855 reputation
610
bio website aishdas.org/asp
location Passaic, NJ, USA
age
visits member for 4 years, 9 months
seen 5 mins ago

Just cut-n-pasting from my resume, someday to be cleaned up of some of the resulting pretentiousness. Sorry.

Micha BergerRabbi Micha Berger is a father and husband, and sees in those roles much of the expression of his Judaism – and his Mussar work. He was a student of Rav Dovid Lifshitz, the Suvalker Rav zt”l, at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan (a Yeshiva University affiliate). From this contact, Rabbi Berger took away a dream to infuse his Jewish practice with the blend of love, Mussar and grounding in Jewish thought that marked Rav Dovid’s Torah and life. To that end, he established The AishDas Society.

As Rabbi Micha Berger is a computer programmer by profession, AishDas can provide both in-person contact with people seeking similar goals, as well as electronic communication for people may otherwise feel alone in this dream. AishDas is a community of Orthodox Jews looking to create a synthesis of the “aish”, the fire of inspiration and faith, with the “das” of full halachic observance, to create a Judaism that both fully is and yet is greater than either of the parts.

Rabbi Berger has spoken to audiences that varied in background from unaffiliated to Orthodox yeshiva graduates on subjects of Jewish Thought, Mussar, and the meaning of our tefillos. In addition he regularly gives a class on the siddur (recordings available on this blog), and wrote for a book on child and spousal abuse, another on middos development, and for Mesukim MiDevash, a weekly newsletter on these topics. His work has been described in HaModia and Yated Neeman, as well as having earned mention in the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action and The Jerusalem Report.


