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Expert: Study Overhyped N.Y. Orthodox Population
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Yeshiva Lessons ($ and very Christian)
R Riskin’s Take on Jewish-Christian Relations
Rabbis Defend Controversial Circumcision Practice to City Health Officials
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SALT Wednesday

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Y Finkelman: Rav Elyashiv’s Mixed Legacy
Jewish Museum to host medieval manuscripts from Bodleian Library
Astrology in Kinos: Mistaken Translation?
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Female Jerusalmites – Nice To Meet You
SALT Tuesday

New Israeli Haredi Consumer Is Savvy
Health Board Set to Hear Heated Topics
Mind the (Gender) Gap
Seeing ‘Zion’ in Olympic Logo
Can religious Judaism and egalitarianism coexist?
Swiss hospitals forgo circumcision
Yeshiva University’s program triples in size
The Queen’s Jewry
R J Sacks: We may live dangerously for mercy has a human heart
NY Court: MTA Violated Pro-Israel Group’s 1st Amendment Rights in Rejecting Ad Campaign
No sleeves, no service at Brooklyn Williamsburg stores
Why I Need More Horrific Job Interviews
James Joyce and the Jews
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SALT Monday

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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He 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.

166 comments

  1. Dress code- someone needs to take a visit to 42st. – he’ll see that his reference is anachronistic.
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  2. The “dress code” article I found offensive. AFAIK, we are talking about private property, and the owner is entitled to enforce any dress code or other code you wish. (The only restriction is you cannot discrminate by race, gender, religion, etc. As the quoted city official says, nothing in the dress code constitutes illegal discrmination.) Is the Chassidic pharmacy the only one available? I rather doubt it. Why is it ok for a restaurant, for example, to implement a dress code but not a Chassidic owned pharmacy or other business?

  3. Tal — so you’re ok if a non-Chassidic store next door had a dress code that did not permit anyone wearing a hat indoors?

  4. IH_- what does “Ok” mean? I wouldn’t like it, and if a “hat” includes a yarmulka, I would not shop there. But, assuming there was some legitimate reason for it and it was not just a front for anti-semitism, I would not think the owner was trying to impose his beliefs on me, and not be terrible upset by it. Let’s say he was a member of some far-out religion that believes that wearing a hat indoors is some terrible sin. I find it rather odd, but he is entitled to his beliefs. Whether I give him my money is another matter.

    (Of course, the dress code you posit would have to apply to men and women equally, otherwise it’s gender discrimination.)

  5. IH,

    I’m fine with it. Anyone who discriminates will lose business and is aware of it. People will vote with their feet. There’s no need for a law.

  6. Aiwac — I don’t see what they did as “discrimination.” Nothing about their policy says they will not serve anyone regardless of race, religion, gender or any other category probitted by law, so long as they dress appropriately.

    There are restaurants in NY that won’t serve men without a jacket and tie. Discrimination?

  7. Tal,

    Fair enough. “That imposes conditions”.

  8. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Expensive restaurants or a diamond store is one thing. Cheap food, or Medical supplies something else.

    I don’t think all stores and businesses are created equal.

  9. One piece of free advise I would give the Hassidim in Williamsburg, though, is to make sure the dress code is enforced evenly. If they were caught, for example, serving a man in shorts and a tank top but not a woman, then they would get into serious legal trouble.

  10. “I don’t think all stores and businesses are created equal.”

    Or some are more equal than others, to quote Orwell.

  11. BTW are those women in the picture chareidi?
    KT

  12. Tal — with your important explicit clarification of 12:45pm, I am inclined to agree that the private owner is entitled to enforce a dress code that does not discriminate by race, gender, religion, etc.

  13. MiMedinat HaYam

    besides the “dress” part of the code, i would allow a storeowner to forbid wearing a cross (counterargument — “magen david” jewelry (counter counter argument: its not really a jewish symbol, however it really is accepted as such today.).

    this issue comes up every few years regarding men being charged more for a manicure / pedicure, and women being charged more for dry cleaning a blouse (vs a men’s shirt), etc (solution to this: men — bring in your wife’s blouses; they’ll never notice the diff). both are illegal under nyc (but i guess not state) law.

    meanwhile, the arabs on atlantic avenue have similar restrictions.

    aiwac — agreed, vote with your feet.

  14. ▪ Can religious Judaism and egalitarianism coexist?

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/egalitarian
    e·gal·i·tar·i·an
       [ih-gal-i-tair-ee-uhn] Show IPA

    adjective
    1.
    asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic, or social life.

    http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/17548/orange-on-seder-plate-tale-is-flawed-feminist-says/
    It all began when Susannah Heschel, a leading Jewish feminist scholar, was lecturing at a synagogue…
    “The old roles of women are maintained under the guise of liberal Judaism,” she noted. “We’re still marginalized even though we have supposed equality.”

    In fact, she said, Orthodox women are less likely than Reform women to feel like an underclass.

    “They say it’s not sexist but liberating for them. They feel honored and respected.”

    Perhaps that is because “in Orthodoxy the mechitzah [the curtain or divider separating the sexes] is recognized,” while “in Reform Judaism, there is still a mechitzah,” which no one talks about.”

    All of this begs the question of whether we should properly instead be asking: Can NON-religious Judaism and egalitarianism coexist?

    I have sisters who cannot sing when their own brothers-in-law are arouind. This despite the fact that they happen to be the breadwinners in the house. If one were to ask them if they feel “discriminatated against on the basis of gender” or “objectified”, they would laugh in face of the questioner.

    We may as well ask if RYBS discriminated against Kohanim. He did, after all, rule that they may not become doctors…

  15. Can someone please explain to me why metzitzah is still around?

  16. Chasidim and their political power

  17. Shaul — You are correct that the dictionary definition of egalitarianism is not currently achievable in Halacha. The closest we can get is the Partnership Minyanim (which some here do not view as Orthodox as it is, while other do).

    From the Modi’in Partnership Minyan website:

    Kehillat Darchei Noam is an innovative Orthodox synagogue and community founded in September 2005 in Modi’in, Israel, built on the principles of egalitarianism, halakha, or Jewish law, and social justice.

    One of the major objectives of Kehillat Darchei Noam is to enable women to take an equal role in building and participating in the religious life of the community. As such, the community seeks to maximize women’s participation in the services, including leading the worship, reading from the Torah, teaching the community and holding key lay leadership positions, while consistently searching for avenues within the halakha to advance women’s roles even further.

    Further to the left is the egalitarianism promoted by Mechon Hadar, see: http://www.mechonhadar.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=8e2def5c-17b6-4160-9fe3-874c9c9c3587&groupId=11401

    Both of these options are raised in the comments section of the linked article.

    The world is not black and white; and nor does it stand still.

  18. Further to left […] should not have been indented. Apologies.

  19. As many of us predict, once the thrill of innovation disappears from Partnership Minyanim its participants will realize that it isn’t egalitarian and most will abandon it.

  20. I agree. Once the floodgates of egalitarianism are opened and as the trend continues in our society towards greater equality, unlike what Joseph Kaplan and others have discussed in terms of redlines, eventually Partnership Minyanim will seem old-fashioned and constraining. I’ve said this before but I don’t believe that left-wing Orthodox women will accept the half-hearted attempts that are being made to appease them.

  21. 10 years and growing bigger and stronger… Time will tell.

  22. I agree that being not-actually-egalitarian is a problem for Partnership Minyanim that they often fail to explicitly address. They are empowering for women raised in a balcony but nonegalitarian for everyone else. So what happens to the next generation?

    That said, I am not sure that I agree w R. Gil that they will be “abandoned.” Partnership minyanim may not be egalitarian, but it is still true that they are substantially better than most orthodox shuls in terms of women feeling that people care whether they are there. What do you mean by “abandoned.” WIll people jump ship to full egal or come back to the balcony?

    “I’ve said this before but I don’t believe that left-wing Orthodox women will accept the half-hearted attempts that are being made to appease them.”

    Disagree. What do you mean by “accept?” If the choice is “egal minyan where 75% drive on shabbos” and “fake-egal partnership minyan where 95% don’t drive on shabbos” a lot of people will continue to choose the latter, even if in principal they prefer 100% egal, 100% shomer shabbos. If that third option becomes a real force in jewish life then I agree partnership minyanim are likely not long for the world. But until it does I think people will continue to compromise.

  23. I don’t. Look at the changes to women and their roles in our society over the last 115 years. The change, which in such a short period of time is really radical, will eventually lead to an abandonment of these half-measures to full egal. You think women on the left are going to accept this when in general society the differences have been removed or minimized to almost nothing?

  24. IMHO orthodoxy believes in separate but equal in certain situations for Women/men, kohanim/leviim/Yisraelim etc. If egalitarian means that separate but equal can not exist in any venue, then believers in full egalitarianism will not find a home in orthodoxy.
    KT

  25. Dress code for 7-Eleven: Shirt and shoes. Not much difference in Williamsburg; just a bit more coverage.

  26. IMHO orthodoxy believes in separate but equal in certain situations for Women/men, kohanim/leviim/Yisraelim etc. If egalitarian means that separate but equal can not exist in any venue, then believers in full egalitarianism will not find a home in orthodoxy. – joel rich

    Along those lines, I believe that we may reach a point when parternship minyanim won’t cut it. Then what?

    I expect proponents to argue we do something. However, this really becomes a temporary fix for a problem that will grow generation by generation. We can’t turn back the clock on the way our society is going. However, we don’t have to join it as well.

  27. Rafael, the trends you describe may occur (I think smart money says they do, but it’s not yet a given…). Then what do you think the left-wing orthodox women are going to do?

  28. “However, this really becomes a temporary fix for a problem that will grow generation by generation.”

    and the permanent fix is?

  29. emma: Then what do you think the left-wing orthodox women are going to do?

    Rewrite halakhah with increasingly radical methodologies.

    and the permanent fix is?

    Be counter-cultural

  30. In both New York and Jerusalem — home to the two largest Partnership Minyanim — there is fuller egalitarian choice available in the same walking distance as the P.M.

    Until and unless Mechon Hadar’s halachic approach breaks into the “sociologically Orthodox” barrier, Partnership Minyanim will speak to those men and women who need some degree of egalitarianism for meaningful prayer. Perhaps that will happen longer-term, but it is too radical for the mainstream in the foreseeable future.

    Perhaps a forerunner to this potential evolution is the case of Women’s T’filla groups over the past 10 years in light of Partnership Minyanim having broken through the “sociologically Orthodox” barrier.

    —–

    To Gil’s point about “increasingly radical methodologies”, haven’t we seen that with Chassidism (both historically and even in the present)?

