Partnership Minyanim II

 

Guest post by R. Dr. Barry Freundel

Rabbi Barry Freundel is the rabbi of Kesher Israel congregation in Washington, DC, Associate Professor of Rabbinics and Liturgy at Towson University, Vice President of the Vaad of Washington and head of the conversion committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His books include Why We Pray What We Pray: The Remarkable History of a Jewish Prayer and Contemporary Orthodox Judaism’s Response To Modernity.

I. Supporting Literature

I appreciate Rabbi Zev Farber’s respectful response to my paper on Partnership Minyanim and particularly his recognition that a blog post is not really the best venue for a full treatment of what I presented. Nonetheless, what he posted is really the first serious attempt to offer a halakhic defense for Partnership Minyanim in writing that I know of.

Rabbi Farber takes me to task for making this claim in my presentation, but in fact the literature I have read, including the items he cites, do not address Partnership Minyanim in a thorough, serious scholarly or halakhic way. They either, by the author’s own words, represent a preliminary reaction or deal with women’s emotions (which certainly are important- see below), but are not dispositive in a halakhic or academic sense, or with Kol Isha which is not the central issue here (I do not mention it in my article at all), or present a practical guide to Partnership Minyanim with little or no halakhic analysis, or, in the large majority of cases, with women receiving aliyot.

Many proponents of Partnership Minyanim cite this last group of writings, as does R. Farber, but as I say in the article this is insufficient. Even if one were to accept their approach (which I do not), Torah reading is not the same as leading services. As I point out in my article, Meiri, who allows pre-Bar Mitzvah age boys (he is silent on women), to receive aliyot, EXPLICITLY says that this does not apply to leading prayers. Therefore, citing him, as those who argue for women’s aliyot do, and then extending his approach to women (in itself a stretch), while then not respecting his statement that his rationale concerning aliyot does not apply to prayer seems a bit disingenuous. So too, writ large, citing articles on women’s aliyot as a defense for Partnership Minyanim fails to provide a bridge that crosses the gap between Torah reading and leading prayer. Therefore, I stand by the claim that there has been no serious thorough written attempt to defend Partnership Minyanim within halakha.

II. Slighting Women

R Farber takes up my discussion of women feeling demeaned by traditional services but does not quote that point as I make it, nor the entire discussion that I bring. Instead he takes several sentences from my text and prefaces this with the claim that “barring them [women] completely is hurtful” (emphasis mine, since making this a fact begs the question I am asking and prejudices the answer). He indicates that he has no statistics for me but he has anecdotes and published statements. I, of course, don’t deny that some are pained; I assume it. But to claim that halakha and halakhic practice should change under the rubric of Kevod Habriyot for this “pain” requires at the very least that we first know with some degree of accuracy what percentage of Orthodox women (and men, if you want) feel that way.

As I write in the article itself: “Certainly there are some who do feel this way and that should be taken seriously—but there are also many who do not feel this way at all”. If you are going to seek change based on distress you, at the very least, need to measure the parameters of that distress or else the claim loses legitimacy. I do not know the answer to the question of how widespread this pain is, but taking it a step further what does it mean if it is only a minority of Orthodox women (and men) who feel this way? What happens if it is only a small minority? Is it legitimate to expect to perform significant surgical alteration on halakha and create the potential schism that has appeared concerning Partnership Minyanim in that case? I would think that a study of this question (along with an investigation of the several other issues that I raised in this section of the article) would be of crucial interest to those objectively pursuing the idea of Partnership Minyanim.

III. Chazzan

This brings us to what R Farber calls the main halakhic point in the essay. I would reject that characterization as there are several other and very different points that I make. In fact I could accept R. Farber’s entire analysis whole cloth (which I don’t as described below) and it would make only a small dent in my arguments and halakhic concerns. Nonetheless I will respond to what he chooses to write here.

I will also mention briefly that R. Farber conflates different arguments that I make into a single presentation and misses several points either entirely or presents them as part of a larger rubric rather than as stand-alone issues that each must be dealt with individually. I would urge those interested to read my entire article, where I believe this is quite clear.

R. Farber posits that there are two different functions for the Shaliach Tsibbur: 1) The classic function to say certain prayers out loud either on behalf of the congregation as a whole, e.g. Kaddish and Barkhu, or on behalf of individuals who do not know how to recite the prayer on his or her own,… 2) to set the pace and melodies of the prayers. He then assumes different rules for the individuals who perform these two different functions.

But R. Farber presents no sources for this dichotomy in halakha or for women being allowed to fill role #2. He presents two rationales in Rishonim for the repetition of the amidah that might fit definition #1, but no sources that discuss or present model #2. Most importantly, he presents no sources that suggest different rules for who may perform this second function, which again he creates whole cloth without a textual basis. It may well be that his role #2 is an assumed part of what a chazzan does in any role he may have and not something with a separate halakhic reality. Also, wouldn’t a metronome and a list of tunes be able to serve as achazzan of type #2 according to R. Farber, even though the role of chazzan seems to require a human being? And would someone filling this role when he and a friend are praying alone be a chazzan? If so what has happened to the portrayal of the chazzan as a Shaliach Tsibbur? There seems to be no element of community in any of this, though the chazzan is portrayed in the literature as functioning within a tsibbur.

R. Farber does present a partial discussion of the Tosefta passage cited in my article that clearly excludes women from the Shaliach Tsibbur role, and claims, again without source or substantiation, that this speaks only to Shaliach Tsibbur type #1. However the Tosefta passage goes further than he describes. It doesn’t just speak of men as chazzanim. It compares and contrasts men’s roles in several areas with women’s roles. If women had the ability to function as chazzanim in any way at all, here is the place that some indication would need to appear since the source does speak of men filling that role. No such indication appears either here or anywhere else in rabbinic literature. And that presents a very significant problem for his position despite his attempted answer in his post.

IV. Communal Prayer

Further, as I show in the article from a number of sources, the presence of a Shaliach Tsibbur does have a second function (there is a chazzan #2 if you will) that applies for any prayer regardless of its era of origin or when or where it is recited, and which faces none of the problems I have raised here with R. Farber’s formulation. This role is that the presence of a chazzan transforms what would otherwise be individual prayer on the part of ten or more individuals into tefillah betsibbur which, as is well known is a spiritually higher and more “readily acceptable to God” way of praying at any point in the service. (This is true even if we are discussing something which constitutes Tefillat Rabim. As discussed in the article, that too is a form of Tefillah Betsibbur). Think of the difference between reciting Tehillim privately as opposed to having a communal recitation in times of trouble. The experience is different and the chazzan is necessary to create the communal prayer experience and not just to set the pace or choose the tunes. Since women are not chayyavot in communal prayer, they cannot fill this role in any service where men and women are both present. This is all in the article and R. Farber does not comment on it.

To put this affirmatively: Pre-partnership Minyan and the need to find a justification for those services, when someone put on a tallit (which, as my article shows, can be done after sunset only because we are talking about Tefillah Betsibbur), and came forward to lead Kabbalat Shabbat, we all understood that he was the chazzan leading Kabbalat Shabbat in communal prayer. It is only with the coming of Partnership Minyamin that R. Farber’s model #2 with its claim that Halakha (without ever mentioning it) knows of a chazzan whose job is only to set the pace and choose the tunes and (again without mention in halakhic sources), that chazzan can be a woman, appears. That type of post-facto justification that alters the accepted understanding is very questionable.

V. Talmudic Prayer

I have already satisfied the principle of Ockham’s razor with this presentation, but R. Farber makes the issue even more complicated. He again commits the genitive fallacy by citing Talmudic era prayer as a source for his current approach. Everyone should understand that there are far too many centuries, poskim and community customs (none of which, incidentally, allowed women to serve as shaliach tsibbur in any mixed gender setting) to make the jump from the Talmudic period to today. (Parenthetically, the reality of Talmudic era prayer was far more complex and by all available evidence was far more varied and diverse than his statements of universal liturgical practice in that era would suggest. I wrote my PhD dissertation on the Shemoneh Esrei in the Talmudic period and his statements about prayer in that time frame ignores the fact that, for example, the recitation of the weekday Shemoneh Esrei was not considered a mandatory individual daily requirement in Babylonia until almost the end of the Amoraic period at least. That fact alone challenges much of the history and halakhic conclusions from it that he reports. The chazzan could not have been fulfilling the individual’s requirement under those circumstances because there was no such requirement. However he could well have been convening those in attendance for communal prayer in which venue Shemoneh Esrei appears to have been a daily requirement in that time period. According to R Farber only his type #2 chazzan would have been known in Babylonia in this era. His type #1 would not have existed. If so why is there no mention of chazzan #2 in a Babylonian source or anywhere else in rabbinic literature?)

The problem becomes only more serious when R. Farber takes up Magen Avot. He ignores the large number of sources I cite to show that it was the very presence of a chazzan which made these paragraphs both obligatory and communal and refers to it as “a kind of mini-repetition of the Amidah.” While no one can deny the similarities to the Friday night Amidah only a small minority of scholars saw it as a mini-Amidah. The classic mini-Amidah, Havineinu, requires recitation of the first and last three blessings before and after the central paragraph to achieve that designation. In Magen Avot there are a few words from the first three blessings and no reference to the last three at all. In other words, to make his case, R. Farber needs the support of a small minority while he is challenged by the majority. As for me, neither the majority nor minority opinion here has a negative impact on what I am claiming. I am at home with either or both of them.

Similarly he cites my discussion of the post-Talmudic Selichot and its sacred status–which is undeniable. He then claims that in some traditions the chazzan here is only type #2 and therefore a woman could lead. First, there is no indication in previous halakhic history that this is true. No commentator or posek says such a thing and no one suggests that women can lead. Second, Selichot in every tradition ends with Kaddish Titkabel, which even proponents of Partnership Minyanim (including R. Farber in his discussion of chazzan type #1) agree cannot be recited by a female chazzan. Also in every Selichot custom there are sections that require a minyan, which again even for Partnership Minyan advocates can’t be led by a woman. If the purpose of the chazzan for Selichot is chazzan type #2 in some communities, these things shouldn’t exist in their customs–but they do. On the other hand, if the presence of the chazzan is to create the Tsibbur at prayer, none of these things are an issue in any Selichot rite regardless of how it is recited by the chazzan. In fact the chazzan’s presence is necessary for these elements to be recited.

VI. Feelings

R. Farber’s last point about responding to people’s feelings and about other debates being tolerable within Orthodoxy brings us to a critical point. The classic Talmudic passage about bringing Nachat Ruach to women tells us that responding to legitimate emotions is important. But in that particular case (the laying of hands on an animal before it is sacrificed), a limit was placed on how women did it so that they would not violate halakha, even as a mechanism was found to allow the laying of hands in some form. The Rabbis understood that responding to the feelings was important but that responding to a need or concern by stepping outside of the structure of halakha does more harm than good in many ways.

R. Farber’s list of debates that Orthodoxy has absorbed only includes people following legitimate Orthodox halakhic epistemology to reach their different conclusions. That sadly is not the case here. From written justifications that are nowhere near complete scholarly studies, to positing a category of chazzan not discussed in classic literature, to not defining the parameters of such a chazzan if it exists through halakhic texts, to relegating the Tosefta passage on the respective roles of men versus women to only one type of chazzan when nothing in that passage or anywhere else suggests this to be true, to ignoring what the literature does say is the second function of the chazzan, to accepting and even expanding a comment by the Meiri while ignoring the second half of that same comment, to relying on minority opinions, to mis-characterizing the role of the chazzan at Selichot with its sections that no one thinks can be led by a woman, to inaccurate historical claims–this is sadly not Orthodox halakhic epistemology. What it is, is an attempt to satisfy a real concern which is admirable. But it attempts to do so in a way that violates halakha, which is helping to create a schism and leading to other unfortunate consequences (cf. my discussion of Elliot Dorff’s responsum on homosexuality that uses Prof. Danny Sperber’s rationale for women receiving aliyot as part of its defense discussed in my article.) I am glad to work on solutions, but part of doing so requires analyzing and having the courage to admit that a proposed solution is halakhically unsustainable–even if for some that is politically incorrect. We need to know what doesn’t work along with what works.

I will end on a personal note: By coincidence unknown to me the same week Hirhurim posted my article, JOFA posted an interview with the President of my synagogue who is doing a great job in the position and who happens to be a woman. As part of that post one can find my synagogue by-laws that include a teshuva by me providing a halakhic rationale as to why a woman may serve as President of Kesher Israel Congregation (my shul). I am proud of that letter and of the approach we took that said: thorough objective halakhic analyses first; take action second. In that way I believe my community took an important step to enfranchise women within a legitimate halakhic framework. We would all be better off if those advocating Partnership Minyanim and other “advances” for women would do the same thing while allowing that the answer in any individual case might be “no”. There are things that halakha will allow women to do and we should explore that question objectively and from within an accepted and acceptable methodology of halakha. Partnership Minyanim do not meet that test and it is past time that this needs to be recognized.

 

Share this Post

 

Related Posts

About the author

Rabbi Barry Freundel is the rabbi of Kesher Israel congregation in Washington, DC, Associate Professor of Rabbinics and Liturgy at Towson University, Vice President of the Vaad of Washington and head of the conversion committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His books include Why We Pray What We Pray: The Remarkable History of a Jewish Prayer and Contemporary Orthodox Judaism’s Response To Modernity.

 
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.
 

271 Responses

  1. Melech says:

    Too bad none of the extraordinary efforts to denigrate the sincere avodah of supporters of partnership minyanim are being expended to actually find solutions.

  2. Hirhurim says:

    As was discussed in the comments at the prior post, R. Freundel has actively supported various “solutions” (which I oppose). He just opposes proposals he believes are contrary to halakhah. I have no interest in “solutions”. He has interest in kosher “solutions”.

  3. Curious says:

    Regarding section IV – Does R. Freundel take issue with the prevalent custom in many communities for a minor to lead Kabbalos Shabbos? This would also seem problematic from his reasoning and a much more far reaching practice than women leading Kabbalos Shabbos at this point in time.

  4. Hirhurim says:

    He explains in his prior essay that he is uncomfortable with it but attempts to justify it

  5. IH says:

    (cf. my discussion of Elliot Dorff’s responsum on homosexuality that uses Prof. Danny Sperber’s rationale for women receiving aliyot as part of its defense discussed in my article.)

    Nice, Barry! If anyone is actually interested in R. Sperber’s defense of Partnership Minyanim b’kitzur, see this 10 min excerpt of a recent lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_TWdB2oTiM

  6. IH says:

    Given all the discussion this past week, I was feeling particularly blessed davening in Darkhei Noam this Shabbat Shira. And, Motzei Shabbat, I read this beautiful piece on Tablet about one of the excellent woman leyners we’ve had, who made aliyah a few months ago. Our loss is Ra’anana’s gain…

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/121868/a-babys-journey-back-to-health?print=1

    I feel sorry for those of you who will never have the pleasure of seeing a proud father regularly standing (in the men’s section) with his young children held up so they can see wife and mother leyning.

    P.S. The previous Shabbat, Bo, we celebrated another (female) congregant making aliyah — to Beersheva, this time. ושבו לגבולם.

    ——

    The smell of desperation is getting stale. If there is something new worth discussing on this topic, do let us know.

  7. Hirhurim says:

    I’ve heard plenty of women lein in my time. But back then we called it Conservative. Truth in advertising.

  8. IH says:

    By the by, the woman leyner in tha article and her husband were also members of the long-time Conservative shul, The Jewish Center.

  9. Hirhurim says:

    Yes, many Orthodox shuls are open to the less traditional.

  10. IH says:

    You are in deep denial. Many of DN’s older members are simultaneously members at Orthodox shuls where they daven the rest of the week (and the occasional Shabbat and Yom Tov). I know of at least one former President of the JC who davens at DN just about every Shabbat and the officers of several others.

    And as mentioned in last week’s post, since it was on the DN web site that they sponsored kiddush, I can say that the endowers of Midreshet Lindenbaum daven at DN regularly and many of their grandchildren became bnei mitzva there.

    Net net: the “Conservative” voodoo has lost its potency. But, if you and your chevra want to persist in demonstrated your irrelevancy, I won’t object. Carry on.

    But, whatever. This really has become a bore.

  11. Reb Yid says:

    Curious: R. Freundel points out that a minor boy will at least one day become part of the minyan, and is therefore perhaps suitable to lead in a case of a minhag like kabalat shabbat. To wit, many poskim allow counting a minor boy as the tenth in a time of need, but no one allows counting a woman. So existing halacha already makes this distinction.

  12. Reb Yid says:

    In other words, for a minor boy, having him lead pesukei dezimra and kabalat shabbat at least fulfills the commandment of chinuch: to educate him to be able to fulfill his future role, and he therefore has some level of obligation toward the prayer service – not a direct obligation, but an obligation of chinuch.

  13. Hirhurim says:

    IH: Life is a journey and the LWMO are sliding down the slope. Exactly where the border lies is a matter of debate. I know where I put it. But it doesn’t really matter because they are sliding so fast that they will quickly end up in universal no man’s land (if they haven’t already).

  14. ZPinchas says:

    Setting aside musings on the precise sociological and ideological border separating “Conservative” and “Orthodox,” I think it might be fair to say that a significant portion of the “Partnership minyan” constituency seem to have embraced the Positive-Historicism which initial laid the groundwork for the Conservative moment’s genesis.

