Masechet Shabbat – Mehadrin – B”S vs. B”H

November 15, 2010

In this shiur we dealt with the famous debate of Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel regarding the nature of the appropriate hidur for the lighting of the candles.  We showed how the debate of Tosafot and Rambam can be read into the berayta itself.  We then noted the unique situation in which the Rema paskens like the Rambam and the Mechaber paskens like Tosafot (Taz there).

The comments of the Beit haLevi begin the process of moving away from the miracle of the oil as the central event of the Holiday.

Here are the mekorot that worked with in shiur (link).

Ner Ish u’Beito – Mehadrin


Masechet Shabbat – Where do the Candles Belong

November 15, 2010

In this shiur we worked through the sources that describe the location of the Hannukah candles – how high? how low? left or right?  This occasioned the citation of one of the few mishnayot that make passing mention of Hannukah.  In Bava Kama the placing of the candles outside the door of the shop is something that people should expect in the public.

The Gemara seems to have a progression from outside to inside regarding the location of the candles.  In addition there develops the notion of the individual’s responsibility to light and therefore the concern that an outsider will think that you did not light.

It is also interesting to note the pivotal role that Rava plays in these sugyot.

You can find the mekorot (gemara and rishonim) that we studied at this link.

Where to Put the Candles – house and public

Masechet Shabbat – Source of #39

November 15, 2010

This is the final installation of the series on Avot and Toldot.  In this shiur we brought together the various sources that attempt to find a source for the number 39.  We note that clear that the content of the 39 is clearly based on a mesora of the Oral Law.  However, the number 39 itself may come from careful Rabbinic commentary.  This shiur also gave us the opportunity to again discuss the broader question of what the concept of Avot teaches us in terms of the nature of Shabbat.

Rav Yoel bin Nun has a very important article that appears on Reb Menachem Liebtag’s website trying to understand the depth of the derashot that find the #39 (link).

Here are the mekorot that we worked with (link).

And here is the audio:

Kulan Melacha Achat – Zoreh Borer Meraked – Source of #39 – Mann


Masechet Shabbat – Rav Gustman – Ikar hamelacha

November 15, 2010

In our continuing series on Masechet Shabbat we began to bring together some of the bigger issues as it relates to Av / Tolda / Mishkan.  Rav Gustman, in a brilliant essay on Bava Kama, summarizes beautifully the three approaches to Mishkan and Importance (chashivut).  He then presents us with a classic distinction between siman (sign) and sibah (reason) as it relates to the Avot of Shabbat.  What Rav Gustman offers us is the attractive idea that the Avot as a category are actually meant to be pointing us in the direction of what he calls, “ikar ha-melacha (the essence of labor).”  The concept made a link for me back to the notion of malacha as it appears in the beginning of the second chapter of Bereishit.  By describing the list of 39 in Shabbat 7:2 as simply a siman and not a sibah Rav Gustman forces us to think about what that list might be seeking to accomplish in the world.

Rav Gustman on Av and Mishkan – Ikar hamelacha – Mann

Prayer – Radical Truth and Ultimate Silence

November 15, 2010

These two shiurim dealt with a series of mekorot that are very important in understanding the intimacy of the encounter that we will find in the tefilah of volume two of the Alei Shur.  Here we are introduced to the notion that we are simply not permitted to say words unless they were formulated by the Rabbis. Even within that framework, if the work appear false to us, then we may not falsely flatter God who is ultimate a God of truth.  The truth that Hazal were speaking of were questions of theology.  We discussed questions of history (like nachem on 9 AV).  This text raises serious questions about what people who simply do not believe out to say.

This then lead to place where we simply could not praise God outside of the context of Prayer.  This type of radical truth and ultimate silence leads to a certain level of distance between human beings and our creator.  As we proceed forward in the Alei Shur we will encounter a very different relationship between us and God.

You can find the source material at this link.

Here are the two audio files:

Truth and Silence in Prayer – #1

Truth and Silence in Prayer – #2

Alei Shur – Pathways to Prayer

November 15, 2010

This was the concluding section of the Alei Shur vol 1 on Tefila.  He sets up the notion of different pathways into prayer and the need for each of us to find the “way in” that works for us.

Alei Shur – Pathways to Prayer