Partnership Minyanim

 

Putting the Silent Partner Back Into Partnership Minyanim

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. A highly condensed version of this article appeared as “Kabbalat Shabbat: Recited by the Community; But Is It Communal?” In Tradition 44:2. The below sections are excerpts from the full annotated article, available here: link (PDF)

Introduction

Over the last few years a new phenomenon has appeared on the Jewish scene. This phenomenon, referred to as “Partnership Minyanim”, claims to be Orthodox and/or halakhic, and to offer increased opportunities for women to participate in services. Specifically, women are allowed to serve as prayer leader (in some venues a woman is always asked to lead) for Kabbalat Shabbat – but not for Maariv on Friday night. On Shabbat morning a women may serve as Hazan(it)for Pesukei Dezmira but not for Shakharit and Musaf. So too, a girl may be asked to conclude the Shabbat morning services beginning with Ein Kelokeinu. Finally, women are given aliyot and read Torah at these services (in some places this is allowed only after the third aliyah). There are some of these groups that follow somewhat different structures.

The title of this article reflects a fundamental concern about how this new development has come to the community. Partnership Minyanim exist in many areas; Jerusalem, New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Chicago and elsewhere. Yet there has, to the best of my knowledge and research, not been any formal attempt to discuss in writing whether these practices are or are not Halakhic. In effect, Halakhah has been the silent partner in the development of Partnership Minyanim.

This article is written to at least begin the process of filling that gap. The focus here will be on Kabbalat Shabbat and the question of whether a woman can lead that service in a mixed gender setting.

I chose that aspect of Partnership Minyanim for several reasons. First, a number of these groups only meet on Friday night, or began their existence as only a Sabbath eve service. Some have then added a Shabbat morning tefillah while others have not.

Second, there has been some written discussion of women and ‘aliyot over the past few years- which we will reference below- but there has been nothing about women and Kabbalat Shabbat. Finally, the issues that we will touch on in this presentation will also deal with many, if not most of the questions that would be raised by women leading parts of the morning services. On the other hand there are more relevant areas of halakhic concern that can be examined when it comes to Kabbalat Shabbat than there are regarding any of the other parts of the services that are given to women at Partnership Minyanim.

I. The Case for Partnership Minyanim

This is a difficult section to write in the absence of any in-depth published defense of the practices followed at Partnership Minyanim. What I describe here comes from conversations or reports of conversations held with those who support the halachik permissibility of these groups-particularly as regards Kabbalat Shabbat. It is, therefore, in the nature of hearsay and I apologize in advance for any shortcomings in my presentation. These shortcomings would easily be rectified by someone coming forward with a written halachik defense of Partnership Minyanim.

Inadequate though it may be, what follows is my understanding of the arguments in favor of a woman leading Kabbalat Shabbat, but not Maariv at a Friday night service. There appear to be three prongs to this argument. The first point is that the Hazan or prayer leader at a communal service helps fulfill the prayer obligation of the tsibur or community. Women have no obligation to be involved in tefillah be-tsibur (communal prayer). They, therefore, do not count towards a minyan for a required service such as Maariv. So too, they cannot lead a communal service because they cannot fulfill the obligation for men, who are required to pray communally.

On the other hand, Kabbalat Shabbat is not part of the talmudic era requirement of tefillah be-tsibur and is not part of the rabbinic mitzvah of davening. That is because its origin lies in the 15th and 16th centuries and not in the talmudic period (1st to 7th centuries). Kabbalat Shabbat is, therefore, only a community custom. It also does not require a minyan for its recitation. As such, a woman may lead since there is no obligation that would remain unfulfilled by her leadership.

The second point: One of the major objections to a woman serving as a prayer leader is that kevod ha-tsibur (the respect of the community, or the respect due to the community or the respect that the community is required to give to G-d) will be violated. In response, adherents of partnership services argue that kevod ha-tsibur, either does not apply today or that it can be vitiated by the congregation foregoing or forgiving its honor.

Point three: Women should affirmatively be allowed to lead services under these circumstances because of the principle of kevod ha-briyot (the honor due God’s creations). Women are demeaned by being unable to function in the role of prayer leader. This causes them great distress. Therefore, the principle of kevod ha-briyot should be invoked to diminish that distress and allow women to have this expanded role in Jewish worship. In general kevod ha-briyot vitiates rabbinic prohibition in cases of personal distress. This model should be followed here as well.

II. Response to the Second Argument

The primary focus of my reaction to these arguments will be an in-depth discussion of Kabbalat Shabbat and what I described as the first point raised in defense of Partnership Minyanim. That is the argument that seems to me to have the most substance. Therefore, I will first discuss points two and three more briefly.

The Halakhic argument about expanding women’s role in davening and the concerns of kevod ha-tsibbur center on the following two sources:

והכל עולין למנין שבעה אפי’ אשה אפי’ קטן אין מביאין את האשה לקרות לרבים

And all come up as part of the count of seven (people called to the Torah on the Sabbath) even a woman, even a child; one does not bring a woman to read for the many.

תנו רבנן: הכל עולין למנין שבעה, ואפילו קטן ואפילו אשה. אבל אמרו חכמים: אשה לא תקרא בתורה, מפני כבוד צבור.

Our Rabbi’s taught: all come up for the count of seven, even a child and even a woman. But the sages say: a woman shall not read in the Torah because of the community’s honor (kevod ha-tsibur).

Even assuming that the first source is also concerned with kevod ha-tsibur – which it does not mention explicitly – and even assuming that these sources can be overcome to allow for women reading Torah or getting aliyot in the contemporary synagogue (a very questionable assumption), there is still a profound and obvious problem.

Nowhere in these sources, nor in any other talmudic passage, is the issue of kevod ha-tsibur ever citied in relation to a woman leading a prayer service. Therefore, finding a path around the kevod ha-tsibur problem for Torah reading – if that can be done in keeping with Halakhah – does not speak to our question at all. Nonetheless, defenders of Partnership Minyanim often cite this issue and the contemporary attempts to find a Halachik way around this concern when it comes to Torah reading, in relation to Kabbalat Shabbat as well.

In that regard Meiri says explicitly:

קטן קורא בתורה שאין הכוונה אלא להשמיע לעם ואין זו מצוה גמורה כשאר מצות שנאמר בה כל שאינו מחויב וכו’ ואע”פ שהוא מברך הרי מ”מ יש לו שייכות בתלמוד תורה עד שאחרים מצווין ללמדו וכל שכן שהקטן רשאי לתרגם אבל אינו פורס על שמע ואינו עובר לפני התיבה ובתלמוד המערב אמרו שאינו פורס אא”כ הביא שתי שערות הא הביא שתי שערות פורס אע”פ שהוא קטן אבל אינו עובר לפני התיבה אע”פ שהביא שתי שערות עד שיראה כגדול ר”ל שיהיה גדול ובר מצוה הא כל שנראה כגדול עובר אע”פ שלא נתמלא זקנו

A child may read in the Torah for the intent is only to have it (the reading) be heard by the people, and this is not a complete mitzvah like other mitzvot about which it is said “whoever is not required… (cannot fulfill the obligation of the many) ” And even though he says a blessing, after-all he has a connection to Torah study to the point where others are required to teach him. Similarly the child may translate (offer the Aramaic targum). But he may not divide the Shema (understood to mean recite Barhu in the presence of a minyan that is not praying so that he can then go on to the sections of Shema and the Amidah having offered this important liturgy that requires a prayer quorum for its recitation) and he does not go down before the ark (he cannot serve as Hazan).

This comment of Meiri, which is often cited as a critically important source supporting the arguments of those who see aliyot for women as acceptable, specifically excludes the extrapolation that it is also acceptable to have children (or women) lead services. Torah reading is simply different than prayer and Meiri is explicit about that claim.
Similarly, Mendel Shapiro who authored the first article advocating that woman can get aliyot in a mixed service wrote in that article:

“From the Orthodox point of view, it is clear that halakhah cannot endure the sort of egalitarian service that is now commonplace in the Conservative and Reform movements. By all Orthodox accounts, Halakhah prohibits the inclusion of women in the requisite minyan of ten as well as the mingling of the sexes during the synagogue service. But while these prohibitions appear both formally and ideologically to be insurmountable, there is one portion of the synagogue service—qeri’at ha-Torah (the public Torah reading)—where to bar women’s participation may not be absolute.”

Though not stated explicitly this, too, would seem to exclude women from leading Kabbalat Shabbat services regardless of what one does with kevod hatsibur in the context of Torah reading.

III. Brief Response to Point Three

I am always troubled by presentations that purport to speak for an entire group. In this case the claim is that women feel demeaned and distressed by their inability to lead services generally and Kabbalat Shabbat specifically. However, it is not clear to me that this claim is true for all women. 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. In fact, in my experience I’m not even sure that a majority of Orthodox affiliated women react this way.

It seems to me that a claim like this needs several elements for it to be given the gravitas that its proponents seek. We would need to know who or what group is entitled to speak for women—all women, all Jewish women, observant women, orthodox women, etc. It is also necessary to have a clear idea of what percentage of women actually feel demeaned, troubled, or unhappy at not being able to lead services, and what percentage is happy or unconcerned with the status quo. To my knowledge no one has made a formal presentation of the data that exists on these questions- if any does exist. Absent an attempt to gather that information scientifically we are dealing with anecdote and hearsay.

Also important in this regard is the question of how many women would actually be willing to lead such a service? It seems to me that any consideration of this type needs to distinguish between those who are unhappy and those who are really willing to do something concrete if the opportunity is offered. As far as I know kevod ha-briyot, however one understands it, does not deal with cases of vicarious distress. Whatever leniencies it might allow, the person afflicted is the subject of the leniency, not others who might see and be concerned. In short, simply making the claim that “women are distressed” does not give that claim sufficient moment to be the basis for a change in halakhic practice.

In addition, this usage of kevod habriyot is halachically without precedent in classical sources. Kevod habriyot can be used to overcome rabbinic law in a specific situation of distress. If someone discovers that they are wearing clothing that violates rabbinic prohibitions of shatnez they may wait to get home to disrobe rather than be embarrassed in public.

That determination is a onetime leniency. It does not allow that individual to continue to wear these clothes in public day after day or week after week on the premise that once they have put them on they will be embarrassed to take them off. Kevod habriyot is not a lever that can be used to pry away the weight of halakhah on an ongoing basis.

It also never appears in relation to a class or group of people—only in regard to an individual in distress. In addition, that distress is never about the ability to perform a meaningful act. It is always about avoiding a clearly and overtly embarrassing situation for that individual. It is also, as we said, never vicarious, but always about the individual themselves. None of this would seem to conform with the idea of asking one particular women to lead Kabbalat Shabbat on any particular Friday night, and it certainly does not fit with granting the entire halakhic category of women the right to do so on every Friday night from now until eternity.

There is also profound halakhic danger in this approach. All laws create some measure of burden and, therefore, of distress at some points in time. Using kevod habriyot in this way eliminates the binding nature of all rabbinic laws. If a rabbinic law is distressing I do not need to follow the law and can claim kevod habriyot.

This slippery slope is already here. Daniel Sperber also wrote an article arguing that women could get aliyot. He makes direct and repeated use of kevod habriyot as a rationale for this practice in this article.

Subsequently these words appeared in print:

In his essay “Congregational Dignity and Human Dignity: Women and Public Torah Reading,” Bar Ilan Professor Daniel Sperber assembles a diverse assortment of ways in which human dignity has been cited in recent centuries. Professor Sperber says that kevod habriyot “has been given wide application” and in various halakhic contexts. In the responsa literature, Sperber finds numerous references to human dignity superseding a rabbinic law.

This quote is from the new lenient responsum of the Conservative Movement that eliminates all prohibitions of lesbianism (they are rabbinic), allows male homosexuals to engage in any physical contact that falls short of Biblical prohibition, and accepts homosexual commitment ceremonies. To my mind this is an obvious next step in the process of carrying kevod habriyot to its logical conclusion if one follows the path taken by defenders of women’s aliyot and Partnership Minyanim.

In fact, simply using the issue of personal distress as one’s criteria, I have heard far more and far more painful distress expressed by virtually everyone whose physical attraction tends towards members of the same gender about the halakhik restrictions against their acting on that desire, than I have heard from women about the limitations on their leading services.

Halakhic rulings do not exist in a vacuum. They, as any legal decision, have consequences, both anticipated and unanticipated. The Posek has to be sensitive to the potential impact of his decision in the community, and frankly this development was, to my mind easily foreseeable.

In addition, based on this reasoning I see no obvious reason to argue that a Rabbi should not officiate at an intermarriage. After all a restrictive approach is demeaning and causes pain both to the Jew in love and to her Gentile partner who is also G-d’s creation. Since officiating at such a wedding is only rabbinically prohibited, kevod habriyot should win out here as well.
It seems obvious that other halakhic criteria beyond distress and kevod habriyot need to be factored in when examining these questions….

Continued here: link (PDF)

X. Conclusion

As women have become more educated and accomplished in contemporary life, many have reexamined their role within Judaism. For some the experience of the traditional structure of things has been examined and found acceptable, for others the limitations seem too restrictive. In exploring new roles and practices that might offer more opportunities the response of the religious establishment has not always been very supportive even of the quest itself.

People who follow this issue may remember the exceptionally well researched and erudite article by Aryeh and Dov Frimer in defense of women’s tefillah groups that evoked two “responses” that did not deign to even reference their article–all in the pages of Tradition. Anyone and everyone was certainly free to disagree with the Frimers and challenge their sources and conclusions, but the disdain was uncalled for and raised unnecessary negative emotions.

Also, Hazal were famously concerned about women’s negative feelings that arose because they were excluded from laying their hands on sacrifices in the Temple. They responded by allowing a modified type of hand-laying that would calm the women’s souls but also conform to Halakhah. We certainly could use more of that spirit.

But, as with women laying hands on the sacrifices, these changes–if they are to be implemented–must conform with Halakhah and appropriate halakhic epistemology. That means that innovation must come with serious halakhic analysis and yishuv ha-daat that explores not only the halakhic permissibility of any new step, but also its implications and consequences. In short the legitimate feelings of women cannot be allowed to create institutions that violate halakhah and that create a dynamic that steps outside of appropriate legal epistemology because the consequences of that are far more negative than the value of providing some comfort to some women and those men who agree with them as important as that may be.

For a woman to lead Kabbalat Shabbat one would need to respond to the sources requiring that the Cantor be able to grow a full beard at some point in his life and the Magen Avot precedent that even non-mandatory prayers become mandatory when custom has us recite them regularly in public with a Hazan leading the way. One would also need to claim that Kabbalat Shabbat is only tefillat rabim and not tefillah betsibbur; that teffilat rabim is an extension of tefillah beyihidut and not a minor form of tefillah betsibbur; that women count as part of rabim and that unlike the similar structure of zimun women can lead in a mixed setting here even though their basic hiyuv is different than that of a man. Given the overwhelming weight of our sources that oppose every one of those steps, it would appear that no legitimate halakhic conclusion can take the lenient position on this fundamental question central to the reality of Partnership Minyanim.

Instead we need to work even harder to try and find halakhically legitimate ways to respond to contemporary Orthodox women and their range of opinions and feelings and not open the door to practices that might split our community and lead to halakhic violation in many areas of Jewish law.

The complete annotated article is available here: link (PDF)

 

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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.
 

246 Responses

  1. IH says:

    Too late. The genie won’t go back into the bottle.

  2. shmuel says:

    IH, do I correctly interpret your comment to mean that you accept R. Freundel’s arguments, but that you observe that so many people are already participating in partnership “minyanim” that his arguments will fall on deaf ears?

  3. Anonymous says:

    No, but you can quarantine the genie as not Orthodox. You might have said the same thing about mechitzot 50 years ago, but find me an Orthodox congregation without one today? That genie went back into the bottle.

