Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Audio Roundup XXIV

by Joel Rich

  • Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein - Q and A 5769 #02: link

    L”AD the questions this go round were not as good as last time. Worth listening to even if it’s just to hear R’AL define “reflections”.

    Reflections on the economy – R’Lichtenstein says some people who are more in sync with hashgacha understand why this happened, he focuses more on how we respond (me – R’YBS on not asking why but rather what does HKB”H want from me. By the way, I assume the hashgacha comment was a bit of dry wit?)

    Bitachon – Is it that everything will be all right (Gerry and the Pacemakers) or whatever comes, I’m with HKB”H, or a combination.

    Uvikashtem Msham – Interesting background or R’YBS rewriting. An English translation is coming out soon!

    Teaching “True” M.O. – Especially in the M.O. less authoritarian system sometimes need gradualism. Very aware (as we all should be) of the tension between what’s best for a particular individual vs. what works for the klal.

    Kiruv – can you tell someone who wants to go full bore that he should move gradually for better long term results?? R’AL feels his shoulders aren’t broad enough to say this vis-à-vis issurim. What do you tell those interested? R’Amital says look at what Bnai Yisrael learned at Mara – kavod av, shabbat, dinim, para adumah – implies tell them some that they identify with and some “chukim” so they understand kabbalat ol malchut shamayim.

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  • Mrs. Rachel Besser - Is Everything Bashert?: Chanukah and the Question of Divine Providence: link

    Discussion of 2 approaches to hashgacha pratit for individuals (not a leaf falls without it vs. don’t step out in front of a car). Good insight of which feels more comfortable versus which comports with how we experience the world (my apologies – it is the actuary in me that battles the mystic when hearing anecdotal “proofs” of hashgacha pratit). Mrs. Besser closes with R’YBS above on not asking why (that’s when the avi, mori, vrabbi Zll”hh parent tape goes off in my head and tells the actuary and the mystic in me to be quiet and just get to work on trying to do my best at the ratzon hashem for me!)

  • Rabbi Hanan Balk - Kohelet VIII: Divine Providence With Consideration of the Notion that 'The Rebbe Runs the World.': link

    The rebbe runs the world part is a minor digression R’Balk surveys the spectrum discussed in Mrs. Besser’s shiur above. Bottom line IMHO – Whatever Gets You Through The Night (John Lennon) or Different Strokes for Different Folks (Sly and the Family Stone – not the chumash).

  • Dr. William Helmreich - Should I sent my Child to Lakewood, Yeshiva University, or Harvard? (Pay): link

    Bottom line – each kid is different and don’t try to live through your kid. Do a risk/benefit analysis - on average the odds are better religiously at YU than at Harvard (yes I know, – there are anecdotes, Virginia).

    95% of American Jewry is not Orthodox and it is not because they don’t know about Orthodoxy.
    Interesting question raised concerning sociologically – is everyone meant to be Orthodox?

  • Dr. David Berger - The Belief in Da'at Torah (Absolute Rabbinic Authority) Benefits and Dangers (Pay): link

    Great story – Someone tells X that he must vote for Y even if he thinks not because R’Shach says so and R’Shach is the kind of Gadol who you must follow even if he says left is right. Retort – can’t you find a Gadol who says right is right?

    Classic sources on Daat Torah – Chinuch, R Dessler (strong form), R’A Lichtenstein (no chiyuv but MO should consider since they believe in integrated world) – but Gadol must have some conversance with issue at hand.

    MO perhaps too much independence but excessive reliance a problem as well.
    Agudah’s historical voluntary compliance to daat torah may have been due to secularization and/or general weakening of Rabbinic authority. Interestingly the constriction of community rabbinic authority on the one hand could allow for greater role for daat torah due to the greater commitment of voluntary followers but at the same time leaders may feel can’t ask as much since followers can vote with their feet.

    R’Berger feels the moetzet actually reduces the “net” rabbinic authority 1) individual rabbis won’t take a position (that’s up to the moetzet); 2) if no unanimity, no statement; 3) if moetzet says something and people ignore, it actually reduces authority within community.

    R’Dessler's strong form forces the community to “reinterpret” (my euphemism) prior generations actions/thoughts to be consistent with current daat torah (don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s already been made up).

    R’Berger’s take is the dialectic between autonomy and authority is healthy (and unresolvable?)

  • Rabbi David Hirsch - Asarah B'Teves, The Halachos of a Ta'anis: link

    Interesting Abudraham who based on the pasuk saying “Betzem hayom hazeh” by asarah btevet would say fast even on Shabbat! (we don’t).

    The nature of the “minor” fasts discussed including R’YBS’s possible comment that he knew gedolim who in times of pogroms and tragedies would fast the full day (and night) on these fasts due to lack of shalom malchut:

    A fast day is a yom hachana l’tshuva and somewhat of a moed (Rambam includes in Zmanim, it requires a kabbalah…)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz - Asei Doche Lo Sa'asei: link

    Discussion of the classic issue of aseh docheh lo taaseh; in particular whether it is hutra or dchuyah.

  • Mr. Nathan Lewin - From Speaking in Shiur to Speaking in the Supreme Court: Battling for Jewish Rights in American Courts: link

    Nat Lewin reminices about his life and times. Most interesting is the Q & A at the end about Rubashkin, kippa, menorah, and Jerusalem passport cases.

  • Rabbi Menachem Leibtag - Asara Btevet in Tanach A Lost Cause or a Lost Chance: link

    Analysis of message of Asarah Btevet based on the history provided by Yechezkel and Jeremiah. Yechezkel struggled to be heard above the noise of those who thought Jerusalem would be spared. His tenth of Tevet prophecy (Chapter 24) was to give him credibility so that when the worst happened, those in Bavel wouldn’t give up hope.

    Remember to think about why we fast!

  • Rabbi I Oron - Refua and Halacha: link

    Analysis of opinions of Chatam Sofer, Tzitz Eliezer, R’Moshe Feinstein and Israel Chief Rabbinate on breath death vs. brain death. Nice explanation on how rabbinate sees brain death as built on breath death.

  • Rabbi A Bazak - Pirkei Deliyahu: link

    A comparison of the story of the messengers sent by Yehoachaz to Eliyahu and those sent to Shmuel by Shaul. His contention is that Eliyahu saw the Navi as the bringer down of fire on his enemies, Shmuel saw it as the converter of his enemies.

  • Rabbi B Tabory - Moadei Hashanah: link

    Discussion of classic gemara – re: status of “minor fasts” today (appears in Rosh Hashana w/r/t which months did they send messengers). R’Tabory has heard that R’YBS held during WWII fasts reverted to mandatory status. Discussion of concepts of minor fasts, and definition for purposes of determining level of fasting requirement (Shalom, Tzarah and Yad goyim takifa).

  • Rabbi Dr. Michael Shmidman - 1492 and 1942 Rethinking Jewish History: link

    When the Jews were banished from Spain, did Portuguese Jews accept them with open arms? Contrary to popular belief, Rabbi Shmidnan says, yes. Side note – Similarly he says, contrary to popular belieft, Orthodox groups in U.S. really were very active during the holocaust. (me – R’YBS clearly didn’t think so.)

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