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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief 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 serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five 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.

192 comments

  1. Will you post the Kosher Switch response? I see it is now on their site? Does that mean that you refused to post it?

  2. I will post alink to it tonight with my response. No, they didn’t offer it to me, although I would have rejected it because of the insulting language toward R. Yisrael Rosen. I found out about it on the Daas Torah blog.

  3. Gil,

    There’s an interesting article in this month’s Tradition by R’Freundel that turns out to be machmir on partnership minyanim but with a halachic classification of tefillah b’tzibbur that I found odd – maybe even revolutionary. At the very least, he disagrees with R’Broyde’s analysis yet, again, comes out more machmir on the topical issue. (On a side note, he also suggests that the famous position of the Ramban on women’s obligation in Tefillah is actually not the Ramban’s – but the Besamim Rosh’s – and therefore not of much value.) Perhaps this can be worked in somehow?

  4. The Kosher Switch response is very very lengthy. However, despite the level of detail it is smoke and mirrors based on the idea that the best defense is a good offense. They figured the best response is to undermine the legitimacy of Rabbi Student and Rabbi Rosen rather than defend their own actions. They basically posit a conspiracy theory that Gil, Rabbi Rosen and others used deceit and strong arm tactics to get poskim to backtrack and in doing so besmirched the honor of the Torah. To say the least this is patently ridiculous.

    A quote from their site
    “Quotes of Oral Statements: Unfortunately, we did make one error. We displayed quotes from certain rabbis/poskim oral statements without asking them in advance for their consent to be quoted on our website.”

    This is not a small mistake! They make it sound like a typo. I consider taking private conversation and publicizing them to be deceitful.

    Their response has done even more to convince me that the Kosher Switch is something to keep at a distance.

  5. Thanks, Gil. Glad to know I was mekaven to your take on the article.

  6. From Rabbi Freundel’s article:

    “R. Eiger cites Nahmanides from section 89 of Responsa Besamim Rosh. At one time this book was attributed to a variety of important scholars including Ramban, but now it is known to have been written by Isaac Molina in the 16th century.”

    Is he kidding?

  7. Lawrence Kaplan

    S. Indeed, very strange.

  8. I’m all for maverick views and pet theories, but shouldn’t it be so stated? Where is the editor?

  9. I think KosherSwitch just committed suicide. When a newcomer attacks an established player, accusing them of being self-serving, when they themselves have no previous reputation, they are asking for it.
    That said, I don’t know what procedures R. Gil followed before criticizing this new product, but it would seem to me that it would be the correct course of action not to do so before contacting them. It’s one thing to write about this in a regular online forum – it’s another to use your very influential website to blow a project, that is clearly the result of years of work and a serious monetary investment, out of the water. If it is one’s honest conclusion after fully understanding both the metzius and the halacha, then fine – it is entirely correct to protest – especially if one views that products’ propaganda as misleading – but if the KosherSwitch people are correct that R. Gil misrepresented the mechanics of this switch (in a way that materially affects the halachic outcome?), then they are fully entitled to be upset (obviously this point does not apply if R. Gil took all due precautions, and did faithfully represent the metzius).
    And we all know that they are right about their other point – many poskim, having previously advocated something, will back down when they realize that they are going to take heat over their position.
    This does not change the fact that if KosherSwitch did misrepresent their halachic backing, everything they say should be treated as suspect henceforth.
    I find it interesting that R. Aryeh Lebowitz, in his audio shiur on the topic, reached a quite different conclusion from R. Gil (at least regarding the ‘grama’ aspect) – it would be interesting to see their differing positions ‘fleshed out’.

  10. S.: Based on the number of basic grammatical errors in Tradition, I’m not sure that the articles receive a true edit.

  11. Steve: still factual statements? It’s not like there isn’t enough editorial oversight to reject articles. Numerous people have told me that they’ve tried to submit this or that and it was rejected.

  12. S. on September 26, 2011 at 11:30 am
    I’m all for maverick views and pet theories, but shouldn’t it be so stated? Where is the editor?

    This is not a maverick view or pet theory. It is simply an embarrassing example of ignorance of what Besamim Rosh is. Yet I think that the editor and reader must also be blamed for this, because either they didn’t read the article carefully, or they also don’t know who wrote Besamim Rosh.

  13. “This is not a maverick view or pet theory.”

    I was being a little facetious, but I also thought it would be kinder, being Elul and all.

    What you say is correct, and that’s why I mentioned the editor. Rabbi Freundel knows many things, he doesn’t have to know all things. But someone on the chain should have caught this.

  14. J: No, I didn’t contact them. I printed out from their website the extremely detailed descriptions of how it works and their halakhic defense of the device. It’s pretty clear-cut. As I wrote in my initial post, they only made some improvements to an existing design and nothing they have written, even in this latest response, contradicts that. There’s a halakhic literature on this subject dating back 30 years. That is why everyone was so surprised that Kosher Switch could get a heter while R. Yisrael Rosen, who has spent some 30-40 years working on these issues, could not — from the same rabbis! I don’t think the Kosher Switch person lied. Maybe, in his own enthusiasm, he just misunderstood the rabbis.

  15. As I was reading the article on Beit Shemesh, I had a very strong flashback to Little Rock in 1957 both in the actions of the mob attacking little schoolgirls and in the lack of 10 courageous whites/hareidim to join in the escorting of the children to and from school. How sad that both then and now these two cities were a makon shein ish.

  16. MiMedinat HaYam

    regarding late airline flight — i recall a number of times taking a reg flight in the morning, being delayed that it just wasnt worth my time / expense to fly to a meeting late. the “ethicist” should have been asked that, besides the shabat issue.

    (note a few yares ago, when the ethicist column first started, the question of an observant female real estate broker who refused to shake hands with a male client. the ethicist said the client should fire the broker. a storm of protest in the orthodox world, but no retraction. i vaguely recollect the issue was discussed here on hirhurim.)

    2. women emt’s — the article should note that its really just doula’s we are talking about, not regular emergency services.)

    also, who will drive the ambulances?

    as for crossing the street, that would apply to any emergency treatment. i also wonder how they would recognize the emt on the street, since they must be so emotional when being treated. and the same would prob apply to a male obstetrician.

  17. regarding late airline flight

    The behavior of the frum family was appalling. First of all, boarding a flight at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon when it has already been delayed from 11:30 a.m. is a zilzul in kavod Shabbos. The chances of being mechallel shabbos or being stuck in an airport all shabbos are too great. Once, say, 3:00 p.m. came with no flight, they should have packed it in and found accomodations in NY.

    Second, it was a gross lack of consideration to force an entire airplance of people to lose their turn in line. Why should some 200 passengers suffer more delay for their frumkeit?

    Third, this is a terrible Chillul Hashem, IMO. (In the true sense of Chillul Hashem, not bad PR like some think is the meaning of CH.)

    The phrase aveira gorreres aveirah comes to mind.

  18. Regarding the frum family and the flight, I agree with Tal.

    This was not about religion, but about convenience.

    Their not wanting to be inconvenienced by having to be stuck in the Milwaukee airport all Shabbos superceded everyone else’s inconvenience.

    Religion was just the fig leaf.

    I’m surprised that Telushkin got this so wrong.

  19. “note a few yares ago, when the ethicist column first started, the question of an observant female real estate broker who refused to shake hands with a male client. the ethicist said the client should fire the broker. a storm of protest in the orthodox world, but no retraction. i vaguely recollect the issue was discussed here on hirhurim.)”

    Is the NYT using a second ethicist-it may well be a different person.

  20. Mycroft,
    A new “Ethicist” Ariel Kaminer, who was previously the editor of the Arts and Leisure section, started last spring. She replaced Randy Cohen who wrote the column about hand shaking.

  21. My recollection is that Randy Cohen wrote a few weeks later that he received more mail about that column than any other.

  22. “This was not about religion, but about convenience.”

    i agree with tal and sd but would add that frumness (not sure if it is restricted to a certain level) has bred a certain amount of arrogance and a lack of humbleness and humility with regards to others and their needs.

  23. lawrence kaplan

    SD: What did Rabbi Telushkin get so wrong? I think it is pretty clear that his bottom line is that if you board a plane close to Shabbat and it gets delayed, this was a risk you took, and you at that point have no right to inconvenience others by having the plane return to the gate.

  24. He should have pointed out that this was not a matter of conflict between Loyalty to God and not wanting to put Judaism in disfavor.

    Rather, loyalty to God’s Torah demanded that they not board so close to Shabbos. (Its being risky makes it assur, not merely risky.) By boarding, they were already going against God’s Torah.

    Their inconveniencing of the other passengers was wrong not only because it was a Chillul Hashem, but because it was inherently wrong. Their remaining on the flight, even if it meant landing on Shabbos, would have been highly inconvenient, forcing them to stay at the airport, but not in and of itself a major halachic problem.

    More important than this, he should have stressed that halacha looks at ALL the above — and that it’s not a conflict between halacha and some other value.

  25. “S.: Based on the number of basic grammatical errors in Tradition, I’m not sure that the articles receive a true edit.”

    I’d be shocked it the articles were not reviewed by the editors.

  26. “that frumness (not sure if it is restricted to a certain level) has bred a certain amount of arrogance and a lack of humbleness and humility with regards to others and their needs.”

    Agree in general-do not wish to judge any particular case with this observation though.

  27. “mycroft on September 27, 2011 at 5:57 am
    “S.: Based on the number of basic grammatical errors in Tradition, I’m not sure that the articles receive a true edit.”

    I’d be shocked it the articles were not reviewed by the editors.”

    Of course I meant to write if rather than it-my typo.

  28. Glatt some questions

    I agree with everything SD says above, but halacha still has something to say about the situation after they made the mistake of boarding and going against God’s Torah. In other words, once they have already made the halachic mistake of boarding, what is the proper halachic response when they were on the plane and Shabbos was approaching: staying on the plane or asking to disembark? SD suggests that it may not be a halachic problem to stay on the plane and land on Shabbos…I agree with that, but I’m not sure all poskim would agree, given an opportunity to avoid it, and even with the chillul Hashem issue.

  29. There is a difference between errors in content and typography. Copy editors handle the latter but mistakes sometimes creep in, often depending on timing. It is considered impolite to note typos but they can be found even in books published by the most prestige presses. The former depends on the reviewer and the editor, who sometimes give more leeway than other times.

  30. GIL:

    “It is considered impolite to note typos but they can be found even in books published by the most prestige presses.”

    of course. but it’s a matter of degree and extent. (not commenting here on Tradition per se)

    “The former depends on the reviewer and the editor, who sometimes give more leeway than other times.”

    unless i misunderstand you, this is ridiculous. if an author makes an obvious error then it is the responsibility of the reviewer (or reviewers–how many does Tradition have for each article?) and general editor to correct it. and if the author really does beleive that his he is not error but his statement contravenes a generally accepted fact, then this needs to be clarified. or in other words, it is irresponsible for for reviewer/editor to let an widely recognized error pass as accepted fact.

  31. newlywed manual link broken

  32. lawrence kaplan

    SD: Rabbi Telushkin was briefly quoted in an article. He did not write his own column on the subject. Do you think the ethicist would have cited in full your lengthy explanation?

  33. I skimmed through the sex article. While I am generally sympathetic to critiques on Orthodoxy’s excessively puritan attitude towards sex, the author (what is a PhD in human sexuality?!) seems to mainly be dissatisfied that there are people less open and more cagey than her. I can’t really relate to that.

  34. In fact, the book is very open and honest in its discussion of sex other than the two minor areas (title and diagrams) the blogger critiqued.

  35. “I skimmed through the sex article. While I am generally sympathetic to critiques on Orthodoxy’s excessively puritan attitude towards sex, the author (what is a PhD in human sexuality?!) seems to mainly be dissatisfied that there are people less open and more cagey than her. I can’t really relate to that.”

    That’s not how I read it. Her critique seems to be that approaching it in quite such an uptight manner may help perpetuate the problems the book is trying to ameliorate. For example, probably two people who are having sex should be able to read the word “sex” without having a heart attack, and I don’t think that’s an importation of Western values.

