Monday, August 25, 2008

An Aha! Moment

In his most recent posting at the Tradition Seforim Blog, which, as usual, is both enlightening and entertaining, my friend Marc Shapiro writes, cryptically:

Since my book appeared I have also discovered many more letters, including a collection sent to one of the leaders of the yeshiva world (whose identity I am not at present able to divulge). In my Note on Sources, found after the preface, I mentioned that while such letters might cause me to reevaluate some of my conclusions, I was confident that the picture I presented would not be substantially altered. I was happy to see that nothing in these letters caused me to change any of my earlier thoughts.

WADR to Marc's judgment, I would like to see an impartial third party be the judge of whether and to what extent these new sources should "change any of [his] earlier thoughts"...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

On the plus side...

It's always good to get emails like this. Maybe they'll help me get in Olam HaBa!

Dear Rabbi Bechhofer
I just wanted to give you a yasher kochacha and Mazal Tov. I have just completed Seder Zraim of your Yerushlami Shiurim. It's taken me just under a year to get through the Seder. I listen to the Shiurim on my way to and from work and it has turned my many accumulated hours of being stuck in traffic into countless hours of Limmud HaTorah. Thank you for the wonderful Shiurim and the way you present the material. In addition, thanks and yasher kochacha to the people who uploaded the files to the Web sites and who recorded the Shiurim in the first place. I've now moved on to Shabbos.
May you continue to be Marbitz Torah.
A Talmid
(name deleted)
Ramat Bet Shemesh

From one of my talmidim at OS

I'm not sure I have an answer... :-(

Hello RYGB,
If you have time can you please answer a big question ?

On divisions within Judaism

It is very funny and sad, that when people's opinion differ there is what I call random categorization that happens. For some reason people have a need of labeling other people? Your a left wing and I am a right or you are Haredi and I am not, Ultra Orthodox and modern.

All what these labels and categorization do is separate and distance people to the point that each has to go to his own shul, and live in a different community, and has his own shulchan aruch.

I often wonder when 600,000 Jews received the Torah did they all started labeling each other.

Did 600,000 Jews with 600,000 opinions started separating from each other due their hashkafas. Did say you are lefty (therefore wrong) and I am righty (therefore right).

Why is there a need to label different Jews? Why does disagreeing with another Jew we feel a need to separate ourselves. Do people honestly believe that calling somebody a liberal or a modern Jew makes you go to Heaven because you are more strict on Judaism while for whatever reason you give yourselves a Heter to say Loshan Hara about a group of Jews.

Anyway a person spins it, whenever he refers to a somebody as a lefty or a modern he has a negative connotation when he uses that term. He treats them differently and speaks to them differently, and I know we all think we are tzaddikim that we have only the most holy thouhgts in mind when say this but the bottom when we label somebody, we try to distance ourself, and inferiorize them.

There is joke, 2 Jews get stranded on a island and live there for 5 years togather. One day they are discovered, and they look at the place they build. There is 1 house, 1 hospital, 1 gym, etc.. and 2 shulls, They asked why do u have 2 shuls, they respond this is the 1 I go to, and this is the 1 he goes to.

On a more serious note a very interesting thing I read on exile of Jews from Spain, that may clarify what I am saying.

The following is taken for Anti-Maimonidean demons by Jose Faur

R. Solomon Al'ami (c. 1370-1420), himself a foe of philosophical studies, described the new ministry produced in Spain:

Some of our recent sages lost their way in the wilderness! They erred[even with] the most obvious! Because they hate and are jealous of each other, and put up for sale the Torah for presents. Their goal of their curriculum is to know how to read [the Torah] meticulously and
expand their own innovations. The study of Talmud and other works [also is wanting] because they are concerned with every minute detail of the law and the diVerent views and opinions [not with its sub-stance]. They thrust aside the humility of the virtuous, temperance
and holiness. What [one rabbi] instructs the other darkens; what [one rabbi] permits the other prohibits. Through their quarrels the Law had become two! They knit [their views] on a spider's web, embarrassing themselves and exposing their wickedness: their eyes are closed and cannot see; their hearts fail to understand. They show favor [when
issuing legal decisions] of the Law, and fail to tell the people their disgrace. Because God had poured over them a spirit of foolishness and had close their eyes. This is what disgraces the Torah in the eyes of all those who see and hear [them].
R. Solomon Al'ami, Iggeret Musar, A.A. Haberman, ed. ( Jerusalem, 1946), pp.40-41

Have a good day.

