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Qualifications to rule in Jewish Law and the prohibition of teaching Torah to a gentile
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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.
Teaching unworthy students. Also, filling the role of posek
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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.
Contrast of the Oral Torah and the Written Torah, and the concept of chiddush
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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.
The expanse of Torah, sublevels within Pardes
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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.
Proper respect for Torah; Discussion of “Pardes.”
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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.
Greatness of Torah, smallness of man
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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.
Strategies of the yetser hara— how should we respond?
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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.
The Soton in Sefer Iyov
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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.
Two main drives of the yetser hara: aggression and desire
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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.