  15. ZPinchas says:

    (grammatical note: in the above comment “seem” should be “seems,” “which” should be “that,” and “initial” should be “initially”)

  16. huh says:

    “Further, as I show in the article from a number of sources, the presence of a Shaliach Tsibbur does have a second function (there is a chazzan #2 if you will) that applies for any prayer regardless of its era of origin or when or where it is recited, and which faces none of the problems I have raised here with R. Farber’s formulation. This role is that the presence of a chazzan transforms what would otherwise be individual prayer on the part of ten or more individuals into tefillah betsibbur which, as is well known is a spiritually higher and more “readily acceptable to God” way of praying at any point in the service. (This is true even if we are discussing something which constitutes Tefillat Rabim. As discussed in the article, that too is a form of Tefillah Betsibbur). Think of the difference between reciting Tehillim privately as opposed to having a communal recitation in times of trouble. The experience is different and the chazzan is necessary to create the communal prayer experience and not just to set the pace or choose the tunes. Since women are not chayyavot in communal prayer, they cannot fill this role in any service where men and women are both present. This is all in the article and R. Farber does not comment on it.”

    why do you suppose that women are not chayyavot in communal prayer beshaat tzara? that would seem to be doreisa in which they are obligated same as men

  17. huh says:

    “Think of the difference between reciting Tehillim privately as opposed to having a communal recitation in times of trouble. The experience is different and the chazzan is necessary to create the communal prayer experience and not just to set the pace or choose the tunes. The experience is different and the chazzan is necessary to create the communal prayer experience and not just to set the pace or choose the tunes.”

    The chazzan is utterly unnecessary and he transforms nothing. A group of people saying tehillim as a group have the exact same status in halacha whether they are led by a “chazzan” or not. If you think otehrwise, do give us a halachic source that says otherwise.

  18. Shlomo says:

    If you think otehrwise, do give us a halachic source that says otherwise.

    He did. The tallit one. He may have given others too, I don’t remember.

  19. shachar haamim says:

    Yoav Sorek, foremrly editor of Makor Rishon’s “shabbat” weekly culture and judaism supplement, and now a tikva fellow (http://tikvahfellowship.org/fellows/yoav-sorek/ ) – and one who certianly can’t be accused of not advocating what are to many people radical re-interpretations of normative jewish and halachic practice, wrote this past weekend (in response to what would seem to be a pro Partnership Minyan type of advocay) some interesting sociological points, in connection with stability of the family and other social issues, which he raised in defense of the traditional synagogue and which bear consideration.
    As Gil points out – they have already gone down the slope – and as Rabbi Freundel alluded to – the issue of homsexual “rights” within the beit knesset has already started “borrowing” from the women’s aliyot and women’s minyan litetature, so the it is actually steamrolling down the slope
    The link is here
    http://musaf-shabbat.com/2013/01/25/%d7%9e%d7%a2%d7%91%d7%a8-%d7%9c%d7%9e%d7%97%d7%99%d7%a6%d7%94-%d7%94%d7%a4%d7%a0%d7%99%d7%9e%d7%99%d7%aa-%d7%aa%d7%92%d7%95%d7%91%d7%95%d7%aa/

    While his points remove the discussion from a pure “halachic” one, it would be great to hear what people think about this.

  20. mycroft says:

    “I know of at least one former President of the JC who davens at DN just about every Shabbat and the officers of several others.

    I believe at one time an ex President of the JC was lay head of the Heschel School-a school that has had a female Rabbi as one of its heads- So what does that mean that theJC has been open to non traditional members/leaders-so what

  21. mycroft says:

    ” Hirhurim on January 27, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Yes, many Orthodox shuls are open to the less traditional.”
    Agreed!!!! They don’t usually have religious tests for paying membership dues etc. They are not the Rabbonim.

  22. mycroft says:

    “I know of at least one former President of the JC who davens at DN just about every Shabbat”

    I daven at a schul which is at least moderately chareidi does that make me moderately chareidi. Of course not. I’m not a former Prez-a former Gabbai.

  23. Mike S. says:

    I think, R. Student, you are mistaken if you think the popularity of Partnership Minyanim does not represent a problem requiring some solution–whether in changed practice or in changed chinuch so that people don’t find the contrast between shul and everywhere else so alienating. And no Jewish leader should be willing to just write off a large segment of Jews; in this case you are writing off a large population of Orthodox Jews trying to function within the halacha–if they really, as you seem to think, thought that gender egalitarianism was more important than halacha, they would just go to a Conservative shul or a “traditional egal” minyan, both of which are in plentiful supply. I don’t have a problem with your opposition to partnership minyanim, but I have a real problem with your attitude toward the people who attend such things, for which I can find no justification whatsoever.

  24. huh says:

    “He did. The tallit one. He may have given others too, I don’t remember.”

    I don’t see any “tallit one” here or in the original, and there’s no tallit argument to be made as no tallit is needed when a group gets together to recite tehillim – the quote I responded to is not about shul or kabbalat shabbat. It’s an analogy to a group of people saying tehillim together for which one needn’t have a cantor and if present, the cantor has no special halachic status, contrary to what is written in the essay. If a group of people decide to recite tehillim together, let’s say for a choleh, and they appoint one person to mark the place, the appointed leader marking the place does not “create a communal experience” that has halachic status.
    If the above is wrong, let’s see a source that explicitly says what R Freundel says.

  25. joel rich says:

    I think, R. Student, you are mistaken if you think the popularity of Partnership Minyanim does not represent a problem requiring some solution
    ========================================
    To be fair, one might also argue that the same statement could have been made about the original conservative movement. As we’ve discussed (many times), history will tell.
    KT

  26. Melech says:

    With regard to the comment above,
    ” To wit, many poskim allow counting a minor boy as the tenth in a time of need, but no one allows counting a woman. ”

    Please note that while it’s true contemporary poskim don’t rule that way, it’s minhag and not halachah. The Beit Yoseph cites the Mordechai who in turn cites Rabbeinu Simchah (the contemporary of Rashi) that allows for a woman to be counted as a tenth in the same discussion as counting a katan:

    בית יוסף אורח חיים סימן נה

    וכתוב במרדכי (ברכות סו”ס קעג) בשם רבינו שמחה דעבד ואשה מצטרפין לתפלה ולברכת המזון בעשרה ופשוט הוא שזהו לפירוש ר”ת דפסק כרבי יהושע בן לוי בעבד אחד מצטרף וסובר רבינו שמחה דהוא הדין לאשה דבכל דוכתא אשה שוה לעבד וכיון דר”ת בעצמו לא רצה לעשות מעשה מי יקל בדבר וכן נהגו העולם שלא לצרף אשה כלל:

  27. Hoffa Araujo says:

    “I think it might be fair to say that a significant portion of the “Partnership minyan” constituency seem to have embraced the Positive-Historicism which initial laid the groundwork for the Conservative moment’s genesis.”

    Bingo!!! That is why the refrain I consistenly see posted here “we shouldnt’ care what the heterodox do” rings hollow. If your “halachic” analysis is leading to the same or similar results as the Conservative movement (but the journey is differnt) how you can then say “who cares about the Conservative movement!”? Then if Open Orthodoxy is right, then Conservative judaism is correct. Also, as pointed out above, OO is not using traditional halachic methodology to arrive at its decisions. It is accepting more historical-based analysis, so that even the basis of its decision-making is moving away from Orthodoxy, MO and Chareidi, in that regard.

  28. emma says:

    “To put this affirmatively: Pre-partnership Minyan and the need to find a justification for those services, when someone put on a tallit (which, as my article shows, can be done after sunset only because we are talking about Tefillah Betsibbur), and came forward to lead Kabbalat Shabbat, we all understood that he was the chazzan leading Kabbalat Shabbat in communal prayer. It is only with the coming of Partnership Minyamin that R. Farber’s model #2 with its claim that Halakha (without ever mentioning it) knows of a chazzan whose job is only to set the pace and choose the tunes and (again without mention in halakhic sources), that chazzan can be a woman, appears. That type of post-facto justification that alters the accepted understanding is very questionable.”

    I used to daven at a small minyan that often did not get 10 men befor shkiah on friday afternoon. As a result we often davened minchah biyechidus, but if my memory serves someone would still “lead” kabbalat shabbat – ie, go to the front and keep everyone together, choose tunes, etc. (Usually a minyan would arrive by maariv.) What would Rabbi Freundel say about this practice? About the status of the “leader”?

    I think we understood such a leader to be something in between an individual and “chazzan”-with-all-the-trappings.

  29. ab says:

    “On the other hand, if the presence of the chazzan is to create the Tsibbur at prayer, none of these things are an issue in any Selichot rite regardless of how it is recited by the chazzan. In fact the chazzan’s presence is necessary for these elements to be recited.”

    a chazzan cannot create a tzibur. He’s part of a tzibur. Why is the chazzan’s presence necessaary for any of these elements? One needs a minyan, not a chazzan.

  30. ruvie says:

    “OO is not using traditional halachic methodology to arrive at its decisions. It is accepting more historical-based analysis, so that even the basis of its decision-making is moving away from Orthodoxy, MO and Chareidi, in that regard.”

    “a significant portion of the “Partnership minyan” constituency seem to have embraced the Positive-Historicism which initial laid the groundwork for the Conservative moment’s genesis.”

    can anyone cite where they see this in both cases? that its any different than what goes on in the mo world in terms of halachik process or our past history? can one make a case for either of these statements being true on a consistent basis?

  31. Steve Brizel says:

    I fully agree with the following statement of R Gil from late last night:

    “IH: Life is a journey and the LWMO are sliding down the slope. Exactly where the border lies is a matter of debate. I know where I put it. But it doesn’t really matter because they are sliding so fast that they will quickly end up in universal no man’s land (if they haven’t already).”

    Like it or not, the LW MO and Charedi worlds suffer from the same intellectual malady-obsessing about one issue so much that it dictates the rest of their views on all aspects of Halacha and Hashkafa. In the case of the LW MO, it is anything and everything remotely related to feminism andits impact on Halacha. The Charedi world is still unable to relate to a sovereign state of Israel as a theological reality, and is still unable to realize that in the “Torah and science” issue, that no answers are infinitely better than poor answers.

    The Rambam at the beginning of Shemoneh Perakim remarks that one treats Cholei HaNefesh not by prescribing palliative care, but by treating the cause of the affliction. In the case of LW MO, the palliative measures of WTGs, partnership minyanim and apologetics about Chazal are cover for the real agenda-the abolition of Minhagei Yisrael in the shul, and the denial of a simple fact that the public arena was reserved for men because of the spiritual deficencies of men as described in numerous portions of the Torah. Like it or not, a Tzibur is defined as 10 adult males, and 9 men and 100 women in the same room is a halachic nonsequitur, and should be treated as such with no further discussion and viewed as beyond the boundaries of MO. The advocates, supporters of WTGs and the like , and their apologists ,will never be convinced to the contrary by anyone opposed to their suggestions and thinking simply because considerations of feminism always dictate what they view as an acceptable halachic and hashkafic POV.

    Similarly, the focus on attacking anything relating remotely science and scientism in the Charedi world ignores a very simple fact that can be discerned from a careful study of Chumash on an adult level with the clasical Mfarshim-HaShem is the greatest Scientist-and the Torah is HaShem’s description of HaShem’s experiment to find people, then a famuily and a nation who are willing to comply with His Will. There is no need to engage in attacks on science, or concoct fancy sounding theories for ostensibly good purposes, when it is so manifestly obvious that science, as part of HaShem’s revealing of His Knowledge in each generation, explains what happens in the physical world, and HaShem’s Torah explains why things happen and our obligations thereto from the universal, particular, covenental and individual perspectives.

  32. Melech says:

    “their apologists ,will never be convinced to the contrary by anyone opposed to their suggestions and thinking simply because considerations of feminism always dictate what they view as an acceptable halachic and hashkafic POV. ”

    One could easily argue the opposite as well, the negative reaction to anything remotely considered as pro-feminism, driving what one views as an acceptable halachic and hashkafic POV.

  33. emma says:

    “simple fact that the public arena was reserved for men because of the spiritual deficencies of men as described in numerous portions of the Torah.”

    I know I should let it go, but the fact that you not only believe this, but believe it to be a “simple fact” is incredible.

  34. Elana Sztokman says:

    With all due respect, the entire attempt to “quantify” women’s pain is really difficult to listen to. It’s absurd to the point of laughable. I mean, really? You want us to create some kind of scale, like a barometer of electric shocks, to try and figure out how painful is really painful? Is that the job of the halakhic adjudicator? To measure just how much suffering a human being can take? This is eerily echoing of Stanley Milgram….

    The life of Torah should be a life of vision, one in which we are working to build a society around the basic precepts of ve’ahavta l’reacha kamocha, where we start with the premise that all human beings are created in the divine image and deserving of the same opportunities to build connection to Go…. that when we learn that some of our brethren are suffering, that we act to alleviate that suffering. That should be the vision upon which we build our Torah communities.

    B’vracha,
    Elana

  35. Steve Brizel says:

    Emma-Open a Chumash and see which Mitzvos were given to which gender solely obligations to constantly remember the Exodus. I rest my case on that fact.

    Melech-no combination of rejected and solitary opionions can or should be used to create a Chiyuv or Kiyum in any Mitzvah ab initio.

  36. Steve Brizel says:

    Ms. Sztokman, whose feminist views are no stranger to any reader of this blog, provides more evidence for my thesis. Once again-nine men and 100 or 1,000 women in the same room are a halachic nonsequitur.

  37. Hoffa Araujo says:

    One could easily argue the opposite as well, the negative reaction to anything remotely considered as pro-feminism, driving what one views as an acceptable halachic and hashkafic POV.

    But there is big distinction: on one hand, the influence of an outside philosophy is actively being accepted and used to form opinions and initiate changes (not getting into subtle influence and the like) whereas the reactionary push against feminism is rooted in not wanting feminism, which has had a transformative effect to our society that in some ways is completely at odds with Judaism, it not being allowed to have such an influence. I don’t know how you can conflate the two.

    Also – I asked you in another thread: do you include an orange on your seder plate?

  38. ab says:

    This role is that the presence of a chazzan transforms what would otherwise be individual prayer on the part of ten or more individuals into tefillah betsibbur which, as is well known is a spiritually higher and more “readily acceptable to God” way of praying at any point in the service”

    Where do you get some a bizarre idea? I’d love to see a source that says anything of the sort. A chazzan does not transform anything. Ten individuals gather to daven are already tzibur. They are therefore obligated to appoint one of themselves to say chazrat hashas.

  39. emma says:

    “Open a Chumash and see which Mitzvos were given to which gender solely obligations to constantly remember the Exodus. I rest my case on that fact.”

    = “Open the chumash – I rest my case.”

    I don’t think that is an “orthodox” methodology :)

    Seriously, can you cite rabbinic sources for the proposition that “the public arena was reserved for men because of the spiritual deficencies of men.” ?

  40. Steve Brizel says:

    Someone wrote:

    “R. Freundel points out that a minor boy will at least one day become part of the minyan, and is therefore perhaps suitable to lead in a case of a minhag like kabalat shabbat”

    R Freundel hardly enthusiastically endorsed the same.

  41. joel rich says:

    “OO is not using traditional halachic methodology to arrive at its decisions. It is accepting more historical-based analysis, so that even the basis of its decision-making is moving away from Orthodoxy, MO and Chareidi, in that regard.”

    “a significant portion of the “Partnership minyan” constituency seem to have embraced the Positive-Historicism which initial laid the groundwork for the Conservative moment’s genesis.”

    can anyone cite where they see this in both cases? that its any different than what goes on in the mo world in terms of halachik process or our past history? can one make a case for either of these statements being true on a consistent basis?
    ============================================
    Apologies for being somewhat repetetive – to me the big difference is that there is much more of a self awareness by the public as to what is going on behind the curtain and what they would like to go on behind the curtain. Ironically imho the more awareness, the less possible flexibility behind the curtain. (lhavdil -when one side in American politics makes it clear the other side caved, the less likely future agreements will be reached imho)
    KT

    KT

  42. Steve Brizel says:

    Emma wrote predictably in response:

    “Open a Chumash and see which Mitzvos were given to which gender solely obligations to constantly remember the Exodus. I rest my case on that fact.”

    = “Open the chumash – I rest my case.”

    I don’t think that is an “orthodox” methodology”

    Suit yourself-Ain HamAretz Chosid.

  43. on.a.personal.note says:

    “I will end on a personal note: By coincidence unknown to me the same week Hirhurim posted my article, JOFA posted an interview with the President of my synagogue who is doing a great job in the position and who happens to be a woman. As part of that post one can find my synagogue by-laws that include a teshuva by me providing a halakhic rationale as to why a woman may serve as President of Kesher Israel Congregation (my shul). I am proud of that letter and of the approach we took that said: thorough objective halakhic analyses first; take action second. In that way I believe my community took an important step to enfranchise women within a legitimate halakhic framework.”

    Women should run to the nearest shtiebl rather than daven in a place where the rabbi talks about how he, and his community under his leadership, enfranchised them. I thought you gave your halachic opinion in the article you refer to. If you think it’s mutar for women to be president, you didn’t enfranchise anyone. They were enfranchised, and you merely got around to acting on this truth.
    For the record, I’m not in favor of women as shul presidents. My objection here is to the tone of your remarks.

    “We would all be better off if those advocating Partnership Minyanim and other “advances” for women would do the same thing while allowing that the answer in any individual case might be “no”. There are things that halakha will allow women to do and we should explore that question objectively and from within an accepted and acceptable methodology of halakha. Partnership Minyanim do not meet that test and it is past time that this needs to be recognized.”

    this article contains too many ahalachic statements invented out of wholecloth for this lecture to succeed in its objective. physician cure thyself.