  36. Maybe the problem is that these printed ‘guides’ exist in the first place. Maybe oral (and more forthright) advice to newlyweds (or just telling individuals that they have relatively free reign to explore for themselves is a better way to go.

  37. “Maybe the problem is that these printed ‘guides’ exist in the first place. Maybe oral (and more forthright) advice to newlyweds (or just telling individuals that they have relatively free reign to explore for themselves is a better way to go.”

    They exist because the oral instruction many receive is lousy. This is a way to reach more people, because while anyone may end up with a chosson/ kallah teacher who doesn’t serve them well, anyone can pick up this book.

    Anyway, if it really is how Joseph Kaplan described, then it sounds like these two things are unnecessary nitpicks. Even to the extent that they’re valid, the authors might have realized that you have to cede a little to get more people reading it who need to read it.

  38. it’s a terrible review of the sex book. some background, then just one paragraph about the content of the book itself before focussing on the book’s externals for the remainder? i understand her point about the externals, but she could have the point in one paragraph and given us more info about the real merits or demerits of the book.

    btw, this is not the first book to wrap separately the sensitive material. for example, see this RZ taharas mishpacha publication: http://www.examiner.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/what-they-didn-t-teach-you-school-jewish-intimacy-and-pre-wed-classes-part-5
    and i don’t think it’s unreasonable either. do you want your kids wandering the aisles in eichlers seeing it?

    AIWAC:

    “what is a PhD in human sexuality?!”

    i’m not sure, but i once sat on a search commimittee and one candidate wrote her dissertation on some aspect of the history of the orgasm

    S:

    “I don’t think that’s an importation of Western values”

    in large part probably an importation of western values that made frank talk about sex so taboo in the jewish community. just one example: when did it become such a hush hush secret that a woman is in niddah?

  39. Lawrence Kaplan:

    I would have been more clear that what they did, at every stage, was contrary to halacha — not a conflict between halacha and some other value.
    I would have then said that, quite likely, the family in question, even if the father might have looked like a Rabbi and called himself a Rabbi, likely was unaware of this or too stressed out to think of it.

  40. FWIW, Dr. Marcus (PhD, not MD) was a classmate of my wife at Central (Manhattan). As I understand it, she has many charedi patients and teaches Kallah classes. In other words, her criticism is based on relevant professional experience.

  41. abba's rantings

    IH:

    ” her criticism is based on relevant professional experience.”

    what criticism? she hardly said anything directly relevant to the content of the book.

  42. Abba — I got your point the 1st time around. Thx.

  43. lawrence kaplan

    SD: Granted your criticisms, ot say, as you did, that “Telushkin got it so wrong” seems to me to be an overstatement. Again, remember, he was briefly quoted. Not much opportunity there for nuance.

  44. Re the Friday afternoon flight, I agree with Tal. There are far too many chances of this scenario developing on an Erev Shabbos that one should avoid at all costs of getting into this predicament.

  45. For those interested, see the within link re how some women take care of their sheitlach. http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/fashion/wigging_out_gNnqni1YnzGjbvMcgrk6yK

  46. http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/09/27/modern-orthodoxy-at-a-crossroads-2/

    Therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee”

    KVCT

  47. Coincidence – I think not:
    http://haemtza.blogspot.com/
    The Great Orthodox Divide

    Sometimes I just want to give up. No matter how much I want to see Achdus, it seems more elusive than ever. Rabbi Yosef Reinman wrote a book a few years ago called One People – Two Worlds. He had become friends with a Reform rabbi and they wrote a book together. It was of course banned by the right and he ended up apologizing for it. He thereby retained his standing.

    I think we are witnessing the same thing happening in Orthodoxy itself. We are one Orthodox people but we are definitely becoming two Orthodox worlds. Maybe even three worlds: one on the right, one in the middle, and one on the left. I have recently written about just how far out of the mainstream the left seems to be going. If they keep going in this direction there may ultimately not be any compatibility between us.

    But the right is no better. I’m not talking about the Meah Shearim/Eida HaCharedis types in Israel. They seem to have already become a people unto themselves virtually cut off from the civilized world. I’m talking about American Charedim who are not seen as such extremists – but are nonetheless on the far right of Orthodoxy
    KVCT

  48. RAY bashing parts of the mo world. is this a sign of things to come from the charedei world? will accept the rwmo if you throw the other bums – of course yct and others- out? time will tell

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/09/27/modern-orthodoxy-at-a-crossroads-2/

  49. “For example, probably two people who are having sex should be able to read the word “sex” without having a heart attack, and I don’t think that’s an importation of Western values.”

    If you read the book (as I have; full disclosure: one of the authors is a close friend and I saw the book in draft and commented on it), you will see that it discusses sex quite explicitly. The word sex is not used in the title because most Jewish bookstores in israel and the US are refusing to carry the book because of its explicit nature even without the word sex in the title. Using the word would, unfortunately, have further reduced those brave enough to carry it. (It saddens and embarrasses me that our community is such that a book store has to be brave to carry this book.)

    “Maybe the problem is that these printed ‘guides’ exist in the first place. Maybe oral (and more forthright) advice to newlyweds (or just telling individuals that they have relatively free reign to explore for themselves is a better way to go.”

    The problem is that many of the people giving oral advice before marriage about such matters are completely unqualified to do so, with some of them doing real harm.

    “FWIW, Dr. Marcus (PhD, not MD) was a classmate of my wife at Central (Manhattan). As I understand it, she has many charedi patients and teaches Kallah classes. In other words, her criticism is based on relevant professional experience.”

    FWIW, Dr. Ribner, one of the authors (my good friend), semicha YU and doctorate from Columbia, is is the founder and director of the Sex Therapy Training Program, School of Social Work, Bar-Ilan University and is certified as a sex therapist in Israel and the United States. His private clientele is comprised mainly of hareidim. The other author (who I do not know personally), has, according to her bio, done groundbreaking research on contemporary Modern Orthodox sexual ethics, and served as the cofounder and director of Tzelem, a Special Project of Yeshiva University, whose goal was to bring more sexual education resources to different constituents within the Orthodox community. So there’s lots of professional experise and experience there as well.

  50. on the link above: way to go for achdut on erev rosh hashanah. great timing.

  51. lawrence kaplan

    ruvie: I think your description of RYA’s article was unfair, almost a caricature.

  52. “probably two people who are having sex should be able to read the word “sex””

    someone i was in yeshiva with told me that his father gives choson kalah classes to couples as a couple. the father later explained to me that a couple getting married should be mature enough to learn about taharas mishpacha together. i’m not sure now if this is the best idea for various reasons, but it does have its logic and i was reminded of him after many years.

  53. RYA is quite concerned with erecting a fence at the left boundary of orthodoxy. will he do the same for the right?

    a side note: “This has prompted Rav Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg shlit”a to write that he would never have given those semichos had he known that the candidates were YCT products.”

    i don’t understand this. can anyone who knocks at his door really get semicha from him without him knowing anything about the candidate?

  54. abba: RYA is quite concerned with erecting a fence at the left boundary of orthodoxy. will he do the same for the right?

    It is already done on the right. Neturei Karta is out of bounds. In my day, there was a Neturei Karta guy in Washington Heights and Breuers would not count him for a minyan (or give him an aliyah or let him say kaddish).

  55. “i don’t understand this. can anyone who knocks at his door really get semicha from him without him knowing anything about the candidate?”

    Basically. Since everyone knows this – including Rabbi Adlerstein – a better question is why disingenuously refer to what “Rav Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg shlit”a” allegedly wrote, as if that’s supposed to mean more than his line-up-and-I’ll-give-you-semicha policy?

  56. On RYA: here is someone wbo does not identify as MO telling MO what to do. I personally find it condescending and insulting.

  57. RYA:

    “If the Far Left grows stronger in untethering itself from both traditional hashkafos and accepted protocols of determining halacha, there will almost certainly be a reaction in the rest of the Orthodox world. Lemegdar milsa, to draw clear lines of differentiation, the traditional community will move in the opposite direction to oppose changes it sees as dangerous and illegitimate .”

    So what RYA is saying is: MO– don’t swing more to the left, because otherwise, we [that is, Charedim] will be forced to move more to the right. This is a living definition of reactionary! I mean come on– don’t Charedim have enough self-confidence to stand by their beliefs regardless of what others do?

  58. Finally:

    I love RYA’s use of the term “far-left” to describe YCT, with all of its nefarious undertones.

    So someone willing to consider not thanking God for not having made him a woman is in the same camp as an abortion-loving, radical feminist. Incredible.

  59. That rhetoric’s sell-by date has long expired. This article sounds like the desperation in suddenly realizing one is losing. I was particularly amused by “it enjoyed the review and input of many important rabbinic figures, particularly within the RCA”

  60. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    “It is already done on the right. Neturei Karta is out of bounds. In my day, there was a Neturei Karta guy in Washington Heights and Breuers would not count him for a minyan (or give him an aliyah or let him say kaddish).”

    is the RW’s position that NK is not orthodox? has agudah or the moetzes or editorials in the RW press pronounced as such?

    in any case, i wasn’t even thinking of NK, but less insiduous aspects of the RW

  61. “It is already done on the right”

    Gil – Is that the best you can come up with? Look what’s going on in RBS right now, and see how hard it is to get a charedi rav to publicly condemn it. Look how the state of Israel has a massive problem on its hands with the absurd system where the ‘gedolim’ refuse to allow boys to receive even the most rudimentary secular education and try to erect every obstacle to their eventually joining the workforce, thus that the charedi male non-employment rate stands at 64%. Look at the corruption, abuses, cover-ups, mass welfare fraud and sticking up for well-connected molesters that goes on, or rabbonim at the highest levels encouraging people to resort to the tried and failed method of ‘asking a rav’ before turning to the authorities. Let’s see R. Alderstein publish an article in Ami vigorously attacking any of these things. One shul not letting an NK guy not getting an aliya is practically beside the point.

  62. There’s a reason the Charedim rabbis will not condemn the lunatics in RBS, because that group doing the protesting is so out of bounds that they refuse to be stereotyped as part of the same group. Here is what R. Chaim Malinowitz has to say: http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2011/09/rav-malinowitz-correspondence-on-orot.html

    The rest of your list is a collection of stereotypes, random kvetches and real issues. What do you want to do, declare that anyone who commits white collar crime is non-Orthodox? I don’t see any justification for that but if you want to, that’s your prerogative.

  63. I must defend the honor of Rabbi Adlerstein. I assume all of the people who are blasting him do not know him. There are very few people in the world who care more about ALL of Clal Yisroel than Rabbi Adlerstein. As he states in the article he belongs to both the RCA and the Agudah and has been a contributor and editor for Jewish Action for years. Very few people, if any, have tried to work harder to make peace between the MO and Yeshiva worlds as he has. He is also a first rate talmid chacham and a man of very refined middos who does not attack for the sake of attacking.

    If someone like this can be driven to write that we must take a stand against a group of people in our own camp, then we have a serious problem. He is no right wing reactionary. So instead of blasting him, why don’t you read what he has to say carefully and at least give him enough respect to address the issues he raises.

    Trying to divert the topic, calling names or saying he has no right to say what he said just provides fuel for people to say the far left are a bunch of blowhards.

  64. IH: Do you consider the Conservative movement to be Orthodox? If not, then who on the right do you consider not to be Orthodox or do you just disqualify people on your left?

  65. ARW — thank you for putting more meat on the bones of my comment of 2:55pm. The statement by incoming RCA President Rabbi Shmuel Goldin back in May was a sign that the calculus has changed.

    It would seem there is sufficient support in the MO amcha for LWMO that the price of “achdus” with the Yeshiva world is not worth (if it comes to a choice) the higher priority need for achdus among MO.

    It would be a shame for RYA to give up on his mission as you describe it, but that is his decision. Similarly, the esteemed Rabbis mentioned by name in the article who sit on the fence between the two worlds (should they make similar demands to RYA).

    Gil — I have no idea what you are asking or why it is directed to me?

  66. Gil – What on earth are you talking about? The rabbanim leading the hafganos are Eida HaCharedis people (Rav Kupschitz is or has been employed by them). I don’t think that many charedim consider the Eida HaCharedis out of bounds. The rabbanim of the Eida HaCharedis, who certainly approve of these protests, are not considered out of bounds by the mainstream charedim (indeed their hechsher is often sought after).

