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Hair Wars II

 

I obtained permission to post two letters sent in response to R. Michael J. Broyde’s article on women covering their hair (see these posts: I, II). The first is by David Keter and the second by Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin.

UPDATE Apr 24 ’13: Re the Keter letter, please see this post which raises serious questions about the letter’s authenticity: link

David Keter

Rabbi Broyde’s article on hair covering returns me to my early adulthood learning in Israel. I moved to Israel in 1949 after graduating from Columbia and I was learning in Rav Issser Zalman Meltzer’s yeshiva, Etz Chaim in Jerusalem. I was engaged to a woman who would not cover her hair and I spoke to the Rav Meltzer about this matter at some length. He told me that it was better not to marry someone who would not cover her hair. After I told him that I really loved this woman and wanted to marry, he graciously gave me permission to speak to three of his students, Rabbi Yehuda Gershuni, Rabbi Elazar Shach and Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aerbach. So off I went.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach explicitly told me that if this woman was right for me, I should marry her even if she would not cover her hair, as there as no obligation for a husband to compel his wife to cover her hair, since many other pious women did not cover, such conduct was not immodest, just a sin. Rav Auerbach made it clear to me that he thought uncovered hair was a sin by a married woman, but not my sin.

Rav Yehuda Gershuni pointed me to the Yad HaLevi that Rabbi Broyde notes in his article and told me very clearly (as Rabbi Broyde stated he heard from Rav Gershuni himself) that there was no halachic obligation upon women to cover their hair in a society where women generally did not, based on this analysis.

But it was Rav Shach who startled me with his halachic view. Rav Meltzer had told me to listen to Rav Shach closely, as “Rav Shach was married to his [Rav Meltzer's] niece and she did not cover her hair.” Rav Shach met me at some length, and told me very clearly and directly that whether hair covering was obligatory or not when most modest women did not cover their hair was a dispute between the Shulchan Aruch and the Rambam, since Rambam called hair covering a dat moshe and Mechaber called it a dat yehudit. Rav Shach told me that it was better to be strict on this matter, but one who was makil, yesh al ma lismoch. When I pressed Rav Shach about explaining the basis for the Mechaber‘s view, he told me that the Mechaber is adopting the view of the Tur, which must have been his view the Rosh as well, although Rav Shach indicated that he did not see that view in the Rosh himself.

When I asked him about his own wife not covering her hair, he corrected me and told me that my information was wrong and while his wife had not covered her hair in Europe or while he was learning at Etz Chaim, now that he was at Ponevitch she certainly did cover her hair. (For those who doubt that Rebbetzin Guttel Shach did not cover her hair for many years, see the pictures of her found in the Moshe Horowitz’s book about Rav Shach, entitled HaRav Shach Shehamaphteach Beyado [Keter, Jerusalem, 1989] on the second unnumber page of pictures after page 64 of Mrs. Shach in 1942.)

Thus, it is worth noting for the record that the observation that forms the heart of Rabbi Broyde’s article, that the Tur and Shulchan Aruch adopt the view that hair covering is a subjective dat yehudit and the Rambam considers hair covering to be an objective dat moshe, was not first made by Rabbi Broyde at all, but was first stated by Maran Rav Elazar Shach zt”l.


Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin

Rabbi Broyde has been indefatigable in spreading word of a heter for married women to go about bareheaded in public. I am of two minds about this: on the one hand, it appears a classic case of limud zechut. On the other hand, I am not convinced that the heter is valid halachically, going as it does against the simple import of the Gemara and the weight of the poskim.

Here let us count the Rishonim, parallel to an exchange between Rabbi Broyde and myself in Techumin 27 and 28. As Rabbi Broyde lists them, there are at least eight early authorities who are explicitly of the opinion that going bareheaded in public is a Torah infraction. They are Riaz, Shiltei haGiborim, Tashbetz, R. Yerucham, Rashba, Riban [in Shitah Mekubetzet, mislabled as "first edition of Rashi"], Ran and Meiri, to which should be added Rivash as quoted in Shitah Mekubetzet. These by themselves make going about bareheaded at least a safek d’orayta.

