Thursday, November 05, 2009

Audio Roundup LXVI

by Joel Rich

[Mazal tov to Joel on the birth of twin grandchildren -Gil]

Question: You attend a minyan which begins prior to the earliest time for talit/tfillin (T/T). The morah datra has outlined 2 procedures that may be followed and is indifferent to which one any individual chooses. Daven with the tzibbur and 1) put on T/T before beginning to daven, at the earliest time for T/T (which will be before Yishtabach is reached), say the appropriate brachot as you rewrap the talit and move the tfillin or 2) wait until the earliest time for T/T and then put them on with the appropriate brachot but the tzibbur will continue to daven as soon as enough time has elapsed for procedure 1 but not 2.
Which would you choose and why? What if doing 2) meant you would be putting them on during Yishtabach/Barchu (or waiting till after; and what if that caused you to not say shma with the tzibbur)?

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  • Rabbi Michael Rosensweig - The Interaction of Halacha and Society - Guidelines and Parameters: link

    Very thought provoking shiur from 1993 (warning – includes references to secular law systems and philosophy).
    Law reflects and impacts society and history. Crisis situations test law’s ability to be both a stabilizing and creative force. If a system is primarily pragmatic, it is easier to adjust (think U.S./mixed race marriages) than one which is philosophically based (e.g. halacha which is immutable and all encompassing). Even Choshen mishpat represents ideal (although note there were two sources of authority – beit din and melech).
    Halacha is not only representative of an ideal but has a function of tikkun olam in an imperfect world.
    Halacha intercts with society in a number of ways:

    * Conflicting “goods” within halacha may require “painful” halachic compromise (e.g. compromises for kiruv).
    * Uncharted territory (e.g. genetic engineering) How much practical information does a posek need? Need to be keen observer of society (but not of it? More on this later)
    * Reappraisals motivated by new circumstance (could be more or less stringent).
    * Circumventions (e.g. pruzbol, mechirat chametz) which must be in absolute compliance with halacha and caused by historical urgency (me – yes, I know, as defined by who??).

    We’ve lost flexibility due to no beit din hagadol, internal conflicts and the fragmentation of authority.
    Lots of interesting discussion of halachic process and flexibility which IMVHO boil down to “whom do you trust”.
    The job of the posek is to uncover theoretical roots of halacha to apply it (R’Micha – sounds like trying to unpack an algorithm to me!), therefore budding poskim need to focus on intellectual learning, not psak.
    In eras of laxity of practice, it is understandable that there’s less sympathy to specific cases and more to perceptions of the masses in the face of a system perceived to be under attack by societal forces. He feels this is often subconscious (me – hard for me to believe such smart people aren’t at all self aware).
    This self awareness issue plays out elsewhere in R’MR’s thought “if societal influences are assimilated unconsciously by baalei halacha whose essential persona has been primarily shaped by the corpus of torah - - - - then no danger to halacha”. IMHO it sounded like he was trying to thread the needle between 1) anyone with any exposure to “outside world” has non-torah influences (unconscious?) and thus is pasul and 2) you need to be completely of the “world” to judge the world (not in an ivory tower)… In R’MR’s opinion, he wasn’t trying to thread the needle, just defining reality.

  • Rabbi Daniel Hartstein - Shabbos elevators, Crocs and Rabbeinu Tam Tefilin - When Frum is Too Frum: link

    Ramat Bet Shemesh (Mitch, is that where you live?) has non Chasidim putting on Rabbeinu Tam tfillin. Northern N.J. has citizens returning from Israel on last day of Yom Tov in N.A., and some of them return home from airport before that day is over!? CLOR!!
    Shabbat elevator discussion (BTW, I think getting in the elevator and the Non ben brit operator taking you to your known floor is rmizah l’akum not amira); in an event R’HS says you can’t do this on an ongoing basis.
    Review of 2 source gemaras on Yuhara (showing off religiously?)
    Interesting insight as to what the chatan is worried about on his wedding evening.
    Bottom line – being different can sometimes be a problem and is very much a function of community standards (me – and of the community’s perception of the level of the individual).

  • Rabbi Yonason Sacks - Avodah SheBlev Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hageshem: link

    Mashiv haruach. When can you assume you said it? One month (per Tur – me - assumedly based on something inherent in the creation or a sociological observation – you tell me). Machloket to whether if you say it that number of times quickly does it count? Can you extrapolate number and time period from the law of the goring ox? What about other cases (e.g. chazakah)? How does the GRA’s “bein dan ldam” (3 differing arenas money, impurity, Issur) impact extraporatability (my new word)?
    Bottom line (to me) is this a “theory of everything” issue or a local one? Interesting insight from R’YBS on why “chazakah” somethings 2 sometimes 3 (pattern recognition or requires “chalot”).

  • Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein - The "Shabbat NEWSPAPER"?: link

    Talk about 70 sparks! Compare this shiur to R’Sobolofsky’s review in #64. Possible exceptions to the “no captions” approach outlined and the “worldviews” of the Rambam and Rashba (not necessarily what you would have expected) outlined – is Shabbat “kulo tora” or about using time wisely (a subject near and dear to my heart)?