    Rav Malinowitz’s arguments, bi’mechilas kvodo, are simply inane. Having a hafgana is the way they let off steam? Please – nobody can possibly believe that the Eida rabbanim would really like the protests to stop are are only calling hafganos to make sure nothing untoward happens.

    Which else of what I wrote is a stereotype (or more of a stereostype that than engaged in by the right when caricaturing the left wing of MO)? You want examples? I live in a charedi community – most of the young couples I know have at some stage engaged in welfare fraud, and I know for a fact that my community is not an exception. I know personally of molesters who have been protected by rabbanim, and you heard the recording of R. Shmuel Kamenetsky categorically stating that a rav must be asked before contacting the authorities in cases of molestation just like I did.

    And how exactly is the charedi lack of participation in the workforce (and the deliberate denial of an education from tens of thousands of children) a ‘kvetch’? This is certainly more of an immediate issue affecting the charedi world than whether some YCT rabbi says a bracha or not.

    It’s not a question of declaring people who commit white collar crime as non-orthodox – it’s the fact that all of these things are very much tolerated (and even encouraged – there were other, much bigger, rebbes than Spinka who have engaged in complex tax-frauds) – you know as well as I do that if they wanted to, the charedi rabbanim could make a concerted effort to uproot these things from their communities (just like they did with plenty of smaller things that bothered them). The reasons things like welfare fruad are not, is because the rabbanim know that without it, the current charedi paradigm would not be able to survive, and they believe the trade off is worth it. If you speak to many rabbanim, they will tell you this straight out. They realize as well as an economist does that it is not possible to lead a frum life with umpteen children being privately educated, with a father with minimal secular education without cutting any corners.

    So yes, attacking LWMO when you haven’t got the guts to take on the massive problems in your own backyard is both cowardly, and, more worryingly, a good indication that you probably don’t consider them as problematic as we would expect you to.

  67. Whatever RYA personal convictions are, in the article he is using a well-worn Charedi technique with MO. Here’s the tactic: use a mixture of back-handed praise, and threats of withholding approval and abandonment to get the MO world to do what you say.

    Its a manipulative technique that treats MOs like the way a withholding father treats his children: if you don’t do what we say you will force us to leave you (its MOs fault if we become more extreme). If, however, you fall into line then we will pat you on the head and say “good boy.”

    What RYA fails to understand is that these tricks will not work. We MO have our own Rabbis and our own derekh. We do not want or need Haredi approval.

  68. ARW: I have no doubt that Rabbi Alderstein is all the things you say.

    At the very same time, I have been reading him for quite a few years already, and he continually delegitimizes those who don’t fit into the wide slice of the world of Torah that he does respect (remember that it is still only a slice).

    A vivid case in point are his postings in the past on the issue of giyyur. As Israelis now know quite well, the truth has come out about this in the person of Rav Hayyim Amsalem shlit”a and the venerable tradition of pesak that he represents (supported in practice by none less that Rav Ovadia Yosef) in the form of his extraordinary book:
    http://hebrewbooks.org/50709

    Regarding this issue, Rav Alderstein was not even capable of admitting a halakhic disagreement, and instead consistently declared that the only legitimate opinion was that of those who pressured for Rav Amsalem to be put in cherem.

  69. Shades of Gray

    “The other author…served as the cofounder and director of Tzelem”

    Is Tzelem still part of YU? Their website seems to have been down over the last few weeks whenever I tried to access it.

  70. “There’s a reason the Charedim rabbis will not condemn the lunatics in RBS, because that group doing the protesting is so out of bounds that they refuse to be stereotyped as part of the same group. Here is what R. Chaim Malinowitz has to say: http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2011/09/rav-malinowitz-correspondence-on-orot.html

    Gil, you buy this clap trap? I’m amazed. But I’ll repeat an earlier suggestion I alluded to. I’ll believe in teh sincerity of R. Malinowitz’s argument when he and a few of his followers help escort the young girls who are being victimized. No need to sign petitions with those you don’t respect; just stand on the sidewalk and protect young children. That will tell the world, more than petitions, what hareidim really think if they truly believe that the thugs don’t speak for them. And, when he does that, I’ll not only believe his sincerity but will apologize for calling his email clap trap. But as with other things I’ve commented in recently, I’m not holding my breath.

  71. “I must defend the honor of Rabbi Adlerstein. I assume all of the people who are blasting him do not know him. There are very few people in the world who care more about ALL of Clal Yisroel than Rabbi Adlerstein. As he states in the article he belongs to both the RCA and the Agudah and has been a contributor and editor for Jewish Action for years. Very few people, if any, have tried to work harder to make peace between the MO and Yeshiva worlds as he has. He is also a first rate talmid chacham and a man of very refined middos who does not attack for the sake of attacking.”

    You’re right about Rabbi Adlerstein, but why does it belong in Ami rather than Jewish Action? It’s basically a piece for a yeshivish crowd about how more liberal Orthodox Jews ought to do something about even more liberal Orthodox Jews. It seems to me that the yeshivishe chevre don’t appreciate and don’t consider it legitimate for the MO to criticize Chareidim.

    If Rabbi Alderstein wants to be a person who builds bridges, then I just can’t see how that’s served by printing it in Ami.

  72. Shades of Gray

    ” but why does it belong in Ami rather than Jewish Action?”

    In a way it’s stronger and more official in the Jewish Action, which is part of the MO community.

  73. Having also reviewed and commented on a draft of the book I want to mention that 1) the review has very little to say about the book and is misleading in many ways (correct anatomical terms are used throughout, as is the word sex) 2) the book is written for the sensitivities of a more right wing community, not the MO community that Tzelem’s curriculum was developed for (nonetheless it is a good resource for most soon to be newlyweds).

  74. Whatever the merits of R. Adlerstein’s critique (and I find little of substance or particularly in touch with reality like calling on RW MO rabbis to convene and pass judgment on LW MO Rabbis” etc. etc.) it should nonetheless remind the people he is criticizing that they have in many cases absorbed R. Avi Weis’s tendencies toward grand gestures and it is to no one’s benefit.

    This isn’t a political battle in which he who gets the most press coverage wins. It is about cultivating a dialogue in which you put forward your ideas of what a progressive MO community looks like and there are ways to do so that are less alienating – case in point R. Linzer himself.

  75. “(nonetheless it is a good resource for most soon to be newlyweds).”

    I strongly agree. I can’t think of a MO couple whose wedding I attended (including my own) who would not benefit/have benefited from this book.

  76. As long as LW MO views its definition of MO and Hashkafa as so fluid to include
    (a) rabbis and academics who view TSBP as sexist
    (b) who encourage changes in Nusach HaTefilah without any basis
    (c) who view as nonexistent both the concepts of Am HaNivchar and the covenants between HaShem ( Bris Avos and Bris Sinai),
    (d) who argue seriously that all Musmachim are entitled to have their POVs considered on the grave and not so grave halachic and hashkafic issues of the time without due deference and consideration of the views of Talmidei Chachamim with greater Torah knowledge in their own communities,
    and
    (e) who seriously maintain that where there is a halachic will, there is a halachic way,

    articles of the above nature will continue to be written, analyzed and critiqued.

  77. MiMedinat HaYam

    r gil — breuer’s is an exception to the rule. (i am curious if the vp of the agudah who is the rav of breuer’s would speak out? i doubt it — dont rock the boat type. not that being a vp means anything. its just a distinguished name on their letterhead, which privelege the agudah pays for.)

    2. it wasnt a review in the forward, it was an op ed by a columnist. perhaps masquerading as a review.

  78. Steve Brizel:

    Its easy to knock the man over when he’s made of straw, isn’t it?

    (a) rabbis and academics who view TSBP as sexist

    Few would claim TSBP is sexist, they would say that women’s status in today’s society has changed and that Hazal’s were speaking about women is a very different society. If you can claim Nishtana Hateva for *physical* matters this doesn’t seem like such a crazy claim.

    (b) who encourage changes in Nusach HaTefilah without any basis

    Without any basis? Even those who want to eliminate shelo asani ishah seek precedents for it.

    (c) who view as nonexistent both the concepts of Am HaNivchar and the covenants between HaShem ( Bris Avos and Bris Sinai),

    Who claims this?

    (d) who argue seriously that all Musmachim are entitled to have their POVs considered on the grave and not so grave halachic and hashkafic issues of the time without due deference and consideration of the views of Talmidei Chachamim with greater Torah knowledge in their own communities,
    and

    Why is having a point of view *considered* so offensive?

    (e) who seriously maintain that where there is a halachic will, there is a halachic way,

    Do you truly believe that halakhic decisors are mouthpieces of God without any negios? Surely, this is at minimum a complex issue!

  79. “where there is a halachic will, there is a halachic way”

    Since you just LOVE to quote this, at least get it right for once. It’s “where there’s a RABBINIC will there’s a halachic way.”

  80. lawrence kaplan -“ruvie: I think your description of RYA’s article was unfair, almost a caricature.”

    my comment was a quick visceral reaction and synopsis of rya’s article. maybe crude but i think on target. many other posters here have articulated what i had not time to write (cooking since 8am for rosh hashanah and now going to a shiva call). please correct me if i am wrong.

    i think that rya is making an overt overture to the rwmo to clean up “their house” and we will love you as one of us. as i have said before the mo community is beginning to split in two and diversity may no longer acceptable to some. it began with the statement of principles – maybe earlier – but its out in the open now and no longer behind the closed doors of the rca. in the end the rwmo has adapted some of the attitudes of the yeshivish world – not torah u’mada but parnasa, better to learn then work (just ask (demand from) your father in law), refusing to send their kids to the traditional mo schools and camps….

  81. Lawrence, While I think ruvie could have been a bit more nuanced in his description of RYA’s article, in broad strokes I’m with him, and not you, on this one. But you’re still welcome any time. 🙂

  82. lawrence kaplan

    Joseph and Ruvie: I certainly agree that RYA should not have published his article in Ami, but, as others have suggested, in Jewish Action. Still, I don’t agree with Ruvie that RYA’s admiration for much of MO is conditional on their “cleaning up their house.” From everything of his that I have read his admiration for mainstream MO strikes me as deep and genuine and not a rhetorical ploy. But perhaps it was not as present in this article, and I was reading it through the lenses of his other articles.

    I think RYA is the most thoughtful and sensitive of the contributors to Cross Currents, though, given my view of that Blog, I guess that is damning with faint praise.

  83. i have no problem if the rwmo wants to join the yeshivish /charedei world. they will just not be in the mo world anymore but lw yeshivish. here is what the future looks like there: from r’ harry maryles’s blog today:
    “An intimidating letter sent out by a couple Lakewood Beis Yaakovs to a potential parent – to be signed and returned – demonstrates this. They are in effect using a ‘status hammer’ to force their ways upon their people.

    Here are their demands. They forbid any kind of dissent among the ranks. No public expression of any kind about any dissatisfaction they might have about any facet of life in Lakewood. No blogging. No websites. No involvement of any kind in Lakewood politics. And permission must be granted by the Lakewood’s Roshei Yeshiva for any kind of involvement in public affairs affecting their community.

    He are basically being required to give up his sense of reason and sense of right and wrong… leaving it to others to decide. In other words he is being asked to give up his humanity and become a robot.”

    good luck with that. fealty to rabbis that have no clue what is going on in the world. then again, halacha is ahistorical and who cares about reality to be a frum jew.

  84. R’ Harry is a wonderful man but I’m not sure that he’s the most accurate and unbiased observer of other communities.

    FWIW, R. Adlerstein is on the editorial board of Jewish Action. I doubt that magazine would publish something that provocative.

    Given the recent trends in the RCA, R Adlerstein’s article is timely and represents a growing frustration among the center and right wing of MO rabbis. He is very plugged in. You might even call this article a test balloon or a warning shot. Although I don’t understand the timing. It could have been the magazine’s doing and not his.