To this list of osrim must be added those who classify going about bareheaded as a violation of dat Mosheh, which certainly implies at least a rabbinical prohibition and not merely a minhag of women. Thus we add Rambam, Etz Chayim, Semag, Orchot Chayim and Ezrat Nashim. And see Bnei Banim vol. 3 no. 22 (written to Rabbi Broyde in 5753), where I noted that Rosh, Semak and some others do not categorize dat Yehudit as a minhag; in fact, Rosh in Ketuvot defines it completely differently. (Also see my recent Understanding Tzniut, pp. 31-34.) For this third group of Rishonim, dat Yehudit itself may be a rabbinic ordinance and not subject to change by custom.

In context of listing the Rishonim, on page 118 Rabbi Broyde misconstrues the language of Sefer ha’Itur [ot mem mered, s.v. hasha'ar harishon], which reads as follows: “And what is dat Yehudit? If she goes out and her head is uncovered etc., as found in the Gemara.” The reference to the Gemara is to the discussion of “roshah paru’a– d’orayta hi!”; Sefer ha’Itur simply cites the sugya; no support for Rabbi Broyde’s thesis—that going out entirely bareheaded violates only dat Yehudit–can be inferred. Nor can he marshall support from the Ravyah [vol. 4, p. 290] which simply quotes the Mishnah in Ketuvot word for word, and leaves out the Gemara entirely.

Rabbi Broyde further writes that the Shulchan Aruch in Even haEzer 115:4 holds that the prohibition of going wholly bareheaded is only a matter of custom, dat Yehudit. But even were we to ignore the improbability of the Shulchan Aruch endorsing a view not found in the Bet Yosef, the claim hinges on the language of the Shulchan Aruch:

“What is dat Yehudit? It is a custom of modest behavior adopted by daughters of Israel. These are the things that, should she do any of them, she violates dat Yehudit: she goes out to market or to an alleyway open on both ends or to a courtyard frequented by the public veroshah paru’a ve’ein aleha redid like all women even though her hair is covered by a kerchief.”

Does “veroshah paru’a ve’ein aleha redid” mean “when she is [completely] bareheaded and without a shawl (chador) over her…,” in which case going completely bareheaded is listed under the category of dat Yehudit? Or does it mean “when she is bareheaded, e.g. without a shawl…,” in apposition, in which case going completely bareheaded with neither a shawl nor even a kerchief, is not subsumed under dat Yehudit?

The entire paragraph starting from “What is…,” except for the words “or to a courtyard frequented by the public” is a quote from Rambam, Hilchot Ishut 24:12. Rambam’s meaning is clearly the second of the above two interpretations, since in 24:11 he lists going completely bareheaded as dat Mosheh. Unless it used Rambam’s exact language while meaning the opposite, the Shulchan Aruch cannot have meant that going completely bareheaded in public is only dat Yehudit—a notion, as mentioned, not found explicitly– and, therefore, this cannot serve as a basis for limud zechut.

In my opinion, then, Rabbi Broyde’s core position that many if not most Rishonim and the Shulchan Aruch view going bareheaded in public as subject to custom, is untenable. This is not to gainsay Rabbi Broyde’s valuable discussions of the meaning of d’orayta and other matters, just as I make no attempt at point-to-point evaluation of his lengthy article. One criticism I will make, however, concerns his claim on page 121 that R. Yochanan in Berachot 20a viewed “naked” women emerging from immersion. Chas veShalom, they were clothed, as Tosafot wrote in Bava Metzia 84a s.v. yetiv and as I wrote to Rabbi Broyde in the aforementioned vol. 3 no. 22.

 

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Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

54 Responses

  1. Shlomo Argamon says:

    I’d be very interested to hear Rav Henkin’s response to the edut about Rav Shach’s understanding of the Shulchan Aruch…

  2. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I’d like to know the sub-text of the different hair styles in Hair Wars I and Hair Wars II.

  3. Visiting says:

    S. Argaman, One person telling over a story is not “edut”, one person is hearsay.

  4. MDJ says:

    Who is David Keter?

    And, Visiting, since this is neither an American court of law or a beis din, your pendantry is misplaced. R. Keter has indeed given edut, which is the hebrew word for testimony, about what R. Shach said. The fact that it would not be admissible in a court is neither here nor there.

  5. Moshe Cohn says:

    A question for Rav Henkin (and the readers): while the deduction that the SA’s quote of the Rambam, implying that lack of any head covering is dat Moshe but not dat Yehudit, is sound, the Rambam’s own language seems equivocal: is it that the custom adopted by b’not Yisrael, to have a “double” covering of sorts, is a stringency of their own invention, or is it that the wearing of the shawl on top of the kerchief in public is *akin* to the modest women of their (i.e. the Rambam’s) society? Additionally, couldn’t the Rambam’s assignment of complete bareheadedness to dat Moshe be influenced by the highest level of modesty he observed in his own society? (I don’t remember whether any of the above were address in R’ Broyde’s original article.)

