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Rav Aharon Kahn

Rav Aharon Kahn

Rav Aharon Kahn is the Joel Jablonski Professor of Talmud and Codes at Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). Rabbi Kahn was ordained at RIETS in 1969 and later earned Semicha Yadin Yadin from the Rabbi Mendel Zaks ztz”l and Rabbi Moshe Dovber Rivkin ztz”l. He studied with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik for 20 years and acted as Rabbi Soloveitchik's assistant for ten years. Rabbi Kahn served as spiritual leader of the Downtown Talmud Torah Synagogue in Manhattan's Lower East Side for 18 years. He is currently rabbi of Congregation Bais Keneses Avigdor in the Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Greatness of Torah, smallness of man

January 17, 2011, by

Shiur #16 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Chayei Adam Hakdama Kolleles. The necessary humility of great talmidei chachomim: recognizing the greatness of Hashem and the nothingness of man and of what he has achieved. Contemplating the tremendous scope and expanse of Torah.

Citations: Chayei Adam Hakdama Kolleles, found in the source packets on pages 1-4, and gemara Pesachim 62b with commentaries, found in the source packets on pages 4-5.

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Strategies of the yetser hara— how should we respond?

December 30, 2010, by

Shiur #14 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Verses 1:10-19. The company of people who are lacking (initially) only in mitzvos asay will still lead eventually to the violation of the most serious transgressions. Strategies of the yetser hara in its efforts to seduce you, and the proper tactics to respond. The danger of becoming connected to wicked people. Vilna Gaon on Sefer Ruth 1:18 – The yetser hara co-opting mitzvos for achieving evil. How to view the strain and struggle involved in doing mitzvos. Two opinions in the Medrash about the correctness of Avraham sending Lot away.

Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following commentaries are also included in this shiur: Tsidkas HaTsadik (os 48), found in the source packets on page 1, and the Vilna Gaon on Megilas Ruth (1:18), found in the source packets on page 3.

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The Soton in Sefer Iyov

December 30, 2010, by

Shiur #13 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Analysis of commentaries on the opening 12 verses of Sefer Iyov. Is Soton a person, an angel, or the natural, negative instincts of man? Main approach: Soton is an external force to Iyov, as opposed to the natural, internal elements which are rooted in the base forces of aggression and desire. What the Soton sends our way depends on (and is the inverse of) siyata dishmaya- but our response to it depends on us alone. Mishlei verse 1:10 with Alshich. The power of justification; we want to always “smell like a rose” We want to “have our cake and eat it too.”.

Citations: Sefer Iyov 1:1-12 with commentaries, found in the source packet on pages 1-3, and Sefer Mishlei 1:10 with Alshich, found in the source packet on page 3.

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Two main drives of the yetser hara: aggression and desire

December 30, 2010, by

Shiur #12 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Verses 1:10-1:19 , 16:32, and 25:21. Two main drives of the yetser hara: [1] aggression and [2] desire – whether for honor, money, or the sensual. Aggression, which is rooted in the quest for honor, comes later in life. Desire is present from birth. The quest for honor is more easily overcome than the desire for other things, due to its late arrival on the scene, as a function of one’s developing intellect. Learning aggadah as a response to the yetser hara of desire, and learning halachah as a response to the yetser hara of aggression. The yetser hara of aggression is more easily conquered than that of desire, since aggression is less critical to a person’s existence than is desire, which is needed to maintain life (to eat, to procreate, etc.)

Citations: All sources are from the Biur Hagra, included in the source packets.

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Praying for the sick and greeting the sick on Shabbos

December 30, 2010, by

Shiur #11 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Permissibility of praying for the sick on shabbos. Appropriate language to be used when greeting a choleh. Recitation of psukim as preventive medicine versus as medication for extant ailments. Recitation to earn zechus of Talmud Torah, or as prayer,or recitation as an incantation.

Citations: Gemara Shabbos 12a and 12b, found in the source packets on page 1, and Beis Yosef (Orach Chaim siman 287) found in the source packets on page 1, and Rambam Hilchos Shabbos (24:5) found in the source packets on page 1, and Teshuvos Tsits Eliezer(5th chelek, Ramat Rachel: siman 14) found in the source packets on page 2- 4 , Tsits Eliezer (14th chelek, siman 48) found in the source packets on pages 4-10, and Tsits Eliezer (17th chelek, siman 30) found in the source packets on pages 10-14.

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Non-scientific medications and using Torah as a remedy

November 24, 2010, by

Shiur #10 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Saying verses as incantations for refuah. Permissibility of chillul shabbos for refuah by writing notes to tsadikim, requesting their prayers on your behalf? Status of tefillas haTsadik – refuah tivis or refuah segulis.

Citations: Tur (Yoreh De’ah, siman 179), found in the source packets on page 1, and Beis Yosef (Yoreh De’ah, siman 179), found in the source packets on pages 1-3, and Seder HaYom , found in the source packets on page 4, and Pesach HaDvir(2nd chelek, siman 220 and 306), found in the source packets on page 4, and Teshuvos uBacharta baChaim (siman 87), found in the source packets on pages 4-5, and Teshuvos Sho’el uMeishiv Tlisa’ah (1st chelek, siman 194), found in the source packets on page 5, and Teshuvos Yabia Omer (8th chelek – Orach Chaim, siman 37), found twice in the source packets on pages 5-6 and 7-9, and Rambam Pirush haMishnah (Yuma 83a), found in the source packets on page 6.

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Using Torah as a medication or segulah

November 24, 2010, by

Shiur #9 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Using scientific versus non-scientific natural medicines. Using divrei Torah as a means to attaining refuah. Discussion of darkei ha-emori. Chillul Shabbos and other transgressions violated by using (effective) non-scientific segulahs, in order to attain refuah. Brief discussion of some of the halachos of using kamayos.

Citations: Teshuvos Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim 5th chelek, siman 43, found in the source packet on page 1, and Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchim (3rd chelek, 37th chapter), found in the source packet on page 1, and Mishnah Shabbos 67a, found in the source packet on pages 1-2 , and Teshuvos Tsits Eliezer (4th chelek, siman 4, 17), found in the source packet on pages 2-3, and Aruch HaShulchan (Orach Chaim, siman 301, #75-80), found in the source packet on pages 3-5.

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Mishlei 1:9 and Torah’s protective quality

November 24, 2010, by

Shiur #8 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Analysis of verse 1:9. Comparison of mitzvos to the body, and Torah to the mind and light. Apparent contradiction in gemaras regarding using Torah as a medicine or as a preventive measure, and several suggestions to explain this difficulty.

Citations: Besides the commentaries on Mishlei presented in the source packet, the following sources are referenced in this shiur: Gemara Yerushalmi Shabbos, found in the source packet on page 1, and gemara Nedarim 50a with the Maharsha, found in the source packet on page 1, and gemara Eruvin 54a, found in the source packet on page 2, and the Maharsha to Eruvin 54a, found in the source packet on page 4, and Kedushas Levi, found in the source packet on page 4, and Maharal’s Sefer Tiferes Yisroel found in the source packet on pages 2-3.

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Relationship of Yiras Shomayim to learning Torah

November 24, 2010, by

Shiur #7 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Verses 1:6,7. Critical role of Yiras Shamayim in the enterprise of attaining chochmah. The consequences of learning with intent to do, and to avoid transgression. Actual effect that yiras shamayim can have on one’s mental capacity for chochmah.

Citations: The relevant commentaries on Mishlei are presented in the source packet.

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