Thursday, October 22, 2009

Food for thought

I have a few minutes to break for lunch, so here's some food to send your way:

1) Our new עלון (weekly dvar torah sheet) is here, with features including "Ha'Am v'Ha'Aretz (the people and the land)," parshah and seasonal articles, an article from Rav Herschel Schachter (via TorahWeb) in advance of his Sunday shiur in Toronto, Questions for thought, and more!

2) New audio on our Beit Midrash website: Introduction to Hosheia, Dina d'Malchuta Dina ("The law of the land is the law") and Use of self-heating meals on Shabbat (Part I). I hope to have video of that last shiur up soon, too (which is important for the demonstration segment at the beginning).

3) And a question:
A short while ago, someone mentioned to me a Kiruv (outreach) goal of "bringing people to greater mitzvah observance."

I don't think of that as my goal. I would be happy if people were more observant, because I believe it's what HaShem wants of us. I think it's good for people. And, of course, it would reinforce my own confidence in the path I have selected.

Nonetheless, I don't consciously direct my energies toward that as an immediate goal. I promote Torah study, I promote personal learning. Whatever comes of that is separate.

So here's my question: Am I doing Kiruv? Or just Talmud Torah (teaching Torah)? And does the difference matter?


  1. The link to the alon did not work when I tried it.

  2. Are those audio files Windows Media files? They might be more accessible as MP3 files. Just a thought... Easier for us folks in the boonies to grab some Torah while working on the Mac. ;-)

  3. It depends. Some folks seem to think talmud torah by itself is enough (e.g. R Chaim on mussar).KT
    Joel Rich

  4. I think you are engaged in Talmud Torah. Kiruv is, however, an outcome of that.

  5. I think that the two are inextricably linked. One experienced mechanech told me that his teaching is kiruv, meaning that proper teaching inspires. (I'm using "kiruv/outreach" not in the specific sense of doing inducing people to greater observance, but in the general classic sense of bringing people closer to Hashem, however that closeness is manifested.)

  6. R' Mordechai-
    Yes, they're .wma; that's what my Radio Shack recorder creates, and I lack the time to convert the files.


    R' Mordechai II, Joseph-
    In my experience, I have found Kiruv to be about relationships more than it is about tochen.

  7. It depends if you're doing kiruv rechokim or kiruv kerovim.

    re mp3 vs wma - free program called Switch is a decent converter, though I feel the quality suffers a bit. Or MusicMatch Jukebox I think will convert them to mp3 painlessly (I have an old version that came with my iPod 6 years ago. Old versions are still available for download, it's not that hard to find, I used ver 8 or 8.5)

  8. can't wait for the self-heating meals shiur video

  9. TRH - I understand about the recordings. Converting is a pain. Besides, who's to say that your conversions will be accepted elsewhere? (Sorry!) We finally bought a Sony recorder for our beit midrash that records in MP3 and allows us to just plug into our Macs for saving, uploading, etc. That was the other problem we had; that many recorders had a Windows dedicated software. Now we just have to find time to put stuff up on the website!

    BTW, the alon continues to look really good. Kol Hakavod! I printed it out, and my wife was quite impressed. She still remembers your visit to Worcester, and wasn't at all surprised to see the high quality of the present endeavors.

    Hailchem l'oraita!

  10. also, iTunes automatically converts wma to mp4, at least iTunes for Windows.

  11. Thanks for all of the tech support, as well as the rest of the comments. And if anyone wants to use the עלון in their own shuls, we'd be honored.