    Also, it’s interesting to me that Chazal, and perhaps even more so, the Rishonim, refer to the uncovering of the sotah’s hair as the Biblical underpinning for hair covering as an aspect of tzeni’ut. From whence did Chazal (and the Rishonim, and, in particular, the Rambam) know the particulars of women’s head coverings in Biblical times – kerchief, shawl, veil, wig; one covering or two, or three?

    Alas, we don’t live by the Book . . .

  6. commentor says:

    Wow- that was really interesting. Thank you.

  7. Shalom Rosenfeld says:

    R’ Gil:

    I think many of us would conclude the following, correct me if I’m wrong:

    - The uncensored historical truth is that many a good religious woman has not covered her hair.
    - The Aruch HaShulchan, R’ Moshe, and the Ben Ish Chai that it is not *ervah* today.
    - We have better things to do than get obsessed about women who don’t cover their hair, or look down on them or otherwise doubt their yiras shamayim or observance of torah and mitzvos.
    - Multiple rabbinic anecdotes indicate that a man can’t/shouldn’t force his wife to cover her hair, and if everything else looks right, this issue alone shouldn’t kill a shidduch.
    - Having at least some hair-covering is on the books as an objective requirement. This is the intuitive reading of the Gemara Kesubos, many Rishonim, the Rambam, and the Shulchan Aruch. It is also the opinion of most contemporary poskim.
    - A few notabale contemporary poskim read the Shulchan Aruch otherwise; and/or suggest limud zechut from other Rishonim.

    If that’s your basis, and an engaged woman comes to you (pulpit rabbi) and begs for a heter to not cover her hair (let’s say there’s legitimate human factors involved), what would you tell her?

  8. Were these letters published in Tradition along with the other responses to Rabbi Broyde’s article?

  9. Steve Brizel says:

    R Keter’s personal historical vignette was fascinating. Yet, I wonder what R Isser Zalman ZL, RSZA ZL and R Schach ZL would have said if the question was posed in 2010, as opposed to 1949, when Orthodoxy was clearly nowhere was it was today.

  10. Guest says:

    >R Keter’s personal historical vignette was fascinating. Yet, I wonder what R Isser Zalman ZL, RSZA ZL and R Schach ZL would have said if the question was posed in 2010, as opposed to 1949, when Orthodoxy was clearly nowhere was it was today.

    And if he said they all said not to marry her and they were right, you’d also be inclined to wonder if it is a historical anecdote of no present relevance?

  11. Greg says:

    R’ Gil, can you please let us know a little more abour David Keter?

    Who is he?

    What is he up to?

    What has he been involved in?

    I think a litle background information would be very helpful.

    Thanks.

  12. joel rich says:

    What is interesting to me is which areas of “improved observance” the orthodox community has chosen (through whatever process) to focus on over that time period and which have not made the top of the to do list.
    GCT

  13. Y. Aharon says:

    Support for the responses obtained by R’ David Keter, if any were needed, may be available from the following anecdote:
    My wife’s zaida, a thorough Litvish type who was both learned and zealously observed all mitzvot, was always bothered by the fact that the bobbeh stopped covering her hair when she came to America – as was almost universally the case. He once asked Rav Moshe Feinstein if he was required to divorce her if she didn’t change. Rav Moshe looked at him sharply and said in Yiddish, “Don’t be a fool”. When my wife decided to wear a shaitel upon marriage, her last defense crumbled. How could she maintain her stance if her American-born granddaughter covered her hair? So, she, too, wore a shaitel.

  14. David Tzohar says:

    It seems that R’ Broyde is a little obsessed with the matter of limud zechut, therefore he must indulge in some halachic acrobatics in order to find a hetter for the behavior of our parents and grandparents. The importance of this issue is because besides the halachic considerations(on which I agree with the poskim lehachmir), womens haircovering is an important symbol. One of the first things that my wife and I decided when we married was that she would cover her hair,not with a sheitel. this was almost 40 years ago, and was a departure from the observance of most of the Orthodox women that we knew both from our parents and our own friends. It felt right for us but it was also a statement that we were not going to be satisfied with their level of observance. The fact that there were past Gedolim whose wives didn’t cover their hair meant nothing to us. We weren’t judging them,but everyone must be responsible for their own choices.Saying that we shouldn’t try to be more frum than Rebbitzin X is IMHO a very weak argument.

