R Barry Freundel / At the end of my last post on this subject I indicated that I would only be back to discuss this issue on the blogs if something dramatic occurred. Dr. Lawrence Kaplan approached me off line and indicated that there was something dramatic that he had found and that he had posted on Hirhurim (Torah Musings). Before I turn to what he writes a bit of an apology to my friend Rabbi Mathew Hoffman whose title I left out and whose name I misspelled in my last post. I am truly sorry. Returning to Lawrence Kaplan, he claims to have found (in opposition to my view) a posek who sees the content and not the presence of ten men as defining tefillah betsibbur. He writes that this posek is none other than: Rav Soloveitchik. He continues: “I refer you and the readers to his essay 'Be-Inyan Pesukei de-Zimra,' in Shiurim le-Zekher Abba Mari, Z’L Vol. 2, p. 23. There the Rav states that it is only by reciting a text that requires a tzibbur, namely ten men, for its recitation that a group of yehidim are transformed into a tzibbur. This is why, the Rav explains, kaddish is recited after pesukei de-zimra. So, for the Rav, the fact that, say, 200 men are gathered together in shul and are reciting pesukei de-zimra together does NOT make them into a tzibbur. They are a group of yehidim until the Hazan recites the Kaddish.”

Partnership Minyanim IV

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Guest post by R. Dr. Barry Freundel

Rabbi Barry Freundel is the rabbi of Kesher Israel congregation in Washington, DC, Associate Professor of Rabbinics and Liturgy at Towson University, Vice President of the Vaad of Washington and head of the conversion committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His books include Why We Pray What We Pray: The Remarkable History of a Jewish Prayer and Contemporary Orthodox Judaism’s Response To Modernity.

(Continued from I, II, III)

I. A Difficult Rambam

At the end of my last post on this subject I indicated that I would only be back to discuss this issue on the blogs if something dramatic occurred. Dr. Lawrence Kaplan approached me off line and indicated that there was something dramatic that he had found and that he had posted on Hirhurim (Torah Musings). Before I turn to what he writes a bit of an apology to my friend Rabbi Mathew Hoffman whose title I left out and whose name I misspelled in my last post. I am truly sorry.

Returning to Lawrence Kaplan, he claims to have found (in opposition to my view) a posek who sees the content and not the presence of ten men as defining tefillah betsibbur. He writes that this posek is none other than: Rav Soloveitchik. He continues: “I refer you and the readers to his essay ‘Be-Inyan Pesukei de-Zimra,’ in Shiurim le-Zekher Abba Mari, Z’L Vol. 2, p. 23. There the Rav states that it is only by reciting a text that requires a tzibbur, namely ten men, for its recitation that a group of yehidim are transformed into a tzibbur. This is why, the Rav explains, kaddish is recited after pesukei de-zimra. So, for the Rav, the fact that, say, 200 men are gathered together in shul and are reciting pesukei de-zimra together does NOT make them into a tzibbur. They are a group of yehidim until the Hazan recites the Kaddish.”

Prof. Aryeh Frimer has already pointed out that the Rav was speaking only according to the Rambam, citing a position that others disagree with, and I would add that Ashkenazim don’t follow. I also did not say that there was “no posek who saw content as important,” only that many sources–including several statements by R. Moshe and several other contemporary poskim–indicated that content was not the essential element. They saw the presence of ten men as critical. In fact I can still not find a contemporary posek who disagrees. The Rambam’s position as understood by the Rav is not cited by contemporary poskim, but as we shall see the Rambam is far closer to my position than Dr. Kaplan suggests.

Further, Dr. Kaplan’s reminding me of the Rav’s analysis actually tells me that, should I ever revise and expand my article on Partnership Minyanim, I would include the Rav’s analysis because it does not only support my approach. It also helps explain some of the customs that I write about in a way that makes them more halakhically understandable while making Partnership Minyanim even more difficult to sustain from within our tradition.

II. A Chazzan’s Contribution

Dr. Kaplan misses a fundamental point in his analysis. He sees me as saying that ten men plus a shaliach tsibbur equals tefillah be-tsibbur–and that is correct. But he then seems to say that the Rambam, according to the Rav, holds that ten men plus particular content equals tefillah be-tsibbur–and that is not correct. The Rav refers to the Rambam as requiring particular content (a davar she-be-kedusha such as Kaddish at the beginning and at the end), ten men AND a shaliach tsibbur. That is why it is only with Kaddish and Barkhu (when the content allows it) that the Chazzan makes his appearance in the Rambam’s writings.

The Chazzan is precluded before then and this may well explain those communities (generally Sephardic) that do not use a Chazzan for Pesukei de-Zimra. The Rav says explicitly: when they reach Barkhu “mitargen ha-tzibbur ve-omed shatz ve-omer Kaddish u-varkhu” (p.23). In other words, the coming of the Chazzan is part of creating the tefillah be-tsibbur and his presence after the ten are in place and when the requisite content is about to be recited is part of creating that reality–which is a point that I make repeatedly. The presence of a Chazzan is only allowable when we are involved in tefillah be-tsibbur–hence no women. This is just the flip side of my saying that the presence of a Chazzan creates tefillah be-tsibbur. For the Rambam, it’s the presence of a Chazzan plus particular content that does this if there are ten men. In other words the Rambam asks for everything I ask for and more, not less.

The Rav cites the Rambam (Hilkhot Tefillah 8:4) who says: “What is Tefillat Ha-Tsibbur? One prays out loud and the others hear.” The Rav, in keeping with his purposes, skips the next few words. But they are critical for us. They read: “We do not do this with less than ten free adult males and the shaliach tzibbur is one of them”. In short: no room for women or children as Chazzan anywhere just as we find in the Tosefta that I have cited repeatedly.

III. What Is Pesukei De-Zimra?

This explains why the Rav also says that, according to the Rambam, Pesukei De-Zimra does not have a dual reality. (“Hishmit mimenu [referring to tefillah be-tsibbur] amirat Pesukei De-Zimra – p.23). It cannot be alternatively both a tefillah be-yachid and a tefillah be-tsibbur because there is no chalot shem tsibbur that can apply to it even if ten plus a Chazzan are present. It can only be a Tefillat Yachid, and that explains why no Chazzan is allowed. Clearly the presence of a Chazzan would either make Pesukei De-Zimra into a Tefillah Be-Tsibbur or more likely since the requisite content isn’t there, into something that looks too much like a tefillah be-tsibbur. That is why the Rambam does not allow a Chazzan.

If that is true (and again it is not how Ashkenazim pasken or function) having a woman (or for that matter a child) would also be prohibited. The Rambam wants no Chazzanle-argen” the group, and having someone serve who is problematic in their own right (see the Tosefta I have cited repeatedly), can’t possibly be acceptable. There is no hint in the Rambam (8:4 or anywhere else) of a Chazzan type 2 as described in R. Farber’s conceptualization or else Rambam would not preclude a Chazzan from Pesukei De-Zimra, i.e. let a man stand there and set the pace and choose the tunes. Since the content is missing, why not? But the Rambam doesn’t allow this, nor does he allow for it in 8:4, apparently because the presence of the Chazzan makes Pesukei De-Zimra, or anything similar, too Tefillah Be-Tsibbur-like for his position. This is precisely why a woman can’t serve in the role of Chazzav: because her presence creates a tefillah be-tsibbur type service which a woman cannot lead–as I say over and over again. Again we have here in the Rambam a place like the Tosefta where if Chazzan type 2 existed, it should appear somewhere. But it doesn’t, and the silence is compelling.

Further it would seem that nowadays we do meet the Rambam’s content concern for Pesukei De-Zimra by having Mizmor Shir Chanukat and Kaddish at the beginning of Pesukei De-Zimra (whether the Rambam would have endorsed this practice is an interesting question, see below). Particularly since the Rambam has no concept of Mourner’s Kaddish, which would mean that the Chazzan would recite this Kaddish, maybe our Pesukei De-Zimra has moved towards being a tefillah be-tsibbur. Just add in a Chazzan and we are good to go, but only if that Chazzan is halakhically acceptable–so again no woman Chazzan. This again cuts into the practice of Partnership Minyanim in a significant way.

IV. Kabbalat Shabbat

The Rambam lived long before Kabbalat Shabbat and we can only surmise how he would have viewed it. Frankly because of his frequent criticisms of new minhagim in tefillah (cf. his reaction to reciting Birkhot Ha-Shachar as a list and not in response to events as in the Gemara and his claim that we really should be nofel apayim at Tachanun), I suspect he might have rejected the entire service. However if he saw it as he did Pesukei De-Zimra, he would have precluded use of a Chazzan–which may well explain the custom of those who don’t use a Chazzan discussed in my original article.

In addition, the Rav provides one other point in this regard that is quite important. He contrasts the Rambam’s requirement to start and end with Kaddish for tefillah be-tsibbur to our usual understanding (“lefum rihata” in the Rav’s words – p.28-29) that Kaddish needs to end a tefillah be-tsibbur (for sources see the chapter on Kaddish in my Why We Pray What We Pray). Hence the Kaddish that ends a recitation of Tehillim makes it a tefillah be-tsibbur in this formulation. So too the Kaddish after Kabbalat Shabbat, for which I provide a source in my article that says it was part of the Ari’s original Kabbalat Shabbat, does the same thing for the communal recitation of Kabbalat Shabbat. That Kaddish meets our requirement for content if the Rambam’s veiw does find its way into Ashkenazi circles at all.

Therefore Dr Kaplan’s claim that: “Given this, the Meiri’s restriction regarding women leading teffilah be-tzibbur would not apply to kabbalat Shabbat or pesukei de-zimra, since they are NOT tefillah be-tzibbur.” First even according to the Rambam I believe have shown that this is not true. Pesukei De-Zimra in the Rambam’s time could have no Chazzan of any type. If Pesukei De-Zimra as we recite it today meets the Rambam’s formal requirements for something to be a Tefillah Be-Tszibbur, again no women can lead. Kabbalat Shabbat appears not to meet the Rambam’s requirements as we recite it today. It is, therefore, equivalent to the Rambam’s Pesukei De-Zimra, and so no one of any gender can serve as Shaliach Tzibbur.

Second, the Meiri does not make any of the Rambam’s distinctions between the different parts of the service. He only says that a katan cannot “yored lifnei ha-teivah” (he doesn’t mention tefillah be-tsibbur) which would seem to mean that a child may not serve as prayer leader at any point in davening where a Chazzan may be used. Any claim that all of this can support allowing women to be a Chazzan at any place in davening is simply not sustainable.

V. Kabbalat Shabbat vs. Hallel

Further the Rav discusses the recitation of Hallel and points out that it can be said individually or communally. If done in community then: “yesh bo gam kiyum amirah be-tsibbur” (p.23). I specifically refer to communal recitation of the parts of the service that are not, like the Amidah, part of the chiyuv of tefillah be-tsibbur, as a kiyum of tefillah be-tsibbur. The Rav seems to be saying precisely the same thing. And if it is a kiyum of a tsibbur experience, again women can’t lead because they don’t count towards a tsibbur.

Further the Rambam, according to the Rav, distinguishes between recitation of Hallel the fulfills a requirement to publicly praise God on appropriate occasions, and Pesukei De-Zimra, recited every day, that constitutes Talmud Torah designed to help us learn how to live (p.26). Again, one can understand why no Chazzan can serve for Pesukri De-Zimra because that would make it look like Hallel and a public proclamation of praise. Again this would be true no matter the gender of the Chazzan, so women are excluded.

Kabbalat Shabbat cannot be Hallel because it is recited on days when Hallel is not to be recited. It, like Pesukei De-Zimra, consists largely of verses from Psalms. Again we would not want its recitation to look like we are saying Hallel. This may explain the custom that some follow of having no Chazzan for Kabbalat Shabbat. But if one holds this way, then a woman cannot serve in this role either.

VI. Conclusion

I thank Dr. Kaplan for reminding me of this source in the Rav’s writings. To sum up: the Rav, in discussing the Rambam, describes his position (which later poskim [especially Ashkenazim] don’t accept) as follows:

1. To create a tefillah be-tsibbur one needs a) a davar she-be-kedusha text at the beginning and the end, b) a prayer that can take on the role of a tefillah be-tsibbur, c) a Chazzan who must be a free adult male and d) a minyan. Obviously for reasons a and c a woman cannot serve.

2. Unlike other prayers that can be both individual and communal, Pesukei De-Zimra cannot be anything but an individual prayer. As such, no Chazzan of any gender can serve.

3. Kabbalat Shabbat, which was unknown to the Rambam, might well fall into the same category as Pesukei De-Zimra for the Rambam because it lacks a davar she-be-kedusha at the beginning. That would again preclude having a Chazzan of any kind.

