I hope you are well and are anticipating the upcoming clock-changing and all its implications for Shabbat and tefillah, and our biorhythms as well.
We began the week with a simchat bat for Yael and Will Keller (YCT 2016), where they named their newborn daughter Ariella Chaya in the presence of family, friends, and so many of us here at the yeshiva. Mazel Tov to them and their new daughter. Shetizku l'gadlah li'Torah li'chuppah u'li'maasim tovim.
On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of speaking at Penn on the topic of "Apikores as a Halakhic Category." A nice group of 40-50 students gathered for the talk, which was followed by lively discussion and learning.
Today, Friday, we had the honor of having Rabbi Hayyim Eisenberg, the chief rabbi of Austria, speak to the students. Rabbi Eisenberg spoke about the threat of fundamentalism and listed 3 major defining characteristics of fundamentalism as opposed to "being frum." According to Rabbi Eisenberg, what makes someone a fundamentalist is: (1) they feel they must impose their beliefs and practices on others; (2) a fundamentalist attacks his coreligionists for their sins first, and only the rest of the world as a distant second; and (3) a frum person believes; a fundamentalist knows. His visit was a wonderful opportunity for students to hear about the Jewish community in Austria and its challenges, and to connect with him and his warm and welcoming approach.
This coming Monday, November 4, there will be a boker iyun at YCT in memory of Rav Ovadya Yosef, z"l, marking the shloshim of his passing (observed Monday night and Tuesday). The program will include an opening lecture from Dr. Marc Shapiro on Rav Ovadya's influence, impact, and derekh ha'psak, words of reflection from Rabbi Dov Linzer, Rabbi Dov Lerea, and Rabbi Asher Lopatin as well as student-led learning of Rav Ovadya's Yosef's teshuvot. The program will run from 10 AM to Noon. We welcome you to attend and join the learning.