Rabbi Zvi Ron

Episode 8 June 04, 2024 00:49:37
Rabbi Zvi Ron
The Koren Podcast
Rabbi Zvi Ron

Jun 04 2024 | 00:49:37

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Show Notes

We're back!

This week we sat down with Rabbi Zvi Ron, author of the new book Jewish Customs: Exploring Common and Uncommon Minhagim as he talks about his Torah al regel ahat!

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Jewish Customs

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The Koren Podcast was written and hosted by Aryeh Grossman and Alex Drucker and was edited and produced by Alex Drucker. Artwork by Tani Bayer. Music by Music Unlimited via pixabay.com

The Koren Podcast is part of the Koren Podcast Network, a division of Koren Jerusalem.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: That's when it's real. That's like biblical stuff. You know, another generation is like, it's happening. That's real jewish DNA in Israel, things going on that's very, very powerful. [00:00:28] Speaker B: Welcome back to the current podcast, and as always, we have an awesome episode today where we're going to be joined by Rabbi Doctor Tzveron, author of the new book Jewish Customs. [00:00:39] Speaker C: That's right. Reveron teaches all over Israel, I mean, all over the world. His new book is an examination of some very common and even uncommon min hagim. And we're incredibly excited to talk to him just before we jump into the interview. Thank you again to all of you who listen, who like, who subscribe, who rate everything. We can't do this without you. And we are very, very grateful for everyone who listens and everyone who tells their friends to listen as well. You are what turns this into what is a number one rated podcast. [00:01:17] Speaker B: So without further ado, here is Rabbi Doctor Tzveran answering our question for this season. Can you teach us your Torah Al Ragallahat? We are delighted to be joined by Rav Tzvi Ron, author of the new book Jewish Customs, joining us here in the current offices for today's episode. And Ravron, can you tell us, maybe teach us the Torah while standing on one leg? [00:01:39] Speaker A: Okay. Okay. That's a fair question, I guess. And what I will say is that my feeling is that the message of the Torah in its entirety on, on 1ft, is you can do it. And in the sense of that we have, Hashem gives us just a plethora of mitzvah to do, tons of mitzvah to do. And the idea is, I am giving you all of these mitzvah because this is something that is, that you could accomplish, that you can actually do. And it's basically a message of, let's call it faith in people, that you are able to achieve these things if you set your mind to it. And I would say, and I'll say even further, that in the Gemara, when Hillel classically says this, and what does he say to the nokri? He says, don't do the hateful things. Fair. But then he says, zil Gmar, now go and learn, because he is also putting faith in that person. You can do it. I am. Now I feel that you are empowered that you can learn all of these things on your own. And that's really the message, I would say, of the Torah in general. We're giving you this massive mass of obligations and the idea is because you can do it as human beings. You can rise to these challenges, and you can do it. [00:03:02] Speaker C: Okay? So, I mean, that's definitely true of the Torah and definitely true of life. But when our kids come home with homework to do and we're trying to help them, yes. You know, we have the tools of how to teach them the math or how to teach the grammar or whatever it is. How does one go about learning to do it, and how does one go about just doing it? Hashem gave it to us. Now what? [00:03:26] Speaker A: Okay, well, I will tell you. Oh, listen, I'll tell you something that happened just the other day. I was teaching something to students, and there was a. There was a bit from a handwritten manuscript, and I said, now, who's gonna read this bit from a handwritten manuscript? And this kid says, there is no way I can read this. You know, is this handwriting? This is, like, medieval. I said, there's no way. There's no way. I said, look, is there one word in this sentence that you could know? And they picked out a word, and they got that word. I went, okay, now let's build on that. Is there one other word? Is there some? And then slowly, slowly, they put it together, and the idea being is that it might take some work, and it might be very, very small steps, but then you can do it. That's the idea, yes. [00:04:14] Speaker C: Right? [00:04:15] Speaker A: Oh, that's what I think. [00:04:16] Speaker C: Okay. [00:04:16] Speaker A: Yeah. I'll tell you. I apply this in general life, as well. That in my house, I have this garden. I have. It's full of weeds. You know, we put this. These stones there so that there would be no gardening. As if, like, no work whatsoever. The thing gets 100% filled with weeds. And who does the weeding? That is me. And I go out every day, and I say, I'll have 15 minutes, and I pull out the weeds one by one. One by one. A little patch every day, go through the summer. Weeded garden. That's what happens. [00:04:51] Speaker C: Okay? So your obligation there is to. Is to weed the garden. To find that one word in the Handwritten. [00:04:55] Speaker A: That is it. Yes. [00:04:56] Speaker C: We've got these obligations. [00:04:57] Speaker A: Yes. [00:04:58] Speaker C: Your book, jewish customs. [00:05:00] Speaker A: Oh, that is True. [00:05:00] Speaker C: Exploring common and uncommon. Min Huggins. So, what. Where does custom. Where do Minhagim come into this? [00:05:05] Speaker A: Oh, I will tell you. Listen, you know, back to Hillel. You know how Hillel in the Gemara and masechet Shabbat, you know, he's being very nice and gentle to all of these people who come, oh, I want to learn Torah on 1ft I want to learn Torah so I could be a con godol. I want to learn just the written, not the oral of this. Right. And hill is super nice to everybody. However, in Masechet Psachem, we have the origin story of Hillel. And this is when Hillel first became promoted because he comes to Israel. People don't know what to do when. When Arev Pesach comes out on Shabbos. And what do you do with the Corbin Pesach? Okay. And part of it is that Hillel is kind of angry at the people. He says, oh, you need me, an outsider, teach