Thursday, January 21, 2010

Audio Roundup LXXVII

by Joel Rich

The following questions are attempts at humor laced with a bit of introspection. If you do not like my humor or do not like introspection or both of these "conditions" apply to you, please skip the questions.

Question: Choose either A or B
A) The Center for the Jewish Future should be headquartered in:
(i) Washington Heights (ii) Teaneck (iii) Five Towns (which?) (iv) Palestine (v) in your hearts (vi) Other
B) Compare and contrast – Center for the Jewish Future; Holy Roman Empire; Moetzet Gedolei Hatorah of Essex County

Click here to read moreExtra Credit Question: The munchies - real or imagined (see WSJ 1/19 if you want the answer but don't give yourself credit if you look)

  • R’Reisman – Nach shiur is not available on-line but Councilor K (he who once keenly noted – “Joel, you go through life bemused”) is my “connection”, and I thought I’d share my summaries (since by the number of comments my posts get I know you are all eager to hear my opinion. Oh, by the way, that was my evil twin’s sarcasm).

    #181 - Optimism
    Be an optimistic person. This is truly the theme of Rosh Hashana – positive thinking! If you’re a believer, you should be happy [me – Rosh Hashana has imho a dialectic nature – coronation night yet judgment day – not so simple to hold both ideas in mind concurrently] (B”H those who know me know I’m always a sunny, optimistic person – fortunately R’YBS taught that it’s ok that we experience life basher hu sham(as it is))

    Y – 182 – Tanach in the Siddur
    Primarily review of meaning of psukei dzimrah – a good reminder to think about what we daven (or was it daven about what we think?)

    #183 – Don’t Blame the Rabbi
    Don’t blame the Rabbis – When they seem to be off-base, generally the worst they can be accused of is excessive hakarat hatov (or something like that) (me- it's always those askanim)

    #184 - Alexandria
    Side comment for the ages (Honestly, I didn’t detect a note of sarcasm) along the lines of – Why are we in chutz laaretz (outside of Israel)? Must be because we’ve concluded this is where we can maximize our avodat hashem.

    #186 – Sheduchim of the Gedolim
    Shidduchim – we’re too influenced by the externals of the world around us.

    #187 – Holocaust Lessons
    Esav went to Seir because he didn’t want the rewards or difficulties that Yaakov would face (hmmm, sounded negative but see Brachot 5b which said R’Yochanan felt similarly!)
    Interesting story about 70 yr. old who refused to walk down aisle at a wedding – since they stand for Chatan/Kallah but not for age [me – not in West Orange!]

    Y – 188 – Israel at Home
    We have what to learn from the zealotry of our Israeli Charedi brethren (e.g. not worrying so much about where our next meal will come from and being more concerned with others chilul Shabbat than we are about someone blocking our driveway).

    Y – 189 – Maoz Tzur
    Certainly worthwhile to know what we sing. An interesting comment (IIRC from the Abarbanel!) that the rhyming form of poetry was adopted by Jews from Arabic poetry; R’Reisman says there’s nothing wrong with that. (me – this would be an interesting discussion)
    Priceless interpretation of the Rambam’s introduction to hilchot Chanukah which notes the return of Jewish sovereignty for 200 years. R’Reisman interprets this (and all of Maoz Tzur) as an endorsement of the unification of temporal and sacred (my words) power under gdolei yisrael. He then shows that all the questions on the meaning of Maoz Tzur can be answered with this insight.
    Reminds us that we need to separate from modern chochma Yvanit (me – torah; no madda?), not watch football on Sunday (at least till the 4th quarter) and stay away from things that are only Kosher bdieved [after the fact] – example = only drink Chalav Yisrael! (at least in Brooklyn)

    Y – 191 – Kosher Gelt
    Scandals – Non bnai brit are quick to judge us by these exceptions (hmmm –we wouldn’t do that to them, would we?). We need to be less ostentatious and more open (me – Wall Street Journal test – don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the Wall Street Journal).

  • Rabbi A Klapper - Bruriah: link

    Very interesting competing interpretations of what we know about Bruriah (and R’Meir) and the lessons to be drawn for us today (especially regarding women’s issues – Chana W – can you hear me? J!

  • Rabbi Reuven Brand - Window Watchers: Perceptions and Privacy: link

    Rules of privacy from prying eyes. Interesting to compare this to R’Brander shiur on the same topic. Here implies much less applicability today (sounds like it’s been out of practice for a long time) and gives some reasons; but some important moral lessons. [me – another example of the “Lev Shel torah” (non-algorithmic) – when do things change and when do they not]


    Final session – discusses philosophical issues related to same sex marriage (how timely in NJ and YU). Very thought provoking and may help some of us fine tune (or develop) our thought process beyond – hmmm. Great quote concerning philosophy and the “restlessness of reason”. (Sometimes I wish my reason could be a little less restless – see councilor K above). Can justice be defined without a subjective moral basis (very interesting discussion – how can “we all just get along”, if at all ?{besides kiblu daati -do what I think is right).

