by Joel Rich
In honor of all those leaving all the Babylons (especially those on the Hudson) and seeking to find their roles as part of the people of destiny in the land of our destiny. May we all join them speedily.
Rabbi Mayer Twersky - Cultivating Ahavas Yisrael: link
Maharsha views 9th of Av Talmud Torah prohibitions as a matter of avoiding hesech hadaat (distractions). IIRC R’YBS did as well. Is it permitted to learn certain subjects but no requirement to learn??
My favorite Chazon Ish story (“I learn when I have time”); too bad they didn’t have portable tape recorders in his day! Perhaps that is message of Tisha B’AV – main focus is on mourning/tshuva so we “don’t have time” if a higher level Chiyuv takes precedence.
Lots of good mussar.
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Meiri has become a major focus due to his more “modern” view on interfaith relationships.
Interesting take on R’H Schachter’s statement that it is heresy to say that R’Kook and the Satmar Rabbi took their positions on heter mechira due to political consideration rather than narrow halachic consideration (but, of course, yishuv eretz Yisrael is a halachic consideration).
History of the discovery of the Meiri (a rishon) and why other rishonim who were “missing” and then rediscovered, weren’t subject to the same debate concerning accepting them in halacha,
Basic questions – Are they considered idol worshippers? Can Mishum Eivah (due to hatred) operate broadly without the Meiri? How do we deal with “good people” with bad theology?
1st in a series – covers several issues including the purpose of the mishna and how halacha lost its unanimity. Thesis – Klalei horaah (rules of psak) took time to be accepted (how could one individual rabbi always be right?). Interesting listening – especially the analysis of the gemara in brachot re: practicing according to beit shammai (do not listen while operating heavy machinery if the term academic Talmud causes you nausea).
Continuation analysis of why minority opinions are recorded. Ranges from usage in emergency circumstances to allowing later generation to consider psak from first principles. Perhaps also to be there to justify established practice (hmmm – you mean it’s not always a simple algorithm??).
Can/should you follow one posek even if he (she?) is in the minority? Can you have multiple poskim?
Importance of Pinchas = Eliyahu and its implication concerning continuation of mesorah [Brisker Rav – Eliyahu will reestablish the mesorah]
Eliyahu hanavi, hatishbi, hagiladi = he will announce the geulah, return the hearts of the fathers and restore oral law (always an interesting issue for rationalists).
R’YBS – no Sanhedrin sitting at beit mikdash implies an already reduced importance of beit mikdash – no longer a continuation of the giving of the Torah.
Purpose of Yeshiva is to connect to living mesora (not with audio roundup writers).
Detailed discussion of sources re R’YBS on Aveilut Yeshana (old mourning = loss of beit mikdash) and aveilut chadasha (new mourning = loss of close relative).
Analysis of chiddush of R’YBS of separate mitzvot – “Vasu li mikdash” and having “beit habechira”.
Permitted, forbidden or somewhere in between? Major issue is understanding the why of the practice and how that should impact on our observance (focus, dear Prudence, focus).
Analysis of underlying issues – who is the baal (responsible party?) for your well being? Can you be mochel (allow?) someone to injure you?
Cases of Shaul and Chaniah ben Tradyon as role models.
Can you be mchalel (violate) Shabbat to keep someone from committing suicide? Can you pray for someone to die? Can you refuse medical treatment?
Difference between Tisha B’av and other fasts? Ramban – it’s had more problems associated with it (not # but qualitatively) Thus not “voluntary” like others. Are the extra restrictions a function of mourning or something inherent in the day? A number of possible halachic differences explained by this differentiation (me – interesting formulation – but not totally convincing that all these flow from it).
Interesting that our interest in exact measures parallels general society’s! (coincidence I assume). Discussion of classic halachic attempts to measure the Amah et al.
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Wide ranging discussion concerning the permissibility of using someone else’s resources (e.g. stealing) to save one’s own life. What about to save many lives? What if it costs society a lot of resources? What if it is an indirect cost?
Analysis of Eicha and parallels in Kinot based on R’YBS – themes of fasting and mourning, kinot requiring a matir (permission = Eichah) and the need for remembering both the tragedy and the grandeur (may it be restored speedily and in our days).
Chapter 5 sounds like it reflects a period of contemplation after the disaster – groping through suffering to realization of sin. Couldn’t end on positive note, but we do, as a Tzibbur, by repeating hashiveinu – because we realize we are part of a convenant of destiny. Analysis of structure of Eicha.
Theologically – dialectic – there is a true judge yet we can’t always explain suffering.
A short mussar on the need for loving our fellow man. Particular focus on doing for others as a way to draw them closer. Remember their Neshama (soul) is tehora (pure).
A detailed analysis of taste testing including Kfeilah Aramai, Masiach lfi tumo and taam K’ikar.