The primary text we're studying in these shiurim is the Introduction to Rav Shimon Shkop's Shaarei Yosher. This is the last text in the Beyond Meaningful Relationshisps - Relationshipful Meaning.
Rav Shimon's introduction is also the basis of a sefer I wrote, Widen Your Tent. Chapter 1 of that book has the introduction we are discussing in full, along with my translation, and is available online here - https://www.aishdas.org/media/ShaareiYosher.pdf.
This sheet has sources raised when discussing sec 1.2 starting on pg. 53, the second half of the second paragraph in the original publishing of Shaarei Yosher. (Corresponding to Widen Your Tent chapter 4 sec.s 4-7, and chapter 5.)
Widen Your Tent i.4 pp. 24-26:
Let us look at how the two methodologies of study would understand the mechanics of bitul chameitz, of nullifying one’s chameitz (leaven) before Pesach. In reality, Halachah does not recognize real ownership of the chameitz, since its notion of ownership depends on rights to use, and one may not use chameitz on Pesach. What one is nullifying is created by a special biblical decree; it is an “almost-ownership” that isn’t rooted in our natural conception of ownership as rights to use. The Gemara (Pesachim 6b) compares this to a pit dug in public property. You are culpable for any harm that comes from stumbling on “your” pit, even though it is in the public domain and your ownership of the pit is not real. Rabbeinu Nissim explains that since the whole prohibition is the “almost-ownership” of chameitz on Pesach, not actual ownership, simply making a statement of nullification is enough to break those weak ties to the chameitz. (Ran ad. loc.) How can Rabbeinu Nissim draw this conclusion about chameitz, though, if the Gemara itself compares these two forms of pseudo-ownership and we can’t draw the parallel conclusion about the pit? After all, no one would claim that one could declare bitul, that they no longer have an attachment to the pit and thereby avoid payment!
This question is more typical of Brisker analysis, using a distinction to find the borders of an idea. A Brisker answer to such a question focuses on the difference between a prohibition related to an object (cheftza) and, in this case, the responsibility for an event that occurred due to someone’s action (pe’ulah). The prohibition is not to own chameitz, an object. However, the financial obligation to make restitution for someone’s damaged or injured property that fell into a pit dug in public land is due to the event of that property falling into the hole, your “ba’alus” of the hole is in terms of how it causes a consequent action. Therefore, one needs more than a simple declaration to eliminate one’s ties to the pit.
Rav Shimon gives a different answer. (Shaarei Yosher 5:24) He says that the validity of bitul chameitz rests on the fact that it is the Halachah that generates the non-reality of the ownership. Had the Torah not prohibited the use of chameitz, the person would remain the full owner. Therefore, he has the authority to renounce what remains of the ownership (which Ran tells us is slight and can therefore be eliminated by a simple formula). In the case of the pit, the “ownership” is itself the verse’s decree — the property in question is public property. Since one does not have inherent ownership of the pit, one cannot distance oneself from it using the normal mechanism of sale or of declaring it ownerless (hefker), as one is able to distance himself from an object that he owns in the conventional sense. Within Rav Shimon’s worldview, the question is whether one’s “ownership” of the object is inherent or scriptural, and from that point the discussion moves on to what this notion of inherent (perhaps I should say “pre-halachic”?) ownership means and how it impacts bitul and related matters.
To Brisk, the problem is collapsed into the cheftzah vs. pe’ulah – object vs. action – distinction. To Rav Shimon, though, it is an instance of a basic idea about the philosophy of ownership, a return to first principles.Fundamental to Brisker philosophy is the idea that Halachah has no first principles prior to Halachah itself.Halachah can only be understood on its own terms. As Rabbi Soloveitchik describes in Halachic Man, it is only through Halachah that man finds a balance between his religious need for redemption and his creative, constructive self.
And recall, this is the same Rabbi Akiva as ".וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ. רִבִּי עֲקִיבָה אוֹמֵר. זֶהוּ כְּלָל גָּדוֹל בַּתּוֹרָה"
Persians and many others (including Toledos Yeishu) often call Jesus "Ben Pandera" -- son of the Roman soldier whose nom de guerre was "the Panther." So there is a theory the first opinion is being attributed to him. Elsewhere (in censored sections) he is called יש"ו בן פנטירא. Is Ben Peturah, a slurred or censor-modified version of Ben Pandera?
Is this an exercise in comparing Christian and Jewish Ethics? Or is that just a bunch of truthiness with little actual truth? Either way, the first opinion is consistent with classical Christian ethics.
Do we need self-love and ego in order to be creative beings, betzelem E-lokim rather than passive recipients?
The Right Way to Learn
רב מנחם מנדל מורגנשטרן, הרבי מקוצק
״לִמְדוּ הֵיטֵב״ — ״למדו להיטיב״ (ישעיה א:יז, ורש״י שם): לא מצאנו בשום מקום בתורה, שמצווה אדם להיות למדן ובקי בכל חדרי התורה. שכן תכלית הלימוד אינה להיות למדן, אלא להיות אדם טוב. לעשות הטוב ולהיטיב עם הזולת.
עלי שור, רב שלמה וולבהזצ"ל חלק ב, עבודת המוסר פרק ה' "התלמדות":