Seder continued strongly this week, with first- and second-year students moving from the klalei Shabbat to beginning the category of cooking as one of the prohibited Shabbat categories. Third- and fourth-year students finishing the topic of things which cannot become nullified because of their importance - and a discussion of bugs in the vegetables, to the topic of davar she'yesh lo matirin, things which are prohibited now but will become permitted later. In the afternoons, second-year students began their pastoral counseling field work. In my Modern Orthodoxy class, we discussed the topic of the conflict of science and halakha (my lecture on this topic can be found here or at the bottom of my blog home page).
On Mondays, after mincha, students have been giving 7-minute divrei Torah on ben-adam-lichavero topics, and this week Aaron Finkelstein gave on the topic of gambling. He looked at the debate in the gemara and the rishonim as to whether gambling was a rabbinic form of stealing (because the person betting does not plan on losing) or not. He gave a fascinating overview of gambling in Jewish society, and on how it had been a regular activity on Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah, Purim, and Chol HaMoed. He ended with a contemporary teshuva that stated that buying lottery tickets is not a problem, because no one really expects to win!
We had a wonderful simcha this week, as Aaron and Rachel Lerner celebrated the birth of their new baby girl with a Hachnasat Brit ceremony held on Wednesday morning in the social hall of the HIR. There was a large gathering of family and friends, together with the students and rebbeim from the yeshiva. Their baby girl was given the name Gavriela Rose, and Aaron spoke movingly about the significance of Gavriela, the feminine form of the name of an angel, was so appropriate as they felt the special Providence that watched over them in this birth - as the baby was born healthy and happy, although her umbilical cord had been tied into a knot in utero. They ended their ceremony, fittingly, with the singing of hamalakh ha'goel oti.