  15. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “We weren’t judging them,but everyone must be responsible for their own choices.”

    Correct. And some people, who, like you, take responsibility for their choices, actually choose differently than you did and do what feels, in your words, “right for them.”.

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    Guest-I think that the aforementioned case and R D Keter’s letter indicate that great Talmidei Chachamim routinely gave such advice on this area of halacha to those who asked the same, as opposed to those who sought to rationalize their noncompliance after the fact by twisting and turning the words of the Aruch HaShulcan from a Limud zcus into a Heter Lchatchilah or viewing the AS as some sort of pre MO Gadol as opposed to the neanderthal Baal Mussar otherwise known as the CC and the author of the MB.

  17. mycroft says:

    “joel rich on September 17, 2010 at 12:34 pm
    What is interesting to me is which areas of “improved observance” “the orthodox community has chosen “(through whatever process) to focus on over that time period and which have not made the top of the to do list.
    GCT”
    “the orthodox community has chosen ”

    WHICH ORTHODOX COMMUNITY? Members in Orthodox schuls vary in practice greatly. I have seen over the last couple of decades that many MO women start covering their hair when the have children about to enter the shidduch market. They do things very understandibly that will increase the supply of potential matches for their children.Of course, many cover their hair and cover very little else.
    Of course, one can’t discount the passing of the Rav ZT”L-it was not only his wife who didn’t cover her hair, but one of his daughters and one of his sisters didn’t cover cover their hair.
    As the Rav answered someone what is his source for not covering the hair-he answered not based on any svara he can’t prohibit something that gdolei lita permitted. Of course, it was not only the Ravs wife-but Rav Ruderman’s wife didn’t cover her hair when she first came to America-interesting thir daughter the wife of R Yacov Weinberg always covered her hair as a married woman.
    I suspect the real change in America has been the influence of the Hungarian post WW 11 and certainly post 1956 immigration to the US. They have influenced American practice in many ways including covering hair increased-glatt kosher became the standard for kashrut. Remember the Rav was opposed to glatt kosher.

  18. HaDarda"i says:

    David Keter is probably a pseudonym (Keter > Crown > head > hair). I imagine that the gentleman does not wish to reveal his identity because he does not want every man and his dog knowing that his wife did not cover her hair when they married. If that is so, we need to rely on R. Gil as to his bona fides, and that is good enough for me.

    I am just waiting for the comments that it is lashon hara to say that R. Schach’s wife did not cover her hair. On second thoughts, I think that this claim would be so incredible to a rusted-on haredi that it would not even merit a rebuttal or comment.

  19. mycroft says:

    BTW-I suspect the frequency of women covering their hair varies drastically by community/schul/school. I suspect one will find many and probably the vast majority of women who don’t cover their hair whose children attend the MO schools and MO schuls see eg KJ,LSS, JC,RJC ,YIWoodmere etc.
    If one stays among Kollel wives atYu it would probably be universal for women to cover their hair unlike the period of 40-50 years ago.

  20. mycroft says:

    “Yet, I wonder what R Isser Zalman ZL, RSZA ZL and R Schach ZL would have said if the question was posed in 2010, as opposed to 1949, when Orthodoxy was clearly nowhere was it was today”

    To be consistent if Halacha depends on what practice is-then the question is would the Rambam say about womens clothing requirements if he lived in a society that women don’t keep theri hair and almost everything else covered unlike the environment where he lived.
    BTW it is not so clear that at least in Israel Orthodoxy is a much a higher percentage now then 1949-compare the members of Knesset who belonged to religious parties, Certainly among Rabbis it is not at all clear it has necessarily gone to more chareidi-”R Schach ZL” son was a major player in the Mizrachi.

  21. Jay Cohn says:

    R, Gil
    I would Appreciate if you could write a parallel, how orthodox Jews in America had improved in shmiras sahbbos ,(yes plenty of orthodox Shuls in the 1920/30 had early minyen shabbos morning so the mispalelim can go to work)so even we could be melamed zchus on them we would still bask in the change that happened,so we should also encourage the current generation to take another step that was/is neglected and to cease the violation of das yehudis

  22. Steve Brizel says:

    In Oro Shel Olam, there are numerous instances mentioned in which RSZA was asked whether a woman should wear a sheitel as opposed to a snnod. RSZA did not view a sheitel as contradicted nor did he approve of reproaching women such as Chabdniks who wore a sheitel as opposed to a snood.

