Friday, 18 July 2014

Matot: You and Your Shulchan Aruch are Going to Treif up My Kitchen!

«Rabbi Dov Linzer, Rosh HaYeshiva and Dean of YCT Rabbinical School.
Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Thought on the Parasha
The Vessel or What's Inside of It?

A story is told that when Rav Soloveitchik's wife Tonya, z״l, was hospitalized due to an illness, he [IE the Rav] and Haym had the run of the house. Following the technical laws of kashrut, they proceeded to eat cold milkhig food on fleishig dishes. When Tonya returned from the hospital, she was apoplectic. The Rav explained that he was doing nothing more than following the halakha of the Shulkhan Arukh, to which Tonya replied: "You and your Shulkhan Arukh are going to treif up my kitchen!"

Kol Tuv,

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Can there be a Modern Day Korach?

Could it be that in this day and age we have people whose inspiration is Korach? And whose role models resemble Datan vaAviram?

Take for example Rabbi "Mered". A born rebel by nature, his main purpose in studying Torah is to show how everyone - especially rabbis - are wrong. The more wrong rabbis, the merrier!

Here are some telltale signs of the Modern Korach..

A. He looks to defy the establishment in general, the rabbinical establishment in particular

B. He shows up the "Moshe Rabbeinus" of his day with twisted or specious arguments, standing the simple understanding on its head

C. He posits that Torah is truly an egalitarian document by echoing "ki chol ho'eidah kullam Q'doshim ..."

D. He defends his minority point of view by arguing "So too were Koleiv and Yehoshu'a only a minority report". As if to say being a minority means he's correct somehow. Nd
While that's true that Koleiv-Yehoshua were indeed a minority - unlike Rabbi Mered - they did it to buttress Moshe Rabbeinu, not to defy him.

E. He will attempt to trump the authority of all rabbis by arguing from "higher authorities"

F He is continually stirring up machloqet.

G He will fail to see himself in any of his own attacks. IOW he lacks the introspection to see that he does the very things he attacks.

I. He holds platitudes such as "honesty" over the heads of his targets, yet isn't above cherry-picking
sources to further his own agenda.

If you run into some-one who fits this description you have found a Neo-Korach. For the mystically- minded maybe you've met Korach's "gilgul"

Disclaimer: while I myself have not met anyone who fits this description, it's possible that a composite made up of several people's characteristics would indeed resemble this portrait.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Shabbat Hagadol: How can an Am Ha'aretz lead a Seder and not Know Hallel?

The Tosefta on P'sachim [Pischa] states that after one leads the Seder, if he cannot do Hallel, then they met in public at shul and said Hallel as a K'hillah.
My question:
How can who is someone too ignorant to recite Hallel, successfully lead a Seder?

And this dilemma had bothered me for many years.

Then, via Hashgachah p'ratit [after all I am a mashgi'ach] I heard R David Halivni [RDWH] speak during a Shabbat Hagadol D'rashah as follows.

Why was the passage of Arami Oveid Avi [and its Midroshim] chosen for the core of the Seder? After all many other Torah passages relate the Exodus, some of them more robustly?

Answer: every farmer [peasant?] knew how to recite Arami Oveid Avi. After all they had to recite the vidduy when bringing bikkurim and so it was something they had to learn. Following Sh'ma, it was probably the best known passage among Amei Ha'aretz in Ancient Israel.

This approach answers my question, too

Namely -
How can an Am Hakaretz lead a Seder and not Know Hallel?

Answer: every farmer [peasant?] new how to recite Arami Avi due to the Vidduy of Bikkurim. Following Sh'ma, it was the probably the best known passage among Amei Ha'aretz in Ancient Israel. OTOH, Hallel might not have been so well-known, because they just followed along in shul, etc. They did not need to recite for themselves.

This explains the Tosefta's case which is otherwise a bit obscure.

Kol Tuv,