  4. IH says:

    Shmuel — Contrary to R. Freundel’s assertion that “In effect, Halakhah has been the silent partner in the development of Partnership Minyanim”, the Partnership Minyan in which I daven, Darkhei Noam, has a halachic advisor (posek) in R. Daniel Sperber.

  5. IH says:

    From http://www.dnoam.org/About.php

    n 2006, Rabbi Daniel Sperber joined the Darkhei Noam community in an official capacity as halakhic adviser. Rabbi Sperber is the Milan Roven Professor of Talmudic Research at Bar Ilan University and rabbi of congregation Menachem Zion in the Old City of Jerusalem. He received the Israel Prize in 1992, authored “Minhagei Yisrael,” and has done extensive research and writing on the topic of women’s roles within the bounds of halakha. In his capacity as Darkhei Noam’s halakhic adviser, the co-chairs, board, and gabbaim turn to Rabbi Sperber for halakhic guidance. Rabbi Sperber gives extended text studies and shiurim, davens with the Darkhei Noam community, and makes himself available to the community on both a formal and informal basis on his many visits to New York.

  6. emma says:

    “Instead we need to work even harder to try and find halakhically legitimate ways to respond to contemporary Orthodox women and their range of opinions and feelings and not open the door to practices that might split our community and lead to halakhic violation in many areas of Jewish law.”

    I desperately wish that R. Freundel had devoted the time he devoted to this topic to the constructive project of finding legitimate responses instead.

    To borrow a page from recent history, women’s tefillah was deflated, in my view, at least as much by a more attractive alternative (partnership minyanim) as by Rabbis saying no. (In fact, I would say it was the alternative much more than the rabbis.) Rabbis should get busy creating an attractive alternative here if they are serious about stopping the phenomenon. “attractive alternative,” btw, could be a relatively non-participatory-for-women shul in which women were made to feel, in some other way, as true members of the community, rather than auxilliary…

  7. IH says:

    I’ve been hearing Rabbis earnestly talk this talk since the mid-1980s when I was married. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  8. emma says:

    Actually, i should also add that I think women’s tefillah was deflated not just by partnership minyanim (From the left, if you will) but by mainstream orthodoxy started to provide meaningful, attractive opportunities to women (across the spectrum of the right, if you will).

  9. Noam Stadlan says:

    As R Broyde pointed out recently, innovations can be opposed for many reasons. It appears that R Freundel has wrapped his sociological opposition in a halachic argument which seems not to hold a lot of weight. Yes, he has found a number of bases upon which to support his opposition. However, it all crumbles under the realization that Kabbalat Shabbat is the recitation of tehillim, and there is a reason it is sometimes lead by underage children and at a different amud than Ma’ariv. Rav Frimer(although he opposes this based on Kevod Hatsibbur grounds) correctly notes that there is no obligation here that the Chazan has to fulfill. Rav Bigman has addressed the Kol Isha issues. I don’t fault those who oppose this, but we should be clear on the why

  10. Nachum says:

    An offhand comment a few threads back made me wonder if the opposition to removing mechitzot decades ago wasn’t perhaps (understandably) missing the forest for the trees. Now all these “halakhic” groups can claim they’re all frum because they still have a mechitza, a relatively minor point, while doing far more egregious things.

  11. minyan lover says:

    Anonymous @ 9:55 @pm,
    No idea what your mehitzha/quarantined genie back in the bottle imagery is supposed to conjure but meddlesome mechitzahs, like magic genies and congenial dragons, belong in pretend fiction based fables that fell out of fashion long ago–particularly for those that believe in non-fiction based only living .
    Name one orthodox minyan or synagogue construction/architectural layout based exclusively on the legal opinions of the gra and or gra kloiz – the authentic one in Vilna . Material partition perspectives included. Please keep in mind that rayon reasonings and polyester platitudes are fake, inauthentic, immaterial and wholly irrelevant like last years fall fashions in the mussar district of slabodka or hasidic niggun district in Navordka.
    Not sure why this post is suggesting there are halachic concerns with regards to the partnership minyan notion. If the minyan is partnering and thriving and men, women children and babies r not only showing up but leading services as well and creating a community then the correct claim is kol hakovod not kovod hatzibur,an issue that appears to be moot. Whose kovod would be of concern. The tzibur that prays elsewhere ? R there kovod hatzibur issues with Partnerships frum spiritualpredecessor in interest the shtiebel ?
    Thus all related cantor issues r irrelevant as well. There is no need for hazal to be concerned about women in this area of law any longer.

    Personally, as someone that loves both halacha and intellectual sanctuary history/sanctuary architecture/organ music and spectacular intellectual/serious spiritual venues
    I think it makes sense to belong to as many older authentic sanctuaries as one can afford/have time for. Because the spiritual architectural venues r so inspirational. And the leaders of each sanctuary each have their own brand of intellectual brilliance. And sanctuary history is always spiritually spectacular.

    I have one question for R Freundel, can a bas levi get an aliyah according to the gra ?

  12. minyan lover says:

    R Freundel,
    If the spiritual objective of “minyan” is not affected by a female leader/cantor etc for friday night svces in a specific venue/context/sanctuary, then would any of the halacha notions raised in the 35 pg brief matter? (didn’t realize there were additional pages but don’t think it changes the substance of my point).

  13. Mike S. says:

    It does seem to me that those opposing partnership minyanim have several choices here: 1) they can keep shouting and eventually write off another portion of clal yisrael, 2) they can offer some other changes to synagogue and communal life that address the needs of those (both women and men) who choose them, 3) they can find ways of educating people so that the contrast with the rest of modern life is less alienating, or 4) they can find a justification for what can be justified and try to fight that which really can’t.

    Looking at history, I suspect that what is likely to happen is some combination of 1 and 4. Specifically, they will shout for a generation or so, and if the partnership minyanim hold to their present format and the children of the participants remain loyal to halacha in most aspects, they will find a justification. If not, they will write more people off.

    It seems to me that the popularity of partnership minyanim is clear evidence that at least a noticeable minority of Orthodox Jews finds the traditional service alienating. Thus, it seems to me, that communal leaders who oppose this innovation ought to be making a more serious effort at choice number 3. Telling people to just get over it and live with the alienation because halacha demands it,as many are doing in articles, tshuvot and speeches does not seem to be particularly successful. Perhaps serious discussion of the spiritual values underlying the halacha might be more important that legal texts. R. Herschel Schachter at least tries this with his talk of imitating God’s midas hahistatrus, but, at least for me, because it does not describe the reality of how men relate to leading tefilah it falls short.

  14. moshe shoshan says:

    “This quote is from the new lenient responsum of the Conservative Movement that eliminates all prohibitions of lesbianism (they are rabbinic), allows male homosexuals to engage in any physical contact that falls short of Biblical prohibition, and accepts homosexual commitment ceremonies. To my mind this is an obvious next step in the process of carrying kevod habriyot to its logical conclusion if one follows the path taken by defenders of women’s aliyot and Partnership Minyanim.”

    I think that this is a prlematic argument. one cant forbid something simply because hetrodox rabbis will use thisargument to permit something mutar. The conservative abuse kula’s from the poskim all the time. I dont think that R. Sperber argues that kavod a briot can be used to permit issurim as serious as the ones the Conservative refer to. If so it is unfair to attack him for such a possibility.

  15. ADDeRabbi says:

    His argument against the kevod ha-tzibbur claim does not really reflect standard practice. In most Shuls, kids lead at least part of davening – Adon Olam, Ein Keilokenu, Anim Zemirot – and in Israel, it is quite widespread for kids to lead Kabbalat Shabbat. This is not a halakhic argument, but a plea for honesty and consistency.

  16. mycroft says:

    “His argument against the kevod ha-tzibbur claim does not really reflect standard practice. In most Shuls, kids lead at least part of davening – Adon Olam, Ein Keilokenu, Anim Zemirot – and in Israel, it is quite widespread for kids to lead Kabbalat Shabbat”

    I believe the Rav was opposed to pre bar mitzvah kids leading ein kelokeinu etc-an explanation as to why his viewpoint on kids leading which davening is not followed why understandably women don’t lead “services” even times when there are no technical requirements for a shaliach zibbur eg kabbalat shabbat-ie when a monkey could “lead” services.

  17. Skeptic says:

    Is R. Freundel trying to invent a halachic chiyuv for kabalas Shabbos in order to fight the Parternship Minyan? Have we not learned our lesson from the battle with Reform, that inventing new chiyuvim/issurim based on external (political) battles and not internal (organic) halachic needs, comes back to haunt us later?

    Would it not be preferable to simply place Partnership Minyanim and their attendees under some sort of communal ban and say clearly that the reason is that they support egalitarianism and Orthodoxy does not, as opposed to bending halacha and elevating kabbalas Shabbos to a yhareg v’al yaavor, in order to implicitly exclude them?

  18. Hirhurim says:

    IH: Partnership minyanim are not mainstream. Yes, they currently have a rabbi who guides them. And when the novelty wears off and they want more, history tells us that they will find another rabbi.

    Emma: Really? Perhaps you should look more into R. Freundel’s history and accomplishments before making such claims. It is precisely those rabbis (like R. Aryeh Frimer) who have been finding room for women’s roles who are now objecting to the excesses on the left. Personally, I see it all as justification of my position that accommodation for women’s ritual roles is a dead end.

    Dr. Stadlan: I see your attitude in the above comment as the flip side of Steve Brizel. Neither of you take the halakhic arguments on the other side seriously and simply attribute them to disingenuous sociology. I find that slightly insulting to the rabbis. I take R. Sperber at his word and simply think he is wrong.

  19. Hirhurim says:

    Mike S: I agree. We have already written off the Partnership Minyanim crowd as non-Orthodox but we also have to back that up and prevent the phenomenon from spreading. “Popularity” Among a small, constantly changing group. Noisy, not popular. You get more people to a rebbe’s tish than to all the Partnership Minyanim combined.

    Moshe Shoshan: R. Freundel is arguing that R. Sperber’s logic is incorrect because it renders halakhah infinitely malleable. I made that argument years ago (regarding carrying a pocketbook where there is no eruv, due to kevod ha-beriyos) but now we have proof before our very eyes. We don’t need to create an argument ad absurdum because the Conservative movement has provided one for us.

  20. David S says:

    I’m a little surprised that this article was written when R. Freundel admits to having no familiarity with the case that Partnership Minyanim make for Halachic integrity. I would imagine that a simple call to them (or even a cursory google search) would produce a great deal of relevant material (including R. Sperbers actual writings on the subject).

    It is plain and simply an attempt to prejudge an outcome based upon personal bias rather than an attempt to understand. Shame on you R. Freundel.

  21. joel rich says:

    Cue CS&N-Deja Vu
    If I had ever been here before on another time around the wheel
    I would probably know just how to deal
    With all of you
    And I feel
    Like I’ve been here before
    Feel
    Like I’ve been here before And you know it makes me wonder

    In any event I’m sure you all remember my wise, insightful and articulate comments so no need to repeat them :-) but an additional thought – I guess I never really focused on the difference between being an academic (and I include roshei yeshiva) and a poseik. It’s all well and good to consider theoretical possibilities and interpretations, it’s a much different thing to decide which way to go especially in situations where you must take into account what you think the impact will be. Given how many times I’ve seen Rich’s law of unintended consequences proven true, it’s scary.

    Oy, do we need the Sanhedrin!

    KT

  22. Noam Stadlan says:

    R. Gil- you certainly know how to insult a person. I read Rav Freundel’s article when it came out in Tradition and take his arguments very seriously. As Has been pointed out by others, it is a significant stretch to claim that Kabbalat Shabbat has the usual rules of tefilla b’tzibbur. It seems to me to be a very forced understanding. I think that R. Freundel’s opening remark indicates his attitude. Some poskim might start with ‘why have women not been allowed to lead Kabbalat Shabbat and is there a good reason to prohibit them from doing so?’ Rav Freundel starts by asking why we should allow the women to do so. It is a different starting point and indicates the underlying approach.

  23. IH says:

    We have already written off…

    Gil — Who’s the we? It is certainly not the growing number of daveners, or the guests who come to be with their kids, or out of curiosity or for smachot.

    Many DN men and women are also members of establishment MO shuls, where they daven the rest of the week and make an appearance on the occasional Shabbat or Yom Tov.

    The establishment rabbinate is creating its own nightmare: becoming increasingly irrelevant and out of touch with the needs and sensitivities of their congregants.

    R. Sperber’s seemingly bold view is more in accordance with our rich history than the naysayers you champion: The issue is “not about numbers, but about sensitivity to a segment of our community. I don’t see myself as a feminist, but as a halachaist who believes it is important to permit that which is permitted.”

  24. Nachum says:

    Me, I go with the opinion in the Gemara that the most important pasuk in the Torah is “Et hakeves haechad taaseh baboker.”

  25. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    I find this article very strange. Rabbi Freundel makes it appear tha it is more halakhically problematic for a woman to lead kabbalat Shabbat prayers than to get an aliyah or lein. Everything I have read, both by those who support and those who oppose partnership minyanim, leads me to the opposite conclusion. His citation from the Meiri is also very strange. The Meiri is speaking about those parts of the service which involve davar she-bi-kedushah. I’m with Dr. Stadlan and sceptic on this one.

  26. joel rich says:

    r’ nachum,
    well said, imho a lesson too often overlooked in our times -perhaps everyone wnats their 15 minutes of fame?
    KT

  27. Hirhurim says:

    David S: I’m a little surprised that this article was written when R. Freundel admits to having no familiarity with the case that Partnership Minyanim make for Halachic integrity.

    He never said that and he actually quotes some of the articles in the JOFA list http://www.jofa.org/Library/Page.aspx?tid=103079215992 He said that there has been no formal evaluation of the practices.

    Dr. Stadlan: You can disagree with him without dismissing him as disingenuous.

    Dr. Kaplan: Indeed, his argument leads to surprising conclusions. I believe he is influenced by his extensive study of the development of prayer and minhagim. Pure halakhists might reach different conclusions. Ironically, those who disagree with R. Freundel are also students of the development of prayer and minhagim. However, R. Freundel’s critique of R. Sperber’s approach should register with those of all perspectives. I’m not sure why you think the Meiri is speaking about davar shekidushah when he explicitly references other mitzvos about which we say “kol she-eino mechuyav ba-davar”. I don’t see in that a reference to “those parts of the service which involve davar she-bi-kedushah.”

  28. emma says:

    “We have already written off the Partnership Minyanim crowd as non-Orthodox ”

    I am really not sure what this means. They are for the most part graduate of orthodox day schools and do/will send their children to orthodox dayschools. They are shomer shabbos. IF they go to another shul when the Partnership minyan doesn’t meet (or sometimes when it does), that shul is almost always orthodox. Further, their visiting orthodox relatives or friends are much more likely to attend the PM w/ their hosts than they would a totally egalitarian service. Socially, the line is not being drawn where you think.

  29. Anonymous says:

    He never said that and he actually quotes some of the articles in the JOFA list”

    Are you joking? Read his preamble! And I quote.

    “This is a difficult section to write in the absence of any in-depth published defense of the practices followed at Partnership Minyanim. What I describe here comes from conversations or reports of conversations held with those who support the halachik permissibility of these groups-particularly as regards Kabbalat Shabbat. It is, therefore, in the nature of hearsay and I apologize in advance for any shortcomings in my presentation. These shortcomings would easily be rectified by someone coming forward with a written halachik defense of Partnership Minyanim.”

    It is exceedingly sloppy to set yourself up as judge without interviewing witnesses. Lets face facts. R. Freundel admits to writing based upon hearsay and apologizes for the shortcoming. The point is, since he is setting himself up as judge, it is not the responsibility of someone else to come forward with a defense. It was his absolute responsibility to reach out to them BEFORE writing this article. Standard issue slander.

  30. emma says:

    “Emma: Really? Perhaps you should look more into R. Freundel’s history and accomplishments before making such claims. It is precisely those rabbis (like R. Aryeh Frimer) who have been finding room for women’s roles who are now objecting to the excesses on the left. Personally, I see it all as justification of my position that accommodation for women’s ritual roles is a dead end.”