  44. Steve Brizel says:

    Emma wrote:

    “Seriously, can you cite rabbinic sources for the proposition that “the public arena was reserved for men because of the spiritual deficencies of men”

    Look at the Chumash, its standard classical commentaries, any sugya in Shas that defines the obligations of men and women with respect to those mitzos,with the well known exceptions of Kiddush on Shabbos and Acilas Matzah on Pesdach, and any of the standard Monei HaMitzvos. The notion that any such mitzvah was given both to men and women, except where otherwise noted by Chazal and Rishonim, cannot be seriously entertained .

  45. emma says:

    I am asking for a source that the _reason_ for the difference is “the spiritual deficiencies of men.”

  46. ruvie says:

    reb joel – do you agree with those statements and if so can you cite some references that make it true?
    to your point: didn’t most (if not all) teshuvot state the halachik reasoning behind their decision? wasn’t the curtain more or less open when changes occurred?

  47. on.a.personal.note says:

    “Once again-nine men and 100 or 1,000 women in the same room are a halachic nonsequitur.”

    nine men and 100 women walked into a bar…and the bartender mentioned mitzvot for which rishonim of halachic consequence count women to a minyan and gave out free drinks.

  48. Melech says:

    Emma: Agreed, that was a curious assertion of fact, that “the public arena was reserved for men because of the spiritual deficencies of men as described in numerous portions of the Torah”,

  49. Tal Benschar says:

    Emma: I hate to get in the middle of a conversation (OTOH, what’s a blog for anyway), but regardless of why the Torah did something (which is in the realm of taamei ha mitzvos), it is pretty clear that the Torah reserves many areas of public conduct to men. To cite one example, the halacha of a minyan (bepharhesya), which is a din deoraysa, requires ten adult Jewish men. (I had an extensive discussion with this with R. Frimer in a prior post). Chazal, of course, followed suit in many of their halakhos.

    What Steve says is accurate: 1000 women do not a minyan make, 10 men do. That is a din deoraysa.

    (Part of the problem here, IMO, and this is not directed at Emma, is that some people view halakha as nothing more than technical rules to be subverted at will, whereas others view it as examples of a broader Torah viewpoint. If the Torah disqualified women from public roles in numerous cases, that is an indication that there is something preferable about that situation. At least that is the traditional view.)

  50. joel rich says:

    r’ emma,
    I’m not a scholar so I have to say the terminology is not meaningful to me (a nice way of saying I think it’s in the eye of the beholder). Yes, they dide give halachic reasoning but imho in many cases after the fact and when it could appear an intrinsic process rather than the result of “outside” forces.
    KT

  51. emma says:

    “regardless of why the Torah did something (which is in the realm of taamei ha mitzvos), it is pretty clear that the Torah reserves many areas of public conduct to men. . . . Chazal, of course, followed suit in many of their halakhos.

    What Steve says is accurate: 1000 women do not a minyan make, 10 men do. That is a din deoraysa. ”

    I am not challenging any of that. I am challenging the unsupported assertion that these differentiations are clearly a testimony to men’s spiritual deficiencies.

  52. emma says:

    (R. Joel, I think that might have been a response to Ruvie, not me?)

  53. joel rich says:

    is that some people view halakha as nothing more than technical rules to be subverted at will, whereas others view it as examples of a broader Torah viewpoint.
    ============================
    R’Tal,
    To be fair imho , there is disagreement as to the broader torah viewpoint on certain issues which leads each side to see the other as using technical rules to “subvert” the broader torah viewpoint.
    KT

  54. joel rich says:

    r’ emma,
    Correct. who says men are better multitaskers :-)
    KT

  55. IH says:

    For those stuck in the Conservative/Orthodox discussion, see: http://www.jidaily.com/f6592 — “We Have Found the Enemy, and the Enemy is Us: Rethinking Rav Soloveitchik’s Views on Orthodox – Non-Orthodox Relations” from The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. A nice exposition of the history and its ramifications today.

    —–

    Mycroft – She is the current President of the JC, lauded by the OU at the Koren Mesorat Harav Siddur book event that Gil attended. If you check, you will see that she also has a YU connection.

    —–

    Life is a journey and the LWMO are sliding down the slope. Exactly where the border lies is a matter of debate. I know where I put it. But it doesn’t really matter because they are sliding so fast that they will quickly end up in universal no man’s land (if they haven’t already).

    Gil – So, where do you (personally) put the border? And if there is a border on the right, where is that?

  56. Tal Benschar says:

    I am not challenging any of that. I am challenging the unsupported assertion that these differentiations are clearly a testimony to men’s spiritual deficiencies.

    Emma, I appreciate that, just saying the issue you are debating with Steve is ultimately a side show.

    One other point. I don’t see why difference has to be equated with superiority/inferiority. To use a moshol (perhaps cliched), every instrument in the orchestra has a job to do to make the total symphony. If you try to draw the bow across the brass instruments, or blow into the string instruments, you are not going to get music. You are lucky if you don’t get noise. Doesn’t mean that a violin has deficiencies over a trumpet, or vice-versa.

  57. emma says:

    “just saying the issue you are debating with Steve is ultimately a side show.”

    Yes and no. It is relevant to the extent that steve’s assertion represents a popular conception that the status quo would be problematic or unfair or otherwise difficult if it were not attributed to female superiority.

    “One other point. I don’t see why difference has to be equated with superiority/inferiority”

    In theory you are correct, in this and any other area. In practice humans can rarely resist the urge to turn difference into heirarchy…

  58. Scott says:

    You must never have heard the Sextet by Steve Reich, in which the musicians play the vibraphone with a bow!

  59. ruvie says:

    reb joel – i am confused. i do understand that many times the halachik process is after the fact – as you point out – and teshuvot justify the process (shabbat goy to bat mitzvah as examples). would you say r’ freundel has a problem with his “legitimate Orthodox halakhic epistemology ” argument (do you think he needs to reread his jacob katz, ta-shma, solovetchik et al)?

    so why does the curtain being pulled back leave less flexibility now then before – since the practice was instituted by the amcha? was the bat mitzvah ever considered not from outside forces?

    still looking for an answer of examples of Positive-Historicism that only exist among some within orthodoxy (not form you reb joel but the “others”)

  60. Melech says:

    An example of Positive-Historicism might be the rabbi addressing the kehillah after kaddish and before mussaf in the vernacular.

  61. joel rich says:

    r’ ruvie,
    I don’t think it makes it impossible, I just think it makes it more difficult-for example if someone “big” wrote a tshuva justifying the need for purple velvet kippot vs. black, I doubt it would get tremendous opposition/soul searching, if otoh the lgbt orthodox movement started wearing them, it would make it very difficult for the rest to accept.
    KT

  62. Reb Yid says:

    Melech wrote: “Please note that while it’s true contemporary poskim don’t rule that way, it’s minhag and not halachah”

    This is an incorrect reading of the source you quote from Bet Yosef. The Bet Yosef writes the word that “Nahagu” not to count a woman. This usage of “nahagu” does not at all mean it’s a ‘minhag’! He just means that there was one minority opinion of Rabeinu Simcha that one can count one women in a time of need, but that the vast majority, including the more authoritative Rabeinu Tam, reject this. He concludes by saying: and so too the widespread PRACTICE is in accordance with R. Tam. The word “nahagu” here speaks to common HALACHIC practice, not to mere “minhag” in the sense that we use the term. It just means that, as in all areas of halacha, we rule by the vast majority opinion against a lone minority.

  63. Reb Yid says:

    Either way, the fact remains that for whatever reason, common halachic practice is to distinguish between a minor boy, who is at least somewhat a part of the halchic “tzibur” (minyan), and a woman, who is not. A similar point about minors is raised by a Tosafot in Megillah that raises the possibility of a minor reading the Megillah on behalf of adults since he is at least obligated mishum chinuch (I don’t know the source offhand).

  64. Reb Yid says:

    Steve Brizel wrote:

    “’R. Freundel points out that a minor boy will at least one day become part of the minyan, and is therefore perhaps suitable to lead in a case of a minhag like kabalat shabbat’”

    “R Freundel hardly enthusiastically endorsed the same.”

    Exactly! The point is that even having a minor boy lead might be questionable, and the case of a woman cannot be extrapolated at all from even a minor, so having a woman lead certainly has no leg to stand on if it’s tefillah betzibur.

  65. Melech says:

    (I don’t know the source offhand).

    Megillah 19b D”h ve-rabbi yehudah

  66. Hirhurim says:

    Ms. Sztokman: With all due respect, the entire attempt to “quantify” women’s pain is really difficult to listen to. It’s absurd to the point of laughable. I mean, really? You want us to create some kind of scale, like a barometer of electric shocks, to try and figure out how painful is really painful? Is that the job of the halakhic adjudicator?

    I find this surprising in a halakhic discussion. Halakhah distinguishes between varying places on a scale of physical pain, regarding violating Shabbos, and mental anguish, regarding other prohibitions. Why wouldn’t it take into account the amount of insult when discussing overriding rabbinic prohibitions? It might be difficult to quantify but so are the other types of pain. We still need to differentiate between minor and major insult.

  67. IH says:

    As covered in the last thread, the origins of today’s tradition of Kaddish Yatom began with the creation of a minor boy lead role and there is evidence of continued such roles into the 16th century:

    It appears that the custom of allowing boys to act like men was not uncontested. In the sixteenth century, Joseph Karo writes that “it is amazing that a minor is permitted to officiate before the congregation at the conclusion of the Sabbath and to lead the evening prayer . . . Since a minor is not a bearer of responsibility, he cannot acquit the congregation [of its responsibility], for it has been taught that someone who is not required to perform a particular obligation cannot perform this obligation for anyone else. And I have heard that Rabbi Joseph Abudarham challenged this custom . . . and the great Rabbi Isaac de Leon agreed with him that the custom should be annulled.” (Abudarham and De Leon were jurists in Spain in the fifteenth century.)

    Ref: Kaddish pp. 47-48.

    —–

    With all this talk of historical development, I find it odd no one has mentioned the most recent such theologically divisive issue within Orthodoxy: Zionism. Ironically, yesterday when this thread was posted, Europe commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day on the day Auschwitz was liberated. Thank God most of family from Poland ignored the Rabbis and made Aliyah in the ‘20s and ‘30s.

    It is inevitable that some meaningful form of Feminism b’tzibur (beyond Freundel’s tokenism) will become as common in Modern Orthodoxy as Zionism is today. That said, there will also be a Satmar and a Neturei Karta analog thereof. It is not just some of the women that are wanting it, but some of the men as well.

  68. Melech says:

    Just by the way, before we start suggesting that women have fewer mitzvot because they are holier than men and need fewer, Rambam says it’s the other way around:

    פירוש המשנה לרמב”ם מסכת הוריות פרק ג

    כבר ידעת שהמצוות כולן מחויבות לזכרים, ולנקיבות מקצתן, כמו שהתבאר בקידושין, והרי הוא מקודש ממנה.

  69. Melech says:

    “We still need to differentiate between minor and major insult.”

    There’s been some discussion of kavod ha-briyot and why it’s not applicable, but I haven’t seen much discussion about nachat ru’ach.

  70. emma says:

    Nachat ruach tends to be the elephant in the room in these discussions. That said, it is not so conceptually satisfying for advocates of women’s participation since it rests on essentially tricking women into thinking they are doing something they are not.

    (Alternatively, it rests on allowing women to ascribe genuine religious meaning to something that is halachically meaningless.)

  71. shmuel says:

    Melech, you should consider whether “m’kudash mimenna” in the peirush hamishna you cited is the result, not the cause, of being obligated in more mitzvot.

  72. IH says:

    That said, it is not so conceptually satisfying…

    Emma — So, we’re back to what is it you want. It is plainly evident that women’s participation within the context of 1800 years of Rabbinic halacha will require some legal arguments that are unsatisfying to modern sensibilities. But, one wants to bridge both — ein b’reira. That is the difference between those who “settle” for a Partnership Minyan vs. those who prefer Traditional Egal.

    Do you have a third way?

  73. IH says:

    In 1990, when I became a member of the JC, the then Rabbi came to my house and upon being asked, explained to my wife that he did not understand why the women in the congregation were not demanding more and there was a limit to what he could initiate without pressure from the congregants. Had he and his successors delivered, would Darkhei Noam been created a dozen years later?

  74. Melech says:

    “Alternatively, it rests on allowing women to ascribe genuine religious meaning to something that is halachically meaningless”

    The classic case of course being told to wear a tallit without tzitzit, and then snickering when she ascribes meaning to it.

  75. Melech says:

    ‘ That is the difference between those who “settle” for a Partnership Minyan vs. those who prefer Traditional Egal. ”

    There is often an assumption that those who opt for Partnership Minyanim are either 1. settling and will never be satisfied and will continue to be discontented or 2. have a Conservative agenda or use it as a stepping stone to even more egalitarianism.

    Either neither is true and Partnership Minyanim are comfortable for many without settling.

    Regardless, I’m sure there are those who “settle” for a more RW shul while prefering a Partnership Minyan model.

  76. emma says:

    re: what I want,

    First, I am sympathetic to the alternative reading I offered, which is that nachat ruach is a recognition that not all genuine religious meaning is “halachic.”

    Second, I was thinking about your question over shabbat, and the answer I think is that I want (fantastically, perhaps) a genuinely diverse observant community (diverse politics, diverse occupations, diverse socioeconomic status, diverse religious affiliations (e.g., lots of different head coverings for both men and women)) with a serious, not too long davening, and with certain minimum levels of female participation – for me those are ability to say kaddish and ability to teach torah to the entire community. Mostly I will settle for anything that allows both parents to daven with a minyan – i.e., provides hashkamah and/or some drop-off situation for young children.

    I also want somewhere where my children will grow up to be comfortable in a variety of orthodox settings, and that’s the real question I have on partnership minyanim…

  77. emma says:

    “In 1990, when I became a member of the JC, the then Rabbi came to my house and upon being asked, explained to my wife that he did not understand why the women in the congregation were not demanding more and there was a limit to what he could initiate without pressure from the congregants.”

    This is what I find extremely frustrating. For some reason we can’t work together to address issues we all* recognize but instead have to frame them adversarially as women demanding things from rabbis.
    This of course allows the rabbis to (1) shift “blame” to uppity congregants and (2) put their foot down when the time comes by insulting the angry (hysterical?) feminists who make demands against the tradition. I just don’t have the energy for that charade.

    *no, not “we all” here, but “we all” in the JC-type universe.

  78. IH says:

    I’m a pluralist, so fine with me. The question goes to Gil, Tal et al. Can you deliver Emma’s vision in what you consider Orthodoxy?

  79. Reb Yid says:

    Melech wrote:

    “(I don’t know the source offhand).

    Megillah 19b D”h ve-rabbi yehudah”

    Thanks!

  80. Reb Yid says:

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been a serious scholarly attempt to analyze if women leading kabalat shabbat violates Kol Isha. This seems to the most obvious problem! Maybe because the LWMO crowd laregely disregards kol isha anyway, so there’s not much point in bringing it up?

  81. source says:

    emma: I don’t know to what Steve Brizel was referring, as he initially wrote about public roles for men/women and male inferiority, then veered to mitzvot associated with remembrance of yetziat mitzrayim being limited to men(maybe this is some kind of reference to bzchut nashim tzidkoniyot?) …vague and all over the map and some kind of mishmash of a few vertlach he once heard.

    But the (non20-21st century) source that women are exempt from mitzvot asey shehazman grama (not a category i saw sbrizel mention) is in yalkut chana on the words “Vechana hi medaberet al liba” and the yalkut there says that women are not obligated in these mitzvot because they have one heart. The meaning of this midrash is ambiguous and the magen avraham in his commentary zeys raanan, the standard commentary to yalkut, interprets this negatively as meaning they have yetzer hara only. Others interpet this positively and R Ovadiah Yosef argues that the simple meaning of the midrash is positive. I confess that I used to think that the notion that women are exempt from mitzvot (of any sort) because of their putatively greater spirituality was 20-21st century apologetics, but this midrash (in its positive interpretation) seems to the be the source.

    I don’t think I need to note that this perspective is not the mainstream view in our sources.

  82. emma says:

    source, thank you for the citation. I too assumed it was of more recent provenance. Perhaps this is a good example of how a “minority view” that was not “mainstream” gets a second life when times change… Not an inherently bad thing. Sometimes, though, I think that most of the [male] people offering these explanations _know_ they are not mianstream, and are just pulling the wool over the non-textual-literate females’ eyes… (Similar things happened with the way people talk about niddah observance…)

    Anyway, I just didn’t want to let the assertion by without some sort of comment, since I agree with your last sentence that it should be self-evident that “this perspective is not the mainstream view in our sources.”

  83. emma says:

    “Can you deliver Emma’s vision in what you consider Orthodoxy?”

    I can’t speak for what they consider “orthodox,” but I am pretty sure the answer is yes. First, move out of new york… (Actually, that’s neither necessary nor sufficient, but it helps the odds.)

  84. Melech says:

    Is the argument being advanced that women only have a yetzer ha’ra, or other statements we can find in Chazal or Rishonim that are consistent with denigrating the spiritual level of women as compared to men, as the justification for dismissing the desires of the sincere avodah of women?

    Talk about hashkafah driving halachah.

  85. Shalom Spira says:

    Ye’yasher kochakhem R. Freundel and respondents.
    Reb Source, thank you for the request for an attempt to address kol be-ishah in the context of Kabbalat Shabbat. I did offer my own meagre attempt in my comment on Dec. 24 at http://torahmusings.com/2012/12/new-periodical-hakirah-14/ , based on R. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb’s lecture.
    That said, I am fully in favour of a lady leading fellow ladies in Kabbalat Shabbat (i.e. a women’s tefillah group).

