Thursday, January 14, 2010

Audio Roundup LXXVI

by Joel Rich

YUTORAH has added a new feature-"ask the speaker". You'll need to register and, as per a source in the know, they don't guarantee responses but it can't hurt to try. If you use it, please let me know your experience (

You are the CEO of a large search engine company which is doing business with a totalitarian state. The state requires you to be involved in some censorship and has hacked your software to check on its own citizens to discourage (mild term) dissent.

Click here to read moreDo you:
1. Do nothing different assuming the use of your software will eventually lead to enlightenment
2. Do nothing different assuming your job is to make $ and they are mostly non-bnai brit anyway
3. Pull the plug.
4. Roll your own answer

Please provide halachic reasoning for your responses

1) Rashi – Shmot – “Vayar Ki Ein Ish” – Does this imply a non ben brit cannot have an impact on Jewish history?

2) Any source for the community to greet the mourner after Lcha Dodi when it’s well after Shkia? Why isn’t that considered public aveilut?

  • Rabbi Shmuel Hain -Yosef and the Brothers: Halakhic and Philosophical Reflections on Teshuvah: link

    Rabbi Shmuel Hain -Yosef and the Brothers: Halakhic and Philosophical Reflections on Teshuvah
    Hat tip to bni bchori. Nice discussion paralleling karban asham to Reuvain (by selling of Joseph) to an issue of character linked to – tshuva m’ahava (repentance out of love – very broad) versus karban chatat to – Joseph’s other brothers to – a specific transgression – to tshuva myirah (repentance from fear – narrower).
    Did Joseph and the brothers ever reconcile? Lessons for us in bein adam l’chaveiro (man and man) – our self transformation as a key to repentance (versus just saying I’m sorry)!

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory-She'elot uTeshuvot - Harav Yosef Rozen - Tzafnat Paneach: link

    In MTA the Rogatchover was the favorite gadol (for me and many of my then wayward, now pillars of the community, friends). Unfortunately, It was for the wrong reason. When confronted about our “chups” (long hair) we would whip out our “rebbi cards” (ok its figurative, I know they didn’t exist then) and point to the Rogatchover’s tonsorial preference. And we had the same excuse, he was too busy (learning) to get his hair cut and we were too busy (deleted by censor). The story goes (not told in this shiur) that when the Rogatchover married off one of his children, he consented to get his hair cut. As he settled into the chair he is reported to have moaned “tzar giddul banim” (the pains of raising children).
    R’Tabory captures the creative genius (did we ever discuss scientists and engineers and the rabbinic parallels), legendary terseness (me – brevity is the soul of wit – but it makes for a ton of speculation and dedication to learning.
    Examples of shut on counting a public Sabbath offender for a minyan (is the minyan a chovat hatzibbur [unique entity] or of a group of individuals) and wearing tfillin on Yom Tov Sheni.
    In my experience, the usual response is he was an individual wild genius , thus low halachic weight.
    Remind me one day to discuss halachic consensus as an approach to Ultimate Truth.

  • Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff -2009-12-21 Press Conference: link

    In rare form, R’AR takes on a number of difficult issues including scandals within the community, conversions, mishkav zachor, JTS, mishpacha magazine, Shalit, refusing orders and lack of community focus.
    He speaks with his usual candor about a number of specifics. I don’t think I can do it full justice (note to self – find a better cop out). Blames a number of problems on the “low cost” of being frum (just dress the part).
    You may not agree with R’AR on everything, but you certainly will find his opinions outspoken.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Q & A on Practical Issues in Kashrus Part I: link