4. Nowhere in the Rambam’s writings is there a hint of the concept of a Chazzan who sets the pace and chooses the tunes though both in his discussion of Tefillah Be-Tsibbur and of Pesukei De-Zimra such a concept should appear if it exists for him

5. Our Pesukei De-Zimra, with its introductory Mizmor Shir and Kaddish, might meet criterion a) (though this does not deal with issue b), but even if that would allow for a Chazzan to lead, since the Rambam does not know of a concept called Mourner’s Kaddish (see my Why We Pray), that Kaddish would need to be said by the Chazzan who would perforce need to be a man.

In short the Rav’s position on the Rambam adds significant support to what I say in the article and makes the position of those who support Partnership Minyanim even less tenable in halakha. Finally if I can find some time I may respond to some of the other posts in the next few days, though I do believe I have more than proven my case for any objective reader.

About Barry Freundel

Rabbi Barry Freundel is the rabbi of Kesher Israel congregation in Washington, DC, Associate Professor of Rabbinics and Liturgy at Towson University, Vice President of the Vaad of Washington and head of the conversion committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His books include Why We Pray What We Pray: The Remarkable History of a Jewish Prayer and Contemporary Orthodox Judaism’s Response To Modernity.

258 comments

  1. It is ironic this is posted the same day as R. Wolkenfeld observes:

    No idea deserves acceptance just because it’s new. And I personally often sympathize with more conventional and traditional ways of thinking and behaving. But it seems that we have become more afraid of the “wrong idea” in contemporary Orthodoxy than we are excited about discovering the next “right idea.” Too often our scholars devote more effort to rebutting a solution they dislike than they devote to using their Torah scholarship to create new solutions to the problems facing our community.

    Ref: http://morethodoxy.org/2013/02/12/guest-post-reflections-on-rabbi-david-hartman-zl-rabbi-david-wolkenfeld/

  2. Just like those rabbis and their insistence on a mechitza when there are real problems to solve

  3. There you have it. A rabbi must say yes or he will be a bad guy. We haven’t seen this episode before.

  4. “There you have it. A rabbi must say yes or he will be a bad guy. We haven’t seen this episode before.”

    Your cynicism is a shanda. I have absolutely no understanding why you are so self-righteous when Chazal cared about people. They were not the kind of judgenmental people that you obviously are. You are a bad guy. You need to learn some humility. That is Judaism, not your self righteous blog.

  5. Wow. So over the top reaction I’ll assume you just had a bad day.

  6. No. Had a great day. Sick and tired of your dismissal of others. Moshe was the most humble person in his generation. Learn from him.

  7. You really need to take a walk around the block.

  8. “Pesukei De-Zimra in the Rambam’s time could have no Chazzan of any type.”

    I’ve been in Chasidic shteebles where there is no Chazzan of any type until Yishtabach. Is this the source for that minhag?

  9. David S — Gil gets that way when he is frustrated: snarky and epithet-throwing. When he has a cogent response, he addresses the issue. It’s generally a good indication of your interlocutors weakness — the huffier the response, the more one can tell its nothing but hot air. Typical Yeshivish, in my experience, going back to interactions I had in the 1970s when Gil was just a (Conservative) pup.

  10. Ah, the 70s, when Consservative Jews didn’t hide behind the Orthodox label.

  11. It didn’t take long at all for the comments to get nasty this time.

    IH- Your premise that women not being allowed to lead Kabalat shabbos is arbitrary. Why is that a problem and not the fact that women cannot lead Shachrit or Mincha? Why isn’t it a problem that women cannot be dayanim or rabbis? You seem to possibly think that having a mechitza is a problem. And if those are all problems why shouldn’t rabbis try to find clever solutions to them? Where does it end? Does it ever end? Does Halacha have any say in this or are Rabbis empowered to change the law “for our own good?”

    I reject your argument that women not being allowed to lead kabalat shabbos is a problem for Halacik Judaism. Those are the rules, they were my parents rules and my grand parents rules, and the rules forever. If people don’t like them today and want to take shortcuts toward their preferred political question they might want to look in the mirror to find the problem.

    David S. your statement that Chazal “cared about people” Doesn’t help your case at all. Rabbis who oppose sin care about people very much. They want to prevent people from being lead away from God and Halacha. Surely you wouldn’t think letting people eat Traif, worship idols, or break shabbos was caring about them would you? If you think that those are examples of caring we’re not speaking the same language.

    Gil, don’t let them get to you. You are (of course) right. They want to portray the rabbis looking out for laymen (like me) as bad guys because sometimes you have to say no. I don’t pretend to be a theologian or a rabbi and I of course need to be told what the halacha is by the people who spend their lives learning and working with halcha. Of course those people need to tell me the truth and I understand that sometimes the answer is no. People tend to appreciate that when they grow up. A little child may not like the fact that his parents wouldn’t let him eat candy all day or play with fire but when we gets old he realizes that being told no was in his best interest.

  12. The 1970s, when you were born, my future B-i-L was a Mir Bochur and the people counted on to make the Friday night minyan at R. Gershon Zaks’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radu%C5%84_Yeshiva) shul on 103rd street included: Haim Dimitrovsky, Menachem Schmeltzer, Arthur Hyman (then at JTS) and Neil Gillman.

    You really do need to make peace with your suburban Conservative upbringing, Gil, now that you’ve turned 40.

  13. Proves nothing other than changing neighborhood demographics

  14. Right. And R. YY Weinberg’s Reform friend, Prof. Samuel Atlas, davened at our Shabbat daytime shtiebel (http://kevarim.com/rabbi-moshe-steinberg) where he sat at a table in the front learning with R. Samuel Baskin and my father.

    After my F-i-L (Chaim Berlin, YC) died, I found his private smicha letter was from R. Samuel Baskin.

    R. Baskin knew all of Shas by heart, and being an old man once missed a cite by an amud — he apologized to my father and Prof. Atlas the following Shabbat.

    Your mesorah, Gil, is full of holes and apolgetics. I experienced it firsthand (albeit as as kid).

    Oh, and my father met with RMF a few times each year…

  15. On R. Baskin, here’s a biographical sketch from the 1926 Who’s Who in American Jewry: http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/freimann/content/pageview/3777316

  16. IH I’m not sure how your history is the least bit relevant. Orthodox Jews can and should be friends with Conservative Jews, Reform Jews, Jewish Renewal Types ect . . . If a reform Jew wanted to come daven at an Orthodox shul of course he should be welcomed. But if he continues to drive on shabbos, eat traif ect . . . that doesn’t make him Orthodox.

    The Pope could memorize all of Shas (there have been a lot of very smart Pope’s) but that wouldn’t make any of them Orthodox Jews.

    As for the attack on Mesorah, do you claim to be Orthodox and hold that view of Mesorah? I do note that you called it “your mesorah” so perhaps not . . .

  17. Amazing – David S and IH – accusing Gil of emotional bias overreaction while writing as if they ran out of Xanax in the snowstorm. Mind that the coal cart not call the kettle black.

    History is more than correct – “your mesorah” is the perfect Freudian slip here. Indeed mesorah indicates a particular mode of traditive development. It excludes developments that occur in an untraditional mode, the most common being ideological changes in the last 2+ centuries. If you are an ideologue, you are indeed an opponent of tradition. And you are an ideologue if you propose change for the sake of meeting “real problems” without dealing with the original reason behind the prohibition on female leadership of ritual sacrifice or with the validity of new applications of the continuing tradition.

    Finally, IH, you show desperation in raising the straw man of Orthodox/Conservative separation in the past, and you ignore Gil’s actual point. Of course Orthodox and Conservative Jews should cooperate with each other and maintain the most friendly and cordial of bonds whenever possible. But they must recognize where they differ. That is an area where Conservative Jews are honest – and supporters of partnership minyanim, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are engaged in self-delusion.

  18. Forest Seeker — I don’t follow. Why would the attendees of the Darkhei Noam partnership minyan settle for half a loaf (as Harry Maryles has coined it) when they could walk a few blocks over and attend the fully egalitarian Kehilat Hadar (http://www.kehilathadar.org/faqs)?

    Answer: they want to remain within the red lines of Orthodoxy, which they believe is the case with Partnership Minyanim.

  19. But, the real question comes back to R. Wolkenfeld: “Too often our scholars devote more effort to rebutting a solution they dislike than they devote to using their Torah scholarship to create new solutions to the problems facing our community.”

  20. Net net: instead of kvetching, tell me your solution to how Modern Orthodoxy synthesizes classic halacha with the reality of the permanent change in the role of women in society.

    And, btw, you’re kidding yourself if you don’t understand that change has already been accepted by the Charedi velt (which depends on it to allow the men to learn full-time in kollel).

  21. This enduring debate has me surprised, amused, mystified, and scratching my head. I watched with amazement as the posts on this topic continued to numbers II, III and now even IV, with literally hundreds upon hundreds of comments in total. And all this on an issue that is clearly Much Ado About Nothing.

    Nothing in this debate has anything to do with peshat in the Rambam. What he would have said about Kabbalat Shabbat is quite clear: It is simply forbidden. It is clearly forbidden halakhically for reasons of tirkhah de-zibburah, and probably for other reasons as well. And there is no way to grant any formal status to it or to other similar institutions beyond the vague “nahagu ha-am” (which is not necessarily a positive thing).

    I am personally gratified that Am Yisrael took exception to the Rambam for Kabbalat Shabbat in particular (because I think it is uniquely beautiful and not tirkhah de-zibburah). But his basic policy is nevertheless correct for the vast majority of what we do in shul nowadays (beyond Shema with its berakhot and the Amidah), very little of which has anything to do with halakhic prayer or avodat Hashem, no matter how widespread the acceptance of these customs has become.

    It is also quite clear that nothing in this whole discussion has anything whatsoever to do with ikkar ha-din, with roots in the Talmud and Rishonim, in terms of the takkanot of berakhot and tefillah.

    The issue of women taking roles in all these matters is thus a non-issue, since the matters themselves are non-issues. At best it is a public policy issue. But the fact that so many people take these things so seriously on a halakhic level shows just how divorced we have become from the basic rabbinic obligation of daily prayer.

  22. The tone and tenor of opposition to an innovation is a good measure of its worth. This series of posts demonstrates that Partnership Minyanim are the wave of the future for Modern Orthodoxy. The Yeshivish will have their own solutions, which is fine too.

  23. 1) Why didn’t Rabbi Dr Freundel respond to the other accusations that he misread and contorted the meaning of many sources in his tshuva (the Mishneh Berurah, Rav Moshe, etc etc, and all of the sources for “b’rov am” that he misread as supporting his new claims) in the way that non-Orthodox responsa do? His “tshuva” is in many ways the best example of a non-Orthodoxy methodology one could find. The strange (eclectic?) assortment of scattered sources (which he claims to be exhaustive) is of course reminiscent of the Bar Ilan searches which form the basis of Conservative responsa.

    2) Is there any leading posek who agrees with Rabbi Dr. Freundel’s analysis? I think there is a good reason no one else is making his “halachic” argument — because it is weak. Most poskim oppose the egalitarian ideas on policy/sociological grounds (e.g. R. Henkin’s comments in his article on women’s krias HaTorah, years ago). But to twist the halachic to make such an argument is a step most major poskim seem unwilling to take.

  24. Gil,
    I was statrting to think that there was something to R. FReundel’s arguments, but your recent responses suggest otherwise. you never behave this way when the sources are clearly on your side. I defer to your superior grasp of the sugya.

    This has nothing to do with mechitza, but a recent link you posted showed, back inthe day, there were gedolim who though otherwise about mechitzas as well.

    IH,
    Prof David Ruderman, who studied with R. Atlas in HUC told me that he had no reason to question Atlas’s personal commmitment to Orthodoxy. He says that he taught at HUC because they got him out of europe and saved his life and had tremendous hakaras hatov for the rest of his days.

  25. IH-
    The question is how do these people define those “red lines”. Thisd is ulitmatley a question of halakhic methodology and metaphysics. Unfortunately neitherside is interested or in most cases particularly capable of having an honest discussion on this matter.

  26. I’m reminded of a phrase that Miriam Adahan uses in a slightly different context, but it works here, too — when responding to a snarky, or otherwise negative-sounding post — the responder ought to think to him/herself: “thank you H’ for giving me the opportunity to work on my middos.”

  27. (just to be clear, I meant: ” snarky, or otherwise negative-sounding _comment_”)

  28. Moshe: This isn’t about sources. It’s about 1) hefker in religious practice and 2) the slippery slope having been slid down almost to the very bottom. We are almost at complete egalitarianism. Give it a few more years but definitely in our lifetimes.

    The split within Modern Orthodoxy is almost complete. It’s been going in slow motion and some of the biggest forces (including among the RWMO) have been working behind the scenes to stop it. But they can’t stop history. They can only slow it down. I chose my side long ago.