  86. emma says:

    “Is the argument being advanced…”
    I don’t think there was a real “argument” at all. Just an offhand assertion of “a simple fact that the public arena was reserved for men because of the spiritual deficencies [sic] of men.” Perhaps I should have let it go since the “simple fact” is so obviously false…

  87. ruvie says:

    reb yid – ” violates Kol Isha” – there are teshuvot dealing with the issue which is not a concern to the mo community in general. see sreidi aish etc. see below from r’ avraham shammah

    http://www.kolech.org.il/show.asp?id=25318

  88. Shlomo says:

    Re: nachat ruach for women, pain of women…

    If we are serious about equality, why don’t we care about nachat ruach for men, or the pain that men have to suffer?

    For example, as a man I have to pray with a minyan.* Every day without exception I have to wake up at a time not convenient to me, and walk in the heat/cold/rain to shul, where shaharit will take twice as long as it at would have otherwise due to the incessant kaddishes and misheberachs and other additions of no spiritual value. My current shul is nice, but before my last move, I had to attend the local shtiebel which was constantly packed, claustrophobic, smelly, and the prayers paced too fast for concentration. Then I get on the bus to work, and what do I see but all the frum women with siddurim open – they do not miss a second of their day, nor undergo a moment of extra inconvenience, to say shaharit.

    I’m not demanding that anything change here (though I would appreciate if it legitimately did) – I know that on occasion halacha requires things from you that are not convenient or enjoyable. That is the essence of commitment – that even if things are sometimes are not fun, you don’t abandon the relationship, expecting to come back later and have things resume just like they were before. That is obvious to me. Why is it so hard for some Modern Orthodox women to get?

  89. Shlomo says:

    The * was to say that some argue that minyan is not actually an obligation, but I don’t find their arguments at all convincing.

  90. emma says:

    based on the original source it seems that “nachat ruach” is a feeling you get from being included in something of religious value, not just getting to sleep later or avoid inconvenience. But frankly, if you ever got to a position where going to minyan created real emotional pain (eg, you wanted instead to be by the bedside of a very ill relative, for your sake not for hers) would you still not rely on the unconvincing opinion that absolves you?

  91. IH says:

    I can’t speak for what they consider “orthodox,” but I am pretty sure the answer is yes.

    Emma – Personally, I think you’re fooling yourself, just as your counterparts in 1990 were fooling themselves. But, Gil and Tal can speak for themselves. It will be clearer when Gil tells us where his border is following up on Life is a journey and the LWMO are sliding down the slope. Exactly where the border lies is a matter of debate. I know where I put it. But it doesn’t really matter because they are sliding so fast that they will quickly end up in universal no man’s land (if they haven’t already).

    In that vein, I was curious about what Kesher Israel’s policy is and with a quick google found this relevant paragraph in their Sept 2004 Board Minutes that are online:
    A question was raised about whether it would be possible to change the current policy regarding “taking talisim off before announcements” which officially ends the service, and enables women to give the announcements. The sense is that people are taking this as a cue to leave and not giving Gary the respect he deserves when he makes the announcements. If we do not make the announcement, a woman can’t give the announcements. However, she could still be president or vice president. One option is to say it only when a woman will give the announcements, but this was regarded by some as more offensive. We agreed to discuss this further and vote on it at the next meeting.

    Kal va’chomer that a woman would not be allowed to “teach torah to the entire community” via a drasha during davening.

  92. emma says:

    As I said on the previous thread I do not think this is the right forum for me to speak about specific institutions, but I will say that when it comes to diversity self-identified progressive communities fail about as much as reactionary ones.

    And I’m not asking to speak from the bimah as a minimum – minimally all I need is to be able to speak at shaloshuddes or the like.

  93. emma says:

    also, i have heard this whole “taking off your talleisim” thing before – where did it com from?

  94. IH says:

    It is reasonable to discuss relevant publicly available information about the institution whose Rabbi authored the post on which are commenting.

  95. emma says:

    ps – just googled those minutes myself. First, it’s awesome that they put them online. Second, the more interesting things there, in terms of the future of jewish institutional life, to me have to do with how to turn a transient community into a longer lasting one, or whether that is even possible, and also the aside about how shuls compete on kiddush. It’s not _just_ about gender…

  96. emma says:

    “It is reasonable to discuss relevant publicly available information about the institution whose Rabbi authored the post on which are commenting.”

    Sure. I meant that I don’t want to name the various orthodox shuls i have attended (or declined to attend) over the years that informed my other comments…

  97. IH says:

    Between those issues and his wonderful work on Liturgy, what a waste of time then for his tilting at windmills on Partnership Minyanim…

  98. Tal Benschar says:

    One option is to say it only when a woman will give the announcements, but this was regarded by some as more offensive.

    People actually consider making announcements a kibbud? In most shuls I have been in, it is a guaranteed way of being completely and conspicuously ignored by the entire kehillah.

  99. Hirhurim says:

    emma: The idea that women are more complete and therefore don’t need time-bound positive commandments can be found in R. Samson Raphael Hirsch’s commentary to Lev. 23:43. That is the earliest source of which I am aware, although I hardly did a historical study. It has definitely appeared elsewhere subsequently, such as in R. Ahron Soloveichik’s Logic of the Heart, Logic of the Mind, ch. 7. R. Moshe Meiselman surveys various views on why women are exempt in Jewish Woman in Jewish Law, ch. 8.

  100. IH says:

    A trenchant analysis of R. Aharon Soloveitchik’s extension of RSRH;s approach can be found on pp. 92-102 of The God Who Hates Lies: Confronting & Rethinking Jewish Tradition by David Hartman.

    Search for “Samson” in the preview on Google Books and most of it can be read online there.

  101. IH says:

    Any leads on:

    emma on January 28, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    also, i have heard this whole “taking off your talleisim” thing before – where did it com from?

  102. MY says:

    Ruvie: it is an inaccurate generalization to say that kol isha is not a concern “for the Modern Orthodox community”. I believe you are referring specifically to the liberal wing of the modern orthodox community. I suspect that the vast majority of rabbis in the circles of Yeshiva University, Young Israel, the Orthodox Union, RCA and certainly the Israeli Religious Zionist/Hesder/Settler worlds do indeed abide by strict prohibitions against kol isha. This would mean that for a minyan that justifies a woman leading kabalat shabbat on grounds of leniency with regards to kol isha, the vast majority of the mainstream “centrist” Orthodox world could not daven there for that reason alone, let alone the Haredi world, thus highly isolating such a community within the greater halachic community

  103. IH says:

    MY — leaving aside that the mixed voices heter mitigates Kol Isha for all but the most extreme interpretations (as discussed in the previous thread), aren’t there other non-women-related issues that also stop some Orthodox from attending certain other Orthodox shuls: meshichist Chabad for example?

    For what its worth, we have had many guests for smachot at Darkhei Noam from across the spectrum of Orthodoxy you describe (including “Black Hats”).

  104. Steve Brizel says:

    Emma wrote:

    “I am not challenging any of that. I am challenging the unsupported assertion that these differentiations are clearly a testimony to men’s spiritual deficiencies”

    Emma-why then were special mitzvos given to men specifically after the incident of the sin of the spies? Name one Mitzvas Aseh Shehazman Grama aside from the exceptions that I noted where women have the same level of obligation as men.

  105. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “IH on January 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    A trenchant analysis of R. Aharon Soloveitchik’s extension of RSRH;s approach can be found on pp. 92-102 of The God Who Hates Lies: Confronting & Rethinking Jewish Tradition by David Hartman.”

    Of course, it should be noted that RDH, by his own admissions in the above referenced book, as well as his own actions,long ago walked out of the mainstream MO world. For evidence of this, see none other than our own R Gil’s review of the above cited book in a recent issue of JA.

  106. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “MY — leaving aside that the mixed voices heter mitigates Kol Isha for all but the most extreme interpretations (as discussed in the previous thread), aren’t there other non-women-related issues that also stop some Orthodox from attending certain other Orthodox shuls: meshichist Chabad for example”

    After the publication of R D D Berger’s book on Chabad messianism, I asked and was told to daven byechidus rather than daven in a Chabad house.

  107. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “MY — leaving aside that the mixed voices heter mitigates Kol Isha for all but the most extreme interpretations (as discussed in the previous thread), aren’t there other non-women-related issues that also stop some Orthodox from attending certain other Orthodox shuls: meshichist Chabad for example”

    After the publication of R D D Berger’s book on Chabad messianism, I asked and was told to daven byechidus rather than daven in a Chabad house.

  108. Steve Brizel says:

    I suspect that the notion of waiting for announcements to conclude prior to taking off one’s talis is a nice American idea of proper behavior similar to the kind that pervade the peculiar notions of what was known as a “dignified” Tefilah and Avodah Shebalev at KJ and the JC, as opposed to Tefilah either in yeshivos or shteieblach. FWIW, in many shuls, men take off their talesim after Adon Olam/Yigdal prior thereto, but for no particular reason.

  109. IH says:

    Steve — that may very well be the case, but the Kesher Israel minutes imply it is a halchic matter. For ease of reference:

    A question was raised about whether it would be possible to change the current policy regarding “taking talisim off before announcements” which officially ends the service, and enables women to give the announcements. The sense is that people are taking this as a cue to leave and not giving Gary the respect he deserves when he makes the announcements. If we do not make the announcement, a woman can’t give the announcements. However, she could still be president or vice president. One option is to say it only when a woman will give the announcements, but this was regarded by some as more offensive. We agreed to discuss this further and vote on it at the next meeting.

  110. Steve Brizel says:

    IH -I both surfed the website and read the minutes-the notion that taking off one’s talis at the end of the davening “officially ends the service” is at best a sociological observation , but hardly a halahically mandated act, regardless of whether one wears one talis to shul , carries it home or folds it in one’s talis zekel and puts the same in an appropriate location. One can argue that the davening ends after the Kaddish Yasom after Aleinu. Again, there are numerous shuls where removing one’s talis occurs during the announcements simply because many members have read the same in their printed form either on line or in their printed format, or because some mispallelim and their families are planning to attend a kiddush or simcha elsewhere, and simply have to leave. Like it or not, announcements are of various importance, and most mispallelim make mental notes as to which events are of particular importance such as zmanei Tefilah, mazel tovs, condolences, shiurim ,dinners and fund raisers.

    Viewing announcements per se as having halachic importance ala announcing the notes of Tekias Shofar requires more than merely asserting the same in a shul’s board minutes.

  111. MY says:

    IH wrote on January 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    “MY — leaving aside that the mixed voices heter mitigates Kol Isha for all but the most extreme interpretations (as discussed in the previous thread)”

    What are you basing this on? It’s simply inaccurate. The classical “lenient” teshuva on kol isha is the Sridei Eish, and he explicitly quotes the “mixed voices” heter only to reject it! My point is that kol isha is a halachikly serious issue, and cannot be simply dismissed. Also, in terms of a woman leading KS, even if there are other mixed voices, everyone is making a point to specifically focus on hers as she is the leader. This is problematic even factoring in a mixed voices heter.

    “aren’t there other non-women-related issues that also stop some Orthodox from attending certain other Orthodox shuls: meshichist Chabad for example?”

    Ain hachi nami! Exactly. Such shuls are also out of the bounds of legitimate Orthodoxy and have also been marginalized.

    “For what its worth, we have had many guests for smachot at Darkhei Noam from across the spectrum of Orthodoxy you describe (including “Black Hats”).”

    I don’t doubt you’ve had some individuals. But the fact remains that the vast majority of more right wing Orthodox Jews would not daven there.

  112. IH says:

    MY — I refer you to the prolonged discussion in round one of this post on Kol Isha. You know the Jewish Robinson Crusoe joke, right: here’s the synagogue I go to, and there is the synagogue I won’t go near.

    Steve — To my reading, the key words are “and enables women to give the announcements”. The implication is that a woman is not allowed up on the bima until services have formally ended, which is when the men remove their Talitot. Incidentally, searching further on their site yields no published resolution. But, in the minutes for Jul 2012 (7.5 uears later) I see this ambiguous note:

    In addition, male board members will continue the rotation of sitting on the bimah with the rabbi during Shabbat morning services and all board members will continue reading the Shabbat announcements until Elanit is able to do so.

    Elanit Jakabovics is their woman President. Perhaps someone familiar could clarify the situation.

  113. ruvie says:

    MY – “kol isha is not a concern “for the Modern Orthodox community”. I believe you are referring specifically to the liberal wing of the modern orthodox community.”

    not especially

    i am referring to coed schools like ramaz and sar that have plays and shiriahs that have women solos. i said on the other thread – morasha – yu affiliate- and moshava in my day as well had staff in plays with women solos 9as well as shiriahs).
    i believe that YU still does an opera benefit every year too.
    it may be the folks that call themselves rwmo – which really is yeshivish or chareidi lite and not mo (although they like to think so) – will have issues with kol isha. for an pretty thorough examination of the issue from an mo or dl perspective is rabbi david bingman:

    http://www.jewishideas.org/rabbi-david-bigman/new-analysis-kol-bisha-erva

    women singing in the israeli army – rav moshe lichtenstein
    http://www.kipa.co.il/now/46856.html

  114. Elanit says:

    I can clarify. The issue that was brought up in the minutes from the Board meeting from 2004 are referring to whether women are allowed to speak from the bimah– give drashot, make announcements, etc.– while still in the middle of tefillah. Rabbi Freundel paskened that they should not. Hence, the discussion of whether an announcement should be made asking men to remove their tallitot before shul announcements are made. I was on the Board at the time but I do not remember the specifics relating to that situation. I can tell you that currently, no one asks the men to remove their tallitot before I go onto the bimah to make announcements. I just go up there after the singing of adon olam. We have extended this “policy” to drashot as well: Rabbi Freundel gives his drasha in the middle of services, typically right before mussaf. The only other person who can give a drasha during that time is another rabbi. Any others– male scholars who do not have smicha, women scholars, and members as part of our “people’s pulpit” series– speak at the end of tefillah, after announcements. This was an important distinction we formalized around 6-7 years ago to afford the same type of respect to female scholars that we give to male scholars.

    With regards to the quote from the July 2012 minutes: this is referring to the fact that when my term as president began, I was on bed rest, so I was unable to make it to shul on Shabbat. As in most shuls, the president usually sits on the bimah next to the Rabbi. But given that I am a woman and cannot sit in the men’s section during tefillah, I asked the male members of the Board to put together a rotation, so that we would continue to have a lay leadership presence on the bimah every Shabbat. While I was on bed rest, there was also a rotation of Board members making announcements (so that the congregation were also exposed to the women Board members).

    I hope this explanation helps. It has been quite interesting following the comments on this thread and the previous one!

  115. Ruvie says:

    MY- ” …worlds do indeed abide by strict prohibitions against kol isha” can you explain to me why they abide by “strict” prohibitions if they are MO?
    I refer to the earlier posts with gil on this issue or the other thread about the rishonim that stated this issue in a contextual situation like KS and familiarity may not induce licentiousness thoughts and is not a broad klal.
    Please correct me if I have erred.

  116. MY says:

    Ruvie- your dismissal of all the mainstream flagship institutions of Modern Orthodoxy (YU, OU, RCA, Hesder Yeshivot, Israeli Religious Zionism, Young Israel) as “Haredi Lite” is very telling of your personal bias; your view of modern orthodoxy apparently skews to its most narrow leftmost fringe. You equate MO with the LWMO camp exclusively, and apparently exclude the entire Centrist Orthodox camp. Ironically, you are acting like the mirror image of Haredi purists who declare anyone not ideologically pure to be outside the camp. Is this tolerance?

    SAR and Ramaz are on the leftmost progressive fringe of MO day schools and are widely recognized as such (often proudly, by their students and parents). So are Rabbi Bigman and Maaleh Gilboah. R. Lichteinstein’s article argues only that one may remain in a concert with a woman singing in the context of a mandatory army setting, not that kol isha is simply permitted as a general rule. R, Yehuda Henkin is one indisputably Modern Orthodox posek who affirms the prohibition of kol isha:
    http://koltorah.org/ravj/The%20Parameters%20of%20Kol%20Isha.htm

    But either way, since everything is relative, and there’s really no way to prove if someone is really “modern orthodox” according to any objective or scientific standard, all that we’re left with is the empirical fact that the vast majority of people who self identify as Modern Orthodox and who sociologically are indisputably part of the modern orthodox camp are not really “pure” MO by your standard. The empirical reality trumps your personal subjective standard.

    It’s also telling that you see kol isha as a MO vs Haredi thing in the 1st place. Kol isha is a halachic issue. My view of MO does not include being more lenient in halacha to suit one’s liberal biases. Anyone can selectively pick and choose opinions that permit doing something which you are already set on doing. You can do that to permit anything you want.

    My only point is not to prove that all MO are machmir on kol isha (you are entitled to rely on lenient opinions), but that a significant number are indeed machmir, and that this issue is at least debated within MO- it is by no means a settled issue- and so you can’t just dismiss the issue as irrelevant.

    Incidentally, in this article from today, this girl’s Modern Orthodox religious Zionist school has condemned her singing in front of men, and her MO Zionist Moshav rabbi says that “There is not a single rabbi who will permit a woman to sing in front of men, especially on television. It is simply not permissible by Jewish law,”. His view is the normative view of Israeli religious Zionist, kippah sruga, army going college educated rabbis. According to you they are not really Modern Orthodox because they’re not lenient on this issue?

    Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/170011/controversial-suspension-for-contestant-on-israels/#ixzz2JL4QMPQf
    http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/170011/controversial-suspension-for-contestant-on-israels/

  117. MY says:

    (Or, to sum up the point of my long winded post in one line, you are employing the “No true Scotsman” fallacy: “No true MO would prohibit kol isha”

  118. source says:

    “while still in the middle of tefillah. Rabbi Freundel paskened that they should not. Hence, the discussion of whether an announcement should be made asking men to remove their tallitot before shul announcements are made.”

    There is a pattern here of assigning meaning to the wearing of a tallis that it simply does not bear

  119. joel rich says:

    r’source,
    i would see the tallit taking off decision as similar to taking 3 steps back at end of amida or putting on your (not my:-)) jacket and hat by end of meal. i actually think it was a creative compromise.
    KT

  120. joel rich says:

    r’my,
    or MO is in the eye of the beholder.
    KT

  121. Ironi Burgani says:

    MY:

    The vast majority of Israeli religious Zionist, kippah sruga, army going rabbis are NOT college educated.

    Does that make them not really Modern Orthodox?

  122. Nachum says:

    Ironi: A good point. Formal education is far from everything. Personally, I’d ask them their attitudes toward secular knowledge first.

    Source: I know at least a few shuls that have rules about not taking off one’s tallit too early.

  123. ruvie says:

    MY – it may be in the eye of the beholder. i do believe what was centrist or the norm 30 years ago today may be viewed as left today. 30 years the norm in mo – wearing pants, not covering one’s hair, co-ed camps where girls wore pants as well as shorts – this includes morasha (yu affiliate) and moshava- as well as girls/women singing. lets not forget yu’s yearly opera benefit.
    it would seem that on one level it is accepted practice. you yourself said those who are “machmir”.

    my only point is that its not only lwmo but centrist 30 years ago and only the “fringe” rwmo then abided by it, i do believe that rwmo is basically yeshivish of 30-50 years ago but self identify as mo because they went to college and have zionistic beliefs. but majority of the mo camp go to the opera, movies and theatre including musicals.

  124. ruvie says:

    MY – “It’s also telling that you see kol isha as a MO vs Haredi thing in the 1st place. Kol isha is a halachic issue. My view of MO does not include being more lenient in halacha to suit one’s liberal biases. ”

    i do not see it as a centrist thing. everything in some manner is halachik. it has nothing to do with liberalism. does the rav’s wife not covering her hair make him lwmo? going to the opera in the 1920s (with rav hutner)? why does kol isha make one lwmo?

    does wearing pants make you lwmo?
    how many teshuvot exist for women not covering their hair?
    i understand the view from those outside the mo camp that basically mo are not only makil on halacha but do what they want because they are modern and kick halacha to the curbside. i just do not think that is accurate. perhaps my comment on why rwmo is yeshivish is a little bit overstated. but sometimes i wonder why more or less yeshivish folk want to consider themselves mo (like gil for example). i have no problem if they do but object when they try to redefine what is centrist mo or mo and tell others things are assur. i believe they grew up mo and do not want to admit they have moved to the right into yeshivish territory (while yeshivish has also moved further to the right).

  125. IH says:

    Elanit – Many thanks for the clarification. Question: If Rabba Sara Hurwitz were to be the guest scholar, would she be able to gives her drasha in the middle of services, given that she has smicha?

    R’ Joel – 3 Steps Back has textual sources, though: B. Yoma 53b, MT Hilchot Tfilla 5:10. And 3 Steps forward appears in Sefer ha’Rokeach 322 and then SA OC 95 (possibly as a printer’s emendation).

    Gil – will you clarify your early response to me:

    Life is a journey and the LWMO are sliding down the slope. Exactly where the border lies is a matter of debate. I know where I put it. But it doesn’t really matter because they are sliding so fast that they will quickly end up in universal no man’s land (if they haven’t already).</i

    If so, where do you (personally) put the border? And if there is a border on the right, where is that?

  126. IH says:

    If so, where do you (personally) put the border? And if there is a border on the right, where is that?

  127. Elanit says:

    IH: That’s a good question, I don’t know the answer to that. Rabba Sara Hurwitz did visit Kesher two years ago, but that was for a Sunday night program.

  128. IH says:

    Elanit — Would Kesher Israel be amenable to greeting a female Avel during Kabbalat Shabbat, as Prof. Vered Noam recently described an epiphany she experienced at HIR?

    במהלך ביקור בארצות הברית נקלענו בליל שבת אחד לבית הכנסת של הרב אבי וייס בריברדייל שבניו יורק. לאחר קבלת שבת ביקש הרב לפתע מהציבור לקום. הוא הפנה את תשומת הלב לכניסתה של חברת הקהילה, אשה אבלה בימי השבעה שלה, הזכיר את שמה ואת שם אביה שנפטר, והציבור כולו, גברים ונשים, פנה אליה, כמנהג, ואמר את דברי הניחומים היפים שנתנה ההלכה בפינו: “המקום ינחם אותך וגו’”.

    עמדתי שם, נפעמת מאוד, כאילו נס מתרחש לנגד עיניי. כאילו מחוז געגוע בלתי מושג של קבלה, של נחמה, של מאור פנים, מתממש פתאום למולי. היה שם משב לא-יאומן של רכות, של שותפות, של הכרה, של תמיכה קהילתית. ההתפעמות הזאת הטיחה בפניי באחת אמת ישנה שמחיצת ההרגל לא אִפשרה לי לראות עד אז. את האמת בדבר ההיעדר הזועק ברוב בתי הכנסת שלנו

    Or, Perhaps you already do this?

  129. Hirhurim says:

    Ih: If so, where do you (personally) put the border? And if there is a border on the right, where is that?

    Get over yourself. No, I will not give a quotable quote. Not everything has to be broadcasted to the world.

  130. IH says:

    I guess you don’t want to admit to Emma et al. that even the baseline she’s looking for is outside of your red lines, eh.

  131. Hirhurim says:

    Ooh, let’s try taunting me to see if I say something that can be used against me in the future. Real mature. I’ve made my general view clear over and over. There is nothing to be gained by going into specifics.

  132. IH says:

    Clarity is to be gained. And, Gil, it has been your choice to keep rehashing these divisive issues and make taunting comments such as the one I am quoting back at you.

  133. emma says:

    Is it just me or have these discussions gotten significantly less civil? (I can hear it now – both sides jump in with a “yeah, but he staarted!”)

  134. Machshavos says:

    Ruvie: You say that RWMO is the yeshivish of 30-50 years ago. Would you say the same thing about the left of Orthodoxy today and Conservative of 30-50 years ago?

    “i believe they grew up mo and do not want to
    admit they have moved to the right into yeshivish
    territory (while yeshivish has also moved further
    to the right).”

    I’m more inclined to believe that they don’t “admit” they’re yeshivish because, ideologically, they’re not. Secular studies, Zionism, Da’as Torah, etc. I guess, once again, it all comes down to personally determined definitions.

  135. IH says:

    Machshavos — You do know that in the 50s and 60s UWS Modern Orthodox shuls has mixed dancing events, women wore sleveless and almost no women covered their hair outside of shul. The womrn were also big into Mizrachi Women (now AMIT) and Hadassah in regard to Zionism. Ramaz School (and KJ outside of services) have always permitted girl/women solo singers.

    This had nothing to do with Conservative Judaism.

    Also, to Ruvie’s point, in my parents generation, a majority of people who now identify as RWMO, would have identified as Yeshivish in those days even though they went to Yeshiva College or City University for reasons of parnassa and perhaps even to a graduate professional school (although few worked in the corporate world in those days, which was mostly closed to Jews).

  136. ruvie says:

    Machshavos – i can only tell you from where i sit now and observed then. i am not sure what lwmo was 50 yrs. ago – if there was any sub group that was labeled that. was the rav lwmo when he allowed gemera for women? its interesting to frame the issue in that way that mo was by its nature viewed lw to the rest of orthodoxy.
    what i oppose is the delegitimization of the other – which i see within mo – by saying its simply halachikally wrong. while my wife doesn’t care to attend wtg now or 20 yrs. ago – prefers a traditional davening – she wouldn’t deny those that go the right to do so.

    there is a difference between torah u’parnassah vs. torah u’mada; separating genders at an early age; do yeshivish believe in da’at torah 50 years ago? i guess we all pick and choose and self identify. did any mo where a black hat 30-40 yrs ago? maybe you are right that rwmo view themselves haskafically mo – all i am saying their actions and emphasis looks like yeshivish of 30-50 yrs ago with zioni aspects (chardelim also are tzioni).

  137. IH says:

    Further, in the 1970s there were few, if any, black hats at the annual Salute to Israel Day Parade. Some were anti-Zionist, but most were just indifferent to public support for Medinat Yisrael.

    These days, it is a sea of black.

  138. ruvie says:

    to ih point which reminded of the fact that young israel 50 plus years ago had singles mix dancing events on a regular basis. that was normative in the mo world.

  139. IH says:

    Time for some history, perhaps:

    Agudath HaRabbanim supported the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), which after 1897 became the major Orthodox rabbinic seminary in America. But as early as 1908, when students of RIETS went on strike over the issue of instruction in English, the relationship between the two bodies was a stormy one, especially when the question of Rabbinic ordination was involved. [...] Finally, a year after the collapse of the unification negotiations with JTS in 1928, Yeshiva College was established. Again, there was opposition from Agudath HaRabbanim which feared the introduction of secular subjects into the curriculum. The leadership of the highly regarded Joseph B. Soloveitchik in 1932 [sic] did not still the voices of opposition. Viewing the Ph.D. degree that Soloveitchik had earned at the University of Berlin as evidence of dreaded secularism and seeing Yeshiva College itself as a “nest of atheism,” the ultra-Orthodox refused to enroll their children.

    From Feingold’s A Time for Searching: Entering the Mainstream p. 108. For those interested, the relevant 4.5 pages can be read in their entirety on Google Books (http://tinyurl.com/2bodnrb).

    In 1932, the following anonymous placard was distributed in Orthodox synagogues throughout the east coast: ‘We Jews of New York discovered that in the Yeshiva Rabbi Isaac Elchanan … there is a nest of atheism and Apikursus (denial of God). Therefore we do warn and announce, that you should not send your children or the children of your acquaintances into this Yeshiva until you will find out what is going on in the Yeshiva, who is responsible for the terrible situation, and how it is to be remedied.’ [...] Despite the presence of prominent scholars in RIETS, men whose abilities were acknowledged by all who moved within the orbit of talmudic learning, opposition to Yeshiva’s philosophy was constant. Sometimes it was rancorous. When the famed head of the yeshiva in Baranowicz, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, visited the United States, he praised the more traditional institution, Mesivta Torah Vodaath, and condemned Yeshiva College. He refused, despite personal pleas by Dr. Revel, to set foot in the building. Rabbi Wasserman’s view was that although philosophy had been studied in the past by gedolim (giants in scholarship) such as the Vilna Gaon, in these times there were no individuals of sufficient stature to study such subjects without risking their faith.

    From Helmreich’s The world of the yeshiva: an intimate portrait of Orthodox Jewry (http://tinyurl.com/237s8p6).

  140. ruvie says:

    to see what a partnership minyan is doing in israel read an article that appeared 2 days ago:

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-features/she-who-dares-to-tackle-jewish-religious-law.premium-1.496530

    think this line is indicative of how women that participate here and there view themselves:
    “At the same time, Friedman excludes herself from the community of female religious feminists. She does not think that her reading, as a woman, of a halakhic text is more sensitive or subversive.”

  141. avi says:

    I love this blog. I truly do. But why cant the conversations stay on topic, namely, responding directly to the blog post to which we are all supposedly responding to.

    It is also frustrating that R’ Freundel didnt respond to any of the challenges raised in the responses to his original post.

    The strongest challenge in my mind was the one raised by Prof Lawrence Kaplan: “Rabbi Freundel makes it appear that it is more halakhically problematic for a woman to lead kabbalat Shabbat prayers than to get an aliyah or lein.”

    In other words, lets say that R’ Freundel is correct and that there is some status of Sha”tz given to the chazan of Kabbalas Shabbos, I think we would all still agree that in the latter the Sha”tz is not fulfilling any one’s chiyuv in Kabbalas Shabbos. This is in contrast with how the Sha”tz functions in Chazaras Hasha”tz for example. I’m not saying that there are no overlapping halakhic features in regards to both the chazan of Kabbalas Shabbos and the chazan for Shemoneh Esreh. There most definitely are. But that doesn’t mean that there are no DIFFERENCES between the two.

    If we can all agree to the above, then the central question revolves around whether a woman can be a chazan/ritual leader in instances where the chazan is either: not being yotzei anyones obligation or there is no personal chiyuv to recite the tefilah in question. For example, R’ Freundel would agree that in the case of public recital of Tehillim, the chazan in that instance is most definitely not fulfilling anyones “chiyuv.”

    And thus we come back to Prof. Lawrence Kaplan. If a woman can be the “ritual leader” for Krias Hatorah then couldn’t we say that kal vachomer a woman can be the chazan(it) for kabbalas shabbos. In other words, the fact that a woman can Lain b’tzibur (kevod hatzibur aside) should prove that a woman can be a public leader/shaliach tzibur in Shul, at least in instances where there is no personal chiyuv/Sha”tz isn’t fulfilling anyones obligation.

    R’ Freundel, if you are out there :) please responed to this question/challenge! Thank you

  142. IH says:

    Beware, the English version seems to be an incomplete translation. See the original: http://www.haaretz.co.il/magazine/1.1914502

  143. SM says:

    Gil, why do you allow people to post on your blog if they don’t respond to comments. I don’t mean he has to respond to every comment, but he could respond to some. Otherwise, he is not respecting his reades.

  144. Hirhurim says:

    SM: Would you rather not have read the essay? I tell guest bloggers that they are under no obligation to respond to comments. It’s up to them.

    Not every writer is part of the blog culture and don’t quite have the hang of discussing with commenters. If you don’t want to read what they write, don’t. The vast majority of readers don’t comment and quite a few don’t even read comments (e.g. e-mail subscribers).

  145. David S says:

    Wedge issues wedge issues. The fact is R Student that you do no service to anybody by constantly raising these issues on your blog. Only time will tell whether Partnership Minyanim end up being a gateway out…a gateway in…or just one alternative among many. In the meantime, all you are doing is trying to stick your finger in someones eye.

    I’m sorry, whether women have an enhanced role in prayer is not nearly as important as the old men yammering during the Shmone Esrai or cheating in business or any of a million black letter Halachik violations. Perhaps you can reserve the tiniest amount of space for those issues instead of flogging the womens issue.

  146. Hirhurim says:

    David S: Look at this blog’s posts over the past two months and count how many are on women’s issues. Not many.

  147. Shlomo says:

    based on the original source it seems that “nachat ruach” is a feeling you get from being included in something of religious value, not just getting to sleep later or avoid inconvenience. But frankly, if you ever got to a position where going to minyan created real emotional pain (eg, you wanted instead to be by the bedside of a very ill relative, for your sake not for hers) would you still not rely on the unconvincing opinion that absolves you?

    1. Many of the problems I listed interfere with the spiritual value of prayer, not just cause inconvenience.
    2. The issue of women who feel a spiritual lack with the current format of prayer is quite similar to the spiritual lack I sometimes feel with the current format, and not comparable to rare cases like a dying relative.
    3. Having not investigated the matter, I suspect that there is a halachically valid leniency in the dying relative case, but that is beside the point. Your question boils down to “If a certain halacha is very hard to keep, would you make an effort to keep it?” Apparently, not only is your answer no, but you can’t imagine anyone else answering yes! And this I see is a fundamental problem with large parts of the MO community (not the occasional failure to keep halacha, which everyone is guilty of, but the ideology that in some cases promotes failure lechathila). If you can rationalize “bending” halacha in the case of prayer, then why not in other cases, like stealing from goyim? On multiple occasions I have asked people variants of this question; the only real answer I have ever gotten is that it is OK for bein adam lemakom but not bein adam lehavero. Perhaps I am simply a right wing fanatic, but I do not succeed in making inner peace with that approach.

  148. Machshavos says:

    IH and Ruvie: I was referring to concepts like Partnership Minyanim and female rabbis. Am I incorrect in my belief that such notions were not considered Orthodox “way back when MO was MO?”

  149. Shlomo says:

    Machshavos — You do know that in the 50s and 60s UWS Modern Orthodox shuls has mixed dancing events, women wore sleveless and almost no women covered their hair outside of shul. … This had nothing to do with Conservative Judaism..

    Yes, and in more suburban areas, a high fraction of the MO congregants drove to shul on Shabbat. All this had little to do with CJ, but not much to do with halacha either. It was no golden age.

  150. Hoffa Araujo says:

    “It was no golden age.”

    Except that it is protrayed as such by many LW posters here. It was a time of great ignorance or indifference to halochoh by what today is referred to as MO-lite. The YI dances, for example – they were used by those concerned that its better for American teenagers to mix dance in a shul rather than in a dance club and it retained allegiance. It was also a very extreme indulgence of the culture of America in those days.

    I just read an interview with R’ Pinchas Stolper about his days with NCSY. One of the things he had to fight against was the acceptability of mixed dancing in Orthodox settings, with the organs of Orthodoxy or shul boards approving of such activity. Mixed swimming as well.