you the halach because you don't know yourself. You didn't learn. Well, this is when he was still, you know, doing angry stuff. Then he stopped. And part of the story there is that in the Shia, after Hillel tells them, oh, you're lazy. You haven't been learning. That's why you don't know. They say, but wait a second. What happens? Okay, so we can do a quorum pesach on Shabbos. If it comes at Arif Shabbos Pesach. Arif Pesach Han Shabbos. But what if you forget to bring the knife? What do you do then? And Hillel says, I forgot. I don't remember. I learned this halacha, but I forgot. But then Hillel says, let us see. Let's just wait and see what jewish people do, because deep down, they'll know what to do. And then in the Gemara says that what the people would do is they couldn't carry the knife, so they would wedge the knife in the wool of the sheep, and then the sheep kind of carried the knife, and that's how it worked out. And then Hella says, oh, you see that? The people, they kind of know what to do from deep down. And that carries over later. Then Hela, like, sort of has this, like, a little bit of a trust the process vibe with people. Like, it's in you, and you can do it. The customs come from the people. That's where it gets very exciting, because that's the main difference between halacha and customs, is that halacha is top down. Hashem says, do this. The rabbis say, do this. In general, the man. The man says, do this. Whereas the customs, the people are like, hey, we want to do this. We're doing this. And then they do it. And then somewhere down the line, the rabbinic authorities, maybe, they start giving it explanations, and they start explaining, oh, how this. But it comes from the people. It's a grassroots thing. So it's a little bit of, you know, the you can do it thing that we were talking about, but also that deep inside, people have the wherewithal to be attuned to something that they need. And that's why the jewish customer is very exciting, because it's coming from the people. And as the people's needs are changing in life, as they do, then the customs also start kind of shifting along with them. And the customs that no longer hold meaning start fading out. And the ones, and then new ones are getting different kinds of explanations. And it's very, you know, it just shifts. It's very plastic. We can say, as opposed to the halacha. The halacha is the halakha. It is what it is, but the customs are changing all the time, and that's how they're supposed to be doing. That's very exciting about customs. Yes. [00:08:25] Speaker B: I've got, like, eight questions to ask you just from that sentence. But I guess we'll try and work them out and put them in order. Yes, yes, I guess. Okay, so let's talk about a bit, about the development, like, starting point. What do you think is the key element that differentiates, like, a custom or a minh hug? That's like, Ms. That's gonna go, like, the distance. [00:08:44] Speaker A: Yes. [00:08:44] Speaker B: Versus, like, something which is like, that's like a bit of, like, we would say a min hag. [00:08:50] Speaker A: Okay. No, no. That's, that's for sure allowed. That's for sure allowed. But if we want to say, I'm gonna say that there was a certain element, let us call it spiritual velcro, which is the thing that has that, that people find meaning in and attaches to them. And they're like, this is something that is giving my life meaning. And a custom has to have that element in order for it to continue. If not, it will just dissolve. And in the book, I talk about that, there was, you know, this idea that's even in the remote, talks about in the Shulchan Aruch about not slaughtering geese at certain times of year. Now, this is in the Shulchan Aruch. Not one human being on earth cares about it. I mean, I wrote to Kashmir's organizations. I'm like, you know, you deal with slaughtering geese. Like, who deals with it anyway? But, you know, somebody deals with it like some juicy geese somewhere, and they say, yeah, we don't really. Nobody cares about this. Why? Because it didn't resonate with anybody. No one found any meaning with it. And it just sort of, it's on the books, but it just disappeared. But then other things, if it resonates, that's what it is. And I'm going to say a crazy thing now, that it could be that something originates as a min hogsthos. And in my book, all the time, people say, oh, this is like Mythbusters, you know, you're saying this is. And that's fair, but I'm gonna say that as a human being, I'm gonna say that, you know, we could be generous with people if this floats your boat. It's not. It's not like halacha. This is wrong and this is right. This is the thing with customs. There's no wrong and right. It's, this is what people do, and this is not what people do. You know, you say, I have a custom to put a white tablecloth on for Shabbos. Then somebody's like, yeah, well, I put, I don't know, Tartan Plaid, you know? And they say, okay, well, this is what people do. This is what people don't do. Is this right or wrong? I don't know where we're getting into these, like, binary kind of things with customs. Yes. And that's why I say, and even though I write about some things, that they started out even from a non jewish way, but by now, they're part of what jewish people do. Like, look, I write in my book, for example, about covering mirrors in a Shiva house, you know, and I write there that this is something that comes from Guillaume. You know, Guillaume used to do it. They were scared of ghosts and mirrors and all of this. It used to be in the whole world. They did it. I write that, you know, when Lincoln got assassinated in the White House, they covered mirrors. Okay, Lincoln is a guy. He was a guy. Now, I don't know what he is now. Now he's in Islam harbor with Avraham Avin, who I'm sure they're having a great time. [00:11:31] Speaker B: The Abraham. Le Abraham. [00:11:32] Speaker A: There you go. Right? But by now, it's jewish. Yes. So what does that mean? Because historically, that's the whole question. Because historically, that's where it came from. We say, oh, that is no good. I don't know. I think as a human being, I don't say that I'm like, as jewish, there are people that this is, like, significant by now. We gave it jewish meanings. Oh, you don't look at the mirror because you don't care about physicality