Partnership Minyanim V

 

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.

(Continued from I, II, III, IV)

I. Weak Responses

I have not had a chance to thoroughly review the last week or so of posts about my article, but I have seen and been told about several of them and particularly about some recurring themes in them. I intend to respond to three of these here and hope in the next week or so to read through the rest and see if they need a reaction. Prior to the specifics, a general comment in reaction to an ethos spread by the internet age that is profoundly troubling precisely because it reflects the glorification of a lack of seriousness, and that has been evident here.

I have no problem with people challenging or questioning what I write or say here or elsewhere–with one proviso: that they base the challenge either on a source or sources or on at least a somewhat logically rigorous argument. A presentation of that nature levels the playing field and regardless of whatever credentials I might have, deserves a respectful response which on occasion may even be a reconsideration and reformulation of what I have said. That happened here when Lawrence Kaplan raised the Rav’s article and I responded (though I state again that what the Rav writes clearly supports what I say to such an extent that if I revise the Partnership Minyan article at some point the Rav’s analysis would get its own section). (I may have more to say about Dr. Kaplan’s response at another time).

But what I find troubling in the context of halakhic or academic argumentation is people who think that sitting behind a keyboard and (often anonymously) declaring “I don’t agree”, “that’s a weak argument”, “I think that’s wrong”, or similar sentiments, with essentially no textual or conceptual support for their statements, is an action that contributes anything of value to the conversation. When students do things like this in my classes they appropriately get an F on their assignment.

I would ask those who respond in this way to recognize that the determination we make about Partnership Minyanim or anything else being analyzed in a halakhic and historic context is simply not subject to individual sentiments such as these. As I have said before, halakhah and academic research are not the servants of emotions. Challenging an extensive research project by someone with the credentials to accomplish that research in this way is simply not serious, though unfortunately in too many places in this world it has been accepted as such.

Again I welcome arguments from text or logic, but truly wonder where we got the idea that our feeling state or someone’s emotional reaction, untested against the realities of what exists, belongs in a discussion of this type. I am not trying to offend anyone (though in this era I am sure I have). I am simply trying to challenge people to move beyond purely subjective reactions to investigate, analyze, research, conceptualize, etc. at least to a certain extent. Halakhah and historic analysis are not about how anyone feels, certainly until and unless we first understand the factual structure in which we are operating, and we would all do well to realize that reality.

II. Meiri

A step up from this (or maybe only a half-step), is the attempt made by one commenter to explain why no one has responded to my challenge from the Meiri. Again the Meiri says that young boys can be called to the Torah because “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 Chazzan).”

This commenter suggests that Meiri is allowing boys to function as Chazzan for things like Pesukei De-Zimra and Kabbalat Shabbat here. Such a reading is simply wishful thinking. The Meiri is clearly making a distinction. A child may do x and he may not do y. The x is to be called to the Torah; the y is to lead services. If there were parts of the service that a child could lead Meiri, if he were functioning responsibly (which I assume he was), would need to specify those parts here in detail. To suggest that he is saying here that a child can both be called to the Torah and lead some parts of the services, but not others, simply denies the reality of what this text says. Again the lack of any indication of someone as Chazzan who is other than a full grown man for any part of the service is reaffirmed–despite yet another attempt to put words in the mouths of halakhic authorities that they did not say. Further my challenge to those who cite Meiri with regard to women and leining and then ignore Meiri’s undeniable statement not to extrapolate his position to prayer (all present in this text) simply shows again that we are in a universe of verdict first; evidence second.

III. Descending to the Lectern

The commenter also makes the claim that the term Yored lifnei ha-teivah is a term of art referring only and specifically to sections of the davening that require a minyan (others might phrase this as “containing a davar she-bi-kedushah”). Unfortunately (and this is why I suggest that this is no more than half a step better than the arguments from personal sentiments), the commenter makes this claim having clearly done no research to see if this is true. One of the things that happens when you get a halakhic position correct is that when you do additional research more and more sources appear that support the conclusion you have reached. That has happened several times in this inquiry and it happened again on investigating the term Yored lifnei ha-teivah. In fact there are at least 3 places in rabbinic literature where this term is clearly used in a setting that involves a tefillah that is not a davar she-bi-kedushah and does not require a minyan.

The first is Shabbat 24b and the gemara cited in my article on Magen Avot where initially the Chazzan is Yored lifnei ha-teivah simply to extend the time of davening because of danger. There is no hint of a davar she-bi-kedushah or a tefillah be-tzibbur at the beginning of that process and yet contra our commenter it is called yored lifnei ha-teivah. Interestingly the Yerushalmi Pesachim 10:2 37(C), records that the Chazzan is Yored lifnei ha-teivah to recite Magen Avot only if there is no wine for Kiddush and then this prayer becomes the Kiddush. In other words Kiddush is recited by someone who is yored lifnei ha-teivah and so again this commenter is incorrect.

Second, another very famous Gemara, Ta’anit 25b, tells of a fast day on which R Eliezer was Yored lifnei ha-teivah and recited the requisite 24 berakhot (clearly a tefillah be-tzibbur setting) and wasn’t answered. He was then followed by R. Akiva who was “yored acharav” and recited “Avinu Malkeinu” (clearly not a tefillah be-tzibbur prayer) who received a response. Yet Yored lifnei ha-teivah applied to him as well.

Now all of this is easily available and should have been researched before someone made blanket claims about the meaning of terms in rabbinic literature. It is troubling (and this commenter is not the only one) that people take on serious issues like this and make definitive statements without doing even a minimum amount of research

IV. Moshe’s Hands

The third is the most intriguing and fruitful for our purposes. In Mekhilta Derashbi 17:12 and Yalkut Shimoni Beshalakh 264, the war with Amalek, where Moshe prays with his arms in the air and Aaron and Hur hold his arms aloft, is seen as the source that teaches that at least on some occasions 3 people should be Yored lifnei ha-teivah, one Chazzan and 2 to assist. But in the original setting involving Moshe, clearly there was no tefillah be-tzibbur and no davar she-bi-kedushah and in fact no formal prayer (historically the event is far earlier than any formalization). Yet what they did is seen as yored lifnei ha-teivah. Again the commenter’s claim is simply incorrect.

Also, there are only three people present here, and yet this is seen as a legitimate place to discuss yored lifnei ha-teivah. In my article I discuss tefillat rabim which, as Afarkasta De-Anya says, is defined by having a minimum of three at prayer and which Rav Kook says is a form of tefillah be-tzibbur.

V. Tefillat Rabim

Mentioning tefillat rabim allows me to respond to another series of troubling comments–those that suggest that tefillat rabim is either my invention or some type of outlandish chiddush.

First, in addition to Rav Kook and Rav David Sperber, the concept is mentioned by the Shakh in explaining a halakhah in Shulchan Arukh. Simply put, not only didn’t I create the idea, but important authorities have referred to it in halakhic contexts. That certainly gives me license to do so as well.

Second, if there is a chiddush here it is only that I may be the first to discuss Kabbalat Shabbat and Pesukei De-Zimrah in relation to tefillat rabim, but I have not changed even one of the parameters of tefillat rabim as described by previous halakhic authorities. The fact that I may be the first to ask whether Kabbalat Shabbat and Pesukei De-Zimrah might be tefillat rabim simply means that Partnership Minyanim have raised questions that demand that we look through existing halakhic categories to see what applies and what doesn’t apply. Such is the way of Torah. It is the essence of doing work on contemporary halakhah to apply existing halakhic categories that may have been relatively dormant in the literature that are then brought forward to respond to situations that match their criteria. If you don’t do this halakhah and the halakhic process come to a screeching halt. I could cite dozens of examples.

But what is not within the halakhic process is to claim that there is a Chazzan type 2 (sets the pace and chooses the tunes), when there is no such a typology in the sources and when there are at least a half dozen places that I have pointed out where if such a thing existed it would need to be mentioned. Similarly suggesting new halakhic categories for women based on deaf mutes when women do not meet the criteria that allow for the proposed change in deaf mute status is precisely the type of out of the box chiddush that I am being accused of. And I believe any objective reading of this discussion shows that I have functioned within appropriate halakhic methodology, while those on the other side have not.

VI. Boys

That is also true for those who continue to raise the fact that in some communities young boys lead Kabbalat Shabbat and Pesukei De-Zimrah. First that fact alone does not mean that women can lead even if the practice is halakhically fine. One needs to do some work to make that connection and no one that I have seen has. Second, many of the commenters have it completely backwards. By all accounts that is a relatively recent (no more than a decade or two) innovation. What halakhic sources allow it? I have indicated that I was always uncomfortable with the practice precisely because it seemed to diminish the importance of significant parts of the service. New practices are almost always subject to challenges like this that must be met. Again, such is the way of Torah. As such the defenders of this practice have the burden of proof. If you change things you need to find support for the innovation.

In my review of the literature I found only Rav Uziel’s hesitant defense. Again, he bases the practice on the mitzvah of chinukh (which as I have shown is weak here), and which cannot be used to justify women leading that service.

How any of this provides any kind of challenge to my position is beyond any reasonable halakhic extrapolation from the sources and this history and just points out again that there is no reasonable halakhic defense for Partnership Minyanim.

If I find some time I may do a more thorough review and response to the other comments here, but I say again that I still have seen no halakhic defense of Partnership Minyanim that in any way conforms to appropriate Orthodox methodology. I know that a significant group of people wish that this were not so, but that is just not the reality. So in the end, absent any new information it comes down to a choice whether one is committed to and believes in the halakhic process or not.

 

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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.
 

146 Responses

  1. IH says:

    Part V has descended to farce. R. Freundel’s ad hominem argumentation is not becoming of the scholar he is and does not consitute engagement with his critics. He keeps complaining about lack of time to address the specifics, yet he seems to find the time to tell everyone else they’re idiots and then reiterating what he has already stated that has not been convincing. [sigh]

  2. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “So in the end, absent any new information it comes down to a choice whether one is committed to and believes in the halakhic process or not.”

    R. Freundel should have stopped before this last, very disappointing, statement. It ill befits him.

  3. History says:

    IH- I see you’ve met the kettle and decided he was black.

    Within an hour you accused RDBF of making ad hominem attacks and then respond by questioning his motivation with smeer and an accusation of political motivation. Not that this is at all out of character, your attacks on Gill’s upbringing were heinous. What Rabbi Freundel said was in fact convincing to countless people, just not to ideologues.

    Joesph- Sometimes the truth hurts. It takes real courage to tell an unpopular truth and I’m very glad that Rabbi Freundel had the courage to call this Partnership Minyan reform movement out for what it is, non halachik. If that truth (amply supported by his arguments) makes you uncomfortable it is all the more evidence of why it had to be said.

  4. History says:

    The future of Judaism is not a game. What are we competing for? Jew’s souls? I don’t think anyone would like where that analogy ended up. (hint, someone has to be the bad guy).

    This is a discussion regarding whether the PM’s approach to halacha is valid. One side is right, the side that is in fact in line with true halacha, the other side is doing Jews all over the world a gave disservice and needs to be exposed.

  5. IH says:

    Historically, the self-annointed defenders of the faith have failed. As they have on this issue too. Let’s not confuse Rabbinic politics with Jewish reality.

  6. History says:

    Yes, like they failed at keeping Mechitzas in shuls . . . Keep dreaming.

  7. IH says:

    I’m talking about real issues, not gesture politics: e.g. Zionism, Chassidism, Kabbalism and Aristotelian Philosophy.

  8. IH says:

    Let’s be honest, R. Freundel’s starting off point is the radical 16th century Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy, which even survived Shabttai Tzvi. As Prof. Stefan Reif has explained:

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

  9. History says:

    IH- I’ll be honest I have no idea what on earth you are talking about. You don’t think keeping a mechitzah in a shul is a “real issue.” I think most people on this blog would disagree with you.

