categories (you don’t fill all higher level needs before giving a $1 to lower level), it’s "proportionalities".

    Got it? (BTW, he doesn’t cover the calculators for the amount to give.)

  • Rabbi Mayer Schiller - What Hassidut and Kabbalah Can Teach the Modern Jew

    I must have been channeling him for years (or him me?). Historical/scholarly doubts about Kabbalah/Chassidut and how to understand and incorporate (me – bottom line – there are intangibles – "I am a fool and I still believe" – sounded to me like "a fool for god"). Well worth listening.

  • Rabbi Mayer Schiller - Is Popular Culture Sanctifiable?

    Can "popular culture" be redemptive (my term)? Is it possible for fun to create appreciation and attachment to HKB"H? If yes, how much time? It depends on you (and not necessarily consciously). Measure by impact and is subject to human autonomy (you’re singing my song!).

    Issue though is "where do you live" if you see problems and benefits in differing communities (me – you know it ain’t easy – to swim against the stream – but you have to pick a major and then hishtadel with all your might! Where is Joel world?).

  • Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo - Rescuing G-d and Halacha: The Struggle for Relevance in Contemporary Judaism

    R’Cardozo lives in both MO and charedi worlds and thinks in broad strokes. They need to learn from each other in order to grow and have meaningful lives. (Kumbaya – why can’t we all just get along?)

  • Rabbi Noam Weinberg / Parenting Through Parsha Tazria-Metzora: link

    Full disclosure – R’Noam is my ben zekunim’s brother-in-law (obviously from a discerning family!). "Parenting through the Parsha" – hey, you gotta have a hook!

    Nice opening dvar torah, which while it doesn’t completely explain theodicy, is a nice one to keep in your tool kit.

    Some basic parenting education (common sense is not so common?), I loved the dirt eating analogy (I use it all the time) or as we say, if you don’t give them a chance to fail, they’ll never succeed.

    But, I ‘m still not sold on the labeling the action not the child thing (but my wife is!).

  • Rav Hershel Schachter - Halachic Issues of the Tuition Crisis: link

    Sources (lots) or making a living – for all but "Yichidei Segula" (a rare few). Quotes Tosfot Bava Kama 7a that no requirement to give tzedaka to those whose poverty is a lifestyle choice (my term).

    Rabbis getting paid – horaat Shaah (emergency exemption). Rabbi Rosefsky (Ponovitch) agreed tu7 type up and out is best type of kalle). No mitzvah to be poor! Greeks looked down on labor – not us!

    Thanks Avi Moril vrabbi Zll"hh – you schooled one well!

  • Rabbi Shmuel Maybruch - From Schubert to Shwekey: Music During Sefirah and Throughout the Year: link

    Is it permitted to listen to music at all? When? Instrumental only? Vocals only? Tapes? Three weeks? Sfirah? Relaxation? Parties?

  • Rabbi Moshe Gordon - Hilchos Birkas Kohanim: link 1, link 2, link 3

    Three part series detailing specifics of Birchat Kohanim.

  • Rebbetzin Smadar Rosensweig - Sefirah, Torah & Personal Growth: link

    Counting sfira as a model for personal preparing/developing for receiving the torah. Women’s focus as setting the tone, enabling life of torah for entire family. Interesting spin (apologetics?) in explaining certain activities described as "make up" for role in the eitz hadaat affair.

  • Rabbi Triebitz - History and Development of the Talmud 20: link

    The butler did it! (I only listened to the last summary shiur at

    R’Treibitz’s position is that the gemara was written down at the end of the 10th century as part of a paradigm shift of halachik authority (geographic).

    His more general theory IIUC is that this writing (and the prior oral tradition of shakla v’taria {give and take}) is part of an ongoing process in which we (and all these before us) are not focused on the actual original meaning of a text (or statement). The statement is a jumping off point for gedolim to use their daas torah (and R’Halivni doesn’t understand this). Well, actually in the Q&A it sounds a bit more complex (Rich’s theory - we develop symbiotic relationship with the text; Rich’s conjecture – no one theory fits all the data points. Rich’s question – anyone have or know what a spline is?)

  • Rabbi JB Soloveitchik - Tefilla: link

    Two hours and the recording quality is uneven but R’YBS shares many insights (some familiar) on prayer. Includes why we pray – requests and personal sacrifice. The meaning of prayer. Shma Koleinu vs. Retzei – Birchat Kohanim (he didn’t pour water!), etc.

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky - Sefiras Ha'omer: link

    Good review of practical halachot of Sfira counting and mourning (but why did he say CLOR about dateline crossing and not others??).

    Question: What % of Orthodox men daven maariv b’tzibbur? Of those, what percentage daven with a minyan that davens before tzeit hakochavim (weekday? Erev Shabbat?) Of those, what % count sfira with the minyan? (call this variable % CBS). Of CBS 1) what % know that it’s bdieved; 2) what % of the (1-CBS) forget to count?

    Interesting tie into question of music (see shiur reviewed above) all year and sfira.

  • Rabbi Yonason Sacks - Chametz She'avar alav ha'pesach, Toras Ha'adam, Metzora and Aveilus: link

    Discussion of the nature of the essence of the prohibition of Chametz Sheavar alav hapesach plus some good mussar on bechirah.

  • Rabbi S. Brin - Meshech chochma - Yom Ha-Atzmaut: link

    A review of two letters written by the Meshech Chochma relating to Zionism/resettlement of eretz yisrael. Changing conditions on the ground may have led to changing focus as the possibilities became more real.

  • Rabbi Jeffrey Saks and Rabbi Reuven Ziegler - Rabbi Soloveitchik's "And From There You Shall Seek": link

    Fascinating background on "Uvikashtem Msham" including the evolution over 20+ years of its name (from "Ish haelokim") and who it was meant to describe (debatable). A life’s search and finding freedom in halacha?

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