28 July 2013

Looking Forward to Hillel Institute!

Tomorrow, the annual Hillel Institute begins, once again at the beautiful Washington University campus in St. Louis.  

According to Weather.com, it should be the coolest Hillel Institute ever

1) Of course, being at big Jewish conferences is great and I love the energy at them generally (yes, it's one of the reasons I wanted to become a rabbi).  Hillel Institute is no exception and I'm looking forward to being around such an interesting mix of people and energy, looking forward to another year of serving this particular demographic of the Jewish people.

2) The first two years of Hillel Institute, the weather in St. Louis was in the 90s and 100s (and quite humid!).  Last year's temperatures were cooler - only in the 80s.  This year, it's supposed to be even cooler - in the 70s (okay, and a little in the 80s)!

3) No kids with us for the first time ever!  The first two we brought one child each and both of ours last year.  Although the babysitting services were sadly inadequate the first two years, Hillel stepped up their game last year.
Most of the YCT guys at last year's Hillel Institute

4) Another opportunity to get together with fellow YCT alumni, as usual.  Not only is it great to see fellow YCT alumni shine, but this year, we're planning on actually meeting up!

I remember there being some really yummy food served last year and the food services of WUSTL running a real quality operation there.  I'm looking forward to some more great food :)

6) No more track sessions!  For the first three Hillel Institutes, we had these sessions that, somehow, were not that great.  I am optimistic that changing this core piece of the professional development aspect will be an improvement.

7) The new Beach Hillel programming associate will be there and we will be meeting him for the first time and it will be an interesting opportunity to discuss SoCal and Hillel.

Just like last year, the officially designated hashtag for Hillel Institute is #HillelInstitute

8) Even more tweeting!  I've enjoyed the tweeting every year.  Although 2010's Hillel Institute was  lacking tweeting-wise, it improved in 2011, and there was more last year, as well.  Hopefully, there will be some great tweeting going on.

8) Meeting Eric Fingerhut, the new President of Hillel, a fellow Ohioan!

I plan on going and enjoying the conference.  Although part of that includes not having children with us (see above), it also includes enjoying the hanging out at the great socializing opportunities provided.  Also, I shouldn't be posting any controversial blog posts of mine going up, getting me in some hot water, as has happened two of the past three years. 

10) Knowing about the fitness center, albeit little/no time in the schedule to exercise, but I will see what I can do....

 Well, my flight leaves out of LAX in 15 hours, so now on to packing....  
(You can follow along my journey on twitter.)

26 July 2013

Rabbinic Popularity in the Tosefta VII: Top Twenty Overall [Final Tally]

So, I have finished going through and tabulating the times that sages (or anybody, really) appear in the Tosefta.  (Yay!)  What follows is the top twenty most frequently-appearing sages/people in the Tosefta (for the most frequent appearances in individual sedarim: סדר זרעים ,סדר מועד , סדר נשים, סדר נזיקין, סדר קדשים, and סדר טהרות):
1 - רבי יהודה
2 - רבי שמעון
3 - רבי יוסי
4 - רבי מאיר
5 - חכמים
6 - רבי אליעזר
7 - רבן שמעון בן גמליאל
8 - רבי עקיבא
9 - רבי
10 - בית הלל
11 - בית שמאי
12 - רבי שמעון בן אלעזר
13 - רבי יהושע
14 - רבי אלעזר
15 - רבי יוסי ברבי יהודה
16 - רבן גמליאל
17 - רבי אלעזר ברבי שמעון
18 - רבי אלעזר ברבי צדוק
T-19 - רבי טרפון
T-19 - רבי ישמעאל
Just as with the Mishnah, Rabbi Yehudah dominated in appearances, with none coming even close to him (with nearly a thousand mentions), with Rabbi Shim'on and Rabbi Yosi following him.  Following them, with a bit less were Rabbi Me'ir and the Sages, rounding out the top five.  With still over three hundred mentions come Rabbi Eli'ezer and Rabban Shim'on, son of Gamliel.  With over two hundred mentions come Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi [Yehudah the Prince], Hillel's Academy and Shammai's Academy.  With over a hundred mentions then come Rabbi Shim'on, son of El'azar, Rabbi Yehoshu'a, Rabbi El'azar, and Rabbi Yosi, son of Rabbi Yehudah.