    But I do think that is illuminating as it makes sense that at least some PMs would move toward more egalitarianism and remove their own mechitzas. Which I guess wouldn’t be a “real issue” to you and would only be “gesture politics.”

    There are already plenty of shuls out there that allow women to lead davening, and don’t have a mechitaza . . . Maybe you’re really “competing” with them.

  10. IH says:

    I’m not sure of your point. Regardless of its halachic provenance, Mechitza is one of the boundary lines between MO Partnership Minyanim and Egalitarian Minyanim such as championed by Mechon Hadar. On the UWS, we have both and, yet, the Partnership Minyan still gets over 200 people each Shabbat Shacharit. This is a red herring.

    That R. Freundel’s starting off point is with a liturgy that a 17th century “Orthodox” Ashkenazic Rabbi would have virulently opposed is of the essence.

  11. IH says:

    Equally, that R. Freundel writes all this, and delivers his sermons, in English is also a reform; not to mention his Zionism. In early 20th century America, these would have been attacked in the same way as he is attacking Partnership Minyanim. אין חדש תחת השמש

  12. minyan lover says:

    IH, In light of your recent comments, I just wanted to reiterate my points from a previous thread- it may make sense (and not becaus he is my personal intellectual god ) to research the gra’s opinion on the following matters ;
    Mechitzah-(gra kloiz in particular), Hasidism-(not the original authentic saints),(zany)Zionism, philosophical fabrications of faith fashion and fervor and most importantly whether or not one is allowed to recite poetry or psalms btzibur with a minyan.
    It is unclear why partnership features a partition or what their halachic basis for that requirement is.

  13. Nachum says:

    minyan lover: The line about the split hooves of the pig comes to mind. And, of course, confusing ikar for tafel and vice versa.

  14. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “It takes real courage to tell an unpopular truth and I’m very glad that Rabbi Freundel had the courage to call this Partnership Minyan reform movement out for what it is, non halachik.”

    I don’t think courage has anything to do with this.

  15. moshe shoshan says:

    My problem with R. Freudel’s continued efforts to defend his position is the failue to adress the question of standard of proof needed here. If we are seeking to establish whether or not R. Freudel prohibition against allowing women to lead pesukei dezimra is a valid halakhic argument, then this whole converstaion makes sense. In my humble and not thoroughly research opinion, R. Freundel has succeeded in this score. He has firm basis for his psak and his policy in his own community.
    But that is not the issue here. R. FReundel need to prove that his opinion is no simply valid but the *only* valid opinion on the matter and that those who would rule otherwise are infaqct violating halakhah and need to be censured. This is a wwhole different standard of proofand it seems to me that he falls short of the mark. THe same problem exists with Gils arguments against women rabbis. IT not that his conclusions about the law of Women shochtim are wrong, rather it is that they are 100% compelling. THe same is true to my mind of many of the arguments against Women tefillah groups. These are all practice I oppose, but I find it hard to say that those who would follow legitmate talmidei chachamim who reject these arguments to be outright avaryanim.

    In pressing their case too far these rabbis ultimately undermine their cause, and set a precident which may have unfoseen consequences.

  16. History says:

    Ih- you could have just read a few posts higher but the citation to mechitzah was in response to your boast that the reformers always win and the orthodox always lose.

    It was no more of a “red herring” than Alger Hiss being a spy was one (which I think is the origin of the phrase). If that is the origin of the phrase I think it’s time to retire it. Seeing as how Hiss turned out to be a spy.

    Since you rose the issue, I wonder how long it will be until the pms coverge with their big brothers. I understand that remaining separate gives you a larger pool of potential converts but I wonder how long your members can deny the pull of their ideology and resist going full jacobin.

  17. moshe shoshan says:

    Also R. Freundel argues that the practice of allowing ketanim to lead parts of davening is very recent. I am not old enough to have direct knowledge, but I can tell you that in my grandfather shteibel my brother and I used to get maftir (reading the haftar froma klaf) pre bar mitzva. I have rarely seen this practice so I can only assume that it is one that has become less common with time. I have seen a katan get maftir at Yeshivat Etzion though I cannot say for certain al most certainly either R. Amital z”l of R. Lichtenstein were present. AS for leading kabolas Shabbos, I did so in R. JD Bliech shul’s as a child.

    I also recall R. Shalom Carmy telling me that as pre BM aged boy he was aregular baal keriah at a leading shul in Yerushalayim.

    My sense is that the minhag of allowing ketanim to lead certain parts of the service is older than you claim, though it may have been previously limited to only certain communities.

    Even if it is a relatively new practice, it is sufficiently wide spread in communities of midakdikim bemitzvot lead by Talmidei chachamim of suficient stature that I do not see how this practice can be entirely rejected as unacceptable.

    You may argue that this practice is not sufficient precident for allowing women to do the same, but I think that the claimof chinuch is problematic. Women may have a real kiyyum in tefillah betzibbur which puts them ahead of ketanim.

  18. Steve says:

    IH-I agree with you. Kabbalat Shabbat would have been, and was, objectionable to many, and is to some few today (it was said quietly in the Bais hamedrash in which I grew up by those that wanted to say it until Lecha Dodi, which was done responsively). But if one is already treating it as a regular part of davening, with someone “leading the service,” it seems to me that R. Freundel’s analysis would apply.

    Moshe-I think you are both right and wrong. You are correct that R. Freundel needs not only to support his thesis but disprove the other positions. But I believe he did so. Yes, there are other great scholars who have permitted PMs. But I am not familiar with a full teshuva by them that clearly defines the basis for the approval. And what there is out there, I think R. Freundel confronts and defeats.

  19. History says:

    Steve, the people cited by Moshe don’t support PMs. He cites them for a separate proposition regarding letting children lead parts of davening. He doesn’t even in fact only cite people who support that practice, some of them just attest to its existence.

  20. Steve says:

    I understand. But it is my understanding that Rabbi, Professor Dr. Sperber, a scholar of the first order and rigorously observant (he doesn’t need my approbation but I know him personally and can vouch for it) supports the practice. As I wrote, I don’t believe that he has published a teshuva on it, but if he supports the practice an objective, scholarly and non-agenda driven response is required, and I think Rabbi Freundel provided it.

  21. Shlomo says:

    Also R. Freundel argues that the practice of allowing ketanim to lead parts of davening is very recent. I am not old enough to have direct knowledge, but I can tell you that in my grandfather shteibel my brother and I used to get maftir

    That touches on another relevant point. What exactly is prayer, and what isn’t? R’ Freundel argues that kabbalat shabbat is, but the Torah reading isn’t. IH says that neither are. Moshe Shoshan apparently assumes both are. And none of the above, IMHO, has given a real argument as to why their view is correct.

  22. History says:

    Shlomo, did you read RDBF first article? I think in that article he very clearly lays out multiple reasons why Kabalas Shabbos is in fact prayer. Do you disagree with those arguments? If so why? As he states in this article, its not enough just to say that in your honest opinion you disagree. It’s not true that he never gave an explanation, he gave many in part one. You are totally entitled to disagree on the merits, but why do you do so?

  23. moshe shoshan says:

    I wasnt claiming the kh”T is tefilah only that if ketanim can do one they should be able to do the other.

  24. History says:

    Moshe, the Meiri, at least, seems to disagree with the claim that being able lein means you can also lead davening. He explicitly says the opposite. He also offers only a lukewarm endorsement for children leining.

    Also, despite scattered examples of this occurring either a generation ago, or in Israel, this (children lening, or leading Kabbalos Shabbos) is a rare phenomenon in the United States today. And one that doesn’t seem to have been rigorously analyzed and written about by many people.

  25. Shalom Spira says:

    Ye’yasher kochakhem R. Freundel and respondents, all of whom raised excellent points. But what of the opinion of R. Ovadiah Yosef (cited in the previous installment) that a lady may read Megillat Esther on Purim for a congregation of gentlemen in a time of emergency, and the separate opinion of R. Ovadiah Yosef that reading Megillat Esther on Purim serves the function of reciting Hallel. Seemingly, then, if one is daring enough to synthesize these two opinions together, there is one Orthodox rabbi (viz. R. Ovadiah Yosef) who allows ladies (at least in a time of emergency) to lead gentlemen in tefillat ha-rabim.

    [In any event, as also referenced previously, R. Weinreb has stated that if Kabbalat Shabbat is going to be musically sung, then a lady should lead a congregation which is purely composed of ladies, due to considerations of kol be-ishah. Thus, my objection to R. Freundel's analysis is only academic; in practice (given the reality that Kabbalat Shabbat is almost always musically chanted in the post-Carlbach era), I fully endorse R. Freundel's conclusion.]

    Parenthetically, R. Freundel’s elaboration of the concept of tefillat ha-rabim explains (in my opinion) why ladies and gentlemen should sit separately during Hallel at the Seder. If we accept that there is such a concept as tefillat ha-rabim even in the absence of devarim she-bi-kedushah [as R. Freundel argues], then separation of genders (on account of Leviticus 18:3) is required even for Hallel at the Seder. Now, of course, R. Moshe Feinstein (IM OC 1:41) specifically derives from the Korban Pesach that ladies and gentlemen are allowed to sit together at the Seder. So, seemingly, R. Feinstein would not be terribly impressed with Shalom Spira’s “chumra”. However – what is not mentioned explicitly by R. Feinstein in that responsum but to which R. Freundel’s analysis implicitly points – is that the gemara in Pesachim 86a states that after Jews finish eating the Korban Pesach in the home, they ascend to the rooftops to recite the Hallel. Thus, it is entirely possible that bi-zeman she-Beit ha-Mikdash hayah kayam, ladies and gentlemen recited the Hallel separately (each on a different part of the rooftop), and such would be the appropriate way to recite Hallel today. [Viz. a mechitzah per se is not needed, as there are no devarim she-bi-kedushah, but spatial separation is still needed, due to Leviticus 18:3 when applied to tefillat ha-rabim.]

  26. Shalom Spira says:

    Interestingly, speaking of recitation of Hallel at the Seder, Mishnah Berurah uses the opportunity in OC 479, se’if katan 9 to state that (a) ladies can lead gentlemen in the recitation of Hallel at the Seder; and (b) if Hallel is musically sung, ladies can only lead fellow ladies in Hallel, due to kol be-ishah. These comments of Mishnah Berurah seems to confirm R. Weinreb’s approach to Kabbalat Shabbat.
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49627&st=&pgnum=179

    Admittedly, Mishnah Berurah says nothing of spatial separation during Hallel at the Seder, but I think spatial separation will indeed be required based on R. Freundel’s analysis.

  27. History says:

    Shalom- saying that something fulfills the purpose of Hallel doesn’t mean that it “IS” Hallel. By your logic we should have to make the Bracha of Hallel on the Megliah. Such a thing is the stuff of Calvin and Hobbes and transmogrification.

    In any event even if you could ignore that jump in logic, you would be stuck with the fact that PMs are not operating in a state of constant emergency. (Though an assertion that they are would take us back to Jacobin rule by fiat and I think it is quite appropriate for such a project)

    Not to mention that even if this were the case, it would be a Sephardi pesak and most PMS are not Sephardi. (now introducing PM’s with more kitniot).

  28. Shlomo says:

    History: Do you disagree with those arguments? If so why?

    I never expressed my personal opinion! Ask the people whose views I summarized.

    Moshe Shoshan: I wasnt claiming the kh”T is tefilah only that if ketanim can do one they should be able to do the other.