  29. Lawrence Kaplan

    I thank R. Freundel for his lenghty, courteous, and thoughtful response. Perhaps it is my perversity, but I still remain unpersuaded. I do not have that much time now, so let me just say the following.

    1. The Rabmam does NOT speak of a Hazzan, but a sheliah tzibbur. His function is both create the tzibbur by leading the kaddish and Barkhu, and to lead it once it is created. I see no reason why thw Rambam would forbid someone informally serving as a prayer-leader marking time for the individuals (yehidim) reading together qua individuals pesukei de-zimra.

    2. I think you missed the point of the Rav about Hallel. Hallel is a kiyyum of amirah be-tzibur (the citation is on p. 17, not p. 23) if there ALREADY is a tzibbur . That is why Hallel is recited after the Amidah and before the Kaddish of Tiskabel. The recitation of the Hallel itself does not and cannot, for the Rav, create a tzibbur. This woyuld go against the Rav’s main point that only the recitation of a davar she-bikedushah, which requires for its recition a tzibbur, can create one. This ,of course, is not the case with Hallel, which can be recited individually.

    I think it is unfortunate that most of the posts so far have been more in the nature of personal mud-slinging instead of halakhic analysis.

  30. IH:

    I could say that “The tone and tenor” of your out-of-left-field emotional and personal attacks on Gil display the “worth” of the innovation you support. Attacking people’s religious upbringings is a grave sin, a biblical prohibition according to the Talmud, and you owe at least 2 apologies for your doing so repeatedly and in such a public manner. A lack of an apology on your part, and a shift instead to attacking the stridence of others, displays extraordinarily poor moral character on your part, and may leave people questioning what motivates your thinking on this issue.

  31. IH:

    To respond to your point about “half a loaf” –

    It is indeed clear that partnership minyan proponents want to be “Orthodox” in whatever sense they understand the term. Of course it would be uncomfortable to defy Orthodox Judaism to the point that it would be obvious to them that they are engaged in transgressions. So they enter a hyper-halakhic fight and attempt to show that there is no halakhic prohibition for, say Kabbalath Sabbath. My point is that there is no fundamental difference between Kabbalath Shabbath and other public synagogue services, and that they should not delude themselves into thinking that they are engaged in Orthodox practices when they are actually not.

    When it comes to the “wave of the future,” let’s try not to use methods, arguments and phrases that were created by Jacobins and developed to perfection by Communists and Fascists. I do not know what the future will bring, but I would certainly not attempt to force changes to tradition on the basis of charisma and emotional impulse.

  32. “Answer: they want to remain within the red lines of Orthodoxy, which they believe is the case with Partnership Minyanim.”

    Or Answer: they are afraid to be seen leaving Orthdoxy or don’t want to be labelled as non-Orthodox, when in fact they are.

  33. Gil
    If there is a split, it will in part because you and your teachers have decided that it is a forgone conclusion. There are a lot of us who dont consider either RHS or Avi Weiss to be our rabbeim. They is yawning gap in leadership in the US MO community between these two poles. THose leaders, from RAL and R. Riskin through my own contemporaries almost all made aliya. What will happen to all those people, rabbis and lay people alike, who see both sides of this fight as simplistic and not in line with the way the were educated, by the Rav RAL and others?

    If this is not about halakhic sources why do you keep posting halkhic arguments, which in some cases you have freely admitted to me dont really hold water? All you are doing is pushing more people into the other camp. YOu write us all of and say that your arguments anre only to rally the people who already reject anything that stinks of feminism. You seem nmot to care about those in the middle.

    Why not be honest and address the halakhic scoial and moral complexity of the issue and then take a principled stand against people whose behavior we find destructive even if it does not necessarily violate any particular halakha?

    Why do you assume that what is going on here is identicle to what happened in the 50’s and 60’s with conservative Judasim just becasue of some superficial similarities?

    Unlike you, I dont know the future. But I think that it is at least as likely that there will be a continuum of halkhicly oriented judaism, which will be increasingly egalitarian as you move to the left.

  34. ““Answer: they want to remain within the red lines of Orthodoxy, which they believe is the case with Partnership Minyanim.”

    Or Answer: they are afraid to be seen leaving Orthdoxy or don’t want to be labelled as non-Orthodox, when in fact they are.

    third possible answer: they want to daven with other people who were raised orthodox and keep shabbos?

    i think for most attendees the answer is somewhere between my answer and IH’s. almost none self-consciously adopt Gil’s formulation, for obvious reasons…

  35. Professor Kaplan,

    I think the reason the posts are about mudslinging is that there is no real halacha to discuss. Most people here (and I daresay most poskim) don’t think there is any halachic significance to kabalas Shabbos or pesukei d’zimra (like what Seth Kadish said earlier). In other words, they don’t accept Rabbi Dr. Freundel’s analysis at all. And I haven’t spoken to a single rabbi, no less a posek, that find’s his halachic argument in any way convincing. I think it was very generous of Gil to allow him to post all of his arguments, but his case is so speculative and lacking in any rigor (just compare to R. Soloveitchik’s careful essay to see the difference) that no one anywhere has taken it seriously. Therefore, people have moved onto the social argument and hence the mudslinging (which seems an inseparable part of culture war type arguments nowadays). Rabbi Dr. Freundel might be right on the social policy question, but his attempt to use halacha to make that argument has not gained any traction at all, as evidenced by these 4 posts.

  36. If there is a split, it will in part because you and your teachers have decided that it is a forgone conclusion

    I was opposed to this but was convinced by the left that the right was actually correct. They went too far and continue going in that direction.

    They is yawning gap in leadership in the US MO community between these two poles

    I agree. I see those leaders at work and they aren’t making much of an impact despite their efforts.

    THose leaders, from RAL and R. Riskin through my own contemporaries almost all made aliya

    Not true but I’m not going to name names.

    What will happen to all those people, rabbis and lay people alike, who see both sides of this fight as simplistic and not in line with the way the were educated, by the Rav RAL and others?

    The center is going with the right because, as the saying goes, at least they can daven with them.

    If this is not about halakhic sources why do you keep posting halkhic arguments, which in some cases you have freely admitted to me dont really hold water?

    I post guest posts even if I don’t agree with them. You think I agree with everything that R. Michael Broyde says? Or R. Yonatan Neril? If someone I consider worthy writes something respectable, I’m happy to post it. I posted R. Seth Kadish’s essay. I even summarized R. Chaim Navon’s book!

    YOu write us all of and say that your arguments anre only to rally the people who already reject anything that stinks of feminism

    No, I only make arguments that I believe are correct. I haven’t made any arguments against Partnership Minyanim because I don’t believe we need any.

    Why not be honest and address the halakhic scoial and moral complexity of the issue and then take a principled stand against people whose behavior we find destructive even if it does not necessarily violate any particular halakha?

    You mean like the summary of R. Chaim Navon’s book?

    Why do you assume that what is going on here is identicle to what happened in the 50′s and 60′s with conservative Judasim just becasue of some superficial similarities?

    These aren’t superficial similarities. These are almost identical phenomena. The assumption that Conservative Jews in the 50’s and 60’s were uncommitted is superficial thinking. And the assumption that *everyone* who attends Partnership Minyanim are completely committed to halakhah is also superficial.

    Most importantly, this is about accepting some sort of authority or deciding halakhah on your own. We are dealing with people who, by and large, will not defer to any halakhic authority. That leads directly to the destruction of halakhic Judaism.

    Unlike you, I dont know the future

    That is an irresponsible attitude. We have to use our best judgment and, in this case, my best judgment corresponds with that of the people I most respect.

  37. To be clear, I think that partnership minayanim are to a certain degree inherently schismatic and I have no problem defining them as non-Orthodox. but thus far, they have not gotten enough traction to create a real split.

  38. IH:

    We Modern Orthodox have indeed failed miserably in adjusting to societal changes in sex roles. We have fulminated against Haredim for failing themselves by elevating men’s endless and goal-less Torah study at the expense of overworked and sometimes unappreciated women, but we ourselves have failed to elevate the fairer sex, albeit in different ways. While we pat ourselves on the back for engaging in culture, the only thing that tends to differentiate most of us from Haredim is that we dress differently, watch football, engage with the lowest of the low in popular culture, and occasionally dabble in the true high culture of the West. Our Torah study is all too often goal-less Talmud study, and we have erred grievously in attempting to elevate women by expecting their advancement to be measured in the same inefficient Talmud study that we expect our men to spend the bulk of their free time on. The study of the Bible, poetry, and literature are the most neglected fields, for both men and women. Many of us can only measure women’s elevation in terms that involve them emulating the obligations of men, regardless of what those obligations are and regardless of their effect on men and women. One example from our broader society is the President’s desire to place women in combat – what a way to elevate women! In the case of public prayer, most of us Modern Orthodox have little to no understanding of the original meaning and context of sacrificial ritual and the prayers that were meant to replace it. Our misinterpretation leads to misapplication. There is plenty to do when it comes to adjusting to our changing society – a truly cultured education would be the best place to start, and it would take enormous effort to replace the mediocre and uncultured educational approach we Modern Orthodox have, one that emulates the worst of our postmodern and post-Western society. An 19th century woman with a Western education was far better educated than a woman who comes out of a Modern Orthodox school today, and we have the ability to do far better. We don’t even teach a mastery of scripture, for instance by teaching both men and women cantillation notes from a young age, yet some of us push for the ritual reading of small portions of the Torah that are often not even understood when they are read on account of our poor Hebrew education. We no longer have any concept of woman as elevated and closer to the divine – as in need of less prayer and sacrifice on this account – an idea that developed from the Bible to 13th Century Florence to 19th Century England. The Haredim do not understand this either, but we should not be Zarathustra’s last men, thinking we have discovered happiness.

  39. “This isn’t about sources. It’s about 1) hefker in religious practice and 2) the slippery slope having been slid down almost to the very bottom.”

    Rav Gil, thanks for being candid and I completely agree with you. I would have phrased it a bit differently, since in my opinion contemporary Orthodoxy is the farthest thing possible from “hefker” in any area (i.e. it is far too serious about nearly everything), and because when it comes to the slippery slopes (plural) I think that the opposite slope is the one that is far more powerful and far more dangerous to the Torah and to the people who strive to live by it. And that is the community to which I belong.

    But I do fully agree with you that these are indeed the issues, and that they are completely legitimate and important issues no matter which side one takes. What pains me is that when non-halakhic issues are presented and argued as such, the damage done is to the Torah itself.

  40. Seth Kadish: I think that the opposite slope is the one that is far more powerful and far more dangerous to the Torah and to the people who strive to live by it

    I agree. In my personal life, the Charedi attitude is far more of a frustration than the LWMO.

    Forcing women to the back of the bus is far more damaging to Yiddishkeit than calling women to the Torah. But we don’t have to choose between them. We can reject both.

  41. Moshe Shoshan — Yasher koach for capturing the essence of what is behind the curtain. Many thanks also for Prof. Ruderman’s comment on Prof. Atlas – I had no doubt myself, but guilt by association is par for the course in these discussions. Agav, there is the wonderful story about Prof. Dimitrovsky: “Prof. Haim Dimitrovsky relates that when he was newly hired at JTSA, he asked Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn of Lubavitch whether he should remain in the Seminary, and the response was “as long as Lieberman is there.”

    —–

    I don’t have any issue with Gil’s airing his opinions, even without acknowledging the obvious that he owns up to at 9:18am: “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”. At the end of the day, it is his blog. The problem is when he mistakenly cites hearsay from his teachers as fact and retells it with the zeal of the convert he is.

    Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism in the 20th century were far more complicated and interwoven than Gil portrays. And, the biggest irony of all is that YU itself was deemed outside of the red-lines of Orthodoxy by another set of self-righteous defenders of the faith back when it was innovating to remain relevant.

    In 1932, the following anonymous placard was distributed in Orthodox synagogues throughout the east coast: ‘We Jews of New York discovered that in the Yeshiva Rabbi Isaac Elchanan … there is a nest of atheism and Apikursus (denial of God). Therefore we do warn and announce, that you should not send your children or the children of your acquaintances into this Yeshiva until you will find out what is going on in the Yeshiva, who is responsible for the terrible situation, and how it is to be remedied.’ […] Despite the presence of prominent scholars in RIETS, men whose abilities were acknowledged by all who moved within the orbit of talmudic learning, opposition to Yeshiva’s philosophy was constant. Sometimes it was rancorous. When the famed head of the yeshiva in Baranowicz, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, visited the United States, he praised the more traditional institution, Mesivta Torah Vodaath, and condemned Yeshiva College. He refused, despite personal pleas by Dr. Revel, to set foot in the building. Rabbi Wasserman’s view was that although philosophy had been studied in the past by gedolim (giants in scholarship) such as the Vilna Gaon, in these times there were no individuals of sufficient stature to study such subjects without risking their faith.

