Students continue to learn Shabbat and Kashrut. First- and second-year students are deep in the klalim of Shabbat and the principle of melekhet machshevet, and third- and fourth-year students this week studied the topics of mevatlin issur lichatchila, intentionally nullifying prohibited food, and how this can play a role in industrial kashrut. One interesting question that arose was whether a factory, in order to receive a hashgacha, can change the proportions of certain ingredients to allow for bitul, or, since they are doing this for the mashgiach, whether this would e prohibited, because it would be like the mashgiach effected the bitul. We have now turned our attention to the topic of biryah, a whole entity, such as a bug, and will be looking at the issue of bugs in vegetables and whether, and under what circumstances, they can be considered to be batel.
We were thrilled this week to welcome Rabbi Marc Angel, who began teaching a six-part series on Rabbinic Thinking and Communication to third- and fourth-year students as part of our Sermons curriculum. Rabbi Angel will be teaching students how to best shape their message as rabbis, and it is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn from him and to connect to this Modern Orthodox luminary.
We also had the great pleasure of welcoming Judy Klitsner, Jewish Bible scholar and master Jewish Bible teacher, and author of "Subversive Sequels in the Bible" - and mother of our first-year student Yisrael Klitsner! - to give the parsha shiur this Thursday. She gave a wonderful shiur, and students were thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with her and to learn from her.
This week also saw a change in our physical space, as students learned on the second-floor Beit Midrash while the lower-level Beit Midrash was undergoing some repairs due to water damage. The space worked out extremely well, and it had the benefit of being immediately adjacent to the offices and the YCT classrooms. While we have not yet finalized the details, it looks like we will be staying on the second floor and making its Beit Midrash our permanent Beit Midrash.
A number of Mazel Tovs are in order. First, a huge Mazel Tov to our own Rav Nati Helfgot, who this last Sunday was installed as Rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Teaneck , NJ. Rabbi Helfgot has been serving as the rabbi of Netivot Shalom since the Yamim Noraim, and he joked that the congregation decided to have the installation exactly 60 days after he started - since the time period for their money-back warranty was up, they were now stuck with him! It was a wonderful event, with Rabbi Dr. JJ Schacter speaking and Rabbi Avi Weiss formally installing him. An additional Mazel Tov to Rabbi Helfgot for being named one of the Forward 50 for being the driving force behind the Statement of Principles relating to homosexual Jews. Kol HaKavod Rav Nati, she'telekh mi'chayil el chayil!
A Mazel Tov also to second-year student Aaron Lerner and his wife, Rachel Lerner, on the birth of a baby girl this last Tuesday night. We look forward to celebrating at her simchat bat. She'tizku li'gadlah li'Torah li'chuppah u'li'ma'asim tovim.
And finally, a special Mazel Tov to Rabbi Nissan Antine (YCT class of 2006) for being named the next senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Potomac. Mazel Tov, Nissan! We all know that you will continue the tremendous work you have been doing with the community, leading it with Torah depth, passion, thoughtfulness, and responsibility. Kol HaKavod!