    But if keriat hatorah is not prayer, and kabbalat shabbat is, then ketanim being able to do one does not mean they can do the other. Particularly since as we know there are restrictions on minors in other parts of prayer. Your inference only seems to work if keriat hatorah is prayer too.

  29. Shlomo says:

    Seemingly, then, if one is daring enough to synthesize these two opinions together, there is one Orthodox rabbi (viz. R. Ovadiah Yosef) who allows ladies (at least in a time of emergency) to lead gentlemen in tefillat ha-rabim.

    Twice in the week of Purim this year, I attended a shiur which suggested that the megillah reading (either in general or specifically at night) is a form of prayer. For the life of me, I can’t understand this opinion. Anyone want to explain?

  30. History says:

    Shlomo- you stated “And none of the above, IMHO, has given a real argument as to why their view is correct.” Was that not your personal view? (Saying something with an exclamation mark doesn’t make it so.)If this isn’t your honest/humble opinion I have no idea what IMHO means.

    I responded that RDBF had in fact made several actual arguments regarding why KS is davening. So I asked you, if you disregarded each of those arguments because you thought they were incorrect.

    I will go one step farther now, do you think those arguments are so incorrect that they aren’t “real” arguments?

    If it was not in fact your personal view that RDBF did not make a “real” argument on this point than please direct me to whose argument you were . . . uh . . . (lets say) paraphrasing without attribution.

  31. william gewirtz says:

    moshe shoshan, i had maftir and read the haftorah with the berakhot, once i turned 9 (1957). the rav was a lithuanian emigre from the alte heim. i read better than most!!

  32. emma says:

    “Shalom- saying that something fulfills the purpose of Hallel doesn’t mean that it “IS” Hallel.”
    well, can you explain how something could “serve the function” (is that even what rav ovadiah says, precisely? cannot check now…) of hallel without being “prayer”?

    “By your logic we should have to make the Bracha of Hallel on the Megliah. Such a thing is the stuff of Calvin and Hobbes and transmogrification.”

    If megillah = hallel then it’s not at all a stretch to say “al mikra megillah” fulfills the function of “likro et ha-hallel.”
    If megillah = hallel

    “In any event even if you could ignore that jump in logic, you would be stuck with the fact that PMs are not operating in a state of constant emergency.”

    If you have read any of his comments I assume you don’t think R Spira is actually supporting PM. All he is doing is trying to disprove the categorical assertion that “a woman can never lead tefillah/tefillat rabbim.” It seems to me that any circumstance in which she can, even if it is only an exigent circumstance, is such a disproof.

    “Not to mention that even if this were the case, it would be a Sephardi pesak and most PMS are not Sephardi.”

    Again, separate the argument that “this psak is incorrect” from the argument that “no orthodox person could make this argument.” I am pretty convinced on the former but the latter is R Freudnel’s real point, and it seems that there he is vulnerable to “existence proofs” of _any_ recognized halachic authority who does not seem to hold of RDBF’s premises.

  33. History says:

    Emma, I’m not sure I understand your first point. If the purpose of Hallel is to praise god, why does that have to be through prayer? It can be through prayer, as is Hallel itself. But, you can praise god in plenty of other ways, it doesn’t make them prayer. I normally drive to work. Sometimes I walk to work. Either fulfills the purpose of getting to work. That doesn’t make my legs a car.

    As to your second point, why are you making a different bracha? In order for this to be true you need to say that the megillah is actually hallel and that the bracha“al mikra megillah” is actually “likro et ha-hallel.” That just makes my head spin. In your statement, on this point, you went back to “fulfills the purpose.” But, that’s not enough. It has to actually be hallel and thus it has to actually be the bracha for hallel for this to be possible.

    Your third point is fair enough. It just doesn’t get anyone to PMs. (even assuming points 1 2 and 4 disappear)

    For the fourth point, I didn’t think the Pesak is incorrect. I don’t think Sephardi Pesak is objectively wrong. I just think Ashkenazi Jews don’t follow it. It is irrelevant to our discussions.

    And I’ll add another new reason why the analogy doesn’t make sense. There is a specific reason why women are obligated in megliah, so even if it were somehow transformed into a prayer it would be a prayer with a unique status that is not generalizable to other more traditional forms of prayer.

  34. emma says:

    “For the fourth point, I didn’t think the Pesak is incorrect.”
    the psak i was refering to was the allowance of PMs. I.e., if RDBF is trying to prove that no one orthodox can allow them because no one orthodox can allow women to lead “prayer,” then the fact that someone orthodox ever does allow women to lead “prayer” is relevant, even if it does not mean “therefore a woman may lead kabbalat shabbat.”

  35. Shalom Spira says:

    Many thanks to R’ History, R’ Shlomo and R’ Emma (or Emma if she so prefers) for their excellent and kind responses to my previous comments. Obviously, I personally subscribe to Emma’s words. Consider the following: In the second installment of this series, R. Freundel stated that a lady could never read the public in the recitation of Tehillim. In the third installment of this series, R. Freundel stated that a lady could not recite tefillat ha-derekh on behalf of ten airplane passengers. Yet, we see Mishnah Berurah does allow a lady to [at least monotonously] lead Hallel at the Seder. Presumably, then, Mishnah Berurah would allow a lady to lead gentlemen in Tehillim, as well, at least if recited monotonously. After all, isn’t Hallel a collection of chapters from Tehillim? And once we allow a lady to lead gentlemen in Tehillim, why not tefillat ha-derekh as well?

    Likewise, R. Ovadiah Yosef – who holds that if one does not read the Megillah on Purim day, one must read Hallel instead (albeit, admittedly, without a blessing) – does allow in a time of emergency a lady to read the Megillah for gentlemen. This seems to dovetail with the aforementioned Mishnah Berurah. [Admittedly, the parallelism is not 100% smooth, since R. Ovadiah Yosef states that no blessing is recited when substituting Hallel for the Megillah on Purim. Tzarikh iyun....]

    In any event, I enjoy R. Freundel’s lomdut that tefillat ha-rabim can exist even in the absence of tefillah be-tzibbur, because it points to the suggestion for a mitzvah for spatial separation at Hallel during the Seder. [Needless to say, this "chumra" of mine (based upon R. Freundel's lomdut) would represent a major logitistical challenge for Seder celebrations where hundreds of Jews attend the same dining hall. Careful advanced planning would be required. Tzarikh iyun...] I have hypothesized in another context that this might also be the basis for the mitzvah of separate dancing between ladies and gentlemen. Viz., dancing might be construed to be a form of public prayer as well. See footnote 66 of http://www.wepapers.com/Papers/474815/Synagogue_Partition

  36. Rabbi Y.H.Henkin says:

    See Chana Luntz’ criticism –I should say refutation –of R. Freundel’s arguments in the Avodah list, volume 31 number 26.
    (Compare the Torah level of the Avodah list with that of the Hirhurim list.)

  37. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Let’s be honest, R. Freundel’s starting off point is the radical 16th century Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy, which even survived Shabttai Tzvi”

    who says that Kabalas Shabbos , which has antecedents such as the blowing of the shofar ( see Shabbos 35b and the Rambam and SA) ( which Gra claims is the basis for the six perakim of Tehilim that comprise the “radical 16th century Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy” together with Lcha Dodi which has its antecedents in Shabbos 119a) and the fact that the acceptance of Shabbos by the individual and the community, either by shofar or the recitation of Kabalas Shabbos are the accepted means of Tosefes Shabbos? Kabalas Shabbos , as a preparation for Maariv, is hardly as radical as one assumes. As far as the Tzibur being lead by a minor-the question remains- wha is the basis for such a minhag other than an assumption that Kabalas Shabbos has nothing to do with Maariv, and how prevalent such a minhag is, where is it practiced, and the extent to which it is practiced today?

    Shlomoh-The Talmud tells us that neither Hallel nor Megilas Esther can be recited out of order because both are tefilos that are composed in a unit that represents a certain theme ( Geulas Mitzrayim, Geulah HaAsidah [that is one reason why Hallel is read before and after the Seudah on Leil Seder] and Megilas Esther describes the chronology of events MeYagon LaSimcha. That could be why the Talmud in Masecta Megilah views Megilas Esther as a form of Hallel on Purim, and at the beginning of the second Perek of Masecta Megilah assumes there are numerous stringencies associated with Tefilah that also are implicated with and discussed as to their application to Megilas Esther.

  38. lawrence kaplan says:

    Re Megillah and Hallel: The Meiri states that if one is somewhere off on his own and does not have access to a megillah, he should recite the Halllel instead. But his view is rejected by all later authorities. Rav Hutner has an interesting discussion of this in a maamar in Pahad Yitzhak on Purim. He suggests that the Megillah is hidden Hallel, just as the miracle was hidden. So to recite the Hallel and explicitly a praise God would miss the point.

    Rabbi Spira: I am sorry to say that yet once agin you give an example of your complete detachment from reality. To say that men and women should not sit together during the Hallel at the Seder because of some interesting hiddush/humra of yours, aside from being against the spirit of the seder as a family meal, is, as you yourself indicate, entirely impractical. Save your humrot for the Beit midrash where they will be le-hagdil Torah u-le-haadir.

  39. Shalom Spira says:

    I would like to ask mechilah – first of R. Freundel, shlit”a, and then of the distinguished respondents – for a misreference in my comment earlier today at 3:21 p.m. I mistakenly claimed that I had discussed ROY’s twin rulings [on a lady reading megillah and on the interchangeability between megillah and hallel] in the previous installment of this series. In fact, I stand corrected; my discussion was posted as a comment in the third installment of this series, on Feb. 12, at 8:45 a.m. I apologize for any confusion my misreference caused.

    In any event, I thank R’ Steve Brizel and Mori ve-Rabbi R. Kaplan for their current responses to me, which raise valuable insights that I had not considered and which have expanded my horizons. [Thank you also, R. Henkin, shlit"a.]

  40. Steve says:

    Thank you R. Henkin for the reference to Chana Luntz’ fascinating article on Ketanim in certain Sephardic congregations acting in some form as the shaliach tzibur of some sort. What I don’t see, however, is a refutation of Rabbi Freundel’s thesis regarding women leading the service. It is, though, a very serious piece of scholarship, I enjoyed it immensely, and probably will refer to it in one of my classes.

  41. Charlie Hall says:

    ” But what of the opinion of R. Ovadiah Yosef (cited in the previous installment) that a lady may read Megillat Esther on Purim for a congregation of gentlemen in a time of emergency”

    What is the chiddush? The Mishnah, Gemara, Rashi, Rambam, and the Shulchan Aruch don’t seem to have a problem with a woman reading for men even not in a time of emergency.

  42. I am very grateful to Rav Yehudah Herzl Henkin for his reference to Chana Luntz, it was very informative. The direct link is here:
    http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol31/v31n026.shtml#08

    Among many other important things, she writes: “Because the Sephardi approach to chinuch… involves the active participation of ketanim in a way that is flabbergasting to your average Ashkenazi.”

    This is absolutely correct, and to it I would like to add a sociological observation: While non-Ashkenazic practices may seem exotic or theoretical in the eyes of diaspora Jews (and in their yeshivot), that is not the case in Israel. In Israel, unlike the diaspora, the strong majority of synagogue life, and of traditional Jewish life, is not Ashkenazic. And the practices that Chana mentions are commonplace. This may not be the observation of American Jews who come on vacation to Israel and visit people and places that have a strong “Anglo” presence, but it is the reality on the ground throughout most of traditional Jewish life in Israel. And every indication is that it is the wave of the future even more so for coming generations.

    When I read Rabbi Freundel’s comments about ketanim I was very uncomfortable (even more so than for his position on woman), because it seemed to reflect an extremely limited vision of what “accepted” halakhah and custom are assumed to include. I am grateful to Chana for making this important point.

