Monday, August 15, 2011

Evening of Learning

Tisha B'Av 2011/5771.  It was an ordeal to get home in time for the fast, having gotten some patients who needed the healing hands before I could head home.  Rather than cut it tight, I stopped off at a buffet with a reasonable amount of vegetarian not far from Mercy Philadelphia Hospital which would assure me some nutrition in advance of the fast.  I ate quickly, arriving home in time to get to either AKSE, Chabad or Beth Shalom, where my wife was chanting Eicha Chapter 2, barely in time to go to any of them.  I decided to stay home and observe Tisha B'Av evening with the insights of the cyberspace Rabbis instead of rushing to hear Eicha.  Since we are not permitted to greet people that evening, nobody would feel slighted by my staying home

Yeshiva University has an extraordinary program of recording lectures from all sorts of venues, then making them available for download at  They had an entire Tisha B'Av program so I started with an presentation of about a half hour's length by Rabbi Kenneth Brander on Lessons of the Destruction of the Second Temple which was destroyed due to Sinat Chinam and never rebuilt.  Then an intro to Eicha by Rabbi Einhorn who does the synagogue development program for the Orthodox Union.  Then one more less memorable and I fell asleep.  The following night the fast had not yet concluded so I listed to another iPod presentation. 

None of these are interactive, which should be the prototype of rabbinical education, yet there was an elegance to each of the presentations that rarely comes my way live.  We are fortunate to live in a time where the ideas of learned people are so readily accessible and if you want the learning and don't particularly desire the university degree or other credential, they are available at nominal cost.

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