    I have mixed emotions (I’m a complex guy!) on this shiur. OTOH it covers the waterfront of kashrut issues with R’HS’s characteristic direct, all encompassing approach – with conclusions. OTOH IMHO without a good working knowledge of Yoreh Deah issues (e.g. kbolo kach polto, ben yomo, ein mvatlin Issur….) I’d be concerned that one could easily take R’HS’s statements and improperly extrapolate to situations that “seem” similar. To cover everything in detail would be a book – I’ll pick some but you should listen.
    He covers going into non-Kosher restaurants. Marit ayin (how it looks) analyzed – very time and place based! [Raises one of my bafflements – R’YBS held first Jews who used Shabbat clocks were in violation, yet when enough did it, it was no longer a problem. Me – Choteh niskar (sinner benefits from sin?)]
    Coffee pots/machines in the office – technically even if problematic flavored coffees were used in the past, they are batel (even lchatchila – since don’t care) but assumes most would find it reprehensible!
    Buy fish in non-Kosher fish store? Can work but need to understand details.
    Cut fruit in restaurant – sounds like a no because of input he once got on shlocky chefs.
    Dishwashers – Lots of technical detail depending on the specifics of how it actually works.
    Ovens – of course in the alta heim everyone had two separate kitchens separated by a positive air system and to ensure no mixing of meat and milk [ok – I made that up]. Listen so you’ll know that it was ok that us old folks didn’t dip ourselves in boiling water between meals.
    Microwaves – keep everything in a bag
    Toaster ovens – he doesn’t have one!
    Non ben brit reliability – concern if financial advantage to switching Kosher for non-Kosher. Generally not concerned for unusual events.
    Also discusses issues of local vs. more national supervision standards.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha - Wearing a Yarmulka: link

    Good quick review of basic sources – but has common practice elevated the requirement? I have some extensive source material for anyone who is interested e-mail me at [BTW, R’Aryeh’s ten minute series is generally a good source of sources for deeper study]

  • Rabbi Michael Taubes -Parshas Vayigash Missing Tefilla for a Mitzvah: link

    General discussion and application of the concept of “haosek bmitzvah” (one who is involved in a mitzvah is exempt from another one). Nice thought on if the 2nd mitzvah is (my language) hutrah or dechuya (is it just deferred or is it as if it didn’t exist).

  • Rabbi Dov Linzer -Entering into Churches and Mosques: link

    Opens with interesting discussion of minority/majority religion in an area and how each is affected. What theological issues constitute avodah zarah? Talmud and Rishonim on this and, in particular, shituf (God & x as partners). Discussion of concerns with physically entering a beit avoda zarah. Do changes in beliefs on the ground over time mean the classification could change, and for which restrictions?

  • Rav Kalman Neuman -Society and Halakha - The Just War and the Commander in Chief: link

    Sources of authority/permission to go to war and/or kill in war – Non bnai brit and bnai brit. Milchement mitzvah and milchemet rshut.

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory-She'elot uTeshuvot Rav Chaim Ozer: link

    R’Chaim Ozer – broad range of his concerns. Two Sh”ut reviewed including geirut/kabalat ol mitzvot and allowing a cohain/public Sabbath desecrator to duchen.

  • Rabbi C Brovender - Pidyon Shevuyim, Jewish Ethics & Israeli Public Policy: link

    A little halacha on redeeming captives and Dr. Gold’s political analysis of present day Israel and implications for redemption (of captives).

  • Rabbi Yona Reiss -Kedushas Beis HaMedresh: link

    Discussion of circumstances and permissible (and impermissible) uses for shul and Bet Medrash (eating, drinking, talking).
    General rule – we do too many things we should probably not be doing (me – but it’s like home! - talk about rationalization).

  • Rabbi Daniel Stein - Davening with a Minyan- Obligation or Priority: link

    Is minyan a “nice to have” priority or a requirement (rabbinic). Lot’s may flow from this: Is it more important to go to minyan or daven in a shul even by yourself? A beit medrash or a shul? In your beit medrash? With a minyan or after hanetz (sunrise)? How far do you have to go to daven with a minyan.
    Right up my alley – This is why IMHO we leave many people rudderless when we encourage fact memorization vs. theoretical understanding (of course if we do the latter they eventually realize that all the data point (ok shoot me – I’m an actuary) don’t neatly fit).

  • ימי עיון חנוכה "ע 6, ד"ר אביעד הכהן - היבטים יהודיים בתקשורת: link

    Same hat tip. Hebrew was a bit difficult for me but interesting discussion of halachic issues of media and communications – is there an inherent contradiction between freedom of speech, artistic license and lashon hara, truth telling, etc.?

  • Rav Asher Weiss- Yissochor Zevulun Relationship: link

    Discussion of how Yissachar/Zevalun partnership works. Is it a formal contract splitting earnings? R’Moshe has a famous tshuva. Is it more a segulah? Hard to believe (for R’Weiss and for me J) that HKB”H allows you to buy and sell reward, thus to reconcile the sources R’AW understands it as similar to assisting (perhaps like a study partner or assisting in helping concentrate) the learning itself.
    Some discussion of actual contracts.

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