  31. The one disagreement I have with Emma’s analysis, by the way, is that Partnership Minyanim are not only are empowering for women raised in a balcony, but enriching (if not empowering) for men as well. This should not be underestimated in understanding their success.

  32. r’ gil – “Rewrite halakhah with increasingly radical methodologies.”

    can you give an example of what you mean? and how is it different from methodologies of the past that became accepted and not accepted (think hirschian germany/hasidism and early christianity).

  33. Examples:
    https://www.torahmusings.com/2010/04/next-frontier/
    https://www.torahmusings.com/2010/05/next-frontier-ii/

    Analyzing the differences would certainly be worthy. I am skeptical of the claim that so-and-so made a change therefore any and all changes are permissible. That’s what led to the Conservative positions on driving on Shabbos and homosexual activity.

  34. Dress code:

    I wonder how folks defending this would react if a stadium banned head-coverings during the national anthem, or if a business required employees to wear a uniform that contradicted their tzniut standards.

    As a child in Switzerland, my grandmother A”H was required to attend public school. On Shabbat. Thank God, we live in a society that not only tolerates our non-conformity, but goes to considerable lengths to guarantee it. It is hypocritical, ungrateful and unjust to repay that treatment with intolerance.

    Beyond that, civil rights cases often consider not only the strict wording of a rule, but also its effect. This creates two potential problems:

    1. The dress code is so great a departure from social norms that it effectively excludes all but Hasidim from entry.

    2. The dress code effectively requires adherence to a religious standard in a secular setting.

  35. R’ Gil – “and the permanent fix is?

    Be counter-cultural”

    Ah yes, the havurah movement. Wasn’t that counter-cultural- at least it’s origins if not its being? Doesn’t seem to permanent. As long as orthodox folks want t

  36. Emma-

    I don’t think you fully got my point. We are not talking about women who have been ‘raised in a balcony’. Most of them have decent paying jobs and some even have (gasp!) college degrees. They feel about as stifled as a Kohen Gadol in a smoke filled kodesh ha’kedoshim who has to deal with hot coals while being forced to fast at the same time. I know that sounds cheesy, but it happens to be true. I see a tremendous difference between this and e.g. the Agunah issue. The Agunah is in a terrible, horrible position, and if it weren’t for ma’amad har sinai, the David Hartmans of the world would be absolutely correct. That can’t be said for an orthodox woman in an orthodox ezras nashim. Susannah Heschel acknowledges it. Why can’t you?

  37. MiMedinat HaYam

    david 1. forget chassidim. if i have such a dress code in my secular neighborhood store, for whatever reason (personal prudishness, children there, marketing gimmic (thats what the suit and tie in a restaurant is) that would be permissible. so one may argue its not a religious issue.
    david 2. there is no religious / halachic requirement that non jews dress any particular way. (but i personally would ban wearing a cross.)

    and i would require hats doffed (is that the word?) during the national anthem in my store (but kipot and kufis allowed.)

    my mother tells me in her small town (and elsewhere in northeatern rural) in prewar hungary (chatam sofer adherents; not status quo), everyone went to school on shabbat. there was an arrangement of no writing, no melachot, required.

    2. business requiring non tzniut clothes — thats been litigated over and over again. allowed if justified (marketing reasons, like the suit and tie in a restaurant (thats a customer issue, but its still a marketing gimmic), but lobbying usually solves that issue. not allowed in municipal employment (though policewomen may be required to wear pants). the air force may ban head coverings (ask nat lewin, who lost the case) but a law was later passed allowing kippot (?black hats?), but beards are still banned (that came up later, so they didnt incorporate that into the law).

    and requiring waitresses to have certain exxagerated body features is technically illegal, but its done all the time.

  38. IH-
    Either Halachah tells you what to do, or you tell it what it to do. And if you tell it what to do, eventually you’re going to tell it to go away. Has 200 years of heterodoxy taught you nothing?

    And what, pray tell, is “sociologically orthodox”? Does it mean you fool enough people into thinking you actually *are* orthodox?

  39. Shaul — please tell me which halacha imprisons men in the samw manner as aguna imprisons women? Isn’t the liberal use of heter meah rabbanim to work around a women refusing to grant a get a way to tell halacha what to do?

    Blu Greenberg had a point when she quipped “Where there’s a rabbinic will, there’s a halachic way”.

  40. IH on July 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    “To Gil’s point about “increasingly radical methodologies”, haven’t we seen that with Chassidism (both historically and even in the present)?”

    Can you point me to some of these new methodologies? From actual Chassidic rebbehs or poskim or dayanim. NOT hassid-ologists. (Unless the latter actually reference real sources from the former)
    I’m not Chassidishe but I know a few and haven’t heard about any of these new methodologies. Then again, I’m an outsider and don’t speak Yiddish to well (unfortunately).

  41. they were raised in a balcony _vis a vis_ orthodoxy. it’s not a “terrible horrible” position but it’s also not as egalitarian as the position the same women occupy in general society. i was responding to comments about women who are raised in a culture with greater and greater openness re: gender roles feeling constrained by orthodxy. do you disagree that this can happen?

    Re: the future, feminists, like most people, are mostly not unidimensional. they want equality, but they also want a deep connection to torah, say. they will choose (or create) a community with the best balance, in their eyes, of the two. how that community deals with gender-based halachic limits remains to be seen. Many self-proclaimed (secular) feminists nevertheless do nonegalitarian things like wear engagement rings, because in their personal experience it’s just a nice thing, not oppressive. why would self-proclaimed halachic feminists not similarly continue some nonegalitarian practices that they don’t personally experience as oppressive? partnership minyanim may be such a practice, whose benefit over full egalitarianism is the slightly-less-tenuous relationship with traditional texts. time will tell.

  42. shaul, to clarify my response, it’s true i don’;t fully get your poit (Still), but i was not responding to you but to Gil and Rafael, who were talking about orthodox women to whom i believe my approach applies.

  43. Here’s something that ISN’T new:

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/135079/Report%3A-Vishnitzer-Rebbe-Of-Monsey-May-Boycott-Siyum-HaShas.html

    “….the Vishnitzer Rebbe from Monsey Shlita may boycott the main Siyum HaShas because “Zionist rabbis” are expected to address the tzibur. This apparently may also lead to other prominent rabbonim and admorim shlita to boycott the event.

    Invited to address that forum is Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau Shlita as well as Rosh Yeshivas HaMekubalim Ahavas Shalom HaRav HaGaon Yaakov Hillel Shlita…

    …The Vishnitzer Rebbe Monsey, told organizers earlier in the week he cannot attend since the “Zionist rabbis” will be attending in an official capacity.”

  44. Can you point me to some of these new methodologies?

    Shaul — on historical Chassidism, the Brody cherem of 1772:

    Whereas it has been reported throughout the camp of the Hebrews that by reason of our great sins the [sinful practice] has been rekindled, in the midst of our people, of sects and groups detaching themselves from the unified and just community, adopting new practices and evil laws. They throw off the yoke of the Torah and prefer license. […]

    They build themselves [separate] altars to set themselves apart from the holy community, making their own special minyanim, not praying with the community in the synagogues or study halls appointed for the public. They also alter the phrases coined by the sages, the great codifiers [who determined] the entire liturgical order of these lands. […]”

    On present day Chassidism, Chabad Meshichistism (which is dominant in Israeli Chabad, I undertand) is certainly a radical methodology.

  45. Reb shaul – I believe schitah knives were different as well – a complaint of the mitnagdim of changing Halacha.

    Btw, I believe the Hasidim were to the first to practice independent minyanim which were then called steiblach – since the rebbe lived far away they would start their own minyanim without a rabbi but their rebbe would be their “halachik advisor”

  46. R’ gil – “Analyzing the differences would certainly be worthy. I am skeptical of the claim that so-and-so made a change therefore any and all changes are permissible. That’s what led to the Conservative positions on driving on Shabbos and homosexual activity.”

    Must we paint everything to your left with that conservative brush – or the poor slippery slope argument. It makes the conversation or dialogue polemical and less honest. I see nothing unorthodox in the post – innovative and doubtful if r’ nun’s approach that today’s women are not nashum and therefore certain laws no longer apply.

    Don’t you find it strange that the radical feminists have not run with r’ nun’s innovative approach to women. Says more about what gets accepted and not by the community. Let’s not forget r’ emden’s innovative – radical – approach about renew the concept of pilagshim during his days as a leading ortho rabbi.

  47. “As many of us predict, once the thrill of innovation disappears from Partnership Minyanim its participants will realize that it isn’t egalitarian and most will abandon it.”

    I don’t know what the future will bring any more than you do. I do know that it’s foolish to think that most participants — many of them are as least as smart as you — don’t realize that it isn’t egalitarian in the technical definition of that word. What they do realize is that it as close to egalitarian as one can get in halacha. Since they are committed to halacha, they take what they can get and find it a very meaningful place to daven.

  48. R’ gil – “As many of us predict, once the thrill of innovation disappears from Partnership Minyanim its participants will realize that it isn’t egalitarian and most will abandon it.”

    I think just the opposite. The longer it’s around the more acceptable to the mo community. At least that is my observation. The more RHS writes about wtg and other “feminist” agenda being heresy and heretical – see Adam fertziger analysis of RHS – Feminism and heresy http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/downloadPublication.cfm?PublicationID=4807

    The more the regular mo community ignores that and moves closer to accepting although not attending such minyanim. In the end I think you are missing the point- especially in trying to predict the future. It’s more like hoping what you want the future to look like. In the end:

    “Telling the future by looking at the past assumes that conditions remain constant. This is like driving a car by looking in the rearview mirror.” the one thing we know about the future is it will not be like the past.

  49. Re R. Soloveitchik on the Moetzes, someone brought to my attention this list of Agudah’s Moetzes Chachmei HaTorah in HaPardes 15:6 p. 16, bottom of first column: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=12440&st=&pgnum=18

  50. Joseph and Ruvie: That is my opinion, and others as well. I don’t doubt that many disagree.

  51. The more the regular mo community ignores that and moves closer to accepting
    ================================
    This question seems to come up on many issues – is MO (or the “regular mo community”-tbd) primarily a lay led(or really a true democracy) where the people vote with their feet as long as some rabbinic justification can be found, or a rabbinic led movement which differentiates between what could be justified and what rabbinic leadership (credentials tbd)thinks should be done?

    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  52. joel rich – my comment that you quoted can be applied throughout the history of halacha as well – like the bat mitzvah or women leaving the home in the middle ages. its a comment on how halacha evolves – btw, its not all halacha – based on what is acceptable to the community see moshe koppel’s article posted by gil awhile ago.

