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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.

Definitions of basic Kabbalah terminology: Chochmah, Binah and Daas

April 13, 2011, by

Shiur #26 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Mishlei verses 2: 2,3,6. Basic Kabbalah terminology –[1] Chochmah, [2] Binah, [3] Daas. [1] Spark/origination of the concept, [2] development and [3] concretization and transformation into the final result in life. The importance of impartial listening before analyzing and participating. The critical role of yirah as a basis for ahavah, and everything else.

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The importance of knowing halachah le’ma’aseh – and of enjoying learning

March 4, 2011, by

Shiur #25 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Chayei Adam Hakdama Achrona on the importance of learning halachah le-ma’aseh. Nevertheless, it is the geshmak of learning that will keep a person connected to learning – the distractions and pull of the world are too great to just rely on “learning for the sake of avodas Hashem, whether exciting or dry.” The cleansing value of Torah.

Citations: Chayei Adam Hakdama Achrona, found in the source packets on pages 1-3.

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Classic derech ha-limud/pedagogy of Yeshivas

March 4, 2011, by

Shiur #24 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: “Bimakom she-libo chofetz.” Biur HaGra on Mishlei 17:24 – the highest level of learning is that we intend simply to fulfill Hashem’s Will, which is that we engage in learning. Discussion of the focus in yeshivas on giving the students a ‘geshmak’ for learning, as opposed to halachah lema’aseh. Klal Yisroel has changed learning from a purely spiritual endeavor into an almost visceral enjoyment (which parallels Toras Hashem versus Toraso). Competition and excitement is important at the earlier levels of one’s development.

Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following sources are also referenced in this shiur: Gemara Avodah Zarah 19a with Maharsha and Ben Yehoyada, found in the source packet on pages 1-2.

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Learning Torah for its own sake, and learning in order to know how to perform mitzvos

March 4, 2011, by

Shiur #23 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Mishlei verses 2:4,5. Torah learning for its own sake and Torah learning as preparation for performing mitzvos. Rambam’s implication that a child whose father didn’t teach him Torah is obligated me’dioraisa to teach himself as soon as he is able, even before becoming a bar mitzvah. Chayei Adam Hakdama Achrona about priorities in serving Hashem, where to invest one’s learning time.

Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following source is also referenced in this shiur: Chayei Adam Hakdama Achrona, found in the source packet on pages 1-3.

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Teaching Torah to gentiles

March 4, 2011, by

Shiur #22 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Teaching Torah to gentiles. Analysis of commentaries on gemara Chagigah 13a, which focus on the pasuk brought to support the prohibition of teaching Torah to gentiles. Who ‘owns’ the Torah? Do I have a partial, but individual ownership? Or do I individually own nothing of Torah, but rather, as a part of Klal Yisroel, it is group-owned? An understanding of the word: “morasha”–nuances of ‘yerushas kehillas Yaakov’ in contrast to ‘morasha kehillas Yaakov.’

Citations: Gemara Chagigah 13a with Tosfos, found in the source packets on page 1, and Turei Even on that Tosfos, found in the source packets on pages 1-3, and Sfas Emes (Chagigah 13a) found in the source packets on page 3.

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Qualifications to rule in Jewish Law and the prohibition of teaching Torah to a gentile

March 4, 2011, by

Shiur #21 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: The ills of “poskining” when not fit to do so. The ills of “poskining” from later sources without knowing the fundamentals recorded in the Talmud. The prohibition of teaching Torah to a gentile.

Citations: Teshuvos Rivash (siman 44), found in the source packet on page 1, and Teshuvos Yabia Omer (1st chelek, Orach Chaim, Divrei Psichah) found in the source packet on pages 1-2, and Gemara Chagigah 13a with Tosfos and Maharsha, found in the source packet on page 2.

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Teaching unworthy students. Also, filling the role of posek

January 17, 2011, by

Shiur #20 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Teaching Torah to unworthy disciples. Shammai and Hillel on remembering Shabbos. Mishlei 7:26: Paskening when not fit to do so, and abstaining from paskening when you are needed to do so.

Citations: Teshuvos Yabi’a Omer (7th chelek, Yoreh De’ah siman 19), found in the source packets on page 1, and Avos D’Rebbi Nosson (2nd chapter), found in the source packets on page 1, and Gemara Avodah Zarah 19b, found in the source packets on page 2, and Rambam Hilchos Talmud Torah 5:4, found in the source packets on page 2, and Kol Eliyahu (Shemos 20:13), found in the source packets on page 2.

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Contrast of the Oral Torah and the Written Torah, and the concept of chiddush

January 17, 2011, by

Shiur #19 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Verse 2:1. Bais HaLevi on the infinite quality of Torah she-b’al peh, and the continual creation and development of it, in contrast to the precise and structured written Torah. Shlah HaKadosh – chiddush is discovery now of that which was already given to Moshe Rabbeinu.

Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following commentaries are also included in this shiur: Bais HaLevi al haTorah (Shemos 19:5), found in the source packets on pages 1-2, and Shlah HaKadosh (Toldos Adam – Bais Chochmah Tlisa’ah) found in the source packets on pages 2-3.

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The expanse of Torah, sublevels within Pardes

January 17, 2011, by

Shiur #18 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Pardes within Pardes– sublevels, complexities within each level. Depth, beauty and expanse of Torah. Critique of saying chiddushim and of learning kabballah without the proper background and investment of time and effort. Mishlei verses 23:23, 25:11 and 25:25. Discussion of whether or not there is a ‘pashut pshat’ in Shir HaShirim.

Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following commentaries are also included in this shiur: Peirush Rav Moshe Zakuto al haZohar, found in the source packets on pages 1-2, and Teshuvos Rav Pe’alim (4th chelek, sod yesharim, siman 11) found in the source packets on page 3.

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Proper respect for Torah; Discussion of “Pardes.”

January 17, 2011, by

Shiur #17 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra.

Content Description: Pardes. The problem of not having proper respect for Torah. Sefer Chasidim on playing games with pesukim as an alternative to card games. HaKesav veHaKaballah explains the four levels of Pshat, Remez, Drash, Sod through his analysis of the Torah being compared to four types of stone. The deeper the level, the greater the effort required to attain any understanding.

Citations: Sefer Chasidim (siman 644), found in the source packet on page 1, and Sefer Bris Olam viShomer HaBris (siman 644), found in the source packet on page 1, and Sefer HaKsav veHakaballah (on Devarim 9:9), found in the source packet on pages 1-4.

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