Sunday, June 22, 2008

Audio Roundup III

by Joel Rich

Introductory Thoughts on Shiurim

I’m sure there are a lot of good websites out there for audio lectures. The ones I most frequently go to are YU Torah, Ki Mitzion (Har Etzion), and OU Radio. I’ve also used Yeshiva Gedolah of West Hempstead, and I don’t see a tremendous value in simply listing the new Shiurim that come up on these sites, as it is easy enough for anyone to just go visit the websites themselves. As a result, this column will be basically brief notes on Shiurim that I’ve actually listened to based on my own taste and what I think is noteworthy based on what I know and what I like. In summary, and I suppose this is particularly appropriate for an actuary, this will be a semi random walk which is a function of my predilections, time, effort, mood, and the like. Any errors in the communication are strictly mine, and I don’t warranty anything.

  • Rabbi D. Gottlieb (Shomrei Emunah of Baltimore) – Davening for Someone Else (link), Rabbi Z. Sobolofsky – Praying for the Sick (link) - These two Shiurim deal with much the same topics including the function and efficacy of prayer, in particular when one is in dire straits. There is a comparison of prayer for oneself vs. prayer for others. The issues of the use the individual’s name and/or title and/or mother’s name are discussed, as well as whether it is a requirement to pray for someone else. The appropriateness of personal prayers on Shabbat as well as the general requirement to visit the sick are discussed as well. The ethics of praying for someone to die is included. An interesting aside is the Chatam Sofer's question as to whether it is actually more dangerous to use the actual name of an individual that you are praying for!

  • Click here to read more
  • Rabbi D. Gottlieb – Talking to the Shepherd: Toward a Definition of Spirituality(link) - This was an introduction to a prayer initiative which really hit home. Includes discussion of halacha and spirituality with a focus on halacha not fully defining spirituality. (As Rav Soloveitchik said "halacha is a floor, not a ceiling", implying that halacha is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition.) Apparently many individuals, including rabbis, act on a very surface level but don’t see their relationship with God as the necessary end result of halacha (not seeing the forest for the trees). It is worth listening just to hear his quoting of Rav Soloveitchik, "Most of all I learned from my mother that Judaism expresses itself, not only in formal compliance with the Law but also in a living experience. She taught me that there is a flavor, a scent, a warmth to mitzvot. I learned from her the most important thing in life — to feel the presence of the Almighty and the gentle pressure of His hand resting on my frail shoulders. Without her teachings, which quite often were transmitted to me in silence, I would have grown up a soul-less being, dry and insensitive."

  • Rabbi Y. Sacks – Kedushas Eretz Yisrael (link) - The first shiur in a series on this topic whose title tells it all. Trace primarily starts from time of the Avot. R. Sacks has a very high information/elapsed time ratio.

  • Character and Ethics #06, by Rav Moshe Taragin - Shemirat HaLashon Part 2 (link) - Installment in his series on individual ethics. He discusses the ethics and impact of Lashon Hara, as well as the types of Lashon Hara implied by Torah sources. He discusses how personality traits are impacted. If I recall correctly, Rabbi Taragin has an MA in English and his evocative language demonstrates, to me at least, the value of at least some secular education.

  • The Three Oaths - Rabbi Moshe Chaim Sosevsky (link) - His thesis is that with the exception of Satmar and Neturi Karka everyone accepts the state of Israel – the real question is how to relate to a secular government. There’s a discussion of the 3 oaths and some standard answers.

  • The Keshes: Hashkafa and Halacha - Rabbi Zev Cinamon (link) - A discussion of the philosophical and halachic issues involved in seeing a rainbow (apparently a bittersweet experience).

  • Steve Savitsky – Obesity (link) - Discussion of obesity in both the juvenile and adult communities. No surprises here to actuaries who are fully aware of the so-called “silent epidemic” of obesity. Some practical tips (eat less, exercise more) and some predilections that the Orthodox community may have to overcome.

  • Rabbi H. Schachter - Brachot (13b) (link) - A continuation of his Shiur for laymen on Tractate Brachot including discussions of the laws of Kriat Shma. Also includes some interesting comments on minhag and saying hallel on Yom Haatzmaut. If you saw the movie "Lonely Man of Faith" you may recall Rabbi Schachter describing The Rav's shiur "Before shiur everything was like a jungle — afterwards, everything fell into place." Rav Schacter is a great tour guide to the jungle.

  • Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More