    Thinking further about the comments I posted yesterday, and seeing the left turn of Open Orthodoxy, I see really of combination of egalitarianism of heterodox movements with Orthodox conduct like shmiras shabbos and kashrus. Therefore, like Reconstructionist, Reform, and CJ, you have in OO women rabbis, women layning in public, changes in liturgy (ie. Avos and Imahos) that are inclusive, women wearing tallisos, counting women as part of a minyan (either as first 10 or waiting for 10 men and 10 women to be present), etc. This is much different then religious indifference by people who accepted women wearing pants, not coveirng hair, mixed dances and swimming; those are a reflection of the times when indiffence to issues raised by these things.

  151. emma says:

    ““If a certain halacha is very hard to keep, would you make an effort to keep it?” Apparently, not only is your answer no, but you can’t imagine anyone else answering yes!”

    Absolutely not. The point is this: what the halacha is often depends on circumstances, to a degree. You present a situation in which there is a mainstream (in your view) position that X is mandatory, and an unconvincing but definitely extant position that X is not mandatory. Saying that under extenuating circumstances (put aside my example, but think of something that is not pikuach nefesh but is still very trying) you would rely on the minority opinion is not the same as saying that you would discard halacha if it got too hard, is it?

    “The issue of women who feel a spiritual lack with the current format of prayer is quite similar to the spiritual lack I sometimes feel with the current format”

    I fundamentally agree that our communities have problems with shul and davening that have nothing to do with women per se, and that are in many ways more fundamental.

    So perhaps i should reformulate nachat ruach – it has to do specifically with being able to do, or think that you are doing, some ritual that you perceive as important. Not just “get religious value” but “get religious value where you would otherwise feel excluded.” In any case, what do you make of the idea of nachat ruach? Could it have any applicability today?

  152. joel rich says:

    R david s,
    The. Difference is imho everyone knows talking and cheating are wrong (they just rationalize it) with wedge issues the debate is whether it Is wrong
    Kt

  153. David S says:

    “David S: Look at this blog’s posts over the past two months and count how many are on women’s issues. Not many.”

    Since this line of discussion has been done to death already over the years (on this blog) perhaps it just seems like every week there is a new post and lets face it, this is Part II! But to be fair, perhaps its just that its constantly on other blogs. Maybe it sells papers.

    I’m sorry that there is not a black letter ruling that you can rely upon here and that there is a legitimate argument for the other side.

    Ultimately, I don’t believe that any real effort is made by most old line O rabbis to actually engage with the people on the other side of the debate. Engaging with some texts…yes, people?…who needs them!

    Nobody should have the temerity to say “you should be satisfied with things as they are” without trying to walk a mile in that persons shoes. I see almost none of that. Its just the cold shoulder. Imperious and aloof.

    Well sorry folks, you don’t have an airtight case here. Its quite possible to quibble. And in such cases, the great Rabbi’s of the past took the path of leniency. Even where they did not one has to wonder why something so simple was not put to bed in an authoritative manner hundreds of years ago, especially when we know how punctilious the Rabbaim were about the most minute things.

    The point is, there IS room for disagreement and I for one pray that the Partnership Minyanim succeed in their mission and attract people who are looking for greater opportunities for participation WITHIN the bounds of Halacha.

  154. IH says:

    Shlomo, Hoffa — And the Rav’s wife and his sister Mrs. Gerber didn’t cover their hair outside because why?

  155. sp says:

    because we are human’s and humans are imperfect? I’m sure plenty of rabbis have wives that speak lashon hara too.

  156. emma says:

    “I’m sure plenty of rabbis have wives that speak lashon hara too.”

    (and plenty of rabbis themselves, too…)

  157. IH says:

    Or maybe some of what RWMO view today as Halacha le’Moshe mi’Sinai wasn’t viewed that way by many in Modern Orthodoxy (a mesorah maintained by LWMO).

  158. IH says:

    Emma — I thought, but bit my tongue so as not to be perceived as un-civil ;-)

  159. Hirhurim says:

    David S: Since this line of discussion has been done to death already over the years (on this blog) perhaps it just seems like every week there is a new post and lets face it, this is Part II!

    It’s not like I solicited a 35 page paper for the blog. It came to me and I provided a platform. And then when Morethodoxy did not post R. Freundel’s response, I agreed to post it (although now it’s there as a comment). And now that the discussion is going, there might be another post (a book review I’ve been working on for a while) and possibly another post. I don’t like the repetition but I think the book review will add another important perspective.

    In total, this discussion will take up only a week and a half (more or less). Hardly an undue fascination.

  160. sp says:

    except LWMO also disdains the concept of “Maaseh Rav”, but that’s exactly what you are expecting here.

    The main inconsistency I see in LWMO is there use/acceptance/placing on a pedestal of “critical/textual” type skills when it comes to non halachik matters, but not when it comes to halachik matters.

    now, it could be possible that they have a different halachik philosophy, but that might differ from the rest of orthodoxy (and might be more similar to the conservative movement).

  161. Hirhurim says:

    David S: Nobody should have the temerity to say “you should be satisfied with things as they are” without trying to walk a mile in that persons shoes. I see almost none of that. Its just the cold shoulder. Imperious and aloof.

    Additionally, this is not entirely true. I am willing to tell people to be satisfied with the status quo. R. Freundel is not. But sometimes the response to a request will be no.

  162. IH says:

    I’m sorry sp, but it sounds like you are speaking with no first-hand experience and are just repeating what others have told you (possibly even spreading lashon ha’ra yourself).

  163. sp says:

    IH: not really. I firmly implanted in the MO world (what some might even consider MO Lite), try to be intellectually honest on how we approach things.

  164. IH says:

    sp — then I am not understanding your point. You seem to be saying that because LWMO (or more correctly, Legacy MO) has similarities with Conservative (e.g. by recognizing historical evidence in the consideration of psak) that makes it somehow less authentic. Did I misunderstand or miss something critical?

  165. IH says:

    [a classic case being whether a married woman must cover her hair, or wear clothing considered "normal" in civil society.]

  166. Shlomo says:

    under extenuating circumstances … you would rely on the minority opinion

    There are minority opinions and there are minority opinions. What we call a “daat yachid” opinion, for example, is rejected and does not have any bearing on halacha. That is a good thing, because otherwise prudence would indicate that we take into account a whole bunch of strict minority opinions on serious subjects (i.e. issurei karet/skilah), which would make life very difficult. To ignore those strict opinions, and then to rely on equally peripheral lenient sources when desired, is inconsistent.

  167. Hoffa Araujo says:

    LWMO/OO has no mesorah. If you want to criticize Chareidim for their combing texts for new chumros, LWMO, to appear halachic, combs for obscure sources and daatiyot yachid as textual basis for their changes.

  168. sp says:

    No, I don’t think your conception of “legacy MO” in terms of psak has a basis in reality. i.e. just because the people in the jewish center in the 1950s might have behaved a certain way, doesn’t mean that R Jung thought it was the optimal way. I’d even go a step further, just because R Jung behaved a certain way, doesn’t mean that he felt it was the optimal/ideal way. (which goes back to my concept that we are human and far from perfect).

    I’d say just the opposite, LWMO (and C) are generally willing to hang on tenuous halachik readings and whatever minute halachik support they can find to maintain their world view (though arguably the same happens in chareidi circles as well in specific cases and perhaps in all circles, I just notice it more amongst my peers). The type of arguments they make when it comes to halacha seem as sound as arguing that intelligent design should be taught as science.

  169. ruvie says:

    Machshavos -” concepts like Partnership Minyanim and female rabbis. Am I incorrect in my belief that such notions were not considered Orthodox “way back when MO was MO?””

    these ideas – whether possibilities, desires or needs – didn’t exist back then. so really no much to discuss. don’t know why you added female rabbis to the mix. i focused on the issue of kol isha – mentioned by MY – that the majority of MO view it as non issue in most settings esp. saying zemirot and tehilim. similar to not covering their hair like the rav’s wife and many other religious folks in the mo community.

    Shlomo – i am sure some congregants drove to shul in non-mo orthodox shuls too. they just weren’t religious. not unusual but rare. no one accepted that as part of the mo world. some eat treif i am sure – does that mean the mo world accepts that as halachikally acceptable?

    Hoffa – Some prefer the smell of revisionism in the morning; others, napalm. i neither.

  170. ruvie says:

    sp – “just because R Jung behaved a certain way, doesn’t mean that he felt it was the optimal/ideal way”

    do you think he would violate halacha? that is the only concern in this discussion – to permit the permitted within halacha and the halachik process.

  171. sp says:

    I think rabbis of all generations have tried to chose their battles wisely.

  172. IH says:

    The type of arguments they make when it comes to halacha seem as sound as arguing that intelligent design should be taught as science.

    sp — I think you have a broader issue and I would advise against reading Daf Yomi. Here is an interesting example from B. Shabbat 78a. I am quoting from the Koren translation so I don’t need to manually type it in and I am not carrying through the bold indications:

    We learned in the mishna: And the measure that determines liability for all other liquids is a quarter of a log. The Sages taught in a Tosefta: The measure that determines liability for carrying out blood and all types of liquids on Shabbat is a quarter of a log. Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: The measure that determines liability for blood is less than that. The measure that determines liability for carrying out blood is equivalent to that which is used to apply to one eye, as one applies blood to heal a wart on the eye. The Gemara asks: And what type of blood effects this cure? The blood of a wild chicken Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel says: The measure that determines liability for carrying out blood is equivalent to that which is used to apply to one eye, as one applies blood to heal a cataract And what type of blood effects this cure? The blood of a bat. And a mnemonic to ensure that you do not confuse these cures: Inside for inside, outside for outside. The blood of a bat, which lives in inhabited areas, for the cataract, which is inside the eye; the blood of a wild chicken, which lives outside inhabited areas, for the wart, which is external to the eye.

  173. IH says:

    And perhaps this example is an even better illustration of what you seem to find problematic in LWMO (from B. Shabbat 80a):

    We learned in the mishna: Th e measure that determines liability for carrying out blue eye shadow is equivalent to that which is used to paint one eye blue. The Gemara asks: How could the mishna say one eye? Women do not paint only one eye blue. Rav Huna said: Because modest women, who cover their faces with a veil, paint only the one eye that shows blue. The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: For carrying out blue eye shadow, if it is used for healing, the measure for liability is equivalent to that which is used to paint one eye blue; if it is used to adorn the eye, the measure that determines liability for carrying out is equivalent to that which is used for two eyes. Hillel, son of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naĥmani, explained it: When this baraita was taught it was in reference to village women. Because immodest behavior is less common there, women do not customarily cover their faces.

  174. David S says:

    “Additionally, this is not entirely true. I am willing to tell people to be satisfied with the status quo. R. Freundel is not. But sometimes the response to a request will be no.”

    This is true, a pig can never be Kosher, but there are ways of working with people that enable them to feel that you are an their side even if you have to tell them hard facts. Joe Friday would have made a crappy Rabbi, but that is what seems to pass for wisdom these days. What happened to being humble?

    I defer to the Sephardic masters who chose to bring people close to Judaism rather then to stand as judge and jury over them. When it comes to a person who wants to glorify God in whatever way they can, surely they should be encouraged in this to the maximal way allowed. In other words, it argues for leniency. I know the counter argument “these women seek to glorify themselves and not god”, but who can discern someones heart better than God. Why step into his place?

  175. ruvie says:

    sp – “I think rabbis of all generations have tried to chose their battles wisely”

    i think you need to read some history of halacha and its development to get a better understanding of today via the past. just an opinion. see jacob katz, ta-shma et al. “the shabbos goy” is a good start.

  176. IH says:

    But sometimes the response to a request will be no.

    But, let’s be clear: there is at least one bona fide posek (R. Sperber) who says yes. So, for those who chose him, yesh al ma lismoch. If you disagree, just don’t participate.

  177. Hirhurim says:

    David S: What people like Prof. Aryeh Frimer and R. Barry Freundel have is that when working with Orthodox feminists, as soon as you give an answer they don’t like, they feed you to the dogs. Maybe it’s their fault for having a bad bedside manner. I don’t know anyone who thinks that is the reason.

    IH: Yes, and in the 80′s they could have had R. Joel Roth.

  178. IH says:

    Another interpretation is that Prof. Aryeh Frimer and R. Barry Freundel thought that if they threw them a bone, the Orthodox feminists would go away.

    Your character assasination of R. Sperber (as Conservative, like R. Joel Roth) is beyond contempt and betrays the obssesion you deny having in your response to David S.

  179. Hirhurim says:

    Character assasination??? Chas ve-shalom. I know R. Roth personally and have great respect for him. I don’t know why you are so hung up on denomination labels. R. Sperber isn’t or he wouldn’t be the dean of a yeshiva run by Conservative rabbis.

  180. Hoffa Araujo says:

    Hoffa – Some prefer the smell of revisionism in the morning; others, napalm. i neither.

    The only engaging in revisionism you.

  181. Hirhurim says:

    Threw them a bone? That hardly serves as an accurate representation of their involvement with Orthodox feminism.

  182. Jon Baker says:

    Hey, nobody forced R’ Sperber to become the head of a Conservative seminary in Canada. Perhaps C in Canada is closer to Mod-O in the US; still, why should he be treated as less of a traitor than Alice Shalvi in JOFA circles?

  183. IH says:

    Gil, Gil, Gil:

    IH on October 29, 2011 at 11:21 pm
    Prof. Frimer — Sorry, is it Rabbi Sperber or Prof. Sperber?

    Aryeh Frimer on October 30, 2011 at 9:38 am
    IH,
    It is Rabbi Prof. Sperber. He has smicha from Yeshivat Kol Torah in
    Israel, earned a doctorate from University College, London in the
    departments of Ancient History and Hebrew Studies. And is a Prof.
    Emeritus in Talmud at Bar Ilan University. In 1992, Sperber won the
    Israel Prize, for Jewish studies. See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Sperber We have served together on
    a variety of Committees. He is a wonderful scholar and a genuine ba’al
    middot. Despite our sparring on women’s issues, we get along personally
    very well .

    IH on October 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm
    As you are aware, the title “Prof.” has been used in Jewish Cultural Wars
    by Orthodox Rabbis to avoid calling Rabbis of other denominations (even
    those with Orthodox smicha) their due.

    I trust from your response that you categorically consider Rabbi Prof.
    Sperber wholly Orthodox, even though you spar with him on halachic
    issues related to women.

    Aryeh Frimer on October 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm
    Yes

  184. Hirhurim says:

    IH: I don’t see how that is relevant in any way. Would you ignore Prof. Saul Lieberman’s pesakim because he was Conservative and/or preferred to be called Professor?

  185. IH says:

    You know, Gil, like the Brits say: when you find yourself in a hole the first thing is — stop digging!

    R. Sperber is Orthodox through and through and for those who hold by him yesh al ma lismoch. If you disagree, don’t participate.

  186. Hirhurim says:

    IH: So was Prof. Lieberman! You’re the one who seems to be focused exclusively on labels, not me.

  187. Hirhurim says:

    So you agree, Prof. Joel Roth is just as much a posek as Prof. Daniel Sperber. Glad we cleared that up.

  188. Elanit says:

    IH: you asked earlier today if Kesher Israel welcomes in a female mourner in the same fashion as we welcome in male mourners. The answer is yes, we do that.

  189. Anonymous says:

    Ruvie:

    “these ideas – whether possibilities, desires or needs – didn’t exist back then. so really no much to discuss. don’t know why you added female rabbis to the mix. i focused on the issue of kol isha”

    I know you were focused on kol isha and not female rabbis. But you seemed to be arguing that good-’ol-days MO included MO and therefore by opposing kol isha one is not MO. It seems to follow from there that – as good-’ol-days MO didn’t approve of female rabbis, people in favor of female rabbis are not MO. I was asking if my analysis of your viewpoint is correct.

    By the way, while it is true that things like Partnership minyanim didn’t exist decades ago, I’m not sure that means there’s nothing to discuss.

  190. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie wrote:

    “it may be in the eye of the beholder. i do believe what was centrist or the norm 30 years ago today may be viewed as left today. 30 years the norm in mo – wearing pants, not covering one’s hair, co-ed camps where girls wore pants as well as shorts – this includes morasha (yu affiliate) and moshava- as well as girls/women singing. lets not forget yu’s yearly opera benefit.”

    let’s not forget the quaintly named “bush patrol” at Morasha and the well known MTA/Central blind date party.

  191. Machshavos says:

    Ruvie:

    “these ideas – whether possibilities, desires or needs – didn’t exist back then. so really no much to discuss. don’t know why you added female rabbis to the mix. i focused on the issue of kol isha”

    You seemed to be saying that since kol isha was part of good-ol’-days MO, people opposed to it are incorrectly described as MO. Following that logic, it would seem that since good-ol’-days MO didn’t allow for female rabbis, those in favor of female rabbis are not accurately described as MO. Am I understanding you correctly?

    Also, while partnernship minyanim didn’t exist back in the day, I’m not sure means that an golden age framework for MO can’t have an opinion.

  192. Steve Brizel says:

    MY-great post!

  193. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Machshavos — You do know that in the 50s and 60s UWS Modern Orthodox shuls has mixed dancing events, women wore sleveless and almost no women covered their hair outside of shul. The womrn were also big into Mizrachi Women (now AMIT) and Hadassah in regard to Zionism. Ramaz School (and KJ outside of services) have always permitted girl/women solo singers.

    This had nothing to do with Conservative Judaism”

    It also was unjsutifiable from a halachic POV.

  194. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote in part:

    “Further, in the 1970s there were few, if any, black hats at the annual Salute to Israel Day Parade. Some were anti-Zionist, but most were just indifferent to public support for Medinat Yisrael.