    From Helmreich’s The world of the yeshiva: an intimate portrait of Orthodox Jewry

  42. I don’t have any issue with Gil’s airing his opinions, even without acknowledging the obvious that he owns up to at 9:18am: “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”.

    Since I’ve been saying this VERY LOUDLY for the 8+ years this blog has been in existence, this must be a really long sunlit day.

    Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism in the 20th century were far more complicated and interwoven than Gil portrays

    Everything is complicated and interwoven when you dig into it. That doesn’t mean they aren’t similar in very important ways. If anything, that makes the phenomena MORE similar because LWMO and Center/Right MO are also interwoven in complex ways.

    And, the biggest irony of all is that YU itself was deemed outside of the red-lines of Orthodoxy by another set of self-righteous defenders of the faith back when it was innovating to remain relevant

    Why is that ironic? There will always be people to your right. Agudah was also harshly condemned by Satmar, and still is. And Reform was harshly condemned by traditionalists when they began. How is that relevant in any way?

  43. How is that relevant in any way?

    Because both that and this are sociological debates centered on a slippery-slope argument.

    Forcing women to the back of the bus is far more damaging to Yiddishkeit than calling women to the Torah. But we don’t have to choose between them. We can reject both.

    So are you ready to belatedly reject RHS’s comment on women sitting separately on the bus? Or is that different because he thinks the ezrat nashim should be in the front rather than the back?

  44. IH: There you go again, misinterpreting what he said. We have discussed this many times on this blog and every other commenter disagrees with your interpretation.

    But yes, I am willing to say that if R. Hershel Schachter would advocate for a policy of requiring women to sit in the back of the bus then I would disagree with him.

  45. Cute. Are you willing to say that if R. Hershel Schachter would advocate for a policy of requiring women to sit in the front of the bus then you would disagree with him?

  46. IH: I don’t oppose separate seating as long as it is done respectfully and enforced (or not enforced) respectfully. If front-of-the-bus is done respectfully, then I’m OK with it in neighborhoods that want it. I’m also OK with side-by-side seating with a curtain between like they have on the Monsey buses. I’m not happy with it but I don’t oppose it.

  47. “Forcing women to the back of the bus is far more damaging to Yiddishkeit than calling women to the Torah. But we don’t have to choose between them. We can reject both.”

    I am not sure that this is, practically, true. You can reject both as practice for your family. But I don’t see many people who reject affiliating with both as part of “us.” Yu can say that women’s aliyot are “not orthodox” or that chareidi extremism is “not orthodox” usually something softer like “not my orthodox”), but very very few people do both. further, there is little or no talk of schism with the right, making “rejection” very different there than w the left…

  48. “Yu” should have been “you,” (not “YU”)

  49. There is no talk of schism with those on the right who demand Mehadrin buses because there is no relationship with them whatsoever! They aren’t applying for membership in the RCA or lecturing in our schools and shuls. They have their own self-contained community.

  50. No interpretation is necessary. R. Hershel Schachter’s words speak for themselves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyjtD-if5Js

  51. You have my answer. If he really said it, I disagree. I don’t believe he said it.

  52. “They have their own self-contained community.”

    not financially…

  53. Gil
    There can be no doubt that you certaily post positions to your left and deserve credit for it. WRT your assumption that the middle will move with the right, to certain degree I think you are correct. However, rhetoric that alienates the center even if it is directed at the left is very dangerous. not just becasue some of these peoiple will be pushed unneccesarily into the other camp. My primary concern is with this sesne of alienation and apathy itself which I think is more dangerous than partership minayanim per se. granted we have very different assesments of the situation. I dont see evidence that these minyanim here or inthe US are turning into a mass movement. If I saw shuls going over to “partership” services like they were dropping mechitzos and joining the United Synagogue two generations ago, I’d be a lot more sympathetic to your approach. I also dont see anything like psaks that matir driving to shul on shabbos or any unabashed apikorsim in the left camp that are anything like Mordechai Kaplan or other JTS faculty back in the day.

    Put simply, it would go along way if there were people in the US MO world saying, I realy sympathize with the concerns of the women in JOFA, but lo zu haderekh.

  54. >not financially…

    It’s not only financially. The same way the MO community depends on the RW community for tefillin, mohels, etc. etc. the RW communities depend on MO for doctors, lawyers, shtadlanim, and all kinds of fixers.

  55. “Put simply, it would go along way if there were people in the US MO world saying, I realy sympathize with the concerns of the women in JOFA, but lo zu haderekh.”

    No it wouldn’t. If I was one of these women, welcoming change and not satisfied with the status quo, why would I fine with some high-handed platitude “we understand your pain but there is nothing we can do.” Wait, there is…just look at partership minyanim, what Dr. Sperber advocates…there is more you can do.

  56. “They have their own self-contained community.”

    not financially…”

    Actually, Satmar does.

  57. emma and Anonymous: We are discussing Edah Chardeis, not all Charedim. They are largely independent, including financially.

  58. Moshe: The centrist voices of which you speak exist locally. They get no traction on a wider scale because the media either ignores them or distorts their message.

  59. And almost everyone in MO (from left to right) depends on Chabad’s network, so Prof. Berger’s desire for schism also come to nothing.

    No Jewish community is self-sufficient and schism is just braggado.

  60. because the media either ignores them or distorts their message

    Wow. Conspiracy theories too…

  61. Superintendant Chalmers

    IH,
    I found your attempts to attack Gil and his upbringing to be rather crude, childish, and in poor taste, to say the least. Comments of such a nature have no place in a discussion among intelligent adults.

    You owe Gil an apology. Period.

    Gil, I believe I speak for the silent majority of readers who appreciate and applaud your work, and are disgusted by such pathetic attempts to bring you down.

  62. “If I was one of these women, welcoming change and not satisfied with the status quo, why would I fine with some high-handed platitude “we understand your pain but there is nothing we can do.””

    speaking as such a woman, i can say that this is only partially correct. i understand that some innovations are halachically tenuous, radical, whatever you want to say. i understand why because i have some sense of the underlying texts a well as the underlying mimetic tradition. i myself am torn, and i am not alone. it does make me feel better, sometimes, when rabbis acknowledge that they too, are torn, that they see why someone would want to permit something even if ultimately they cannot. but i have to be convinced that the rabbi really feels he “cannot,” not that he just doesn’t prioritize it enough to take the inevitable flak from the right flank…

  63. Y[o]u can say that women’s aliyot are “not orthodox” or that chareidi extremism is “not orthodox” usually something softer like “not my orthodox”), but very very few people do both.

    I find this statement very surprising. The joke that “everyone to my right is nuts, and everyone to my left is an apikoros” misses the mark in the opposite direction, but overall, I think it is closer to the truth.

  64. “Forest Seeker” – great pen name!

  65. Put simply, it would go along way if there were people in the US MO world saying, I realy sympathize with the concerns of the women in JOFA, but lo zu haderekh.

    R’ Henkin said that, and look how quickly they dropped him. (Yes I know he is not in the US, but he’s well known in the US, and they used his agreement to support previous innovations)

  66. Plenty of people outside the edah use “meah shearim” to mean “more religious” (in a good way). They refer to various “chumras” in “tznius” as generally positive, aren’t-they-so-frum, with perhaps an aside that it’s “extreme” or “not for everyone.” One sees already in israel accommodation of these factions by, for example, removal of female professionals from public events.
    and re: finances, there are plenty of modern orthodox jews who give to any shnorrer or meshulach with a beard, at least a little bit.

  67. “I find this statement very surprising. The joke that “everyone to my right is nuts, and everyone to my left is an apikoros” misses the mark in the opposite direction, but overall, I think it is closer to the truth.”

    “Nuts” doesn’t mean “not orthodox.” It doesn’t mean that I don’t trust their hashgacha on food. It doesn’t mean that I would ask a shailah before attending a bar mitzvah in their shul. It just means I don’t want to live like that.

  68. I will take your word as to your subjective feelings. However, I would suspect that for those on the left, this will not really comforting, when you have rabbis on the left permitting such things. Those who would accept the decisor who claims he is “torn” but cannot permit may make someone on the fence of on the right of spectrum feel better.

  69. further, “nuts” does not even mean that i wouldn’t hire them to teah my children, as we can see in many day schools…

  70. Shlomo, et al. — I’ve never attended a JOFA event, nor am I member, but the issue of how Modern Orthodoxy adapts to the change in the role of women has been in my bones since I became an adult. People (including Emma) seem to forget that this is about the men as well; and. not just the women.

  71. Well, that is if you equate Meah Shearim Jews/Edah HaChareidis with American Chareidim. I suspect, unlike you emma, most people don’t.

  72. I certainly do not equate the two. I don’t think I implied I did either, but whatever. I mean that non-edah people, including americans, use “meah shearim” to mean “more frum,” in a good way. So the claim that they have been written off or have no connection is false. I am talking about use by non-israelis (although, truth be told, most of the specific examples i have in mind were in non-US diasporic countries or americans in israel).

  73. Re the accusation that Rabbi Broyde is a Bar Ilan database posek, I wonder, does anyone disrespect a posek who consults the Pischei Teshuva? Or works like the Sdei Chemed and Pachad Yitzchak? Furthermore, the so-called obscure sources that Rabbi Broyde brings are mostly no on Bar Ilan, which doesn’t have *that* broad of a selection of shu”t seforim (for the obvious reason that transcribing them is difficult and it has taken years to build up to what it is). True, many of these sources are probably accessed through hebrewbooks.org and the like (the horrors) but these do not have great search capabilities, and require looking through them, to say nothing of the fact that shu”t seforim are organized in predictable ways and it is not exactly a monumental feat of scholarship to find relevant shu”t, it’s just a question of looking. And in fact, the canonical halachic sources are often no more and no less than what is available in the library or Beis Midrash of a posek. It is immature to criticize a posek who broadens his Torah horizons and, the horrors, sees a broad range of relevant sources to draw upon. Furthermore, Bar Ilan or not, who can believe that Rabbi Broyde doesn’t spend many many hours a day learning Torah and that he doesn’t thirst for the dvar Hashem? The fact that halacha for him turns out to be a little more multicolored than, I suppose, it is for the kind of poskim who are not Bar Ilan posekim is a stylistic difference and I would hope that every posek and rabbi would try to familiarize himself with whatever he can get his hands on. Deliberate narrowness is not a virtue.

  74. Shlomo,
    in hacha nami, the hard core feminists will not follow R. Henkin. But there would be a very different dynamic in NY if R. Henkin were a regular part of the halakhic and ideological conversation.
    For one thing he would be able to advocate for yoatzot nidah, which the senior RY roshei yeshiva are not terribly supportive of.

  75. IH-I think that your comments re R Gil’s background are over the top and beyond the definition of fair comment, (and show a lack of respect for RHS). I think that there are Torah rooted prohibitions in reminding a person of his or her past background.

    Seth Kadish-how you understand the Halacha of Tosefes Shabbos and its implementation which is mentioned in Shabbos 119a, Rambam and SA,the six tekios on Erev Shabbos ( see Shabbos 35b), the mentioning of the same by Rambam and SA, and the Gra’s view that the six prakim of Tehilim that comprise Kabalas Shabbos serve as a Tosefes Shabbos for the Tzibur in shul that is culminated with Barchu? The issue is not whether Kabalas Shabbos can be reconciled with the Shitas HaRambam, but rather the exact purpose and function of Kabalas Shabbos in light of a possible Torah based halacha-Tosefes Shabbos.

    More to the point, for those interested in the sociological underpinnings of those who adopt and push for the feminist agenda as a means of dictating halachic “change”, take a look at David Brooks’ excellent “Bobos in Paradise” and the section on spirituality.

  76. Moshe Shoshan wrote:

    “For one thing he would be able to advocate for yoatzot nidah, which the senior RY roshei yeshiva are not terribly supportive of”

    Have you ever asked R M Willig about his POV re Yotzaot Halacha or any Yotzaot Halacha who ask R M Willig their halachic queries?

  77. “I will take your word as to your subjective feelings. However, I would suspect that for those on the left, this will not really comforting, when you have rabbis on the left permitting such things. Those who would accept the decisor who claims he is “torn” but cannot permit may make someone on the fence of on the right of spectrum feel better.”

    nu, isn’t making people on the fence feel better important? there’s a continuum here. because you can’t satisfy some people you shouldn’t satisfy anyone? especially if one is talking about the fence as if it is a schismatic one?

  78. I agree with R Gil-how RIETS was viewed in the 1930s by the pre Holocaust yeshiva world or Agudah’s relationship woith Satmar is irrelevant to the present discussion. For the same reason, I agree with the following responses:

    “If there is a split, it will in part because you and your teachers have decided that it is a forgone conclusion

    I was opposed to this but was convinced by the left that the right was actually correct. They went too far and continue going in that direction.

