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Insight into Tranquility
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Why was Torah given in the mid bar, in an atmosphere of brinksmanship, and with feelings of being harassed, and not in a calm environment?  A new definition of repose and tranquility.  Discussion of how “machovaso bi-olamo” is the path to true tranquility.  Misguided psychological definitions of tranquility can condemn one to never achieve it.  Two interpretations of “Kach he […]
When Evil is Camouflaged as Good
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Discussion of the meaning of making a siyum.  Each achievement is a launching pad for new striving in controlling the yetzer hara, and in critical self-review and improvement.  Strategies of the yetzer hara to use good for evil and the elevated dangers involved. Vilna Gaon’s understanding of the episode of Naomi trying to convince Rus to return to Mo’av.  The conflicting and hard-to-identify […]
The Yetzer Hara, Yosef HaTzaddik, and Us
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Rashi’s explanation of Potiphar’s wife’s advances towards Yosef.  The ordeal of Yosef.   The limitless drive for power and the limited drive for satiation.The nature of the pursuit of money.  The yetzer hara’s manipulation even of middos that have positive and necessary qualities.  Mitzvah performance concretizes spirituality, but requires physicality which entails risk. Citations: Aside from the commentaries on Mishlei, this shiur […]
Are the External Trappings of Yiddishkeit Helpful?
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Unlimited Torah contrasted with mitzvos.   The mother’srole: enabling aspirations. The real world is in Heaven where Hashem and His Torah and Chochmah are most easily discerned.   Mitzvos anchor a person to Hashem.  Discussion of the trappings of Judaism and the innards of a Jew.  The intended impact upon seeing a mezuzah.  The kedushah of Tefillin and the consequences of wearing them. Citations: Aside from the […]
Normalcy and Family Sacrifices for Torah
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When a person is dedicated to learning Torah constantly,every normal thing that needs his time is by definition an interruption.Discussion of what comprises “l’sheym shomayim?” Discussion of incremental growth.  Temporal and fleeting nature of feelings and the danger associated with acting based up on them.  Importance of maintaining the communal vision of the ideal of full time Torah learning. […]
Erasing Stains from the Souls of the Departed
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A child’s tzedakah which is the result of the parent’s successful chinuch and contrasted with strangers dedicating the reward of their tzedakah towards any deceased person. Various interpretations of the two “tzedakah tatzil” verses. Redeeming a deceased person from having to stand in judgment for sins, or for a lack of positive mitzvos, by giving […]
Can it be Good to be Cruel?
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The characteristic of cruelty exists within everyone.  Natural maturation often facilitates cruel teenagers graduating into more sensitive adults.  Discussion of apparently kind acts which are actually cruel.  Overcoming addictions requires showing self-cruelty to be successful.  Permission to ignore responsibilities towards my parents and children to further the family’s limud HaTorah is actually the license to invoke bitachon for others. Citations:  This shiur cites Orchos Tzadikim sha’ar Achzariyus and Klei Yakar Devarim […]
Does Serious Torah Learning Entail Selfishness?
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Life lessons from the ant.  Zerizus without confusion. Importance of learning the horizontal breadth of Torah as preparation for being able to plumb the vertical depths of Torah. Prioritizing learning over caring for one’s family.  Contradictory statements about the propriety of deflecting one’s home-based responsibilities for the sake of learning. Citations: Aside from the commentaries on Mishlei, […]
Can Judges Disregard Testimony?
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 Giving advice and giving psak halachah.  Different understandings of “Ain l’dayan ela ma she–aynav ro’os.” Is the repermission to err when trying hard?  Is there justification to reject afalsified case, even without proof? Importance of dayanim ignoring the baalei dinim’s outside track record of honesty. Citations: Aside from the commentaries on Mishlei, this shiur citesRambam Hilchos Sanhedrin 23:8-10, Teshuvos HaRosh klal 107, 6thsiman, Gemara Baba Basra 8b with […]
Street-Smarts and Torah
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The importance of having street-smarts when deciding halachos that relate to people’s conduct (in contrast to deciding halachos about objects.)  Discussion of the link between Sarah Imeinu and Yehoshua Bin Nun.  Batei din and to’anim today.  Keeping a balanced perspective in life. Citations: Aside from the commentaries related to Mishlei, this shiur references the Biur HaGra on Yesha’ayahu 1:17 and the Rosh to Sanhedrin, Chapter 3, siman […]