    These days, it is a sea of black”

    That is utter nonsense and completely untrue, from my POV as a spectator for many years. Most of the spectators are MO parents and siblings. FWIW, R M Willig marches with YU together with President Joel.

  195. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “R. Sperber is Orthodox through and through and for those who hold by him yesh al ma lismoch. If you disagree, don’t participate”

    FWIW, one can agree that R Sperber’s Minhagei Yisrael is a great sefer, and view his book on Tefilah as simply wrong on the sources and such basics as the difference between Lchatchilah and Bdieved, as shown by R D Frimer.

  196. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie wrote:

    “to ih point which reminded of the fact that young israel 50 plus years ago had singles mix dancing events on a regular basis. that was normative in the mo world”

    So was am haaratzus and viewing Orthodoxy as having no message for American Jewry. The good old days in this sense are viewed with the same jaundiced eye as communists view the FSU and KKK members viewed the War Between the States ( as opposed to the Civil War )

  197. Steve Brizel says:

    I don’t see R Freundel entering this debate, but it is evident that by sanctioning such a practice, it opened a veritable can of worms, at least to those who oppose the feminists “setting fire to the Beis Yisrael”, to paraphrase RYBS’s comment in the shiur on Gerus. I stand by my comment that those who support the feminist agenda vis a vis halachic innovation need to be viewed as exhibiting what Rambam described as Cholei HaNefesh-because such issues impact on how they view Halacha and Hashkafa-while causing them to lose sight of other more important issues. Who can forget the dawdling on this blog on such issues in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, as if the plight of Acheinu Bnei Yisrael within a short drive way was , seemingly irrelevant?

  198. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie wrote:

    “understand the view from those outside the mo camp that basically mo are not only makil on halacha but do what they want because they are modern and kick halacha to the curbside. i just do not think that is accurate. perhaps my comment on why rwmo is yeshivish is a little bit overstated. but sometimes i wonder why more or less yeshivish folk want to consider themselves mo (like gil for example). i have no problem if they do but object when they try to redefine what is centrist mo or mo and tell others things are assur. i believe they grew up mo and do not want to admit they have moved to the right into yeshivish territory (while yeshivish has also moved further to the right).”

    Like it or not, R Gil, like many, including myself, beleieve that we can emulate the best aspects of the MO and Charedi worlds while rejecting their extremes, and ignorance that is viewed as being a card-carrying MO or Charedi. We do not see being Meikil or Machmir as a virtue, but rather being Mdakdek Bmitzvos-there is a huge difference.

  199. IH says:

    FWIW, one can agree that R Sperber’s Minhagei Yisrael is a great sefer, and view his book on Tefilah as simply wrong on the sources and such basics as the difference between Lchatchilah and Bdieved, as shown by R D Frimer.

    Steve – it’s extraordinary how much smarter you are than R. Broyde, who stated here on Hirhurim just a few months ago “He is a huge talmid chacham, whose writings and legacy has and will outshine anything I ever will do. I do not agree with him on a few matters, but I wish I lived in New York so I could hear him lecture.”

    The lecture can be viewed at http://www.afbiu.org/biu-news/rabbi-sperbers-why-modern-orthodoxy-is-true-orthodoxy-lecture

  200. IH says:

    IH: you asked earlier today if Kesher Israel welcomes in a female mourner in the same fashion as we welcome in male mourners. The answer is yes, we do that.

    Elanit — Many thanks. עוד יש תקווה

  201. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Steve – it’s extraordinary how much smarter you are than R. Broyde, who stated here on Hirhurim just a few months ago “He is a huge talmid chacham, whose writings and legacy has and will outshine anything I ever will do. I do not agree with him on a few matters, but I wish I lived in New York so I could hear him lecture”

    I stand by my comment, which is based in no small part on the analysis of R Frimer. I think that R Broyde is being charitable as to the areas that he does not agree with R Sperber, especially in the subject at hand.

  202. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Machshavos — You do know that in the 50s and 60s UWS Modern Orthodox shuls has mixed dancing events, women wore sleveless and almost no women covered their hair outside of shul. The womrn were also big into Mizrachi Women (now AMIT) and Hadassah in regard to Zionism. Ramaz School (and KJ outside of services) have always permitted girl/women solo singers.”

    Let’s not forget that R S Riskin was very critical of extended singlehood and “tefilin dates.”

  203. joel rich says:

    emulate the best aspects of the MO and Charedi worlds while rejecting their extremes
    ===============================
    Worth a post on its own. I have to disagree unless this is articulating a sociological observation (e.g. one thinks one subgroup actually prays better). IMHO the aspiration is to excel at what we believe is the correct path (e.g. if MOLite does something we feel is inappropriate, it doesn’t make us want to emulate chareidi practice but to be better MO)
    KT

  204. IH says:

    This has been a fascinating discussion. As I mentioned in round one, as a young man in 1979 or 1980, I predicted to a few friends, including my future wife, there would be a Modern Orthodox Female Rabbi in 30 years.

    Reflecting on the poor argumentation, bordering on hysterical, to the contrary — which at the end of the day is almost entirely sociological in nature — I am more optimistic than ever that the innovations of Partnership Minyanim will be mainstream Modern Orthodox (of the KJ/JC and Kesher Israel variety) in my lifetime. There will be a rump of opposition, just as with Zionism, but no one will care.

  205. IH says:

    And if you don’t believe me, here’s Rabbis Broyde and Brody quoting R. Lamm in an article in Hakira:

    At the same time, things have to be done gradually. To have a woman learn Gemara a generation or two ago like women learn Gemara today would have been too revolutionary. But with time, things change; time answers a lot of questions, erodes discomfort, and helps. So my answer, when I was asked by a reporter about what I think about women rabbis, was, basically: “It’s going too fast.” I did not say it was wrong, I did not say it was right. It just has not paced itself properly. I was criticized, of course. People asked, “You mean that al pi din they.’re allowed to become rabbis?” My response: “I don’t know.—are you sure they’re not allowed to?”

  206. ruvie says:

    Anon – i never used the terminology of the good old days or the golden age. i try to describe what was acceptable by the rabbis of the community, the schools which were under their guidance, the shuls and the summer camps – especially morasha which is a yu affiliate and camp rabbis include r’ jack rabinowitz, r’ blech and others. its hard to believe that rabbis allowed acts – and participated in -that were assur by halacha which they had direct veto power. kol isha was a non-issue. your analysis is not correct and torturous at best. there is nothing to discuss in regards to the old days for partnership minyans not that there is nothing to discuss today about partnership minyans. i hope you see the difference. each generations has it issues and needs to deal with them in their context of their times – it doesn’t mean it can’t learn from previous ones but that not all the variables are the same.

    steve b. – there was nothing wrong with the mta/central blind date party.

  207. ruvie says:

    Machshavos – like Anon. – your logic is faulty. please see above and extrapolate. i am more interested to know why you think kol isha is not acceptable to the mo community when 30-40 yrs ago it was. what has change in your opinion.

  208. Machshavos says:

    Ruvie:

    Forgive me if I’m misunderstanding, but it seems to me as if you’re trying to sidestep my question. Your writing seems to indicate that you think you’ve answered my question; if you have, I’ve missed the answer. (I should say, if you don’t want to answer, you need not. It just sounds like you think you have already.)

    Slightly edited (based on your comments) here is my question again:

    You seemed to be saying that since kol isha was part of 1965 MO, people opposed to it are incorrectly described as MO. Following that logic, it would seem that since 1965 MO didn’t allow for female rabbis, those in favor of female rabbis are not accurately described as MO. I am apparently not understanding you correctly. Can you tell me where I’ve gone wrong?

  209. IH says:

    The textual sources for interpreting what is halachically Kol Isha has not changed between 1965 and now; what has changed is the sociological use of it as a litmus test of frumkeit by the right wing of Orthodoxy. The interpretation of the halacha by those now called LWMO is exactly the same as it was in 1965 when they were called MO; whereas those now opposed identified as “Yeshvish” in 1965. In other words, what has changed between 1965 and now is the sociology, not the thing itself.

    The notion of a female Rabbi did not exist in any of the denominations in 1965: the first Reform female Rabbi was ordained in 1972, Reconstructionist in 1974, Conservative in 1985 and Orthodox in 2010. It is a new thing that did not exist in 1965, so there is no logical comparison the Kol Isha. Not only was everyone MO opposed, they couldn’t even fathom the question in 1965. In other words, what has changed between 1965 and now is the thing itself, not the sociology.

    See under: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/presentism

  210. ruvie says:

    Machshavos – see IH above. its not that kol isha was “part”of MO in 1965. Like covering one’s hair kol isha was a non issue in an halachik sense among its members and its rabbis as acceptable practice – there were some who did cover their hair but a very small minority. i do not recall anyone in the mo world that had any concern of this issue – not in shuls,schools or camps where rabbis had veto power over the practices of its members. in fact, if you covered your hair and abided by kol isha you were probably not mo but yeshivish. does this (plus IH comment above) answer your question?

    your have gone wrong because your analogy is faulty – just read it. btw, your issue about women rabbis(rabbah) has less halachik challenges – if any- than either kol isha or women not covering their hair [not that i am in favor of women rabbis - which currently i am not].

  211. IH says:

    Following up on the point raised by Machshavos, just as the question of a female Rabbis was not fathomable in 1965, this was also the case for Partnership Minyanim which were not fathomable within Orthodoxy until R. Mendel Shapiro wrote his article in 1999 about the halacha of women and Torah reading. We are now 11 years into the process of socialization. The analog is Zionism (or Chassidism before that, or Kabbalism before that, or Aristotelian Rationalism before that…). Time will tell.

  212. IH says:

    For clarity, 11 years since the formation of the Shira Chadasha in Jerusalem and Darkhei Noam in NYC. The first Partnership Minyanim.

  213. emma says:

    “11 years…The first Partnership Minyanim.” Technically i believe the Lieder Minyan gets that distinction?

  214. Jon Baker says:

    Dam, I just wrote a whole long comment and it disappeared.

    A bit of a timeline:

    0) in 1987, a Halachic Havurah asked a number of MO rabbis about a woman leading Kabbalat Shabbat, and did so a few times. R Eliezer Berkovits and yblch”t R’ Yossi Adler at Rinat in Teaneck permitted, while R’ Joel Wolowelsky forbade.

    1) yes, the Leader (not Lieder) Minyan goes back to 1989, and started giving aliyot to women in 1992.

    2) The Mendel Shapiro article was published in 2001.

    3) Shira Chadasha started almost right after the article, maybe even a bit before it, Darchei Noam about a year later.

    4) 2010: R Avi Weiss permits a woman to lead Kabbalat Shabbat, but not in the main shul: http://www.hir.org/forms_2010/additionalks.pdf

  215. IH says:

    Incidentally, over Shabbat I was looking up Kabbalat Shabbat in Reif’s Judaism and Hebrew Prayer and just remembered I had read this relevant point (pp, 247-8):

    In order to understand how it was that the bitter controversies surrounding the Sabbatean movement in the seventeenth century did not prevent the spread of many if the liturgical usages of the kabbalists of the previous two centuries, it is necessary to draw a distinction between the philosophy and lifestyle of the pietists who promoted these usages and the more mundane existence of the everyday Jews, whether rabbis or simply worshippers, who adopted them in synagogues. While the texts and practices were attractive and won a place in the prayer-book, the more intense and systematic approach to kabbalah remained a matter for the few. Consequently, when the ‘profound upheaval’ brought about by Shabbethai Sevi and his followers rocked the Jewish mystical world and led to strong reactions against the mystical approach, those who tried to discredit all the kabbalistic additions to the prayer-book achieved only a very limited success.

    Perhaps herein lies an explanation of why a growing number of MO are not bothered by the “Conservative” epithet. It’s just a minyan for davening; there is no “movement” to either embrace or reject.

  216. emma says:

    (thanks for the history, and sorry for the misspelling. your Leader Minyan link does not work, but looks like you meant: http://leaderminyan.blogspot.com/)

  217. ruvie says:

    Machshavos – perhaps another example of modesty/erva and halachik change would help illustrate the point: gemera in TB Berachot 61a states: דתניא לא יהלך אדם אחורי אשה בדרך ואפי’ אשתו נזדמנה לו על הגשר יסלקנה לצדדין וכל העובר אחורי אשה בנהר אין לו חלק לעולם הבא
    “it has been
    taught: A man should not walk behind a woman on the road,
    and even if his wife happens to be in
    front of him on a bridge he should let her pass on one side, and whoever crosses a river behind a
    woman will have no portion in the future world.”

    rambam stated this as halacha in chapter 21 on hilchot bi’ah halacha 23 as well as semag, tur and sulchan arukh. yet even the most strict walk in the streets where women walk (or even in the shuk) and hence violate this halacha – how? perhaps we can rely on the leket yosher in the name of the trumat hadeshen:

    ‘He also said that it is permissible to walk behind a friend’s wife … because in these times we
    are not so careful about [not] walking behind a woman’.

    do we accuse the trumat hadeshen of throwing halacha out the window or am haretzut because times and attitudes have change? it would seem he is explaining why the amcha does not follow this halacha. is it similar to kol isha or covering one’s hair (btw, pre-wwII many ry wives in the litvish world did not cover their hair -its not a mo thing)? does the custom of the times and context matter in cases of modesty and erva? of course, one cannot use this logic in all cases otherwise there will be no torah left. when can it be used or not is not something i am qualified to opine on – consult the scholars/poskim of your choice. but yesh ma l’smoch and its not am haretzut or mo lite thing.

    now to your point. do you label the religious jews at that time who disregarded the gemera and poskim as not observant or lite (btw, it seems the practice is well in advance of any type of rabbinic approval)?
    orthodox partnership minyans and women rabbis were not on the radar of anyone (or possible) in the ortho community in 1965 so anyone advocating that then would not have been inside the community but today they are whether it becomes accepted or not – only time and the acceptance among the people will tell – not sure whether rabbis matter as much as people think – like the reits 5.

  218. Machshavos says:

    Ruvie and IH:

    I am sorry for using the year 1965. Let’s go with 1973.

    And Ruvie, I’m sorry, but I’m not catching the error in my analogy.

  219. IH says:

    Let’s go with 1973.

    Doesn’t change anything, as per my comment above. But, feel free to believe what you like.

  220. ruvie says:

    MNachshavis – “You seemed to be saying that since kol isha was part of 1965 MO, people opposed to it are incorrectly described as MO” — not necessarily. there were a small minority that covered their hair back then or 1973 (i think) but the attitude wasn’t they were OPPOSE to those that don’t. but if you covered your hair, abide by kol isha, wore a black hat – then you weren’t probably mo. thats all. today you have in mo that person (not sure about what kol isha means to them if it includes tv, radio etc – there are “heterim”) but i would say that is the hareidization of mo.

    “Following that logic, it would seem that since 1965 MO didn’t allow for female rabbis, those in favor of female rabbis are not accurately described as MO”
    N/A ..if then in 1965 they advocated for female rabbis then yes they were not part of mo but today yes (its possible they are). if 100 years ago you advocated for women learning, gemera too, voting, boards of shuls, mayor of a town, etc – what were you? today what are you?
    i hope this answers the question

  221. IH says:

    From (the dated) http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/femalerabbi.html

    “In 1993, Haviva Krasner-Davidson [5] applied to Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school, the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. She never received a response. Instead, it has been reported to her that her application was ridiculed at a Purim shpiel (Nadell 218, Ner-David 196-198).”

    —–

    And just last week in The Jewish Week (linked on Hirhurim):

    “In 1974 she [R. Joy Levitt] applied to the rabbinical school at JTS, only to learn that women at the time were not admitted. “That was a radicalizing moment,” she said, and earned her ordination at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, serving in the pulpit for two decades.”

  222. anon says:

    FYI – a recent relevant shiur from Rabbi Mayer Twersky – Chinuch Habanos: What Should We Want for Our Daughters?

  223. Nachum says:

    I was at that Purim shpiel! The ridicule was actually directed at various Roshei Yeshiva, the conceit of the bit being how each one would react to having a woman in his shiur. (R’ Bronspiegel: “Oh, you *know* they’re out to get me. That’s why they put her in my shiur.” etc.) The Purim newspapers also had a good time with it, but no ridicule of her, as far as I know. I’ll have to dig in my archives. There was a column supposedly authored by her called “Why I’m applying to Stern” or something, but that was it.

    But come on: She pulls what was obviously a publicity stunt and gets offended when it’s treated as that not by the administration (which politely ignored it) but by a bunch of undergrads? Please. That’s like publicizing the fact that you make first-period parties for your daughter and not expecting…oh, wait.

  224. Hirhurim says:

    IH: Am I correct in understanding your point to be that since the Conservatives cave to societal demand, the Orthodox will also?

  225. joel rich says:

    http://www.torahweb.org/cgi-bin/download.pl?name=2012/girlsgap/rtwe_122412.mp3
    Rav Mayer Twersky-Chinuch Habanos: What Should We Want for Our Daughters?
    Girls education varies by the community. The importance of their role and of tzniut (realizing you are always before HKB”H) can’t be understated.
    Time constraints vary by age and stage so there’s no reason women shouldn’t pray b’tzibbur when it’s not at the cost of other priorities – same thing with learning (me – time is our most precious resource, and our most perishable).

    KT

  226. Hoffa Araujo says:

    ruvie – are there any times for you that kol ishah is assur? Or is the blanket heter so large that it big enought to fit a truck in?