  23. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in part:

    “To be consistent if Halacha depends on what practice is-then the question is would the Rambam say about womens clothing requirements if he lived in a society that women don’t keep theri hair and almost everything else covered unlike the environment where he lived.”

    That was not my point. Rather, that which may have been Mutar or Assur in 1949 may not be so in 2010. The Halacha remains the same-the application depends on the time, and the person asking the question and the assesment by the Posek of the person asking the question vis a vis his or her level of observance and Torah knowledge.Viewing and understanding Psak Halacha, whether written or oral, in the same manner that one understands either Gemara or the text of the Rambam is not exactly the best means of understanding the background of what prompted any Posek to render a particular Psak.

  24. mycroft says:

    “That was not my point. Rather, that which may have been Mutar or Assur in 1949 may not be so in 2010.”

    Would there be a different answer in KGH than in Davenport Iowa
    in 2010?. Conditions change differently in different places.

    Of course as far as the pandemic acceptance of women not covering their hair it was gdolei Lita close to a century ago with people who had the most Torah knowledge.

  25. mycroft says:

    “R, Gil
    I would Appreciate if you could write a parallel, how orthodox Jews in America had improved in shmiras sahbbos ,(yes plenty of orthodox Shuls in the 1920/30 had early minyen shabbos morning so the mispalelim can go to work)so even we could be melamed zchus on them we would still bask in the change that happened,so we should also encourage the current generation to take another step that was/is neglected and ”

    Of course, one has far fewer schuls now than during thattime period-spome of their children became frum-later the beginnings of JSP/JSS were heavily from that crowd. We used to have far more Jews connected-Yom Kippur is a classic example-half a century or more the schuls were packed with Yom Kippur Jews-now they don’t exist-partially we don’t in general endeavor to reach them. Intermarriage -as large a percentage of 12 year day school graduates intermarrying as the general Jewish population 90 years ago-but to quote Southey about the Battle of Bleinheim “twas a famous victory” with such victories we will be much less than the statistical error of the population of China.

  26. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-How about Dallas, Texas and KGH today? That strikes me as a far better comparison.

    YK Jews can be found out of town. Today, it is not uncommon to see such people who don’t even go to shul on YK and who do not have even a minimial attachment to either Kol Nidre, Yizkor or a Pesach Seder in NY. I would not blame Orthodoxy and the rise of the day school movement for the disappearance of such people who were at best marginally connected to Klal Yisrael and thought that Tzedaka, as opposed to Tefilah and Teshuvah were the most important parts of their Jewish identity. It is more than a truism, but neither Judaism rooted in one’s checkbook or appreciation of bagels and lox, etc or any other susbtitute for Torah observance and education, offer a fighting chance of Judasim being transmitted in a positive manner to the next generation.

  27. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in part:

    “Of course, one has far fewer schuls now than during thattime period-spome of their children became frum-later the beginnings of JSP/JSS were heavily from that crowd”

    Some, yes, via their participation in TLS and NCSY. The Talmud Torah means of Jewish education has really never been a viable means of instilling Torah observance, and would not today, when one considers the competition that is posed by today’s secular culture.The educational options and means that failed for the large part in the 1950s and 1960s when faced with a more wholesome and innocent secular world really would not be an appropriate educational means today. Today, Jewish education both at home and in school must emulate the best elements of the Taivah and the Mishkan to provide a successful transmission of Torah observance and values to the next generation.

  28. robert says:

    After having extensively researching this issue,
    I came to the following Conclusion:

    If a woman feels she must cover her hair based on halacha, she is correct.

    If a woman feels that there is no halachic need to cover her hair now, she is also correct.

  29. mycroft says:

    . “The Talmud Torah means of Jewish education has really never been a viable means of instilling Torah observance, and would not today, when one considers the competition that is posed by today’s secular culture.”

    The lack of Talmud Torahs means that one is ensuring that those who either can’t afford day schools or don’t have the academic ability to thrive in day schools are effectively blocked from being frum Jews.

    “The educational options and means that failed for the large part in the 1950s and 1960s when faced with a more wholesome and innocent secular world really would not be an appropriate educational means today.”