    I think Mike S. set out the options nicely.
    “1) they can keep shouting and eventually write off another portion of clal yisrael, 2) they can offer some other changes to synagogue and communal life that address the needs of those (both women and men) who choose them, 3) they can find ways of educating people so that the contrast with the rest of modern life is less alienating, or 4) they can find a justification for what can be justified and try to fight that which really can’t.”

    I don’t know much about Rabi Freundel. I know some consider him to be accomodating of women’s “issues” but I definitely know some who have had other experiences. But my point is not what happens in a particular shul. Orthodox rabbis should be writing articles about #s 2 or 3 (or both), not #1. Those who say they are interested in #2, in particular, should be pushing an agenda of greater inclusivity among their colleagues, not just making changes within their own synagogues.

    “Personally, I see it all as justification of my position that accommodation for women’s ritual roles is a dead end.”
    On some days I agree with you, but I think of that as a serious problem for the future of torah observance, not an “i told you so.”

  31. Hirhurim says:

    Anonymous: OK, let’s work backwards. What published articles or books do you have in mind that he should he have quoted? And which of his claims about their positions do you believe are wrong?

    emma: Orthodox rabbis should be writing articles about #s 2 or 3 (or both), not #1.

    There are, but not on this blog.

    I know some consider him to be accomodating of women’s “issues” but I definitely know some who have had other experiences.

    I’m sure you can find some who would say the same about R. Avi Weiss.

  32. emma says:

    “emma: Orthodox rabbis should be writing articles about #s 2 or 3 (or both), not #1.

    There are, but not on this blog.”

    I thought you might say that. But where? (Recently?)

    “I’m sure you can find some who would say the same about R. Avi Weiss.”

    In hachi nami.

  33. Ralph says:

    I am fascinated by the issues presented by this article, and I am still clarifying my own thinking on this subject. I pose the following questions in an attempt to refine my understanding, and not to challenge Rabbi Freundel and others, who are far more knowledgeable than me.

    It seems that the underlying issue is the role of minhag in halakha. I accept the concept of halakhic precedent, and the idea that a halakhic position on which there is a longstanding consensus cannot lightly be overturned. At the same time, it seems clear that minhagim do change over time. Whether or not a change in minhag can be halakhically justified, it seems clear that once a community has stopped following a minhag for a lengthy period, that minhag is no longer halakhically binding. Alternatively, new minhagim can be created by communal adoption, subject to the doctrine of “minhag shtus.”

    Rabbi Freundel begins his argument by recognizing that Klal Yisrael has adopted the minhag of reciting Kabbalas Shabbos, and has attached to it the trappings of either tefillah b’tzibbur or tefillah b’rabim (chazzan, kaddish, tallis). Based on this, he argues that Klal Yisrael has adopted Kabbalas Shabbos as a de facto tefillah b’tzibbur–i.e. a tefillah that is subject to all of the halakhos applicable to the rabbinic institution of tefillah b’tzibbur.

    The alternative is to view Kabbalas Shabbos as a customary prayer that is modeled on tefillah b’tzibbur, but does not actually have the halakhic status of tefillah b’tzibbur. If that is the case, it would seem that the only bar to a woman leading Kabbalas Shabbos is minhag.

    If so, I have two questions. First, if a community holds a partnership minyan for fifty years (in effect changing its minhag) would there be any halakhic objection to continuing that minyan? One could argue that a deliberate and self-conscious nullification of a minhag has no validity, but this will not answer my second question.

    My second question is, if a community has a vibrant women’s tefillah group, formally adopts a minhag that all women say Kabbalas Shabbos with a quorum of ten women, and strictly adheres to this minhag for a period of fifty years, then women in that community should have the same minhag-based obligation as men. In that (admittedly hypothetical) scenario, is there a valid halakhic objection to women leading Kabbalas Shabbos?

  34. Hirhurim says:

    emma: I plan to review a book like that soon

    Ralph: Your proposal is similar to one floated by the Conservative movement in the 1980s. The problem is that a non-universal custom like that can be uprooted by hataras nedarim and does not obligate children. A universal custom is more binding.

  35. Ralph says:

    Gil,

    That is a legitimate argument. But I think there is a legimate counterargument–that the difference between a communal minhag and a universal minhag is not so significant that it would bar a woman from leading a partnership minyan for Kabbalas Shabbos. Is there a halakhic authority that conclusively resolves this question?

  36. Hirhurim says:

    The only discussion of self-obligation is in the Conservative movement of the 1980′s and the Orthodox response(s), which was on a slightly different version of the question.

  37. The women’s issue is a non-issue. The very suggestion that anything about Kabbalat Shabbat can or should be discussed in halakhic terms such as “permitted” or “forbidden” is simply ludicrous. Which makes it a perfect example of how far our synagogue reality is from anything even remotely connected to prayer as conceived by Hazal.

  38. IH says:

    The only discussion of self-obligation is in the Conservative movement of the 1980′s and the Orthodox response(s), which was on a slightly different version of the question.

    Of course, the very acceptance of Kabbalat Shabbat into our liturgy, is itself an example of a communal minhag becoming universal over time. Not to mention all the other Kabbalistic stuff in our Siddurim (even the Koren OU and Artscroll RCA).

  39. Mike S. says:

    Rabbi Student: You said “We have already written off the Partnership Minyanim crowd as non-Orthodox but we also have to back that up and prevent the phenomenon from spreading.” I am unsure who you mean by “we”, but I think that writing off the participants (as opposed to disapproving of the minyanim) is a mistake. Many of the ones I know are punctilious in observance of commandments both interpersonal and ritual, committed to Torah learning, and sincerely looking for vehicles for increased communal participation for women within halachic boundaries. One can disagree with the vehicle chosen for the last, but there seems no reason to write these people off as destined to fall away from the religious community that they wish to remain part of, nor to offer the personal insults that I choose not to repeat. I believe you are incorrect in seeing the participants as ready to throw off “ol hatorah”.

  40. Dan says:

    Anyone who knows Rabbit Freundel knows exactly what the conclusion would be. Also, if he was really interested, he could walk the 7 blocks from Kesher to Rosh Pina and find out for himself. Finally, I believe that Rabbi Sperber’s book: Women and Men in Communal Prayer: Halakhic Perspectives addresses in detail the halakhic issues in question as well as providing differing arguments on them by scholars who don’t agree with Rabbi Sperber’s outcome

  41. SM says:

    No one can take Rabbi Freundel’s argument seriously for the simple reason that, whether he likes it or not, we allow children to lead parts of the synagogue service, such as pesuke dezimra.

  42. SM says:

    also, in the full article, how could R. Freundel not know who wrote Besamim Rosh and how could he say that it was ever attributed to Ramban? This shows a pretty basic lack of knowledge that while not relevant to his halakhic case is still somewhat embarrassing.

  43. IH says:

    Gil — I’m curious. Some of us have a particular affinity for Kabbalat Shabbat as a medium for a חוויה דתית. Since you have often remarked how you don’t like singing,I’m wondering: does Kabbalat Shabbat, in particular, do anything (resonate) for you personally?

  44. David S says:

    As a general principal I think it is important not to publish articles like this that are based upon hearsay and conversations and even reports of conversations! Sheesh, if we are going to “write off” a group of people (an unfortunately phrase to be sure), we had better get ALL the facts before we publish. I would argue that guarding the tongue is a vastly more important black letter Halachic issue than any issue addressed in the article and yet we can throw that away with an article based on hearsay.

    In any case, you can’t go more than a day or so without reading some article by a Rabbi about women’s issues. Find another thing to flog guys.

  45. joel rich says:

    IMHO minhag is another amorphous area and so each side of this meta debate will find solace in minhag as supporting their claim. A point I’ve raised before is that past experience is not a predictor of future success – the changes in the world of technology mean that a local sneeze is heard cross the world and changes in self awareness mean that change agendas are more obvious and will not let non-organic shange occur easily.
    KT

  46. Hirhurim says:

    Seth Kadish: The very suggestion that anything about Kabbalat Shabbat can or should be discussed in halakhic terms such as “permitted” or “forbidden” is simply ludicrous

    That was my initial reaction but I believe R. Freundel makes a compelling argument if you accept his premise and his premise, while innovative, deserves consideration.

    IH: Of course, the very acceptance of Kabbalat Shabbat into our liturgy, is itself an example of a communal minhag becoming universal over time

    True but irrelevant.

    Mike S: I am unsure who you mean by “we”, but I think that writing off the participants (as opposed to disapproving of the minyanim) is a mistake

    Since the Orthodox community has no central leadership, I mean the many people who feel that Partnership Minyanim are beyond the pale. Circular definition? Yes but that’s all we have. You could start a nudist synagogue that burns chumashim on Shabbos and call it Orthodox, and no central body would exist to declare it non-Orthodox. The RCA and OU could denounce it but they are not the final arbiters or Orthodoxy. The Israeli Chief Rabbinate could declare it non-Orthodox, but who cares what they say anyway? Apparently, calling themselves Orthodox is sufficient for some people to accept them, at least under Eilu Va-Eilu.

    SM: This shows a pretty basic lack of knowledge that while not relevant to his halakhic case is still somewhat embarrassing

    R. Freundel explicitly addresses the two points you raised (pp. 22-23, 26-27) and fully acknowledges the questionable origin of Besamim Rosh. R. Freundel seems to take for granted that R. Yitzchak di Molina wrote the responsa when scholars disagree and have not really proven who wrote them. See this post to the Seforim blog about it: http://seforim.blogspot.com/2010/04/benefits-of-internet-besamim-rosh-and.html

    IH: Some of us have a particular affinity for Kabbalat Shabbat as a medium for a חוויה דתית.

    I’m glad you used that phrase. Stay tuned for tonight’s post on that subject.

    I sometimes enjoy Kabbalas Shabbos but don’t find it particularly inspiring. Just some good fun and beautiful poetry.

    David S/Anonymous: So what did R. Freundel get wrong?

  47. HAGTBG says:

    Gil: The problem is that a non-universal custom like that can be uprooted by hataras nedarim and does not obligate children. A universal custom is more binding.

    Whether universal custom is more binding or not, it does not seem to me you addressed Ralph’s question. Is anyone talking of eliminating kabbalat shabbat? Is having women lead it “uprooting” the minhag or adding nuance to it?

  48. Hirhurim says:

    HAGTBG: That doesn’t address R. Freundel’s argument that minhag obligates men but not women in Kabbalas Shabbos. A small group of women accepting on themselves the obligation is not the same level of obligation as men because women can do hataras nedarim and it doesn’t apply to children.

  49. emma says:

    “I mean the many people who feel that Partnership Minyanim are beyond the pale”

    At first you said “the partnership minyan crowd,” now you refer to the minyanim themselves. I agree that many feel the minyanim are beyond the pale. I disagree about their participants for the reasons stated above -the participants are still integrated into orthodox life in the same ways they were 10-15 years ago when they were going to modern orthodox shuls. And their freidns still consider them “orthodox.” I’d be interested to know whether the limmudei kodesh teachers at places like ramaz and SAR think of the chidren of partnership minyanim as “not really orthodox” the way they would the child of a conservative rabbi. My guess is not. Time will tell about the second generation (as compared to the children of ppl who still go to the same MO shuls, not as compared to residents of flatbush…), but i am optimistic.

  50. IH says:

    Is having women lead it “uprooting” the minhag or adding nuance to it?

    Arguably it adds meaning and not just nuance. The whole concept of Shabbat as Kallah!!!

  51. emma says:

    “Arguably it adds meaning and not just nuance. The whole concept of Shabbat as Kallah!!!”

    This argument works against you, i think. Arguably, many of the gnedered metaphors work only because the “kahal” is presumed to be all male.

  52. Rav Gil, I can’t seem to find the relevant argument. Did you mean the paragraph towards the end?

  53. IH says:

    Perhaps for you, Emma, but it adds meaning for me :-)

    —–

    Incidentally, I note from the DN website that:

    “Kiddush this week is being sponsored by Belda Kaufman Lindenbaum and Carol Kaufman Newman on the occasion of the yarzheit of their father, Benjamin Kaufman.”

    For those who don’t recognize the name, Belda and her husband Marcel Lindenbaum endowed Midreshet Lindenbaum.

  54. Joseph says:

    Gil you wrote

    R. Freundel seems to take for granted that R. Yitzchak di Molina wrote the responsa when scholars disagree and have not really proven who wrote them

    No one in the world thinks that R. Yitzchak di Molina wrote the Besamim Rosh not even R. Yitzchak di Molina. All you have to do is read the introduction to Besamim Rosh to see this.

  55. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Gil: Rabbi Freundel wrote “Now it is known to have been written by R. Isaac Molina in the 16th century.” Nothing of the sort is known. If R. Freundel wishes to say that this is his considered opinion, and that he rejects the still generally held view that the work was a forgery by R. Saul Berlin, that would be one thing. But that is NOT what he said. In your response you rewrote R. Freundel’s comment to make it more acceptable.

  56. cyberdov says:

    Requirement to be able to grow a beard??? Really???
    Bimechilat kavod RBF, this article does not grapple with the larger issue of whether women’s place in society is a fundamental change which could/should override the minutiae (so often the bedrock of halachic discourse). That’s the discussion that needs to be had.

  57. HAGTBG says:

    Didn’t R SRH in fact eliminate Kol Nidrei – certainly a universal custom – for several years! How was that permissible according to R BF?

  58. emma says:

    When I first saw the title of this article I thought “the silent partner” was going to be God, and this was going to be an interesting critique of the social role of prayer vs. its intended religious meaning. Unfortunately, not so…

  59. Hirhurim says:

    Seth Kadish: I can’t seem to find the relevant argument. Did you mean the paragraph towards the end?

    Yes, the second-to-last paragraph summarizes his arguments.

    Joseph & Dr. Kaplan: Are you saying that I was incorrect when I wrote that R. Freundel “take for granted that R. Yitzchak di Molina wrote the responsa” or when I wrote that “scholars disagree and have not really proven who wrote them”?

    HAGTBG: Didn’t R SRH in fact eliminate Kol Nidrei – certainly a universal custom – for several years! How was that permissible according to R BF?

    Does anyone think he did it for a reason other than as an emergency measure?

  60. HAGTBG says:

    Does anyone think he did it for a reason other than as an emergency measure?

    On what basis do you state that?

  61. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Gil: Again R. Freundel said “Now it is known to have been written [better "edited," as per Joseph] by R. Iaaac Molina.” Nothng of the sort is known, as per your own statement with which I have no quarrel.

  62. HAGTBG says:

    What is available online indicates that R SRH tried to make the change but lacked communal support for his move. In other words, it was the exact opposite of an emergency situation.

    http://onthemainline.blogspot.com/2005/09/yom-kippur-without-kol-nidrei.html
    From Artscroll’s biography of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (of the same name):

    There was one instance where Rabbi Hirsch did omit a traditional prayer. In 1839, Rabbi Hirsch deleted the recitation of Kol Nidrei in Oldenberg….Rabbi Hirsch explained it in writing to the correspondent of the liberal Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums: “Although last year the Kol Nidrei was deleted for halachic reasons, neverthless I came to the conclusion that this change, although halachically grounded, would better not be instituted by an individual rabbi. Therefore I requested that the congregation recite it, but only once, not three times.” In any event, he reinstated Kol Nidrei the following year.

    See also the following link for a somewhat similar take:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=56QJ9O7MFJ4C&pg=PA299&lpg=PA299&dq=Hirsch+Kol+nidrei&source=bl&ots=qLFIurHzhx&sig=I4eeNnNXE5xskXDvoc4OpJFeCSo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1xgAUaqMHsjg0QHJ3oCQDg&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Hirsch%20Kol%20nidrei&f=false

  63. Joseph says:

    How many partnership minyanim are there in the world? Are there even five that meet every shabbat? It seems like they are a very meaningless phenomenon.