  85. MiMedinat HaYam

    ruvie (and r harry / haemtza):

    they want him to quit his political job. thats all. i also want obama to quit his political job. if it were up to me, i would not admit his children to my (non yeshiva) private school. i want nothing to do with him. its my private business. i am lucky enough to have built a business ( = scholl) that is in demand, etc. the fact that it is a 501c3 is irrelevant (provided i do not discriminate, etc. that is not a protected class )

    i recall a legal decision that a landlord can refuse to rent to a lawyer (esp a landlord tenant, (i.e., tenant) lawyer.)

    (i do not really want obama to quit — i think biden will be worse.)

    of course, the other parents ( = customers) can respond by not sending their children to my (non yeshiva) private school. dont bet on it.

  86. “Given the recent trends in the RCA, R Adlerstein’s article is timely and represents a growing frustration among the center and right wing of MO rabbis. He is very plugged in. You might even call this article a test balloon or a warning shot. Although I don’t understand the timing. It could have been the magazine’s doing and not his.”

    What’s your opinion about the appropriateness/ wisdom of the venue?

  87. “I’m surprised that Telushkin got this so wrong”

    Why be surprised?

  88. lawrence kaplan

    mycroft: Re “Why be surprised?” Is there some mitzvah to be so gratuitously nasty on Erev Rosh ha-Shanah? We all know, despite your protestations, that you have a cynical streak, but this is really going too far. I’m very disappointed in you.

  89. “You might even call this article a test balloon or a warning shot.”

    He (and cohorts) have misread the mood. These tactics may have worked in the past, but that game is over.

  90. Israel Fathers Rights Advocacy Council

    As Rav Steinsaltz notes in his Rosh HaShana dvar torah:

    We are provided here an opportunity to enter the coming year with a new outlook: Recognizing, on the one hand, that many of those who are considered leaders are not really great leaders, and should not be expected to do significant deeds. On the other hand, people need not be great leaders to take the initiative and create significant changes in reality.

    Scripture advises us, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” (Psalms 146:3). Individuals should realize how much of a difference they can make. Change, in and of itself, is not, of course, the goal; yet well-intentioned, good-willed people can take hope that we need not lean upon ostensible leaders, but can strive to take upon ourselves the commitment to do something for the rectification of the world.

  91. Israel Fathers Rights Advocacy Council

    The primary problem seems to be one of Organizational Management 101, not hashkafa. The RCA is an ossified organization, suffering many of the standard ills and evils of any monopoly/near monopoly that should never have existed in its original format for so long. Many of us believe the organization beyond repair; the fact that the first real challenge came from the left is coincidental and irrelevant. There need be a significant overhaul of most, if not all, American MO organizations that were created by different generations in different eras, and have failed badly to adjust. The same criticisms can be made of Young Israel and the OU, as examples.

    The suggested Harkev of Talmidei Chachamim is particularly discouraging, as it maintains the YU monopoly and again ignores all of Israel in favor of the United States or worse, New York centric America. Where are the Hesder Rabbis, the Tzohar Rabbis, R Steinsaltz, R Cardozo,? Two years ago I would have insisted on Motti Elon. Find his legitimate successor. Where are any non-charedi Rabbis? Where is anyone not affiliated with YU/REITS and RJBS? I appreciate the need for REITS to market RJBS as a Brand for its graduates, but there are far more important contemporary (and prior generation) thinkers, particularly for those who reside in Israel rather than NYC.

  92. “As I was reading the article on Beit Shemesh, I had a very strong flashback to Little Rock in 1957 both in the actions of the mob attacking little schoolgirls and in the lack of 10 courageous whites/hareidim to join in the escorting of the children to and from school.”

    Should Israel put Magav around the school and escort students?

  93. “A vivid case in point are his postings in the past on the issue of giyyur”

    As part of proposed comments to RYA I submitted the following to cross currents

    “When the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the rabbinic umbrella group of Modern Orthodoxy worked to standardize giyur procedures for the benefit of future converts,”

    Which they had no problem deligitimizing converts who followed RCA and CR procedures for decades. The RCA was following a policy for decades which the CR accepted-all of a sudden for political reasons they completely stopped standing behind gerim. Of course, we have the situation where the Israeli Misrad hapnim accepts conversions of Reform and Conservative Rabbis and has at least until relatively recently rejected geirus of decades standing by the standard RCA Rabbi that was done for decades. Including BTW a famous case where a person came to give a get and since he was megayer as a Kattan by a standard Beis Din was told not to give the get you aren’t Jewish. The politics is obvious-the Rav ruled that a Reform convert married by a Reform Rabbi needed a get to remarry at leaswt misafek-here the person converted by Orthodox Rabbis and educated in Orthodox day schools was told don’t bother giving a get. The onaas ger and the lack opf concern is one of the biggest scandals of the past decade.At times the concern for kavod hatorah which equals kavod of certain Rabbonim is more important than onaas ger.

  94. “But perhaps it was not as present in this article, and I was reading it through the lenses of his other articles.”

    “lawrence kaplan on September 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm
    mycroft: Re “Why be surprised?” Is there some mitzvah to be so gratuitously nasty on Erev Rosh ha-Shanah? We all know, despite your protestations, that you have a cynical streak, but this is really going too far. I’m very disappointed in you”

    I simply wrote why be surprised. I have read some of Telushkins works and frankly first heard him speak decades ago.
    I have either a pragmatic/ realistic / or cynical streak that I believe reflects reality more than just accepting ideas at face value. Instead of merely follow the money look at who is benefiting.

  95. “R Adlerstein’s article is timely and represents a growing frustration among the center and right wing of MO rabbis. He is very plugged in. You might even call this article a test balloon or a warning shot. ”

    A warning shot-look that RHS disagrees with RAW is obvious to a child of two in grade 6-nothing new. If RAW were not RMW’s cousin one would probably have expected RMW to also been leadingthe forefront of the attack. R Adlerstein usually is much more diplomatic.

  96. “I simply wrote why be surprised. I have read some of Telushkins works and frankly first heard him speak decades ago.
    I have either a pragmatic/ realistic / or cynical streak that I believe reflects reality more than just accepting ideas at face value. Instead of merely follow the money look at who is benefiting.”
    Just to make clear I din NOT intend to have my second paragraph refer to the first. I was responding in my mind to different comments. I really don’t have anything cynical to write about Joseph Telushkin.

  97. “R’ Harry is a wonderful man but I’m not sure that he’s the most accurate and unbiased observer of other communities.”

    I find him at least as accurate and less biased than the vast majority who regularly comment about other communities.

    ” I certainly agree that RYA should not have published his article in Ami, but, as others have suggested, in Jewish Action”
    Disagree-agree with Gil ” I doubt that magazine would publish something that provocative.” The OU is an inclusive organization of Orthodox Jews it is not its function to engage in trying to deligitimize others.

    “But perhaps it was not as present in this article”
    Perhaps Prof Kaplan the following by Prof Waxman is relevant”It may well be that Modern Orthodox rabbis,including those ordained at RIETS in the latter part of the twentieth century, were considerably more to the right than were their predecessors. In other words, the move to the right may have been within the RIETS semikhah (ordination)program, under the influence of a revisionist approach to the thinking of its revered head, the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (“the Rav”), rather than within Orthodoxy as a whole, but is so glaring because rabbis are much more visible than the laity. On revisionism with respect to the Rav, see Lawrence Kaplan, “Revisionism and the Rav: The Struggle for the Soul of Modern Orthodoxy,” Judaism 48,3 (Summer 1999): 290-311.”

    Certainly according to Prof Kaplan’s seminal article about the revisionism and the Rav some of those who RYA advocates to be the judges of Orthodoxy are guilty of revisionism about the Rav. It is also implicit in Prof Waxman’s comment about the RIETS semikhah program engaging in Revisionism of the Rav. One should not expect acceptance by MO of ideas by those who attempt to revise the Rav.

    Prof Kaplan-any comments?

  98. r’ gil – “I doubt that magazine would publish something that provocative.” if written in a less one sided condescending obnoxious manner why not? but than again his house is not “clean” and maybe much dirtier and problematic than those he who criticize (but in a different way).

    “article is timely and represents a growing frustration among the center and right wing of MO rabbis.”
    since when is disagreement a reason to boot others out. this is more the charedei way – my way or the highway. the people will follow those that reflect their gestalt and sensibilities – even if its a lesser talmid chacham ( i think you are seeing it that now).

    “There’s a reason the Charedim rabbis will not condemn the lunatics in RBS…”
    pretty lame and full of – they are not us or represents us. so why not shout it from the roof tops? because their rabbis agree silently with their actions or are cowards – take your choice. this is your vaulted leadership – really or lagoyim? good luck with that mind meld. the other stuff on the list is pertinent on how the leadership reacts to what is going on in their community – if the world new half the stuff (and how leadership turns a blind eye) it would be the biggest shame on us collectively.

    where is the leadership in that community like RAL after rabin’s assassination of the collective guilt by the community where the killer grew up in? – show some responsibility.

  99. Abba's Rantings

    agree with Ruvie’s previous comment

    also, silence can be interpreted by potential sympathizers as implied consent

  100. also, silence can be interpreted by potential sympathizers as implied consent

    Which, over time, it of course is.

  101. Lawrence Kaplan

    In a post last night on Cross-currents RYA writes: “While I take responsibility for writing this article, it emerged from a group effort on the part of a number of RCA rabbis, none of whom are Chareidim.

    If that is the case, and I am sure it is, these rabbis made a great mistake but not having it group authored and by having it appear in Ami. As it is, it appears as if a Hareidi– to be sure an enlightened Hareidi– writing in a Hareidi publicaion is telling the MO to clean up their house, and it consequently elicits natural response, “Well first clean up your own house!” (BTW,given tha the article was approved by and had the input of a number of RCA rabbis, I find it it hard to believe that Jewish Action would not have published a suitably modified version of it.)

    BTW, I reread the paragraph of RYA on the MO. I cannot see how a fair reading of it can lead one to say that his acceptnce of mainstream MO is a conditional. Indeed,if you read between the lines he is pretty clearly suggesting that the Haredim have much to learn from the MO. Take a closer look, Ruvie. That said I agree with you that the rhetoric of much of the article is over-the-top. Had it ben clear that the article is basically the product of a group of RCA rabbis, i.e., it is an IN-HOUSE critique, the criticisms while debatable, would have been more understandable.

  102. As it is, it appears as if…

    I think the key here is, appears to whom? If his intended audience is the RCA leadership, then they fully understand the context and meaning.

  103. The articles, opinions, perspectives and POVs of the LW MO rabbinic and academic personae that I alluded to have been around for decades prior to and since the arise of feminist rooted changes in LW MO, and are all web accessible.

    MO-WADR,the answer is that as R Frimer stressed, there is no basis for changing Nusach HaTefilah as suggested,and not all Musmachim are equal in deciding issues of Halachic and Hashkafic import, and should not be considered of equal weight, especially when any Bar BeRav DChad Yoma can tell you who is a greater Talmid Chacham. It is not an issue of Daas Torah, but rather of recognizing that those who are greater Talmidei Chachamim are entitled to have their views considered on issues of Halacha and Hashkafa in a far more deferential manner than those who are not such great Talmidei Chachamim. See my mea culpa to Larry Kaplan on this issue here.

    As we approach RH and YK,as well as Sukkos, which are Yamim Tovim whose proper observance the Beis HaLevi points out in Drush 18 are rooted in TSBP, and as Talmud Torah on a mass level is viewed by the Netziv in last week’s Parsha as a unique means of teshuvah, may we all be Zoche to have a Kiyum of the phrase Hashivenu Avinu Lsorasecha VKarvenu Malkenu LaAvodesecha in its fullest sense.

  104. MO posted the following queries:

    “a) rabbis and academics who view TSBP as sexist

    Few would claim TSBP is sexist, they would say that women’s status in today’s society has changed and that Hazal’s were speaking about women is a very different society. If you can claim Nishtana Hateva for *physical* matters this doesn’t seem like such a crazy claim.

    (b) who encourage changes in Nusach HaTefilah without any basis

    Without any basis? Even those who want to eliminate shelo asani ishah seek precedents for it.

    (c) who view as nonexistent both the concepts of Am HaNivchar and the covenants between HaShem ( Bris Avos and Bris Sinai),

    Who claims this?

