by Joel Rich
Question: A (too often?) heard response to a call for “volunteers” for community activities is “it can be done by others” so I shouldn’t give up my learning time.
1. Does a ben yeshiva or a (nebech) baal habayit who takes learning seriously and understands that “spare time” is learning time (to the extent possible) have a permanent pass from these activities as long as there are others who don’t have the same view?
2. Assuming such an individual has unique skills such that the activity cannot be done by others, is the schar they receive for that activity equal to that which they would have received for learning or is it less but they still have to do it?
An M.O. manifesto! In the 20th century M.O. was about showing you could be in the real world and remain orthodox. Today we’re hemorrhaging to both sides – (most painful to me) to the right because the M.O. past is viewed as compromise which is now unnecessary (you can get a BTL, go into business….so no need to be exposed or educated)
M.O. needs to understand and live (R’RT gives sources on this) that we are here to build the world (make it a better place), learn from everyone, be a light unto the nations, be scrupulous in our observance in the context of our destiny (me – including eretz yisrael), have a core focus on talmud torah and be role models of all of these.
As my friend and teacher R’Ozer Yeshaya Hakohain Glickman often said to me – we must be God intoxicated (me - be possessed of a mission to do the ratzon hashem).
Note to any M.O. community that does not “want to accept the status quo” and/or “want to look at ourselves and be the best we can” – first consider defining your aspirational vision (please consider that described above). Hamevin Yavin.
Description of various OU designations including the newest one – kitniyot. Nice hair splitting about Quinoa – no ou position but no hashgacha – me – so why no DE designation but yes kitniyot??
First in a series of what seems to be a very entertaining entry level discussion of Rambam’s 13 Ikkarim. Here belief level required. Me – Is it universally agreed that humans will always have some level of doubt??
Summary – Sheker Hachein V’hevel Hayofi! Don’t have a list or too many redlines and don’t take advice from other singles!
Rabbinic authority – local vs. central (analogous to MD’s [“big specialist”]). All questions to the gadol is a recent trend.
You should know what you know and what you need to ask. Prepare to the extent you can but then ask someone with greater knowledge/insight (me – do these really always get together?)
Hierarchy should follow Yitro. Advantage of local is access and being the point of the sword. Can be more flexible (me – not so sure when you know whatever you decide will be on e-mail) and can focus on the personal/detail. Having such a role model is important to the community and frees the gedolim for big strategy issues (me – like which kupah?)
On difficult or new issues, need insight of someone who lives and breathes torah – sometimes that’s the only way (me – R’MR’s threading the needle on the balance between breathing torah and understanding outside world).
Where shouldn’t locals be involved? Can you spell ger? Rabbah?
Timtum halev – is it a reality – physical or spiritual. He quotes sources both ways. A similar discussion by Kedusha. (I once thought I invented the term halachic reality!)
Some (I’m not sure who) are under the misimpression that the Beit Yaakov movement was revolutionary in that women hadn’t learned Tanach before this. Individuals did but Beit Yaakov was formal education.
The Rabbah thing is an agenda issue – it’s an excuse if women say they’re embarrassed to talk to the Rabbi – they can go to the rebbitzen.
Lots of details on beard and head – where, what and who – including issue of aiding and abetting. Do you know where the term galach came from? [they were clean shaven!]
Starting an action (or series) before Shabbat that will take place on Shabbat. Lots of discussion including practical issues (time and alarm clocks) CLOR
Development of halacha & aggadah focusing on R’Amiel (1st half 20th century). Repeats urban legend of the GRA and Kramer’s rule in math (not true AIUI). Interesting characterization of pilpul and why the Chazon Ish was against the Brisker methodology (very interesting argument). History of Talmudic development to current day.
Meaning of karban olah with regard to ritzui and why it’s the default karban.
Different approaches to understanding the interactions between Hagar, Avraham, Sarah and Yishmael.
Entertaining and informative discussion by R’Avrohom Stone (currently in galut in West Orange). Industrial food technology with a spotlight on coffee. One decaf process (alcohol based) is a Pesaoh problem. Flavorings (labeled natural or artificial) can be a problem and you can’t tell from the ingredients list. Flavor is never batel (deminimis).
Hotel room ceramic pots – no agreement back at the OU office.
OU doesn’t have an alcohol list but R’Stone is a Kentucky Bourbon man (Counselor K?).
Slurpee syrup may be treif even if the same brand soda is Kosher.
He’s ok with hotel coffee with set aside coffee makers (permanently labeled – with no flavor vs. labeled flavor, etc.).
Is the mitzah of Mishkan/Mikdash and the associated parts one mitzvah (with some hechsher – preparatory steps) or many? Note the language of singular vs. plural (Aron differs from rest). Thus everyone agrees Aron (with sefer torah) is separate – perhaps representing torat hashem as creator of kedusha (same today in beit knesset).
Interesting and very creative interpretation of “Maaseh brabi Elazar” as especially needed (at the time, and now!) example of how torah (here agaddah) can be used to be the antidote to machloket (not the good kind).
How parallel are Birchat Hanehenin (Blessings when getting benefit from this world) and the concept of meilah (taking benefit from forbidden holy items)? Interesting Maharsha on whether we say safek brachot l’hakeil by birchat hanehenin (he says – no, our psak – yes). Interesting Avnei Nezer on seeming exceptions – when we don’t say brachot (e.g. onein) – perhaps based on the issue being which comes first, the chiyuv of bracha or the prohibition of meilah.