  64. IH says:

    Joseph — seemingly enough to justify all this time spent bashing them. The shame of it is that R. Freundel has much work on liturgy that could unite rather than divide. For example, a shorter more succinct version of his analysis of Anim Zemirot would be a wonderful post.

  65. Ruvie says:

    It’s interesting thr r’ broyde opined on this matter -women leading kabbalat Shabbat services- on this website in 2010 from an halachik viewpoint and concluded:

    “Our opposition to women being leaders of Kabbalat Shabbat is thus, I suspect, grounded in our sense that even though technical Jewish law permits this conduct as a matter of hilchot tefilla, we fear that such conduct produces a reality that is hard to present as a stable status quo, and we are worried that people will grow confused as to what only men can lead: women leading Kabbalat Shabbat will easily slip into women leading Maariv…”

    It seems that its a breach of minhag yisrael that can lead to maybe ” bad” results. He discusses r’ freundel issues as well. Will people really be ” confused” ?

  66. Michael Rogovin says:

    Well, much has already been said, but FWIW, my take is that many of his arguments seemed forced and weak.

    (1) Having as aspect of communal prayer is not the same as being a communal prayer. That was a big leap.
    (2) The leader of KS is not the same as the leader of maariv or zimun. In the latter two, there is a communal call to pray together and a fulfillment of some obligation by the leader on behalf of the kahal. Neither is present in KS and other than picking tunes (in a Carlebach style) or pacing, it is not clear what role is fulfilled by the leader.
    (3) You can’t use kaddish yitom as a basis for making something into communal prayer, else any learning of Tanach or TSBP would be communal, since we recite kaddish yitom after them if a minyan is present. And the universal custom to the best of my knowledge is that the chazan or rabbi does NOT recite kaddish yitom after KS like he would do after Aleinu (in fact, the latter case is the only time this kaddish is recited in the absence of a mourner). If kaddish titkabel were recited, that MIGHT be an indication of tefilah betzibbur, but we don’t.
    (4) Use of a talit making something into communal prayer seems a stretch; certainly it is an underdeveloped argument.
    (5) The beard rule is rejected by all contemporary shuls so it can’t be used to justify anything. Even if he does not like it, it is an accepted minhag to not require this for leading various prayers, including KS in some places, so all you are left with is trying to prove a negative from the failure to mention the possibility of women as leaders. But that does not prove it is prohibited, only that it was not done back then.
    (6) On Magen Avot, he seems to have it backwards, it is not using a hazan that makes prayer mandatory, rather mandatory prayer requires a hazan.

    I don’t think the Shapiro/Sperber arguments are persuassive in favor of partnership minyanim, and I agree with Gil that the fact that those who supported other innovations are noticeably absent among supporters (Rabbis Berman, Weiss, Riskin, etc). Indeed, when they voiced opposition they were quietly and quickly dropped from the JOFA speakers list at conferences. But I prefer Rabbi Broyde’s approach to this issue, where he stated that it was unwise, but not assur, and we should not be so quick to write these communities out of orthodoxy (he was writing only about KS, not full partnership minyanim with mixed kriyah). However, I don’t think that R Freundel made a strong logical case.

  67. Hirhurim says:

    HAGTBG: On what basis do you state that?

    That is my impression based on my reading but I’ll have to look up sources to give specific references. Didn’t Prof. Mordechai Breuer write about this? Wasn’t there anti-semitic legislation based on Kol Nidrei?

  68. emma says:

    I realize my comment might have gotten lost below the fold (at #50), but can you clarify whether you think that “we” have “written off” the “crowd” who attends partnership minyanim or just the practice itself? And if the former, what do you do with empirical evidence to the contrary (not to mention the more theoretical problems)?

  69. emma says:

    (sorry, at #49, 11:14 am)

  70. ruvie says:

    Gil – on canceling kol nidre i believe you are correct because of chilul hashem and the community doing questionable business practices by saying kol nidre(absolving from contracts and verbal commitments).

  71. HAGTBG says:

    Gil – on canceling kol nidre i believe you are correct because of chilul hashem and the community doing questionable business practices by saying kol nidre(absolving from contracts and verbal commitments).

    Correct about what? Yes, kol nidrei was used as proof by anti-semites of Jewish perfidy. Was that anything new? But there were also Jews who did not like the implied message. R SRH appears to have been one of those.

    I do not know what Prof. Mordechai Breuer wrote on this. I do not recall anything I read on the subject saying it was due to an emergency situation (in fairness, I read up on R Hirsch a long time ago).

  72. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I found it interesting, and important, that R. Freundel is strongly opposed to allowing boys under bat mitzvah leading pesukei dizimrah or kaballat shabbat. For him to extend this disapproval to women is thus understandable. For those who do allow it (and we all know that there are Orthodox shuls that do allow it), his reasoning and arguments seem to me to fall away. Although R. Freundel attempts to find a rationale for children which does not apply to women, I find that attempt unpersuasive.

  73. Tal Benschar says:

    Excuse me if you have read these thoughts of mine before.

    About four years ago, one of my wife’s younger brothers got married. The custom in my in-laws’ shul is that they ask children to lead the end parts of the service – Anim Zemiros, Shir shel Yom and Adon Olam. My in-laws asked if our sons could do it. Although this is not generally done in our town, to give my in-laws nachas, we coached my older son, then about 9, to sing Anim Zemiros, and my younger son (then about 5) sang Adon Olam along with his cousin, then about 4.

    Since these are not really part of tefillah be tsibbur, there is no halakhic objection. The Rav of that shul was an impeccable talmid chacham, and of course he would never have allowed a minor to lead shemoneh esreh, for example. The whole thing was just meaningless fluff that makes some people feel good, so to give my children’s grandparents some nachas, I went along.

    The women who lead these Partnership Minyanim are being done a grave insult. In effect, they are being told, you are like children, and maybe we can find parts of the “service” that are not really halakhically important, and it will make you feel good to act like the men do for the really important parts (shemoneh esreh, barchu).

    In short, it is women acting as psudo-men practicing pseudo-halacha. That some people find that spiritually uplifting is bizarre. I would hope that sooner or later, these women will be intelligent enough to notice.

  74. Mike S. says:

    R. Student: I was trying to distinguish between deciding that the minyanim are not Orthodox practice and deciding that the participants should be excluded from the larger Orthodox community. it was the latter I disagree with strongly, and I think that is true for many, even among those who disapprove of the minyanim.

  75. IH says:

    Tal — Since the women involved are laarned Jews, that they are satisfied with this compromise when they could just as easily daven in a similiar but completely egalitarian minyan, is precisely why the slippery slope argument first used by Rav Henkin over 10 years ago is false.

  76. IH says:

    we need to work even harder to try and find halakhically legitimate ways to respond to contemporary Orthodox women and their range of opinions and feelings.

    So, I’m left wondering what changes for making women feel more a part of the davening congregation R. Freundel does approve of, and has implemented?

    As an example, last week we discussed Prof. Vered Noam’s epiphany 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

    To which Gil commented when I asked: “I don’t particularly like it but I don’t know that I’d oppose it.”

    If something so symbolic is seen as bleeding edge, after 30 years of talk such as R. Freudel’s as quoted above. What really is the tachlis counter-proposal from the establishment Orthodox rabbinate after all these years??? Who is kidding whom?

  77. emma says:

    “The women who lead these Partnership Minyanim are being done a grave insult. In effect, they are being told, you are like children, and maybe we can find parts of the “service” that are not really halakhically important, and it will make you feel good to act like the men do for the really important parts (shemoneh esreh, barchu). ”

    I agree that the underlying rationale is insulting to women. I think many of the women are “inteligent enough” to undersatnd that, but they see the halachic rationale as a technical heter that allows, but does not fully define the “meaning” of, the parcitces in question. The meta-halachic “meaning,” if you will, is that they are part of a community that values them as members rather than as adjuncts. That is, I believe, true in many partnership minyanim – it does feel different to go there as a woman in somewhat intangible ways.

  78. emma says:

    IH,
    Women raised as spectators in a ladies gallery may be satisfied with the “compromise,” but will their daughters raised with the compromise as normal see the continued inequality as a problem? Time will tell whether the slippery slope is real.

  79. IH says:

    Emma — First, we already have the first such generation who attend when they’re on break from college. Second, what’s the alternative the establishment rabbinate has implemented: let them leave because the only halachic option is for them to be spectators in a ladies gallery as has been Minhag Yisrael?

  80. Tal Benschar says:

    IH: I can see from your comments that your do not understand my point. Or maybe you don’t want to.

    Emma: you get it, but what you then describe is an exercise in self-deception. What they are doing is not communal anything. They could get up and sing a Naomi Shemer song (put aside kol ishah, which doesn’t seem to bother them) and it would be the same thing.

    Now I appreciate that self-deception is not unique to LWMO or feminists. It goes back to the Garden of Eden. But institutionalizing it seems to me to be a silly, and ultimately self-defeating, exercise.

  81. Tal Benschar says:

    “the only halachic option is for them to be spectators in a ladies gallery”

    One more proof of the utter lack of understanding of what is occuring, either halachically or religiously, in a shul. (Other than maybe the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, but I digress.)

  82. HAGTBG says:

    Tal Benschar The women who lead these Partnership Minyanim are being done a grave insult. In effect, they are being told, you are like children, and maybe we can find parts of the “service” that are not really halakhically important, and it will make you feel good to act like the men do for the really important parts (shemoneh esreh, barchu).

    It’s lose-lose in that sense no? Either maintain the status quo and pretend all frum women should be happy today without being allowed a technically permissible leadership role in the service when we know that is not the case. Or you change the status quo and using a demeaning argument about the service to allow women to do something that some clearly want to do, even if its not equal to men. The choice between do nothing or do a little.

    It would appear that some women disagree with you which of these two imperfect options is the worse one.

  83. IH says:

    What condescending arrogance, Tal.

  84. emma says:

    IH:
    “First, we already have the first such generation who attend when they’re on break from college.”
    I’d say the first generation of kids raised with partnership minyanim as their default are still in elementary school. Kids in college now were 9 or 10 when their parents switched to darchei noam from somewhere else, if not older. But that said, what will these children choose if an when they are forced to choose between conventional orthodox and egalitarian, with no in-between option? I still say time will tell…

    “Second, what’s the alternative the establishment rabbinate has implemented: let them leave because the only halachic option is for them to be spectators in a ladies gallery as has been Minhag Yisrael?”

    On this, I totally agree. However, lack of a good alternative does not mean that after less than a generation you can declare something a success.

    Tal, “Emma: you get it, but what you then describe is an exercise in self-deception.”

    Disagree. Does a man who leads kabbalat shabbat feel like he might as well be singing naomi shemer, or like he is leading the congregation in welcoming shabbat?

  85. Tal Benschar says:

    In your case, IH, it is well deserved.

  86. Tal Benschar says:

    It’s lose-lose in that sense no? Either maintain the status quo and pretend all frum women should be happy today without being allowed a technically permissible leadership role in the service when we know that is not the case. Or you change the status quo and using a demeaning argument about the service to allow women to do something that some clearly want to do, even if its not equal to men. The choice between do nothing or do a little.

    Yes, once you accept the premise that any gender differentiation is a problem, then you are in a lose-lose situation. That is not the premise of the Torah, and once you try to satisfy competing viewpoints, then you are going to be in a lose lose situation.

    I think the novi had a good pharse for it: poseiach al shnei ha seifim.

  87. David S says:

    “The women who lead these Partnership Minyanim are being done a grave insult. In effect, they are being told, you are like children, and maybe we can find parts of the “service” that are not really halakhically important, and it will make you feel good to act like the men do for the really important parts (shemoneh esreh, barchu). ”

    By this logic, we should forgo all prayers that are not based exclusively upon Halacha, since they are unimportant. But we don’t do this since prayer has many elements including personal interaction with hashem, which knows no boundaries and should not be limited only to what is absolutely obligated. The fact is that telling people how they should feel is even more insulting then giving them opportunities they would like to take advantage of. Essentially you are saying that these women are stupid.

  88. Michael Rogovin says:

    IH ” the slippery slope argument first used by Rav Henkin over 10 years ago is false.”

    Not sure. The fact that WTGs are dying off and partnership minyanim are taking over suggests that the slippery slope may indeed be true. Keep in mind that the Rabbis who defended WTGs oppose PM. That does not bother anyone, or, if it does, those Rabbis are simply ignored and removed from the conversation. When was the last time JOFA invited any of them to a conference? JOFA seems hell bent on pushing PM. As a long time supporter, I see this as a serious error, even if one could arguably justify aspects of PM.

  89. IH says:

    But that said, what will these children choose if an when they are forced to choose between conventional orthodox and egalitarian, with no in-between option? I still say time will tell…

    Emma — Fair point and I agree. Ten years is insufficient to declare success, but I don’t think Rav Henkin thought it would even last 10 years based on the words in his article. Perhaps he will comment, as he occassionaly does here.

    But, let’s not discount that a winning halachic argument may be found by a future Talmid Chacham of R. Sperber’s stature. That a Partnership Minyan could even exist at all was far beyond the scope of what we imagined in the mid 1980s when newly married I was faced with the issue of the role of women as a real issue, not a theoretical one. Time will tell…

    In the meantime, the real issue is what is the alternative being proposed?

  90. Tal Benschar says:

    Disagree. Does a man who leads kabbalat shabbat feel like he might as well be singing naomi shemer, or like he is leading the congregation in welcoming shabbat.

    But the point is a man can and almost always does lead the tsibbur in maariv, which follows right after. So the fact that we added something not mandated by Chazal (six tehillim, plus a piyut, plus two more tehillim) is just an add-on for him.

    For a woman, being given Kabbalos Shabbos is just a sop. Why can she lead that, when she can’t lead maariv, whereas the man who davened last week (or across the street) can and does. The answer is, Kabbalos Shabbos is halakhically insignificant. (Or so say the advocates, have not read R. Freundel.) That is where the insult is, as you recognize.

  91. Tal Benschar says:

    By this logic, we should forgo all prayers that are not based exclusively upon Halacha, since they are unimportant. But we don’t do this since prayer has many elements including personal interaction with hashem, which knows no boundaries and should not be limited only to what is absolutely obligated. The fact is that telling people how they should feel is even more insulting then giving them opportunities they would like to take advantage of. Essentially you are saying that these women are stupid.

    David, when it comes to private prayers, there is no difference between men and women. Both can fulfill the deoraysah of avodah she ba lev the same. Chazal’s paradigm of private prayer is Chanah.

    The point here is that the women are seeking a PUBLIC prayer role. That is what is generally denied them. And what I think is insulting to them is creation of a pseudo-public role. It is not really public.

    I am not saying these women are stupid, just that they are being deceived. Maybe by others, maybe by themselves.

  92. IH says:

    Michael — I have no affiliation with JOFA and have never attended their conferences, so I really can’t comment on your point.

    That said, I think there is another aspect here that gets lost. The Partnership Minyan is important to me as a male. I want to daven with my community — male and female. I want to be enveloped in the wall of sound that emanates from 200 people davening together, as one community. The participation of women, in a halachic context, is deeply important to me intellectually, theologically and spiritually. As a male, WTGs had nothing to do with me, or me with them.

  93. emma says:

    “So the fact that we added something not mandated by Chazal (six tehillim, plus a piyut, plus two more tehillim) is just an add-on for him. ”

    Not sure. When a man is chosen for his nice voice to daven on friday night, kabbalat shabbat is more than an “add on.” And the amount of time the tehillim plus piyut (if sung) takes relative to maariv, often, suggests that it is taken seriously. Obviously maariv is more halachically weighty, but kabbalat shabbat has “religious” significance in its own way. Kabbolas Shabbos may be “halakhically insignificant” but that does not mean it is “insignificant” simpliciter.

    So while I se the insult in “you can do this because it doesn’t matter halachically,” I also recognize that it _does_ matter in some way. The real insult is in “you can’t daven maariv because it is too important,” not in “you can daven kabbalat shabbat because it is slightly less important.”