    (d) who argue seriously that all Musmachim are entitled to have their POVs considered on the grave and not so grave halachic and hashkafic issues of the time without due deference and consideration of the views of Talmidei Chachamim with greater Torah knowledge in their own communities,
    and

    Why is having a point of view *considered* so offensive?

    (e) who seriously maintain that where there is a halachic will, there is a halachic way,

    Do you truly believe that halakhic decisors are mouthpieces of God without any negios? Surely, this is at minimum a complex issue

    MO-Please consider the following response:

    (a)Your response denies the eternal applicability of TSBP to all times, and merely restates the view that TSBP is sexist or reflects its male authorship-claims that have been advanced by LW MO rabbinic and academic spokespersons.

    (b)See R Frimer’s critique of the same.

    (c)See the writings of R D Hartman and R Y Greenberg.

    (d)Talmidei Chachamim, by weight of their Lomdus and having been accepted as the final address for halachic and hashkafic inquiries are entitled to the greatest deference. The notion that all community rabbanim can decide all issues and is entitled to the same consideration without having reference to a rebbe muvhak who may be somewhat more knowledgeable on the issues IMO is mistaken because it levels the intellectual levels where none is warranted.

    (e)I do believe that Poskim decide Halachic issues without a Shemetz of Negios. WADR, such a query is complex only for someone who implies that Poskim are biased.

  105. Steve Brizel:

    a. Your response to this point merely repeats your original claim. Why does claiming Chazal were speaking about women in their times “deny the eternal applicability of TSBP” any more than saying nishtanah hateva? There are countless other examples where we say that Chazal were speaking about situations that are different than are own. Why is that when in comes to women’s issues, suddenly we are not allowed to say this?

    b. The fact that one person R. Frimer does not accept the precedents for not saying Shelo Asani Ishah merely reflects one Rabbi’s point of view. It is not the word of God,

    c. If R. Hartman and R. Greenberg claim this, this certaintly is not characteristic of LW MO as a whole.

    d. The idea that community Rabbis cannot be relied upon for halakhic inquiries and that one must go to a “Gadol” is a hiddush from the last two hundred years at most. The idea of not forming one’s own ideas on hashkafic matters without consulting a gadol is even more a hiddush.

    e. Ditto for the idea that Poskim have no negios, In addition, it contradicts logic and common sense. Does being frum today mean that we must accept principles that seem false without questioning? In viewing Poskim as mouthpieces of God, Haredim and certain RW MO have given a new sense to Solomon Schechter’s notion of “Catholic Israel.”

    What is clear is that Steve Brizel is saying that the only legitimate MO view is anti-rationalist. I totally reject this.

  106. Steve — One could easily come up with a list of extreme positions staked out by people in your camp and misrepresent it — just as you are doing. What do you think you are accomplishing in repeating your mantras? Is this chizuk for your crowd?

  107. Steve — please point us to the specific writings of R. Hartman or R. Greenberg that, as you claim, “view as nonexistent both the concepts of Am HaNivchar and the covenants between HaShem ( Bris Avos and Bris Sinai)”.

    I contend you are making a libelous statement.

  108. “I do believe that Poskim decide Halachic issues without a Shemetz of Negios. WADR, such a query is complex only for someone who implies that Poskim are biased.” How can you say this? Are you saying that Rav Kook didn’t have a “negiah” when he ruled in favor of the heter mechirah? Sometimes poskim even tell us what their negios are.

  109. lawrence kaplan

    Gil: If RYA’s intended audience is the RCA leadership, Ami and Cross Currents are strange, indeed self-defeating, venues for its appearance. Ketivah ve-Hatimah Tovah to all.

  110. william gewirtz

    The dramatic growth is the networking infrastructure now including tweeting and texting sheailot has had a negative impact on local horaah. the assumption that asking a Gadol is better, is just that an assumption and an unwarranted one at that. The local posek knows his community (virtual or physical) better and it i his responsibility to consult on those facets of a sheailah where he finds it necessary to seek advice.

    wishing all a gut gebentched yahr.

  111. “Demographic surveys have found that synagogue membership is associated with income. In Chicago, for example, half of all Jewish families with household incomes over $100,000 say they are synagogue members, compared with roughly a quarter of those with lower incomes; lower-income families also report that costs have kept them from joining synagogues. Therefore, it is not surprising that the recent economic downturn has exacerbated the membership gap”

    Certainly religion as a discretionary good has to be associated with income-what else is new.

  112. R Gil-Yasher Koach for CR Sacks’ superb Letter to the Next Generation! It deserves to be read by and disseminated to the widest possible audience and is yet another example of CR Sacks’s passionate advocacy of a passionate, as opposed to a pareve committment to Torah and Mitzvos.

  113. IH-Gmar Chasimah Tovah. Read R D D Berger;s review of RYG’s book on RYG”s thesis that the Bris Sinai and Bris Avos post Holocaust are purely voluntary in nature and the critique of RDH’s work by R D Landes which IMO RDH conceded by silence. Please don’t attempt to silence debate by claiming critiques of the same are libelous. Freedom of speech has never been viewed as freedom from criticism.How sad and odd that you who claim to have the widest degree of tolerance for any identification with Jewish continuity, (despite its lack of compliance with Halacha) that you deem appropriate obviously cannot respond to criticism of the same except by attempting to suppress the same.

  114. “william gewirtz on September 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    The dramatic growth is the networking infrastructure now including tweeting and texting sheailot has had a negative impact on local horaah. the assumption that asking a Gadol is better, is just that an assumption and an unwarranted one at that. The local posek knows his community (virtual or physical) better and it i his responsibility to consult on those facets of a sheailah where he finds it necessary to seek advice.”
    Agreed and BTW the Rav agreed too. Many times the Rav would refuse to answer questions to his talmidim stating they are there they must answer-the Rav would offer to go through the sugyah with them but at the end of the day local questions were local rabbis responsibility.

  115. “RDH’s work by R D Landes which IMO RDH conceded by silence. ”

    Although I probably agree in general with Steves viewpoint in his disagreement with IH on this matter this statement is no proof-one can’t compare the influece of RDH and R Landes-it is lehavdil eleph alphei havdalos similar to saying if arguendo I disagreed with RHS on something his silence in respondiong is proof-simply RHS would have no reason to answer me.

  116. “lawrence kaplan on September 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm
    Gil: If RYA’s intended audience is the RCA leadership, Ami and Cross Currents are strange, indeed self-defeating, venues for its appearance”

    Agreed.

  117. “If R. Hartman and R. Greenberg claim this, this certaintly is not characteristic of LW MO as a whole”

    Rabbi Hartman resigned decades ago from the RCA so he is clearly not a LWMO Rabbi-most LWMO would not claim R Greenberg as one of their own. I am specifically not entering into the question of whether or not that viewpoint on R Greenberg is accurate I am stating my sociological observation.

  118. Let’s imagine Jewish Action published an article by a RW MO Rabbi criticizing the “Far-Right” Israeli Haredim for calling for universal kollel which is totally opposed by mainstream halakhic opinion. The article then claimed that should American Haredim not dissociate themselves from Israeli Haredim calling for universal kollel, then this will force MO to move more to the left.

    What would be the reaction? The Haredim would laugh at this article. I suggest that MO reaction to RYA’s article should be the same.

  119. MO wrote:

    “a. Your response to this point merely repeats your original claim. Why does claiming Chazal were speaking about women in their times “deny the eternal applicability of TSBP” any more than saying nishtanah hateva? There are countless other examples where we say that Chazal were speaking about situations that are different than are own. Why is that when in comes to women’s issues, suddenly we are not allowed to say this?

    b. The fact that one person R. Frimer does not accept the precedents for not saying Shelo Asani Ishah merely reflects one Rabbi’s point of view. It is not the word of God,

    c. If R. Hartman and R. Greenberg claim this, this certaintly is not characteristic of LW MO as a whole.

    d. The idea that community Rabbis cannot be relied upon for halakhic inquiries and that one must go to a “Gadol” is a hiddush from the last two hundred years at most. The idea of not forming one’s own ideas on hashkafic matters without consulting a gadol is even more a hiddush.

    e. Ditto for the idea that Poskim have no negios, In addition, it contradicts logic and common sense. Does being frum today mean that we must accept principles that seem false without questioning? In viewing Poskim as mouthpieces of God, Haredim and certain RW MO have given a new sense to Solomon Schechter’s notion of “Catholic Israel”

    a. Like it or not, your post assumes that you can simply abolish all gender based differences that are clearly rooted in TSBP.

    b.We have no basis for rejecting Nusach HaTefilah or Barchos-what you call “precedents” are essentially views which have never been accepted by the overwhelming majority of RIshonim and Acharonim, and which run contrary to changing the formula of a Bracha formulated by Chazal. IIRC, that was R Frimer’s primary concern.

    c.Now we get to the cruz of the matter-who are LW MO’s Poskim on the difficult and not so difficult issues of Halacha and Hashkafa?

    d. it is well known that the CI was delegated all queries on Eruvin by R CO because the CI had an expertise that RCO did not. Are you claiming that the average musmach today can build an eruv or a mikveh without calling in the equivalent of a specialist who knows far more about the halacha in these areas of halacha?

    e. Which principles strike you as examples of “principles that seem false”? I would suggest that living with legitimate doubts and the recognition that I don’t have the answers nor should I expect the same is a far better approach than discarding the same or burying my head in the sand and pretending that the same don’t exist. In sum, living with questions unanswered is infinitely preferable IMO to living with today’s answers which may very well be in tomorrow’s intellectual and cultural garbage can. WADR, you are suggesting that unless the principle meets your contemporary sensitivity, the same is false. IMO, such a suggestion is as equally incorrect as the Charedi application of Daas Torah to all issues. Unfortunately, many people confuse the need to respect halachic authority and a hierarchy in terms of Talmidei Chachamim with an unbridled application of Daas Torah, which it is not.

  120. Mycroft-the issue IMO is two fold the writings of RDH and RYG, and their influence within LW MO, regardless of their current formal status within the RCA.

  121. Mycroft-read R Landes critique-R Landes especially noted that RDH’s work did not affirm the special relationship between HaShem and Klal Yisreal. RDH, while offering a spirited and detailed response to R Landes’ comments, offered none on the issue of the covenant between HaShem and Klal Yisrael.

  122. Mycroft wrote:

    “Agreed and BTW the Rav agreed too. Many times the Rav would refuse to answer questions to his talmidim stating they are there they must answer-the Rav would offer to go through the sugyah with them but at the end of the day local questions were local rabbis responsibility”

    May I suggest that you reread the verbatim version shiur to the RCA on Parshas Korach, Vol. 10 of Noaroas HaRav, where RYBS clearly stated that there is an equation between Kedusha and teaching. The saintly person is the leader, and, at the same time, because he is the teacher.” ( Noroas HaRav Vol. 10, P. 81). Furthermore, RYBS underscored the point that Korach’s revolt was predicated on the notion that “all Jews are equal. Hence, everyone is equally entitled to interpret the law.” ( ibid at Page 82).

  123. “Anonymous on September 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm
    “I do believe that Poskim decide Halachic issues without a Shemetz of Negios. WADR, such a query is complex only for someone who implies that Poskim are biased.” How can you say this? Are you saying that Rav Kook didn’t have a “negiah” when he ruled in favor of the heter mechirah? Sometimes poskim even tell us what their negios are”

    Obviously, every posek is nogeah badavar as you define it-having a certain world view that seeps through into psak-but that is not what I believe what most mean by nogeah badavar-I believbe most mean when the posek and/or his family would benefit from such a psak is my much more limited viewpoint of nogeah badavar. I believe that most poskim would recuse themselves in such situations.

  124. “Steve Brizel on October 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm
    Mycroft wrote:

    “Agreed and BTW the Rav agreed too. Many times the Rav would refuse to answer questions to his talmidim stating they are there they must answer-the Rav would offer to go through the sugyah with them but at the end of the day local questions were local rabbis responsibility”

    May I suggest that you reread the verbatim version shiur to the RCA on Parshas Korach, Vol. 10 of Noaroas HaRav, where RYBS clearly stated that there is an equation between Kedusha and teaching. The saintly person is the leader, and, at the same time, because he is the teacher.” ( Noroas HaRav Vol. 10, P. 81). Furthermore, RYBS underscored the point that Korach’s revolt was predicated on the notion that “all Jews are equal. Hence, everyone is equally entitled to interpret the law.” ( ibid at Page 82).”