    They is yawning gap in leadership in the US MO community between these two poles

    I agree. I see those leaders at work and they aren’t making much of an impact despite their efforts.

    THose leaders, from RAL and R. Riskin through my own contemporaries almost all made aliya

    Not true but I’m not going to name names.

    What will happen to all those people, rabbis and lay people alike, who see both sides of this fight as simplistic and not in line with the way the were educated, by the Rav RAL and others?

    The center is going with the right because, as the saying goes, at least they can daven with them.

    If this is not about halakhic sources why do you keep posting halkhic arguments, which in some cases you have freely admitted to me dont really hold water?

    I post guest posts even if I don’t agree with them. You think I agree with everything that R. Michael Broyde says? Or R. Yonatan Neril? If someone I consider worthy writes something respectable, I’m happy to post it. I posted R. Seth Kadish’s essay. I even summarized R. Chaim Navon’s book!

    YOu write us all of and say that your arguments anre only to rally the people who already reject anything that stinks of feminism

    No, I only make arguments that I believe are correct. I haven’t made any arguments against Partnership Minyanim because I don’t believe we need any.

    Why not be honest and address the halakhic scoial and moral complexity of the issue and then take a principled stand against people whose behavior we find destructive even if it does not necessarily violate any particular halakha?

    You mean like the summary of R. Chaim Navon’s book?

    Why do you assume that what is going on here is identicle to what happened in the 50′s and 60′s with conservative Judasim just becasue of some superficial similarities?

    These aren’t superficial similarities. These are almost identical phenomena. The assumption that Conservative Jews in the 50′s and 60′s were uncommitted is superficial thinking. And the assumption that *everyone* who attends Partnership Minyanim are completely committed to halakhah is also superficial.

    Most importantly, this is about accepting some sort of authority or deciding halakhah on your own. We are dealing with people who, by and large, will not defer to any halakhic authority. That leads directly to the destruction of halakhic Judaism.

    Unlike you, I dont know the future

    That is an irresponsible attitude. We have to use our best judgment and, in this case, my best judgment corresponds with that of the people I most respect.

    Once again, I refer any interested reader or would be poster to my comment in Part I of this discussion re Rambam’s comment in the introduction to Shemoneh Perakim re the proper treatment of Cholei HaNefesh.

    “Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism in the 20th century were far more complicated and interwoven than Gil portrays

    Everything is complicated and interwoven when you dig into it. That doesn’t mean they aren’t similar in very important ways. If anything, that makes the phenomena MORE similar because LWMO and Center/Right MO are also interwoven in complex ways

  79. in other words, there is a risk that in the zeal to push out the far left people who would have stayed absent nasty rhetoric will also leave. and i suspect _some_ rabbis actually like that because then they won’t have to answer the fence-sitters’ pesky questions any more. but that’s a pastoral failure, not something to be proud of.

  80. Steve,
    no, but I have spoken to people who have spoken to him.
    R. Neuberger is on the record that he thinks that yoatzot violate the issur of serrarah and also undermine rabbis’ personal relationships with the female married members of their kehillahs.

  81. IH, your comments on this post have reached a new nadir of obnoxiousness.

    > R. Wolkenfeld observes:… “Too often our scholars devote more effort to rebutting a solution they dislike than they devote to using their Torah scholarship to create new solutions to the problems facing our community.”

    Your oft-repetition of this quote doesn’t make the case you want it to, unless you’re reading the second half as euphemism for “…than they devote to using their Torah scholarship to introduce egalitarianism into our synagogues.” Is that the author’s intent?

    “This series of posts demonstrates that Partnership Minyanim are the wave of the future for Modern Orthodoxy.”

    If anything, this series seems to demonstrate that Partnership Minyanim are the wave on which devoted leftists will ride out of Modern Orthodoxy altogether.

  82. Moshe Shoshan- I think that R Willig’s POV is far different than that of R Neuberger. Again, it is my understanding that R Willig is far more positive about Yoatzot Halacha than you stated.

  83. S.,

    You misunderstand my criticism of Rabbi Dr. Freundel (not R. Broyde!). My reference to Bar Ilan was to show how he chose such an odd selection of tshuvos, many of which I claim are unrelated to his point except insofar as they share key words of “tefillah b’rabim”! I think you’ll agree that is not broadening horizons. But I agree with you that no one should be criticized for quoting unusual or creative sources if they are on point and relevant, read and construed correctly, etc.

  84. There is a strange (and sad) need by some to label others whom they disagree with as non-orthodox. its nice to see r’ kadish hit the nail on its head (and r’ gil concurs somewhat):

    “The issue of women taking roles in all these matters is thus a non-issue, since the matters themselves are non-issues. At best it is a public policy issue.’

    like skeptic i spoke to a rav who read part 1 and quip this argumentation wouldn’t last 20 min. in a real “beis medrash”.

  85. Skeptic, mea culpa! You are right and I apologize. My head was scattered. I have seen that criticism of Rabbi Broyde before, and I guess I was just waiting for the opportunity to voice my reaction to it.

  86. Gil – “It’s about 1) hefker in religious practice and
    2) the slippery slope having been slid down almost to the very bottom. We are almost at complete egalitarianism.”

    thanks for your frankness. I assume item 1 is clarified by your later statement of:

    “Most importantly, this is about accepting some sort of authority or deciding halakhah on your own. We are dealing with people who, by and large, will not defer to any halakhic authority. That leads directly to the destruction of halakhic Judaism.’

    i think you need to clarify what you mean by egalitarianism – which would mean everyone is equal with no “hierarchies” (uniformity of man)- mamzerut would be abolish, kohanim too, women can be a witness, give a get. intermarriage would be ok…. i am not aware if anyone advocates this. this is untenable to all in orthodoxy.

    the issue is really simple – how we respond to changes in society which are motivated by a combination of equal respect to others (zalem elokim) and boundaries of halachik norms?
    On your first point- hefker and deferring to rabbinic authority: it seems in america there is a problem.The Rav produce many rabbis and some were more open minded to change but RAL and r’ Riskin left and others are being written out/marginalized. Its no wonder people look to Israel for guidance and they often are the students of RAL (or associated with Har etzion) (who is very conservative)- Rabbis Lau, Cherlow, Bin-Nun…
    I only see more division in the future in the america because the next generation are students of RHS and RMW and do not share the Rav’s or RAL haskafa[it will happen quicker if R’ Rosenwsig leaves]or hardly anyone left at YU.

    the status statement you often repeat can be used anytime in the last 200 years – hence without any more than that tends to be meaningless.

  87. ruvie: On your first point- hefker and deferring to rabbinic authority: it seems in america there is a problem.The Rav produce many rabbis and some were more open minded to change but RAL and r’ Riskin left and others are being written out/marginalized.

    That’s just it. People on the left looked to RAL and R. Riskin, until they no longer said yes. Then they looked to other rabbis, until they no longer said yes. Now they look to Prof. Sperber. Plenty of people stopped when their LW rabbis told them no but the radicals did not. That is one aspect of what I mean when I speak of hefker. The other aspect is simply self-pesak. Rabbis in their twenties issuing rulings on major issues, sometimes even non-rabbis, based on their own study of the sources.

    I only see more division in the future in the america because the next generation are students of RHS and RMW and do not share the Rav’s or RAL haskafa[it will happen quicker if R’ Rosenwsig leaves]or hardly anyone left at YU

    Additionally, many in the center have been turned off by the left and moved to the right. R. Freundel is one of many.

  88. “Nuts” doesn’t mean “not orthodox.” It doesn’t mean that I don’t trust their hashgacha on food.

    You can think that someone is stupid and malignant, and nevertheless realize that they keep their (perhaps unnecessarily strict) kashrut standards carefully enough that food they certify is kosher by your standards as well.

  89. previous post – should be “status quo”
    On Slippery Slope”: RAL has commented:

    “some have contended that whatever the SA does not proscribe could be regarded in favor. Others have rejected this premise as a general approach; and they have further resisted any innovation, particularly if fueled by feminist ideology, on the grounds it may lead to further demands or trigger a domino effect.”

    How truly slippery is that slope?what pressure and what cost?- the alienation of certain constituencies dilution of a spiritual life for what – the presumed security of an ultra conservative stance being attained?

    “As for myself, I presume that, with respect to both the women’s issues, specifically, and the fear of the slippery slope, generally, I find myself somewhere in the middle – enthusiastically supportive of some changes, resistant to others, and ambivalent about many….iF WE CANNOT COUNTENANCE EGALITARIANISM AS A TOTAL IDEOLOGY …WE NEED TO LABOR TO ASSURE THAT ITS POSITIVE COMPONENT, RESPECT FOR ZELEM ELOKIM, BE PROPERLY INTERNALIZED AND INCULCATED…..
    if our response to the egalitarianism manifesto is resistant, we are CHARGED, with MORAL, RELIGIOUS, AND EDUCATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO FIND COMPENSATORY MEANS …”

    egalitarianism is defined by total universal uniformity of all men and women.

  90. Exactly, ruvie. RAL is against many of these reforms to women’s synagogue participation. He believes in taking a middle road. That’s why the left no longer turns to him.

  91. Ruvie we can all hear yo even if don’t yell. The only thing we have to do is follow halacha and yelling at us isn’t going to change that.

    I for one don’t think that egalitarianism has a positive component. If men and women with all of our differences were both created in God’s imagine it is in no way respecting to that image to pretend those differences don’t exist. If anything its saying that the conception of equality that egalitarians have adopted from a Frenchman who lived in the 1790’s is more important than respecting the diversity of God’s creations.

    We are in fact charged with a moral responsibility to show respect for God’s creation and to me that means rejecting Jacobin philosophy in its entirety.

    If you want to convince me that we should change our behavior appealing to an ideology that led to the Terrors isn’t going to cut it.

  92. “I only see more division in the future in the america because the next generation are students of RHS and RMW and do not share the Rav’s or RAL haskafa[it will happen quicker if R’ Rosenwsig leaves]or hardly anyone left at YU.”

    Unrelated to the main discussion, but you make it sound like Rav Rosensweig may be leaving…is that the case?

  93. Unaware- I think it’s well known in what is going on at yu in this regards and to others..

  94. History-!sorry but didn’t have italics for emphasis…didn’t mean to imply yelling at all. My apologies.

  95. Gil – I don’t think partnership minyans ran to anyone who would allow it… It developed naturally after r’ Shapiro teshuva and in America after r’ sperber…. I don’t think anyone thought it was a possibility.

    I do understand that RAL doesn’t approve but it’s his former students that go to Shira chadasha.
    I think many in the MO world do not rely on RHS and RMW on women issues as well as death – brain. Many mo shul rabbis go to them for sheilot…. I see a division from the rabbis and their congregants at some point where YCT will be acceptable and YU will loose its connections to the mo community not because of the teshuvot but their attitude and insensitivity – intransigence -to the amcha. Just hearing about the ideological politicking that ry at reits do with certain issues convinces me of that.

  96. Ruvie-speaking in hushed conspiratorial terms (” I think it’s well known in what is going on at yu in this regards and to others”) adds little, if anything, to this thread.

    Anyone familiar with the current roster of RY in RIETS and Magidei Shiurim in MBP, and IBC will tell you that many grew up in MO communities, and went to MO elementary and high schools, all, but a handful, are products of YP and RIETS, and all learned at some time in the Kollelim, and can give excellent shiurim and write articles in Lashon Kodesh and English that all have a RIETS trademark of a beginning, middle and end.

    Your objection is that they seemingly don’t blindly rubber stamp your agenda and/or what you think what is important, and issue a blank check as opposed to their abilities as tremendous Talmidei Chachamim. It might behoove you to actually sit in on their shiurim or purchase their sefarim before sitting on judgment on those who are Gadol Bchachmah UvMinyan than yourself.

  97. History – on egalitarianism – your beef is not with but Rav Aharon L. – he does.

  98. Ruvie that last post was a little bit hard for me to understand. I’m not sure if a “beef” with anyone. I’m not Eminem. But, I do acknowledge that I disagree with anyone who holds egalitarianism up as a value, or who thinks that treating different people the same (especially in contravention of halacha) is somehow showing respect to those people or God or anyone else.

    Treating everyone (and everything) with the respect it deserves (based on its own unique properties and role in the world) is far different from ignoring differences and leveling by force (the guillotine for example) that egalitarianism demands. That is not an aspect of egalitarianism it is its polar opposite.

  99. ruvie: It developed naturally after r’ Shapiro teshuva and in America after r’ sperber

    R. Shapiro’s *article*. It wasn’t a teshuvah and no one considered him a posek before or after. And he only discussed calling women to the Torah.