  94. HAGTBG says:

    Yes, once you accept the premise that any gender differentiation is a problem, then you are in a lose-lose situation. That is not the premise of the Torah

    Who said this is a discussion of gender segregation? I do not need to discuss equality; I only need to discuss what people want. This is a discussion of making sure a proclaimed halachic bar against accommodating the desires of people who chose to affiliate with the Orthodox community is substantive and accurate.

  95. Jesse A. says:

    “The point here is that the women are seeking a PUBLIC prayer role. That is what is generally denied them. And what I think is insulting to them is creation of a pseudo-public role. It is not really public.”

    That’s silly. Of course it is really public. They’re standing up publicly and leading the community in prayer. It doesn’t have the halakhic status of Tefilah b-tzibor, but so what? The goal is to find a halakhicly permissible role for women’s leadership in synagogue leadership, and that’s something that (for those who think it is permissible) has been achieved. I don’t think people are deceiving themselves here.

  96. Jesse A. says:

    “women’s leadership in synagogue leadership,” should be women’s leadership in synagogue services…”

  97. IH says:

    Tal — In your view is there any halachic benefit to women for davening in shul at all? Are they just deceiving themselves if they do come for the davening?

  98. Michael Rogovin says:

    Perhaps the last few comments reflect a disagreement about the role of halacha; it is all about how we frame the discussion.

    If something has no halachic significance (i.e. fulfill a mitzvah), does that mean it has no value? Can something that does not fulfill a mitzvah still have some religious value to a community and to an individual? I think that this was also at the heart of R Broyde’s recent article about women’s kriya on Simchat Torah (or other times). Not asur, but not a good thing since it is an ersatz mitzvah (a copy, not the real thing). We should encourage women to do mitzvot, not things that look like mitzvot but really aren’t.

    For many, KS is a spiritual beginning to a holy day — a palpable change in mood and outlook. Not so much because it fulfills a mitzvah (it does not according to many), but a spiritual need for a hallel of sorts – a joyous welcoming of shabbat. Others just recite the tehilim and maybe half hartedly sing Lecha Dodi, but it has little spiritual meaning for them, it is just what we do. [Some say Hallel like that too.] For those in the former camp, being able to lead and help the kehilla bring in Shabbat (and for those who enjoy being led by that person), the fact that it has no halachic significance is beside the point, it is a non-halachic communal prayer experience that brings them closer to God. While that may or may not also justify psukei d’zimrah, Ein Kelokeinu and other things that are attached to, but not really a part of, davening, it certainly works for KS if one approaches it that way. For Tal and those who think only in terms of mitzvah fulfillment, then obviously, a it is doing something without meaning and therefore may be insulting, but is certainly improper.

  99. “Seth Kadish: I can’t seem to find the relevant argument. Did you mean the paragraph towards the end?”

    “Yes, the second-to-last paragraph summarizes his arguments.”

    That paragraph doesn’t ring true to me, maybe I don’t totally understand what he is trying to say about tefillat rabbim and tefillah be-tzibbur. How does either of those phrases make any sense as a category for Kabbalat Shabbat? The only category Kabbalat Shabbat really seems to fit into is described in Teshuvot ha-Rambam (veha-meivin yavin):

    אגרות הרמב”ם (מהדורת שילת [=שו"ת הרמב"ם מהדורת בלאו סימן רס"א])
    [השאלה: בעניין הוספת מזמורים ותחינות לתפילה, ובעניין הברכות ופוסקי דזמרא בחיפזון.]
    [התשובה:] אלו ההוספות בקריאת מזמורים או תפילות, כתפילות רבנו סעדיה ז”ל וזולתן מאִמרי המוסר, לפני תפילת החובה – כל זה טוב מאוד, ורצוי לעורר הכוונה. וכבר אמרו ז”ל: “חסידים הראשונים היו שוהין שעה אחת ומתפללים” (משנה ברכות פ”ה מ”א). אבל זה רצוי ליחיד או ליחידים היכולים לעשות כן בבתיהם, אמנם בבתי כנסיות – הוא אצלי (=לדעתי) טעות, לפי שבתי כנסיות הם לרבים, ואם יהיה שם אדם אחד זקן או חלוש, או מוהל, ויתאחר רגע מתפילת הציבור – יהיה בזה נזק. ובכל עניין כזה נקראים “הציבור” – החלשים שבהם, ויש להשתדל להקל עליהם בכל צד, ולא להוסיף עליהם טורח בעבודת ה’.
    ואמנם קריאת מאה ברכות או הזמירות בחיפזון ומהירות – חטא גמור, ומי שאינו מוחה בחזנים בזה חוטא, לפי שכל אלו העבודות אשר הן בדיבור אמנם הכוונה בהן ההתבוננות עם האמירה, ויכון אומרן דעתו, וידע שעם אדון כל העולם הוא מדבר בהן, בין שיבקש ממנו, או יודה לו וישבחו, או יספר פעליו וחסדיו, או יספר נפלאותיו בברואיו ויכָלתו, ואלו הם המינים הכוללים לכל ברכה בהברכות או זמירות או פסוקי זמרא. וכאשר הכל הוא דיבור עמו יתעלה – איך תֻּתַּר המהירוּת בזה, וְהֶסַּח הדעת ממה שנאמר, אם לא אצל מי שאינו יודע מה הוא אומר ואינו מבינוֹ, אלא דינו בתפילתו דין התוכי והעורב בְּמָה שֶׁלִּמַּדְנוּם ממילות בני אדם.
    וְכָתַב משה

  100. S. says:

    >Does anyone think he did it for a reason other than as an emergency measure?

    I think he did it as a flirtation with liturgical reform. So, yes, there are those who think he did it for a reason other than as an emergency measure. Also, he was a young man, and asked no senior rabbis to vet and approve his decision. (Also, it was one year only.)

  101. David S says:

    “The point here is that the women are seeking a PUBLIC prayer role. That is what is generally denied them. And what I think is insulting to them is creation of a pseudo-public role. It is not really public.”

    Tal,there is no pseudo public role. It is defacto a way of showing their commitment to Hashem to others in a public way. What is insulting is that you presume to know what they feel. In your world, Women who want to lead Kabbalat Shabbat are at best dupes. This misjudges their intentions. There are many women who believe in Halacha and wish to explore voluntary areas where they can enhance their personal experience. If it works for them, who are you to say you know better?

  102. Tal Benschar says:

    Tal — In your view is there any halachic benefit to women for davening in shul at all? Are they just deceiving themselves if they do come for the davening?

    The answers to your questions are, respectively, yes and no.

    First of all, since a shul is a mikdash me’at, they have that benefit. Second, if they do so while the tsibbur (meaning 10 men, at least) is davening, then they fulfill tefillah be tsibbur. Third, if the shul has any decorum at all, it is likely to be more conducive to davening with kavannah than other places, and since tefillah is supposed to be avodah she ba lev, then that is always better. (The third is a combination of practical and halachic.)

    All three apply to men as well. It is preferable for a man to pray in shul with a minyan, even if they don’t need him for a minyan, and of course davening with better kavanah is always better for anyone.

    (As an aside, there is benefit to davening at the same time as the tsibbur even if you cannot make it to shul. There are women who do so.)

    In the recent book about Rebbetzin Kanievsky, who was considered a great tsaddekes in her own right in the Charedi world, and whom no one would accuse of being modern, it states that she was particular to always daven three times a day, during the same time as the tsibbur, right in the Ezras Nashim. (It helped, of course, that she lived right next to a shul.) AFAIK, no one is reading her out of Orthodoxy.

  103. ruvie says:

    Gil – any chance you can get r’ broyde to opine on r’ freundel novel approach to elevate kabbalat shabbat services to tefillah b’tzibur or b’rabim which he would deem women excluded to lead?
    since this is the crux to r’ freundel thesis its interesting to note r’ broyde previous comment:

    ” I seriously doubt that the recitation of Kabbalat Shabbat has the status of a davar shebikedusha, such that a woman as a chazan is a violation of the classical yatza-motzi rules. Kabbalat Shabbat is generally discussed in the poskim (see Shulchan Aruch 261 and 263 as well as Ishei Yisrael 36:14-15) in the context of a minhag and nothing more, and we have generations of tanaim, amoraim and rishonim who did not say it. Indeed, there have been prominent halachic authorities of the last generation who did not recite Kabbalat Shabbat. Furthermore, it is not generally treated as a davar shebikedusha in many communities socially, where, for example, a child will lead Kabbalat Shababat, chazanim repeat words in Lecha Dodi who never repeat words in tefilla, and the chazan will step off the bima to dance and engage in many other frivolities that are inconsistent with a davar shebikedusha structure. “

  104. HAGTBG says:

    So, I’m left wondering what changes for making women feel more a part of the davening congregation R. Freundel does approve of, and has implemented?

    http://www.jofa.org/Community/JOFA_Blog/Interview_with_Elanit_Z_Rothschild_Jakabovics/

  105. IH says:

    HAGTBG — Thanks. I was aware of the leadership roles women play and have played in his shul. But thanks, for the link.

    To be clear, though, that is why I asked “making women feel more a part of the davening congregation“.

  106. SM says:

    Ruvie, there is no need to ask R. Broyde to comment on this issue again, as he already said his point. The more important consideration is that no posek in the world, or in any previous generation, ever assumed what R. Freundel is arguing. That is fine, he can argue a new idea but kelal yisrael has not accepted it, as I already mentioned, the proof is that children do pesukei dezimra and other things. No one takes what R. Freundel says seriously for any practical purposes.. It is a matter of talmud torah and nothing more.

  107. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “So while I see the insult in “you can do this because it doesn’t matter halachically,” I also recognize that it _does_ matter in some way.”

    This, together with Michael’s comment, is the point; of course it matters. Men with good voices (and unfortunately some without) vie to lead KS. When someone has a simcha, they ask that their relative with a good voice (hopefully) have that honor. Colloquially we call it a kibud. Peopel wish the one who leads KS yaher koach afterwards. In many shuls the singing of LD is the highlight of the evening service; ma’ariv is rushed through like it often is during the week. And, indeed, R. Freundel recognizes that it’s important; that’s one of the reasons he objects to women saying it, because according to him it does have halachic importance. But as others have noted, halachic importance is not the only type of importance.

    So what the women at PM realize (and, yes, they are intelligent enough to understand the issues, Tal, and intelligent enough to understand when they are being insulted and when not), is that they have a chance to participate in something important, especially as Jesse noted communally important, which, because of technical halachic reasoning they can, according to their halachic leadership, participate in. Having their cake and eating it too? To an extent perhaps, but after all the years of being deprived of any cake whatsoever, they seem entitled.

  108. sara says:

    I’m pretty sure that Rabbi Freundel isn’t a Dr.

  109. Joseph says:

    R. Freundel is indeed a Dr. Wouldn’t have taken long online to find this out, about as long as it would have taken to type that you are pretty sure he isn’t.

  110. IH says:

    Thanks, Gil, for the WTG link. I think Michael Rogovin’s summary at 2:39pm (and the discussions before and after that illustrate) is important. The role of women disagreements are, at their core, a more fundamental meta-level disagreement about whether one sees praxis exclusively through the lens of obligation, or as an admixture of obligation and additional paths to get closer to God.

    Thinking about it, this may also explain the disagreements within Orthodoxy regarding the desirability of chumrot. I.e. for someone who believes that only the practice of mitzvot for which one is obligated is important, chumrot provide the extra importance. Whereas, those who advocate the admixture approach have other paths to participate in something important (using Joseph’s language).

    If we helicoptered up, would we be able to see this debate as a broader hashkafic disagreement within Modern Orthodoxy?

  111. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I’ve read both links about Kesher and am impressed. When R. Freundel wrote “Instead we need to work even harder to try and find halakhically legitimate ways to respond to contemporary Orthodox women and their range of opinions and feelings and not open the door to practices that might split our community and lead to halakhic violation in many areas of Jewish law” there were questions about what he’s done in this area. Well, it appears he has put his actions (and his shul) where his mouth is. While I am not convinced by his halachic analysis of KS nor by some of the sociology that goes behind it, he does seem to be trying to improve things in the area of women and Orthodoxy and he should be recognized for that. Who know? Maybe he’ll finally come around on PM in the future. :-)

  112. Shlomo says:

    That said, I think there is another aspect here that gets lost. The Partnership Minyan is important to me as a male. I want to daven with my community — male and female. I want to be enveloped in the wall of sound that emanates from 200 people davening together, as one community. The participation of women, in a halachic context, is deeply important to me intellectually, theologically and spiritually.

    The “wall of sound”, and the sense of community, can be present whether or not a woman is leading the service. And it is rather insulting to everyone in shul, yourself included, to argue that only the prayer leader is participating in prayer.

  113. IH says:

    Shlomo — sorry if I was not clear. The wall of sound is part of the equation, as is the ability of women to take an active role, even if limited to certain sections.

    To meet my personal intellectual, theological and spiritual needs and I need both parts. A WTG may help some of the women satisfy their needs, but it doesn’t satisfy mine.

  114. mycroft says:

    “The more important consideration is that no posek in the world, or in any previous generation, ever assumed what R. Freundel is arguing. That is fine, he can argue a new idea but kelal yisrael has not accepted it, as I already mentioned, the proof is that children do pesukei dezimra and other things. No one takes what R. Freundel says seriously for any practical purposes.. It is a matter of talmud torah and nothing more”

    No one? As I wrote I believe the Rav did not believe that less than Bar Mitzvah children should lead even things like ein keloheinu etc. To be fair the gabbaim of the Maimonides schul were usually HS students who had an easy choice for Levi-moreinu harav yoseph Dov

  115. mycroft says:

    “Hirhurim on January 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm
    Can’t comment but see here http://kesher.org/study/womens_rosh_chodesh.shtml

    Read link-Torah reading in a WPG is at least as aggressive as a women leading something that is not a Tfilah. Women speak see eg Rebetzen Jungreis.

  116. IH says:

    Shlomo — (cont.) A few weeks ago, we had a visitor at DN from out of town whom I knew from high school days. At Kiddush, we were chatting about where she, her husband (and young children) davem and the other shul choices they have where the currently live. When I asked her impressions, she told me that as soon as davening was over and she saw her husband, she said ~”Did you hear that? [He] What? [She] The sound of everyone davening!”.

    If the men and women in your shul feel that way, fantastic!

  117. Joseph says:

    Now I am really confused. R. Freundel’s shul allows women to read Torah in a Women’s Prayer Group. That is a lot worse than allowing them to recite Kabbalat Shabbat. I have to say I am astounded. Here he is criticizing those who have made a minor reform by having women lead a recitation of a non-obligatory prayer, and in his own shul he allows a major REFORM by having women read from the Torah and have their own mincha service. What type of crazy world is this? He is just as much a reformer as the others.

  118. Shlomo says:

    IH: I don’t know about my current shul (chosen for proximity), but in the past I have certainly been part of communities where that was the case.

  119. emma says:

    “He is just as much a reformer as the others.”

    No, he has at least some Rabbis on his side re: the permissibility of that innovation. PM has one rabbi, who was never before a communal rabbi until he stepped into this fray. Whether that divide among the (LW) orthodox rabbinate is halachically determined or political, it remains the case. I do appreciate the irony, though.

    I think what has happened is that people thought they could make “the women” happy by giving them their own thing, without touching the “real” service. Now that women want in on the “real” service (thanks in no small part to all the anti-wtg rabbis who told them they should care more about the “real” service than the “ake” ones) serious alarm bells are ringing.

  120. Tal Benschar says:

    “Colloquially we call it a kibud.”

    I was once in a shul where on Simchas Torah they auctioned off various “kibbudim.” One of them was “lollipops le chol ha shanah.” Wondering what that was, I asked, and was told that they were auctioning of the right to hand out lollipops to children who come to shul the whole year. Some thought that was a really important kibbud.