    I stand by my comment,

  125. william gewirtz

    Steve Brizel: you write “RYBS underscored the point that Korach’s revolt was predicated on the notion that “all Jews are equal. Hence, everyone is equally entitled to interpret the law.” ( ibid at Page 82).”

    You quote this in response to what mycroft and I wrote. I am trying to figure out the relevance of this statement to a local morah de’asrah deciding when to consult and when to pasken on his own.

    my assumption is that it is not a community member but his morah de’asrah that decides when to consult a “higher authority” and chooses that higher authority as well. I might even see your quotation from the Rav ztl, properly understood, as supporting that position.

  126. Steve – my challenge to your libel stands: please point us to the specific writings of R. Hartman or R. Greenberg that, as you claim, “view as nonexistent both the concepts of Am HaNivchar and the covenants between HaShem ( Bris Avos and Bris Sinai)”.

    G’mar Chatima Tova.

  127. “Orthodoxy should be put to the three talmidei chachamim within the American MO world that are most respected for their halachic ability: Rabbis Hershel Schachter, Gedalia Schwartz, and Mordechai Willig”

    They are all talmeidei chachamim but are they all “within the American MO world”

  128. “my assumption is that it is not a community member but his morah de’asrah that decides when to consult a “higher authority” and chooses that higher authority as well”

    Agreed and my point is that the Rav by his actions showed that he believed that questions must be answered at the local level. Obviously, some very rare questions a local Rav might ask higher-but the Rav berlievedthatthe local Rav was there “so what do you want me you’re there”

  129. lawrence kaplan – from RYA’s article: “Many RCA members feel that the divide between YCT and the rest of the MO world is so large, that keeping all members under one roof makes it impossible for the RCA to offer anything but vague platitudes. If YCT stays, the RCA can be a rabbis’ club. If it leaves, the RCA can be the face of Torah values to millions of Jews and non-Jews. It is as simple as that.”
    “Minimally, HaKadosh Baruch Hu expects our deep concern about wide-scale counterfeiting of Torah….”

    how does this not mean – throw the bums (or counterfeiters) out and then the rca can represent real torah values. it may not be conditional but its a pretty strong statement of what they need to do to get the respect from the chareideim. these far left wingers are treifing up the the rca according to RYA.
    actually if you look closer to the statement it says the rca has no credibility unless it throws the yct connected ones out (how is that not somewhat conditional acceptance?)

  130. “ruvie on October 2, 2011 at 12:48 am
    lawrence kaplan – from RYA’s article: “Many RCA members feel that the divide between YCT and the rest of the MO world is so large, that keeping all members under one roof makes it impossible for the RCA to offer anything but vague platitudes. If YCT stays, the RCA can be a rabbis’ club. If it leaves, the RCA can be the face of Torah values to millions of Jews and non-Jews. It is as simple as that.”
    “Minimally, HaKadosh Baruch Hu expects our deep concern about wide-scale counterfeiting of Torah….”

    how does this not mean – throw the bums (or counterfeiters) out and then the rca can represent real torah values. it may not be conditional but its a pretty strong statement of what they need to do to get the respect from the chareideim. these far left wingers are treifing up the the rca according to RYA.
    actually if you look closer to the statement it says the rca has no credibility unless it throws the yct connected ones out (how is that not somewhat conditional acceptance?)”

    Does the RCA admit people whose sole smicha is YCT ? Interrogative question I haven mo idea.

    Who does RYA consider far left wingers?
    Remeber bchayav that was at best their opinion of the RAv ZT”L-after their infamous “obituary” in theJO they have changed their MO to accepting the Rav but claiming his students are distorting his viewpoints. To look at his viewpoints see his decisions and atthose not inconsistent with his viewpoints what
    the RCA did from 1940s to the 1980s.
    Who is RYA claiming is distorting Orthodoxy and why.
    BTW the OU has hired YCT grads to be their campus reps in their Campus program does RYA object to that?

  131. “MO on October 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm
    Let’s imagine Jewish Action published an article by a RW MO Rabbi criticizing the “Far-Right” Israeli Haredim for calling for universal kollel which is totally opposed by mainstream halakhic opinion. The article then claimed that should American Haredim not dissociate themselves from Israeli Haredim calling for universal kollel, then this will force MO to move more to the left.

    What would be the reaction? The Haredim would laugh at this article. I suggest that MO reaction to RYA’s article should be the same”

    Cute and something to ponder.

  132. IH-I stand by my response to your initial comment re RDH and RYG.

  133. lawrence kaplan

    Ruvie: In your original post, you referred to the Hareidim’s conditional acceptance of RWMO. Now you shift to referring to their conditional acceptance of the RCA.

    Moreover, in the paragraph you quote, RYA begins by explicitly referring to feelings held by “many members of the RCA.” Do you deny that he is accurately representing these sentiments?

    Both RYA’s comments in the on-line discussion as well as Gil’s comments here show that RYA is serving as a spokesman for a group of rabbis within the RCA who would like to bar graduates of YCT from membership in the RCA. They are pushing against the “softer” line of the RCA president, Rabbi Shmuel Goldin. What we have here is an INTERNAL struggle within MO, along the lines of R. Steven Weil’s summary in the recent issue of JA of the Rav’s 1975 speech attacking R. Rackman, which was also intended as critique of YCT. I am surprised someone as thoughtful and intelligent as yourself does not see this.

    In the 1950s the Rav stated that unless the RCa took a strong stand against mixed seating in synagogues, it would be just a rabbis’ club, a rabbinic organization of indistinct character, or words to that effect. Was his acceptance of MO also conditional?

  134. IH-see the following excerpt fron R D Landes’ review and critique:
    “Curiously lacking from this work is
    any sustained or even casual discussion
    of the meaning of Israel’s election. I
    am not sure if Hartman believes in it.
    His clear message that Jewish ethics
    are not necessarily superior to those
    developed by others; his rejection of
    the idea that “there is only one true
    perception of divine revelation and redemption
    in history,” which implies
    that there may be at least several perceptions
    of equal validity; his belief
    that human existence has intrinsic selfjustification;
    and the absence of definition
    of sanctity and its ontological
    status, all lead me to think that he
    does not”

    R D D Berger’s article is available for your review at Tradition’s website.

  135. IH-Please see the annexed link to R D D Berger’s review of RYG’s book .

  136. IH -Whoops!~ Here is the link in question.
    https://www.torahmusings.com/2006/05/new-issue-of-tradition/

  137. MO wrote the following:

    “Let’s imagine Jewish Action published an article by a RW MO Rabbi criticizing the “Far-Right” Israeli Haredim for calling for universal kollel which is totally opposed by mainstream halakhic opinion. The article then claimed that should American Haredim not dissociate themselves from Israeli Haredim calling for universal kollel, then this will force MO to move more to the left”

    “Imagine”” -anyone want to supply the missing lyrics?

  138. “The dramatic growth is the networking infrastructure now including tweeting and texting sheailot has had a negative impact on local horaah. the assumption that asking a Gadol is better, is just that an assumption and an unwarranted one at that. The local posek knows his community (virtual or physical) better and it i his responsibility to consult on those facets of a sheailah where he finds it necessary to seek advice”

  139. Mycroft and William Gewritz-neither of you responded to my query as to whether the average LOR is sufficiently well versed in all areas of Halacha that he feels confident to issue Psak on such difficult areas as building a Mikveh or constructing an Eruv without consulting an outside specialist, who generally is a far greater Talmid Chacham than he is and morer versed on the ins and outs of these areas of Halacha.

  140. Lawrence, Until the alleged and anonymous RCA members who RYA was supposedly representing have enough courage to put their names behind their supposed views, one has to take the article as RYA’s views. If they exist — and I emphasize “if” — they may be a fringe group within the RCA or a bunch of rabbis who are always complaining. Who knows? Without their names (assuming they exist), they are, to my way of thinking, meaningless, and to call RYA article an internal struggle is saying an internal struggle can consist of one person.

  141. Mycroft wrote:

    “Orthodoxy should be put to the three talmidei chachamim within the American MO world that are most respected for their halachic ability: Rabbis Hershel Schachter, Gedalia Schwartz, and Mordechai Willig”

    They are all talmeidei chachamim but are they all “within the American MO world”

    Mycroft-the last that I heard RIETS,the OU , the BDA and the CRC were all definitely part of the “American MO world”

  142. “building a Mikveh or constructing an Eruv”

    How about dealing with reality. No one is speaking about mikveh or eruv; we’re speaking about issues concerning women and halacha, relationships with others, relationship to modern culture and learning and similar issues. So why don’t you frame your question to deal with the issues that are really on the table and then, perhaps, Mycroft and William will respond.

  143. Joseph Kaplan-Building a Mikveh and constructing an eruv implicate two of the most difficult, and important areas of Halacha. Without a mikveh, a community is stating that an Issur Kares is not of primary concern in its Avodas HaShem. A community that can build an eruv without any halachic impediments will IMO wither away on the vine.

    WADR, your concerns re ” issues concerning women and halacha, relationships with others, relationship to modern culture and learning and similar issues” essentially means that a rav must give “common sense” answers to the same that might meet your approval from a sociological and cultural perspective, but would , as we have ofen discussed and debated, raise questions of whether the same is indicative of adjusting halacha to modernity as opposed to viewing modernity through the prism of Lomdus and halacha.

  144. william gewirtz

    Steve Brizel, another attempt at evasion. follow the thread and you misapplied the quote from the rav ztl, badly IMHO. questions about when a local moreh ho’raaah is competent and when he ought consult is his decision to make. Questions about an average local rabbi’s competence in particular areas are just an attempt to avoid dealing with your poorly reasoned response. Your questions are irrelevant to my comments.

  145. William Gewitz-Read the quoted passage and others in the easily downloadable volumes of Noaraos HaRav. IMO, it is revisionism for anyone to claim that RYBS viewed Psak as totally a local affair without due deference to outside Talamidei Chachamim for their Halachic knowledge and status as Baalei Mesorah.

    Joseph Kaplan wrote in response:

    “No one is speaking about mikveh or eruv; we’re speaking about issues concerning women and halacha, relationships with others, relationship to modern culture and learning and similar issues”

    Are you claiming that neither RSZA, RYBS and RMF were senstive to “issues concerning women and halacha, relationships with others, relationship to modern culture and learning and similar issues”?

  146. lawrence kaplan

    Joseph: I do not doubt that this article represents RYA’s own views. But he wrote in the on-line discussion: “While I am responsible for writing this article, it emerged from a group effort of a number of MO rabbis, none of whom are Charedim.” Gil wrote that “RYA’s article represents a growing frustration among the center and right wings of MO rabbis. He is very well plugged in. You might call this article a trial balloon.”

    In light of this, for you to suggest that RYA only “supposedly” represents a group of MO rabbis, to doubt their existence, to further suggest that if they exist they may just be a fringe group or a group of regular complainers strike me as unjustified. I agree with you that unless the rabbis RYA represents identify themselves it is difficult to determine how significant a group they are. We spoke about this on the phone and agreed that this group of rabbis by not writing under their own names and by allowing the article to appear in Ami and CC botched things up and damaged their own cause, as seems to be their wont as of late.

    BTW, Ruvie: Read the two paragraphs of RYA’s article beginning “Where does this leave the rest of the MO community?” and you will see there that RYA’a genuine admiration for large swathes of both the general MO community and the MO rabbinate shines forth very clearly.

  147. “Both RYA’s comments in the on-line discussion as well as Gil’s comments here show that RYA is serving as a spokesman for a group of rabbis within the RCA who would like to bar graduates of YCT from membership in the RCA. They are pushing against the “softer” line of the RCA president, Rabbi Shmuel Goldin.”

    Agreed.

    “What we have here is an INTERNAL struggle within MO,”
    An interesting question is to what extent the RCA is still MO. Decades ago when the RCA was founded andfor the first few decades it clearly was MO-but then when many more than YU Rabbis joined it has become a place for many Rabbis who are far from YU. There have been for examples Presidents and Editors of its magazines who never went to YU. Certainly, of the non MO world they act the most moderate but one can’t underestimate the change in membership. Rabbi Golden was educated at YU primarily when Dr Belkin was President and certainly the Rav was very much the boss-when Revisionists wouldn’t have dared their revisionism.

