Sunday, January 24, 2021

Rischa D'Araisa Season 2 Episode 21: REVEL-ling in Past Possibilities: How America would have been different had Rav Shimon Shkop accepted the post of Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS in 1929

Rischa D'Araisa Season 2 Episode 21: REVEL-ling in Past Possibilities: How America would have been different had Rav Shimon Shkop accepted the post of Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS in 1929


Rischa's second foray into speculative what-if scenarios begins with an elaborate set-up of the Lithuanian Yeshiva-American Money connection of the 1920's and the major role played by visionaries like Rabbi Dov Revel.

Rabbi Kivelevitz provides the salient specifics of the founding and flourishing of Yeshivas Shaar HaTorah in Grodno.

Rabbi Bechhofer confirms Kivelevitz's assessment of the unique skillset and persona that combined within Rav Shimon Yehuda Shkop Zt'l that made him the perfect catalyst for growth and quantitative advancement for the motivated Ben Torah of the early 20th Century and why the administration of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan made him their prime candidate in succeeding the tragically departed Rav Shlomo Polacheck, the Meitscheter Illui.

While in the real world, Rav Shimon heeded t, the Rischa duo sketches the arc of probabilities had he remained.

Kivelevitz and Bechhofer disagree over whether, sans Rav Moshe Soloveichick's influential role, his son, Rav Yoseph Dov, would have become the towering influential teacher and philosopher for American generations to come.

Bechhofer asks Kivelevitz to complete the fantasy with an alternate landing role for the under appreciated Gaon and Scholar, Rav Zelik Epstein, who as Rav Shimon's disciple and granddaughter's husband, might have wielded a role in Yeshiva University commensurate with his predilections and vision.

Stumped by a line in the Rosh. Any Ideas?

I am somewhat at a loss to understand what the Rosh means in Os  98 in the Orchos Chaim.


Sefaria has it:

צח. אַל תְּשַּׁבֵּחַ אִשָּׁה בְּיָפְיָהּ וּבְטוּב מַעֲשֶׂיהָ, פֶּן יְאַשְּׁרוּהָ הַשּׁוֹמְעִים


Monday, January 18, 2021

Martin Luther King Day Shiur 2021

2021 

Martin Luther King Day Shiur

of the Orthodox Jews Against Discrimination and Racism group. 

The source sheets for the shiur can be found at https://od.lk/f/104438867_xvmdb



Rischa D'Araisa Season 2 Episode 20: Kovetz Hasharos U'Dimyonos-What if Rav Elchanan Wasserman had not died a martyr's death and had escaped to America?

Rischa D'Araisa Season 2 Episode 20: Kovetz Hasharos U'Dimyonos-What if Rav Elchanan Wasserman had not died a martyr's death and had escaped to America?




Beginning a new What if series on Jewish topics.

With a premise that significant alternate fiction is built on assiduous research and knowledge of the persons and milieu, Rabbi Kivelevitz states that he and Rabbi Bechhofer have to be steeped somewhat in the ideas and personage under discussion. As both of them as teenagers, were exposed to the Torah of Rav Elchanan Wasserman, his hashkofosand martyr's death, the speculation as to how America would have been different had he remained here from 1938 onwards seemed a project they could tackle.

Bechhofer claims that due to his hardline views as evidenced by his not allowing students to accept visas in 1939 offered by Yeshiva University and H.T.C., and the harsh rhetoric of the Ikvasa Demeshichaand his forceful personality he would have constricted the scope of Yeshiva life, and attacked aggressively institutions that would have allowed bochurim to attend college.

Kivelevitz describes Reb Elchanan as the prime figure to crystallize the modern concept of Daas Torah, as is apparent in the famous letter of Rav Eliyahu Dessler.

As he could claim to be the historical extender of Rav Chaim Brisker in learning, the Chofetz Chaim in Torah Hashkafa and Rav Chaim Ozer in communal leadership,

Figures such as Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Eliezer Silver would have been rendered less consequential by the alternate reality Reb Elchanan.

While Bechhofer might be correct that Reb Elchanan seemed to be one that would ban any unnecessary use of English in Yeshivos, Kivelevitz reveals that the great Rosh Yeshiva actually was proficient in a few languages and kept abreast of scientific advancements of the day.

The Rabbis discuss which work of Reb Elchanan can be considered his most important, Bechhofer believes that although his most famous contribution may be the chakira if migo is on account of ne'emanus or koach ha'ata'anathe has been the most influential, while Kivelevitz quoting Rav Moshe Heinemann, lists the Kovetz Haoros as demonstrating brilliance, the Divrei Sofrim showcases a Rosh Yeshiva treading into unusual territory that plumbed the nature of fealty to Rabbinic law.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Rischa D'Araisa Season 2 Episode 19: Facing up to the Insurrection Facts - Perspectives of Rebbitzen Bechhofer

Rischa D'Araisa Season 2 Episode 19: Facing up to the Insurrection Facts - Perspectives of First Lady Bechhofer - Humble Condemnations paired with a Reckoning of conscience


The program begins with a short tribute to Rav Yehudah Kelemer Zt"l, who passed away Erev Shabbos, with Rabbi Bechhofer highlighting his unmatched humility and middos and dedication to kiruv which obscured the niftar's greatness in lomdus and Halacha.

Rabbi Kivelevitz notes how Rav Kelemer's psakim and example led to the acceptance and respect for many heretofore marginalized members of Jewish society.

Based on her cogent statements on the attack on the Capitol, Bechhofer and Kivelevitz invite Rebbitzen Shani Bechhofer to comment on the misinformation and controversy surrounding the events on January 6th in Washington.

The three discussants share their thoughts as to whether the statements of disapproval and condemnation issued by Orthodox Rabbinical Organizations have gone far enough in demarking what should be our stand and public face. Kivelevitz claims that while glaringly obvious, the President should have been singled out by name.

Rebbetzin Bechhofer argues forcefully that Trump's remaining in office is a disgrace and could lead to more dangerous incidents and unethical political shenanigans.

She fears that an impeachment process, however, would cloud the real investigation that needs to happen and jarringly polarize the two parties in a way that strongly impedes further progress.

The Bechhofers are asked about the charges made by many that the rioters were treated with undue restraint that would never been afforded a BLM mob.

Kivelevitz further asks the couple to comment on the point made by some in the Orthodox community and beyond, that last summers riots were not condemned by all parties or aggressively dealt with, despite the great property loss and violence that was caused by the protesters.

The podcast ends with a look forward to next week's program, launching our series of deep dives into alternative histories.