  121. Hoffa Araujo says:

    Wondering what that was, I asked, and was told that they were auctioning of the right to hand out lollipops to children who come to shul the whole year. Some thought that was a really important kibbud.

    What about the rights and feelings of others who want to be Candymen? What happened to their rights?

  122. IH says:

    Emma — borrowing Abigail Adams: I desire you would remember the men.

    ——

    Ok. I’ve held my tongue on this matter, but let’s face it some of the men supporting JOFA in the manner described by Michael Rogovin (and R. Frimer in previous discussions) may have been less driven by feminism, as by satisfying feminists.

  123. S. says:

    I know! How crazy, that there might be something subjective about what are considered honors.

  124. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote in part:
    “Thinking about it, this may also explain the disagreements within Orthodoxy regarding the desirability of chumrot. I.e. for someone who believes that only the practice of mitzvot for which one is obligated is important, chumrot provide the extra importance”

    Actually, Chumros, in their purest sense, demonstrate that a person performs mitzvos not just because he or she is obligated, but as a means of demonstrating Ahavas HaShem Umitzosav.

    IH also wrote:
    “The role of women disagreements are, at their core, a more fundamental meta-level disagreement about whether one sees praxis exclusively through the lens of obligation, or as an admixture of obligation and additional paths to get closer to God”

    Please set forth how one relates to HaShem other than via Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim-depending largely, but not exclusively on the level of one’s obligation. What “other paths” are there that you view as legitimate-regardless of how halacha would view the same?

  125. emma says:

    It’s weird to see people falling over themselves to show how kabbalat shabbat is meaningless. It’s clearly not. Welcoming shabbat with nice poetry, some of which is from tanach, in a ceremony that dates back hundreds of years (sort of) to very important rabbis, is not the same as giving out lollipops.

    And one big indicator that everyone really knows that to be so is that people get upset when it is done “wrong” (ie, by a woman). If it were actually “meaningless” no one would care…

  126. Hoffa Araujo says:

    No – it is a reaction to the sinking feeling that once you give up on KS, you will eventually be giving up on much more. Give an inch and they’ll take a foot. That’s a natural reaction.

  127. lawrence kaplan says:

    Emma and others: The real halakhic objections to PM was to the part where women get aliyot and read from the Torah. Kabbalat Shabbat was a minor side issue. Even R. Broyde who opposes women leading a KS service does so on policy and not strictly halakhic grounds.

  128. Hoffa Araujo says:

    These arguments will look mighty curious and anachronistic in 50 years when in LWMO woman are doing everything and have “halachic support” to do it.

    I have stated before but I won’t be suprised when KS is just the first step. I mean, speaking of putting the genie back in the bottle, but the creeping changes, like creeping Orthodox acceptance of homosexuality, approval of double ring ceremonies, changes to gender in liturgy, are, when taken together, signs of things to come on the left flank of Orthodoxy (and by that time it may no longer be considered part of Orthodoxy).

  129. IH says:

    Please set forth how one relates to HaShem other than via Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim-depending largely, but not exclusively on the level of one’s obligation.

    Steve — Your phrasing could mean anything, but in the context of this discussion: for some women by leading parts of davening and/or getting an aliya. Yissocher Katz wrote very beautifully on the latter in one of the previous Hirhurim discussions.

    The inablity of some to “get” that, is the point.

  130. IH says:

    Ysoscher Katz on October 17, 2012 at 2:36 am

    R. Broyde’s stance on the YITH controversy reminds me of a story I often heard as a kid growing up in Satmer. Once, the Kapisnitzer Rebbe got sick and was hospitalized. When he came home to recuperate, all the Hassidic Rebbes in the community visited him. At some point one of the Litvisher Roshei Yeshivah who was living in the community decided to visit him as well. When he knocked on the door, the Rebbe asked him why he was there. The Rosh Yeshivah responded: I came to be mekayaim the mitzvah of bikkur cholim. With a glint in his eye the Rebbe said to him: ah ha, you just came to fulfill the mitzvah of bikkur cholim and as the choleh that would make me the “cheftza” of the mitzvah. Well, I am not in the mood right now to play the role of “cheftza” for your mitzvah. Good bye and good day! Although I can’t vouch for the veracity of this tale, it conveys an important message; Brisker Lomdus can easily slip into rather painful reductionism.

    The mitzvah of kriat/shemiat Torah is “A” factor in why I am so moved every time I am called up to the Torah, but it is not the only one. An Aliya to the Torah is a momentary encounter with a physical object that halacha, tradition and society has successfully infused with an unparalleled level of kedusha and intimacy with the Divine. Even after thirty years of receiving aliyot has this brief encounter not lost its power; I still feel each time the thrill of knowing that during those few minutes I am experiencing a miniature Kabbalat Ha-Torah. Each time I go up to the Torah I reflect on the prohibition of touching the klaff and how it infuses the experience with a sweet and tense-filled moment of intimacy for me no different from the beginnings of a relationship; we want to get close but not too close. The fact that what I am doing is also a mitzvah is only one of the many reasons this encounter is so powerful. The historical, religious and sociological significance of the Torah scroll play an equal if not greater role in infusing the Aliyah experience with its marvelous significance. I find it frustratingly reductionist to argue that its meaning is exclusively derived from the fact that it is a mitzvah.

    As a male I am privileged to have these encounters as often as I please. It pains me to think that my wife, two daughters, and the hundreds of female students I have taught over the years do not have similar access to this powerful religious opportunity. While not taking an actual stand on this debate, it is crucial that we appreciate how much these conversations go way beyond the narrow confines of chiyuv or patur.

    Moshe rabbinu begged God to let him enter Eretz Yisroel. I can see R. Broyde telling him: why are you so adamant, Moshe, you are not chayav. And from a pure halachic perspective, he would be right. The “chalos chiyuv” to keep mitzvot hateliyot be’aretz only comes once one has entered Eretz Yisroel. However, R. Broyde would be missing the point. Moshe’s desire to do more mitzvot was to have more opportunities to serve Hashem, regardless of whether he is chayav or not. That is what many of us also want: to explore options that would allow us to offer our wives, daughters and female students the same opportunities we men have, to occasionally take a break from our daily routines and encounter Ha’kadosh Baruch Hu intimately and up-close.

  131. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Please set forth how one relates to HaShem other than via Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim-depending largely, but not exclusively on the level of one’s obligation.

    Steve — Your phrasing could mean anything, but in the context of this discussion: for some women by leading parts of davening and/or getting an aliya”

    I thought that my question was specific to what was a vague term on your part-”obligation, or as an admixture of obligation and additional paths to get closer to God”-That’s nice 21st century rhetoric for jettisoning and disregarding not just Minhag Yisrael, but rather abolishing all gender related differences in Halacha in the public realm.

  132. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-I read R Katz’s article years ago-I found his article singularly informative and apologetic in nature. What is he reciting when he says a Birkas HaMitzvah on any mitzvah?

  133. Steve Brizel says:

    I am no fan of hagiographical works, but I should add that I recently read both R H Teller’s book on R N T Finkle ZL and the Artscoll bio of Rebbitzen Kanievsky ZL. As Tal points out, Rebbitzen Kanievsky ZL davened three times a day and was by no means a feminist. ( The book on R N T Finkel ZL underscores the fact that anyone from a coed school, if he has the itellectual firepower and the zeitsfleish, can become a Talmid Chacham.)

    That being said, someone wrote in part:
    “That said, I think there is another aspect here that gets lost. The Partnership Minyan is important to me as a male. I want to daven with my community — male and female”

    Yet, Halacha defines a minyan of 10 men as the minimum for the recitation of any communally mandated mitzvah. One can have nine men and 100 women in the same room, even with a mechitza-there is no Tzibur present.

  134. IH says:

    By the way, another “unimportant” part of liturgy whose origin may very well have been to provide minor boys with a way to be publicly involved is what has evolved into Kaddish Yatom. See: Machzor Vitri.

  135. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-RYBS told R F Schonfeld many years ago that it was far more important for his son, then a minor, to go to yeshiva, and learn Mishnayos L”Ilui Nishmas his mother Zicronah Livracha, than to recite Kaddish.

  136. Steve Brizel says:

    FWIE, RYBS told R F Schonfeld many years ago that it was far more important for his son, then a minor, to go to yeshiva, and learn Mishnayos L”Ilui Nishmas his mother Zicronah Livracha, than to recite Kaddish.

  137. IH says:

    Erratum: Sefer ha’Rokeach not Machzor Vitri. In Why We Pray What We Pray R. Freundel summarizes what his congregant, and former Board Member, Leon Wieseltier covers in more depth in his Kaddish. R. Freundel is silent in his version on the obvious inference from the text that the boy is a minor (else he would have led Ma’ariv itself). Wieseltier if memory serves makes the point explicitly.

  138. IH says:

    My curiosity piqued, from p. 45 of Kaddish:

    So in the late twelfth and early thirteen centuries, the mourner’s kaddish was said by a minor in shul on the Sabbath, at midday, or at twilight.

    and from pp. 47-48:

    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 it’s 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.)

  139. S. says:

    IH, the story basically requires the boy to be a minor – it included the drama of the dead man not even knowing if he had a son, as he died with his wife pregnant. I think it is more about telling a really good story than trying to include minors, no?

  140. IH says:

    S. — Yes, of course, but see the traces continue into the 16th century as per 6:53pm. Also, the earliest source we know for this midrash is in Sefer ha’Rokeach, so it is reasonable to think the story is written to support the desired liturgical custom (i.e. an opportunity for an orphan minor to have a public role of mourning).

    There is some irony in the precedent being davka Kaddish…

  141. Fotheringay-Phipps says:

    Have I missed something or does kol isha not even warrant a mention by now?

    Avar v’shana na’aseh k’heter …

  142. S. says:

    >Have I missed something or does kol isha not even warrant a mention by now?

    They probably rely on the Seridei Eish, who cites Sdei Chemed and an earlier source that says that there is no prohibition of kol isha for zmiros, kinnos and children’s songs.

    So yes, there is no mention, because that is clearly accepted in these communities (and, truthfully, in more rightwing ones as well to a certain degree).

  143. Tal Benschar says:

    It’s weird to see people falling over themselves to show how kabbalat shabbat is meaningless. It’s clearly not. Welcoming shabbat with nice poetry, some of which is from tanach, in a ceremony that dates back hundreds of years (sort of) to very important rabbis, is not the same as giving out lollipops.

    And one big indicator that everyone really knows that to be so is that people get upset when it is done “wrong” (ie, by a woman).

    That misrepresents the point (at least my point). Everything you say about Kabbalos Shabbos can be done individually. My wife does it all the time at home.

    Unless she has familial obligations, a woman could go to shul and recite the same tehillim and Lecha Dodi from the ezras nashim, she could even sing them quietly (or not so quitely, depending on the acoustics of the shul).

    What these Partnership “Minyanim” want to add is a woman leading the tsibbur in this “service,” which is a pseudo-re-enactment of tefillah be tsibbur (assuming you reject R. Freundel’s thesis.) At bottom, what is going on here is these women want to be like men, but the “technical” halakha does not allow them, so they found something they can make look like what men do, and that is supposed to make them happy. That to me is a big insult — “look, we found something that you can do to seem like you are a man, but of course, really your are not, because as soon as we are done with KS, we are going right to Maariv, and of course that you, you woman you, cannot do, because that is tefillah be tsibbur and davar she be kedushah, and we all know only a man can do that.”

    That is what I always found farcical about a lot of feminist “halakha” — it is an attempt to have women act like pseudo-men and in the process make them feel good, but in reality it means nothing.

  144. Fotheringay-Phipps says:

    None that I’m aware of.

    I’m aware that a lot of people rely of the Seridei Esh. But he didn’t rule that it was permitted outright. He kind of justified it b’sha’as had’chak based on kiruv considerations and because there were blended voices and no female solos (which I assume would not apply in these PMs).

    I assume people might apply the first aspect to PMs as well, but KI is certainly a significant part of the issue. Which is what I meant by my comment – you permit something grudgingly and basha’as had’chak and next thing you know it becomes heter gomur to the point where it’s not even a consideration anymore.

  145. Fotheringay-Phipps says:

    Previous post was in response to S.

  146. Tal Benschar says:

    BTW, R. Gil, why doesn’t ein maavirin al ha mitzvos apply here.

    Tehillim are certainly tefillah, and if said with a minyan it would be tefillah be tsibbur. In some places, they say Lecha Dodi responsively IIRC, R. Soloveichik held any time that is done (for example, by Kel Adon) it is a davar shebekdushah. So if the minhag is to do it that way, then why would it not be a kiyum of davar she be kedushah.

    Granted that none of these are obligatory, but why are they not a kiyum? And if so, having a woman do it would be maavirin al ha mitzvos. Just like a woman skipping davening with a minyan to daven with a WTG.

  147. Noam Stadlan says:

    Response to comment from this morning.
    R. Gil- point noted and accepted. Given R. Freundel’s other opinions it seems I made an assumption that may be unfounded. If Rabbi Freundel is reading I hope he accepts my apology. On the other hand, his argument still appears weak in my very humble opinion which appears to be substantiated by a significant number of others.

  148. Tal Benschar says:

    BTW, Gil, some blogs have a system whereby posts are numbered. Would be helpful in responding to them (“In response to Post # 45, . . .”)

  149. IH says:

    Tal: “Unless she has familial obligations, a woman could go to shul and recite the same tehillim and Lecha Dodi from the ezras nashim, she could even sing them quietly.”
    Tal : “it is an attempt to have women act like pseudo-men and in the process make them feel good, but in reality it means nothing.”
    FG: ”you permit something grudgingly and basha’as had’chak and next thing you know it becomes heter gomur”

    I would be interested in hearing R. Freundel’s view of these comments and how they square with his conclusion that “we need to work even harder to try and find halakhically legitimate ways to respond to contemporary Orthodox women and their range of opinions and feelings”.

  150. mycroft says:

    “Fotheringay-Phipps on January 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm
    Have I missed something or does kol isha not even warrant a mention by now?

    Avar v’shana na’aseh k’hete”

    Not downplaying the issue but lets assume that the women was not engaged in singing a la Rabbi Broyde who stated once concerning this issue it is a very serious issue but assuming a women led Kabbalas Shabbos the way he does-he claims not to be musical-then there would not be kol isha. It is a serious practical issue but hypothetically number of voices together etc-Sreidei Eish viewpoint etc.

  151. Mr. Cohen says:

    I do not understand why Dr. Barry Freundel quoted the “lenient responsum of the Conservative Movement,” because so-called “Conservative Halachah” is a total falsehood and fraud, and most members of the Conservative Movement never followed it or even knew what it was.

    By quoting so-called “Conservative Halachah,” Dr. Barry Freundel gives the appearance of legitimacy to a dangerous fraud.

    How can a Jewish movement whose members reject the divine origin of the Torah have their own version of Halachah? They can’t!

  152. S. says:

    Well, Mr. Cohen, he’s only a Herr Doktor, right? So he can quote whatever he wants.

  153. S. says:

    >I assume people might apply the first aspect to PMs as well, but KI is certainly a significant part of the issue. Which is what I meant by my comment – you permit something grudgingly and basha’as had’chak and next thing you know it becomes heter gomur to the point where it’s not even a consideration anymore.

    That’s only an issue from where you stand. If, for example, a community already accepts that chodosh is mutar, do they need to revisit the discussion every time they want to talk about halacha relating to baked goods? No, the matter is settled, you talk about the next thing. You are only complaining because you see the matter as unsettled and, perhaps, ossur.

  154. emma says:

    ” At bottom, what is going on here is these women want to be like men, but the “technical” halakha does not allow them, so they found something they can make look like what men do, and that is supposed to make them happy.”

    Substitute “be part of the community” for “be like men” and you will see why not leading is just as “insulting” as leading based on a technical reason that you-can-do-it-because-it’s-not-important.

  155. IH says:

    Emma — nu. so what do you want?