    About (MO) Orthodoxy in 1965 and its issues versus what we see today. I agree that woman rabbis wasn’t on the radar. However, from the lenient practices MO congregants allowed (and not taking away from the MO/UO courage to keep Shabbos at odds with a Sunday Sabbath and work expectations of the time and to keep kashrus) it mirrored the values of middle-class America. Since women becoming clergy was not considered mainstream or allowed even in mainstream protestant streams, Orthodoxy wouldn’t have considered it either. That has since changed and so does (LW) MO. So there may be something to LWMO/OO being a continuation of what “classic” MO as claimed by IH and ruvie. Acceptance of changes in society become mirroed quite quickly in LWMO circles. Its like a weathervane of changes mores and social roles.

  227. emma says:

    “mirrored the values of middle-class America.”

    arguably the same is still true of all stripes of American orthodoxy, just some emphasize different “American” values. (eg, conspicuous consumption.)

    “Acceptance of changes in society become mirroed quite quickly in LWMO circles.”

    Again, this is true in many/most yeshivish (will not speak for chassidish) circles too, if you shift the “change” you are talking about from the hot-button culture-wars issues to, say, women in the workforce, pop psychology, childrearing practices, and probably many others.

  228. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie wrote:

    “steve b. – there was nothing wrong with the mta/central blind date party”

    Ask yourself whether it can be justified in the context of Ramban’s commentary at the beginning of Parshas Kedoshim and a verse in Parshas Tzitis.

  229. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie wrote:

    ” i try to describe what was acceptable by the rabbis of the community, the schools which were under their guidance, the shuls and the summer camps – especially morasha which is a yu affiliate and camp rabbis include r’ jack rabinowitz, r’ blech and others. its hard to believe that rabbis allowed acts – and participated in -that were assur by halacha which they had direct veto power.”

    This is more revisionist history at work which reminds me of how Communists and KKKers describe the lost causes of the FSU and the Confederacy before their respective demise. Again-Morasha had a bush patrol-ask anyone who was a counsellor what was its purpose-it wasnb’t for campers and staff who were at night activities or night seder.

  230. ruvie says:

    a response to r’ freundel’s post:

    http://morethodoxy.org/2013/01/30/partnership-minyanim-a-response-to-rabbi-barry-freundel-by-chaim-trachtman/

    final quote – which i believe i have recently posted from the same david berger article:
    “As David Berger points out in an thoughtful essay in the new book “Radical Responsibility” dedicated to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbis who adopted novel positions did not see themselves as capitulating to external circumstances but rather as formulating responses that they thought were right, that were compatible with their conception of the overall objectives of halakha. So too for those like Rabbi Sperber and Shapiro who have written in support of Partnership Minyanim.”

  231. Steve Brizel says:

    One can trace the rise of feminism within LW MO as a reaction to CJ’s granting women aliyos, etc, and the rising influence of feminism in the early 1970s.

  232. ruvie says:

    Hoffa – i am sure that sensual love songs sung in person by a woman would be questionable or prohibited. i didn’t measure the size of the truck or the tunnel :). does it matter?

    YU has an opera benefit, the rav went to the opera, morasha ( i think moshava too), ramaz, sar (i assume flatbush and frisch)etc had/have women solos – are they all by definition left wing?

  233. ruvie says:

    Hoffa – “Acceptance of changes in society become mirroed quite quickly in LWMO circles. Its like a weathervane of changes mores and social roles.’

    mo – (i don’t really know what lwmo is) quicker than the chareidi for sure (not that quick) but we are all – in orthodoxy – are effected/influenced by the values, morals and the ethics of the world at large. the question is how we deal with the issues or tensions therein. otherwise, our wives/daughters would be married at 10 or 12yrs of age, never leave the house and never educated(because of kolot rosh), never appear in public for communal events etc.

    an example – the change in status of a cheresh and his/her obligation in mitzvot is due to the society at large understanding and hence their status – and therefore a change in halacha or a reclassification of their halachik obligations. see the hatan sofer vs his grandson opinion in status and should they be educated among the non-jews. thank you the world society at large.

  234. emma says:

    “This is more revisionist history at work which reminds me of how Communists and KKKers describe the lost causes of the FSU and the Confederacy before their respective demise. Again-Morasha had a bush patrol-ask anyone who was a counsellor what was its purpose-it wasnb’t for campers and staff who were at night activities or night seder.”

    First, your analogies are apalling.
    Second, presumably the “bush patrol” was to keep people from doing certain aveiros. I.e., the camp tried to enforce halacha. That actually supports the idea that if they allowed something (girls singing) they thought it was muttar, no?

  235. Hoffa Araujo says:

    “Acceptance of changes in society become mirroed quite quickly in LWMO circles.”

    Again, this is true in many/most yeshivish (will not speak for chassidish) circles too, if you shift the “change” you are talking about from the hot-button culture-wars issues to, say, women in the workforce, pop psychology, childrearing practices, and probably many others.

    emma – that’s true. The consumerist culture hits Chareidim, especially where kollel couples try to live like they have a six-figure gross income.

    I should have been more specific: “progressive values” would be more like it.

  236. Tal Benschar says:

    Hirhurim on January 30, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    IH: Am I correct in understanding your point to be that since the Conservatives cave to societal demand, the Orthodox will also?

    Substitute “Modern Orthodox” for “Orthodox” and you have his point.

  237. ruvie says:

    Tal – yes, of course, you are oblivious and impervious to any societal demands/*changes.
    *kri u’ketiv

  238. Steg (dos iz nit der shteg) says:

    Am I missing something, or does Rabbi Freundel’s logic also asser women saying kaddish yatom?

  239. Atheodox Jew says:

    In Magen Avot there are a few words from the first three blessings and no reference to the last three at all

    It could well be that I’m not understanding your point – if that’s the case I apologize. But it sounds as if you’re saying that the Magen Avot paragraph is not a recap of the Shabbat Amidah, and that there’s no reference made to the last three brachot. You must be aware that this is called the bracha of “Me’ein Sheva” in Rabbinic literature, correct? And I can’t imagine you haven’t noticed that there IS mention of Avodah (“l’fanav na’avod b’yirah vafachad”), Hoda’ah (“v’nodeh lishmo”/”E-l ha’hoda’ot”) and Shalom (“Adon hashalom”)? So what exactly do you mean? Perhaps you can explain. Thanks!

  240. Tal Benschar says:

    Tal – yes, of course, you are oblivious and impervious to any societal demands/*changes.
    *kri u’ketiv

    Ruvie, do you know what a straw man argument is?

  241. emma says:

    “Am I missing something, or does Rabbi Freundel’s logic also asser women saying kaddish yatom?”

    Since kadish yatom is often said by multiple people at once, it is hard to say that it is a “chazzan” or “shat”z” function, no? In fact, it is precisely said _not_ by the usual chazzan under many circumstances…
    Perhaps his logic would extend to requiring a female mourner to be accompanied by a man, since if she says kaddish alone she is leading the community in something that it has accepted as mandatory and looks like a chazzan, but i am not sure of that either. The sources on kaddish being able to be said by a minor are pretty clear, whereas R. Freundel’s kabbalat shabbat (KS) argument also excludes minor males from leading KS. In short, saying kaddish yatom is explicitly treated as _not_ a shaliach tsibbur function…

  242. Steg (dos iz nit der shteg) says:

    emma:

    The original minhag in Ashkenaz, still practiced in some Yekke shuls, is to have only one mourner say any particular kaddish yatom. The kaddeishim are distributed among the mourners according to some complex rules (the Mishna Brura has a whole discussion of such rules). Even in many non-Yekke multiple-people-saying-kaddish-at-the-same-time shuls, all the yetomim gather together at the front of the shul, so it looks like some “leading” is going on, even if it’s a group of leaders.

  243. emma says:

    “The original minhag in Ashkenaz, still practiced in some Yekke shuls, is to have only one mourner say any particular kaddish yatom.”

    I believe I have heard some people suggest that it was in fact the divergence from this original minhag that allowed women to say kaddish. Certainly have never heard of a woman saying kaddish in such a shul (though that also has to do with the sociological reality of the surviving yekkish communities).

  244. emma says:

    Again, it is difficult to adopt any logic re: kaddish that would disallow minors from saying it, given the history, no?

  245. the.things.one.reads.on.blogs says:

    “Shlomo, Hoffa — And the Rav’s wife and his sister Mrs. Gerber didn’t cover their hair outside because why?”

    the rav’s wife didn’t cover her hair so that no one would suspect she was wearing tzizit :-) :-) :-)

  246. IH says:

    all the yetomim gather together at the front of the shul, so it looks like some “leading” is going on, even if it’s a group of leaders.

    Shhh. Don’t tell anyone it’s a German Reform minhag that was accepted by R. Zvi Hirsch Chajes:

    ״ומה שספרו לי כי באתה מקומות הנהיגו כי אין האבלים אומרים קדיש יתום כל אחד בפני עצמו, רק הש״ץ עומד על הבימה ואומר קדיש והאבלים עומדים סביב לו ואומרים אחריו מלה במלה, בין שאינם יודעים בין אותן שיודעים, ולדעתי היה תקנה טובה שלא לבייש את מי שאינו יודע״

    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=43015&st=&pgnum=17

  247. ruvie says:

    and rabbi farber directly responds to r’ freundel’s post above -

    http://morethodoxy.org/2013/01/30/partnership-minyanim-a-follow-up-by-rabbi-zev-farber/

    bottom line;
    “…question of who leads Qabbalat Shabbat seems a rather trivial one halakhically speaking, and it is only Rabbi Freundel that seems to believe that it is really “halakha” that is at stake here. In my opinion, most Orthodox rabbis, even the ones who oppose women leading Qabbalat Shabbat, would admit that it is not a question of halakha but one of sociology or public policy. Even though Rabbi Freundel disagrees, and believes it is one of halakha, for him to put such stock in his ḥiddush such that he can dismiss a large swath of halakhically observant men and women—even some rabbis—from the Orthodox camp is disappointing.’

  248. Steve Brizel says:

    Emma wrote:

    “First, your analogies are apalling.
    Second, presumably the “bush patrol” was to keep people from doing certain aveiros. I.e., the camp tried to enforce halacha. That actually supports the idea that if they allowed something (girls singing) they thought it was muttar, no?”

    Advocates of a “lost cause” always romanticize and glorify the same as so much better than the current-whether the lost cause was the MO of the 1950s, the antebellum south or Communism.

    My point re the “bush patrol” was that the same existed because the close proximimity of the boys and girls campuses created an atmospher that needed the same to ensure that improper behavior did not occur.

    FWIW, Morasha has come a long way from the days when the JSS kollel under R E Siff and the MTA Kollel under R Y Cohen were the major sources of learning, aside from the shiurim given to campers, and R N Lamm’s presence on camp. R M Willig has spent many summers with his Kollel

  249. emma says:

    you couldn’t think of a “lost cause” with less toxic connotations?

  250. Steve Brizel says:

    Emma wrote:

    “you couldn’t think of a “lost cause” with less toxic connotations?”

    Why? Lost causes , no matter the subject, share the same common-denominator-the lost cause , despite it being worthy today of historical interest, was always better than today’s alternative. That is precisely what is toxic about the idealization of lost causes.

  251. Nachum says:

    “Ask yourself whether it can be justified in the context of Ramban’s commentary at the beginning of Parshas Kedoshim and a verse in Parshas Tzitis.”

    This is rather silly. First, I have no idea how dating violates those things you cite. (You may have well have cited the opening of Even HaEzer, which no one adheres to.) Second, how would you propose couples meet? In the milk aisle?

    Now I see that JSS, R’ Siff, R’ Cohen, shiurim, and R’ Lamm are also chutz lamachaneh. Lovely.

  252. Tal Benschar says:

    This is rather silly. First, I have no idea how dating violates those things you cite. (You may have well have cited the opening of Even HaEzer, which no one adheres to.) Second, how would you propose couples meet? In the milk aisle?

    Nahum, you do understand the difference between young men and women in, say, their early 20s looking to get married dating, and 13-16 year olds in a summer camp, for whom marriage is the farthest thing on their mind, “dating” — meaning developing a close relationship with someone of the opposite sex (who is not their immediate relative.)

  253. Chaim Trachtman says:

    Rabbi Freundel’s two recent posts on Partnership Minyanim are very interesting and should provoke more investigation into the halakhic validity and feasibility of this new form of communal prayer. But as I read them, I found his closing remarks to Part II especially revealing. Rabbi Freundel expresses great pride that he was able to persuade the lay leadership of his synagogue, Kesher Israel, to modify its by-laws and allow a woman to be the president. I suspect that he is highlighting this because, knowing that the National Council of Young Israel came to the opposite conclusion, Rabbi Freundel wants to demonstrate that he is a friend of women. He asserts that he arrived at this position after careful review of the relevant halakhic material and offers this as a paradigm for resolution of current questions such as the permissibility of Partnership Minyanim — thorough objective analyses of halakhic sources followed by a course of action. But he ends on the following note, “There are things that halakha will allow women to do and we should explore that question objectively and from within an accepted and acceptable methodology of halakha. Partnership Minyanim do not meet that test and it is past time that this needs to be recognized.” The obvious question then to Rabbi Freundel is, “Do you think your psak about women and synagogue presidency will be uniformly accepted?” I can imagine that Rabbi Freundel’s position will be viewed as completely off the grid by some in the Modern Orthodox world. How would he respond to a colleague from NCYI who rejected his line of halakhic reasoning and disallowed the possibility of a woman to be synagogue president, who would call his decision an inauthentic Orthodox position? Diversity of thoughtful halakhic opinions is the rule rather than the exception on most issues. This reality is equally applicable to Partnership Minyanim and recognition of this fact might lead Rabbi Freundel to reconsider his categorical rejection of Partnership Minyanim. I may be wrong but my sense of Jewish legal tradition is that it has been remarkably open to a wide range of practice as long as there is uniformity within any defined community. Rabbi Freundel need not participate in a Partnership Minyan but one would hope that he could take a broader view that would countenance its inclusion within the large arena of Modern Orthodoxy.

    Chaim Trachtman, New Rochelle NY

  254. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-Tal expressed my POV on the issue quite well and I see no reason to elaborate.

  255. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-anyone who attended the JSS Kollel under R Siff and the NTA kollel under R Cohen can easily confirm that they learned, davened and ate totally separately apart in their own Beis Medrash and , dining quarters that were as far off the main Morasha campus as possible while still being on the camp grounds.

  256. Nachum says:

    Ah, Steve, you meant in terms of influence rather than seriousness. I didn’t grasp your meaning. OK.

    Tal, I thought we were talking about MTA/Central seniors, 17-18 years old, which is a bit different.

  257. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-I meant seriousness, which is the two Kollelim had their own Beis Medrash, dining quarters and bunks. As far as influence is concerned, there many prominent Rabbonim, mchanchim , Talmidie Chachamim , communal leaders and Bnei Torah who attended the JSS Kollel and R Cohen’s kollel. IIRC, R Willig’s Kollel was a much later addition.

  258. Tal Benschar says:

    Tal, I thought we were talking about MTA/Central seniors, 17-18 years old, which is a bit different.

    Nu, and is that better? How many “MTA/Central seniors, 17-18″ have any plans of marriage within the next 4-5 years?

  259. emma says:

    “How many “MTA/Central seniors, 17-18″ have any plans of marriage within the next 4-5 years?”

    What years are you talking about? That’s ages 21-23, which are not crazy times for frum kids, especially from kids with high school sweethearts, to get married…

  260. Nachum says:

    Steve: I meant influence on the rest of the camp. I thought you were saying it was a negative that they were isolated.

    Tal, non-Jews (the traditional ones) meet their spouses in high school a lot. These people are about to graduate- that’s when the “date” is held. (I went to MTA and did not attend. Nu, I might’ve met my future spouse years before I eventually did. :-) ) I can think of worse things.

    Just so you know, MTA and Central have a reputation for being among the frummer of the MO schools. That was certainly the case in my day, when there were no (or few) other non-co-ed MO high schools. I hope it’s still the case.

  261. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-The Kollelim ran on their own schedules , independent of the camp’s programs. The days when MTA and Central were the frummer of the MO schools ended with the development of such schools as DRS, Rambam and SKA.

  262. Steve Brizel says:

    IH can verify this, but IIRC, in one of RDH’s books, he mentioned a conversation with his nephew RY Hartman, a wonderful Talmid Chacham who has helped make the Maharal understandable, about Shira Chadasha. R Y Hartman responded to RHH’s comments about the Shechinah being present at Shira Chadasah by stating that whatever was present at Shirah Chadasha, the Shechinah was definitely not present. IORC, RDH also mentioned that he left off RY Hartman off his list of relatives to be invited to his daughter’s wedding because of their differing views.

  263. Nachum says:

    It’s been shown that the left usually locks out those with differing views more than the right.

  264. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “It’s been shown that the left usually locks out those with differing views more than the right.”

    Where has that been shown?

  265. Nachum says:

    Study of Facebook blockers.

  266. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    ““It’s been shown that the left usually locks out those with differing views more than the right”

    If the above statement were about Nazism and Socialism, it can be easily proven that neither were tolerant at all of differing POVs. Lhavdil Elev Velef Havdalos, tolerance within the MO and Charedi worlds exists, but not in the sound bite equivalent of a blog.

  267. [...] ways on Moreorthodoxy; one from Chaim Trachtman and R. Zev Farber’s post responding to my response to him. This will probably be my last comment on this issue unless something dramatic happens; [...]

  268. cousins.at.weddings says:

    does inviting a cousin to a wedding now mean that one approves of everything they do?

 
 

Submit a Response

 

You must be logged in to submit a response.