  53. R’ Joel — isn’t the Charedi askanim phenomenon a manifestation of lay led? More broadly, change is a dance in which each party leads at different points. There are very few major sustained changes (religious, political, social) in modern times that have occurred primarily due to a strong leader who made It so by fiat.

  54. reb joel rich – i think your question of an “is/or” is not descriptive of the mo or other parts of orthodoxy. the question is how do religious jews deal with change and innovation in a changing society? i think all religious people turn to tradition in times of change and innovation (tradition – including invented tradition – can support or challenge existing structures).

    “people accept only the ideas for which their previous development has prepared their minds, and which, ley us add, appear to be useful to them.” all changes have to be legitimize to be accepted and the call to tradition – genuine or invented – is one of the arrows in the quiver. the past always serves of the needs of the present or as orwell said: who controls the past controls the futre: who controls the present controls the past.

  55. “Shaul — please tell me which halacha imprisons men in the samw manner as aguna imprisons women? Isn’t the liberal use of heter meah rabbanim to work around a women refusing to grant a get a way to tell halacha what to do?”

    First of all, from my perspective, that question is about as meaningful as asking ‘which God forces men to go through childbirth pains the way He does women?’ or ‘Which G-d allows Harold Kushner’s little boy to suffer such a horrible death?’ As someone who sees Halacha as the word and will of God, both are questions of theodicey. I believe Moshe Rabbeinu had similar questions, and I certainly don’t have a fully satisfying emotional answer.

    “Blu Greenberg had a point when she quipped “Where there’s a rabbinic will, there’s a halachic way”.”

    Does Blu Greenberg believe Halacha has the right to tell us Yehareg V’al Ya’avor? Ever? Or does there have to be a Halachic will/way to be oy’ver one of gimmel aveiros chamuros?

  56. R’IH and Ruvie,
    In the end it is always somewhere in between, the question is toward which end of the spectrum will MO go. No doubt the chareidi community suffers from political issues – but a wise leader will know where the boundaries that the community will find acceptable and can navigate the community towards the boundary he/she is comfortable with.

    Just giving the people what they want may be popular but imho it is not leadership.

    KT

  57. Shalom Rosenfeld

    “Just giving the people what they want may be popular but imho it is not leadership.”

    -Hats off to Ger in Israel which (from what I hear) actually has policies limiting consumption — that stick!

  58. Yes, and those policies have been in place since the ’70’s.

  59. Just giving the people what they want may be popular but imho it is not leadership.

    Indeed, but recognize that much of the lurch to the right that occurred in the last 2 decades of the 20th century was precisely that. It doesn’t take a talmid chacham to be machmir.

  60. reb joel – “Just giving the people what they want may be popular but imho it is not leadership.”

    i don’t think you are framing the issue correctly – its a straw man argument – popularity.

    the issue: what change and innovation is acceptable and what is not (any theories?). this is nothing new to our religion and dates back at least 2000 years if not more – actually just look at the chumash.

    innovations: mass conversions after the hashmonaim was not. shabbat goy was.doing business with christians on sunday was. extending the days of counting for niddah was a stringency by women. mitzvah of yibum not accepted among ashkanazim(talk about societal influences). on and on.
    on hareidim – r’ elyashiv bans on books, cell phone and internet as well as prohibiting vocational degree schools and secular studies for women were basically ignored. so much for daat torah and leadership. its never so pashut. there – not all situations of course – the community decided not to follow the posek ha’dor.

  61. the issue: what change and innovation is acceptable and what is not (any theories?).
    ====================================
    Which ties into popularity in that if a leader tells people that the change they want is acceptable, he/she will be popular – just look on thisha b’av at abba sikari’s answer to r’ybz!

    As to theories-actuarially I would say HKB”H paskins through history.

    IMHO the MO (lite) issue will be where a line is drawn (even if it isn’t a cut off but making a point that you are doing something that is not halachically acceptable) – for example how many MO rabbis or sincere lay community leaders can tell retirees or unemployed in their community that whatever their heter was back in the day for shaving during the 9 days, it doesn’t exist now? or tell women that high cut off shorts and small halter tops are not acceptable by any definition of tzniut, or that there maybe their flocks need to rethink spending priorities……..

    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  62. reb joel – “just look on thisha b’av at abba sikari’s answer to r’ybz!”

    ??? please explain

  63. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Gittin 56a:

    בר אחתיה דרבן יוחנן בן זכאי הוה שלח ליה תא בצינעא לגבאי אתא א”ל עד אימת עבדיתו הכי וקטליתו ליה לעלמא בכפנא א”ל מאי איעביד דאי אמינא להו מידי קטלו לי

    The head of the let’s-cause-an-apocalyptic-war-with-the-Romans Sicarri privately admits to his uncle, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai that it’s a lost cause, then says “officially I’m the head of the group but if I tell them to stand down, they’ll just kill me.”

  64. IH-

    “Shaul — on historical Chassidism, the Brody cherem of 1772:”

    Do you mind linking to that whole Cherem?

    “They build themselves [separate] altars to set themselves apart from the holy community, making their own special minyanim, not praying with the community in the synagogues or study halls appointed for the public. They also alter the phrases coined by the sages, the great codifiers [who determined] the entire liturgical order of these lands. […]”

    Do you have statements from the chassidm themselves or are you just quoting pashkevillim? (I’m looking for something like R Eytan Kobre- who actually bothered to read JOFA’s stuff)https://www.torahmusings.com/2011/05/new-periodical-dialogue-11/

    “On present day Chassidism, Chabad Meshichistism (which is dominant in Israeli Chabad, I undertand) is certainly a radical methodology.”

    If that’s all you meant, then I agree. I’m closer to being a David Berger-ite than a Jacob Immanuel Shochet-ite

  65. IH wrote in part:

    “Shaul — please tell me which halacha imprisons men in the samw manner as aguna imprisons women? Isn’t the liberal use of heter meah rabbanim to work around a women refusing to grant a get a way to tell halacha what to do”

    What other area of halacha has built in kulos for Hilcos Edus other than Agunos? Without resorting to the heter meah rabbanim and the advantages that it gives the husband, one can use a PNA, but still realize that some people are psychopathic and won;t give a get no matter how strong the communal pressure.

  66. Steve — but bottom line, there is a way out of for men, not for women. And while some may tut tut about a heter meah rabbanim given out too liberally, there is zero chance the children of his next marriage will be considered mamzerim.

  67. “She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,”

    Hope on a plane. Lots of heavy construction in Yerushalayim these days. 🙂

  68. According to RYBS (and others), Yerushalayim in this and many other contexts refers to the Beis Ha-Mikdash.

  69. I don’t place my hope on a plane 🙂
    Of course you are correct that while the beit hamikdash is not yet rebuilt, the city does ring with kol chatan and kol kallah which indicate progress to the ultimate goal (by Sunday would be nice)
    KT

  70. >Elite Peruvian university stripped of Catholic credentials

    Am I dense in being confused as to why this link is here?

  71. Joe: Thought experiment about what would happen if Jews did that to, say, YU or Bar Ilan or pick-your-school. If you read the article you’ll see that this has been an ongoing process for years.

  72. MiMedinat HaYam

    rabbinic will — what about pre rabbenu gershom times, when there was no heter MR and husbands can take on a second wife, leaving the original to … ?

    what about a divorcee / giyoret who wants to marry a cohen?

    so there are limits.

  73. “Steve — but bottom line, there is a way out of for men, not for women. And while some may tut tut about a heter meah rabbanim given out too liberally, there is zero chance the children of his next marriage will be considered mamzerim.”

    I agree 100% percent with this statement by IH. FWIW.
    =======================

    Ruvie- There is very interesting (IMHO) article written about the Chassidim/missnagdim debate written by a monastricher chassid http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%205%20Rabinowitz.pdf that I’ve read part of. He discussses the knife issue and more.

  74. R Gil, R Joel Rich, R Gil, R Nachum, R Shachar ha’amim etc.

    Do any of you buy this statement by R Aviner Shlita?
    http://www.ravaviner.com/2010/05/shut-sms-67.html
    Redemption
    Q: Is it true that the Redemption has already begun?
    A: It began 130 years ago with the First Aliyah in 5641 (Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedilah pp. 374-378).

    (I hope I won’t be accused of disrespecting R Aviner . But I can’t wrap my brain around these kinds of statements of his.)
    http://www.ravaviner.com/2012/05/shut-sms-163.html
    “Redemption

    Q: Are people who do not see that the Redemption has begun blind or stupid?

    A: Confused (see Rambam, Hilchot Mamrim 3:3).”

    Oh well.

  75. Shaul: What’s so difficult about those statements? Of course, I would point to the fact that there was aliyah- even “modern” aliyah- well before 1881. Take it back to, say, 1800. Or 1250?

    Personally, I’m with R’ Kahane (surprise!) who was of the “blind” school. But although he used that word at least once, I’m not sure how strongly he held of it and not, say, “confused” or “stupid.”

    MMY: A clear look at egalitarianism leads to the conclusion that an elimination of kehunah altogether must result. If anything, it’s less “fair” than the male/female thing. What, just because of who my father is, I get to stand in front of everyone every day and bless them? Nooooo!

  76. MMhY — Of course there are limits, but as R. Cardozo stated in last week’s link:

    BUT LET us never forget! He who knows all the rules is not automatically a good player. What makes him a great player is his ability to use these rules to unleash an outburst of creativity, which resides deep within him and emerges only because of the “unbearable” limitations. He then strikes! One small move forces everything to shift around, creating total upheaval and causing the opponent to panic as he never did before. And all this without ever violating one chess rule.

    We are just waiting for the great player with the courage to unleash an outburst of creativity.

  77. Lawrence Kaplan

    Shaul Shapira: The indeed very interesting article you refered to was written by Rav Gedalyah Aharon Rabinowitz, who is not just A Monastricher Hassid, but THE Monastricher Rebbe.

  78. “Nachum on July 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    Shaul: What’s so difficult about those statements? Of course, I would point to the fact that there was aliyah- even “modern” aliyah- well before 1881. Take it back to, say, 1800. Or 1250?

    Personally, I’m with R’ Kahane (surprise!) who was of the “blind” school. But although he used that word at least once, I’m not sure how strongly he held of it and not, say, “confused” or “stupid.””

    R. Aviner is just saying “confused” because he is pilot and follows the halacha in regards to not degrading anybody. If he wasn’t a student of Rav Kook he would use stronger language.

    As for aliyah dates, 1881 is a good date, and not 1800 or the 1250s.
    100 people making Aliyah does not compare to 30,000 people making aliyah.

    Also, I am told from someone who’s family came in the early 1800s that they still sent their kids to school in Poland. They might have lived in Israel but they found spouses, and got educated elswhere. This is very different from the return of the Jewish people to Israel starting in the 1880s when we actually settled the land and lived here completely.