during Shiva, you know, all these things people say. It was beautiful. It was beautiful. You know, people sometimes say, oh, people just make it up. Yeah, well, they make it. People make up stuff all the time. You know, you make stuff up, you know, I don't know. You see a cat in the street, say, oh, it's so beautiful, it makes my heart warm. Oh, you made that up. And it's a stray cat. It's disgusting. I mean, objectively, but people make stuff up all the time. Think that's fair? That's why jewish customs is a safe zone. Yes, with halacha, we get into, oh, this is right, this is wrong. You know, with customs, it's more like, okay, this has meaning to me. This doesn't have meaning. And there's stuff. There's stuff that I personally don't do. And I'm like, this is whacked out. But in a way, if we could a little bit be open minded about it, we say, for me, it doesn't work. I'll give you an example. Listen to this. I don't know if you know this. Now all the listening audience will know that I'm also a barber in Navay. Danielle. I'm a barber. Or is british a hairdresser? Yes. There you go. I dress the hair. I put pants on it. Anyway, what happens is trousers. The trousers. Sorry, you're right. Anyway, so I'm a barber, right? And then sometimes people where I live in Nevadaniyah, they're like, hey, you know, I'm having an upsharon. And since you're a rabbi and a barber, maybe you come over, cut the kid's hair and say, now, from my perspective, you know, I looked into upsharon up. Sharon is. It's not really a jewish thing. It's this cross cultural thing that used to exist in the world that you had to disguise baby boys as girls. You know, it was, it's a very unusual kind of thing. In the 18 hundreds, jewish people started giving it explanations. Fair enough. But, you know, if you look up, all of you listeners, you look up on the Internet, look up Franklin Delano Roosevelt, baby picture, you're going to see a picture. He looks just like a girl. He's two and a half years old. They didn't cut his hair. He's wearing a dress. So I don't do it. In my family, we never did it, and I don't do it. And I tell people, you don't want me to give a dvartura at your upshar, and I'll cut the kid's hair. I'm not gonna say Dvartar, but on the other hand, I'm not gonna go to somebody and say, you know, this is bad. What you're doing is a bad thing. This is a relic of weird pagan ancient beliefs. You know, this is not. Okay. Get those, you know, you know, barrettes out of the kid's hair. I'm not gonna say such a thing, but maybe other people might. But anyway, that's the story. [00:14:22] Speaker B: But do you think there is a red line? Is there a red line? Say, this comes from this and totally finished. [00:14:26] Speaker C: Just on top of that, is there a point at which we say, like, okay, a Minhag that's existed up to now, up to whatever point in history? Yes, that's a valid min hug. Anything else where it's still in that sort of, like, gray zone of. It's still a bit pagan. [00:14:40] Speaker A: So the thing is, I'll tell you what it is. To me, what it seems to be, is that these customs, over time, the original meaning got so forgotten. And that's what happened with certainly covering mirrors. You know, nobody thinks about, like, the ghost and spirit explanation. No one has that explanation anymore. No one talks about that. And I think that that's where it has become, you know, now it has as if become jewish. As if I say it's good historically to know, as an intelligent, grown up human being, where it came from. And I think it's handy to know this also, when someone has some sort of, like, silver case with a mirror in back of it. Like, I have to take out all my silver and put a paper towel. I'm like, listen, just. It's all right. You could leave that mirror. That's going to be fine. Yeah. So it's good to know historically, and it's good to know when certain situations arise. But I think that's fair to let it go. It's important to know the original reason, and it's also good to know, you know, how it. If it became something meaningful. But if there is something that is still legit pagan, that is still actually pagan, and it's like. And it's. And there is no jewish explanation for it. That kind of stuff, I would say, has to be quashed. A good example of that is the red string, for example. I mean, there is no. There is no jewish. No one ever came around to giving it a jewish explanation. There is no jewish read on it. Right? It is. It's just, you know, it's from the ancient world read, and it just distracts the eye or, you know, Hans's with the blue eyes. There's no jewish anything to it. In order for a custom to convert to Judaism, it has to basically abandon its past, and that past has to be forgotten. This is, again, from my perspective. And then it has to now have jewish meaning moving forward. If it doesn't have those two elements, like the red string has no jewish meaning moving forward, it remains just a weird superstition. And that is something that I would say legitimately. You have to tell people, do not do this. You know, especially because the toseft even talks about it, that it's darke amori. But, yeah. [00:16:57] Speaker B: Can we try a test case on probably one of the most controversial topics challenging the jewish world today? [00:17:03] Speaker A: What is it? [00:17:03] Speaker B: What is that? [00:17:05] Speaker C: This is where the current podcast wades into. [00:17:08] Speaker A: Now, look, Schlissel Khala, you know what? I'll tell you something. A lot of people approached. First of all, I don't do Schlissel challenge myself. Yes, I like to keep my keys and bread separate. That's just a safe thing. But people approached me about it, and they said, this seems pagan. And I looked into it, and I try to be objective when I look into it. Now, I'm going to tell you the real deal. You ready for the real deal? It's. It's not pagan, but it's not a challah key shaped challah either. Everybody is wrong. Now, this is what happens if you look at the original, the original hasidic sources that talk about doing this, all the original sources, this is what they say, that on the shabbos after Pesach, in order to keep the gi'ula vibes going, we make a challah that is round and looks like a matzah. How do you make it look like a matzah? You take a key and you make indentations in that challah to give