Thursday, December 24, 2009

Audio Roundup LXXIII

by Joel Rich

From R'J Rosenblum on Cross Currents:
Immediately after the War, there were those who were urged to stay in kollel, even when their chances of success in learning full-time or possibility of satisfaction were slight. In a well-known story, Rav Aharon Kotler told a father who complained that it had been obvious from the start that his son was not suited to kollel: We are in a war, and in a war there are always casualties. The war was one to establish the legitimacy of long-term kollel learning. And, as Rav Mattisiyahu Solomon declared already years ago, that war has been won.

Click here to read moreCasualties after the battle has been won are a different matter. As the old Yiddish saying has it, “Even the baker goes to war, but when the war is over the baker is again a baker.” In a similar vein, the Chazon Ish is also widely reported to have said that two generations of full-time learning were necessary to rebuild from the ashes of Europe. Those two generations have now come and gone.

And if KollelGuy asks, so why no announcements in Yated Ne’eman, I suspect he already knows the answer, or should. Ori, a non-Orthodox Jew in Austin, Texas, knows it: The last thing the gedolei HaTorah want to do is destroy the striving for greatness in Torah learning that characterizes the Israeli chareidi community. And any such public announcement would be interpreted as a statement that everything we did, everything we have built over the last sixty years was a mistake. (I emphasized in “Living with Complexity” that just the opposite is the case.) In other words, it would lead to an overreaction more dangerous than the situation it sought to cure.

There is another reason that there will be no such public statements. Any such statement would be met with vicious attacks by the “kenaim,” who would say about the gadol in question precisely what KollelGuy asks me: Who are you? The Chazon Ish did not say what you are saying; Rav Shach did not say it.” Perhaps KollelGuy remembers the attacks on one of the Sages he mentions for his tacit support of Nahal Chareidi. (Even Rav Shach used to say that he was afraid of the stone-throwers.) One of the members of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of the United States told me recently that the gedolim cannot even discuss questions surrounding poverty because if they did the “street” would just label them fake gedolim.
Me- Couldn't help think of the eitza tova from R' Zimmerman:
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

  • Rav Hershel Schacter Lecture - Q&A: link

    Another Q&A from the heart of the Vilna of Essex County!
    Inviting for Shabbat those who will be mechalel Shabbat to get to you – ok if your tell them it’s against Jewish law to profane the Sabbath and you will be glad to put them up (pashut, he said).
    If you’re stuck before Shabbat, don’t drive crazily – park and find a motel.
    If you build a sukkah where it’s prohibited, you’re not yotzeh.
    Speeding – 5 mph over limit is probably ok; 10+ sounds like a no.
    Justice Neeman was probably only talking about commercial law (in Israel) being replaced (now it’s old Turkish et al) by halacha; anything else, maybe when Moshiach comes.
    If a “chiyuv” doesn’t know the words or nussach he shouldn’t take the amud (good luck Mr. Gabbai!). General rule – must be merutzah l’kahal (acceptable to community). Some classical niggunim shouldn’t be changed others ok to change (even Simon & Garfunkel – yeah) as we’ve always taken outside music (e.g. the alte heim!).
    Maybe a good idea to allow children to lead some of services.
    Giving chiyuv up to Yishtabach is meaningless! Mr. Gabbai prepare for some complaints!.
    He doesn’t like people to daven from a PDA/blackberry – it doesn’t look good.
    Back to the time clock issue – Rambam (“recently” found commentary on Shabbat) implies no good, but perhaps that’s why it was “hidden” till consensus reached – discussion of Shabbat status of e-mails, faxes and newspapers – sounds like a no, no but not 100% clear.
    Taking money from non-bnai brit – not good if public, implies we can’t take care of our own.
    Rambam on differing subcategories of Torah Shbeal Peh.
    Warming drawer – review of hilchot bishul – no go if has temp control. Hatmanah only if covering actually touches the food.
    Wills? Discussion of rules for inheritance. Source for writing a will when you turn 50 [me-do it as soon as you have kids – decide who will raise them if R”L you can’t]

  • Rabbi Reuven Brand - The Maine Referendum: The Maine Referendum: Medical Marijuana: link

    R’MF tshuva would seem to ban even medicinal uses of marijuana but R’YSE disagreed (R’Silberstein was with R ‘MF). Discussion of halachic view of pain and suffering; as in alleviation.
    [me – Yes, I now remember; our attempts at better living through chemistry were all about alleviating existential pain and suffering]

  • Rav Dr. Abraham J.Twerski- Am I Really Frum?: link

    Midot, Midot, Midot! (sound familiar my sons?) Keep away from “sirens” (TUM reference!) by tying ourselves to the mast of Torah. [Hmmm-sometimes I feel like I'm tied to the whipping post] Be a role model.

  • Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt - Honey from a rock: Talmud Torah and the search for spirituality: link

    Fascinating presentation (don’t know if it’s accurate) re: groups looking for spirituality (in particular “carlebachites” and that the Talmud is not speaking to many Jews today, especially those looking for spirituality [perhaps because of our society’s desire to avoid Tircha (hard work)].
    Need to move back towards the harder but historical Talmudic spirituality.

  • Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman - Kavod for Other Family Members: link

    R’D Feldman kdarko bkodesh – take a topic, find a chakirah, explain numerous practical specific differences of opinion in light of the chakirah, summarize.
    Here kavod for family members – is it an extension of kavod av (i.e. parents want it) or a din of bchor(first born)? Is it always compelling? – no, but always thought provoking.

  • Dr. Shira Weiss - History Tends to Repeat Itself: Contemporary Lessons of Chanukah: link

    Passion, commitment and implementation as lessons from Tanach and the Macabeem to us today.

  • Rav Mayer Twersky - Withstanding Corporate Pressure: Succeeding in Corporate America With My Neshama Intact: link

    Must resist pressures of workplace which can draw you towards materialism and arayot. Reinforce yourself with regular learning and constantly remember who you are. Dress differently, talk differently, leave 3 hours before Shkiah on Friday, be sure it’s a good work environment and pray a lot.
    [me – it’s often a dynamic tension which requires a shikul hadaat (judgment). Also, you can learn a lot from those who are ahead of you on the road and be wary of those who don’t have an understanding of how the “real world” operates. {Take it from one who originally became an actuary to avoid such issues}]

  • Rav Mayer Lichtenstein - Mai Chanukah: link

    Implications of Chanukah for our times based on the thought of R’YBS and others and an analysis of the Rambam’s “unusual” history lesson in hilchot Chanukah. How do we relate to history?
    Pach shemen (oil flask) celebrated as a sign of the divine intervention in the entire affair (including political miracles). We need both narratives to understand we need to use hishtadlut (Kochi) but understand it’s HKB”H who gives us the koach (strength).
    “Our” (I’m crying because I’m not part of it yet) role model is Yitzchak; to stay in the land even if it’s not “new” or perfect.

  • Rav N Kaplan - Vten Tal Umatar: link

    Current poskim on all kinds of vten tal umatar issue.

  • Rabbi Ezra Schwartz - Contemporary Halacha - Chazara #2 5770: link

    Excellent summary of detailed halacha l’maaseh shiurim (practical halacha for rabbinical students) including: sukkot, eating when needed on Yom Kippur; end of life issues, life endangerment and illness issues on shabbat, stem cells, fertility and wills. There seems to be a number of issues to be decided on scant case law!

  • Rabbi Michael Broyde - Family Planning and Jewish Law: link

    Key is to have enough background to know what to ask.
    How many children? He sees age of marriage and of 1st kid and number of kids as a function of individual ability to raise them.
    Sees now as a historical time when it’s safer and easier to have lots of kids (me – guess he doesn’t follow certain blogs).
    He has some interesting ideas on flexibility in timing of various mitzvot.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz - Ten Minute Halacha - Yeshiva Boys Socializing with Girls at Weddings: link

    What to do when “my former close friend” is of the opposite sex? (This was for HS boys IIUC). Brief summary – all chazal were against just about any social intercourse but be reasonable about greeting (but don’t overdo). I’m sure this topic is worthy of a more general treatment in our society (perhaps one day we’ll meet and discuss, but I have to meet R’Gil first or he’ll be insulted J). But I do agree on the hugging of others' spouses (even I have my limits on the habituation/space/time continuum)
    R’HS is in favor of mixed singles tables at weddings and meeting possible candidates for shidduch.
    R’NAR – listen to the last few minutes on meeting former friends!
    R’Aryeh – IIRC there was one gadol, I think he was the Av bet din in Boston or something like that, who had some thoughts on co-education. Also, too bad you didn’t have time to expand on the white geese context (Brachot 20 IIRC).

  • הלכה ורפואה סדרה 3 - #09, מאת נדב וילנר - מחלות נפש 1: link

    Sanity testsing in the gemara and later authorities (did the Talmud provide general guidelines or specific tests?).

  • Rabbi Aharon Kahn - The Three Wake-Up Calls of the Rambam: link

    Three places – Mezuzah, Shofar [tshuva – repentance] and aveilut (mourning) with similar language. Implication – realization of a wake up call – recognize value of time! [our most perishable resource-if you have "time to kill", I'd like to buy it]

  • Rabbi A Senter - Gedolim: link

    Poskim throughout time (e.g. Shmuel vs Rav [who was his senior]) have hashraat Shechina (divine assistance). Gdolim use this to create halacha (hmmm – this would be a great study in self-awareness).

  • Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein - Vayeshev - Living outside the bubble with T.V & Internet: link

    Very nice (because I agree with it) spin on medrashim related to Yaakov.
    Chazal's negative view of Yaakov's1) hiding Dina from Esav; and also 2) trying to sit in tranquility is then tied into Joseph 2 dreams (a’la R’YBS) – we can’t hide from the outside world – need to “discriminate” (havdala) and be mekadesh it.

  • Rabbi Yonason Sacks - Sichos Mussar - Hiddur Mitzvah Bigavra: link

    Hiddur (beautification) applies to the object used in a mitzvah (e.g. Etrog) but also the person. This hiddur should permeate everything we do!

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