    However personally, I require the two signs for the redemption, The return of the Jewish people to the land, AND the hills of Judea bringing forth her fruit. The second criteria did not happen until much more recently.

  79. “Joe on July 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm
    >Elite Peruvian university stripped of Catholic credentials

    Am I dense in being confused as to why this link is here?”

    I’m often confused by the links to Catholic magazines and opinion pieces, but there seems to be some segment of American Jewery who likes that sort of thing.

  80. Nachum — your slippery slope argument cuts both ways. A clear look at RWMO leads to the conclusion that an elimination of “Modern” altogether must result when we hear a RIETS YU answering a she’ela on the OU Webcast that “to have the women sit [in] a separate section of the bus [is] not such a bad idea”.

    Incidentally, the last chapter in R. Neil Gillman’s opus on his Theology is entitled “In Praise of Birkat Kohanim.” [I have not read the book, but recall reading an article he wrote on the same subject somewhere along the line].

  81. >Joe: Thought experiment about what would happen if Jews did that to, say, YU or Bar Ilan or pick-your-school. If you read the article you’ll see that this has been an ongoing process for years.

    I thought this might have been your thought process but:

    First, there is no real explanation in the article as to what the issues are.

    Second, it’s not really comparable because there is no central “church” to enforce their claim that YU is not “Jewish.” So what’s the relevance?

    If you want to be “Catholic” or “Pontifical” you have to follow the “Pontiff” which has no analogue in our religion.

    So – what’s the connection?

  82. MiMedinat HaYam

    IH — sounds like someone i know who’se father (prominent RCA rabbi) decided he’s not really a cohen, and (re)married a divorcee. my friend (actually, her husband) doesnt know what to do with birkat cohanim (let alone other issues) so he walks out by r’tzei.

    which means — where there’s a will (to marry an improper woman) there’s always a rabbi willing to do the chuppa ve’kiddushin.

    2. http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/159878/new-yorks-bagel-wars-continue/

    when i went to yu, there were standing instructions for anyone going to the west side to bring a (big) bag of H&H bagels. even way past midnite.

    3. its still a catholic univ. it just cant use certain terms in its title. similar pblm with some catholic colleges here in us that dont adhere to traditional catholic teaching (it starts with abortion and goes on and on.)

    none of our business. just general interest.

    3b. counteranswer (somewhat) to joe 5:05pm — brandeis.

    4. synthetic meat — was decided years ago that it is another “species” of chicken / cow / whatever. with no chazakah of kashrut.

    unless we treat it like the “enzyme” of cheese. which needs its own supervision.

    meanwhile, it still has a lousy taste, that is not marketable.

    we discussed this here a few years ago.

    it seems r torzyner couldnt answer in a 140 character quote (before 9av), so they minimized his answer.

  83. Dr Kaplan- I had thought so, but couldn’t find anything on the web to confirm. In any case, what’s a Chasidisheh rebbe doing writing articles for a modernishe journal? This is almost as bad as the Minchas Elazar’s SIL becoming a professor! 🙂

    Nachum: Whatever. I guess I’m just to much of a kalteh litvak to buy this kind of stuff. Heilige Nesius of Medinat Yisrael? Please. Is there kedusha to the bagatz too?
    Also, I don’t have any insider info on what’s going on upstairs, but Tel Aviv shel mateh is pretty bad. I think even (especially!) Rav Kahane would agree. If you don’t, well, I have a gesher to sell you. This one in fact:
    http://www.google.co.il/imgres?q=%D7%92%D7%A9%D7%A8+%D7%94%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%AA%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%9D&num=10&hl=iw&tbm=isch&tbnid=a_419uZrSq_zzM:&imgrefurl=http://shvilist.com/%25D7%25A9%25D7%2591%25D7%2599%25D7%259C_%25D7%2599%25D7%25A8%25D7%2595%25D7%25A9%25D7%259C%25D7%2599%25D7%259D/maslul4.html&docid=057vLnifHVZYeM&imgurl=http://shvilist.com/%2525D7%2525A9%2525D7%252591%2525D7%252599%2525D7%25259C_%2525D7%252599%2525D7%2525A8%2525D7%252595%2525D7%2525A9%2525D7%25259C%2525D7%252599%2525D7%25259D/images/004.jpg&w=1600&h=1200&ei=ACAPUKPkOuXj0QHn04BI&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=771&vpy=195&dur=1910&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=101&ty=119&sig=117084695192191011823&page=1&tbnh=157&tbnw=249&start=0&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0,i:96&biw=1280&bih=878

    And if you buy now, it comes festooned with all kinds of KAHANE TZADAK graffiti. (Apologize for the snideness. Take it as sour grapes on my part that I’m stuck in the land of the frei instead on that bridge Merkaz-Harav-bound.)

  84. Lawrence Kaplan

    Shaul Shapira: He’s not your ordinary Hassidic Rebbe. Also, I don’t think the editors of Hakirah would be with about your calling it a “modernishe journal.”

  85. “Nachum — your slippery slope argument cuts both ways. A clear look at RWMO leads to the conclusion that an elimination of “Modern” altogether must result when we hear a RIETS YU answering a she’ela on the OU Webcast that “to have the women sit [in] a separate section of the bus [is] not such a bad idea”.”

    IH- You’re defining ‘modern’ by whether or not they sit together on a bus?! Seriously? Here’s a little thought experiment for you: A male Phd and female MD board a bus at separate doors. They then travel to their respective jobs. Him to his chemistry lab in Bar Ilan and her to her oncology ward where she practices. Have they forfeited their modernity?

    When RHS or RMW or RNL call for people to stop getting a secular education, you’ll know they’ve ‘an elimination of “Modern”’ has resulted. (And you equally know that that isn’t going to happen.)

    Segregated busses is a total red herring to this discussion.
    (Please note that I am not fervently in favor of separate busses-nor terribly against it. I respect Charedim that do, the way I respect Amish folk who don’t want to see my cellphone. I actually don’t think about it that much. I have a life that extends beyond public transportation.)

  86. “Incidentally, the last chapter in R. Neil Gillman’s opus on his Theology is entitled “In Praise of Birkat Kohanim.” [I have not read the book, but recall reading an article he wrote on the same subject somewhere along the line].”

    I’m glad he’s singing the praises of singinig the praises of birchas Kohanim. Here’s a little somthing on him from wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Gillman#Viewing_God_as_a_.22myth.22
    “Among Gillman’s more controversial teachings are his statements that essential elements of Jewish theology should be thought of as “myths”. His use of this term in both lectures, and in his book on theology, Sacred Fragments, led to discussion and controversy.

    …Gillman writes that the traditional Jewish view of the Torah being orally dictated to Moses on Mount Sinai, and passed down to us today in an unbroken chain of transmission, is erroneous, and one that cannot be maintained in the light of modern Jewish theology and higher criticism of the Bible, such as the documentary hypothesis. In regard to these changes he writes:

    ‘Myths can be ‘living,’ ‘broken,’ or ‘dead’. A living myth is one that works for us, that we embrace as “true,” that makes sense of the world as we perceive it. A broken myth is one that has been exposed as our subjective, human construct. Sometimes broken myths die, dead myth; the contrary data have become overwhelming.” So what is the Jewish myth? The Jewish Myth of the Torah as the word of God only works if we accept that it is the word of God. Once we realize that it was just some collection of stories, myths and history that was edited in the 5th century then it becomes a ‘broken myth”….broken myths don’t have to die. It is possible to embrace a broken myth as still living.'”

    Does that explain your view on the Agunah issue? No reason to keep a poor lady locked up for the sake of a myth, eh?
    Clergyman Gillman, however deserves credit however, for being open about his Consevative beliefs.

    For those interested in an alternate view of things, here’s a book I recently ordered. I’ve been told by some Charedi obscurantists that it’s supposed to be good.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Canonization-Hebrew-Scripture-Transactions/dp/1878508040

  87. Prof. Leiman’s book is worth reading, but it is a little outdated in respect of the DSS. To work around those, I would recommend the very short and readable The Story of the Scrolls by Geza Vermes that you can buy for next to nothing on Amazon.

    BTW, the Leiman book is cheaper if you order it directly from http://www.yale.edu/caas/order.html

  88. Shaul — of course, no books help those who choose to read what they want to read (like your misleading quotation from wikipedia).

  89. reb shaul – thank you for the link…love this line – on the differences between the hasidim and mitnagdim:

    מפני שבאמת אין חילוק ביניהם ואחד לא הבין שפת רעהו

  90. Shaul — On books, there is also Prof. Schiffman’s recent Qumran and Jerusalem

    From pp. 37-8:

    It is worth recalling Prof. Schiffman’s view (p. 37-8 in “Qumran and Jerusalem”):

    Among the most significant of the Qumran scrolls are certainly the biblical manuscripts. These documents will shed important new light on the history of the biblical text in Second Temple times.

    The last statement is itself much more important than meets the eye. In the early years of Qumran studies, it was thought that the biblical texts from Qumran would somehow illuminate the “original” text that emerged from ancient Israel. This entire notion has been proven wrong. It is now clear that the biblical text has a history of transmission, and that major parts of this history, which indeed testify to the place of Scripture in the Judaism of the post-biblical period, are to be understood from the scrolls. Indeed, we now know that many textual variants result not only from transmission, but from interpretation and linguistic updating, phenomena that, before the discovery of the scrolls, could not have been understood.

    Google Book Preview at http://tinyurl.com/7yymtlt

  91. R’SS,
    Do I believe the redemption has begun? We have no prophets so I can’t tell the future, but I absolutely believe the potential for the redemption has begun and it is up to us whether it will be fulfilled in days, years or centuries.
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  92. To further state your point Joel.
    The passuk used to corroborate Rav Akiva feelings at the end of Makkos is that the zekanim and children will be playing in “rechovot Yerushalayim.Which Thank G-d IS OCCURRING IN OUR TIME.
    The process of Nechamat Yerushalayim is ongoing.
    What are we doing to push the process forward?

  93. IH: Whoa. Prof. Gillman? Really? I remember a piece he wrote on this years ago. First, apparently, he’s a kohen himself, so he’s a nogeiah b’davar. 🙂 More importantly, he wrote about how his daughter joins him in saying the bracha. There: Can of worms. So his daughter says it. Do *her* kids, male and female, say it? Why shouldn’t they, once you’ve opened that door? Boom: Give it a few generations, and soon everyone is a kohen. What’s that line from “The Incredibles”? “Saying everyone is special is another way of saying no one is.”

