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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.

Analysis of the first two paragraphs of Krias Shema

January 8, 2013, by

Shiur #66 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Differences between the 1st and 2nd paragraphs of Krias Shema. The relationship between reward/punishment and the acceptance of mitzvos. How does the acceptance of G-d’s sovereignty not already necessarily include the acceptance of His mitzvos? Our performance of mitzvos reflects beliefs; we don’t emphasize declarations of belief. 1st paragraph is a declaration of Hashem as King over the whole universe, therefore we don’t mention the special relationship of Jews to Him. 2nd paragraph emphasizes the special connection Jews have with Hashem. 2nd paragraph parallels the intimate connection we have when praying. Differences between ahavas Hashem and learning Torah related in the first paragraph versus the second paragraph.

Citations: The following sources are referenced in this shiur: Talmud Yerushalmi Maseches Brachos 2:1, found in the source packets on page 1, and Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 63:6, found in the source packets on page 1.

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The enterprise of studying the reason behind mitzvos

December 25, 2012, by

Shiur #65 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Discussion of the individual and the community with respect to fulfillment of mitzvos and deserving punishment. Discussion of our ability to derive lessons for ethical behavior from the details of mitzvos like shiluach ha-ken and the prohibition of slaughtering a cow and its baby in one day.

Citations: The following source is referenced in this shiur: Sefer Tiferes Yisroel of the Maharal of Prague, chapters 5,6, found in the source packets on pages 1-5.

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The relationship between opportunity, striving, and reality

December 7, 2012, by

Shiur #64 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: The reasons for the complexity of Torah and the multiplicity of mitzvos. The importance of our very relationship to Torah, aside from our actual successful observance thereof. The sense of sadness that a person has in discovering how much Torah he might not succeed in learning or observing. Insight into the purpose of a siyum masechta. Aspirations for greatness, and the reality which strives to achieve that vision.

Citations: This shiur references the following sources: Sefer Tiferes Yisroel of the Maharal of Prague, chapter 5, found in the source packets on page 1, and Sefer Shem Olam, first chelek, 19th chapter, found in the source packets on pages 1-2.

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Can just one mitzvah earn you a place in Olom Haba?

November 21, 2012, by

Shiur #63 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: The reason why there are so many mitzvos. Can just one properly performed mitzvah radically affect one’s spiritual balance sheet? The greatness and expanse of Torah, and the natural propensity of Jews towards Torah and mitzvos.

Citations: This shiur references the following source: Sefer Tiferes Yisroel of the Maharal of Prague, chapter 5, found in the source packets on pages 1-3.

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Learning Torah she-lo lishmah, and battling the yetzer hara

November 6, 2012, by

Shiur #62 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Mishlei verses 3:17 and 25:21. Differentiating between learning Torah she-lo lishmah, and teaching Torah to a corrupt person. Discussion of the misconduct of Gechazi. The importance of the permission to learn Torah she-lo lishmah. Learning halacha counters the yetzer hara of anger, while learning aggadah counters the yetzer hara of desire.

Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following sources are also referenced in this shiur: Rambam Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:5, found in the source packets on page 1, and gemara Sukkah 52a, found in the source packets on page 2.

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Torah and Mitzvos, both she-lo lishmah

October 19, 2012, by

Shiur #61 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Mishlei verse 3:17. The appropriateness of co-opting the yetzer hara to further Torah study. Discussion of various types of motivation for mitzvah performance. Visceral versus superficial belief in reward and punishment. The Sokatchover Rebbe’s definition of learning Torah lishmah.

Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following sources are also referenced in this shiur: Rambam Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:5, found in the source packets on page 1, and Rambam Hilchos Teshuvah 10:5, found in the source packets on page 1, and Sfas Emes, Pesachim 50b, found in the source packets on pages 1-2, and Eglay Tal, Hakdamah, found in the source packets on page 2.

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The effect of bias and indulgence on Torah learning

August 31, 2012, by

Shiur #60 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Review of the main parts of the Teshuvas Meishiv Davar studied last shiur. Discussion of biases and conflicts of interest and their affect on one’s ability to judge objectively. Quoting Torah versus interpreting Torah, both with ulterior motives. Warped values can cause the most gross errors in conduct. Discussion of the special level of ‘keser Torah.’ The danger that indulgence presents to the attainment and maintenance of Torah knowledge.

Citations: The following sources are referenced in this shiur: Kli Yakar, Shemos 25:31, found in the source packets on page 1, Akeidas Yitzchak, sha’ar 67, found in the source packets on page 1-2, and Rambam Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:6,12, found in the source packets on page 2.

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The Torah View of Wealth and Honor

August 17, 2012, by

Shiur #59 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Mishlei verse 3:16. The consequences of learning Torah lishmah, versus not lishmah. The existence and size of reward for an action is one of the measures by which we value things. Insights into da’as Torah and how we should view advice gleaned from very brief interactions with gedolei Yisroel.

Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following sources are also referenced in this shiur: gemara Shabbos 63a, found in the source packets on page 1, and Chasam Sofer, Shabbos 63a, found in the source packets on page 2, and Teshuvas Meishiv Davar, 1st chelek, siman 46, found in the source packets on pages 2-3.

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Are Rabbis’ Jobs Protected?

August 3, 2012, by

Shiur #58 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Sources addressing ‘owning’ one’s position of authority. Discussion of maintaining one’s health. Impinging upon someone’s authority in general, versus impinging upon a Torah scholar’s ‘territory.’ Discussion as to when trespassing into another Rabbi’s territory will ruin his livelihood.

Citations: This shiur references the Teshuvas Tsits Eliezer, 3rd chelek, 29th siman, chapter 5, found on pages 1-10.

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Wisdom and Lineage

July 6, 2012, by

Shiur #57 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Mishlei verse 3:15. Further discussion of the prioritizing of a scholarly mamzer over an ignorant Kohen Gadol. Hierarchy and limitations are needed to permit entering the kodesh kodashim, whereas Torah is accessible to everyone. Comparison of the start and end of Parshas Va-yetse; transitions in Yaakov’s understanding of where kedushah is to be found.

Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following sources are also referenced in this shiur: Sfas Emes Badmibar Parshas Naso 5641 and 5647, found in the source packets on pages 1-2.

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