  156. emma says:

    I don’t know.

  157. emma says:

    While not a real fan of partnership minyanim for many reasons, I would like rabbis to more or less leave them alone, or at least not try to actively push their participants away in other areas, and then we’ll see where things go, perhaps even in my lifetime, but perhaps not.
    In the meantime i would like a community that is less focused on these boundary issues, which somehow 9 out of 10 times have to do with gender, and instead focused more on mindful growth in torah and mitzvot.

  158. IH says:

    Appreciated. Thx.

  159. Michael Rogovin says:

    The Rabbis I named may or may not be “feminists” but they certainly sincerely believed in maximizing women’s roles within halacha, finding ways, when permissible, to address legitimate spiritual longings of women who have been marginalized for centuries (with some exceptions of course). They did so from conviction, not just to satisfy others.

    Far be it for me to get into a spat with someone here, but there are many ways to serve God other than Torah, Avodah and Gmilut Hasadim (unless you are not limiting these terms to mitzvot). I think that one can serve God, or at least build spiritual connections to God, through music and dance, or fine arts. Through literature ad study of philosophy. Some hasidim include song and dance as part of their avodah, though neither is a mitzvah. I don’t think that encouraging men and women to find ways to perform avodah is limited to fulfilling mitzvot.

    That said, I remain skeptical of PM absent clear halachic support, from either a well reasoned opinion that thoroughly deals with all objections, or a respected posek.

  160. IH says:

    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.

    I think that PM’s will be mainstream Modern Orthodox (of the KJ/JC variety) in my lifetime and certainly in yours. Just my view, take it or leave it.

  161. IH says:

    9:35pm was directed at Emma at 9:27pm (just to be clear).

    —–

    Michael — my understanding is that both R. Broyde and R. Frimer think R. Sperber is a “respected posek” although they strongly disagree with him on this issue. From the language used in this post by R. Freundel, I don’t get the sense he would agree, though.

  162. emma says:

    to me the bigger question is whether modern orthodoxy will be more than a social club with an aging population in 30 years…

  163. emma says:

    i take that back a bit. the bigger question is what modern orthodoxy will look like, and whether religion in general, and orthodxyin particular, will be viabrant and viable or shrinking. no need for the negative spin.

  164. IH says:

    Sounds like you’re spending too much time at LSS :-)

  165. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Emma: I hope I will be around to find out!

  166. IH says:

    Emma — Darkhei Noam is nothing but vibrant and growing. Drisha is vibrant and growing. Opportunities now exist for 50% of the population that were unavailable when I was in my 20′s or 30′s.

    The future of (what people here call LW) MO seems brighter to me now than in the 1980s. Maybe I’m just overly optimistic, but I do not worry at all looking at the evidence. The best is yet to come!

  167. emma says:

    I don’t want to discuss particular institutions here but I have my doubts. I agree that DN is as you describe, but don’t know what that means in the long run. Also, the west side is peculiar. What about modern orthodoxy for the 99%?

  168. Ruvie says:

    Emma – all we can say that mo is currently in flux because of lack of any leadership. There is no rabbinic leader that everyone is willing to abide by.

  169. IH says:

    There are two dynamics worth considering regarding the 99%:

    1. As Joel Rich observes, correctly in my view, there is a dance between the leaders and the amcha. In the US, that dance has stopped and both leaders and amcha are doing their own thing. There is a new generation of potential leaders who can get the dance going again (most clearly, R. Broyde) if they have the courage to stand up to their RW flank.

    2. Socio-religious change occurs in a similar manner as the modern technology adoption curve: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, Laggards. Emma’s 99% occurs when the Late Majority joins. [Of course, there are multiple simultaneous technologies, so some people may simply be part of a different culture: e.g. yeshivish].

  170. mycroft says:

    “Lawrence Kaplan on January 23, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Emma: I hope I will be around to find out”

    I hope so too-sadly the actuarial odds of many of us to be around to find out are slim.

  171. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    mycroft: Don’t I know! Now, here, alas, is where your actuarial knowledge is relevant!

    Re Emma and IH: As both Drs. Brill and Sarna have noted, if in the 80s there was swing to the right, now there is one to the left.

  172. Fotheringay-Phipps says:

    mycroft: “Not downplaying the issue but lets assume that the women was not engaged in singing a la Rabbi Broyde who stated once concerning this issue it is a very serious issue but assuming a women led Kabbalas Shabbos the way he does-he claims not to be musical-then there would not be kol isha. It is a serious practical issue but hypothetically number of voices together etc-Sreidei Eish viewpoint etc”

    As I said, I am not familiar with how these minyanim are run. If they don’t sing, then it’s not a big deal. There was one rishon who held women shouldn’t lain because of kol isha, but most other rishonim don’t mention this aspect. Also, some 18-19th century poskim mentioned KI as a problem with women saying kaddish, and some contemporary poskim agree (and go further, FWIW). But if they’re not singing, they’re on solid ground. Most minyanim for kabalas shabbos involve the chazzan singing, though – at least the ones that I know.

    S. “That’s only an issue from where you stand. If, for example, a community already accepts that chodosh is mutar, do they need to revisit the discussion every time they want to talk about halacha relating to baked goods? No, the matter is settled, you talk about the next thing. You are only complaining because you see the matter as unsettled and, perhaps, ossur.”

    Are there leading MO poskim who hold that these heterim for KI are solid and well established? Or do they have the attitude of the SE – who felt it had a very weak basis but that he needed to find some heter because the situation demanded it. Because in the latter situation, if you’re going to push the envelope even further, meaning expand to areas where some of the grounds for leniency are not present, then it should weigh on the issue.

    ruvie: “Emma – all we can say that mo is currently in flux because of lack of any leadership. There is no rabbinic leader that everyone is willing to abide by.”

    That’s not happenstance. It’s endemic to Modern Orthodoxy. MO is not a leadership-driven movement. It’s very much ground up. Like RY Salanter’s moshul of “p’nei hador kip’nei hakelev”.

  173. emma says:

    IH, i actually meant the 99% in the economic sense, but your sense is also relevant.

    ” if in the 80s there was swing to the right, now there is one to the left.”

    I am not clear that the predicted swing is to left-wing religion as opposed to secularism.

  174. IH says:

    FP — At DN, the Sh”tz sings/chants alone only to extent they’re using a niggun people don’t know and there is a minor time lag until people join in (itself retty rare). We’re lay-led and there is no solo chazzanut male or female. IOW, there is a reasonable presumption of mixed voices.

  175. Fotheringay-Phipps says:

    I should add that if there’s always men and women singing together, that’s additional grounds for leniency. Many people believe that a group of women singing together are OK, and the SE suggested such a thing, but it’s contradicted by an explicit Gemara. But one posek (the Chasan Sofer) speculated that men and women together might not be kol isha.

  176. IH says:

    Emma — Sorry, but I am not sympathetic to your negativity. Until you can express what you want (or think good looks like), you should not expect others to be able to provide answers to your pessimism.

    In DN, I have found, pretty much, what I have wanted for many years. The PM, as implemented there, meets my intellectual, theological and spiritual needs for community. And R. Sperber’s halachic guidance rings true for me.

    If you want something different, make it happen rather than wringing your hands at all the unknowns.

  177. IH says:

    [Just to be crystal clear, I cannot take any credit whatsoever for what I lucked into at Darkhei Noam. I was living in the UK for most of DN's lifetime, where there were no viable options for regular t'filla that took account of women at all, even in the Masorti/Independent domain. Thank God the founders of DN persevered and created the success it is today where I now consider my home].

  178. ab says:

    “I should add that if there’s always men and women singing together, that’s additional grounds for leniency. Many people believe that a group of women singing together are OK, and the SE suggested such a thing, but it’s contradicted by an explicit Gemara. But one posek (the Chasan Sofer) speculated that men and women together might not be kol isha.”

    the sridei eish in the end relies on the notion that kol isha doesn’t apply in religious/spiritual contexts (I realize you can question this from shema, but this is what he relies on, which would answer questions about leining and also permit singing during davening)

  179. ab says:

    My apologies for the redundant comment. S. mentioned the SE’s analysis at the start of the conversation (I hadn’t read the comments through when I wrote the above)

  180. ab says:

    “I’m aware that a lot of people rely of the Seridei Esh. But he didn’t rule that it was permitted outright. He kind of justified it b’sha’as had’chak based on kiruv considerations and because there were blended voices and no female solos (which I assume would not apply in these PMs).”

    The SE rejects the reasoning of relying on blended voices and no solos. The heter he relies on is for female solo singing. But he didn’t want to go further than what was already practiced in Germany and therefore his conclusion is to be matir the mixed male-female singing already taking place, even though the logical basis of the only heter he finds acceptable is for individual singing and he explicitly rejects relying on the heter of mixed male-female singing. Those who permit female solos are not relying on the SE per se, but on the sources that the SE himself relies on that are matir female solo singing.

    That being said, the issue of kol isha is one of those where IMO minhag is an overriding factor. The sources can in principle be read many different ways and if this were purely a textual matter, I think one would find more matirim. IMO the real issue is that, at least in ashkenaz, the practice wrt kol isha was stringent and that this stringency was practiced even in eras and locales where women’s singing was routine. The exception was Germany, where apparently they were lenient with respect to male-female group singing with the approval of RDZHoffman and RSRHirsch. When the SE rejects that one can rely on trei kolei to permit blended male-female singing, and in the end relies on permissive approach to female solo singing, he is searching for a way to justify the existant practice in Germany of permitting blended singing. True, he probably had no need to go further and be matir solo singing as a practical matter, but there was also the issue of Germany itself being a departure from the dominant minhag and not wanting to deviate even futher from accepted practice. Maybe those who permit solo singing do so on the assumption that one has the right to adopt practices from outside ashkenaz if they are coherent or textually justifiable or if one can adduce other proofs to permit. As mentioned, if this were a matter of pure logic and reading of texts, one could easily make the case (and the case has indeed been made) that kol isha is situational and subjective and depends on what is considered arousing and the real barrier would seem to be that historical practice rejected this approach at least in ashkenaz.

  181. joel rich says:

    “the tide goes in, the tide goes out”- Bubbie Bessie Rich z”l
    “It is too soon to say. ” uncle chou -supposedly on the French Revolution (yes i know it’s with a z these days)
    It will be interesting to see what history (and the winners) write
    KT

  182. ab says:

    “R. Soloveichik held any time that is done (for example, by Kel Adon) it is a davar shebekdushah. So if the minhag is to do it that way, then why would it not be a kiyum of davar she be kedushah.

    Granted that none of these are obligatory, but why are they not a kiyum? And if so, having a woman do it would be maavirin al ha mitzvos.”

    What does this even mean? It sounds like RYBS was offering some sort of drush, not as though he was making a halachic statement

  183. Hoffa Araujo says:

    “i take that back a bit. the bigger question is what modern orthodoxy will look like, and whether religion in general, and orthodxyin particular, will be viabrant and viable or shrinking. no need for the negative spin.”

    Bingo, we have a winner. In our society, religious orthodoxy is certainly in decline. The growth of “Open” Orthodoxy is a reaction to this, in that many OJ’s struggle with this great conflict. However, I believe that this is a temporary phase, as those promoting Open Orthodoxy will try to maintain that so-called balance and equilibrium they want in terms of being as modern as possible. Alas, as I commented yesterday evening, that will change, as it already has for Open Orthodoxy in continually embracing positions of CJ, just a few decades behind CJ, until PM will be passe when the mechitzos are eventually removed and RW CJ and OO join forces.

  184. ruvie says:

    for those looking at a synopsis of viewpoints on kol isha from an mo perspective:
    http://www.jewishideas.org/articles/new-hearing-kol-ishah
    http://www.jewishideas.org/rabbi-david-bigman/new-analysis-kol-bisha-erva

    the current practice in many mo schools(ramaz and sar) allows singing solos for girls in plays and zimriahs. this also included morasha (yu affiliated) – at least 30 years ago.

  185. Tal Benschar says:

    What does this even mean? It sounds like RYBS was offering some sort of drush, not as though he was making a halachic statement/

    That’s not how I heard it. The way I heard it, he held that the essence of davar she be kedushah is praising Hashem in a responsive way, which is as the Malachim do (ve kara zeh el zeh ve amar). Kel Adon was the example I heard.

    I would think Lecha Dodi, which many kehillos do say responsively, would also qualify.

  186. S. says:

    Hoffa A, be-chol dor va-dor liberal Orthodox Jews will reinvent the wheel. They have to. Because there will always be an attraction and a pull toward a more liberal form of Orthodoxy, whether or not it – insert ominous tone of voice – looks like Conservative Judaism 100 years ago or 50 years ago. And if they become CJ or RJ or whatever, then the next group of liberal Orthodox Jews are also going to do it all over again. Centrist and RW Orthodox Judaism is just incapable of doing it for all Orthodox Jews, let alone all Jews.

  187. Hoffa Araujo says:

    “I would think Lecha Dodi, which many kehillos do say responsively, would also qualify.”

    Tal – when you refer to responsive recital of lecha dodi, do you mean as is common in Ashkenazic minyanim that daven nusach Sfard and chassidishe shteiblach, where the baal tefiloh starts by reciting the chorus stanza, everyone then repeats and then the BT begins “shamor v’zachor” while the kahal sings along until the repetition of “lchoh dodi” when the kahal then reads shamor v’zachor until “n’kababalah”? That is what is common in my circles. Singing it together through the whole thing is associated with MO minyanim.

  188. Anonymous says:

    ” liberal Orthodox Jews will reinvent the wheel”… doesn’t all orthodoxies adjust to some sociological changes and modern ideas to some degree – albeit slower than others? does anyone in orthodoxy maintain that a woman cannot leave the house but twice a month per the rambam’s ruling?

  189. Hoffa Araujo says:

    S – I agree with you. That is reason that mainstream Orthodoxy should not go along with changes, since the “cutting edge” crowd will always try to be cutting edge based on the latest trends. However, such values are not immutable and subject to change. I would also say that this phenomemon is due to our modern society, where identities are hardened. Pre-Enlightenment, traditional Judaism was more elastic, able to hold more adherents without strictness. At same time, the mores of society were not radically at odds with traditional Judaism as they are today. This can account for this phenomenon.

  190. Hoffa Araujo says:

    Anonymous – what about other Rishonim? Did they agree with the RAMBAM? Also, from what I read recently about the Teimanim in Yemen, girls and women rarely left the home at all, and certainly not by themselves.

  191. emma says:

    “Also, from what I read recently about the Teimanim in Yemen, girls and women rarely left the home at all, and certainly not by themselves.”

    When you write this, do you feel sorry for them, or is it just an interesting halachic tidbit?

    Also, were they behaving any differently than their muslim neighbors in that regard?

  192. IH says:

    We can see local influence regarding women much earlier:

    עַרְבִיּוֹת יוֹצְאוֹת רְעוּלוֹת, וּמָדִיּוֹת פְּרוּפוֹת

    (Mishna in B. Shabbat 65a)

  193. IH says:

    You can also find it directly inhttp://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/b/h/h21.htm (M. Shabbat 6:6).

    Interestingly, this implies that what we think of as Muslim women’s dress long pre-dates Islam and was a tribal/ethnic custom. It struck me when I was reading Daf Yomi as something I might want to look up in more detail at some point. Perhaps someone reading has a mareh makom to a relevant article.

  194. emma says:

    The difference being that the mishnayot in shabbat are permissive. I see no reason to deny that jewish women did, ever, observe certain restrictions in dress or mobility. That those fashions changed is no more remarkable than that we don’t eat “kutach.”
    The thorny issue comes when it seems people treated certain behaviors as normative, and we do not. That’s when it becomes clear that some norms are socially determined.

  195. IH says:

    To be clearer, thorny when you combine “people treated certain behaviors as normative, and we do not” with the RWMO/Yeshivish approach to “the halachic process”. It is the latter meta-issue that creates the boundary issues between LW or Open Orthodoxy.