    And who cares what someone says about buses? I (sort of) met my wife at a rally against segregated buses at the Supreme Court. I can make up my own mind as to what’s right and wrong without being warned about those further to my right. On the other hand, I have a real problem getting you to condemn *anything* that goes too far too the left, likely because you don’t believe there is such a thing, based on your proclaimed religious beliefs. So I’ll try again: Those who advocate for egalitarianism seem far too often to be cool with homosexuality in a religious context (marriage, etc.). Are you?

    Shaul:

    1. The bridge is growing on me. I shall try to appreciate it as I pass under it today.

    2. “the way I respect Amish folk who don’t want to see my cellphone”

    I don’t think there’s a single Amish person who cares one way or another if you use your cellphone, in front of them or not. There’s no analogy to self-appointed thugs who attack women on buses.

    Apropos, I highly recommend a new Israeli movie, “Hamashgichim.” (Called “God’s Neighbors” or something like that in English.) It’s about three Sephardi Baalei Teshuva who are the tzniut patrol in Bat Yam, and is incredibly powerful on many levels. (Warning: It’s got some violent scenes.)

  94. By the way, Shaul, don’t let IH scare you off: R’ Leiman’s book is excellent, and as it’s prime focus is Chazal, not the DSS, it doesn’t really matter, although he updates the information on the latter in the new introduction.

  95. The prophets and Talmud are very clear on the main signs for the redemption. There are a bunch of other more ambiguiois statements as well, which have happened in every generation. But the two big ones have never happened before.

    A big sigh and shake of my head to those who are more frum than Gd.

  96. Nachum:

    “R’ Leiman’s book is excellent”

    What about it do you like so much?

  97. Nachum — I don’t condemn anyone who has found a way to be Jewish in a manner that does not impose his/her beliefs on others — either on the left or the right. What I condemn is people who think they know what God wants for others, especially those who then act hypocritically.

    The reason I raised R. Gillman was that even he does not fall down your slippery slope on Birkat Kohanim — your example — despite his unambiguous egalitarianism.

    I continue to wonder why you so are so obsessed with homosexuality and egalitarianism, never missing an opportunity to bash.

  98. shachar haamim

    Rabbi Maroof’s comments are interesting, but I think that there is a bit of cognitive dissonance on display here – probably b/c he lives in the USA.
    What he writes can be said about the observance of ANY mitzvot or customs. Not necessarily just those connected to aveilut and/or the summer mourning period. He can write the same thing on 11 Av – word for word – in conenction with chumrot in kashrut, chumrot in shabbat observance or any other issue.
    The issue that is problematic with the 9 days observance – and which is unique to the 9 days – is that the current forms of observance completely ignore the changes in the call of history over the last century and a half (yesterday was the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine which granted the Jewish people a national home in Eretz Yisrael). As a commentor on his blog posted – dropping meat from the diet has become an excuse for substituting gourmet ice cream and luxurious fish dinners. Only a high degree of cognitive dissonance can drive this – and only a high degree of cognitive dissonance can result in the critique missing this point altogether.
    Come home for Tisha B’av. Don’t sit on the floor and pretend you are mourning your situation.

  99. Nachum — I refer you to pp. 34-37 of the 1991 introduction to his 1974 text regarding the DSS. It begins:

    It is too early to assess the full significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the history of the canon; it would perhaps be wiser to suspend judgement until all the scroll materials are published. Nevertheless, enough materials have appeared to allow for the remarks that follow.

    The revolution in control of DSS publication did not occur until late 1991 (after publication of Leiman’s book).

  100. From the Mary article:There is something very honest and holy about these dining hall and late-night campus dorm-room conversations. They evoke meaningful halachic and intellectual ambivalence. They are one of the many wonderful things about living in modernity and studying at a “secular university.” On campus, in ways I couldn’t imagine in day school or yeshiva, halachic issues and texts are seismically materialized. In college, my Jewish values and commitments are constantly brought to the surface and put to the test, yielding a more rewarding and intellectually honest Judaism.
    =============================================
    Interesting to think about the trade off with % intermarriage of those who have gone to “campus” and those who haven’t (paging Dr. Schnall)
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  101. Abba: Its thoroughness. Ironically, I especially appreciate the non-Chazal portion. Oh, and the notes. Lord, the notes…

    IH: I didn’t say it was perfect. But can you point to anything in recently published DSS that challenge his thesis? I mean that in earnest.

    As to the rest: Look, I know you don’t think anything is wrong with homosexuality. Part of this may be your general left-wing outlook; part of it may be that you simply don’t believe in a divine Torah (like the cite from Gillman- do you disagree with him there)?

    ” I don’t condemn anyone who has found a way to be Jewish in a manner that does not impose his/her beliefs on others — either on the left or the right. What I condemn is people who think they know what God wants for others, especially those who then act hypocritically.”

    Um, Orthodoxy by nature- religion by nature- claims to know what God wants for others. If you disagree, why should I bother debating you?

    What’s wrong with hypocrisy? It doesn’t “prove” that a person is wrong in his assertions.

    I think it’s wonderful that, say, someone gay can still keep as many mitzvot as he or she can. Where I draw the line is when they start pretending that halakha actually approves of the 1% they violate. See below. (A Reform Jew going to shul twice a year is also great, but in a somewhat different way, by definition.)

    “The reason I raised R. Gillman was that even he does not fall down your slippery slope on Birkat Kohanim — your example — despite his unambiguous egalitarianism.”

    He doesn’t. His grandchildren, by necessity, will. I am not making a prediction, I am stating a logical inference.

    “I continue to wonder why you so are so obsessed with homosexuality and egalitarianism, never missing an opportunity to bash.”

    Because there’s no other movement within Orthodoxy (or semi-Orthodoxy) to claim that halakhah doesn’t have a problem with a specific sin, like Shabbat or Kashrut. When they’ll stop, I’ll stop.

    Yes, I said “sin.” Grab the smelling salts.

  102. ““Hagee takes the [Hebrew] Bible literally,””

    I really appreciate the support of Hagee and those like him; the Biblical literalness is the bit I don’t like so much, considering that Jews don’t do that. You can always tell the Christian supporter of Israel on, say, Arutz-7’s boards by how they push Bible verses that most Jews would shrug off. I’m sure we could learn from them, as from everyone, but let’s not go too far.

  103. Nachum — I was tempted to make my comment more precise as soon as I hit , so let’s try this again now:

    I don’t condemn anyone who has found a way to be Jewish in a manner that does not impose his/her beliefs on others — either on the left or the right. What I condemn is people who think they know what God wants for others and insist on imposing those beliefs, especially those who then act hypocritically (you know, like all the bad news we read about Orthodox sinners of various sorts).

    Sounds to me like you have a polically biased approach to אף על פי שחטא, ישראל הוא

  104. Out of curiosity why post the intermarriage piece?

  105. On the NY study: as I stated since Day One (having attended the UJA presentation) it seems to me it is the spin of the study that “Overhyped N.Y. Orthodox Population”. That is because the spin extrapolates the growth in number of minor children in Orthodox households into an assumption they will remain Orthodox as adults.

    I do not believe this stickiness is a valid assumption, both because of both historical precedent, as well as all the anecdotal evidence of current OTD phenomena across all parts of the Orthodox spectrum.

  106. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    “Yeshiva Lessons ($ and very Christian)”

    requires a password

  107. abba's rantings

    NACHUM:

    “Its thoroughness.”

    yes!

    “I especially appreciate the non-Chazal portion!”

    yes!

    “Oh, and the notes. Lord, the notes”

    yes!

    but still, what does this have to with the contribution of the book to canonization scholarship. do you think it adduces a case for early canonization? i don’t. i think it’s a great book. i just don’t see how it proves what it sets out–or perhaps what frum readers think it sets out–to prove.

    but i could be wrong. all those (great) notes certainly distraced me along the way 😉

  108. abba's rantings

    JON:

    “Out of curiosity why post the intermarriage piece?”

    do you think he is the only MO day school product in a secular college that feels this way?

  109. This hand-wringing by Michael Snow is deeply disturbing. I hope that MO is not producing more and more of these angst-ridden youth, who feel that all of halochoh and normative hashkofoh is suddenly up for reconsideration, reevaluation, or the like. I was in NSCY for many years, and I never saw fellow NCSYer’s and advisors, most of whom were MO, expressing such ambivalence about their yiddishkeit and ikkarim like no-intermarriage.

    What am we all supposed to think?

  110. abba's rantings

    RAFAEL:

    “What am we all supposed to think?”

    that he has a brain and he’s not afraid to use it.
    there is nothing abnormal about a 20-something-year-old using his critical thought process to grapple with the indoctrination* he’s received for two decades. we can only hope that he uses that brain and thought process to come to a resolution in concord with orthodoxy.
    (* i use the word “indoctrination” in this context for what it is and not with any type of negative connotation generally associated with it)

  111. Abba’s Rantings: I have no idea. But it’s unclear, based on the piece, that he feels anything at all, except that the word “endogamy” is a useful one. That was perhaps the most pretentious, content-free article of writing that I’ve read this year.

  112. Harav Amital said back in 1999:
    I am not going to address the issue of secularization which, to our sorrow, also exists in the high schools, but rather that of observant youth who have developed a new ideology. We are faced with a fascinating but frightening phenomenon, characterized by the term “hitchabrut” – emotional identification, connection, or attachment.

    Youth today seek “identification” with mitzvot, but not a “commitment” to them. Authority and obligation – two foundations without which it is difficult to imagine living in accordance with the Torah – have become irrelevant in these circles. Not only are these concepts not spoken about, but worse still – the very mention of these terms by someone else “turns off” these youth, since the “connection” they seek is personal, individual and experiential. I myself do not know the extent of this phenomenon, but it seems to be spreading.

    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  113. abba: I agree re the book. But I’m not so learned as to know the answer.

    IH: And, indeed, when people argue that violating financial mitzvot is OK (as, indeed, some do), I will condemn them as well. That’s a funny thing about liberals: They call others “judgmental” and the like without acknowledging that they’re just about the most judgmental people out there. Jonah Goldberg just wrote a whole book about this.

    abba: Many of these people are tottering very close to the “so open minded everything falls out” school. And, of course, we may wonder why its davka post-modern stuff that they give such a hearing. I’d like to see a *real* radical secular university student question, say, the morality of the Palestinian cause or something.

  114. Wow, what a quote from Rav Amital!

  115. R’RA,
    Actually the irony is that I was reminded of it yesterday when Senator Dianne Feinstein had to “walk back” her comments on national security leaks and the White House. How sad it is when we can’t be constructively critical of “our own” due to political issues (and yes I am talking about all the various elements that make up “orthodoxy”)
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  116. Nachum — I look forward to seeing your more varied targets when you feel the need to express condemnation here.