    Shabbat Shalom

  43. Nachum says:

    Shlomo: Re Megillah as prayer: Maybe because it’s seen as a substitute for Hallel?

    Seth: Here’s one=: In America, putting on tefillin a month before bar mitzvah was pretty strict. In Israel, I see that even Ashkenazim are more laid back- two months, three months, whatever.

    Birkat Kohanim, though- and this is important- is seen as a kavod hatzibur issue, and, unlike the US, kids do not do it.

  44. I’ve seen children do Birkat Kohanim in Israel a great many times and never heard anyone say that there was a problem with it. Though I’ve never really thought about the topic; maybe someone else knows more.

  45. Really? says:

    I have frequently seen children do birkat kohanim here in Israel.

  46. Baruch Alster says:

    I have seen Israeli children do Birkat Kohanim, but also have seen opposition to the practice. The only other explicit opposition I have seen to giving children regular “jobs” was by an American-born rabbi.

  47. Nachum says:

    I stand corrected. Perhaps it depends on the individual and/or community.

  48. Shlomo says:

    Shlomo- you stated “And none of the above, IMHO, has given a real argument as to why their view is correct.” Was that not your personal view? (Saying something with an exclamation mark doesn’t make it so.)If this isn’t your honest/humble opinion I have no idea what IMHO means.

    Looking things over again – when I wrote the “IMHO” line I had forgotten the part of the article you are referring to. When I read your latter comment, I was thinking of the general feeling of indecision I had regarding the prayer question, not about the details of what I had written in the previous comment, so I deflected the question to other people. Sorry for the confusion.

    As for the sources in the first article, I assume you are referring to:

    “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.”

    The second source begs the question of whether KS began as a non-mandatory prayer or non-mandatory non-prayer. And is the first source about KS or about prayer in general?

    The main point I wanted to get at is that we have not carefully defined what “prayer” is. Intuitively I would say anything said to God is a prayer. Keriat hatorah is said to the congregation not to God (regarding the actual reading – the brachot and so on may be a different story). KS is said to… to Shabbat? Is that the same as to God? When R’ Yehudah Halevi sang this (http://tinyurl.com/buylvja – volume on please) beautiful song for the first time, did he feel he was talking to God at the time? Now, just because something is not a prayer does not mean women can necessarily participate equally – witness keriat hatorah. So I am not commenting on the bottom line about PMs – just that we should really clarify the concepts before reaching a conclusion.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I find this assumption that Sephardic traditions are going to swallow up Ashkenazi traditions through some sort of cultural imperialism very unfortunate. My father and grand father (and on and on) grew up with Ashkenazi traditions, and the argument I am hearing is that becuase of Israel we should ignore those divisions and accept Sephardic practice as the norm, even in Ashkenazi shuls. Our traditions don’t matter, and even in an Orthodox Context we could jettison those traditions, because we’re doomed to obscurity anyway. I find that outrageous.

    If Sephardim have a different notion of Chinuch than Ashkenazim, then Sephardic Pesak on those matters is not at all authoritative for Ashkenazim on those questions. What is Orthodox for a Sephardi is not Orthodox for an Ashkenazi and vice versa? Would you consider it Orthodox for a Sephardic shul in a community that had never accepted an Eruv to accept one because some Ashkenazi shul did? I certainly hope not.To do so would betray your traditions in a manner I would find unpalatable and certainly unorthodox.

    You can’t just change traditions (even between ones that are valid for OTHER people), that is antithetical to the idea of Orthodoxy. To argue otherwise is simply cultural imperialism, and demonstrates a complete lack of respect for differing traditions. It basically says “sure you’ve had different traditions than us centuries, but we’re going to swallow you up anyway, so our traditions might as well govern how your shuls function.” That is entirely unpalatable to me, no matter how right wing the speaker.

    We live in a time where people (even big name Rabbis) can’t seem to understand why many Jews just want to follow in the traditions of their ancestors and be left alone. In some cases this is because of an left wing political agenda that dates back to the French Revolution. In this new case it seems to be because of a desire to dominate (and in essence) destroy the Ashkenazi way of life. Of maybe its just because people are too “sensitive” to understand that something can be Orthodox for Sephardim but not for Ashkenazim.

    Would anyone seriously think that Orthodox Ashkenazim in America cold get rid of Kitneot? Or that it would be an Orthodox opinion for an Ashkenazi shul in the US to start using Spehardic Trup? Or Sefer Torhas? Or Nusach? Of course not. If your answer to that is the idea that Israel is going to help you conquer us anyway, I want to be on the record as saying that makes me very uncomfortable.

    And of course since Chinuch has nothing to do with women it seems to have been brought in here as a complete tangent.

  50. Steve Brizel says:

    I have seen Kohanim younger than Bar Mitzvah duchen-presumably it is done so with the understanding that the same is for chinuch purposes-as are all such mitzvos performed by a minor.

  51. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I began duchening when I was around 5; first under my father’s tallit and then with a borrowed one. Would have done the same with sons but had only daughters.

  52. Jon Baker says:

    Kohanim younger than 13 without an accompanying adult Kohen?

  53. Jon Baker says:

    This commenter suggests that Meiri is allowing boys to function as Chazzan for things like Pesukei De-Zimra and Kabbalat Shabbat here. Such a reading is simply wishful thinking. …

    Again the lack of any indication of someone as Chazzan who is other than a full grown man for any part of the service is reaffirmed–despite yet another attempt to put words in the mouths of halakhic authorities that they did not say.

    Methinks the rabbi does not appreciate irony.

    There is a difference between “allowing” and “not disallowing”, and between “any part of the service” and “shma & shmone esreh” which seems to escape him. If he could demonstrate that “shma and shmoneh esreh” stand for “any part of the service including those which are not devarim shebikedushah”, particularly in other writings of the Meiri, his point would have been made. The Meiri is, as RDBF states, making a distinction. But we must somehow understand exactly what that distinction is, not assume ideas not in evidence, and particularly not assume our conclusion as the definitive reading of the Meiri.

    As it is, it still begs the question.

  54. moshe shoshan says:

    Steve,
    I think R. Henkin’s post is proof enough if my point the R. FReundel cannot claim to have proven opposing opinion to be beyond the pale of halakh

  55. History says:

    Moshe, unless you are making an outright appeal to authority, I don’t see how r henkin’s very short post or the article it relies on proves anything regarding pms. And if you were to accept an outright appeal to authority without any sort of cogent logical argument my understanding is that r henkin opposes pms based on such authority. If your willing to accept his authority and cite a terse 3 line blog post as authority for abrogating 1000s of years of tradition and Jewish practice, surely you must follow every other half forumalted, unsupprted, utterance of his.

  56. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    History : As you yourself indicate, Moshe was referring not to the 3 line post but to to the very long and fully docuemtned post of Chana Luntz to which R. Henkin linked. The article, among other things, shows that in the Sefardic world minors as aregular practice lead pesukei de-zimra and Kabbalat Shabbat. Moreover Moshe was not supporting pms. All he said that the views of those, like R. Sperber, who do support pms are not beyond the pale of halakhah.

  57. History says:

    Lawrence, Chana’s post said that the kids can do it because of a Sephardic specific view of chinuch. The only reason anyone is citing this utterly irrelevant article is because of the terse, insulting, 3 line post. There is a serious logical gap between Chana’s article and anything relevant to this blog. Someone would have to make an argument as to why the two are related, and so far the closest anyone has come is a bitter, dismissive 3 line post.

  58. History, I think you have it backwards: The issue is not “a Sephardic specific view of chinuch”. Rather, the non-Ashkenazim do what is natural in terms of ikkar ha-din, namely to use functions that have no significant halakhic status or meaning, such as the “hazzan” for pesukei de-zimra etc., for hinnukh purposes. It is not a special need for “hinnukh” which makes this permissible; rather, nothing is forbidden in the first place, and so it is natural to let hinnukh take place there.

    The Ashkenazic practice, on the other hand, which severely limits what children can do *despite* the lack of halakhic significance, is very far removed from ikkar ha-din, and the vast majority of posekim recognize this openly and admit that it is simply a matter of custom. (That it also severely impacts hinnukh in a negative way is a side issue.)

    The most blatant example of this is calling ketanim to read the Torah (and say berakhot) amongst the seven olim on Shabbat. There is no serious halakhic issue, and the Ashkenazic posekim acknowledge that it is a matter of custom.

    The connection to the topic at hand is quite clear: Does Rabbi Freundel have “license” (as he writes) to develop halakhic concepts limiting what can be done in areas with little or no halakhic significance? He most certainly does. But at the very same time, the common practice of much of Am Yisrael vividly indicates that his hiddushim are far removed from ikkar ha-din. And that there is therefore plenty of room within “Orthodoxy” and “the halakhic process” to go in the opposite direction.

    In fact, not only is there plenty of room, but the opposite direction is derekh ha-melekh.

  59. History says:

    Seth, your post gives up the argument. You mischaractierze the difference between Ashkenazim and Sephardim on Chinukh. The difference is not over whether or not parents of davening are meanginless, or a chazan can be replaced by an Ipod. The argument is that Sephadrim has a different view of Chinukh in which the mitzvat is incumbant on the child and creates an obligation for the child. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t a chazzan, it means exactly the opposite. It means that in a Sephardic setting he is qualified to be a chazan in a meaningful way. There is no way at all to get from there to where you claim to go, other than by adopting an amazingly condescending position that women, for their whole lives, are the equivalent of children and have an obligation to daven based in their own chinuch. And even if you wanted to hold such a degrading position you would have to show some history of it in practice and sources.

    As for your dismissal of tradition and custom, it highlight exactly why your position is not an Orthodox one. Orthodoxy does not mean going to find a source that supports what you want that was said by someone, somewhere, sometime. As I said way back in an early post, there is a history of that in the Conservative movement but it is not at all an Orthodox mode of thought.

    Ashkenazim and Sephardim have adopted different tradition for 1000s of years. What is acceptable in one context is forbidden in another. You cannot ignore your tradition and borrow from another tradition where it suits you and still claim to be Orthodox. Your citation to all of “am yisrael” is irrelevant. We have different traditions and we cannot just jump back and forth, well we can but it wouldn’t be Orthodox.

    I find it ironic that your position has to boil down to the fact that parts of davening have little or no halakihic significance. Its good to know that you don’t think I have to show up at shul Friday night until at least Mariv if at all, and I can skip Pesuki Dzimrah every morning. Are there other parts of Judaism I can skip? Shabbos? Kashrus? Sexual related prohibitions? You can really make my life more fun by writing out my obligations . . . Please let me know how much of Judaism I can drop and be ok in your book? There are a bunch of commandments I (and many others) find really restraining and would love to just drop. We can eviscerate Judaism, just tell me where to cut. I’m sure we can find some source, somewhere that says we can do it all.

  60. Shlomo says:

    Are there other parts of Judaism I can skip? Shabbos? Kashrus? Sexual related prohibitions?

    Um, are you serious? You see those things as having little to no halachic significance (so according to Seth’s logic you can skip them)? Who’s the non-Orthodox one here?

  61. History says:

    Umm Seth?

  62. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Actualy my point was the very fact that R. Henkin rejects R. Freundel’s argument is evidence that he has not conclusively proven all his opponents wrong.

  63. History says:

    Moshe, I understood that was your point.

    It wasn’t that there is an actual valid halachik argument that supports pms. It was an appeal to an authority that you believe agrees with your point, even if the article he cites to is entirely not on point. Even if you disagree with that authorities own take on pms, and quite possibly on numerous other issues. You like his three line post so he becomes the egalitarian hero of the day. Possibly very much to his chagrin.