  148. “Mycroft wrote:

    “Orthodoxy should be put to the three talmidei chachamim within the American MO world that are most respected for their halachic ability: Rabbis Hershel Schachter, Gedalia Schwartz, and Mordechai Willig”

    They are all talmeidei chachamim but are they all “within the American MO world”

    Mycroft-the last that I heard RIETS,the OU , the BDA and the CRC were all definitely part of the “American MO world””

    To avoid discussing the 3 talmeidei cahchamim involved but to discuss RIETS and the OU-clearly one need not have been MO to be part of either world-to gvie some past examples no one would have said that either Rav Lessin ZT’L or Rav Jeruchem Gorleick ZTL were MO and both were in RIETS-and Yibadel be nchayim lechayim would you maintain that Rav Belsky of the OU is MO.

  149. lawrence kaplan – you are correct (or i stand corrected on my original post) – originally, i wrote: ” will accept the rwmo if you throw the other bums – of course yct and others- out? ”

    upon rereading it last night my newer comment was that RAY was speaking of the rca as an organization that would be acceptable to him (and maybe others) if they do….But was characterization of throw the bums out unfair (that line is used by many commentators to whomever is in political office when the economy goes sour and elections are around the corner)? was i moving the goal post?

    l.k. wrote: “by “many members of the RCA.” Do you deny that he is accurately representing these sentiments?”
    no idea who this cabal is(it could be 3 people for all i know). i assume its people like him who want certain views to be beyond the pale and were tzizit checkers when they were younger and can’t help themselves as they get older in trying to define who is in and out and thereby control “their” organizations. i mean someone has issues with saying shelo asanai isha (btw, it doesn’t really bother me or any of the women in my family) and tries to find a way to deal with the issue – is like saying you believe in yeshu is the mosiach to some. the use of the slippery slope is over abused today to allow for different halachik perspectives.

    “What we have here is an INTERNAL struggle within MO…” I respectfully question that assertion. RAY is not mo he happens to be part of the rca among others from his charedei world. this is an attempt to try to get rid of the “fifth column” of anyone disagreeing with him (and RHS, RMW, and RGS – they are of course kosher but are they mo?) – this is not limited to yct graduates but anyone infected by some outside values – far left wingers (maybe he wants to bring back slavery, polygamy, stoning homosexuals, women not leaving home execpt 2-3 times a month, not educating our daughters…. – all part of our tradition)[a little tongue in check for aseret yamei teshuva].
    INTERNAL struggles do not get posted on cross currents. this is an appeal to the masses.

    ” Rav stated that unless the RCa took a strong stand against mixed seating …” are the two situations really comparable? the rav was the halachik authority for the rca and drew a line in the sand at that point and maybe due to the conservative movement growing influence. here a charedei rabbi who is part of the rca is telling them who can be a member and what views are acceptable(this is not limited to yct graduates but any dissent imho (or it will be eventually)?
    btw, i am not intelligent – just your local am haaretz who never will be smart enough to be (if one has the inclination to go there) an apikorus (such is my lot in life… limited intelligence).

  150. Lawrence Kaplan

    “Both RYA’s comments in the on-line discussion as well as Gil’s comments here show that RYA is serving as a spokesman for a group of rabbis within the RCA who would like to bar graduates of YCT from membership in the RCA. ”

    It would be nice if he offered some evidence of, apart from his quoted suggestion of Rabbi Hanan Balk to appeal to three RWMO rabbis for a ruling (which I assume is what he meant by saying that “the article emerged from a group effort of a number of rabbonim, all RCA members, none of whom are charedim”).

    It would be nice also if he would addressed the Why-Ami? question.

    However, it should of course be pointed out that even if it is in Ami, those who accept the truth no matter the source should be willing to consider the article on its own merits, if there are any, however distasteful the source.

  151. “Steve Brizel on October 2, 2011 at 10:44 am
    Mycroft and William Gewritz-neither of you responded to my query as to whether the average LOR is sufficiently well versed in all areas of Halacha that he feels confident to issue Psak on such difficult areas as building a Mikveh or constructing an Eruv without consulting an outside specialist,”

    and is the average RY equipped to discuss many issues of interfaith cooperation-they may well be great talmeidei chachamim but many at least do not know the details of what the other faiths mean by certain language-people can have specialities-in hachi nami.
    Of course, I can think of LWMO Rabbis who have been the experts for eruvin in other communities and certainly those LWMO Rabbis talmidim of the Rav who were the most machmir about eruvin of all Rabbonim on a areas vaad harabonim-includingthose running RW yeshivot!

  152. “IMO, it is revisionism for anyone to claim that RYBS viewed Psak as totally a local affair without due deference to outside Talamidei Chachamim for their Halachic knowledge and status as Baalei Mesorah.”

    It is certainly revisionism for anyone to state that the Rav believed that Psak should be in the hands of central anybody who does not know the facts on the ground. The Rav himself in response to sheiolot by talmidim would often state you are there, you must answer you know what is happening. To take that approach of the Rav and believe that he would have felt that all sheilos should go to RY is ludicrous. BTW look at the Ravs private smichas which were not only given to RY the language reshut horaah is not limiting except you must ask me.
    Obviously, talmidim of the Rav tried to ask him difficult questions but he would often refuse to answer-of course he would offer to go over the sources but at the end it is the local Ravs responsibility. Obviously, Rabbonim discuss difficult sheilas with their colleagues all the time-but that is a different issue.

  153. “What we have here is an INTERNAL struggle within MO,”

    There have been internal struggles in the RCA before but I may be getting senile but I don’r recall previously ones reaching the papers by parties from one side or the other advocating openly such positions in print.

  154. “and RHS, RMW, and RGS – they are of course kosher but are they mo”

    Certainly they are not MO in the classical sense-they may have be on better terms with MO people and tolerate them better but not sure if one can claim that their personal beliefs are MO.

  155. Mycroft: The IRF’s leadership is composed largely of RCA members and has given many interviews to the press.

    Dr. Kaplan: It seems to me that R. Adlerstein’s essay got to the eyes of exactly whom he wanted without forcing mainstream Jewish media to get involved.

  156. Joseph Kaplan

    “Building a Mikveh and constructing an eruv implicate two of the most difficult, and important areas of Halacha. Without a mikveh, a community is stating that an Issur Kares is not of primary concern in its Avodas HaShem. A community that can build an eruv without any halachic impediments will IMO wither away on the vine.”

    Agreed, but irrelevant to the comment I made.

    “WADR, your concerns re ” issues concerning women and halacha, relationships with others, relationship to modern culture and learning and similar issues” essentially means that a rav must give “common sense” answers to the same that might meet your approval from a sociological and cultural perspective, but would , as we have ofen discussed and debated, raise questions of whether the same is indicative of adjusting halacha to modernity as opposed to viewing modernity through the prism of Lomdus and halacha.”

    It doesn’t meant that at all — “essentially” or not. It means that the local rav will explore and examine halachic texts and other relevant material and make a decision for his community. Your calling it “adjusting halacha to modernity” is simply your nasty way of denigrating rabbanim whom you disagree with.

  157. Joseph Kaplan

    “Are you claiming that neither RSZA, RYBS and RMF were senstive to “issues concerning women and halacha, relationships with others, relationship to modern culture and learning and similar issues”?”

    Of course not. I was suggesting that no one appointed them the final authority in the MO community and that rabbanim who lead kehiolot and, indeed, just regular ba’allei battim (like me), while respecting them for their erudition, are not required to follow their opinions and decisions.

  158. Joseph Kaplan wrote in response:

    “WADR, your concerns re ” issues concerning women and halacha, relationships with others, relationship to modern culture and learning and similar issues” essentially means that a rav must give “common sense” answers to the same that might meet your approval from a sociological and cultural perspective, but would , as we have ofen discussed and debated, raise questions of whether the same is indicative of adjusting halacha to modernity as opposed to viewing modernity through the prism of Lomdus and halacha.”

    It doesn’t meant that at all — “essentially” or not”
    WADr, RYBS clearly disagreed with your assessment .

  159. Steve – you again miss the point. Reviewers opine; that is their job. Do you also hold by R. Berger’s opinion of Chabad, since you reference him as an authority on such matters?

    Unless R. Berger or Landes provide you with actual quotes from R. Greenberg and R. Hartman, your statement that they “view as nonexistent both the concepts of Am HaNivchar and the covenants between HaShem ( Bris Avos and Bris Sinai)” is a libel.

    Finally, you dismiss R. Greenberg’s membership on the RCA is not proof that he is MO; yet, with regard to Rabbis H Shachter, G Schwartz and M Willig, you seem to think affiliation is proof they are MO. Curious.

    In any case, RYA is shadow boxing. The RW has bluster, but no longer has the power they imagine.

  160. Interesting article on the yamim noraim experience (anyone want to translate?)

    http://www.etzion.org.il/dk/page.php?year=5772&issue=1280&page=1280maamar3.html

  161. at 3:32, should read: you dismiss R. Greenberg’s membership in the RCA as proof that he is MO…

  162. Loose translation/summary of the first story:

    A talmid came before his rebbe and said “It is written that someone who fasts for so-and-so number of days will receive a revelation from Eliyahu Hanavi, but I fasted that number of days and Eliyahu did not appear to me!”

    The rebbe said: “The Baal Shem Tov, when he traveled, merited a miraculous ‘kefitzat haderech’ which made the trip very fast. This confused the horses pulling the BST’s carriage. Since they traveled so fast, there was no need for them to eat on the way. They were used to eating straw at rest stops, but this time they did not. This caused them to think that perhaps they had become human beings, who sit down for a meal only upon reaching a city along the way.

    “Then the BST arrived at a city along the way. Surely, the horses thought, they now would eat along with the human beings. But even in the city they were given nothing to eat. Clearly, the horses were now neither horses nor human beings, but rather angels who did not need to eat at all.

    “But eventually, at the end of the day, the BST finally arrived at his destination, settled in, and gave the horses straw, which they ate greedily like horses.

    “This story is similar to a person who fasts and thinks that he has reached the level of angels and is ready to talk to Eliyahu Hanavi. After he ends his fasts and resumes eating, he should not gobble it down like a horse – because if so it is clear that he is still like a horse, no different than he was before fasting.”

    Similarly, the person who reaches a spiritual high on the yamim noraim, yet afterwards descends from that high – can we say he has accomplished anything at all?

    Read the rest of the article for an answer…

  163. “Dr. Kaplan: It seems to me that R. Adlerstein’s essay got to the eyes of exactly whom he wanted without forcing mainstream Jewish media to get involved.”

    Not forcing mainstream Jewish media to get involved-but I would guess that the mainstream Jewish media reads Hirhurim and probably Cross Currents more than its reads Moretheorthodoxy. Posting it on Crosscurrents guarrantees the issue to be discussed beyond the RCA.
    Referring as R Adlerstein does to “One of its more effective tools is a blog called Morethodoxy” when he Rabbi Menken, Rabbi Shafran are the main writers for pro chareidi blog-which BTW has much more restrictive standards for comments than Hirhurim does-is strange IMHO.
    “Mycroft: The IRF’s leadership is composed largely of RCA members and has given many interviews to the press.”

    Fair enough-I just don’t follow their press releases that much. I don’t think andI may be wrong that the IRF Rabbis challenge the halachik actions of the RW, my belief is that the RW routinely challenges and has challenged the halachik actions of Rabbis that were done over decades including those obvious to most done following the guidance of the Rav.

  164. My croft – “RW routinely challenges and has challenged the halachik actions of Rabbis that were done over decades including those obvious to most done following the guidance of the Rav.”

    Can you expand on this with many examples?

  165. I have copied Rabbi Adlerstein’s beginning and just changed a couple of words-does anyone believe such language would not be considered a provocation and zilzul talmeidei chachamim-BTW I don’t necessarily agree that my changes equal a true narrative but merely reflect the differences in acceptance of attack by different sides.