    —–

    R’ Joel — The obligation-driven ethos and the sprirituality-driven ethos are frequently at odds. This is nothing new, e.g. historic Misnaged put-downs of Chassidism. Perhaps it is this tension that lies at the heart of the RWMO/LWMO divide with each one balancing the dial (for those who remember analogue dials for Treble and Bass) differently.

    The challenge for RWMO is to achieve passion around the obligation-driven ethos (ref: https://www.torahmusings.com/2012/07/the-road-forward-for-modern-orthodoxy/).

  117. IH: Mea Culpa. I shall.

  118. “to claim that halakhah doesn’t have a problem with a specific sin, like Shabbat or Kashrut. When they’ll stop, I’ll stop.

    Yes, I said “sin.” Grab the smelling salts.”

    I think “sin” is actually the right word. Not “abomination” (yes, I know what the pasuk says) and not, especially, your favorite word “abnormal.”

  119. Does anyone know whether the American Board of Ritual Circumcision or the International Bris Association referred to in the metzitzah bepeh article are organizations that MO mohelim belong to.

  120. It’s (literally) a yehareg ve’al ya’avor sin. Not your average aveira.

  121. Different from adultery (which of course doesn’t exist in the Orthodox world)?

  122. IH,

    Haven’t noticed a movement to legitimize and excuse adultery in the O world or to allow known adulterers to self-identify as such.

  123. IH-
    1)
    “I don’t condemn anyone who has found a way to be Jewish in a manner that does not impose his/her beliefs on others — either on the left or the right. What I condemn is people who think they know what God wants for others and insist on imposing those beliefs, especially those who then act hypocritically (you know, like all the bad news we read about Orthodox sinners of various sorts).”

    http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/561/one-people-two-worlds
    So what do you think of this:
    “The notion that Orthodoxy and its adherents delegitimize other Jews is a baseless canard, albeit one that is given periodic airing by heterodox spokesmen, and occasionally, in the general media as well, as in a ballyhooed — and subsequently retracted
    — Los Angeles Times headline in 1996. Sadly, a reciprocal attitude toward the Orthodox is not uniformly in evidence. No less prominent a Reform figure than then-CCAR president Simeon Maslin had this to say in his 1996 inaugural address to that group’s convention: “Let me make it clear that when I say we as in ‘we are the authentic Jews,’ I refer t5o the two great non-Orthodox synagogue movements of America, Reform and Conservative. My we does not include those who act and think today as the Sadducees acted and thought 20 centuries ago.”‘

    If anyone cares, I recommend reading the whole article. It’s officially a review of a book (that I liked), but it stands on it’s own.

    2)
    “IH on July 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Different from adultery (which of course doesn’t exist in the Orthodox world)?”

    It exists everwhere. The difference is that an O Jew can and obviously does declare such acts absolute violations of the divine law. You on the other hand, cannot. Aftyer all, who gave you the right to even express an opinion on someone else’s wife swapping if it’s all consensual???

    I don’t think my quote from Gillman was misleading. But either way, please make your own views clear. Do you agree with those statements? Yes or no? (Or provide a different answer.)
    As you chide others- why some cagey? Answer my quetion; and make it crisp.

  124. That’s “why SO cagey?”

  125. Michael Snow’s piece was sad. I found it hard to believe that after 12 years of presumably a standard MO education, that he could not enunciate in a positive way why intermarriage presents a major threat to the Jewish People. I was once asked this at a family gathering when and where I avoid such discussions unless asked, and stated that if you view Torah and Mitzos as a uniquely God given responsibility that includes passing on the same to future generations, then you would never think of intermarriage. As far as IH’s comment re halachic obligations and spirituality, and balancing both elements, I think that one has to initially master the ground floor of obligatory conduct ( aka Mitzvos Bein Adam LaMakom and Bein Adam LChavero or as RYS called it “SA”) and then see which spiritual path within the Mesorah of Avodas HaShem works best for you. OTOH, the piece in question illustrates what happens when one walks into a falling building. Despite the best of preparations, not all emerge unscathed.

  126. Nachum-
    1)I think that the spitters are wackos who have to be dealt with appropriately
    2) If my mother/daughter/sister were spit upon on her way to school, here’s what I would do:
    Step 1: Warn the spitter that he’d better stop or face consequences.
    Step 2: Apply consequences. It would start by spitting back and continue until he was punched so hard that his vision was so impaired that he couldn’t see pritzus no matter how hard he tried.

    Why hasn’t this been done? I mean this very seriously. If someone assaults you (and YOU’RE the one with the gun!), why the heck is he able to scare you?! It’s not like the sick-rikkim have chemical weapons at their disposal! Why the **** do you need an anti-hate rally?? Beat them up and be done with it!

  127. Shaul — No caginess. I have made my views clear in the discussions on Bible Criticism (ayen shama). Your quotation was misleading because it missed the explanation that R. Gillman was using the word “myth” in its academic sense. Next time it comes around on PBS, you should see http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Campbell-Power-Myth-III/dp/B00005MEVQ

    Aiwac — I should not have answered. It’s been hashed to death before. Happy to re-engage next time there is a post rather than just as a tangent on the weekly news here.

  128. Nachum wrote in part:

    “IH: And, indeed, when people argue that violating financial mitzvot is OK (as, indeed, some do), I will condemn them as well. That’s a funny thing about liberals: They call others “judgmental” and the like without acknowledging that they’re just about the most judgmental people out there. Jonah Goldberg just wrote a whole book about this”

    Goldberg’s book is an excellent illustration of liberal logic-why would any rational person be a conservative ? Or, as Paulime Kael commented on her shock when Nixon defeated McGovern by a landslide-that none of her friends voted for Nixon.

  129. This book?

    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/10/jonah_goldbergs_desperation/

    Funny you should mention Nixon/McGovern 🙂

    —–

    In reality, I don’t have the time or interest in reading polemical books about US politics. They either bore me to tears or frustrate me with their sophistry (both those ideologically on the left and those ideologically on the right).

  130. IH- I realized that. And it makes no difference. What about a myth-however ‘authentic’ it is- allows you to tell anyone what they ought to to do?!

    I revert to my dichotomy:
    First RSRH
    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/05/torah-is-word-of-g-d-no-need-to.html

    “Let us not deceive ourselves. The whole question is simply this. Is the statement, “ And G‑d spoke to Moses saying,” with which all the laws of the Jewish Bible commence, true or not true? Do we truly believe that G‑d, the Omnipotent and Holy, spoke thus to Moses? Do we speak the truth when in front of our brethren we lay our hand on the scroll containing these words and say that G‑d has given us this Torah, that His Torah, the Torah of truth and with it eternal life is planted in our midst? If this is to be no mere lip service, no mere rhetorical flourish, then we must keep and carry out this Torah without omission and without carping, in all circumstances and at all times. This word of G‑d must be our eternal rule superior to all human judgment, the rule to which all our actions must at all times conform; and instead of complaining that it is no longer suitable to the times, our only complaint must be that the times are no longer suitable to it. And if, again, in carrying out this word of G‑d we choose to follow the teachings and instructions that have come down to us from the Rabbis, we can and must do this only if and because we recognize in them the same divine origin as in the written word of G‑d. They have been handed down to us by previous generations with the same guarantee, as a tradition transmitted from G‑d, from the same omnipotent and holy G‑d, to Moses, and from Moses orally through every succeeding generation for the purpose of regulating the practical observance of the word of G‑d. This tradition again is nothing more than tradition, than the orally transmitted word of G‑d, as Rabbinic Judaism has taught throughout the centuries of its history. But if this tradition is no tradition, if it is only a pious mask under which a priestly caste has imposed its views on the people as the orally transmitted word of G‑d, if the fathers have with it deceived their sons and grandsons, they have let them live and suffer, endure and die, for a fraud and an illusion, and if it is permissible to us also to be each one his own oracle and to remodel Biblical law according to his own views and opinions, then it can and ought to be no longer the word of G‑d; then G‑d did not speak to Moses; then we have not the word of G‑d in our possession; then we, and with us the whole of mankind whose hopes of salvation are rooted in this word are all deceived and deceivers, and it is time to shake off openly the whole miserable encumbrance. This is the alternative; there is no other course open. If Judaism has been established by G‑d then it is destined to teach the age, but not to let itself be taught by the age.”

    Then Joel Roth tried your shtick:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_Conservative_Judaism#The_Roth_responsum

    “That, then, brings us to the following issue: Assuming that the type of biblical scholarship we have all been taught is correct, does that mean that the Torah is, in fact, not Divine and legally infallible? I believe that it does not mean that. The argument here is over the following issue: Is theology the dog which wags the tail called halakhah, or is halakhah the dog which wags the tail called theology? It cannot be both ways. There can be no real doubt that normatively speaking the halakhic tradition is the given, and theology is required to fall into place behind it. Theology can, indeed, should, provide the narrative which makes the halakhic tradition intellectually persuasive and emotionally acceptable and satisfying, and that narrative can change as needed, and it need not be the same narrative for everyone. Narratives, after all, are aggadic, and thus, neither normative nor binding. That claim, incidentally, in no way diminishes their importance. Whatever narrative works is fine, so long as the narrative does not reverse which is the dog and which is the tail. In this enterprise we are again in a long chain: Sa’adia Ga’on did it, Yehuda ha-Levi did it, Maimonides did it, Samson Rafael Hirsch did it [sic!!!!!!!!], David Zevi Hoffman did it, and Joseph Hertz did it. Our movement’s thinkers and theologians are as competent to provide a modern and persuasive theology of halakhah as were the thinkers of the past. But, we, like they, cannot undo the foundational premise of the entire halakhic system – that the Torah is Divine and legally infallible.”

    And then Gordon Tucker brought him back to earth:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_Conservative_Judaism#The_Tucker_dissent
    When someone says, “What can we do? The Torah is clear on the subject!”, what is being said amounts to a claim of infallibility and irrefutability for the text of the Torah. And that claim ultimately rests on the assumption that the words of Leviticus (and, of course, those of the other four books of the Pentateuch) express directly and completely the will of God. (Indeed, treating a text as infallible on any basis other than on such an assumption would surely count as a form of idolatry.) But that assumption (that the Torah is the direct and complete expression of God’s will) is one that, for all its currency in parts of the Jewish world, is not accepted in our Conservative Jewish world.[13] No, the time has come for a movement that has finally published a Humash commentary that reflects the theology our masters have taught us to “come out of the closet”. It is past time for us to be, in the prophet Elijah’s words, “hopping between two opinions”. If the axiom behind this theological argument is to be accepted, then let us forthrightly admit that we have been misled by the teachers at whose feet we have sat. But if we confess that we do not accept the axiom of biblical infallibility, then let us honor our teachers by abandoning this theological argument, and by no longer permitting ourselves to say, when the matter of gays and lesbians comes up, “What can we do? The Torah is clear on the subject!”…’

    …So, IH: “▪ Why shouldn’t I marry Mary?” And if no one objects, why shouldn’t I sleep with her mother? And if she get’s too old, we can always give her the Peter Singer treatment:
    http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/1993—-.htm

  131. Shaul — with respect, I’m not your chavruta. Al tagzim.

  132. ““Let us not deceive ourselves. The whole question is simply this. Is the statement, “ And G‑d spoke to Moses saying,” with which all the laws of the Jewish Bible commence, true or not true?”