  • Netanel Javasky - Prioritizing Life: Whose Blood is Redder?: link

    Comparatively short (when you consider all the sources) review of how to allocate medical resources. Did not discuss issue I’d want to hear about – how , if at all, does the halacha differ for a tzibbur (e.g. who gets first flu vaccine) vs. allocation amongst a few individuals?
    Discusses positions of R’Moshe, R’Shlomo Zalman and Tzitz Eliezer on individual priorities.
    Still no answer as to why l’halacha we ignore the clear mishnayot in horiyot allocating amongst women, men cohanim etc.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner - Should we aid conversion to Judaism?: link

    Is there a mitzvah of conversion? On whom? Lots of sources. If a bet din converts someone who they shouldn’t, they are in violation of lfnei Iver (placing a stumbling block)!

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz - Ten Minute Halacha - Tearing Keriya at the Kotel: link

    Most of the standard kulot for not ripping kriah when you see the kotel don’t work – and why would you want to avoid it? People don’t rip Friday pm even though there’s no real reason not to – “it’s the minhag”! [ouch – almost as bad as “it’s mekubal”]

  • Rav Kalman Neuman - Society and Halakha - The Laws of War, Contemporary Applications: link

    Final shiur with practical discussion re current day state of Israel (e.g. defining self defense)

  • Rabbi Eli Ozarowski - The Yad Binyamin Stimulus Package - Business Ethics & Halacha - Tzedaka - Part 6: link

    Are regular household expenses deductible from income when calculating charitable amounts?

  • Rabbi Baruch Simon - The Mitzvah of Mezuzah: link

    A good summary of his more lengthy series on hilchot mezuzah. Sounds like he holds that there may be no need to check indoor mezvzot after an initial determination that they are kosher and you can charge next resident for left behind mezuzot.

  • Rabbi Shmuel Marcus - Lomdus B'Inyanei Tefillah: link

    Power of prayer . Discussion of Rambam/Ramban on the level of requirement. It’s really a constant mitzvah and we’re really always in an eit tzarah!?

  • Rav Binyamin Tabory - She'elot uTeshuvot - Rav Ephraim Oshry - MiMa'amakim: link

    Mimamakim – painful to think about tshuvot from the holocaust – what bracha do you make on martyrdom?

  • Rabbi Jesse Horn - How to learn Agada and Medrash: link

    Discussion of various opinions on source and force of aggadic material (worthwhile to understand because many debates flow from this basic understanding).

  • Rabbi Dani Rapp - Can a Woman Be a Mohel?: link

    Can a woman be a mohel? Detailed discussion of sources as well as discussion of hatafat dam brit for someone who was already circumcised.

  • Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger - Intro to Jewish Thought – Philosophy of the Oral Law, Sevara: link

    It’s a negative to translate torah because it makes you settle on a single understanding, it makes it into literature (vs. kedusha) and undermines our unique relationship with HKB”H.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz - Ten Minute halacha - Gezel Sheina: "Stealing" Sleep: link

    Disturbing someone’s sleep – only specifically discussed by achronim (me – menshlichkeit is discussed earlier and IIUC is recommended). R’Menashe Klein states learning takes precedence – R’Wosner disagrees.

  • Rabbi Avishai David - Learning Torah at Night: link

    Difference between Limud Torah and Keter Shel Torah (a transformational experience). Torah learning as an Avodah Shebelev (worship of the heart = prayer)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz - Ten Minute Halacha - Lo Sichaneim: link

    Another example of ch, ch, ch, ch, changes. The prohibition of no praises/gifts to non-ben brit and traditional heterim (e.g. you expect something in return) plus some newer ones (won’t ever meet the person). R’David Cohen doesn’t know why the observance is not more exact.

  • Rabbi Jake Sasson - Yerushas Akum: Inheritance for Non-Jews: link

    A detailed Lomdus analysis of inheritance and kinyan of non-bnai brit primarily based on pre matan Torah (always of interest).
    Some interesting observation on the use and scope of rov (in particular rov beilot achar habaal – BTW – is this a sociological observation subject to rebuttal? Why not test nowadays with DNA testing?)
    Bchora in twins also discussed (me – Rashi on the 2 stones in a narrow bottle – is that how conception and birth actually work?)

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