    I am personally not satisfied with saying that there is a rabbi out there who (unless it was an impostor) wrote a terse 3 lines post citing an article that has no bearing on the discussion. As I mentioned above, if we are satisfied with such a position, nothing will remain outside of permissibly. It isn’t so much an argument that any particular thing is Orthodox, so much as an argument that the very idea of Orthodoxy is a waste of time. As there is never going to be consensus, and anyone can point to an argument which has no connection to the actual argument at hand. Which is all well and good but I have a hard time considering the proponents of that idea to be making an Orthodox argument.

    R Henkin and Chana have made a strong case that Sephardim allow kids to lead davening because they have a totally different framework for Chinukh. I don’t know how that refutes an argument regarding women leading davening in ashkenazi pms. Indignant repetition of that doesn’t do anything for me.

  64. Moshe Y says:

    Moshe Shoshan: R. Henking has written that Partnership Minyanim are “Not Orthodox in name, and will not long remain so in practice”. You can not legitimately cite him in support of PM! Even if he disagrees with R. Freundel, that is academic, since he still apparently writes PM out of Orthodoxy for other reasons.

  65. JLan says:

    “R. Henking has written that Partnership Minyanim are “Not Orthodox in name, and will not long remain so in practice”. You can not legitimately cite him in support of PM! Even if he disagrees with R. Freundel, that is academic, since he still apparently writes PM out of Orthodoxy for other reasons.”

    R’ Henkin actually says that about women taking aliyot (which happens in PMs, but there are other issues- R’ Freundel’s discussion of Kabbalat Shabbat doesn’t necessarily relate to it).

    R’ Henkin actually does suggest that they might be ok, on occasion, in a private minyan at someone’s home. His complaint, however, is that they’re not Orthodox, which doesn’t precisely mean the same thing as assur. Such a thing would be unacceptable to someone wishing to keep a normative Orthodox epistemology intact, though.

  66. History says:

    How sure are we that r henkin is the guy who actually posted? Presumably anyone could have just used his name.

  67. Without directly replying to History, who viciously spews venom anonymously and deserves no reply, I’d like to state my position for the record:

    1. I have no personal desire to see women take on roles within “partnership minyanim”. The issue simply isn’t important to me.

    2. In communities where this is done, I don’t think they are doing anything wrong on a halakhic level.

    3. I agree with Chana Luntz that, in his zeal to write PM out of the Orthodox community, Rabbi Freundel has presented Hilkhot Tefillah in a manner that is neither balanced nor fair.

    4. I understand the extreme discomfort that many people have with PM. That discomfort is legitimate and may even be extremely important as a community issue, but it should not be misrepresented as a halakhic issue. When that is done, it is the Torah itself that is falsified. And that is what bothers me the most.

    5. I think that the “slippery slope” argument is an important one, but that it abused far too often in ways that violate avodat Hashem. For instance, when Rav Henkin in his article about keriat ha-Torah for women wrote that communities which do so cannot be called “Orthodox” and will not remain “Orthodox” in the long term, he is talking about “Orthodox” as a sociological construct, not as a matter of loyalty to halakhah. And he may very well be right. But the sense I get is that he considers his estimation unfortunate: He doesn’t *want* to write anyone out of the Orthodox community, he just thinks a communal division is likely to occur in reality.

    6. Unlike Rav Henkin, there are others who use the “slippery slope” argument with glee, and are just looking for excuses to write anyone who doesn’t think like them or act like them out of the Orthodox community. I think that this is a form of mass community sickness, which leads in turn to falsification of the Torah. It is the primary sin today in the world of Orthodox Judaism against God and against His Torah. And that is why, in accordance with the Rambam’s approach to balancing middot when a person’s soul is sick, I think people in the Orthodox community today need to be carefully limit the use of the “slippery slope” argument to an absolute minimum, and certainly never use it out of spite or if any feeling of malice exists.

  68. Moshe Shoshan says:

    I am most certainly not supporting PMs!
    All I am saying is that R. Freundel’s arguments fail to prove that those who agree with him are beyond the pale halakhicly. The very fact that R. Henkin, a posek of at least equal stature to R. Freundel and who agrees with his basic position, rejects RBF’s arguments here is evidence to me, who personal opinions on the sugya are of little consequence, that there are two sides to this issue, and the RBF’s arguments are not sufficient to place PM’s beyond the pale. There is rarely one right answer to a halakhic question, at least in theory.

    Argumentation of this sort is dangerous as it only strengthens the hand of PMs proponents. Even if RBF’s arguments do hold here, his underlying message is that, if I could disprove his arguments PMs would be mutar.

    People like RBF and Gil need a richer mode of argumentation that goes beyond technical halakhic argumentation, to broader jurisprudential issues. They also need to understand that in issues such as this, there is always going to be a subjective element and conclusive proofs will remain elusive.

    To my mind th eproblem with PM’s has to do with questions of the nature of Halkhic change and halakhic authority and the status of shifting gender roles in halkhic develpment. These questions go beyond the pilpulim and diyukim of the open milchamta shel torah.

  69. Moshe Shoshan says:

    “disagree with him” of course

  70. ruvie says:

    for those that care: r’ freundel’s response to chana luntz: are they (or one) talking past each other?

    http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol31/v31n036.shtml#07

  71. Hirhurim says:

    Moshe: I’m not sure why you group me with R. Freundel. I’ll repeat what I wrote earlier. I don’t think we need R. Freundel’s arguments to forbid PM’s but I am willing to entertain his arguments. I think he makes important points that Chana Luntz doesn’t address.

  72. Hirhurim says:

    R. Seth Kadish: Those who wish to exclude PMs are generally the ones with a good sense of recent communal history and societal trends.

  73. moshe shoshan says:

    gil ..
    i am sorry i was unclear. my reference was to you attaks on woman rabbia which i felt made use of the same problematic approach.

    also i dont know why you think that opponents of pm are any more in tune with communial dynamics than proponents

  74. Hirhurim says:

    OK, I agree with regard to women rabbis. But in that case, I used both halakhic and non-halakhic arguments.

    also i dont know why you think that opponents of pm are any more in tune with communial dynamics than proponents

    I can only speculate why proponents of PMs are ignoring the communal dynamics and that wouldn’t be fair.

  75. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Is it not possible that they are not ignoring them, but merely disagree as how best to interpret and respond to them?

    Personally I think both sides are wrong to some degree on this issue.
    I think that you put too much weight on the similarities between the current situation and the Conservative movement of a few generations ago.

  76. Hirhurim says:

    Moshe: Perhaps the situation is different in Israel than in the US.

  77. History says:

    Gil, I think you’re onto something with there being a different dynamic in the US and Israel. In the US these things are really a doorway out. People start to go pms on a part time basis while still going to their normal shul, but many eventually end up in a place where they are totally alienated from their shuls and stop going altogether. In fact they begin to feel uncomfortable in a traditional Orthodox shul, and have strong contempt for the place they davened just a few months or years earlier. In Israel pms may serve as less of a doorway out because there really isn’t as much of a place to go out.

  78. IH says:

    Those who wish to exclude PMs are generally the ones with a good sense of recent communal history and societal trends.

    Evidence please, as Steve would say.

  79. IH says:

    It is evident from many of the comments that opponents of PMs often have no clue about the metziyut of Partnership Minyanim: either the davening experience or the demographic.

    Ein Chacham k’Ba’al Nisayon. Or to quote the old Alka Seltzer commercial: Try it, [maybe] you’ll like it.

  80. History says:

    IH- you make a bold assumption in assuming that we haven’t been to Parntership Minyanim. And that we don’t have many friends, relatives, neighbors, who attend them regularly. You are wrong in that assumption, at least in my case. Leaving that aside.

    The idea that we may “like it” is a basis for its pressibility, is really the heart of this issue. What we may like is no way to determine what is halachikally permissible. It does seem to be the methodology advocated supporters of pms. That is an attractive position, God wants what I want, so whatever I want is ok. But I cannot imagine many people would consider that Orthodox Judaism. (there I go “spewing venom” again).

    There are a great deal many things I would like that are impermissible to me. (to be clear, yes I am once again making an argument that made someone’s head explode, that if we use this as the basis of decision making we will in fact eliminate many of our obligations.)

  81. IH says:

    History — you talk in rhetorical generalities that fly in the face of the history of halachic “Orthodox” Judaism. This same rhetoric was used against Zionism and Chassidism, to pick the most recent heresies that befell the Jewish people and are now firmly ensconced in normative Orthodoxy.

  82. Hirhurim says:

    IH: Seriously, it’s a really small world. You’d be surprised who I know. And Elana Sztokman was kind enough to publish a book on the subject rich with material.

  83. IH says:

    Gil — seriously, there is a difference between experiencing something yourself and hearing second-hand information.

    As for Elana Sztokman’s book, I do not think it is representative of Darkhei Noam (and neither do others there with whom I have discussed it). Her book is primarily about Israel and, in fact, two PMs (Darchei Noam Modiin with 28 participants and Shira Chadashs Jerusalem with 10). Ref: Appendix B.8

  84. Hirhurim says:

    When in history has any judicial system required the judges to experience something before ruling on it? Is that how halakhah has worked in the past?

    The issue is not specifically Darkhei Noam.

  85. IH says:

    To be a little clearer, Elana Sztokman has documented an earlier, more ideological, phase in the Partnership Minyan product lifecycle. In my experience the majority of the 200+ people who attend Darkhei Noam each Shabbat are not there for primarily ideological reasons: many also attend establishment MO shuls (and some are even active officers in those shuls).

    When in history has any judicial system required the judges to experience something before ruling on it?

    This attitude is why the establishment rabbinate in both Israel and the US is so irrelevant to the Orthodox amcha.

  86. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “I’m talking about real issues, not gesture politics: e.g. Zionism, Chassidism, Kabbalism and Aristotelian Philosophy”

    Let’s begin the discussion in inverse order:

    One can argue that the MN was nothing more than a kiruv work for those unduly impressed by Aristotelian philosophy and that the rational approach advocated therein was not all that helpful to the Spanish Jewish community’s approach to the Inquisition and the events leading to Gerush Sefarad.In fact, the Chasid Yaavetz makes that very point in his Perush to Avos.

    That also leads directly into the fact that even Rambam in Hilcos Yesodei HaTorah in the description of Maamad Har Sinai and in Hilcos Teshuvah in describing Teshuvah MeAhavah is hardly describing events and processes of a purely rational nature. Thus, the raw elements that could lead to the development of Chasidus and the influence of Kabalah, as a reaction to the collapse of the rationale world portrayed in the MN and other similar works ,were already poltitical,and intellectual facts on the ground.

    As far as Zionism is concerned, see R Gil’s previously published ebook and essay here-it is a fair statement that most Talmidei Chachamim embraced neither the completely rejectionist views of REW and/or the SR or embraced the views of RAYHK Zicronam Livracha in their approaches to Zionism in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. I think that a case can be made that cautious optismism, about the possibility of settlement in the Land of Israel, was more properly the mood in most rabbinic circles, together with a renewed interest in Halachos pertaining to the Land of Israel and even the renewal of Korbanos such as the Korban Pesach.

    I would agree that the rise of late 19th Century and early 20th Century anti Semitism was not appreciated in any sector of the Eastern European Jewish world-yet noone except the secular Zionists viewed the same as an existential threat-especially when the issue became whether Nazism and Communism, both of which had strong ideological dosages of anti Semitism became real threats to Jewish life in Eastern Europe.

  87. Moshe Shoshan says:

    “One can argue that the MN was nothing more than a kiruv work for those unduly impressed by Aristotelian philosophy”

    Steve
    One would be wrong.

