by Joel Rich
The gemara (makot 5 a) discusses a case of possible eidim zomimim (reuvain and shimon) who testify about a murder that took place in sura in the AM and other witnesses (levi and Yehuda) say that reuvain and shimon were with them in the PM in Naharda. When the Rambam brings down this halacha in hilchot eidut (19:1) he brings down the halacha but uses Yerushalayim and Lud (note that the Tur keeps sura and neharda). I’m curious if this is a pattern in the Rambam or if anyone has seen any explanations.
IFrom R’ Aviner:
Davening from a Siddur
Q: Is there a preference to Daven from a Siddur as opposed to a cell phone?
A: Yes, it is the normal way.
Me – When I look around mincha minyanim, I’d have to say that normal is in the eye of the beholder. Who determines when the tipping point has been reached?
1. Zmirot – the “minhag haolam” is to be lenient and allow mixed singing. Some allow a man to hear a woman’s voice over the radio; loudspeaker isn’t a good idea.
2. Pizza – hamotzi (end of story)
3. Length of peyot (requiring to the bone is stringent)
4. Hochacha – If you think there’s a chance someone will accept your words, you should give them mussar
5. Dating is only for marriage! Then defining “derech chiba”
6. Coffee in treif store issues
7. Sheitel’s which are nicer than one’s hair should be forbidden but what can you do (i.e. need to be lenient or many women won’t cover their hair)
8. Secular music – the soul goes into the music so you need to be careful whose soul you’re letting in (cue – Blues Brothers – I’m a soul man)
9. Sanhedrin in our time? Eliyahu could confer smicha because he had it!
10. Following “Gedolim”? One should follow their own rabbeim!
11. Differing opinions on wearing tzitzit in or out, and at night
12. Tinok shenishba (“captive child”) issues – R’YSE said this “leniency” no longer applies
13. Showering on Shabbat and Yom Tov – hot, lukewarm and/or cold water. An interesting case study in changing social norms (how often did George Washington bathe?)
14. “Lischot” (which a father must teach a son) means to row, not to swim!
15. Talk to a rebbi who really knows you about field of study and marriage (apparently R’HS used R’A Lichtenstein and not LinkedIN for career counseling)
R’YBS had an obsession with teaching Torah to all and elevating the masses’ knowledge
1. Netziv and Velozhin stories
2. R’Bloch (50 years ago) – chareidim shouldn’t cede the playing field on Israel, tanach or Hebrew
3. Politics is complicated (and R’HS “doesn’t know”)
4. Textual issues (what our Torah text says which is different from the version Talmud seems to have) are “a big problem”
5. Must correct “mistakes” in halacha – you can’t just say take it as it is
6. Everyone who can make a living there should live in Eretz Yisrael
7. Veal issues – the facts have changed since R’Moshe. If there is cruelty in the meat production process, we should boycott!
8. The chareidi position on the army is wrong
9. What it takes to be a genuine halachic authority in both halacha and hashkafa – broad knowledge, honesty and patience
10. Lashon Hakodesh/Hebrew – language developes naturally
11. Making treaties – it depends!
12. Picking a profession – where are your talents?
13. Tcheilet – of course, everything to gain, nothing to lose!
14. Har habayit issues – R’HS hasn’t really studied the specifics in depth – American Rabbis shouldn’t mix in and vice versa
15. Sacrifices today – still lots of problems/issues (even after R’Kalisher)
16. Gilgulim – not part of our religion!
Rules for Megilat Taanit (days of not fasting) are all based on events related to the beit hamikdash.
The atchalta d’geulah (beginning of redemption) is related to wiping out amalek and the reconstruction of the beit hamikdash. Arpashacta was Esther’s son and for part of his (Persian) rule he was a “Jewish” king over Israel (until he turned bad).
R’HS seems not to learn Zohar (me – isn’t Zohar thought by some to have halachic implications?) and seems to have accepted some negative views of early Israeli government policies.