  196. ruvie says:

    I was anonymous at 11:06

  197. Anonymous says:

    Hoffa A. – “However, such values are not immutable and subject to change” can you be specific in what values you speak of. i think that in many cases change is allowed

  198. emma says:

    re: face-veiling predating islam, the references to the following paragraph on wikipedia might help you:
    “It is sometimes alleged that the face-veil was originally part of women’s dress among certain classes in the Byzantine Empire and was adopted into Muslim culture during the Arab conquest of the Middle East.[2] However, although Byzantine art before Islam commonly depicts women with veiled heads or covered hair, it does not depict women with veiled faces. In addition, the Greek geographer Strabo, writing in the first century AD, refers to some Persian women veiling their faces;[3][not in citation given] and the early third-century Christian writer Tertullian clearly refers in his treatise The Veiling of Virgins to some pagan women of “Arabia” wearing a veil that covers not only their head but also the entire face.[4] These primary sources show that some women in Arabia and Persia veiled their faces long before Islam. Some interpretations say that a veil is not compulsory in front of blind, asexual or gay men.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niq%C4%81b#Styles

  199. Tal Benschar says:

    al – when you refer to responsive recital of lecha dodi, do you mean as is common in Ashkenazic minyanim that daven nusach Sfard and chassidishe shteiblach, where the baal tefiloh starts by reciting the chorus stanza, everyone then repeats and then the BT begins “shamor v’zachor” while the kahal sings along until the repetition of “lchoh dodi” when the kahal then reads shamor v’zachor until “n’kababalah”? That is what is common in my circles. Singing it together through the whole thing is associated with MO minyanim.

    Yes, that is what I meant, although the way I have generally seen is, the Chazzan sings and everyone else just hums along, and then he breaks and they say the next stanza.

  200. IH says:

    Emma — thanks. But, that doesn’t really jibe either timewise or ethnic wise. The Mishna was redacted ~100 years before the Byzantine empire and clearly references a well-understood and established custom; and Byzantine is Roman not Arab (or Persian).

    Someone must have written about this from a Mishnaic historical perspective…

  201. Hoffa Araujo says:

    Yes, that is what I meant, although the way I have generally seen is, the Chazzan sings and everyone else just hums along, and then he breaks and they say the next stanza.

    Yes, that is exactly what I meant. Thanks!

  202. S. says:

    Anon – doesn’t all orthodoxies adjust to some sociological changes and modern ideas to some degree – albeit slower than others?

    Yes. I’m just saying that the constant Center-RW Orthodox effort to make sure that there never is a new Orthodox Conservative Judaism is going to be eternal. Push this one out, the next one is going to be there and “threaten” Orthodox Judaism all over again.

  203. S. says:

    >When you write this, do you feel sorry for them, or is it just an interesting halachic tidbit?

    >Also, were they behaving any differently than their muslim neighbors in that regard?

    From reading many travelogues by 19th century Christians, albeit not in Yemen, I saw a pattern: in Islamic countries Jewish girls and women were seen by these European observers as controlled by their men a bit less than the Muslim women and, if I can use an anachronistic word, a little bit more openly sexy (in dress).

  204. Fotheringay-Phipps says:

    S: “be-chol dor va-dor liberal Orthodox Jews will reinvent the wheel. They have to. Because there will always be an attraction and a pull toward a more liberal form of Orthodoxy, whether or not it – insert ominous tone of voice – looks like Conservative Judaism 100 years ago or 50 years ago. And if they become CJ or RJ or whatever, then the next group of liberal Orthodox Jews are also going to do it all over again. Centrist and RW Orthodox Judaism is just incapable of doing it for all Orthodox Jews, let alone all Jews”

    It’s possible, but not indicated by current trends. Certainly elements within MO are moving left, but other elements are moving right. IF current trends continue, then it would seem that the center will disappear, and what’s left of Orthodoxy will be static. I realize of course that this is a big if, but the point is that it’s hard to make a fundemental rule out of something that does not appear to be consistent with the present trend.

  205. Hoffa Araujo says:

    Also, that cycle might not completely apply here as the left is starting to accept things that frankly are basics, like the issur deoraysa of mishkav zachar – something that previous liberal Orthodox movements did not touch with a ten foot pole. When you start encroaching on things of that nature, its a whole different ballgame.

  206. ruvie says:

    Hoffa A. – who is accepting on an issur deoraysa with mishkav zachar?

  207. ruvie says:

    Hoffa A.- 12:07 was ruvie

  208. S. says:

    >what’s left of Orthodoxy will be static

    Impossible. They will produce kids and some of them will chafe and move to the left. I feel like this is axiomatic – how is it not?

  209. ruvie says:

    Hoffa A. – my point was many halachot (including modesty) are due to change because they are based on accepted practices of the society at large to a certain degree – including when women can leave the house.

  210. ruvie says:

    on society and change:
    R’ Ovadia Y – yabia omer (VI orah hayim 13)
    ““Precisely in their [the Sages] times when they
    didn’t see a woman outside because ‘all the honor of a king’s daughter is inwards’
    so that when seeing a woman they would immediately have sinful thoughts [was there
    justification for concern],

    which isn’t the case presently with women being involved

    in business, accustomed to being among us, and no one is so aroused when seeing
    them or speaking with them to have sinful thoughts. …”

  211. Hoffa Araujo says:

    No is saying this things changes. However, its quite a stretch to say that since women are now seen in public in various capacities that affects hilchos and minhagei tefilloh.

    Your quote of ROY reminds of the following: what happened to “kol kevudah bas melech penimah”? Is that concept now out the window, or are so many carve-outs are used to render it meaningless?

  212. Hoffa Araujo says:

    Sorry, should read “Nobody is saying that these things don’t change”.

  213. IH says:

    FP — The AviChai Day School Census data trends belie your assertion that “If current trends continue, then it would seem that the center will disappear, and what’s left of Orthodoxy will be static.”

    On a national basis, CoEd MO Day Schools have gone from enrollment of 26,961 in 1998 to 29,515 in 2012 (+9%); and Community Day Schools (some of which have strong MO participation) have gone from enrollment of 14,849 in 1998 to 20,052 in 2012 (+26%).

    In contrast, non-CoEd Centrist Orthodox schools had a 5% decline in the same interval, probably because these Centrist parents sent their kids to Charedi schools.

    If anything, then, it is the RWMO who are leaving Modern Orthodoxy.

  214. S. says:

    >. However, its quite a stretch to say that since women are now seen in public in various capacities that affects hilchos and minhagei tefilloh.

    I agree, but is it a stretch to say that since women are now leaders in every capacity (including religion, in much of mainstream American religion) that things like assuming that we can’t give an aliyah because of kevod hatzibbur would be effected by the completely changed role of women? Really, take a step back and try and think what actually is dishonorable about a woman getting an aliyah. Do you feel dishonored when women decided what is and isn’t constitutional or represent American foreign policy? I mean, really. Kavod ha-tzibbur? It’s a stretch, isn’t it? A stretch if kavod is an actual thing. There may be compelling reasons to still not permit it, but why wouldn’t the changed role of women impact halachah?

  215. IH says:

    That said, I guess it depends on what you view the center of Modern Orthodoxy. Taken from the perspective of the Modern Orthodoxy I grew up in, I just see that the Yeshivish assumption of Modern Orthodox identity that reigned in the last two decades of the 20th century has begun to re-identify as Yeshivish (now moderate Charedi, I guess).

  216. ruvie says:

    Hoffa A. – “its quite a stretch to say that since women..”
    i am responding to your blanket statement of:” However, such values are not immutable and subject to change”… it certainly effects hilchot tzniut (modesty) is it a stretch to include kavod hatzibbur? kol isha?
    being officers or presidents of a shul(putting the issue of serarah aside for the moment)?
    there are many halachot that have been subject to change especially in regards to women.

  217. Fotheringay-Phipps says:

    S: “Impossible. They will produce kids and some of them will chafe and move to the left. I feel like this is axiomatic – how is it not”

    Among people who are currently RW, there is not there is not a significant number who are moving to the left. (There are some who become less religious, but that’s not the same thing.) So it’s hard to make an axiom of it.

    IH: “The AviChai Day School Census data trends belie your assertion that “If current trends continue, then it would seem that the center will disappear, and what’s left of Orthodoxy will be static.”

    On a national basis, CoEd MO Day Schools have gone from enrollment of 26,961 in 1998 to 29,515 in 2012 (+9%); and Community Day Schools (some of which have strong MO participation) have gone from enrollment of 14,849 in 1998 to 20,052 in 2012 (+26%)”

    I am not familiar with this situation, and there might be more to it (e.g. there might be kids from defunct Conservative schools switching in, or something else).

    But more importantly, what counts is not just the number of people in these institutions, but whether the people in these institutions are moving to the left or not. If this population is slowly converging with Conservative Judaism, then it makes sense to assume that the branch of Orthodoxy that they represent will eventually disapper.

  218. ruvie says:

    FP – “If this population is slowly converging with Conservative Judaism..”
    its interesting to see some who wish to write off the mo by claiming they are or will become part of conservative judaism. on what basis do you say “slowly converging..”

  219. ab says:

    “That’s not how I heard it. The way I heard it, he held that the essence of davar she be kedushah is praising Hashem in a responsive way, which is as the Malachim do (ve kara zeh el zeh ve amar). Kel Adon was the example I heard.

    I would think Lecha Dodi, which many kehillos do say responsively, would also qualify.”

    IOW it’s a drasha. Just read what you wrote! Are you saying eyn davar shebikdusha pachos me’asara, no you are not. You are making up a category of davar shebikdusha that has an affirmative quality or description (“davar shebikdusha”), but none of the requirements of davar shebikdusha – you surely are not suggesting that lecha dodi can’t be sung by less than ten- until it comes to women singing lecha dodi together (which they do in e.g. haredi summer camps as a matter of routine and which is utterly unobjectionable) and you decide that RYBS’s flight of drush fancy is a halachic barrier. Come on, this is naarishkeit. Don’t get me wrong, whatever RYBS originally said may have been wonderful and creative drasha, but drasha and not halacha it is and remains.

  220. [...] an article titled, “Putting the Silent Partner back into Partnership Minyanim,” available on Hirhurim. I commend Rabbi Freundel for his thorough analysis and critique of the phenomenon and will use his [...]

  221. minyan lover says:

    So many great halacha briefs filed on the thread docket. Thank u partnership minyan creators, without you this round of briefs would probably not have beeen created. Seems to me that it was worth creating partnership minyanim for the motion papers alone. Perhaps the oppositions and reply briefs will include original gra opinions. As an absolute gra lover, specifically when it comes to serious learning and prayer (except possibly the organ which I have not researched, not sure what gra’s opinion was ) its the original serious gra kloiz venue I’m always looking for. But the partnership minyan concept is inspirational. One day when I build my own gra kloiz, it will also have that equal gender motif/theme. But unlike partnerships divided space my gra kloiz will have no 3 part space partition. Equal gender gra halacha learning/and pink and gray light bulbs/menorah/chandeliers and pink and gray colored glass windows. The eternal lamp will be a pink light though. And there won’t be too much singing if at all. There will be an organ because music is very important in a sanctuary.

  222. ab says:

    with your absolute love of the gra, how is it possible that you overlook the advice he gives in his will for women to refrain from going to shul?

  223. minyan lover says:

    ab,
    Are u referring to the letter he wrote to his wife ? If so I have not looked this over and read/analyze the version I own often.I have tried getting a copy of the original text version but my document requests to various different partys were not successful/ignored. Please provide a copy of the original text version of the document you are referring to in the native language format, and the name of the original party that “produced” this document so I can determine whether or not your assertion with regards to women (your use of the words “woman” does not distinguish between daughters and wife– the subject of one of his concerns) were included in gra’s original words.

  224. Hoffa Araujo says:

    FP – “If this population is slowly converging with Conservative Judaism..”
    its interesting to see some who wish to write off the mo by claiming they are or will become part of conservative judaism. on what basis do you say “slowly converging..”

    I can speak (or write) for FP but I imagine is not to referring to all sectors of MO, just the Left.

  225. Fotheringay-Phipps says:

    Correct. That was my original point, as well as IH’s in his/her response.

  226. Dan Feigelson says:

    The comments on this blog need to be nested, preferably with numbering, so that threads therewithin can be followed.

  227. IH says:

    Given all the discussion this past week, I was feeling particularly blessed davening in Darkhei Noam this Shabbat Shira. And, just now, 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. Last Shabbat we celebrated another (female) congregant making aliyah — to Beersheva, this time. ושבו לגבולם.

  228. S.R. says:

    R.Dr. Frundel — I appreciate that your article was lucid and polished. However, I am irked by two things.
    First, you failed to elaborate the halakhic implications of kvod hatzibur. If that is a major point of contention either permitting or forbidding Partnership Minyanim, it deserves further discussion. Simply referencing the gemara and one rishon doesn’t cut it.
    Second, reading this article (http://www.kolhamevaser.com/2012/12/our-side-of-the-mehitsah-an-open-letter/) may give some insight regarding how women feel excluded from the prayer experience, even within the bounds of normative halakha. The point is that women’s exclusion is indeed an issue in our community. Sure, Partnership Minyanim may not be the answer. At least, please recognize and laud a woman’s desire to enjoy a greater degree of involvement in her prayer community.

  229. [...] appreciate Rabbi Farber’s respectful response to my paper on Partnership Minyanim and particularly his recognition that a blog post is not really the best [...]

  230. anon says:

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

  231. [...] Freundel has weighed in on the topic of partnership Minyanim, opening his review with a lament that halakha has been [...]

  232. Steve Brizel says:

    Chaim Trachtman’s response seemingly ignores the fact that we have many aspects of Torah observance and especially Tefilah in the communaln sphere that started out as minhagim but have become an intrinsic part of an accepted Tefilah such as Tefilas Maariv itself. The analogy to Tefilas Haderech IMO was off the mark simply because IIRC there is not even a Midas Chasidus to recite Tefilas HaDerech with a Minyan, as opposed to Kiddush HaLevanah, which is certainly recited with a Minyan.

  233. Steve Brizel says:

    ab wrote:

    “with your absolute love of the gra, how is it possible that you overlook the advice he gives in his will for women to refrain from going to shul”

    If the shul is noisy and the ezras nashim is a fashion parade with more talking than attentiveness to tefilah, then women just might feel that they can daven with more kavanah at home.

  234. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “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”

    To paraphrase Eva Peron “don’t cry for me Argentina.”

  235. minyan lover says:

    Steve Brizel,
    I don’t think that’s gra’s opinion on the matter.
    I will not waste any energy analyzing the sentences on a letter/document that has not been authenticated. (Some of the ridiculous sentences have clearly been embellished by some subjective fraudulent hashkaFeh artist /devout drama diva ). I will just point out that it is not a “will’ and it does not say “women should refrain from going to shul”. Additionally gra built his gra kloiz after he came back which makes this non-will letter patently irrelevant with regards to gra’s opinions on women and synagogues.

  236. minyan lover says:

    Speaking of Eva Peron’s “don’t cry for me Argentina”, for those are feeling sorry that they can’t visit Vilna this season and have to wait before taking a vacation (I am so in love with Vilna I wish I could move there ) but want to cry over Vilna sanctuaries and minyans that r no longer around , I would suggest reading “Sanctuary in the Ruins” by Chaim Grade. It is the saddest write up I’ve ever read on sanctuaries and minyans. And the gra kloiz is ruined.

  237. [...] Trachtman and R. Zev Farber’s post responding to my response to him (original paper here: link). This will probably be my last comment on this issue unless something dramatic happens; first [...]

  238. Chana Luntz says:

    I have put some comments on this article at:

    http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol31/v31n026.shtml#08

  239. […] public service, such as Kabbalas Shabbos and Pesukei Z’Dimra. (See also here , here , here and here ) Let’s look at R. Schachter’s p’sak and then turn to R. Katz’ response. As this requires […]

 
 

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