  88. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-one can certainly find many disputes between Misnagdim and Chasidim in terms of their approach to Halacha, Hashkafa, etc. Yet, one can argue that in the US especially, in the Charedi world, all roads, even among the various Chasidishe communities, lead to Lakewood, and that except for Satmar, Chabad, and NK, most Charedi groups in Israel, are more interested in either obtaining funds for their mosdos, while resisting any quid pro quo that insists that the same be granted solely upon their negotiating what they see as non negotiable with full knowledge that they are seen as scapegoats for large parts of a secular society with respect to their way of life and issues far more fundamental than whether every Litvishe and Chasidishe yungerman is needed by the IDF or must exchange his way of life in order to become employable.

  89. Steve Brizel says:

    Moshe Shoshan-RYBS described the first two sections of the MN as reflecting Aristotelian influences, in distinction to the last section, and in general viewed the MN as being influenced by the same in contrast to the views of Ramban in his commentary on the Torah. The question remains-how viable are the views of the Rambam, especially with respect to Taamei HaMitzvos today, and in wake of historical and political events subsequent to its writing?

  90. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Ein Chacham k’Ba’al Nisayon. Or to quote the old Alka Seltzer commercial: Try it, [maybe] you’ll like ”

    Did anyone who was vociferously opposed to an odious political system or who knew the risk of smoking have to experience the same in order to render an informed opinion about the hazards associated with the same?

  91. emma says:

    “reflecting Aristotelian influences” = “nothing more than a kiruv work for those unduly impressed by Aristotelian philosophy”

    ???

    _____

    I am surprised that Rabbi Freundel responds to Chana Luntz as if she were arguing for PM. I don’t think she did. All she did was argue _against_ R. Freundel’s “proof” that PM are unorthodox and/or that the only way to read the soruces is that the chazzan for the “lesser” sections of tefillah (not shma and amida) creates some halachic reality known as “tefillat rabbim,” as opposed to keeping the pace.

  92. IH says:

    If we’re going there, I particularly enjoyed R. Freundel’s final words there which neatly parallel his final words here in Part 5:

    “Addendum: I saw a post on Hirhurim ostensibly from Rav Henkin denigrating the Hirhurim blog and stating that Ms Luntz has provided a refutation of what I have written.

    Hopefully Rav Henkin was not the author.

    But if he was and Bemekhilat Kevodo hagadol, I think he needs to rethink both parts of that comment.”

  93. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Just think how many fewer comments there would have been, how much more focused the discussion would have been and how much more civil the discussion would have been if the (foolish) “issue” of “are they Orthodox or not” had been left out. RBF brought honor to Torah in making a serious halachic argument about PM (whether one agrees with his analysis or not); he brought no honor by accusing his opponents of being non-halachic/Orthodox. Quite the contrary.

  94. History says:

    To be clear the question raised by RDBF was whether or not people (“opponents” is a strange way to talk about them) were following a halachic epistemology. He did not speak to the people themselves. (I have in some excited and intemperate moments, which I probably should not have). People were very sensitive and took his remarks as more personal than they were intended.

    I think that it is good (for the most part) that we are having a vigorous discussion. I honestly think that a major drastic change is being worked in the Orthodox world and for people have been too complacent for too long. Maybe pms will succeed in working a major revolution, but I’m glad to see some fire the belly of people who don’t think that the revolution is a good idea.

    Josepsh, if the pms supporters want to live and let let I think thats a great idea. If pms stop advertising themselves as Orthodox there will be no need for all of this fighting. But at long as we are contesting that title, it is going to be contentious. Another peaceful resolution is hard to imagine. I see (and honestly I hope) that this will continue to be hotly debated, out in the open, with fervor, until every Orthodox man women and child in the country knows what is going on and makes up their own minds.

    I can’t speak to honor, or dishonor. But I think that RDBF has done a great service to the future of Orthodox Judaism by sparking this conversation if a very public way.

  95. IH says:

    History’s penultimate paragraph is a delicious repetition of: “We Jews of New York discovered that in the Yeshiva Rabbi Isaac Elchanan … there is a nest of atheism and Apikursus (denial of God). Therefore we do warn and announce, that you should not send your children or the children of your acquaintances into this Yeshiva until you will find out what is going on in the Yeshiva, who is responsible for the terrible situation, and how it is to be remedied.”

    History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce…

  96. History says:

    IH- RDBF has written 5 articles so far with halachic sources. Your argument boils down to saying “well sometimes the reformers are right.” Thats not an argument for any specific case. I am not going to cut and paste all 5 of RBDFs articles into every comment I make. If I need to make it explicit for you consider his articles, as well as the Frimer brothers article, and other relevant articles incorporated by reference into every single comment.

    I almost feel like a broken record, but, is there any case in the history of Judaism when you don’t think the reformers were right? How about when some reforms thought Jesus was the messiah? Were the traditionalists right to oppose them? If so why?

    (And no, before you have a fit, I am not comparing pms to Christians. I am asking you if there is any case in which the reformers were wrong. It is not a direct compassion to this case. It is unfortunate that I needed to give that warning, but its quite clear that I did.)

  97. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve B: To say that the Rambma designed th MN as a kiruv book for those unduly influenced by Aristotelian philosophy is nonsense and has no basis at all. If anything he was fighting against those who 1) took the bible literally, 2) denied the existence of a natural order(a la Rav Dessler) 3) understood prophecy in purely mirculous termns( like Saadya Gaon) and 4) viewed the mitzvot as the product of the divine will. The Rav, FTR, rejected the taamei ha-mitzvot of the Rambam in MN as opposed to his remazim in the MT. The chapters in the MN he loved were, among others, I:1-2, 16, 34, 54, 58, 68, 69; II: 11-12, 36-37; III:51-54.

  98. Jon Baker says:

    For all R’ Freundel’s and History’s suspicion, the fact that Gil has published R’ Henkin’s responsa should tell us that Gil would be pretty certain that a post over R’ Henkin’s name is actually R’ Henkin.

    For that matter, how do we know that R’ Freundel’s posts here and on Avodah are really from R’ Freundel?

    And who is “History” anyway to cast such aspersions as RMF cast on questionable passages in the Sefer Hasidim and elsewhere?

  99. Jon Baker says:

    I apologize to R’ Freundel for my previous comment about irony. I wrote it after only reading the subheading “Meiri”, not realizing that the next subheading brought out exactly what I was trying to elicit: the research that underlies R’ Freundel’s conviction that the Meiri understands “yored lifnei hateivah” as R’ Freundel does. I thank him for the honor of devoting half a post to my simplistic critique.

  100. ruvie says:

    for those interested in ping-pong -chana luntz responds to rbf latest comments on her post:

    http://lists.aishdas.org/htdig.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/2013q1/025826.html

    She focuses on the ketanim argument (btw, she is not advocating for women to do KS)
    ; most interesting line (for me)-

    “It is indeed true that a logical rationale to push for katanim to say psukei d’zimra is because of chinuch. But indeed nobody says this. It would be extremely interesting to see a
    source which says – there is an issur on katanim doing psukei zimra (or
    ma’ariv for that matter), but that is pushed aside because of chinuch.”

    not sure if i would agree with this statement fully- (for obvious reasons):

    “Once Tosphos and the Rambam and numbers of other rishonim have dealt with a gemora or
    tosphta, that is what is key to any proper discussion as to its meaning, not
    some derivation learnt out directly from it. “

  101. History says:

    And Lisa Liel responds to Channa

    http://lists.aishdas.org/htdig.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/2013q1/025828.html

    “The fact that the same poskim who permit certain roles for ketanim do *not* permit those same roles for women is evidence that they see a distinction, and R’ Freundel’s suggestion that chinuch is the logical one.”

    “It seems to me that the only logical possibility left to explain your position is that you see poskim who make a distinction between the permissibility of these roles for ketanim and women as operating outside of the halakha. And I have to object to you accusing those rabbis of making their decisions for extra-halakhic reasons.”

    “Now… I don’t actually think you are making that accusation. I’m using that to illustrate what you’ve done. As you did, I derived a logical implication that you were saying X, even though you’ve never actually said X. And then I attributed that position to you. Which is unfair, and less than honest of me. But as God is my witness, I can’t see how it’s any different than you saying that R’ Freundel is objecting to Sephardi minhag. He has never said any such thing, to the best of my knowledge. You are attributing that position to him based on your logical implication. And that’s wrong. It’s the very definition of a strawman argument.”

  102. moshe shoshan says:

    Sorry, not very convincing.
    it is not an accusation to suggest that a rav is motivated by extra halakhic reasons. Indeed I think it is a more severe acusation that a rav never does things for extra halakhic reasons.

  103. History says:

    I think you miss the point entirely . . . which is that Channa assumed that RDBF was attacking Sephardim when he in fact did not. The bit you are attacking is an example of the type of logic, and it doesn’t lose any force even if you think that Rabbis should always make halahic determination for extra halchic reasons.

    Maybe this will be more clear if you read her entire post. http://lists.aishdas.org/htdig.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/2013q1/025828.html

    You may disagree with Lisa, over how rabbis should make their halachic decisions, but that is not the core point she was making at all. That’s between you guys. You can replace that example with any example where one draws an inference about what one “might argue” and then attacks that as if it is their actual argument.

  104. emma says:

    I did not find Lisa Liel’s post convincing. Channa Luntz’s basic point as i saw it was that there is a solid, “orthodox,” sefardic tradition that (1) allows ketanim to lead certain parts of davening because (2) those parts are not really obligatory anyway. (3) this supports the idea that sometimes the “leader” is not fulfilling a halachic function per se, just keeping the pace.

    She objected to R Freundel’s analysis because, in objecting to the distinction in (3), he ended up denying (1) (his original post basically attempted to downplay the prevalence of the practice as a way of ignoring it). His response to her then backtracked slightly, but still denied (2), instead arguing that a katan has some chiyyuv of chinuch that allows him to lead the community in rabbinically obligatory prayers. This would be interesting but seems unlikely to me. First, to the extent that the leader has to be “motzi” anyone, how can being obligated “in chinuch” (to the extent that a child himself bears the obligation, not his father) allow one to be motzi an adult who is obligated not in chinuch but in actual davening? Further, i agree w channa luntz (not that she needs me) that the more parsimonious explanation is that the poskim who allow ketanim to lead certain sections do not, in fact, believe that those sections are “obligatory” “tefillat rabim.”

    Now, none of this gets one to women leading anything, as there may very well be other concerns (both technical and policy-oriented).

    In other words, Lisa Liel says ““The fact that the same poskim who permit certain roles for ketanim do *not* permit those same roles for women is evidence that they see a distinction, and R’ Freundel’s suggestion that chinuch is the logical one.”” I say, R Freundel has not, in my view, proved that the distinction is chinuch (which allows him to save his “teffilat rabbim, quasi chiova” construct) as opposed to something entirely different.

  105. History says:

    Emma- I think the key distinction is that none of the poskim are Ashkenasi, so they simply do not lend any support to an Ashkenasi pm. RDBF was right to ignore them, as they simply aren’t relevant. It would be as if an Ashkenasi pm served rice on Pesach and said it was ok because a Sephardi Pesak says its ok. (and in that case they would have a MUCH stronger argument because Spehardim do in fact say that you’re allowed to eat rice on Pesach when none of them actually say that pms are ok.)

    RDBF was talking about in our Ashkenasi tradition. A group could arise that wanted to mold Ashkenasi and Sephardi Pesak, and picked and chose and created something new. In doing so it could do all sorts of things that neither group was previously, ever in history allowed to do. And that neither group had any tradition of allowing. (and once again there isn’t even a Spehardi pesak to rely on here). They could also be super machmir and not allow anything that either group was arguably forbidden from doing. Or they could mix and match to make something they thought was beautiful, or modern, or in line with their politics. But none of those things are an Orthodox epistemology.