    R. Sperber wasn’t a posek for the world before. He had his own small community and that was it. But now that he says what some people want to hear, he is suddenly an authority.

  100. Ruvie-I agree with R Gil-the notion that either R Shapiro wrote a “teshuvah” or that R Sperber is considered a Posek by anyone other than his own community rests with those asserting such a premise.

  101. Ruvie wrote in part:

    “I do understand that RAL doesn’t approve but it’s his former students that go to Shira chadasha”

    There is obviously a huge difference between “former students”, , who may have been in the shiur at some time in their lives,and Talmidim Neemanim, who would hopefully look in their own mirrors and ask themselves “what would my rebbe think of such an action?”

  102. So, who are you holding up as a live “posek for the world”, Gil?

  103. IH why does there have to be a posek for the world? The question seems to be whether a posek follows Orthodox epistemology and is honest about what the sources tell him. At that point as long as some community follows him it is within the pale. However if a rabbi (even one with a large following) does not follow our epistemology or is agenda driven and bends the sources than his rulings are beyond the pale.

  104. IH: How about widely respected (and published) poskim such as R. Nachum Rabinovich and R. Ya’akov Ariel?

  105. History — there doesn’t. I was trying to understand Gil’s point at 5:55 pm (which is different from yours). On your point, I refer you to both Prof. Frimer and R. Broyde who consider R. Sperber wholly Orthodox.

  106. How about widely respected (and published) poskim such as R. Nachum Rabinovich and R. Ya’akov Ariel?

    I, for one, have never heard either come up in a communal discussion related to a psak halacha. I don’t even remember either being discussed here on Hirhurim, to be honest. Remind me.

  107. R. Yaakov Ariel has published 5 volumes of responsa, is the leading posek in, and President of, Tzohar, was the top candidate for Chief Rabbi ten years ago and regularly publishes in halakhah journals.

    R. Nachum Rabinovich has published two volumes of responsa, served on the RCA Halakhah Commission about 30 years ago and regularly published in halakhah journals. I’ve quoted him many times on this blog.

  108. IH for the sake of argument I have no problem conceding that an individual can be Orthodox despite the fact that some (or even most) of their pesak isn’t.

    On a differnt note R. Broyde’s (non rabbinic) writings on torture, and the scope of the First Amendment leave much to be desired.

  109. Gil — That’s very nice, but beside the point. There are many poskim whose responsa are used by a wider public from time to time. So what?

    When you used the phrase “posek for the world” I assumed you had a specific meaning and example in mind for that phraseology to be relevant to the discussion.

    As it happens, he is the posek for the community to which I belong.

  110. IH: He is *now* the posek for your community because you liked what he has to say on this specific subject. He was previously unknown beyond his local neighborhood as anything other than an accomplished academic.

  111. And by posek for your community, you don’t mean that anyone actually asked him a question. You mean you read one of his articles, liked it and implemented it.

  112. Gil — My information is that you are wrong on both counts. First, R. Sperber has a personal connection to Darkhei Noam; second, I know from RWMO relatives in J that he was a posek in their neighborhood for many years (while he was also an academic). Are you guessing, or have you done your homework?

    I have no problem conceding that an individual can be Orthodox despite the fact that some (or even most) of their pesak isn’t.

    History — I have no idea what this means. Can you elaborate?

  113. And by posek for your community, you don’t mean that anyone actually asked him a question. You mean you read one of his articles, liked it and implemented it.

    Wrong again.

  114. IH- A person can be an Orthodox guy in their personal lives but give nonorthodox pesak for a litany of reasons. They might make mistakes, be driven by an agenda, or hired as a rabbi by a nonorthodox community.

    You mentioned that two Rabbis considered R. Sperber Orthodox, but at least one of the two (Frimer) has written that he doesn’t consider this praticular pesak Orthodox. I don’t see any conflict there. A non Orthodox pesak comming from an Orthodox guy.

  115. History — Ah, you mean like R Elchonon Wasserman’s view of RIETS?

  116. IH- Why is that a problem for me? We cannot and not in fact all agree. I’m not the least bit shaken by the fact that someone out there doesn’t consider the Rabbis I rely on to be right, or all of their pesak to be Orthodox. If another group and mine can meet on enough issues and enough of our methodology to coexist as a unit fine. But if not, and I think this is the case with the Egalitarians, than lets formalize our disagreements and form two separate groups.

    I am not threatened by the fact that people disagree with me. But if two groups so thoroughly disagree on basic principles there seems to be no benefit to calling them one group.

    I know next to nothing about R Wasserman so I cannot tell you how we relate to one another.

  117. History — Did you previously call yourself Canuck?

  118. IH- I did not. I’ve never been to Canada nor posed as a Canadian.

  119. Thanks. There was something about your last response that reminded me of someone I haven’t seen on recently.

  120. Gil – I don’t think RAL is against many or all these innovations – except perhaps partnership minyans( maybe ambivalent to some)but reits ry seem to be against all most everything and to add insult slap on YvY category (to make sure no one takes them seriously at all). He sees most of them as public policy issues and nothing more.

    As to the history of the starting of the minyans I believe are by different folks that were involved in previous issues but the argument is moot – it’s here and time will tell what the future brings. Only fools try to predict the future.

    Why the move to the right by the center? Because they are turned off? That’s leadership – hence the turn to israel. It also could be certain women’s fathers were rabbis whose advice they seeked as well. No reason to argue this anymore. Not to cast aspersions on RBF but there could be a context to moving to the right for him as you suggested – potential competition or future leadership ( rid that lefty image) but that is unfair speculation on my part.

  121. Steve b. – it has nothing on how they grew up in the mo community – they (reits ry) do not believe in Torah u’Mada except for a couple ( one of them is r’ Rosenzweig). This doesn’t negate their knowledge in Torah or as talmedei chachamin: they are are just not the future of mo or should be their poskim. The mo community will eventually figure it out. The schism began when we saw the statement of principles and will continue.
    r ‘ Weinberger grew up mo but now is a self proclaimed chasidihse rebbe – is he still mo? Please, you have eyes, do you not see the obvious?

    Sit in on the shiurim ? And what does that show? That RHS- as one friend who regularly sat in on his shiur said to me recently: is the polar opposite of the Rav’s limud?

  122. Ruvie – I think you’re onto something, but there is no need to personalize it. The status quo relationship between Partnership Minyanim and establishment shuls — in the American context — is untenable longer term. In a nutshell:

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

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

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

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

  123. By the way, this is very much the problem for Conservative Jewry in regard to the Indies. I have a 2009 essay written by R. Gordon Tucker (published in Synagogues in a Time of Change), in which he too is in denial (e.g. they’ll come back after they marry, have kids and move to the suburbs). And his son is one of the leaders in the Indie movement!

  124. IH: Darkhei Noam only started going to Prof. Sperber after they knew that he would allow what they want.

  125. Gil — Source please.

  126. History – sorry if I was not clear. It seems that on the one hand RAL seems some value in egalitarianism – the one I defined before another Gil’s usage of the term – even to the point to “stress our own affinity with certain universal elements and egal values;” BUT we have not the right and desire to sweep cardinal tenets under the rug. This phenom , ideology and movement both, which somehow casts a pall over our world and its values…constitute a potential threat to its stability and viability”

    Please remember how he defines egal – which is not gil’s or anyone’s definition here in our discussion. Yet he finds positive value in it -respect for Zelem Elokim.

  127. Typo – not Gil’s usage of the term.

  128. Ruvie wrote:

    “Steve b. – it has nothing on how they grew up in the mo community – they (reits ry) do not believe in Torah u’Mada except for a couple ( one of them is r’ Rosenzweig).”

    Name one RY in the history of RIETS who subscribed to whatever mantra YU used-synthesis-TuM, centrism, enabling and engaging. Show me one RY who pushes the Charedi POV of learning 24/7 and Kollel for life. Having an awareness of one’s community of origin and its spiritual needs, which I maintain is unique among the RIETS RY is far important than being a card carrying or ideological cheerleader for the advertising slogan of the decade or year. I think that based on your past posts you’re uncomfortable with the idea of RIETS RY being Marbitzei Torah in the MO world and encouraging MO Baale Batim to spend as much of their spare time learning Torah.

  129. IH wrote:

    “Something is going to have to give”

    don’t hold your breath waiting for messianic like dreams to materialize. They don’t.

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

    “Darkhei Noam was founded in March 2002 by four individuals who were inspired by Drisha’s high holiday minyan and encouraged by the publication in the Edah Journal of Mendel Shapiro’s halakhic analysis of mixed Torah reading….

    “Several founders of Jerusalem’s Shira Chadasha minyan gave guidance and advice to Darkhei Noam in its early stages….

    “In 2006, Rabbi Daniel Sperber joined the Darkhei Noam community in an official capacity as halakhic adviser.”

  131. IH-1+1=2. Obviously, DN’s members sought halachic advice from RDS, regardless of the fact that RDS’s area of expertise is the history of Minhagei Yisrael, as opposed to Psak Halacha. Being a Posek entails being viewed as an address for Psak Halacha and a Baal Mesorah with a connection with the prior generations on metahalachic issues.

  132. ruvie-try this link and then tell me whether it is consistent with however you define TuM.http://torahweb.org/torah/2007/parsha/rros_mishpatim.html

  133. Steve — Do your homework before being Motzi Shem Ra.

  134. Based on the contributions of certain commenters here…. I expect that in addition to schism, we’ll see significant bitterness and resentment on the part of certain left-wing activists when they recognize that mainstream Orthodoxy will not endorse their agenda.

    How that bitterness is expressed sociologically and politically….. may become the subject of movies in days yonder.

  135. STBO — As Steve says “don’t hold your breath waiting for messianic like dreams to materialize. They don’t.” 🙂

    But, feel free to join Agudah anytime you like.

  136. Nothing messianic here. If history is any guide, I expect this to end ugly.

    Is that actually what you believe? That the MO who don’t agree with the leftists will end up taking refuge in the Agudah? Talk about messianic!

  137. I think we could avoid the nastier elements of this fight if the larger elements within the Orthodox world all woke up to the threat that’s spreading and dedicated enough time and resources to cutting it off.

    And this doesn’t just mean condemning PMs. It means properly educating everyone (young and old) so that they understand the proper role of rabbinic leadership and how halacha and tradition work. It means explaining the role of every person in Judaism so that people aren’t seduced by the egalitarian fantasy that unless your role looks the same you aren’t equal. (A fantasy which always privileges the male role and tries to force women into that model).

    And yes it does mean forcefully stating that Jacobin egalitarianism is not compatible with halacha and Partnership Minyanim aren’t allowed by Orthodoxy. A fair number of the kids who led into this stuff were taken their “liphnei ever” and are being tricked into thinking that what they are doing is ok. A strong campaign of education, if started right now, could cut off their supply of converts. (Which would be a major boon to those people who would not even up going off the derech as well as to Orthodoxy which would avoid a war.)

    Peace through strength works. If we want to avoid a very prolonged and bitter war we need a cohesive showing of strength and we need it very soon.

  138. I think that there is a misunderstanding of terms and motivation. The supporters of PM are accused of wanting egalitarianism at the expense of Halacha. I think that most actually want to be allowed an opportunity for religious expression as full as possible within Halacha. In addition they do not want halacha to be inappropriately influenced by the society/culture in which some poskim lived. It is a fact that society has changed over time and all would acknowledge that the role of women within Halacha has also changed. For most it isn’t an issue of wanting to be equal, it is an issue of wanting to follow a Halacha that is not tainted by non Halachic, archaic societal values. The question of course winds up being what is halachic and what is societal and how to tell the difference between the two

  139. Noam, I think Forrest Seeker did a very good job of cutting through the nonsense Judaism was “inappropriately influenced by the society/culture” or that the distinctions between men and women prove that halacha is “tainted by non Halachic, archaic societal values” I think Seeker quite forcefully demonstrated that Judaism’s attitude toward women grew up despite the surrounding culture’s attitudes toward women, not because of them.

    Also, if you want to write a post about how the egalitarians are just poor misunderstood do gooders, you might want to avoid rhetoric that is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Jacobin rallying cry of “hang the last priest with the entrails of the last aristocrat.”

  140. “And yes it does mean forcefully stating that Jacobin egalitarianism is not compatible with halacha and Partnership Minyanim aren’t allowed by Orthodoxy. A fair number of the kids who led into this stuff were taken their “liphnei ever” and are being tricked into thinking that what they are doing is ok.”

    I’ve stayed out of this debate until now, but this is a phenomenally silly comment. There isn’t any insidious egalitarianizing (I’m well aware that’s not a word) conspiracy to trick people. The folks who are advocating for PMs think that they are doing something acceptable. It’s not lifnei iver to lead a person through an area that you consider to be eminently safe for them, even if that perception is incorrect. And the idea of calling people on your far left Jacobins is a nice hat-tip to history, but should probably be left out, unless you’re actually expecting them to start killing Chareidim.