Purim is a serious Yom Tov – learning is more important than drinking.
Discussion of halachic process and the Sefer Hachinuch on accepting word of “gedolim”. Bottom line – hashkafa and halacha are separate and the world has become more complex. It’s only recently that you can only be a gadol if you have the “right” hashkafa and toe the line.
Bottom line –over the last 100 years daat torah has been cheapened and debased
Can you steal as a practical joke, intending to return the “stolen” object? Can a teacher confiscate a student’s belongings? Is a Rabbinic or Torah prohibition involved? Does it depend on a greater good being accomplished?
Things that could be done on erev Shabbat – bein hashmashot. Generally when there’s a mitzvah involved or a significant bother, one may ask a non ben brit.
Adding from the profane to the holy (for Shabbat) – the whole GRA vs. Rabbeinu Tam thing on what time is shkia.7
More detail on exactly what the dimensions of the “adding to Shabbat” are according to the understandings of Rabbeinu Tam and the GRA.
Plag defined and discussion of the earliest you can accept Shabbat. Nature’s other signs of candle lighting time defined (we don’t use these today ). If the community accepts Shabbat early, then no leniencies of bein hashmashot allowed.
Things to do about house and clothes before Shabbat. Which way to turn (to the west or to the door)? It’s all good to greet the Shabbat queen!
Talk to gap year Talmidim. It’s what we do for HKB”H that’s important, he wants us to work together and take responsibility. We need to be strong and be proud of our differences and then we will be a blessing (and model) to others. We need to try to make the world into what it should be. Then a JLI pitch.
Numerous examples where changes in circumstances yield change in halachic result, but it’s really an application of timeless halachic principles. If circumstances change, Rabbinic enactments may not but minhag certainly should. Fish and meat – danger (not)!
All of Torah is representation of HKB”H, etc.
The galut (diaspora) leading up to the Purim story is the first time they believed HKB”H was really with them in galut (vs. the disappearing 10 tribes). Review of history in both Jerusalem and diaspora up through and including the Purim story.
The Jews who made aliyah struggle in Jerusalem while everyone else stayed back in galut (me – et chatai ani mazkir hayom). Where were they?!?!
How can a rabbinic enactment be overturned by a later beit din? If it weren’t poshet (accepted) by the majority (me – all klal Yisrael, country…?). Is this measurement immediately following enactment or if at any time this is the case? Analysis of enactments on oil, bread and mikveh.
Fascinating how tosfot takes current practice and assumes there must have been an interim beit din which undid the earlier enactment! (me-we have too much history available and self- awareness to do this?)
Holocaust situations involving relative life values. Sources include water bottle in the desert, who says your blood is redder and give us one or we’ll kill all. Differentiate between when it’s to save yourself vs. intervening for others and when there’s already been a designation made. Interesting reference to commercial law as a possible basis for priorities in life saving.
The Jewish population of the U.S. increased from 15,000 to 150,000 from 1840-1860 due to failed liberal revolutions; mostly from Western Europe. Interesting history of the U.S. Grant “expulsion” f the Jews and President Lincoln’s reversal and the impact of the Civil War on how European Jews (and leaders) viewed U.S. Jewry.
One should be totally ready before Shabbat for honor (cavod) of Shabbat. This includes nice clothes and shower, etc.
Use two nice candles (zachor and shamor). Then complete discussion of the “extra candle tax” when woman forgets to light candles. (I still can’t think of another example of a lifetime knas.)
Lighting candles is important even if you are poor. Who must light and what you must give up in order to have $ to light Shabbat candles is discussed.
Bracha on lighting, when you can light “on condition” as well as saying bracha before or after lighting? Same or different rules on Yom Tov?
Candle lighting rules for men away from home. Do you need to shut electric lights? (R’SZA says no). Can you blow out the match?
Accepting Shabbat rules and rules regarding community acceptance of Shabbat. What if it’s very cloudy and you mistakenly accept Shabbat?