    Not so pashut and not so simple.

    Most have a problem with the evolution/difference of emphasis between what is said by Gd to Moshe, and what is taught in schools as normative halacha.

    Once that bridge falls, and once you see problems with the halachic process as currently taught in schools, then as explained in the Talmud, you also have to question the whole process. Afterall, it is the Rabbis who tell us that Aleph is Alpeh and Bet is Bet. If we see a less than stalwart mesorah change within our life times, then people lose trust in Aleph and Bet.

  133. IH: Shaul is simply paraphrasing Dostoyevsky’s famous line about God and all is permitted (Dostoyevsky actually never wrote it, but whatever). Once you deny Torah min ha Shomayim, all is permitted. The only thing preventing your doing it is your personal distaste — and that is infinitely malleable and variable.

    (I hate coffee, my wife loves it. Nu, it is a matter of taste. I tolerate her drinking it, and she does not make me drink it. Just substitute any issur for “drinking coffee,” and you have where such denial leads you.)

  134. Ah, Salon. Very non-ideological there.

    So, to sum up: IH, you do not believe that halakha is binding. Thus, by posting here, you are, essentially, a troll, one unconstrained by the restraints most here have placed upon themselves. Do you think that’s a fair reading? Do you think that allows you a certain…advantage in posting here?

  135. Avi-
    “Most have a problem with the evolution/difference of emphasis between what is said by Gd to Moshe, and what is taught in schools as normative halacha.”

    I fully agree that people have problems with it.

    “Once that bridge falls, and once you see problems with the halachic process as currently taught in schools, then as explained in the Talmud, you also have to question the whole process.”

    I didn’t say to question or not question anything.

    “Afterall, it is the Rabbis who tell us that Aleph is Alpeh and Bet is Bet. If we see a less than stalwart mesorah change within our life times, then people lose trust in Aleph and Bet”

    I agree again. I did not advance a single argument for or against the veracity of that mesorah. People will have to do their own investigations.[1] My point was that we have to drop this monstrous idea that the whole question is irrelevant[2]. It is very VERY relevant. It is the most cosmically important question I can think of.

    [1] See Dr Moshe Koppel:
    http://u.cs.biu.ac.il/~koppel/ideology.pdf
    “Another type of dangerous ideological rhetoric is peddled by those who will remind you that ‘there are many true paths in Judaism’. They are probably not on any of them. Their apparent open-mindedness is usually a cover for the doctrinaire and arrogant conviction that Yiddishkeit as we know it is primitive, unenlightened, and provincial and desperately in need of the civilizing influence of whatever intellectual fashion is sweeping college campuses (which, they will try to persuade you, is what Yiddishkeit really was supposed to be all along). Given the choice between those who understand Yiddishkeit but have drifted, or even bolted, away and those who bastardize Yiddishkeit, always choose the company of the former. Ultimately, it’s the location of the anchor that matters.” (And YES, I agree with his critique of the ‘right’)

    [2] I can recommend some books that ‘advance my agenda’. Here’s just one: http://www.amazon.com/The-Road-Back-Discovery-Embellishments/dp/0873061640.

    You can probably get in touch with the author as well.

    See also here:
    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/07/mesorah-questions-that-bother-reader.html Some very cheesy content, but I think it’s worth checking out anyhow.

  136. IH- I don’t know what you’re getting at. Please explain.

  137. R Neuberger is speaking, I believe giving an introduction.

  138. Nachum — you owe me an apology for the juvenile post of 5:03 pm.

  139. On a different issue Gil, I think it is very obectionable that certain bloggers even during the shiva week spoke about the mixed legacy of R. Elyashiv. But after some time has passed, this is definitely a topic that needs to be discussed.

  140. Really? During the Nine Days we’re going to discuss who is worthy of running a yeshiva etc. and his private life, as well as who we will allow to speak in our communities??? I don’t have the strength. I’m closing these comments for the night.

  141. GIL:

    “During the Nine Days . . .”

    of course we should be extra careful during the nine day, asarah yemei teshuvah, etc.
    but it seems silly to imply that something will be tolerated once the period is over.
    either it is ok to talk about it or it isn’t. if you don’t think it’s approproate for the 9 days why will you permit it after the 9 days?

  142. Of course I defer to “the boss’s” decision but I do think a healthy discussion of the legacy is appropriate.
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  143. “I agree again. I did not advance a single argument for or against the veracity of that mesorah. People will have to do their own investigations.[1] My point was that we have to drop this monstrous idea that the whole question is irrelevant[2]. It is very VERY relevant. It is the most cosmically important question I can think of.”

    The quote from footnote 1 just turns people off. Anybody who studies Torah knows that there is more than 1 path of Torah. Anyone who says otherwise, in my mind, is being influenced too much by western thought.

    But really the question of what Gd said to Moshe is really entirely irrelevant.

    If someone tries to prove what is ok and what is not ok by using a Torah verse, odds are, someone who disagrees with the position before hearing of the verse will call the person a Kaarite.

    Recently, R. Dov Lipman was on a radio show talking about Charedim and the army. He quoted Moshe regarding the commandment to go to war for Israel even if you will settle outside of Israel. The Charedi host of the show responded, “What does something Moses said have to do with Judaism today?”

    It would be great if we could go back to the sources, but it’s going to take a couple generations for that to be acceptable.

  144. Lawrence Kaplan

    Lawrence Kaplan: I will, of course, defer to Gil’s decision and not discuss personalities. It does, however, seem to me that point raised goes beyond the question of personalities and, even if Gil disagrees with the views expressed, touches on the substantive issue of the self-respect or lack of it of Modern Orthodoxy.

  145. Avi-

    “The quote from footnote 1 just turns people off. Anybody who studies Torah knows that there is more than 1 path of Torah. Anyone who says otherwise, in my mind, is being influenced too much by western thought.”

    I think the whole article needs to be read in context. Here’s the quote immiediatly preceding the one I gave you:

    “You should recognize the rhetoric of ideology since it is all around you, insidiously trying to pry you from your own tradition. One type is peddled by those people who will tell you that there is only one true derech. Whatever that derech turns out to be, it won’t be yours. Any claim that the Jews have always had it all wrong is simply incoherent by definition. If your rebbe tells you that a centuries-old minhag is wrong because the Mishnah Berurah says so, he is not only clueless but also dangerous. If he tries to teach you some strange new topic called “emunah” or “hashkafa”, he’s probably proselytizing to some questionable ideology of recent vintage, usually radical Zionism or radical anti-Zionism. Steer clear. If you feel an urge to learn machshava, take out a Sfas Emes on Friday night. Remember that gemara wasn’t invented in Brisk, Eretz Yisrael wasn’t discovered by Rav Kook, and chassidus isn’t the private property of Chabad.”

    All of those groups are clearly demarcated from C and R “judaism”. Whatever (tremendous) differences they have, none of them can dismiss my arguments the way Gordon Tucker dismissed Joel Roth’s above. With him, the conversation ends before it begins. He’s not even fun to hondle with! Why play chess with someone who’s going upset the chess board and throw away the pieces as soon as you make a move he finds ‘unacceptable’? (Paging R Cardozo)

  146. Larry Kaplan-I agree with R Gil’s decision.

  147. “If someone tries to prove what is ok and what is not ok by using a Torah verse, odds are, someone who disagrees with the position before hearing of the verse will call the person a Kaarite.”

    Not if the person has any grounding in Tanach and the oral tradition that came with it. That said, I am somewhat upset at my charedi school system for shortchanging my studies in Tanach. I would love to have received more of a Hirschian education. Then I might not have had to still be playing catch up.

    Recently, R. Dov Lipman…”

    Just so you know. R Dov Lipman recently broke away from MK R Chaim Amsalem’s new political party. Who in turn broke away from Shas. Which was founded as an alternative to Degel Ha’torah. Which R Shach founded as an alternative to Agudas Yisrael. Which was meant to counterbalance Mizrachi. Which was founded by R Reines. Who thought Herzl’s program was way too secular.
    Is this the latest in achdus? (Personally I find the whole political situation in EY more than a little tragi-comic. Is there an Israeli eqivalent to C-Span? It ought to be rated ‘R’.)

    “was on a radio show talking about Charedim and the army.”
    Do you have any way of linking to that program? I’d like to hear it.

    “He quoted Moshe regarding the commandment to go to war for Israel even if you will settle outside of Israel. The Charedi host of the show responded, “What does something Moses said have to do with Judaism today?”

    Context and tone might be everything. He could very well be pointing to the minor difference between ‘vehaya machanecha kadosh’ and some of the situations that prevail in the IDF today.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/gay-pride-israel-defense-forces-photo_n_1587666.html

    BTW, when there’s a misheberach for Tzahal in the YI where I happen to be davening, I make sure to answer amen. Sometimes emphatically if there’s some Israel-basher there I need to defy. Then I ignore the thing about the medinah being reishit tzmichat ge-ulateinu.

  148. IH wrote in response to a comment by Nachum Lamm:

    “I don’t condemn anyone who has found a way to be Jewish in a manner that does not impose his/her beliefs on others — either on the left or the right. What I condemn is people who think they know what God wants for others and insist on imposing those beliefs, especially those who then act hypocritically (you know, like all the bad news we read about Orthodox sinners of various sorts).

    Sounds to me like you have a polically biased approach to אף על פי שחטא, ישראל הו

    Once again-the Karoake School of Judaism or “I’m Jewish, you are Jewish, and Halacha and Hashkafa are irrelevant” surfaces, together with finger pointing at Orthodox Jews who are less than perfect, and a rejection of the fact that the most demonstrable sociological fact in Jewish life is the huge but not yet by a long shot unbridgeable gulf between someone who is a Shomer Torah UMitzvos, and someone who presently is not, and that there is a Mitzvah of Teshuvah which allows and compels us to show that living a life committed to Torah , Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim is how a life to Jewish continuity is defined,and is a wonderful and challenging way to live as opposed to claiming that that when Halacha clashes with one’s own set of moral values, Halacha must give way. Your approach shows that “tolerance” ends only for those who share your view, in which no one is allowed to compete for the hearts, minds and souls of the unlettered masses of American Jewry.