    The 60s were so innocent-I don’t believe a society of Woodstock,LSD, Chicago Democratic demonstrations, March on Washington, Assassinations of a president and others-BTW the killing of a major Conservative Rabbi during the 60s at Friday night services are just some of not so innocent 60s world.

    “Today, Jewish education both at home and in school must emulate the best elements of the Taivah and the Mishkan to provide a successful transmission of Torah observance and values to the next generation”
    IMHO Jewish education should be for all-not just for the financial and academic elites.

  30. mycroft says:

    “YK Jews can be found out of town. Today, it is not uncommon to see such people who don’t even go to shul on YK and who do not have even a minimial attachment to either Kol Nidre, Yizkor or a Pesach Seder in NY”

    I noticed that already in the 60s and 70s I believethe vast majority of Jews by then never showed up to any synagogue on YK.
    However, some Orthodox schuls still had talmud torahs what killed them was the fact that most were schul based and schuls officers and boards did not use the talmud Torahs and thus did not wantto subsidize them-they were expensive money losers for the individual schul . The parents of TT kids were not from the wealthy machers-the wealthy machers could afford day schools.

  31. mycroft says:

    “Mycroft-How about Dallas, Texas and KGH today? That strikes me as a far better comparison”

    I don’t know Dallas-I try to write only about what I know.

  32. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “If a woman feels that there is no halachic need to cover her hair now, she is also correct.”

    also a factor is whether or not her mother covered her hair.

    though today that may not be a factor. (“How could she maintain her stance if her American-born granddaughter covered her hair? So, she, too, wore a shaitel.”

    2. ortho shuls in the 20s/30s were not what they are today. (though syrian shuls till the 80s were, viz a viz hashkama minyanim on shabbat.)

    and the correct example was of the father learning (not daf yomi — thats too “modernish”) real loud shabbos morning, so his son will wake up and go to work.

  33. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-Let me revise my chonology-The US of the 1950s and early 1960s ( pre 1963) was a far more wholesome and innocent time than the post 1963 part of the decade or today.

  34. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-you should check out how a Torah observant community has developed in Dallas,

  35. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-How can you seriously claim that a TT is a viable means of transmitting Torah to the next generation? Yes, we the day schools need to be able to accessible to all, but parents have to assume their jobs as teachers, advocates and fund raisers to make sure that programs for all kids are within the walls of the day schools. Clamoring for equal access for all is a nice slogan, but hardly a solution to this very real issue.

  36. mg says:

    While I don’t wish to cast aspersions on R. Keter , in at least one detail his testimony can not be accurate ,as he has Rav Shach saying in 1949 “now that he was at Ponevitch she certainly did cover her hair”;Rav Shach ob”m only became rosh yeshiva in Ponevitch in the fifties.

  37. Hirhurim says:

    He moved to Israel in 1949. I understood from his letter that at some unstated time later he asked Rav Meltzer about his engagement.

  38. WB Kohn says:

    Mycroft
    Re your response to Joel Rich — I don’t think Joel was pondering the different responses to hair covering in various parts of the Orthodox community — I think he was trying to point out that over the years certain members of the Orthodox community have elected to be machmer on this issue and have not been shy about openly disparaging and distancing themselves from those who disagree, all in the name of adherence to Torah values. At the same time, many who act this way (and their institutions and leaders) refuse to demand adherence to Choshen Mishpat, turning a blind eye to gross violations of Halachas – Halachas which unquestionably apply.

  39. mg says:

    “He moved to Israel in 1949. I understood from his letter that at some unstated time later he asked Rav Meltzer about his engagement.”

    Even if we stipulate that your reading is correct;by 1950 Rav Yudel Gershuni ob”m was already in America,Rav Shach went to ponevitch in 1952, thus the problem remains

  40. joel rich says:

    Mycroft,
    WB Kohn must be a mind reader :-)
    GT

  41. Greg says:

    R’ Gil,

    I can’t believe you would provide a platform to this “David Ketter” without offering any information as to his legitimacy.

    How do you know if this is an honest report?

    Do you know who he is?

    I really hope that you didn’t jump at the opportunity to post his letter just because of its sensationalism.

    What reputable media source would give the stage to an unconfirmed source?

    Can I call myself Shaul Kovah & ask you to post some wild unverifiable reports about Rabi XXXXXXX and his family members?

    I’m really shocked.

  42. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I think Greg raises a valid point. It does seem to be important to find out who David Keter is. Someone must know him. Gil, if you posted his letter, you really should try to find out who he is. (B TW, I googled his name but didn’t come up with anything useful.)

