by Joel Rich
Question: The following quote “The Gemara and the Rambam not withstanding, the prevailing custom……” is an extract from 1) the conservative responsa on driving to Shul on Shabbat; 2) the opening speech concerning the title maharat; 3) Al Hadaf describing compensation for Torah; 4) all of the above; 5) none of the above.
Historical analysis of those who rose against Jewish identity. Russian Jewry and American Jewry post-war both recognizing their allegiance to “Amcha”. [low audio at points]
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Analysis of the relative priorities of learning torah and respecting parents followed by how to balance learning with family responsibilities. First year of marriage practice of learning night seder at home. Children should see father learning [R’NAR – do you remember the Morah Sarah question in 1st grade?]
In our day the mora d’atra (pulpit Rabbi) really only has say over shul practices. Individual practices at home – ask “your” authority. Interesting thoughts on who you ask as a soldier (army rabbi, rosh yeshiva, etc.)
General discussion of IVF, AIH, etc. and who is the halachic “parent”.
Should a seudah take place in shul for brit of baby of single mother? same sex parents?
Yabia Omer is detailed (understatement?) set of tshuvot, Yechave Daat are short (for masses on radio) tshuvot.
R’OY’s goal was/is to “restore” true sfardic tradition and to be meikil, where possible, for inclusionary reasons.
Example of psak – women making brachot.
New faces should really be those who will add joy! It should be a “special” meal!
Sheva brachot – do we say them at seudah because it is convenient or is there an inherent connection? (lots of differences flow from this!)
Two cups – ein osin mitzvot chaveilot [(don’t heap on mitzvot) – but good discussion of exceptions] or just 2 separate mitzvot?
Do you need to eat to be counted for the minyan or to say one of the sheva brachot?
Who are the panim chadashot at the meal after the wedding ceremony or don’t you need them?
Perhaps the sheva brachot is a chiyuv on the community, not the individual?
What if you start the seudah on the last day of the week after the wedding but continue into next?
Discussion of rules of doctors and damages.
Some Torah U’Mada chizuk followed by a primer on stem cell research and halachic parameters and public policy. Raises resource allocation issues [one of my ponderments – does halacha have a unique opinion on the allocation of scarce resources to unlimited demand?]
An academic approach to biblical textual “issues” and how chazal dealt with them including: translation when only place word is used or word seems out of context (interesting point that there were no early “commentaries” rather wrote translation and any commentary had to be part of story) lots of interesting examples of various “issues” (my favorite – Targum Yerushalmi has Kayin and Hevel arguing about reward and punishment (apparently a teachable moment!))
Why is there so much bakasha (requests) in prayer? R’YBS – acknowledgement that all is dependent on HKB”H! Importance of preparation to pray. (This was part of an OU program on prayer). Me – How do you set a soul (even our own) on fire (not everyone is fortunate enough to have had a parental role model who exemplifies prayer as a communication with the divine).
A review of the history of DNR’s, the % success rates of CPR under differing conditions. Incentives for MD’s to “cheat” (hard work and they think they’re doing the right thing. Sources in gemara (R’Yehuda Hanasi) and his maid. The second shiur will go through the range of halachic opinions.
Yes, I relistened to it - Conversion for marriage – what an obscure topic! The sources are few yet amazingly confusing (you know that whole Kabbalat hamitzvot thing). He understands the Rambam as adding an additional category of converts. The whole retroactivity thing is reminiscent of the time travel paradox!
Side point – what did they learn in the Yeshiva of Shem V’ever (once heard – Shas & poskim, of course!)
Interesting possibility that a father who waives his right to kavod may only save his son from earthly, not heavenly punishment(?!?!?!)
Some discussion of Yirah (awe?), kavod (respect) vs. bizayon (embarrassment)
Nice analysis of sources and underlying theories behind Kriat shma al hamita (bedtime shma). Is it for “protection” or to fall asleep with Torah on your mind? Some implications (not all compelling) for number of paragraphs to say, what order to say Kriat shma and hamapil, importance of additions to Kriat shma and hamapil, if don’t fall asleep is it a bracha l’vatala (blessing in vain).
A few throw ins – R’Aryeh, it’s not mekubal by all AIUI that mezuzah is for protection (actually IIUC it’s an idea that snowballed later) but I also wonder about giving the “holy” anim zmirot to kids to say (I’m not sure I buy the “their purer” line of thinking on the matter).
Talmud and Rambam seen to value Greek language and thought but really they have chochma (wisdom) while we have “Chochma elokit” (godly wisdom?) which makes you better. (hmmm – this would be an interesting statistical study!)
Compares to R’ovadia Yosef – R’OY followed Maran down the line. R’Mordechai Eliyahu followed Ben Ish Chai. Some “interesting” shut – strongly against coed education and Sherut l’eumi.
Large span of opinions on power of melech Yisrael ranging from extremely limited to whatever other kings can do, to what people consent to. [Again, I’d love to see a study of positions over the ages and what local conditions were – yes, I know halacha is timeless].
A review of the various stringencies that follow the concepts of duchka d’sakina (pressure of the knife) and davar charif (sharp tasting items) [anyone know if these apply if you use the side of a spoon or fork???]
Avot were always getting up early! [Yeah for early risers!]
R’Taragin identifies several related (but separate) concepts including: 1) zrizin makdimim – do mitzvot ASAP; 2) mitzvah haba l’yadcha – once started, it’s there, do it; 3) Ein Maavirin (don’t pass over one mitzvah for another); 4) L’olam Yakdim (chap a mitzvah before someone else – R’MT – it also bothers me and lmaaseh I don’t do it)
Is zrizin an intrinsic (makes it a “better” mitzvah) or extrinsic factor. R’MT gives several ex’s where it may make a difference (questions I’ve often pondered and always got an “it depends”) – Mincha ktana vs. gedola, brit early in AM or when people can get there, Kiddush Levana when? [insights welcome!]
Review of various opinions on DNR. Tzitz Eliezer is the strictest – only when the patient is already “dead”. Rabbi Bleich practically forbids whereas R’SZ Auerbach and R’M Feinstein allow for terminal patients who are in horrible pain and no hope for cure. Generally require to continue “natural needs” – food, water and oxygen. R’H Schachter allows for some autonomy – if it’s obvious what 999/1000 would want/do.
Review of sources and meaning of changing names for ill (parallel to repentance is bottom line to many). General discussion of power of names and some on divination.
Were Shimon & Levy right in their actions with Shechem (yes, no, maybe?). Maharal accepts that bad things can happen when nations are at war. R’H Schachter points out no exemption of pikuach nefesh (mortal danger) in war (i.e. separate rules). No ransoms when at war. Discussion of trade-offs on civilian casualties. Chazon Ish on “maaseh hatzalah” (act of saving) plus pnai yehoshua introduction when he discusses being saved from fallen building, rescuers probably killed more than they saved but they are not held liable due to the maaseh hatzalah.
Another magical mystery tour! I can’t list all the stops but they include: Unshalma parim sfateinu – do we only get credit for karbanot (sacrifices) by saying them or does this extend to other mitzvot prophecy. Individual Gedarim (protective measures) – not too big, not too small, but just right!
Long riff on Jews responsibility (as modeled after Yaakov) to make the world a better place (Ger V’Toshav anochi). Definition of Amalek.
Sale of bcorah by Esav under duress – an analysis of why this should be deemed a bona fide sale in light of halachot of commerce.
Discussion of Chassidic philosophy and it’s view of individual roles. Some interesting Q&A.