  149. Here’s something happy for a change:

    http://www.ravaviner.com/2012/07/shut-sms-171.html
    ‘Hugging and Kissing in Shul’

    “Q: Is it permissible to hug and kiss a friend in Shul?

    A: In general, it is forbidden (Shut Orach Mishpat #22). Although Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein would kiss his grandchildren in the Beit Midrash of his Yeshiva “Metivta Tiferet Yerushalayim”. He held that the prohibition against expressing love in Shul [Rama, Orach Chaim 98:1], which serves to “instill within one’s heart that there is no love like the love for the Almighty, Blessed is He”, is only during the times of prayer, since the Shulchan Aruch brings this law in the Laws of Prayer and not in the Laws of the Holiness of a Shul. Meged Givot Olam vol. 1, p. 92. And when Ha-Rav Avraham Shapira – Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz Ha-Rav – visited Yeshiva University, he met Ha-Rav Yosef Soloveitchik in the Beit Midrash and Ha-Rav Shapira kissed Ha-Rav Soloveitchik for all to see. Many were surprised, and asked: How could Ha-Rav Shapira kiss him when the Halachah is that it is forbidden to kiss another person in a Shul or Beit Midrash? Ha-Rav Nacham Lamm – President of the Yeshiva – explained that Ha-Rav Soloveitchik has the status of a Sefer Torah, and it is impossible to pass him without kissing him. (Rosh Devarcha, pp. 174-175. “Vayehe Binso’a Ha-Aron” – eulogy for Ha-Rav Shapira by Ha-Rav Eitan Eisman, p. 45. And see Shut Yechaveh Da’at 4:12 where Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef discusses the Sefardic custom to kiss the Rabbi’s hand as a sign of respect, and therefore permits it in a Shul).”

  150. We previously discussed and debated how a MO Jew should spend his or her spare time, and the upshot was that the issue was deemed worthy of an editor’s note in Tradition. I was surprised that in light of last week’s horrific events in Colorado, that the issue and its root causes were not even worthy of a post or some comments. My only comment is that we should resist the easy solution that gun control or boycotting Hollywood is the only answer. Unfortunately,American “mainstream culture” has become very toxic-far too emphasis on maintaining one’s youthful appearance, celebrities, popular music and other aspects of culture that glorifies violence,and instantaneous gratification in almost sphere. I think that the upcoming Siyum HaShas , regardless of how one views DY or Agudah’s role as the sponsor, offers a great opportunity for Kiddush Shem Shamayim in demonstrating that one can celebrate a momentous event in one’s community without being stoned, drunk or acting in a socially inappropriate manner.

  151. 1)I once heard Rabbi Walter Wurtzburger z”l, the hardest thing for him do do in his rabbinical career was having to try to talk some one out of intermarriage. He called it his “akeida”

    2)Dov Lipman did not break off from R. Amselem. He left his position as coordinater of anglos after R. Amsalem made a stategic descission to focus only on sephardim.

  152. really nice piece by r’ yona resiss -on achdut and siyum hashas:

    http://blogs.yu.edu/news/2012/07/25/torah-the-great-equalizer/#more-11225

  153. The siyum is coming! The Siyum is coming!

    An open letter to anyone who is speaking at the siyum:

    I am going to the siyum on Wed and would like to publicly BEG you to PLEASE let this be a kiddush hashem and a time for achdus. No insulting the “zionist” (Citifield Asifa) or the MO (see any of a certain RY of Lakewood speeches) or Slifkin (last siyum; though his name wasn’t mentioned one of the speeches was clearly about him) or in fact anyone. I and many others are dying (figuratively not literally) to be inspired. Please inspire us.

    PS Last but not least, can you limit the length of your speech to 10 minutes? 15 if you are awesome, 5 if people are talking while you are.

  154. R Shoshan- I had though I read somewhere differently. Doesn’t matter. My point was about Israeli Politics in general.

    I originally saw this in a Country Yossi magazine:
    http://rabbifleischmann.blogspot.com/2012/05/yom-yerushalayim-sameach.html

    “There were two brothers who shared a field. Together they plowed, together they planted, together they harvested. They shared everything 50-50. One night one of the brothers couldn’t sleep. He kept thinking – I’m single, and my brother’s married. He needs the produce more than me. And he went out to the field and took from his own pile and added to his brother’s stock. That same night the brother couldn’t sleep, thinking – I’m married, I get so much joy from my family. My brother is alone. He deserves more than me. And he went and took from his share and put it onto his brother’s pile. In the morning the piles were even. So that night the two brothers each went and again took from their own pile and gave to the other. Each morning it was even and so the cycle went on. One night they met each other at the field. When they realized what was happening they embraced. And tradition has it that it is on that spot that the Beit HaMikdash – Holy Temple is built.

    The modern version goes like this: There were two brothers who shared a field. Together they plowed, together they planted, together they harvested. They shared everything 50-50. One night one of the brothers couldn’t sleep. He kept thinking – I’m single, and my brother’s married. I need the produce more than him. And he went out to the field and took from his brother’s pile and added to his own. That same night the brother couldn’t sleep, thinking – I’m married, I need to support my family. My brother is alone. I deserve more than him. And he went and took from his brother’s share and put it onto his own pile. In the morning the piles were even. So that night the two brothers each went and again took from the other’s pile and added it to their own. Each morning it was even and so the cycle went on. One night they met each other at the field. When they realized what was happening they beat each other up. And tradition has it that it is on that spot that the Knesset is built.”

    Joel Rich- she’nireh be’nechamas…

  155. MiMedinat HaYam

    siyum — the last siyum had (almost) everybody on pre recorded video. except one rav who was live, because he did the actually siyum (the “custom” is to give the actual siyum to the “z’kan haRY, the most senior RY. this year, it will be someone else, for other reasons.)

    this senior RY went on and on, like he was giving as shiur to his talmidim, in yeshiva.

    i mentioned it to the aguda head in charge of logistics, and was told this will be controlled tighter this time. though the particular RY giving the actual siyum this year is not averse to shortening his time.

    2. “discusses the Sefardic custom to kiss the Rabbi’s hand as a sign of respect, and therefore permits it in a Shul”

    chassisdishe custom, too.

  156. MiMedinat HaYam

    “And tradition has it that it is on that spot that the Knesset is built.”

    the greek orthodox church owns that land.

    a whole other problem.

  157. )I once heard Rabbi Walter Wurtzburger z”l, the hardest thing for him do do in his rabbinical career was having to try to talk some one out of intermarriage. He called it his “akeida”

    I find this statement somewhat puzzling. I understand that the task was hard, but why is it an “akeida” which seems to imply some kind of self-sacrifice. What part of himself did R. Wurzburger have to sacrifice? (To be clear, I am in no way impugning R. Wurzburger, who I once had as a professor, and struck me as a God-fearing Jew. I just find the statment a bit puzzling.)

  158. The siyum is coming! The Siyum is coming!

    Medina – I have no idea what siyum you are rememebering, but there NO or almost NO pre-recorded speeches at the last siyum. The RY who made the siyum (Rabbi Stein ZTL), the one who did the first mishna in berachos, (can’t rememebr who), Rabbi Wachsman, Rabbi Frand, (both great), the S.Fallsburg RY, the sefardi represetative (forgot who), Rabbi Solomon, and at least one rebbe, were all live.

  159. R’ gil – in discussing your observations of the havura movement and independent minyanim in your recent article in orthodox forum a friend observed:

    “on the Havurot. There are some historical inaccuracies etc that could have been avoided had he consulted Riv-Ellen Prell’s history of the Havurah movement called Prayer and Community but more important, I am not sure what he was trying to say. Will it be transient? Maybe. And maybe not.   Its also interesting that the Indep. Minyan movement does not want to see itself as another chapter in the Havurah phenomenon (which began, in the first generations of Hasidism in the late 18th century and not in postwar America). The Havourot modeled themselves on a romance vision of neo-Hasidism, the Indep. Minyanim are often very litvish and see the neo-Hasidism thing as what their parents were into.”

    Independent Minyanim and Prayer Groups of the 1970s: Historical and Sociological Perspectives
    Riv-Ellen Prell

    http://www.zeek.net/801prell/

  160. ” When they realized what was happening they beat each other up. And tradition has it that it is on that spot that the Knesset is built.”

    When I heard this joke many many years ago, the punch line was Boro Park, not the Knesset. (And I’m sure others have Teaneck or the Five Towns in their punch line.)

  161. That movie I mentioned earlier (“HaMashgichim”) has a funny running gag- almost every character is Edot HaMizrach, but the rav of beit knesset seems Ashkenazi. He’s very nice guy, open, doesn’t impose his minhagim, etc.- but when a Sephardi is taking leave, he shakes their hand; then, as they bend down to kiss his hand, he sort of absentmindedly pulls it away impatiently.

  162. “)I once heard Rabbi Walter Wurtzburger z”l, the hardest thing for him do do in his rabbinical career was having to try to talk some one out of intermarriage. He called it his “akeida”

    I find this statement somewhat puzzling. I understand that the task was hard, but why is it an “akeida” which seems to imply some kind of self-sacrifice. What part of himself did R. Wurzburger have to sacrifice? (To be clear, I am in no way impugning R. Wurzburger, who I once had as a professor, and struck me as a God-fearing Jew. I just find the statment a bit puzzling.)”

    Obviously because he thought the couple was nice and they made each other happy, and he was destroying a relationship between two people for the sake of Hashem. Sounds very akeidah like to me.

  163. Avi- I think Tal’s point[1] was that in this case, R Wurtzburger wasn’t the one who had to deny himself his future partner in life. He was telling someone *else* to do it.

    Tal- Assuming I haven’t misrepresented your position,[1] I would suggest that R Wurtzburger had to sacrifice his *own* compassion for two other human beings.

    [1] Sorry for not waiting for you to present it yourself. I think my he’aros make sense anyhow.

  164. Shaul — yes, that was basically my point. I understand your he’arah, but still, it is very different, IMO. The Jewish member of the couple who broke the engagement, for him or her, it was an akeidah. For a rabbi who is an outsider to the whole thing, much less so.

  165. “Shaul — yes, that was basically my point. I understand your he’arah, but still, it is very different, IMO. The Jewish member of the couple who broke the engagement, for him or her, it was an akeidah. For a rabbi who is an outsider to the whole thing, much less so.”

    That other people might have “greater” sacrifices, doesn’t diminish the “smaller” sacrifices that a person does. And it doesn’t remove the status of sacrifice.

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