it that matzo look, with whatever that pizza cutter thing is that people, that's what it is. And that is the original thing they all talk about. You use keys to make puncture marks. You use keys to make holes. Over time, it turned into making the challah look like a key and its parnassa, you know? But this is the slippery slope of jewish customs that it starts out as a beautiful thing. Let's keep the Pesach vibes going, right? Because what did we all expect should have happened on Pesach? Eliyahu Navi should have come, and what should he have said? Mashiach is here, and what should we have done? There was that fifth cup to drink, but it didn't happen. But maybe there's a second chance. So the Shabbos after we're continuing those pesach Giula vibes with a matzah looking challah. Then what happened? Over years, it turned into, oh, you know, we want money and we're making a challah look like a key and parnassa. That's what it turned into. But the original thing, I think is a nice. I still don't do it, but I just never did it. But that's the original thing. So it's not. It's not paid, it's not anything. Everyone just. This is what people have to do. You have to go back to see what it was originally and then you understand right now it's just like the social media thing. Oh, I made it look like a key, haha, whatever it is. But, you know, it just turned into some. Some goofiness also. I don't know, how does it even make sense? You make a hollow look like a key, you're gonna get money. I don't even know, like, what is the mechanism there within Judaism even. But if it looks like a matzah, to have matzah vibes, it's almost like a Pesach sheeni. Like, you know, the people who pesacheini eat matzah, you know. Oh, keeping pesach vibes going, that's the thing. That is like a legitimate thing. I think that would be a nice thing to bring back the original. That would be a cool thing to bring it back. [00:20:03] Speaker C: But so would you advise somebody who maybe does do shlus alot or doesn't? Should they be, you know, sterilized? [00:20:09] Speaker A: At first I told people, if you're gonna do. I told students, if you're gonna do shlo so challah, at least do it the legit way. And then sometimes they send me pictures of, look, I did it and it's round and it looks kind of like a matzah. Like, that's the vibe. And I think that's a nice message. This is the problem that sometimes, you know, we were talking about the idea that over time they're given meaning. Jewish meaning, right? And if that jewish meaning resonates with people, it's good. But sometimes the original jewish meaning that was given, that was such a beautiful jewish meaning. And somehow it got steamrolled with, you know, the less, the less uplifting jewish explanations that might come in. I'll give you another example, if I can, about, you know, how people, when they make havdullah and they take wine and they put it in their pockets. Now why are they doing that? It's Parnassa. You know, a lot of these things are revolving around Parnassa, but the original. You know what the original custom was? Listen to the original custom. This is the geonim. They write about this, that add. You drink wine. Now, there might be some residual wine in that cup. So you pour some water in, then you drink that water. So now you took care of the residual wine, but what about the residual water? You take that water and you put it on your face, which is, like, by your eyes. Some people do that. Why? To show how much you love mitzvah. That's what it is. Then over years, it turned into, I don't know, the wine is magical, and it will cure my glaucoma, or whatever it is, and I'm gonna put in my pockets for Parnassus. But if you go back to the original, that's a beautiful idea. And that, again, got steamrolled out. So a lot of times we have to go back to see what the original things was and see how beautiful it is originally, and then that got lost. It's terrible. It's terrible. Tell you another thing. Just, you know, we're on the topic. There's a beautiful custom. I spoke to a mohel about it. I don't know if this will ever catch on. But they would have a parallel custom at a bris that, in bavel, in the gaelic times, when there was a bris, they would circumcise the baby over water. Now, some of the blood would go into water, and audience members would take from that water, wash their face with it to show. I don't know if this would go over well today. This is a tough one to bring back. Tough one. [00:22:35] Speaker C: We neither endorse nor. [00:22:37] Speaker A: But this is. But it's. But again, it has a beautiful message to what we can say. Right. Some of those beautiful messages get lost along the way, which is very, very sad. Yeah. Okay. [00:22:48] Speaker B: What do you think is, like, what's the difference more, even the nufgamina between, say, I'm gonna bake my challah in the shape of a key, and I'm going to daven for parnassa. What's the difference between doing that and, let's say something way more established, like on Rosh hashanah, eating apple and honey and saying, we should have a shanatava mutuka. Is that heretical to ask that question? [00:23:06] Speaker A: No, no, no. So let's talk about the apple and honey. So we have to understand why an apple and honey is what to make a sweet new year. Let's say, okay, good, good. But then you have to say, wait a second. So why is it an apple? We could take maybe a pear, a cherry. There could be other things you could put in honey. So the apple, the original association of an apple is in the kabbalistic writings. It's chakal tepuchin, which is the apple field, which represents God's presence. So an apple and honey, the apple representing God's presence, honey representing sweetness. So what's the association when it's, oh, what do we say on rosh hashanah time? Hamelech Basadeh, the king is in the field. Now, what is our reaction to that? Well, it could be one of two options. Either sheer terror or this is great. So when we take that apple that represents the apple field, God is close, the divine presence, and we put it in honey. What are we saying that our message is, this is sweet and this is happy. This is not sheer terror. And I think a lot of us growing up, right, we were told, you know, Rosh Hashanah, you're not supposed to be, like, you know, crying, right? Happy vibes. That's the message. Which