  43. mycroft says:

    “At the same time, many who act this way (and their institutions and leaders) refuse to demand adherence to Choshen Mishpat, turning a blind eye to gross violations of Halachas – Halachas which unquestionably apply.”

    Sadly that charge could be apply against many of all types of those who claim to follow Torah.

  44. mycroft says:

    “joel rich on September 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm
    Mycroft,
    WB Kohn must be a mind reader :-)
    GT”

    I’m not a mind reader.

    Steve Brizel on September 20, 2010 at 3:46 pm
    Mycroft-How can you seriously claim that a TT is a viable means of transmitting Torah to the next generation?”

    Why do you assume it couldn’t do a better job in those who either can’t master day schools multilanguage curriculum but can master a single language public school. Our day schools do not even seriously attempt to be interested in that segment of our potential population.

    “Yes, we the day schools need to be able to accessible to all,”

    We probably agree that they should be accessible to all-but they aren’t both on those who lack the ability and those whose parents lack the resources.

    ” but parents have to assume their jobs as teachers, advocates and fund raisers to make sure that programs for all kids are within the walls of the day schools.”
    But as we all know day school teachers earn more than the average college graduate-and certainly the top administrators earn more than Cabinet Secretaries, Governors, SC Justices etc.

    “Clamoring for equal access for all is a nice slogan, but hardly a solution to this very real issue”
    The solution is not one size fits all-those who can afford day school and are academically suited for it-day school is the ideal-but we should not have a situation where the only choice to be part of the day school movement or move on from Orthodoxy.

  45. mycroft says:

    “Rav Shach ob”m only became rosh yeshiva in Ponevitch in the fifties.”

    He became RY in the 50s but appears he was there before from Wikpedia

    The appointment of Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein as mashgiach of Yeshivas Ponevezh was due mainly to the recommendation of Shach; Shach had been together with Levenstein in the Kletzk Yehsiva, and years later when Shach was on the Yeshivas Ponevezh faculty he influenced Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, the yeshiva’s Rosh Hayeshiva, in bringing Levenstein to serve as mashgiach.[14]

  46. mg says:

    Mycroft, I’m afraid I don’t understand your point “He became RY in the 50s but appears he was there before from Wikpedia The appointment of Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein as mashgiach of Yeshivas Ponevezh was due mainly to the recommendation of Shach;”

    This even if true took place in 1954; what bearing can it have on Rav shach’s connection with ponevitch in 1949?

  47. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    if we (probably properly) are questioning the credentials of this (supposed) rav keter, how can we not beware of false accusations of abuse, per another post currently ongoing?

  48. Shachar Ha'amim says:

    Rav Shach was at Yeshivat HaDarom – the relocated Kletsk yeshiva (headed by Rav Isser Zalman’s son Rav Tzvi Yehuda Meltzer) in Rechovot before he was in Ponovich in Bnei Brak. R. Yehuda Amital – the son-in-law of Rav Isser Zalman’s son – was also on the faculty at that time. The Yeshiva was moderately zionist and a prototype Hesder yeshiva before the program became official at Kerem B’Yavneh and then Shaalavim

  49. [...] response to David Keter’s letter (link), R. Meir Tzvi Bergman, the son-in-law of R. Elazar Shach, wrote the following: הובא לפני [...]

  50. HAGTBG says:

    Really no one knows who David Keter is? Someone who is a graduate of Columbia could check the Columbia alumni database for a David Keter (graduating approximately 1948 -49). That would make his birthdate sometime in the mid-1920′s and would put him in his early-mid 80′s now. Even if its a pseudonym, how many Columbia graduates who moved directly (or near that) to Israel in 1949 can there be?

  51. [...] [7] See http://torahmusings.com/2010/09/hair-wars-ii. Rabbi Dr. Aharon Rakefet verified to me through a relative of Rav Shach the truth of the basic [...]

  52. [...] Voir également la réaction de deux autres rabbins Modern Orthodox aux articles du Rav Broyde, ICI. [...]

  53. [...] a number of Torah sages on the issue of women covering their hair, that I believed was authentic (link). The evidence documented in the following article convinces me that the letter is not authentic. I [...]

  54. [...] doubts about Keter to publish the letter, the Jewish Channel says, Rabbi Broyde helped get the letter published on the Hirhurim Orthodox blog in fall 2010, then wrote a follow-up article in 2011 in which he [...]

 
 

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