    “What will the rabbinic leadership of the Modern Orthodox (MO) world do? A wave of provocations from the Far Right challenges the very definition of Orthodoxy. Should Yidden in other parts of the community who are far from the battle lines care? It would take a navi to answer the first question. Responsibility for Klal Yisrael and caring for other Jews demands a resounding “yes” to the second.

    Lots of things are happening in the RW Orthodox world – some good, some not so good, and some astonishingly terrible. The far right of Orthodoxy seems to be intent on continuing an unrelenting drive to push the envelope and change the way people lead an Orthodox life.”

    Would that be considered provocative.

  166. “Ruvie on October 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm
    My croft – “RW routinely challenges and has challenged the halachik actions of Rabbis that were done over decades including those obvious to most done following the guidance of the Rav.”

    Can you expand on this with many examples?”

    Most obviously Geirus.

  167. mycrofy – “Most obviously Geirus.” i was looking for less obvious examples.

  168. Joseph Kaplan

    “WADr, RYBS clearly disagreed with your assessment .”

    Of course, your trying to put words into the Rav’s mouth doesn’t make it so. Just where did he “CLEARLY” say that an Orthodox rav, other than one of the 3 or 4 or 5 you have appointed as the authorities for the MO community, who rule on matters “concerning women and halacha, relationships with others, relationship to modern culture and learning and similar issues essentially means that [the] rav[‘s psak] must … [be a] ‘common sense’ answers to the same that … would … raise questions of whether the same is indicative of adjusting halacha to modernity as opposed to viewing modernity through the prism of Lomdus and halacha”? Perhaps you could give us a quote from the Rav that “clearly” makes this point. I wouldn’t be so arrogant to say that the Rav “clearly” agrees with me unless I had a very specific citation to something he said or wrote, and even then I’d think long and hard before I said the Rav agreed with me. I don’t know whether the Rav would agree with my analysis or not, but I’m pretty confident that he didn’t “clearly” agree with yours.

  169. lawrence kaplan

    Joseph, Ruvie, S., etc.: To be clear: I wanted to make two points. 1) that RYA in his article was speaking not just on behalf of himself, but also on behalf of a group of MO rabbis who are members of the RCA; Thus, to describe the article as simply a Haredi critique of MO is inexact and misleading; and 2) that I believe that RYA’s admiration for large swathes of MO is genuine and not conditional. I certainly have no wish to defend either the tone or substance of RYA’s article– not to mention his choice of venue– and, indeed, I agree with many of the thoughtful criticisms posted here.

  170. Lawrence Kaplan – 1. He may be speaking for others in the mo camp but we do not know who and how many of them and RYA is not mo and therefore his criticism is from the charedei camp even though some in the mo group would agree with his sentiment but maybe not in the use of his adjectives and description of the issues (chareidei style).
    2. I am sure RYA likes and respects many in the mo camp as well as many in the mo camp respect yeshivish/ charedeim folks. But we are talking about an institution and it being acceptable to RYA and his ilk. Because of that he is a chareidei dictating HOW the RCA can be acceptable to him – the fact that there may be some in the mo camp that agree with him is irrelevant.

  171. lawrence kaplan

    Ruvie: I respectfully disagree.

  172. Joseph Kaplan

    Sorry Lawrence, I’m (respectfully) still with ruvie on this one.

  173. lawrence kaplan

    It’s OK Joseph. We’re allowed to disagree.

  174. Joseph Kapaln-all of the volumes of Noroas HaRav, which are verbatim transcriptions of shiurim and drashos by RYBS on the Yamim Noraim, Shalosh Regalim, Purim , Chanukah and TSBP,, including Volume 10, which discusses the rebellion of Korach,and especially for the purposes of this discussion, pp. 74-78, 81-83,86-88 are easily downloadable in PDF format at a website that R Gil provided on this blog. I would prefer to place any further discussion of this issue on hold until you have downloaded, read and are willing to discuss the aforementioned shiur, the pages that I mentioned, and its applicability, or why you think, to the best of your opinion, that the same is not applicable.

  175. IH wrote:

    “Steve – you again miss the point. Reviewers opine; that is their job. Do you also hold by R. Berger’s opinion of Chabad, since you reference him as an authority on such matters?

    Unless R. Berger or Landes provide you with actual quotes from R. Greenberg and R. Hartman, your statement that they “view as nonexistent both the concepts of Am HaNivchar and the covenants between HaShem ( Bris Avos and Bris Sinai)” is a libel”

    In response to your first question, R R D Berger is hardly a mere “reviewer.” I consider R D D Berger an Ish HaEmes on both his views of Chabad messianism and on his review of RYG’s book. The quoted excerpt from R Landes’ review speaks for itself.Again-I reject your obvious attempt to stifle criticism of both RDH and RYG , especially when you have consistently defended the actions and articles of many whose POV is well beyond the pale of Halacha.

    You also missed my point re RHS, R M Willig and R G Schwartz. AFAIk, none were ever summoned to the Vaad HaKavod because of their actions and writings.

  176. Mycrfot wroten in part:

    “clearly one need not have been MO to be part of either world-to gvie some past examples no one would have said that either Rav Lessin ZT’L or Rav Jeruchem Gorleick ZTL were MO and both were in RIETS-“”

    IMO, that analogy is inapplicable. R D S Belkin ZL arranged for visas and faculty appointments for Talmidei Chachamim who escaped from Europe who were hardly advocates of synthesis. AFAIK, neither RHS, RM Willig nor R G Schwartz have ever been identified either with Halachic or Hashkafic positions that remotely approach today’s Charedi world.

  177. I’ve erad the pages you cited, Steve. Yes, the Rav speaks about “common sense” halacha. But it’s you, and not the Rav, that applies that appellation to local rabbanim who make decisions, based on halachic analysis and an empirical understanding of their community, about issues that affect that community. Take, for example the issue of yoatzot halacha that is an issue in Teaneck because only one rabbi of an orthodox shul has agreed to have his shul sponsor a yoetzet. Others oppose because some of the YU RY oppose. So does my rabbi not have the right to make his decision based on his analysis of halacha and what is appropriate for the Teaneck community. (Indeed, the yoetzet serves the entire community including many women who belong to the shuls of the rabbis who refuse to sponsor the ypetzet.) The theoretical anlysis of the Rav’s thought is not what’s at issue; it’s the application of that thought to specific issues. And your saying that the Rav would say, as you apparently do, that rabbis who reach conclusions that differ with those you and those who you have appointed as the sole authorities for the MO community have reached are basing those conclusions on common sense halacha and have adjusted halacha to modernity, has no support in the pages you have cited.

  178. Ruvie, how are you defining “chareidi” in point #2 @ comment# October 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm.

  179. IH-take a look at the linked video. http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3019414/chosenness_is_gods_search_for_intimacy_david_hartman/Then, read Shmos 19:5-6, and ask yourself how RDH;s thesis that the same is universal can be read as consistent with any of the traditional commentaries such as Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Seforno, Netziv, for a start, or the Midrashim quoted by NechamaLeibowitz Zicronah Livracha at Pages 298-299 of Studies in Shemot. Such sources belie the claim that chosenness is a means for HaShem for intimacy, when the text and commentaries clearly state that such a status and the covenant are rooted in the acceptance and observance of Mitzvos, aka Bris Sinai.

  180. Steve:

    This video proves nothing. RDH expresses a view of choseness quite similar to most MO thinkers including Rav Hirsch. I challenge you to show me a single leading 19th or 20th century MO leader not living in Israel that describes Jewish choseness as Jewish superiority as opposed to Jewish responsibility to model connection to God to the world.

  181. minyan lover – defining chareidi ? how would you like to define it? i am no expert in this area. i believe RYA has identified himself with the chareidi world. according to wikipedia – “He is a leading exponent of the moderation of Haredi Judaism in relation to the outside world.” he is a co founder of cross currents – a hareidi web site.

  182. r’ ruvie,
    r’ya seems to define himself as a 3rd way. i’ve mentioned to him before that if this is not to be a gadfly who tweaks everyone and changes no one, a lot of organizational effort would be needed to actually build that group.
    GCT

  183. “Most obviously Geirus.” i was looking for less obvious examples”

    I’ll take the bait a less obvious example which certainly others such as Prof Kaplan can correct me if I am wrong.
    The area of interfaith encounters-now it appears that a simple test of social vs theological discussions is being used as to test of what is permissibile or not. It certainly appears based on what the Rav permitted for over a quarter century of active leadership in this area that academic discussions of faith, that social issues can be discussed based on the underlying religious ethics that are implicit in our belief system. Way beyond my competence and certainty and I could stand corrected but it is my impression that people will not go anywhere near what the Rav approved in his life during the decades of his leadership.

  184. http://klalperspectives.org/
    KLAL PERSPECTIVES is a new, electronic journal dedicated to addressing the unique challenges facing today’s Orthodox communities. Each issue will consist of a symposium in which a diverse group of rabbinic and lay leaders will share their different perspectives on a given topic, characterizing the challenges and proposing solutions.

    me-I suppose we’ll see how diverse diverse is.
    Look forward to reading it
    GCT

  185. “You also missed my point re RHS, R M Willig and R G Schwartz. AFAIk, none were ever summoned to the Vaad HaKavod because of their actions and writings”

    I specifically did not want to get into a pointless dispute of the extent to which those 3 talmeidei chachamim are or are not MO-I wrote:
    “They are all talmeidei chachamim but are they all “within the American MO world”

    Mycroft-the last that I heard RIETS,the OU , the BDA and the CRC were all definitely part of the “American MO world””

    To avoid discussing the 3 talmeidei cahchamim involved but to discuss RIETS and the OU-clearly one need not have been MO to be part of either world-to gvie some past examples no one would have said that either Rav Lessin ZT’L or Rav Jeruchem Gorleick ZTL were MO and both were in RIETS-and Yibadel be nchayim lechayim would you maintain that Rav Belsky of the OU is MO.”

    to simply show that one being employed by RIETS or the OU does not prove that one is MO.
    A simple apparent change -I believe that both RHS and RMW have approved the admissionj of those to the RIETS smicha program wo a college degree-that was not prior policy decades ago-I am not saying that is either good or bad policy just that they have some ideas which are clearly less MO than than the policies of decades before. The extent that RHS could be considered MO would be an interesting question-but not one I desire to enter-certainly he is much more sympathetic to certain aspoects of MO than moist RY in the world but is he MO or is chardal is an open question-nothing gained by discussion-RHS is certainly a great figure on the American scene.

  186. Mycroft wrote:

    “to simply show that one being employed by RIETS or the OU does not prove that one is MO.
    A simple apparent change -I believe that both RHS and RMW have approved the admissionj of those to the RIETS smicha program wo a college degree-that was not prior policy decades ago-I am not saying that is either good or bad policy just that they have some ideas which are clearly less MO than than the policies of decades before”

    Mycroft-IIRC, RAL, in one of his books, also wrote that a college education should not be seen as sin qua non for RIETS smicha.

  187. Joseph Kaplan-I would agree that a local rav’s POV on Yotzaot Halacha would not necessarily entail consultation with a Talmid Chacham of greater stature by a local rav-especially, when we know that R M Willig is consulted by and has approved the use of a Yoetzet in his community. I do think that on difficult halachic issues such as building an eruv and a mikveh where there are numerous shitos Lhachmir and lhakel that should be considered as well as on issues of Minhagim and Hashkafa, that due deference should be given to the views of greater Talmidei Chacahmim who are more versed in the issues than the LOR, who well aware of the facts on the ground, may not be so familiar with the ins and outs of sensitive Halachic and Hashkafic issues.

  188. MO wrote in part:

    ” I challenge you to show me a single leading 19th or 20th century MO leader not living in Israel that describes Jewish choseness as Jewish superiority as opposed to Jewish responsibility to model connection to God to the world”

    WADR, none of the Mfarshim that I quoted remotely interpret the passages that I referenced either as “Jewish superiority” or a “responsibility to model connection to God to the world”
    but rather as the basis for the covenental relationship between God and Am Yisrael. The covenantal relationship is defined by our accepting and observing Torah and Mitzvos as well as living life rooted in being a Kiddush HaShem, as opposed to the equally mistaken notions that Kiddush HaShem is the sole component of the covenant or that the covenant implies moral superiority.

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