    The existence of valid opinions that were never adopted as a part of an Ashkenasi tradition does not justify a new Ashkenasi practice that flies in the face of Ashkenasi tradition. Just as the same would apply for adopting Ashkenasi practices in a Sephardi shul.

  106. emma says:

    I think part of what botherd Channa Luntz was that Rabbi Freundel did not really say “of course this analysis might be totally different for sephardim” until called out on it. He didn’t say “PM are an ashkenazi phenomenon so i am focusing on ashkenazi sources” in his original article. And I believe he made relatively sweeping assertions about the absence of any normative authority who believes in a “type 2″ chazzan who just sets the pace. This feels sloppy at best, even if it does not change the particular outcome re: PM.

    Even now R. Freundel wants to claim those sefardic authorities for his own, arguing that they permit ketanim to lead because of a chiyyuv of “chinuch” rather than because, in principle, there is no chiyuv for the adults either. That strikes me as speculative, at best. Or a “chiddush,” of the sort that might get you kudos in the beis midrash but is normally at least recognized as creative rather than the basis for “anyone who disagrees with this analysis is not engaging in orthodox methodology.”

  107. History says:

    I do, in fact, believe that he said this his argument was about Ashkenazim and that pms are an Ashkenasi phenomenon in either his first or second article.

  108. emma says:

    The sefardic psak can be relevant in 2 ways. (1) to prove that the actual halacha is that pesukei dezimra, etc, don’t need to be led by an adult male. (2) to prove that the idea of pesukei dezimra, etc, having some halachic status of “tefillat rabbim” is not at all universally accepted. I agree that (1) is of limited relevance in ashkenazi contexts, but (2) is not. In fact, the fact that there is a serious view that “Tefillat rabim” as a category with the implications r Freundel alleges does not exist, or at least is not as wide as he says, raises serious questions about whether the ashkenazi poskim who prohibit children from leading do so for the reasons r freundel says or for other reasons (eg, kevod hatsibbur). on that i am afraid i am out of my knowledge base.

  109. emma says:

    i just checked the pdf article and first post here and didn’t see it.
    if he reasied it in a later article that’s nice, but it doesn;t undercut the inference that he was initially overly dismissive of the sefardic tradition in his zeal to claim that his “tefillat rabbim” chiddush is universal.

  110. History says:

    Part three is where he deals with this issue extensively. I continue to think that it was unnecessary for him to deal with the issue at all based on the reasoning of my 3:55 pm comment. But he does deal with it in part three.

  111. IH says:

    History — Out of curiosity, do you get as exercised about Chabad Meshichism, which has many more adherents than attendees at Partnership Minyanim?

    You came out of nowhere on Hirhurim (as “History” in any case) and have been going non-stop on this single issue and have not provided any background to provide context. [By contrast, I have been transparent about my belonging to http://www.dnoam.org/About.php and my views on a range of issues are well known on Hirhurim].

  112. History says:

    IH- One major difference between the two groups you mentioned, in my mind, is that everyone knows that Chabbad is a distinct group. I don’t show up at shul every week and find out that more of my friends have started to believe that a Rabbis is the Messiah, or God or whatever. If that happened, I would be outraged to no end.

    There is a far lower chance of my friends and family changing their practice to that idolatry. My main goal is to be left alone, to not have my friends and family lured away from their traditional Orthodox practices. I am deeply troubled by what I see as many people I know and care about drifting away from what I consider Orthodoxy. If I saw a large number of people I was close to being lured into heresy by thinking that a Rabbi was the messiah, I would be outraged, but that is not something within my personal experience.

  113. Shlomo says:

    RBF brought honor to Torah in making a serious halachic argument about PM (whether one agrees with his analysis or not); he brought no honor by accusing his opponents of being non-halachic/Orthodox.

    A person who chooses to rely on halachically invalid arguments is non-halachic. There is a limit to how many times you can pretend that something is a honest mistake by somebody who shares your premises, when all the evidence is otherwise.

  114. IH says:

    My main goal is to be left alone, to not have my friends and family lured away from their traditional Orthodox practices. I am deeply troubled by what I see as many people I know and care about drifting away from what I consider Orthodoxy.

    And you think that if someone can make “non-halachik” stick that your friends and family would stop going?

    The problem is two-fold: 1) despite several go’s at it, no one has made a slam-dunk case that Partnership Minyanim are halachically assur (including this 5 part attempt by R. Freundel); and, 2) your friends and family may not care given the imprimatur of R, Sperber.

    The facts of life — whether you like them or not — is that PMs are past the point of being assured out of Modern Orthodoxy. If you want your friends and family to go to your shul instead, then offer something compelling that will draw them back.

  115. IH says:

    Where we do agree, I think, is the status quo relationship between Partnership Minyanim and establishment shuls — in the American context — is untenable longer term.

    1. PMs are increasing in popularity
    2. A subset of Establishment MO Shul congregants are increasingly spending Shabbatot and Chagim at the PM, using the Establishment MO Shuls mainly for davening on Yemei Chol and for ancillary services.
    3. The Establishment Shuls are politically unable to offer or even host PMs at present.

    The big problem is that the subset being discussed are likely to also be among the most committed, non-apathetic and active Establishment Shul members. Kind of like the proverbial brain drain.

    Something is going to have to give and my bet is that some of these Establishment MO will decide to cooperate with the PMs or bring them in-house in some manner. This is one of the key reasons I predicted that PM features will become mainstream in Establishment MO Shuls (but, not RWMO/Yeshivish) over time.

    The shutting-them-down-by-throwing-them-out option is just wishful thinking at this point. It’s just way too late in the adoption cycle to lend any credibility to that, but the clergy is still in denial and the smell of desperation is in the air.

  116. ruvie says:

    History – i posted chana luntz’s comments because i thought it was relevant to the conversation and answers rbf comments previously posted here. i think lisa l. comments are irrelevant (as well as contrived – less convincing is being very generous).
    this is not a kitniot sephardim vs askanazim minhag issue – in case you didn’t realize. rbf needs the katan side for his proof and doesn’t have it. its really is very simple – the bar is high- really high- to exclude from orthodoxy not low as many wish.

  117. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-thanks for your comment as well as confirming the limited utility of the Rambam’s notion of Taamei HaMitzvos.

  118. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-how do you understand the Psichah to the MN
    ( Kapach edition Page 5) ?

  119. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-Yet, from RYBS’s own words as quoted verbatim in R D Holzer’s Thinking Aloud on Sefer Bereshis at Pages 3-4, there is no doubt that RYBS felt that “the Ramban has contributed much more to the philosophy of religion, to hashkafas olam, than the Moreh Nevuchim.”

  120. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “History — Out of curiosity, do you get as exercised about Chabad Meshichism, which has many more adherents than attendees at Partnership Minyanim”

    One can disagree with Chabad Messianism and yet admire Chabad’s Gaavah ShebiKedusha in asking Jews to perform Mitzvos and the fact that Chabad serves as a port of entry for many either exploring Torah observance or looking for something more Shabbosdik than a Hillel center on a college campus.

  121. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote in part:

    “Where we do agree, I think, is the status quo relationship between Partnership Minyanim and establishment shuls — in the American context — is untenable longer term.

    1. PMs are increasing in popularity
    2. A subset of Establishment MO Shul congregants are increasingly spending Shabbatot and Chagim at the PM, using the Establishment MO Shuls mainly for davening on Yemei Chol and for ancillary services.
    3. The Establishment Shuls are politically unable to offer or even host PMs at present.

    The big problem is that the subset being discussed are likely to also be among the most committed, non-apathetic and active Establishment Shul members. Kind of like the proverbial brain drain.”

    For one who condemns Chabad Messianism, views kiruv as Charedi oriented, and doesn’t understand why a Shabbos meal is a great means of Kiruv, the above quote seems KDarko BaKodesh-only those who agree with such a post are “the most committed, non-apathetic and active Establishment Shul members”, and there is no reason to understand why so many mainstream MO, let alone RW MO are simply unattracted to such an agenda, which by its own statistics is present in a few neighborhoods in a few metropolitan areas. One can just as easily point out as one of the Klal Perspectives respondents did, that such a post is quite representative of a LW MO POV that has disdain for Kiruv, both out of a lack of belief and confidence in one’s own hashkafa and because kiruv is viewed as a form of religious coercion, when one should be celebrating all forms of “Jewish continuity” , no matter how far the same is from any reasonable definition of Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim.

  122. IH says:

    Nu, so why is R. Freundel working so hard on an issue that you claim is “mainstream MO, let alone RW MO are simply unattracted to such an agenda”?

  123. Steve Brizel says:

    R Freundel’s articles are interesting, but hardly are Chidushim on why there is no halachic basis for PMs. Hopefully, some people who are mistakenly attracted to such gatherings will realize from the writings of R Freundel and others such as R Frimer that what they are doing is simply halachically not justfiable unless one inverts Halacha and the Halachic process intellectually like a proverbial pretzel to suit one’s own sense that feminist concerns always dictate how one’s role as a Torah observant Jew.

  124. IH says:

    the smell of desperation is in the air…

  125. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve B.: Indeed, the Rav thought that the Ramban’s Perush on the Torah had more contemporary religious relevance than the MN. I never said otherwise. (So, BTW, do Rabbis Aharon and Moshe Lichtenstein.) Still, as is clear from many of his esays, the Rav greatly appreciated certain parts of the Guide. This will become even clearer once the lectures of the Rav on the Guide, based on the notes of R. Yakov Homnick, that I have recently finished editing will appear. (I am currently working on completing my Introduction)

    Re the Intro to the Guide: Note hoe inth biging th orbliemis npottha th pepesed adresse e belves inth sces oft philsoher , bu tha he inprets t torah, both tersn ad parlbrs. literlat

  126. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Sorry for the gibberish at the end: Here is the correct version.

    Re the Intro to the Guide: Note how in the beginning, the problem of the perplexed addresse arises not from his according too much credit to the sciences of the philosophers, but from his taking the Bible, both terms and parables, too literally.

  127. Shalom Spira says:

    Many thanks to Dr. Charlie Hall (March 1, 12:45 a.m.) and Rabbeinu Nachum (March 1, 1:26 a.m.) for their supporting my suggested argument from mikra megillah that ladies may lead tefillat ha-rabim, at least when they do so monotonously. I am appreciative for the kind support.

  128. Chana Luntz says:

    I just popped in to see what Rav Henkin had to say, as quoted by Rav Freudel on Avodah, and while in general I have concluded that the comments on Hirhurrim are not a good place to have a good halachic discussion, I just had to comment on the comment on the Meiri in the above piece:

    > A child may do x and he may not do y. The x is to be called to >the Torah; the y is to lead services. If there were parts of the >service that a child could lead Meiri, if he were functioning >responsibly (which I assume he was), would need to specify those >parts here in detail. To suggest that he is saying here that a >child can both be called to the Torah and lead some parts of the >services, but not others, simply denies the reality of what this >text says.

