Ongoing Dialogue: Broyde Reply

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Please see R. Michael J. Broyde’s reply to the article in Dialogue here: link.


In 2009, I published an article in Tradition Magazine explaining how one could understand the Talmud, a group of Rishonim, the Tur, the Shulchan Aruch, and the Levush to permit married women in contemporary society to forgo covering their hair. I recognized that the approach I outlined had been rejected by the Jewish law authorities of the last centuries and made clear that I was not advocating a change in the normative halacha, but merely proposing a limmud zechut for why married women did not cover their hair.[1] Rabbi Eli Baruch Shulman published a critique of my position in a later volume of Tradition and I replied at length.[2] Recently, the inaugural issue of the journal Dialogue For Jewish Issues & Ideas published another response to my article by Rabbi Yosef Wiener and Rabbi Yosef Ifrah entitled “Controversy or Contrivance? The Attempted Justification for Uncovered Married Women’s Hair.”[3] 

I might have chosen to ignore the article for its disrespectful tone[4] or strident, condemning style,[5] but I came to feel that notwithstanding its tone, the article made enough substantive points of halacha to warrant a response. I had hoped to publish that response in the journal Dialogue, but to my surprise—even though the journal is named Dialogue For Torah Issues and Ideas—the editors expressed no interest in publishing an article-length reply. They were only willing to let me submit a short letter to the editor, which I did, but which could not cover the relevant issues satisfactorily.

Before I move to the substance of the matter, I want to spend a few paragraphs explaining why I have generally held off writing such replies, and why I am breaking that pattern now. In addition, since my original article came out, two or three important new sources have been published which support my suggestion. Reviewing those will set a helpful and appropriate atmosphere for considering Rabbis Wiener and Ifrah’s points….

Continue reading here: link.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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