is. Which is also a beautiful thing, right. You know, then it turns into have a sweet new year, which is like. I mean, it got diluted down to, you know, like, what the kindergarten teacher is going to say. Right? Okay, so it turned into Ganena stuff. But if we go back to the original, then we have something real there. Yes, but again, you know, and also, I mean, if you look, even the Mishnapur, when he talks about the sima nim, I think he quotes there the shlo, the shneilu chota breit, who says that? All of the sima'nim, you know, when you eat them, they're supposed to inspire you to action. When you eat a rimon, when you eat the pomegranate and you say, oh, filled with mitzvahs, then you're supposed to say, well, you know, how is that gonna happen? Well, if I do a whole lot of mitzvahs, it's almost like it's framed as, like, an audio visual tool to inspire you to do things and be active. Why? [00:25:12] Speaker B: Consciousness of challah. [00:25:13] Speaker A: Be that what it can be. You know, what it really can be? It can be. But I think that in the current reality, I don't know if it is. You know, I don't know that a person makes a key shaped challah, then puts it on instagram. I don't know if there's, like, a follow through in some kind of a personal or spiritual way that they are saying, now I am going to do this with my life or not. It's more like, I made this challah, I am eating this challah, and now I am waiting for my check to arrive in the mail in some fashion, it seems. That's at least the feeling I get from it. Right. So, again, it would be more, I think, legitimately jewish and even have more meaning if it wouldn't just be a. A magical act as such. And it would be a little bit more of a. Of an inspirational act or something that infuses our life with something. Yeah. [00:26:12] Speaker C: Is there then. I mean, I don't use the word value because that's a bit loaded, but is there more to say for, like, a sgulla as opposed to a minhag? A minhag where, you know, it's attached to a mitzvah or whatever? [00:26:24] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:26:25] Speaker C: Standing alone. [00:26:26] Speaker A: I think that the problem I feel with skulas is to have a magical act divorced from human effort or human inspiration and just say, like, doing this will result in some. I think that takes away a lot of the meaning from something. From my perspective, I feel that that would make a skula. It would make it, in some fashion, it would cheapen the skula. But again, if you could find some meaning in the skula, again, that's the thing. It's the meaning, I feel, that really makes the things more connect to people and provide meaning in their lives, which is what the customs are supposed to do. [00:27:12] Speaker C: But then. So let's say, for example, if you find great meaning in the red piece of string. [00:27:17] Speaker A: Yes. [00:27:18] Speaker C: But you find no meaning in the color poked with a key. [00:27:21] Speaker A: First of all, the tosefta says that red string is their kmores. That's already problematic. But let's imagine. But then. But then do that. So do that. Do that. Put it out there and see what will happen with it. See what will happen with it. I don't know. [00:27:33] Speaker C: But then you risk being labeled as over the Verdazara or, you know, pagan. [00:27:39] Speaker A: Okay, yeah, well, yeah, I understand that's where this is gonna be problematic. But all men hug him started because there was a human need that is being addressed. And if that human need is addressed in a good way and it gives people meaning, then it lasts. What is that? What's the school that they say about a woman that she's going to? I think this is at the. At the end of Tamiya Min Hagim. He has a nice big section on schoolers over there. Some of them very hard to figure out, like, what's going on. But then he has one that if a woman who is in, who is pregnant, she bites Etro. You ever hear this thing bites the pitum off the etrog, then what is she supposed to do with it? I don't know. [00:28:20] Speaker C: It spits out. [00:28:22] Speaker A: Bites a pitamorph an hedrock and spits it out. She will not have labor pain. Yes. [00:28:27] Speaker C: I thought it's a skulla for a boy. [00:28:28] Speaker A: A skulla for a boy. [00:28:29] Speaker C: And there's a very direct line there. [00:28:31] Speaker A: Okay, okay. [00:28:32] Speaker C: Leave that unseen. [00:28:33] Speaker A: Well, we'll see. They'll edit that part out. But listen. But the thing is. But I'll tell you what it really is. It's to avoid labor pain. [00:28:41] Speaker C: Okay? [00:28:41] Speaker A: And you know why? Because one of the approaches as to what was the forbidden fruit was the etrog. So if a woman takes it and spits it out, what is she demonstrating? If I was Chava, I wouldn't eat in this thing. So therefore, I shouldn't. So then at least it has some sort of a meaning that you want to show I am. I am righteous. I'm not going to fall into that same trap as Chavez did. Then it has meaning. But otherwise, I don't want to get personal with you, but the way you said it became, like, some weird fortune cookie stuff. That's what it is. That's what it is. So I think if you. That's why the first step is you research it and see where it really came from and what's the meaning. And if that meaning is good meaning, then let's bring that back and let people know what that is. Like. In the book, I talk about Kala going around a chatan, and this is something that's all over the place. And we talk about the idea that the original meaning of it was that she is building a kind of a protective wall around him. That was the original understanding of it. I think that people now, you know, they have various versions of it, however they like to explain it. But that's the original. And I think that's a very exciting kind of an explanation. It's a very nice explanation, especially because I saw in, you know, some of these, like, modern, you know, non orthodox wedding books, and they're like, oh, you know, sometimes they don't like to do it because the man is in the middle, and the girl, you know, but here's. [00:30:12] Speaker C: No, no, no. [00:30:13] Speaker A: It's empowering the woman that she's. She's the one that's protecting. She has that superpower to protect this vulnerable schmo who's sitting there in the middle