Extending Google Sheets : Update

I’ve been sick with really bad strep throat since Shabbos and haven’t really been able to do much – but I have been able to make lots of progress on my Google Sheets app. Now I can pick my pace – it will make a schedule for me and sync it with my Google calendar. Cool beans! I hope to explain in detail when I’m…

דער פאלטאווער עילוי

Rabbi Yoel Shurin – the Poltava Illui – was a talmid of the Netziv and the Rosh Yeshiva of yeshivas Ohr Torah. I found this article about the Poltaver Illui in the Yiddishe Licht. And here in the publication Beis Yaakov. Also, a קשה he asked in בבא קמא is brought in אבן האזל. Some historical documentation here, here and here. I have previously posted about…

Misplaced Loyalties: Part IV

Correction: Previously, I had written that the Ohr HaChaim was a 15th Century commentator. He is a seventeenth century commentator. (I subtracted instead of added to the 1600s.) Let’s examine some of the more salient points of the Ramban we mentioned in the last post here. The Ramban claims that the verse in Deuteronomy 17:11 about not straying from the words of the Sages, implies…

Misplaced Loyalties Part III – The Radical Views of Nachmanides

Let’s just come right out and say it! In addressing this conflict between the Sifrei and the Talmud – which says that one could err in his understanding of the commandment to listen to the Sages – we are focusing on something profound. This commandment, to heed the words of the Sages, is different than most commandments. This is not a question of how to…

Misplaced Loyalties: Part II

Now that we have seen the sources here – we can begin understanding when we say it is a liability to rely on the authority of the Sages and when one is obliged to do so. First, we should quickly note, that the Sages we are referring to here are the Sanhedrin. Let’s start with the apparent contradiction between the Sifrei and the the Talmud Yerushalmi…

Misplaced Loyalties: Part I – Sources

First, Some Sources: Regarding translations: The translations of Biblical verses are usually the King James Version The translations of the Bavli Talmud are usually Sefaria.org. (Note that I did not necessarily review or agree with the translation). Since I have not found an open-sourced quality translation of the Rambams, Midrashim, Yerushalmis etc – all such translations are my own. על פי התורה אשר יורוך ועל…

Misplaced Loyalties: טעה במצווה לשמוע לדברי חכמים

A Preface. I’ve often encountered a challenge when writing about topics that interest me – where I start writing without realizing how involved the topic and how much time it will take to write something accessible to a general audience. As such, recently I’ve tried to write really short self-contained blog posts. So it’s with some misgivings that I start writing about an extremely involved…

A Change of Scenery: Avraham’s Journey

If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you’re heading. Chinese Proverb (attributed to Laozi – probably falsely IMHO) The Question Part: Our sages tell us that when it says in Parshas Bereishis אלא תולדות שמים וארץ בהבראם – it means that the heavens and earth were created “for Avraham”. But you don’t have to resort to Talmudic homily to appreciate this, you…

If It’s A Dig, It Had Better Be Clever!

Some recent talk about whether certain remarks were “uncalled for” or too aggressive – I am reminded of one of my favorite teshuvos from Rav Yosef Trani (16 Century Greece). The question, as I understand it, is about a certain fellow who is upset at several Sephardic communal leaders who had some of the members of their community counted amongst the Romanian community in the king’s…

Sefirah and LagBaOmer Part III

To recap here is a general timeline of the development of the mourning customs during the days of Sefiras HaOmer: Some time during the first century CE Rabbi Akiva’s students all die during a period between Passover and Shavous Sixth Century The talmud records the story as an example of Rabbi Akiva’s teaching that if you taught students when you were young, you should teach…