Things were in full swing this week as students continuedshteiging away in their halakha learning in the morning and their machshava and professional classes in the afternoon. First- and second-year students spent the week learning thedrabanans, Rabbinic restrictions,connected to cooking on Shabbat - leaving food on the fire, returning it to the fire, and the use of a blech. Third- and fourth-year students moved on from last week's study of the theoretical issues of ta'am ki'ikar, the taste of forbidden foods in a mixture, to the practical application of actually relying on taste and/or determining whether there is 60 times permissible to forbidden food.
In the professional classes, Year 1 students had their first class on Rabbi as Pastoral Counselor, and Years 3 and 4 continued in their classes of Rabbi in the Synagogue and their learning of hilkhot beit ha'kenesset, which this week focused on the laws of kriyat haTorah and aliyot. Years 2 through 4 continued working on sermons with Rabbi Marc Angel, and in my Modern Orthodoxy class, year 1 looked at historical responses to modernity, including Neo-, Modern and Open Orthodoxy, and Ultra-Orthodoxy as well.
This Monday night I began my four-part series on Jew and Non-Jew in Halakha, which is taking place at YCT on Mondays, 8:00-9:00 PM. The first lecture was " The Mitzvot and Religious Acts of Non-Jews". The next three will be: "Obligations to the Other: Social Justice and Circles of Obligation", on Mon., Nov. 29; Unequal Justice?: Distinctions in Civil and Criminal Halakha, on Wed. Nov. 7; and "Avoda Zara, Christianity and Islam", on Mon. Nov 12. I hope you will be able to make these lectures, and audio and video recordings will be available on the web. You can see last Monday's lecture here on video, and listen to it here on audio.
In the Mazal Tov department, we are thrilled to wish Mazal Tov to three of our musmachim, who all, together with their wives, had baby boys this week. Mazal Tov to Rabbi Jason (YCT 2006) and Lauren Weiner on the birth of a baby boy on Tuesday, to Rabbi Yerachmiel (YCT 2008) and Helene Shapiro on the birth of a baby boy also this Tuesday, and Rabbi Eric and Jillian Zaff (YCT 2009) on this birth of a baby boy this morning. We just learned in today's daf that "one who is scrupulous with the mitzvah of candle lighting (for Shabbat and/or Chanukah), will merit to have children who are Torah sages." May all these families, and all of us, merit to see this blessing come true. Shetizku li'hakhnisam bi'vrito shel Avraham Avinu bi'zmanam vi'tizku li'gadlam li'Torah li'chuppah u'li'ma'asim tovim.
Also another big mazal tov, as our first-year student, Jacob Siegel (YCT 2016) announced his engagement to Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein. May we soon celebrate together at their wedding and may they be zokeh to be boneh bayit ne'eman bi'Yisrael.
And finally, on a sad note, we mark the passing of Sheldon Jay Berman, beloved uncle of our first-year student, Ben Shefter, this Monday. We also note the passing of Pauline Braunstein aleh ha'shalom,beloved mother of David Braunstein, and grandmother of our musmach Rabbi Seth Braunstein (YCT 2006). To them and their families we send our deepest feelings of sympathy: HaMakom yinachem etchem bi'tokh sha'arei aveilei Tzion vi'Yerushalayim.