Rav Elyashiv shlita serves notice...

הגרי"ש אלישיב "אין לסמוך על תשובותי בעל פה"

שמעתי מפי עדים נאמנים ששמעו מחתנו של הרב אלישיב הגאון רבי עזריאל אויערבך שאמר להרב גלבר בעל האורחות שבת שלא יכתוב בספר אורחות שבת פסקים ששמע בע"פ מהגרי"ש אלישיב בשנים האחרונות.

ר' עזריאל נימק ואמר כי הרב אלישיב אמר לו שלא לסמוך להלכה למעשה על השאלות שנשאל בשנים האחרונות בעל פה (רק מה שבכתב), וזאת בגלל שהרב אלישיב אמר לו שמשיב לשואלים מה שנראה לו מסברה (הם הרי שואלים מה נראה לי נימק) ולא מתוך ידיעה ולכן לא לסמוך על הדברים הלכה למעשה.

עם זאת ציין כי השאלות שנשאל בעל פה בשנים מוקדמות יותר ניתן לסמוך גם הלכה למעשה, מה שאין כן בשנים האחרונות בהם הגרי"ש חלש יותר.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Following further links...

Perhaps the most famous Kel Adon of them all, with interesting notes (follow the link for לשמיעה איכותית).

Looking a bit further at that site...

...interesting, the original words for "HaTikvah" are considerably more religious than the small excerpt that made the final cut for the Israeli national anthem.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

שקעה חמה

The niggun used for RAEK's Shak'a Chama in its "original" (albeit this is subject to dispute, see the comments) usage for Tchernichovski's distinctly anti-religious "Ani Ma'amin." There is a Kol Isha issue with the main recording, although it is strictly speaking permissible (for me, at least), since I have no idea what the singer looks like. With the alternative recording there's much less of an issue, in any event, since it is sung by a large, mixed group.

The tune is actually pretty generically Russian folk-style. Frankly, I was always unhappy with RAEK's being so intextricably linked to this really out-of-character poem. Oh well, azoi hoht dehr Hashgocho ge'firt, v'im kabbalah he nekabbel.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Respository of many MP3 files, mostly of talks I have given at OS

Reuven Meir Caplan has graciously compiled a repository of many of the MP3 audios of the shiurim that I have given at Ohr Somayach in Monsey. He has also included many of the shiurim I have given elsewhere that are available on the web.

