by Joel Rich
Did I ever mention that I graduated MTA and YU and that both classes were full of people a lot smarter than me(Where have you gone Sidney Markowitz, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you)? One of my classmates (who likely didn't know I existed, at least on an intellectual level) Sam (now Shmuel) Safran of the Weizmann Institute, has written a great article in the latest BDD C-C-C Contemporary Problems in Light of the Writings of R'YBS.. It would be worth it alone for one of my favorite R'YBS quotes which (as is often the case) dovetails with the mesorah I received from Avi Mori Vrabbi ZLL"HH -"All extremism, fanaticism, and obscurantism comes from a lack of security. A person who is secure can not be an extremist. He uses his heart and his mind in a normal fashion." I am thrilled that just about all the quotes are ones I tagged for the local shiur I gave after its publication (I called it"" The Rav in his Own Write" which tells you a lot about why shmuel is a gadol and I am a katan (joke on 2 levels)
Click here to read moreQuestion: As a community leader, do you favor policies that are more inclusionary but might reduce your average frumometer score (but increase the total of all frumometer measures) or less inclusionary that increase your average frumometer score but decreases the total of all frumometer measures?
First in series. Discusses history of large vs. small shuls(there have been both back to the times of the Tamud). Here focus on benefits of smaller ones (functionality, greater spots of holiness, less free-riding). Very important (IMHO) tie into sociology (me - why is it that churches have studied this a lot – is it we know issues in our gut?). Dunbar’s # is worth thinking about (effective group sizes for different purposes?)
Some of the positives of big shuls. Focus on how to maintain social benefits in large groups (representative democracy) – have subgroups which coalesce (??) around common greater purpose (Rabbi T. – how would you define that greater purpose – e.g. qualitative vs. quantitative avodat Hashem?)
If one who goes to secular court and gets money is a thief, how does bet din ever allow you to go to secular court?
The audio quality is fairly low. Issues covered:
1) Study of ancient near eastern culture in High School (sounds like a no)
2) YU tolerance club public forum – it’s complex!
3) Purpose of creation (really)
4) Yeridat hadorot (weakening of progressive generations)?
5) Kashrut “facts” and science (e.g. 1/60) – how to understand the interaction (reminds me of R’HS’s statement how all the Rabbis should get together and rule that stainless steel doesn’t absorb).
Suggestions: 1) better audio; 2) have a 1 minute chazara shiur on each question.
Hat tip to R’Dr. Shapiro’s works (well worth reading). There’s also a new series on the Sridei Eish on the VBM (link).
A complex almost tragic gadol (reminds me of R’YBS on Joseph and his brothers).
Here deals with his responsa on shechita, bat mitzvah, mixed sex youth groups and translating prayer. His recognition of his own alienation is painful.
Kriat Shma and the amida, how loud? Regular days vs. Yamim Noraim?
Bottom line – loud enough to hear yourself but not to bother others.
Burial in Israel for those who live outside the country. Rabbis outside of Israel seemed to discourage (R’Moshe, R’Henkin, R’Yaakov); inside seem OK (Chacham Ovadya, R’Pesach Tzvi Frank, Tzitz Eliezer). Sources quoted both way.
[How personally painful – the position that if you’re not here alive then….!!]
An analysis of the concept of migo (I could’ve said I didn’t borrow a teapot, so you should believe me that I borrowed it and returned it) and Chazal’s thinking behind it.
Technical analysis of the nature of the duty to give charity (is it monetary or prohibited/permitted). Some other examples of this duality.
Traditional exposition of traditional women’s role of traditional household builder of traditional home in traditional manner.
Daat Yehudit vs. Daat Moshe analysis.
Money quote: Rav Soloveitchik Z”l his wife Z”l did not cover her hair - based on that there are many women who don’t cover their hair. Of course it’s absolutely silly…..against the mishna, against everything. The Rav himself was the first one to tell you that as he told 3 or 4 people. I spoke to each one of them.
What was the underlying goal of the writing of the Kuzari and how can it be seen by paying close attention to the plot and players (convince those already convinced?)
Talmudic source against davening outside, quoted by S”A but not others – some possible explanations why and reasons (humility, intent in prayer, not being bothered) and some possible differing implications (e.g. don’t put on tfillin on commuter flights out of LaGuardia?) [add to my question list – daven outside with minyan vs. inside by self?]
Modern Jewish history defined – well actually there are differing definitions but generally from the time of the enlightenment. Also, differs by geography – it’s really about facing “modern” issues. First in a series.
In the middle ages (as contrasted to middle age?) there's lots of discussion of obligation to believe (vs. act). There probably is some dogma (think Rambam) but not all accept. Whatever it is, if you deliberately deny it, you’re probably a heretic and no world to come for you! What if you’re well intended? – difference of opinion (R' Chaim's nebech ).
What did you do if you finished shalosh seudot past Tzeit on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh shvat? Good discussion of nature of maariv, tosefet Shabbat and can you turn Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday evening? (my chiddush – also holds for Wednesday/Thursday J).
Used to fast for Shovavim, now we learn laws of taharat hamishpacha! (tough to find a good ascetic these days?)
Mussar on importance of gmilut chassadim, especially for bnai Yeshiva (need all 3 – torah, avodah and gmilut chasadim). Do one or two small additional acts each day.
I keep listening to Shiurim on this topic hoping someone will tell me why no one till shmuel said this, and why no source is given. (Here assumption is it’s torah based and only monetary related).
Clarification of halachic issues surrounding recent controversies, as well as hashkafic framework (me - which is first?) Interesting understanding of darkei shalom (as a seemingly reciprocal obligation).
Halachic status of miraculous conceptions (well, really creations). Best line – something like “I’ve never created a golem, but I’ve met lots of them”. (me – I didn’t know R’AW traveled in actuarial circles?!)
Common sense shidduch/dating advice (kach mkublani mbeit avi abba – common sense is an unfortunately rare commodity, on the other hand hot air is available in overabundance).
Introductory course – Rambam’s introduction to his commentary on the mishnayot. Here discusses force of oral law.
Case studies of issues brought before Bet Din of America – includes employment law and divorce amongst others. Some practical implication and how bet din takes them into consideration.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
by Joel Rich