    “A strong campaign of education, if started right now, could cut off their supply of converts.”

    I’m not entirely sure if this is true. I actually think that those posting from the right may be correct on this issue, but not on this particular facet- the question is whether or not PMs end up in the position of WTGs from a generation ago, or whether they end up with real traction (to be fair, I do know some women who are interested in WTGs but not in PMs).

    Look, it’s completely clear that MO has a) supported the idea of TuM and b) supported women getting a university and graduate education. It’s also completely clear that such women desire a more active role in Judaism, in the same way as they desire a more active role in other parts of society. Orthodox Judaism does need to respond to that desire in some fashion. That fashion doesn’t have to be PMs, but it does have to be something that gives real credence to educated women- women leading shiurim, women being hired in positions of some significance (forget Maharat; look at LSS and Elana Stein Hain for an example). If anything, the most effective way to combat PMs might be to deemphasize the role of the shul in Orthodox life- emphasize schools, emphasize the Beit Midrash, etc.

  141. “It’s also completely clear that such women desire a more active role in Judaism, in the same way as they desire a more active role in other parts of society.”

    Clear as mud. We’ve even seen leaders of the movement and rabbis bemoaning the lack of interest on the part of the vast majority of women.

  142. and on the part of the vast majority of men, too. [The apathy point in moshe shoshan on February 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm]

  143. Gil – “Darkhei Noam only started going to Prof. Sperber after they knew that he would allow what they want”

    actually i think that is very incorrect. i don’t see how quoting their website substantiates your point. But how he got involved is a fair question (his daughter and son in law are active members). The notion that the founders were also leaders of WTG who kept going to the left is also mistaken. This was grassroots which started meeting once a month that now is 250 member units(couple and families count as one)who meet weekly including RH and YK – according to a former leader who i spoke to after minyan this am.

  144. One thing that has been nagging at me is to understand whether the men who are opposed to women participating in rituals & mitzvot for which they are not obligated, for themselves — as men — participate in these rituals & mitzvot because they like to, or mostly because they feel obligated to.

    E.g. Do you daven because you like to daven, or do you just do the minimimum needed to be yotzeh, but would rather be doing something else (e.g. learning, shmoozing) while you’re in shul?

  145. IH you misunderstand. The point is that people who are not obligated in a mitzvah are not capable of fulfilling other people’s cheuv and therefore cannot serve as a communal representative in fulfilling those obligations. See part 1 of this series.

  146. History — I understand that point and am asking an ancillary sociological question.

    Assuming you are an Orthodox male, do you daven because you like to daven, or do you just do the minimimum needed to be yotzeh, but would rather be doing something else (e.g. learning, shmoozing) while you’re in shul?

  147. ruvie: actually i think that is very incorrect. i don’t see how quoting their website substantiates your point. But how he got involved is a fair question (his daughter and son in law are active members).

    My primary information is from following their development over the years. I used their website (and Elana Sztokman’s book) to substantiate what I’ve been told, not as primary information. DN started not long after Shirah Chadashah, both of which were based on R. Mendel Shapiro’s article. They later learned that Prof. Sperber was similarly minded and asked him for guidance, eventually making him the official posek of the minyan. Shirah Chadashah doesn’t want a posek. This has been a lay-led movement. The unofficial guidebook of Partnership Minyanim was written by a husband-wife team on their own.

    The notion that the founders were also leaders of WTG who kept going to the left is also mistaken

    I never said that. But I would add that the notion that the founders were leaders of the Machteret in Gush Emunim is also mistaken.

  148. IH- Thats an impossible question to separate out. I’ve lived for X years with an obligation from God to do a particular thing three times a day.I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like if I were not so obligated. My motivation for davening is some complicated mixture that has built up and I don’t know how I would go about separating out the different strands.

    What I can say with the utmost confidence however is that if Halacha told me that I could not be a chazan, or lein, or whatever I have no doubt I wouldn’t be running to do it. The same way I have no desire to Duchan, wash a cohen’s hands, or get the Rishon Alyah. In such a case I wouldn’t be doing something that I could volunteer to do, I’d be doing something I wasn’t allowed to do.

  149. R. Alan Haber said it well:
    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=93257

    “THE PROBLEM is that, for all it may be accomplishing, Shira Hadasha is not a halachic congregation. Similarly, the guide published by Michal and Elitzur Bar-Asher, while largely drawing on genuine halachic sources, is also not a work of Halacha.

  150. History — with respect, you are ducking the question. I’ll be more specific. When you are in shul, do you spend more than 95% of your time actually davening during the service (i.e. excluding sermon, announcements, kiddush) or do you spend more than 5% of that time reading, learning, shmoozing or some other non-davening activity?

    And more broadly, do you derive meaning from davening beyond fulfilling your sense of obligation?

  151. Gil — On DN’s Posek, you are hypothesizing based on skimpy evidence and your predisposed bias to reach a certain conclusion.

    You should either do the homework properly, or stop guessing.

  152. IH- with respect asking the question in a different way doesn’t change the answer.

    As for the question regarding time it depends on the day. I cannot say that every day I am perfect or that I never am. Obviously the ideal is to be focused on davening, some days I live up to that and others I don’t. I’d like to say that I do the right thing and daven to meet your 95% criteria on more days than not. I am however not sure what my personal merits or failings has to do with the halahik status of partnership minyanim.

  153. IH: Way to duck the issue with vague non-denials. OK, let’s be more direct. Have you ever gone to R. Sperber with halakhic questions? Did you before joining DN? Or did you decide on your own that Partnership Minyanim are halakhically acceptable and R. Sperber’s (or any rabbi’s) approval is just a nice-to-have?

  154. I suspect there is a correlation between those who daven mostly out of a sense of obligation (with meaning as the other end of that scale) and a reticence to acknowledge women who want to play a more active role in davening (despite their not being obligated). Just a tentative hypothesis based on a couple of years of engaging in this debate on Hirhurim.

  155. Ruvie and IH, are you contending that when DN chose R. Sperber there was uncertainty as to whether he would say “well, actually, you need to stop giving women aliyot,” and if he had said that they would have stopped? I do believe that if they asked something new to him now, even if most ppl wanted it, they would listen if he said no.

  156. IH to be more accurate changed “(despite their not being obligated)” to their “(despite not being halachikally allowed)”

  157. Gil — A few months ago when R. Sperber was last visiting, I went up to him after davening to discuss something. I waited patiently while one of our Gabbaim was asking him a nit-picky question about nusach for guidance.

    In the few years since I have been attending, there have been a few changes that have all been introduced with a text study that was developed in conjunction with Rabbi Sperber.

    Finally, as an anthropoligical note, when Rabbi Sperber is introduced for a Drash or Text Study and starts to walk toward the bima, everyone rises in the Orthodox manner of acknowledging ones Mara D’Atra.

    That said, many of our older members are also affiliated with local Establishment Shuls and I don’t know the extent to which they rely on that Rabbi for personal Sheilas. Certainly at levayot and shivas, the local clergy are the ones present rather than our Posek in Jerusalem.

  158. emma — you highlight a sillyness in Gil’s decision to go down this track. Is it really any different than a shul selecting a new Rabbi (or a President selecting a Supreme Court Justice)?

  159. No, I believe each shul has some “Red lines” that it would not hire a rabbi who held the “wrong” position. That said, I think the conversation went something like:

    “We follow our posek, this is not halachik anarchy”

    “but he only became your posek because you knew he would support your central innovation”

    I believe that is correct – if DN had known, or even thought, that he would not allow women’s aliyot, they would not have chosen him. That seems obvious. Are you disagreeing?
    Or is your issue with what R Gil thinks that “means”?
    For starters, to me it means that DN does not give women aliyot, etc, “because” their posek says so. They do so, _and_ their posek says they can. There is a difference.

  160. History- I suggest you read R. Eliezer Berkovits and argue with him. Unless you follow the Rambam and don’t let your womenfolk out of the house more than once or twice a month, you have to admit that the societal view of women has influenced the psak that people have given. Society has changed, our understanding of science has changed, and the results of the application of Halacha changes as well.

  161. I agree each shul has some “Red lines” that it would not hire a rabbi who held the “wrong” position. In the case of DN and R. Sperber, I suspect it was a combination of growth, timing, personal interest and availability.

  162. PS – Gil, while DN may have started without a “posek,” I would bet that among the newer/younger attendees ther are at least some who would not have attended if there was no rabbi backing them, but do once there is.

  163. Naom, I suggest you read parts 1-4 of the series to which you are posting. Your comments of course beg the question that we’re actually discussing ie. what is the epistemology that Orthodox Jews use in order to determine how and when halacha can ad should change.

    I understand that this is a 4 part series with many 100s of comments but you clearly have not been following at all or you would know that your comment makes no sense . . . especially in light of my prior comments reading women’s learning, women shul presidents ect . . .

    But you can keep charging against straw men of your own imagining . . . Straw gives way to the egalitarian guillotine a lot easier than bone.

  164. History — You’re quick to quote French history, but seem to know little about the history of modern Orthodoxy (e.g. your responses on R. Elchonon Wasserman and R. Eliezer Berkovits.

    This is part of a long-ranging debate on Hirhurim of which Dr. Stadlan has been an active participant.

    You would have more credibility if you expressed your opinion without presuming lack of knowledge on the part of others.

  165. Noam: You might appreciate R. Chaim Navon’s response to R. Eliezer Berkovits in his book that I reviewed a few weeks ago: https://www.torahmusings.com/2013/01/conservative-orthodoxy/

    As an aside, I note with both pride and confusion that the Wikipedia entry for Shira Hadasha cites that review as indicating my opposition to Partnership Minyanim http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shira_Hadasha#Controversy

    The review presented R. Navon’s view and not mine, as I wrote twice in the essay. Although I do oppose the practice (and I am not nearly of sufficient stature to be quoted in a real discussion of the subject).

  166. Cute. The Wiki paragraph was added by “Malik Shabazz” on Feb 11th with some followup edits. Perhaps the author wants to take credit here using his Hirhurim pseudonym? [I think I recall who previously mentioned he did a lot of Wiki work on Jewish topics].

  167. Emma – i really don’t know. i spoke to someone this am that was in charge of the halachik issues many years ago for DN. he didn’t know exactly when R’ Sperber started to be consulted – before becoming halachik advisor- but on any issues they follow him completely.
    he said DN took off when it became a weekly minyan and started offering tot services. also, it doesn’t hurt that a number of rabbis in chinuch/kiruv also attend – tends to give it a level of frimness. according to that person, there have been discussions for a more permanent rabbi given the growth in the congregation and that many of the young people do not belong to any other shul. but nothing happened.

  168. “with respect, you are ducking the question. I’ll be more specific. When you are in shul, do you spend more than 95% of your time actually davening during the service (i.e. excluding sermon, announcements, kiddush) or do you spend more than 5% of that time reading, learning, shmoozing or some other non-davening activity?

    And more broadly, do you derive meaning from davening beyond fulfilling your sense of obligation?”

    What bearing do these questions have? What are you implying about women who aren’t interested in partnership minyanim? What does boredom and preferring to learn, shmooze etc have to do with desire to lead tefila? men may want to be shatz when they have to say kaddish, but even partnership minyanim don’t permit women to be shat”z and lead kaddish. The only religious factor in wanting to be a chazzan is, for someone who has a nice voice, to fulfill kabed es hashem meyhoncha, mema she’chanancha. if someone doesn’t have a particularly good voice, there’s no religious impetus to lead tefila. instead of asking people if they are bored in shul, ask them if they have great voices and musical talent that is going to waste. judging from what i hear in shul, the answer is usually no. women with good voices may have some reason to wish to lead tefila, but women are less likely than men to have a particular desire to make fools of themselves and sing in public if they don’t have good voices. This goes a lot further to explain the lack of interest on the part of most women in partnership minyanim than men’s boredom during davening.

  169. R. Gil. Thanks. I will put it on my reading list.

    History- I am sorry but I don’t see any benefit in continuing a conversation with you

  170. Noam, in glad to hear we have one thing in common

  171. Huh — I suspect there is a correlation between men who daven mostly out of a sense of obligation (with meaning as the other end of that scale) and male reticence to acknowledge women who want to play a more active role in davening (despite their not being obligated). Just a tentative hypothesis based on a couple of years of engaging in this debate on Hirhurim.

    I don’t presume to understand what drives the women, but Emma has cogently articulated the issues.