As of June 24, 2015, they are at

Index of /RYGB

Icon  Name                    Last modified      Size  Description
[DIR] Parent Directory - [SND] 01-19-04_l'olam_vs_d..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 12M [SND] 01-22-04_Melech_def-..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 13M [SND] 03-14-04_renewal_rec..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 8.4M [SND] 05-03-04_concentrati..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 14M [SND] 05-03-04_concentrati..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 1.1M [SND] 06-28-05_RamBam-phil..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 7.3M [SND] 06-28-12_Obamacare.mp3 29-Jun-2012 00:54 15M [SND] 07-07-05_read-isnt-l..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 7.8M [SND] 07-07-05_souls-goyim..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 14M [SND] 07-08-12_17Tamuz_Tzo..> 08-Jul-2012 20:13 33M [SND] 07-14-04_yellow-pink..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 12M [SND] 07-19-12_Rav_Elyashi..> 19-Jul-2012 23:55 18M [SND] 07-26-12_Kelm_Mussar..> 27-Jul-2012 01:36 16M [SND] 08-02-12_Tu-b-Av.mp3 03-Aug-2012 00:48 17M [SND] 08-27-07_darshining-..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 9.6M [SND] 09-08-04_Chayai-ha-m..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 11M [SND] 09-17-07_Talmud-Hist..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 9.2M [SND] 09-22-04_Yushka_cenc..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 13M [SND] 10-31-04_Smichah_ori..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 8.8M [SND] 11-10-03_timelessnes..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 8.3M [SND] 11-12-03_levels_of_r..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 9.9M [SND] 11-29-04_HaShems-ess..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 9.3M [DIR] 13 Principles of Faith/ 19-Jun-2011 20:57 - [DIR] Aggadata/ 19-Jun-2011 21:05 - [DIR] Alu v'Alu/ 19-Jun-2011 21:10 - [SND] BadOrthodox-calcontr..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 13M [DIR] Careers and Torah Life/ 19-Jun-2011 21:12 - [DIR] Chabad/ 19-Jun-2011 21:17 - [SND] Drugs_rambam-on-ange..> 27-Nov-2008 23:39 29M [SND] Goyish Music.mp3 15-Jun-2008 01:21 11M [DIR] Halachic Times of Day/ 19-Jun-2011 21:25 - [SND] Hashkafah-rant_apiko..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 13M [SND] History-israel-rebbe..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 13M [DIR] Lag_bOmer/ 09-May-2012 23:50 - [SND] Levaiathon_abominabl..> 27-Nov-2008 23:39 11M [SND] Magic_real-or-no.mp3 15-Jun-2008 01:21 9.6M [SND] Magic_superstition_a..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 3.7M [DIR] Mishpatim-Justice/ 19-Jun-2011 21:28 - [DIR] Monetary_Obligations/ 25-Oct-2011 20:10 - [DIR] Mussar/ 19-Jun-2011 21:37 - [DIR] Nach_Ovadiah/ 09-May-2012 23:45 - [DIR] Nachash/ 16-Feb-2012 23:52 - [SND] Overview-shas-commen..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 12M [SND] Overview-shas-pg-com..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 13M [DIR] Pesach/ 30-Mar-2012 00:32 - [DIR] Prayer/ 25-Feb-2012 23:53 - [DIR] Purim/ 30-Mar-2012 00:29 - [DIR] Rabbeinu Gershom's D..> 19-Jun-2011 22:07 - [SND] RavDessler-giving-ta..> 27-Nov-2008 03:54 26M [DIR] Rov_and_Kavua/ 28-Jul-2011 23:59 - [DIR] Science and Torah/ 19-Jun-2011 22:14 - [DIR] Techelis/ 19-Jun-2011 22:16 - [DIR] The Nature of Sin/ 19-Jun-2011 22:31 - [DIR] Torah Scripts - Ashu..> 19-Jun-2011 22:35 - [DIR] Torah_Im_Derech_Eretz/ 15-Jun-2012 00:03 - [SND] Ways2learnGemara-uni..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 12M [DIR] Women/ 19-Jun-2011 22:42 - [SND] Zera-valatala-bad-or..> 27-Nov-2008 23:39 17M [SND] chassidim-no-learn-e..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 10M [SND] chassidus_daven-late..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 14M [SND] crazy-story-of-tryin..> 27-Nov-2008 23:39 27M [SND] devorah_bitachon.mp3 27-Nov-2008 23:38 31M [SND] evangilize-goyim_for..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 14M [SND] gan-eden_gehennum-mo..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 10M [SND] gilgulim-true-or-no_..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 12M [SND] green-book-cheat_bei..> 27-Nov-2008 23:38 29M [SND] history_shabsai-tzvi..> 27-Nov-2008 23:39 13M [SND] learn-nach-like-neva..> 27-Nov-2008 23:38 24M [SND] levaiathon_chazal-co..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 12M [SND] levels-of-holiness_k..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 8.1M [SND] lillith-demons_wasti..> 27-Nov-2008 23:39 24M [SND] maharal-no-make-gole..> 27-Nov-2008 23:38 13M [SND] manna_holy-eating_dr..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 12M [SND] misc_devora_girsa-ch..> 27-Nov-2008 23:38 28M [SND] misc_search4kula_gem..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 12M [SND] misuse-of-rambam_ola..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 12M [SND] moshiach_chutzpah_as..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 6.5M [SND] moshiach_rambam_goan..> 27-Nov-2008 23:38 7.9M [SND] mussar-vs-brisk_chab..> 27-Nov-2008 23:38 21M [SND] nach_kiruv-bad-or-go..> 27-Nov-2008 23:39 22M [SND] old-eurpoe-contraver..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 13M [SND] origins-kabbalah-zoh..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 13M [SND] paos-razer-beards_ks..> 27-Nov-2008 23:38 16M [SND] papersmicha_shulchan..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 12M [SND] pinchas-eliyahu_avra..> 27-Nov-2008 23:39 24M [SND] pre-purim_daven-drun..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 14M [SND] ramchal-keeps-gettin..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 12M [SND] reason4reform-cons_e..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 13M [SND] secular-studies_viln..> 28-Nov-2008 00:39 11M [SND] visions-angels-medip..> 27-Nov-2008 23:39 23M [SND] yoshon_chadash_hecsh..> 15-Jun-2008 01:21 13M