like, ah, help me, help me. That's what she's doing. And that. That's a good thing to bring back to that. People should be aware of it. Yeah, but then people are lazy. They don't look up to see where things actually came from. [00:30:33] Speaker B: What's the oldest Min Haung you can think of that still is widely done? That you can't believe is still widely done. [00:30:39] Speaker A: Okay. [00:30:40] Speaker B: And there's gonna be a follow up question. [00:30:42] Speaker C: It's a good follow up question. [00:30:43] Speaker A: Well, I speak in the book about a Minhag that the Gemara talks about that they would do on Purim, the Gemara, when it describes what Molech worship was. So there's different versions. I think most people think you would take your kid and set him on fire to this God, Molech. That's one way of looking at it. But the Gemara actually gives different options where the kid wouldn't necessarily die. He would pass through rows of fire or something like that. One of them is that the children would jump over fire. They'd make a fire like a bonfire, and you would jump over it. And that was Molech worship. That's how you would do it. And they say the Gemara, though, says, this is what we do on Purim. So that was an old purim custom in the times of the Gemara. Now, I will say that I don't know if any of you ever saw such a thing, but if you speak to persian people, some of them still do such a thing. So that has lasted. Now, I'm saying, I think for most people, the meaning of it is like, wait, kids jumping over a fire, this does not seem okay. And it sort of came out. That's why I'm surprised that it lasted this long. But again, if you go to in Iran, this kind of still, maybe people are still into that kind of stuff. So Persians still do it. But that it lasted at all is shocking. That is shocking. That's real old school Purim. In hugging, you think about people getting wild on Purim. Could you imagine you mix in fire also into that? It could be scary stuff going on, but there, the Gemara has these kinds of customs. Yeah. [00:32:24] Speaker B: It's better purim custom than chopping the head off your Purim cast. If we're looking at the Gemara, that. [00:32:29] Speaker A: Is, you know, it's a better custom than murder. Yeah, murder, not a good custom. [00:32:34] Speaker B: And then I guess, what's the most recent or newest custom that you can't believe it's caught on. But you think it's gonna go the distance? [00:32:40] Speaker A: Oh, listen, I'm gonna tell you a custom that unfortunately has, I think, has gone the distance. I don't know, it could turn back anymore, which is that during lahadodi, people turn around and bow with their backs to the Arun Kadesh, and they bow opposite the Arun Kodesh. This, to me, is shocking that such a thing ever caught on. I wonder. And then I ask people, when you go to do Kabbalah Shabbat at the kotel, and then what? En masse, the whole crowd turns their back to the maqama mikdash and bows in the other direction. Is that what happens, bill? Yeah, that. That does not seem outrageous to people. Don't you see all the. From people, when they're leaving the kotel, you know, they're backing out, they're doing that moonwalk, you know, as they're leaving the kotel, they're doing that. But then all of a sudden, Lachadodi. Yeah, whatever. Hashem, you know, good luck. That is wild. That's a wild, wild thing, that. [00:33:45] Speaker B: Where does it come from? [00:33:46] Speaker A: Where does it come from? I will tell you that if you look again in the original sources, nobody ever talks about bowing. Nobody. Nobody. None of the original sources. People say, yeah, but my sitter says to bow like, you know what? Call up whoever made that sitter and say, what's your source for that? Oh, look, there's the original. Now, listen to the original. The original, you know that Kabbalah Shabbat was made by the Kabbalists, right? The Tzfat Kabbalists. And where were they Daven? Not in Ashul, they daven outside. And the way that they would do this tefillah is that they would not face Yerushalayim during this Tefilah in the writings of the Arizal students, they would face the sun. And as the sun is setting, and this is the vibe that you time your kabbalah Shabbat, so that you're saying, boy kala, boy kala, at the very end, at the moment of sunset, like, it's like a vatikin of. As if shabbos. Yes. And there is this. You close your eyes at this moment. It's like a very powerful kind of a thing, and you do it outside. Now, if we're in shul. So what people wanted to do was let's at least have some remembrance of facing the sunset. Now, usually shuls are oriented mizrach, and the sun is setting marav. So let's turn towards the setting sun. How people started bowing. There was no explanation. Just one guy started doing it, and then everybody started doing it. And now you tell people there's no bowing. Bowing is not a thing. I mean, it doesn't even look right. It doesn't. I think that's not okay. That's an anti message there. Bowing with your back to the arms, not okay. You know, during COVID you know, silver lining of COVID was that in myshul, we david outside, and I said, oh, now we could finally do Kabbalah Shabbat for real, and we could, you know, face the sun setting, and that's the real kabbalah Shabbat the way it was. But that, I'm sad to say that that's going to go the distance. You know, you try to tell people not to bathe. They look at you like you're a crazy person. Also, in my book, I talk about pointing to the Torah with your pinky finger. You know, that that's already gone the distance. I mean, no one's ever coming back from that. Pinky fingers are going to be pointing at torahs, you know, from here till after triathm. You know, people are going to come back from triathletem, they're going to go to shul. They're like, I never heard of this pinky thing. They see everybody doing it. They're going to copy them, and it'll catch on with them, too. But that's also these. These are things that sort of came from nothing but go the distance. Yes. Yeah. That's what. Yeah, I'm surprised. I'm surprised. But pinky finger, I'm like, whatever. Whatever you point with your pinky, it's cute. People like pinky fingers. Pinky fingers are fun. Fair enough. But bowing against the Auron, that's just, like, not okay. That's actually not cool. [00:36:41] Speaker B: On the topic