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter - Frontiers in Modern Technology - A Halakhic Perspetive: link

    L’Shitato halacha is not about “magic” but about svara (logic). When science determines a fact, halacha recognizes it.
    Regarding DNA – there are 3 levels of simanim (signs), DNA would be in the highest level (muvhak) and recognized for Agunah and monetary cases.
    His walk off statement could use some clarification (if anyone knows anyone in his shiur, please ask) – by inheritance it sounded like he was saying “Yesh Lvarer” parentage if DNA test is cheap and easy (well actually if you did one, it would be dispositive)???

  • Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh - Hashkafa #5 tzadik veRa part 2: link

    A detailed analysis of differing approaches to understanding the odicy, including yissurin shel ahava and nisyonot (why are we sometimes tested).
    Me – Solution algorithm – pick an approach that best gets you through the night and minimize inconvenient Talmudic sources (or whistle a happy tune!)

  • Rabbi David Bistricer - Keeping Kosher – The Soul You Save May be Your Own: link

    A quick review of the R’MF tshuva on chalav hacompanies (not stam!) and the anan sahadei (we testify) of inspection making it “equivalent” of chalav yisrael (me – except on some metaphysical basis?). The government inspection is even better now.
    Rabbi David Bistricer-Reputation Preservation: Kashrus and Maris Ayin
    A quick review of using parve products that resemble dairy. Common usage seems to make it permissible [me – does this mean common usage in the “outside” world? If inside, who was the first to use it without clearly marking its pareve status? Was he/she an avaryan?]

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner - Cosmetic Surgery: link

    Is there a need? Does Rapoeh Yerapeh include permission for this?

  • Rabbi Asher Weiss - Abortion & Saving of Embryos: link

    A (Hebrew) review of the differing undetstandings of the sin involved in harigat ubar (abortion). Some pretty interesting thoughts on a tzaddik being able to raise the dead.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner - Using self-heating meals on Shabbat: link

    1st in a series on torah and technology. This to be continued shiur, begins with a basic analysis of the prohibition of bishul (cooking) and the technology of self cooking meals (as R’MR said – you need to understand the underlying lomdut to paskin new shailot).

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner - Hosheia: An Introduction: link

    Prophets needed personal relationship experiences to understand the relationship between HKB”H and Klal Yisrael. It doesn’t always work (e.g. Eliyahu). 1st in a series.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz - Ona'as Devarim Part I - Overview and Possible Exceptions: link

    Talmudic sources of different types of onaat dvarim – some specifics and exceptions (to be continued).

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner - Dina d'Malchuta Dina - The obligation to follow the law of the land: link

    Review of the various theories underlying the “law of the land” and the practical impact of these theories on halacha.

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory - She'elot uTeshuvot #02 - Heichal Yitzchak - Rav Herzog: link

    This week R’Herzog. Sh”ut include the proper name of Tel Aviv – Yafo and the status of the wives of those killed (HY”D) in 1948 in the Etzion block.

  • Rav Begon - Parshat Noach: link is the website of machon meir. Here a shiur (with simultaneous translation – a good way to learn Hebrew) on lessons of the tragedies of breishit and noach. General warning against jealousy, outside influences and the like. Specific internet advice – it can be plus or minus.

  • Rabbi A Mintz - The Origins of Jewish Prayer: link

    First in a series. Academics debate: majority – prayer preexisted formal structure created in Yavneh; minority – nope, we’re just replacing sacrifices [prayer as a consolation prize vs. fundamental relationship (me – Rambam vs. Ramban and R’Chaim’s proof – can you imagine Jews ever not praying?)]
    Talmudic (ahistorical) sources are there (e.g. Mamadot, Cohain gadol on Yom Kippur). Ben Sira contains at least a precursor if not actual prayer.

  • Rabbi Yonason Sacks - Hiddur Mitzvah: link

    Is hiddur mitzvah (beautification of the mitzvah) a torah or rabbinic requirement? We see examples where it pertains to the object (cheftza) and others where it applies to the person (gavra). Perhaps the lesson is while the object may be beautified, the aspiration is for the person to radiate with the beauty of the mitzava and the mitzaveh (commander).

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter - Hilchos Tzedakah: link

    Covers much of the usual territory including source and level of mitzvah, minimum, maximum, priorities and his understanding that aniyei ircha (the poor of your city) priority really means degree of connection you feel.

  • Shelley Klein - Law and Genetics: The Influence of Modern Genetics on Public Policy: link

    Genetics – reminded me of my understanding of “Ein mazal l’yisrael” – DNA (and many other factors) may cause a predisposition but is not dispositive.
    Major theme – be sensitive and inclusive as a society to all. (Me – what level of cost would society accept to allow for this)

  • Rabbi N Vilner - Halacha Urfuah 2-3: link

    Focus on halachic approaches to dealing with pru u’rvu and ovulation close to, but not quite within, the normally acceptable time frame.

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