Pleasure and Aesthetics the Jewish Way

Are Beauty and Pleasure Jewish Ideas or Evils?

Jan - Mar 2014

From the LSJS website:

It’s often said that Judaism is interested in action rather than form, but is that really true? What do Jewish sources really have to say about beauty, visual and physical pleasure and the wonders of art? In this innovative course, Rabbi Belovski will explore classic texts and contemporary Jewish writings on aesthetics and form. As well as major themes, we will look specifically at Jewish approaches to art, music, poetry, language, food, aroma, and, of course, the pleasures of wine and sex.

Session 1: Pleasure and Aesthetics in Traditional Jewish Sources
Session 2: Art
Session 3: Music
I am frustrated to report that the recording failed.  I hope to have a chance to repeat the class soon.

Session 4: Literature and Poetry
Session 5: Taste and Smell
Session 6: Wine Session 7: Sex

21st-Century Halachah

How does Jewish Law Stay Relevant and Meaningful for Today and Beyond?

LSJS Nov – Dec 2012

From the LSJS website:

Halachah is the architecture of Jewish life. It guides our daily routine from what we eat and how we dress to what we say and how we treat others.

Yet surely the greatest modern challenge of Halachah has been its response to the dramatic and irreversible changes in society while staying true to our tradition.

This course takes on three cutting-edge modern concerns and shows how ancient sources and modern responsa address them in sensitive, coherent and innovative ways.

Session 1: Tekhelet and the Discovery of the Murex Snail

Session 2: Spontaneous Generation

I am indebted to Rabbi Natan Slifkin for his excellent material on this topic

Sessions 3 & 4: Using Electricity on Shabbat

Session 5: The Shabbat iPad

Session 6: Teaching Torah to Women


The Genius of the 19th Century Series 3

Torah Commentators’ Response to Modernity

JLE Apr – Jul 2012

Part 16: Shemini, Tazria & Metzora

Part 17: Acharey & Kedoshim

Part 18: Emor, Behar & Bechukotay

Part 19: BeMidbar, Naso & BeHaAlotecha

Part 20: Shelach & Korach

Part 21: Chukat

Part 22: VaYikra, Tzav & Balak

Part 23: Pinchas, Mattot & Massey


Stealing from the Internet

Discover how Jewish Law is meeting the Challenges of Cyberspace

LSJS Jan – Mar 2012

From the LSJS Website:

The Internet and the inexorable growth of modern technology have produced some fraught and fascinating dilemmas for Jewish law.

Just what exactly do modern halachists have to say about issues of copyright law in cyberspace?

What are their sometimes controversial rulings on software pirating, downloading music and surfing the Net using a neighbour’s connection?

Find out what the law is about automated commerce on Shabbat and shared ownership in shady businesses.

Explore the possibilities when it comes to balancing religious obligations with the modern realities of Internet commerce.

On this course you will:

Consider whether halachah recognises intellectual property and other intangibles

Examine an acrimonious copyright dispute that made Jewish legal history

Discuss how halachah views the ‘pirating’ of music, videos and software

Wrestle with the ‘eBay dilemma’ – the auction that ends on Shabbat

Compare a man convicted of ‘piggy-backing’ on a Wi-Fi connection with his 3rd-century counterpart

Course Outline

Session 1: Introduction to Copyright and Intellectual Property

Session 2: More Copyright, Software Piracy and Intellectual Property

Session 3: Erasing God's Name from a Disk, Screen or Website

Sessions 4 & 5: Internet Commerce & Shabbat

Session 6: 'Piggybacking' on a WIFI Connection

Session 7: Electricity on Shabbat: Rabbi S.Z. Auerbach v. Chazon Ish

The Genius of the 19th Century Series 2

Torah Commentators’ Response to Modernity

JLE Jan – Mar 2012

Part 8: Mikketz, VaYigash & VaYechi

Part 9: Shemot

Part 10: VaEra

Part 11: Bo

Part 12: BeShallach

Part 13: Yitro & Mishpatim

Part 14: Terumah & Tetzaveh

Part 15: Ki Tisa, VaYakhel & Pekudey


The Genius of the 19th Century

Torah Commentators’ Response to Modernity

JLE Oct - Dec 2011

Part 1: Introduction, BeReishit & Noach

Part 2: Netziv's Introduction and Lech Lecha

Part 3: Introduction to Ketav VeHaKabbalah and VaYera

Part 4: Chayey Sarah and Toldot

Part 5: Introduction to Malbim and VaYetzey Part 6: Introduction to HaKetav VeHaKabbalah (2) and VaYishlach

Part 7: Introduction to Malbim (2) and VaYeshev