of bowing, is it true that the way they bow for gadlu, because once a chasm put a siddha on the. On the arrow, and he bowed to pick it out, and that's why people bow for God? [00:36:50] Speaker A: That is a nice. That is a nice, nice bit of folklore that they say that people do say such things. But actually, what happened with Godlu, for real, was that the Chazen would say godlu, and the audience would bow, and the chazen didn't bow. Originally, chazen didn't bow at Godlu. Then what happened was, well, you can imagine there's a guy said, look, I'm always bowing, and then when I'm the chazen all of a sudden, I'm not gonna bow. Like, well, I'm gonna be the one shake it to, doesn't bow. So then they start bowing to, and then it turns into this whole kind of a thing. But, yeah, yeah. [00:37:26] Speaker C: So moving away from min Hagar. [00:37:28] Speaker A: Yes. [00:37:29] Speaker C: Saying, oh, Minhagan, whatever you want. No, you started by saying that, you know, Hashem has given us the mitzvah and we can do it. [00:37:35] Speaker A: Yes. [00:37:35] Speaker C: So how does one, how do you ensure that you're focusing on what is obligation and what is not obligation? As in not necessarily, you know, I mean, hug is not an obligation. [00:37:48] Speaker A: Right, right. I think we can agree. Right. [00:37:49] Speaker C: So if, if your Torah, Al Raghelacha, your Torah standing on one leg, is that there are these obligations and you can do it. [00:37:55] Speaker A: Yes. [00:37:56] Speaker C: How? How, what would you say to a student? What would you say to us, to the listener? How do you focus on what is obligatory and what is the real thing? [00:38:08] Speaker A: The real is very simple. People just have to read the Shulchan Arach, not even the whole Shulchan Aruch so much. You just read Arachaim. You just read it. And as you go through it, you see what you really have to do. It's really as simple as that. And then listen, just to give one more example, you know that I talk in the book about that. People say Sholem Aleichem to three people at Kiddoshlevana. If you look in the Shulchan arach, it says that you say Shalom Aleicha three times to another person. That's the real way to do it. If when you read there, then you see the real way to do it. Yeah. And I'm telling you, I've seen, I think it was about Rev. Sulavecik that I saw a godol story. They say one time, Rev. Soloveitchik was the last night you could take Kiddoshlavana. There was no one else around, just him and his driver. And he got out and he said, shalom Aleche three times to the driver, you know, this is the Shulchan Aruch. You know, people don't know this is the Shulchan Arach. So they're like, ugh. Yeah. But the way to know your obligations for real is to be a learned jewish human being and read what it says in the Shulchan Aruch. And I'm going to say for real. And I know there's a lot of Tami dai Chachamim listening to this podcast. And people learn Gemara and people learn, you know all kinds of exciting things, and that's fantastic. But the bottom line is there has to also be just learning halacha and knowing what your real obligations are. Yes. [00:39:38] Speaker B: So is the next book going to be called jewish obligations? [00:39:41] Speaker A: No, no. And I'll tell you that the reason I write about jewish customs and really also in my life, I really try not to teach halacha ever, because I, you know, this is a, you know, this is a very nice topic where sort of, you could say anything and, you know, no one's going to call you out on anything there. And that's good. That is very good. And then we say, oh, you do it this way. Okay. You do it that way. Okay. Let's just understand historically, and then we'll know. And that's good. And you could have this, a bit of a critical approach to it if you'd like. And that's good. But halacha, I mean, that's its own thing. Halachah is, you know, you can't touch halacha. Halacha is halacha. [00:40:22] Speaker B: You're not. [00:40:23] Speaker C: The book certainly doesn't give this approach the impression, yes. [00:40:28] Speaker B: You're not a grinch. [00:40:28] Speaker A: You're not, you're not saying. No, no, not at all. Not at all. I'm just saying, let's just, no, let us just be smart. Let us, you know, you do what you do. That's the same. You do what you do, but let us know where it came from. And also, let's appreciate that this is something that does develop, and let's also appreciate that this is something that does interact with outside forces. And there shouldn't be an illusion that we live in a gigantic, hermetically sealed Ziploc bag and we're disconnected from everything else. No jewish customs. It's all about, there's emotional elements there. There's nostalgia elements in there that people want to do what people have done before. And of course, there's outside influences. When you're in a society, there's all these exciting forces happening here, and it's good to track them and to learn about them. But of course, you know, this is something that we could be very generous with. Which, which in halakha, you know, you don't really have that leeway. Halacha is more in the black and white realm here. There's a lot of non black and white. [00:41:36] Speaker C: I mean, sorry I brought up the phrase, the word min hak stus. [00:41:40] Speaker A: Yes. Yeah. [00:41:41] Speaker C: Your is your opinion that, you know, that there isn't necessarily, I'm gonna say. [00:41:44] Speaker A: A Min hog stos is when the Minhag comes up with something that is antithetical to the real jewish values. That's why. That's why the bowing of Hadodi, to me, is a little bit of a rough thing, because to have to bow against the direction of the Aaron and Jerusalem, to me, that's a tough thing. That's why I would put that to the degree that I would even say such a thing in the Minhag pseudo Stuss category. But if it's something inoffensive and it's a pinky finger and you don't really do much with it, and you want to use it to point to the Torah. I know myself. I know myself. I like to feel superior, and I'm thinking to myself, there is no source for this. You are a semi goofball. But if you like to be a goofball and it makes you feel warm in your heart, and it's not antithetical to Judaism to raise your pinky finger periodically, then by all means, go ahead and do that. [00:42:49] Speaker C: Better