Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Request for Input

I am thinking of joining the ranks of writers of weekly messages. I am looking for suggestions for topics and/or formats so that it would not be redundant, superfluous, or uninteresting. Any ideas or requests?



  1. 21st century mussar/hashkafa on how to be a good eved Hashem. Not the fire and brimston-y old school stuff

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    1. Just a few thoughts.

      I would like to see you take on some questions in Emunah. Preferably if you have meaningful discussion with skeptics.

      Examples could be from Chumash questions:
      How was חצרון (the grand/great grandson) born in the span of 22 years after Yehuda married Tamar.
      Is the Torah implying it was written later when it states "עד היום הזה"
      Questions about how to take something that doesn't match our moral compass
      War with Moav
      Eshet Yifat Toar
      Pilegesh Ba'givah

      How to approach miracles
      From Tanach
      From Chazal
      Golem of Prague
      Rebbes the 'know' things

      Concept of Moshiach:
      People have been very detailed about what their expectations are for Moshiach. Are these accurate?
      Isn't God supposed to be king?

      Hareidi vs. Dati Leumi

      Where Torah and Science don't match up.

      I'm not sure you can have a meaningful discussion on some of these points and remain in any camp. I'd be curious if you told us which issues are too thorny to discuss.. (Even the mishna lists things taught only in small groups or one on one. )

    2. This is a good list. But it seems more suited for audio/video presentations, no?

  3. You could start with a video or audio, and post it to the blog for discussion.

  4. Practical Mussar Concepts that we can apply to ourselves nowadays/
    Short ideas from the Baalei Mussar of the past which are adapted to more modern situations.

  5. A weekly discussion of individuals of antiquity that are respected in the Orthodox milieu that would be called apikorsim if they were to say such things today- with examples of shocking things they said, why they were not defrocked, and why such words today would mean you wouldn't count towards a minyan. Examples- everything the IE says; the opinion that Moshe Rabbeinu was rephrasing what he heard; the Or HaChaim about Hashem's knowledge of the future; the Ramban on the universality of hashgacha, Rav Hirsch on Chazal's knowledge of natural sciences; ve'cha'heinah ve'cha'heinah. I'm sure you don't need more examples.

  6. religion and emotion- Jewish sources speak of the importance of serving Hashem b'simcha and the internal benefits of keeping mitzvos. Yet we all know frum Jews who struggle emotionally and secular people who seem well-adjusted.

    Ben Dov

  7. Torah im Derech Eretz! The Hirschian legacy has been largely ignored online and in print, despite its clear applicability in today's day. And you're uniquely qualified to discuss it.

  8. A varient of R Eliezer Eisenberg's proposal: A parashah sheet that focuses on hashkafah or mussar questions for which the usual sound-bite simplistic answers are insufficient. Like using the sale of Yosef to discuss universal HP and other models of hashgachah. Or this week's parashah (Va'era) and bechirah chofshi.

    (Or something less predictable -- this comment is off-the-cuff.)

    And if the answers are controversial in the eyes of those who haven't sat down and actually studied aggadita critically, you should have some "buzz" and circulation.

  9. There are sugyes in mussar as well. Taking a piece of Reb Yeruchem on the parshe (chelek habiurim or maybe even maamorim) and develop it.

  10. I think you should do Hashkafic/Mussar/Chassidishe Dvars. Perhaps you should try to learn out a lesson from a passuk or concept in the parsha and then elaborate on it (maybe adding an inspiring story in the Dvar as well, relating to the lesson you are discussing). People want to read something warm and inspiring that will leave a mark. That is how I try to write my Dvar Torahs - and at least a few Rebbeim definitely seem to like them. (Anyone who would like to recieve these via email, please just comment on my blog, and ask - or you can read them there.

    Either way, Rav Bechhofer; I would love to recieve your Dvar Torahs via email when you do start to send them out!

    Kol Tuv!

  11. Another topic is ethics that are broader than halacha. For example Yesheya Hanavi empathizes with the suffering of non-Jewish nations that are punished, though there is no halacha to my knowledge that one must do so.

    ben dov

  12. I think R Eisenberg's suggestion is great. I would also love an analysis of different areas of halacha and lomdus that have theological implications, and, as well, lomdus and halacha regarding theological issues...

  13. What interests you most? That's probably where your thought is most cogent and most worth sharing. No need to follow any herd.

  14. I'm interested in any weekly that provokes me to research the inyanim independently. I'm not interested in conclusions.