    But the Meiri does exactly what Rav Freundel askes him to do. He says on the previous page (Megilla 23b):

    וענין פריסת שמע הוא שעומד אחד מהם ואומר קדיש וברכו וברכה ראשונה של ק”ש עד יוצר המאורות שיש בה קדושה ומדלג אהבת עולם וק”ש שאין מתפללין אותה בתורת נדבה ומדלגין משם לי”ח:

    In relation to the matter of exclaiming the Shema it is that one of them stands and says kaddish and barachu and the first bracha of krias shema until Yotzei Or Hameora that has in it kedusha and skips ahavas olam and krias shema and does not pray it by way of a voluntary offering, and skips from there to the 18 blessings

    וענין עובר לפני התיבה הוא לתפלת י”ח והענין הוא שהיה מנהגם ששליח צבור היה עומד רחוק מן התיבה בעוד שהיה קורא את שמע וברכותיה וכשמגיע לי”ח היה עובר לפני התיבה ומתקרב לשם להודיע ששני ענינים הם ואמר על שניהם שאין נעשים בפחות מעשרה

    “and in the matter of passing before the ark this is the prayer of 18 and in relation to this matter it is their minhag that the shaliach tzibbur he stands far from the ark and once he has recited the shema and its blessings and when he comes to the 18 blessings he passes before the ark and draws near to there to make known that they [exclaiming the Shema and the Shmonei Esrei] are two seperate matters and he says that on the two of them that we do not recite them with less than ten”

    And the Meiri then goes on to discuss whether if you start the Shema and its blessing with 10, and then lose 10, you can continue with the Shema part only or with the Shmonei Esrei part, or whether you can in fact continue with both.

    ie the Meiri very clearly defines passing before the ark as the Shmonei Esrei only and not even the recitation of the Shema and its blessings, which is a separate matter (which presumably is why he feels he has to list is separately as something a katan cannot do). Given his definitions, what he says about katanim is very clear, they can do the torah reading but they cannot do the kaddish, borachu and the relevant parts of the Shema and they cannot do the Shmonei Esrei, no more, no less.

  129. Hirhurim says:

    I see a key mistranslation here. “שהיה מנהגם” means “was their custom”, not “is their minhag” as Chana translates.

    In other words, Meiri was explaining how the Talmudic chazzan operated: he only went up to the amud for the Amidah. It is not a matter of definition but of practice. That is how the chazzan functioned in Talmudic times. And the reason they did it that way was to differentiate between Shema and Amidah.

    Nowadays, some have the practice of the chazzan only starting from Yishtabach. In those days, the chazzan only started (from the amud) at the Amidah.

    How does that in any way respond to R. Freundel’s point? R. Freundel is discussing when a katan *does* go to the amud. Chana responds that, according to the Meiri, the chazzan only went to the amud (in Talmudic times) for the Amidah.

    And Perisas Kerias Shema is totally irrelevant to this discussion. It is a case of an abbreviated prayer service. I’m not sure why Chana even bothered to type and translate that whole passage. It just confuses the issue.

  130. emma says:

    when the meiri says a katan may not “omed lifnei hateva,” rabbi freundel says that means “lead services.” chana luntz attempts to show that it instead means “lead shemone esrei,” based on the meiri’s own definition.

    the meiri she quotes is explaining why “over lifnei hateva” means “lead shemona esrei” with reference to the practice in talmudic times. she then claims that when the meiri later says “a katan may not over lifnei hateva” it means a katan may not lead shemone esrei. whereas you seem to say that it means “whenever a leader goes to the amud, a katan cannot do it.” outside of this PM context would you really read it that way?
    her reading of “over lifnei hateva=shemone esrei” seems to me to be the usual use of that expression, notwithstanding that r freundel i believe has found some uses of “over lifnei hateva” that are not shemone esrei-specific. so certainly if the meiri has gone out of his way to explain why “over lifnei hateva” means “lead shemone esrei” it is at least reasonable to understand his later statement about ketanim as refering to leading shemone esrei specifically. in fact, i’d say it’s the only reasonable reading, since if “over lifnei hateva” just means “lead davening” why separate out “pores al shma”? rather, he is refering to the two main, communal, minyan-requiring parts of davening: shma and shemone esrei.

  131. emma says:

    “R. Freundel is discussing when a katan *does* go to the amud. Chana responds that, according to the Meiri, the chazzan only went to the amud (in Talmudic times) for the Amidah.”

    No, she responded that, according to the meiri, the phrase “over lifnei hateva” means “lead shemone esrei.”

  132. Jon Baker says:

    Interesting. So the Meiri did mean davka Shmone Esreh and the Kriat Shma service, not these other usages of “yored lifnei hateivah” from elsewhere in the gemara.

  133. Hirhurim says:

    Actually, looking at the Meiri, I see that Chana combined two different opinions. The first definition of Over Lifnei HaTeivah is Shaliach Tzibbur who prays a Tefillah Sheleimah. See here: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=30808&st=&pgnum=59

    However, this is all irrelevant because it is the Meiri’s definition of terms in the Mishnah and not a qualification of his analysis of a different passage in a later Gemara.

  134. Hirhurim says:

    Jon: No, in the Meiri’s second definition he means the part of the service led from the “teivah”.

    In the first opinion, Pores Al Shema means lead a partial service and Yored Lifnei HaTeivah means lead a full service (no mention of Amidah).

    The second opinion holds you may not do a partial service. Therefore, Meiri has to distinguish between where the Shaliach Tzibur stood during Shema and Amidah.

  135. emma says:

    “However, this is all irrelevant because it is the Meiri’s definition of terms in the Mishnah and not a qualification of his analysis of a different passage in a later Gemara.”

    Well, his analysis is actually of another mishnah, and he in fact refers to the earlier definitions (“pores al shma al achat mehaderachim she katavnu lema’alah”). So it seems rather likely that “over lifnei hateva” means the same thing here as previously. While he does record a disagreement as to what that is, in neither opinion does passing before the teivah refer to anything other than shma and amidah.

  136. Hirhurim says:

    (I accept your correction about a later Mishnah rather than a later Gemara)

    Meiri is referencing his earlier definition(s) of the unusual term Pores Al Shema. I don’t see him as also referencing his earlier definitions of Yored Lifnei HaTeivah.

    But even if he does, his earlier two opinions undermine Chana’s point. According to the first opinion, Yored Lifnei HaTeivah means lead the entire prayer service. That is precisely R. Freundel’s point.

    According to the second opinion, the only difference between Pores Al Shema and Yored Lifnei HaTeivah is a matter of synagogue geography. That was simply how they practiced at that time.

  137. emma says:

    in opinion 1, if “the entire prayer service” did not include a leader for some parts – say pesukei dezimra – then how does excluding children from leading the parts that did then have a leader exclude children from leading other things?

    doesn’t that assume r freundel’s conclusion that any time someone is leading it has “public prayer” rules?

    in opinion 2, the matter of synagogue geography means that “over lifnei hatevah” refers specifically to certain porrtions of the service, that were, at the time, said in particular place, and not others, that were said in a different place. no?

  138. Hirhurim says:

    emma: doesn’t that assume r freundel’s conclusion that any time someone is leading it has “public prayer” rules?

    Yes, that is R. Freundel’s assumption which he defends in section II of this post.

    in opinion 2, the matter of synagogue geography means that “over lifnei hatevah” refers specifically to certain porrtions of the service, that were, at the time, said in particular place, and not others, that were said in a different place. no?

    That is one way to read it. Another way to read it is that children cannot lead services, whether at the amud or elsewhere. Given the broader meaning of Yored Lifnei HaTeivah that R. Freundel discusses in his original paper, I think the latter understanding is stronger.

  139. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Gil:I note you now say threre are two ways to read it but rbf’s is stronger. Not one is right, the other wrong. What a concession.

  140. Hirhurim says:

    Prof Kaplan: If you go back to my comment at 2:02pm, you’ll see that this is the theoretical reading because Meiri does not reference back to that definition which corresponds to my comment at 12:57pm that this is all irrelevant (with a minor correction at 2:02pm).

  141. emma says:

    (1) As I noted, he _does_ reference back to that discussion, at least regarding the definition of “pores al shma.”

    (2) Would the Meiri, and you, not expect the terms to be used consistently in the mishnah, and hence use them consistently in discussing the mishnah?

  142. Hirhurim says:

    emma: (1) As I noted in response (2:20pm), I disagree with your reading.

    (2) I assume here you are granting that if I am correct in (1), then even so the term Yored Lifnei HaTeivah should mean the same as in an earlier Mishnah. Yes, but it can mean more. A broad term used to describe a specific situation can easily be used in a broader sense. This is very common.

  143. emma says:

    I think the more parsimonious explanation is that the meiri is using the term, in discussing one mishnah, to mean the same thing he said it meant in a recent mishnah. but ok, you disagree.

    I don’t think you or R Freundel have come close to proving that the only way to read the meiri is that he prohibits minors from leading anything. That the Meiri is compatible w r freundel’s reading is not the issue if the Meiri is also compatible with other readings.

    Recall it was R Freundel who made a big deal about PM advocates using the Meiri for one thing where the Meiri clearly forbids something else PM ppl want to do. If it turns out that the Meiri doesn’t unequivocally mean that, R Freundel has lost a rhetorical point as well as some significant credibility, even if this source is tangential to his overall halachic arguments re: assur/muttar.

  144. moshe shoshan says:

    could someone post the text or a a link to this meiri

  145. Chana Luntz says:

    Hirrhurim writes:
    >But even if he does, his earlier two opinions undermine Chana’s >point. According to the first opinion, Yored Lifnei HaTeivah means >lead the entire prayer service.

    No. The Meiri is discussing the question of where you need ten, and more critically, what happens if you lose that ten part way through. Opinion number one is that if you start at Barachu with 10, you can continue all the way through and including Shmonei Esreh with the Shaliach tzibbur if you lose your ten. Opinion number two is that if you start at barachu with 10, and then lose your 10, you can only finish the various pieces associated with pores al hashema, and cannot go on to the recitation of the Shmonei Esrei by the Shaliach Tzibbur. Only if you already start Shmonei Esrei can you continue with the Shaliach’s recitation if you lose your ten. The Meiri thus defines precisely what the two options are, and makes it clear that in order to strengthen and make it clear how one should posken, at one time they even had the custom (I don’t think he makes it clear when or whether that the custom had necessarily disappeared by his time) that the Shaliach Tzibbur stand far away from the ark and move close to it after the blessing of the Shema, and that was called passing before the ark, hence the language passing before the ark.

    In fact, we posken like the second opinion (Orech Chaim siman 55 si’if 3) where there Rema states that if you lose your minyan after they begin Yotze Or, then the shaliach tzibbur cannot do the repetition.

    But even going according to the first opinion, the discussion is about the unity of the part of the service from barachu until the end of the Shmonei Esrei. Clearly here the Meiri is not including psukei d’zimra, which to him does not require 10. (Just out of curiosity, does your shul wait to start psukei d’zimra when they don’t have a minyan, because it has now become a chova d’rabbim due to minhag and needs 10 as Rabbi Freundel postulates?).

    >Meiri is referencing his earlier definition(s) of the unusual >term Pores Al Shema. I don’t see him as also referencing his >earlier definitions of Yored Lifnei HaTeivah.

    We are dealing with a series of Mishnayos in mesechet Megilla. The third mishna in the third perek uses both the terms pores al hashema and over lifnei hatevah and is discussing what requires a minyan of 10. The fifth mishna (inter alia) discusses what a katan can and cannot do and uses the terms pores al hashema and over lifnei hateveh. The Meiri when commenting on the third mishna (which comes first) and begins by defining the terms. He brings two opinions as to whether pores al hashema and over lifnei hatevah can be understood to be one or two units. I think the clear implication is that he holds by the second opinion, that of two units, and indeed that is the way we posken l’halacha. But even if he holds by the first opinion (which of course would make his opinion of less weight, if it is not followed l’halacha), it is quite clear that he is only discussing the section from borachu on. He then goes on to discuss, a page later, the mishna that uses the same terms regarding a katan that he just discussed two mishnayos ago. I rather think the boot is on the other foot. If he felt that these terms meant something radically different in two different mishnayos a page a part, he would have to say so. As it is, he makes a quick reference so you know to look back, and goes on.

 
 

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