25 July 2013

Rabbinic Popularity in the Tosefta VI: סדר טהרות

Finally, after having begun the tabulation of the frequency of the sages mentioned in the Tosefta a couple of years ago, I have finished :)  (Granted, I need still yet to do a final tally...(post to come...).)  For previous posts in this series, see סדר זרעים ,סדר מועד , סדר נשים, סדר נזיקין, and סדר קדשים.
Here is the Top Ten in Seder Taharot for the Tosefta:
4 - חכמים
10 - בית שמאי ורבי
In comparing/contrasting this with the Mishnah for this same seder, the only differences above are that Rabbi Shim'on and the Hakhamim have switched places and that Rabbi Shim'on, son of Gamli'el has displaced Shammai's Academy, with the latter tying Rabbi [Yehudah HaNasi] at tenth.
For the most commonly referenced in each tractate, here is a listing:
כלים בבא קמא - רבי יהודה
כלים בבא מציעא - רבי יהודה
כלים בבא בתרא - רבי יהודה ורבי יוסי
אהילות - רבי יהודה
נגעים - רבי שמעון
פרה - רבי יהודה
נדה - רבי מאיר
מקואות - רבי יהודה
טהרות - רבי שמעון
מכשירין - רבי יהודה ורבי יוסי
זבים - רבי שמעון ובית הלל ובית שמאי
טבול יום - רבי יהודה ורבי יוסי
ידים - רבי יוסי
עוקצין - רבי יהודה
I am glad and quite happy that I finished this project; next up: tabulating the results....

19 July 2013

One of My Favorite Rabbis - Rabbi Aryeh Klapper - Some Recommended Listening

Frequently on this blog, I have mentioned Rabbi Aryeh Klapper, particularly my involvement with his Summer Beit Midrash seven years ago (here, here, here, here, and here), listening to him at YCT Yemei Iyun (here, here, and here), other times (here, here, here, and here), and, of course, here.  Without falling into the danger of relating one's praise in front of someone, I am not going to discuss how impressively brilliant Rabbi Klapper is, generally and Jewishly and how utterly well-read he is, both generally and Jewishly.
The real reason why I am composing this present post is that I frequently reference Rabbi Klapper to other people, especially several of his online-recorded talks.  So, for their benefit, here are three highly recommended listening of his:
     - So Long But Thanks For the Fish: A New Reading of the Jonah Story
     - Did Hevel Have A Sense of Humor?
     - Writing Modern Midrash
If you enjoyed those three, here are some others:

     - Beyond Good and Evil: A Philosophical Reclamation of the Concept of Holiness
     - DNA Evidence in Mamzerut Cases: How Much Reality Can and Should Halakhah Acknowledge

     - Should Facts Affect Faith?
     - Maimonides and Messianism
     - What is the Purpose of Animal Sacrifice?

     - Dangerous Hava Aminas and Why the Talmud Preserves Them
     - What Should Klal Yisraels Immigration Policy Be?
     - Why Only Moses Could Redeem the Bones of Yosef

  If you are interested in more, you can check out this link for a cache of more!

18 July 2013

Inner Hasid?

This is super random, but I thought I would share it at some point. Why not now? As anybody who knows my approach to Judaism, one would say that mine is rather rationalist, academic, etc. For instance, if it were up to me, I would remove kabbalistic elements from Halakhah. In any event, sometimes, I feel, as if I am closeting my inner hasid, waiting to come out. I wonder when it will fully come out. In the meantime, I will keep to my rationalistic, academic, non-mystical Jewish identity. I wonder if it will occur in middle-age or older.... If so, come back in a 1.5-2.5 decades.... I will remain rational until then.