18h
comment Is learning the Tanya dangerous?
@DanF I mean actual antisemites. The kind of people who don't understand Judaism, but could hit upon just the right Google search terms if I were to include too many in my explanation. You can email me (micha <at> aishdas <dot> org), or look me up on FB, and we'll talk. Or, you could just read it yourself and guess. chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/7880/jewish/… should bring you straight to the words "מה שאין כן נפשות" or "The souls of the" in translation. My problem starts there.
1d
comment Is learning the Tanya dangerous?
@DanF, I will not post the problem on a web site reachable by Google, where people hostile to Judaism can find it.
1d
comment Is learning the Tanya dangerous?
I have SEVERE problems with the end of ch. 1 (along with several other quotes that make a similar point). But I don't think it's dangerous...
2d
comment For how many years was Aliya L'Regel kept?
All we know is that we have no record of a navi yelling at them for neglecting aliyah laregel, and that in Elakanah's day, going was taken for granted.
2d
comment Destruction of Angel Worship Sites
I attempted to use the Rambam's opening and R' Hirsch's discussion of the cult of Apis to show that any answer about idolatry would apply to angel-worship in particular. Then I went on to show that the prohibition isn't relevant in practice, unless you know of a place where they currently worship an idol representing an angel...
2d
comment How do you pay a debt (not a loan) in a different currency?
The problem with futures and ribis does not apply to fiat money. If I had the time to look up sources, this would be an answer. Perhaps someone can take the suggestion to Google and have some success writing one.
2d
comment For how many years was Aliya L'Regel kept?
Down-voting without constructive criticism doesn't help me much.
2d
comment For how many years was Aliya L'Regel kept?
If "just" two tribes came, it would still be a miracle that we all fit. For that matter, getting qorban Pesach slaughtered on time seems miraculous. But it's not listed either. BTW, these miracles ended pretty early in the Second Temple era, with the death of Shimon haTzadiq. Shimon haTzediq was of the last of the Great Assembly (Avos 1:2) and the kohein gadol who met Alexander the Great.
Aug
28
comment What does the blue color mean in Judaism?
The notion that the colors of our people are blue and white probably date to "Judah's Colors" by Ludwig August Frankl in Austria, 1864. And if not, Herzl thought so. The poem mentions the blue stripes at the bottom of the kohein gadol's hem (not sure that's historically accurate, there was argaman-purple too), the color of the firmament, "blue and white are the borders of Judah". No mention of tallises. But it's likely that the blue striped tallis and the Israeli flag have a common source.
Aug
27
comment Convert without accepting mitzvos?
But it's not even a shitas yachid. To be a shitah, it has to be what the rav holds lehalakhah. The Bach made a theoretical point -- we don't hold like the Rambam, but this is what he held. If we hold like the Bach, we are following the Shulchan Arukh. If we hold like acharonim who actually hold like the Rambam by their understanding, conversion still requires qabbalas ol mitzvos. There is no one we know for sure said we do not require such qabbalah.
Aug
27
comment In Rambam's negative theology, why are G-d's attributes of action considered something that we can know about G-d?
BTW, the Rambam (Moreh 1:30) says that everything was create "at once" -- light, animals, humans, even time! We are not saying something about sequence in time; according to the Rambam (following Aristotle) there is no time without objects to move, no days without a sun. He holds Bereishis 1 is a logical series -- light logically led to the separation of heaven and earth which logically led to...
Aug
27
comment Does one have to pay a non-Jew back double?
Actually, fines are not levied today, so the double pay-back to a Jew is only theoretical until real ordination is restored.
Aug
27
comment What is the difference between Maharat and Yoetzet Halacha?
I am trying to phrase this in a judgment-neutral manner. I would prefer edit suggestions to down-votes, but do whatever you feel is most appropriate.
Aug
27
comment Do the actions of animals have moral value?
Along these lines, the Meshekh Chokhmah explains "let us make man in our image" as referring to free will. Animals may be capable of very complex behavior, but apparently it's all programming, deterministic or random, but not free will. It is only humans, who are in Hashem's "image" who can be moral agents. (@ray's answer from Chovos haLvavos is along similar lines. I just hadn't seen it before writing the original comment.)
Aug
26
comment Convert without accepting mitzvos?
I was just saying that from a poseiq's point of view, the Bach's interpretation of the Rambam carries no weight (at least, none because the Bach said it). Yes, if/when I had more time, a summary of RYHH's essay would make a good answer.
Aug
26
comment Convert without accepting mitzvos?
I recommend R YH Henkin's (the Benei Banim) discussion in Hakira, available at hakirah.org/Vol%207%20Henkin.pdf He disagrees with R' Druckman, but respectfully defends his shitah as valid. Thus giving a relatively fair presentation of the issues.
Aug
26
comment Convert without accepting mitzvos?
Also, the Bach (YD 268, "vechal inyanav" near the end) doesn't even rule like (his understanding of) the Rambam. He explains the Rambam in his own way, and then ends up saying but the halakhah is like the Tosafos, Rosh and Shulchan Arukh. And as noted by @Yishai, even if the geirus is valid bedi'eved, actually performing the milah utevilah lesheim geiros is prohibited. However, some posqim believe that already being a citizen in the Jewish state changes the pro-vs-con balance, even changes what it means to accept mitzvos -- since one can join the people in other ways.
Aug
25
comment Names with origins of avoda zara
More on the tangent: Mordechai and Esther were secular names for.... well, we don't know what Mordechai's hebrew name was. Pesachyah is one possibility. He is also identified as possibly being one of the other known prophets, so it could be Ezra, Chagai or Malakhi. Esther's Jewish name is given -- Hadassah. And, related to the question -- Mordechai and Esther were both named for local gods. Mardok was the god the Canaanites called Molekh, Ishtar was Asheirah. Both gods the Torah specifically warns us by name against worshiping.
Aug
24
comment Is it forbidden to try to give a specific description of HaShem?
.. and starts the Moreh proving that all we can know about G-d is (1) what He isn't, and (2) how His actions appear to us. And yet closes the Moreh with chapters explaining how the ultimate human perfection, the key to prophecy, receiving personal Divine Providence (hashgachah peratis), and olam haba, as being a consequence of knowing about G-d.
Aug
24
comment What is the basis for the focus on the difference between Jews and everybody else?
There is R' Hirsch's view, that Jews differ from non-Jews in mission. We are the "nation of priests", they are our parishoners. But nothing inherent to the Jewish people beyond Avraham's willingness to teach his children ethics and our havving the necessary stubbornness. There is the specialness spoken about by the Kuzari, who makes there to be 5 types of creature: domeim (inert objects), tzomeiach (plants), chai (animals), medaber (speakers, ie people) and Yisrael. Then there's the model spoken about at the end of the first chapter of the Tanya...