to raise your pinky finger than a cup of tea. [00:42:52] Speaker A: That's right. That's right. Yes, you. Very fancy. Very fancy. [00:42:56] Speaker B: Agreed. I guess before we wrap up, I wanted to get a little bit personal, if it's okay. Yes. You talk about this idea like you can do it. So you are known as, like, someone who does loads of different things. [00:43:09] Speaker A: Yes, yes. [00:43:10] Speaker B: You write and you teach, and you're an academic. [00:43:13] Speaker A: Yeah, I try to be. I try to be. [00:43:14] Speaker B: How does that attitude, how does that Torah fuel all the things that you do? [00:43:17] Speaker A: I mean, it's an idea that anything that you would like to do, you can do if you set your mind to it and you make the time for it, and you just do it. And I. I like that. I have this idea. This is what I always tell my students, you know, before, when it's Rosh Hashanah, yom Kippur, Tom. When it's Elul, I say, you know, they say, oh, what should I be working on? You know, I say, oh, there's classics. You are davening, learning Ben, Adam, le Chavero, all these kinds of things, right? But then I say, you should also have another section, potpourri. You know, just. And what's going to be in that section? Just something in your life that you thought you should do, and you kind of never got around to it. So every year, as ell is coming in, besides all of the religious things, you know, I'm going to be better at all of those things, which is of course you have to do. But you also put in something that in your life you want it to get done and you say, now I'm going to get it done. And that's, and that's the way you get things done. And then every year there's another thing comes off the list. Then after a while you have to like dig deep, you know, but then you keep on having new things. It's very exciting that way. [00:44:30] Speaker C: I think one of the most interesting and fun things about this current format of the current podcast where we're asking people to teach Torah Al Raghelachat, is that it is something fluid that if we spoke to somebody a year, two years ago and we spoke again now. [00:44:45] Speaker A: They might, yeah, it'll be very different. [00:44:46] Speaker C: So what's the thing, what's the thing right now that is giving you the most meaning? I mean, what you are this sort of polyglot, this potpourri of yiddishkeit, what's the thing that is giving you the most meaning? [00:44:59] Speaker A: Listen, for real, for me personally is I have a grandchild and he's my special friend and he's, let's call it a year and a half old, and I'm gonna go visit him after this podcast. That's where I'm going. Whenever I have a day off. Me and my wife, we rush over and that gives meaning. That's real. That's when it's real. That's like biblical stuff, you know, another generation is like, it's happening. That's real jewish DNA in Israel, things going on. That's very, very powerful. And I'll tell you for real, gist will say that, you know, when the book came out, people came over and said, oh, having a book is like having a child. I'm like, listen, a child is, I mean, it's not like having a child. A book is a book, you know, it argues less. [00:45:47] Speaker B: They don't talk back at night. [00:45:49] Speaker A: Yeah, that's right. I put the book down. It stays there. But, you know, but the real, the real thing is that the children and grandchildren, that's real. [00:45:59] Speaker B: Geshmak and I guess I also wanted to ask you not directly on our listener questions in terms of it, often you bring into your teaching and you pass on to students a love of popular culture and things like that. Why is that an important part of your. [00:46:15] Speaker A: Listen, I'll tell you for real, because, you know, they say when you teach young people, it keeps you young, right? And this is how I know about stuff. You know, I talk to them. And I say an expression and they never. I say, what is it? You know, there's more one. More than one way to skin a cat. And they look at me like, what does that even mean? You know? And then they say something and I'm like, what is that? They say, that's a line from a movie. Said, what movie is that? They say, anchorman. I'm like, okay, well, you know, I'll see what this is. You know, they say, what is that? That's a Taylor Swift song. Let us investigate what this is. And this is where you learn stuff, right? You have some sort of common language, I guess you could say. Yes. [00:46:55] Speaker C: Ari and I are sort of making eyes across the microphones. I think we've run out of questions. [00:46:59] Speaker A: That is good. Yeah, that is good. We covered everything. We have covered everything for now. [00:47:04] Speaker C: We'll talk to you in a couple of years and see what you're finding. [00:47:06] Speaker A: Yes. Yes. Hopefully, though, there's always new things, right? There's always new things. That's what's good. As I tell people, you're in a good place. If you could look back at yourself a few years ago and say, wow, I was real. I was just a jerk back then. Because we have to always be improving. We have to always be getting better. And that's going to be great. [00:47:25] Speaker C: Wonderful. So thank you very much. Rabbit free run. [00:47:28] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:47:29] Speaker C: Of jewish customs. [00:47:30] Speaker A: Thank you for having me. [00:47:32] Speaker C: Thank you for joining us on current podcast. We definitely will have you back soon. [00:47:34] Speaker A: It was a blast. [00:47:36] Speaker C: That's what we've got time for this week. Rav Ron is absolutely a tour de force. It was so much fun talking to him and we look forward to having him back on the podcast again soon. You can get your copy of Rabbi Zvi Ron's new book, Jewish Customs from www.currentpub.com. and you can save 10% on your entire order with the promo code podcast at checkout and also get free shipping in the US and Canada on all orders over $65. You can follow us on social media orinpublishers. That's everywhere. Or if you'd like to be in touch with us, you can email us podcastorenpub.com. please make sure to like and subscribe and rate and share and tell your friends to listen as well. Until next time, this has been the Corrin podcast. Al Rega Lachatz. Goodbye.

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