  172. Emma’s comments are valuable and interesting contributions. i’m also a woman, and my contribution is to say that most orthodox men and women are sympathetic to musically talented orthodox women who are makpid on kol isha. Such women can sing for other women, but kol isha is limiting. But most orthodox men and women are not particularly sympathetic to women who aren’t makpid on kol isha and who insist that they aren’t religiously and spiritually fulfilled unless they are permitted to lead lecha dodi in shul or lead psukei dizimra. Give us a break. Don’t tell R Freundel, but the Rambam is not forbidding anyone from leading psukei dizimra. he didn’t see the need for it, because all such a chazzan is doing is marking the place. you can’t permit partnership minyanim on the smach that the chazzan is doing something trivial and turn around and tell us that those that don’t see the great importance in this chazzan’s role are disengaged from tefila, bored and going through the motions in shul.
    this is my opinion “As a woman.”

  173. Huh has hit on something important. The way to halakhically permit women to do everything is to minimize it. (You can in theory construct arguments that:) A woman can be a rabbi because being a rabbi is meaningless. A woman can lead pesukei dezimra because leading it is meaningless. It’s only one step further to a woman leading all of davening because a chazzan doesn’t really do anything. We include women in all ritual roles by draining all religious significance from those roles. That seems counterproductive to me.

    And by the way, you can also permit gay marriages by declaring their marriages meaningless.

  174. Gil – of course…learning gemera is meaningless, and a jewish education too, especially a bat mitzvah and lets add in voting…great argument. you can do better.

  175. ruvie: That was not the approach to permitting girls to learn Torah, which is precisely my point. Whether a bas mitzvah has meaning is a machlokes ha-poskim. But all agree that it must be different than non-Orthodox celebrations.

  176. And down the culture wars door we go 🙂

  177. “History- I suggest you read R. Eliezer Berkovits and argue with him. Unless you follow the Rambam and don’t let your womenfolk out of the house more than once or twice a month, you have to admit that the societal view of women has influenced the psak that people have given. Society has changed, our understanding of science has changed, and the results of the application of Halacha changes as well.”

    Noam – there is a difference between the general change in the role of women vs. change in their ritual participation. Even the Charedi world does not follow the psak of the Rambam. But those changes are irrelevant and not tethered to ritual, including tefilloh, limud haTorah, mitzvos aseh, etc. The Rambam is irrelevant to discussions on women’s inclusion in ritual, and has to do with hilchos tznius. You’re talking apples and oranges, unless you are prepared to mix them together and blur halachic categories.

  178. “The Rambam is irrelevant to discussions on women’s inclusion in ritual, and has to do with hilchos tznius.”

    well, at least sometimes “tznius” is relevant to “ritual” – e.g. mixed zimmun. (I know, I know, there are other reasons it may be a problem. But tznius is part of the conversation too, which is my only point.) Ritual is not a fortress whose rules were developed without regard for gender norms. (another eg: kavod hatzibbur.)

  179. It is overly-simplistic to capture Rambam’s view of the role of women as merely about “hilchos tznius.” He is expressing a world-view about the role of women in society that is integral to his Philosophy (and not unlike its Greek cum Muslim origins).

  180. Gil
    fundamentaly, I agree with you. But the once you have a talmid chacham of the stature of R. Sperber involved, the whole nature of the discussion changes. They now have a credible claim that they are not acting independent of halakhic authority. That doesnt make them right, but they are no longer absurd.

  181. One thing that has been nagging at me is to understand whether the men who are opposed to women participating in rituals & mitzvot for which they are not obligated,

    Actually, I think pretty much everyone here is in favor of women participating in non-obligatory things, as long as those things are (in their opinion) halachically permitted.

    for themselves — as men — participate in these rituals & mitzvot because they like to, or mostly because they feel obligated to. E.g. Do you daven because you like to daven, or do you just do the minimimum needed to be yotzeh, but would rather be doing something else (e.g. learning, shmoozing) while you’re in shul?

    Neither. There are certainly times when I have to begrudgingly drag myself to and through minyan, but there are also times when I look forward to it and/or enjoy the spiritual experience I am having while doing it (each of those can occur without the other). And even when I’m not enthusiastic, the “minimum needed to be yotzeh” is בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאדך, and (to paraphrase pirkei avot) even if I can’t finish this job, I try my best to remain focused on it rather than abandoning it.

  182. gil – thank you for R’ Haber’s article in the the JP that you posted. I found it makes very good arguments on the manual for partnership minyans but is wanting on the halachik process. I see this as the new front of the debate because even he admits that many of the practices may be ok.

    “It may very well be that there are halachically acceptable ways to do much of what they advocate. However, the process by which they arrived at these conclusions is not a legitimate halachic process. Halacha is a legal system which has existed for millennia.”

    “More than anything else, Halacha requires submission to the authority of poskim – halachic decisors.”

    Historically this is untrue for all cases. Of course at times one needs a posek (or a learned rabbi)to create change – like the Rav whose broad shoulders created women’s high level of learning talmud (against rov poskin and gemerot). But its not always true. the bat mitzvah was assur m’deoraita in the first teshuva ever written. so how does practice start in 40 or 50s and continue for decades before any approval? as we see in many cases people change practices and innovated before rabbinic approval(early stages total rejection) – many books are written on this subject. Btw, all his issues do not apply to darchei noam for what i know (which isn’t much).

  183. Who started this idea that bat mitzvahs were forbidden until Mordecai Kaplan? R. Yaakov Ettlinger used to do them in his community!

  184. “And down the culture wars door we go :-)”

    what i was trying to get at is that your contribution to the culture wars was the suggestion – a suspicion, a tentative hypothesis – that those to your right aren’t as religious and spiritual as those on the left. They are bored in shul etc., otherwise they would be with you on the left. you sound like those conservative rabbis who say that the orthodox lead dry, unspiritual lives and are disconnected from the living torah.

  185. Gil – that is 100% incorrect

  186. lush — you are reading in something that was neither intended nor stated.

  187. Oops. Glasses off 🙂 “huh” not (sigh) “lush”.

  188. Hoffa- I understand your point and it is a good one in theory but not in practice. Women reading Megilla is a good example and topical. There doesn’t seem to be any claim that women’s chiyuv for Megilla was different than that of men until the 13th century or so(I don’t have the exact sources in front of me) when a discussion begins regarding different chiyuvim lishmoa etc. you can look at this development as strictly a ritual issue, or as an attempt to justify an existing practice- one that was a product of the society.

    So what appears to be a strictly ‘ritual’ issue is actually quite affected by societal norms.

  189. ruvie: Tell that to Prof. Mordechai Breuer

  190. One thing that has been nagging at me is to understand whether the men who are opposed to women participating in rituals & mitzvot for which they are not obligated,

    Actually, I think pretty much everyone here is in favor of women participating in non-obligatory things, as long as those things are halachically permitted.

    for themselves — as men — participate in these rituals & mitzvot because they like to, or mostly because they feel obligated to. E.g. Do you daven because you like to daven, or do you just do the minimimum needed to be yotzeh, but would rather be doing something else (e.g. learning, shmoozing) while you’re in shul?

    Neither. There are certainly times when I have to begrudgingly drag myself to and through minyan, but there are also times when I look forward to it and/or enjoy the spiritual experience I am having while doing it (each of those can occur without the other). And even when I’m not enthusiastic, the “minimum needed to be yotzeh” is בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאדך, and (to paraphrase pirkei avot) even if I can’t finish this job, I try my best to remain focused on it rather than abandoning it.

    Perhaps the author wants to take credit here using his Hirhurim pseudonym? [I think I recall who previously mentioned he did a lot of Wiki work on Jewish topics].

    I once mentioned that I work on Jewish topics on Wikipedia, but I was not responsible for this; I have no desire to work on “political” Wikipedia articles. Look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Malik_Shabazz – I’m sure whoever that is has no time to comment here 🙂

  191. ruvie: See here, Ha-Ma’ayan, Teves 5732, p. 61 n. 25 that Prof. Breuer’s mentor saw a published sermon by R. Yaakov Ettlinger for a bas mitzvah
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=29646&st=&pgnum=62&hilite=

  192. Gil – there was no bat mitzvahs then (please tell if there was and where) – he died in 1872- you are funny.
    see shu”t binyan tzion ha-chadashot II, no.107 – it was a sermon (1867)for the ceremony of completing a course study by jewish girls.
    he objected to any bat mitzvah ceremony. btw.he objected to the sermon he delivered taking place in a shul (it should be in a school). The government mandated this ceremony in the synagogue.

    FTR, the first responsa on the bat mitzva was by R’ aharon watkin in shu”t zekan aharon in 1927 – assur m’deoraisa.
    also see the article publish by r” avraham zutra (friend of r’ ettlinger)published in 1854 in shomer tziyon ha-ne’emana (published by r’ ettlinger) strongly opposing any such ceremony.

  193. gil – for r’ ettlinger opposition to bat mitzvah(even though he felt it does not violate any prohibition) see avraham reiner’s ha-yachas letiksei bat mitzva- iyyun mashve modernit – netu’im 10 – elul 2003p.59 note 3 [r’ ettlinger position was carefully analyzed on p.55-64]

  194. Superfluous, but to note p. 139 of Gurock and R. JJ Schacter’s A Modern Heretic abd a Traditional Community: “At the very beginning of his tenure the society was the site of the first bat mitzvah when his daughter Judith was confirmed there in March 1922.”

    And, of course, there is the now famous story of R. Riskin and (now Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. The NY Times story about that is worth a re-read in the context of the overall discussion here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/13/nyregion/13synagogue.html?_r=0

  195. Gil – maybe i missed but your link is for a sermon for a bat mitzvah celebration? again, the evidence/sources shown above is very conclusive that you are in error.

  196. Ruvie: Look at footnote 25.

  197. This is hardly convincing as evidence for Bat Mitzva celebrations before Kaplan:

    ושמעתי מפי מו״ר ד״ר שלמה אדלר, שראה דרשה מודפסת של בעל
    ערוך־לנר לכבוד חגיגת בת־מצוה

    Did you mean something else?

  198. Machshavos – i did. i am astonished that the only proof is a footnote that claims:- that i heard from r’ adler that saw a sermon published by the aruch le-nair in honor of a bat mitzvah celebration.

    first of all it a sermon not a shu”t. second, we have the sermon which i believe it refers to(since it was published it should be available) that states in the beginning “A sermon marking the public examination in religious studies for the girls of the great synagogue of the ashkenazic community in Altona – 1867 – delivered by chief rabbi, Rabbi Ya’akov aharon ettlinger”

    this was a ceremony mandated by non-jewish authorities. there is no halachik ruling or responsum. its significant for other reasons.

    is there another sermon? if he did approve then why didn’t his students – r’ hirsch and hildesheimer not have this custom in all of germany. do we know or have records of any bat mitzvahs under their tutelage?
    Please understand it would great if r’ ettlinger did back bat mitzvahs. but he didn’t and the minhag and practice developed via grassroots and not any posek that is known to say it is ok till sereidi aish in the 1960s. in fact to gil’s earlier point of meaningless; rav moshe first teshuva on this matter in 1956 called the practice “mere nonsense..for its a mere birthday celebration..”

  199. See also pp. 28-29 there that R. Ettlinger initially supported bas mitzvah celebrations as a concession to Reform but then opposed them when he realized concessions would not help.
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=29646&st=&pgnum=29

  200. Gil _ than you for that reference; however, it has nothing to do with a bat mitzvah celebrtation. it seems the request is for the rabbi to make a sermon in honor of a girl who attained the age of bat mitzvah. nothing to what we mean by a bar mitzvah or a celebration. but he nix it anyway.

  201. Ruvie, do you mean a woman leining? If you do then I agree that it is potentially very different.

    If you just mean a party how is that significantly different from a celebratory speech?

  202. This is beginning to have the feel of Chekov in Star Trek:

    Scott: [raising his glass] Now this is a drink for a man.
    Chekov: Scotch?
    Scott: Aye.
    Chekov: It was invented by a little old lady from Leningrad.

  203. History, Gil- we are talking about sermons but not responsa or halachik rulings. we also must ask what they meant by bat mitzvah since it was not until later on it was done as a ritual – where the bat mitzvah girl does something or has a seudah where torah is discussed (or a kiddush in shul after a derasha by the girl or not). or what the ben ish hai wrote:

    Ben Ish Hai. wrote (as translated by Howard Tzvi Adelman):

    “And also the daughter on the day that she enters the obligation of the commandments, even though they don’t usually make for her a seudah [celebratory meal], nevertheless that day will be one of happiness. She should wear Sabbath clothing and if she is able to do so she should wear new clothing and bless the Shehecheyanu prayer [for the One ‘Who gives us life, lifts us up, and carries us to this moment’] and be ready for her entry to the yoke of the commandments. There are those who are accustomed to make her birthday every year into a holiday. It is a good sign, and this we do in our house.”

    nevertheless, even the sermon was not approved plus r’ ettlinger disapproved of the whole thing in the source provided above. and who in america approve of this even though orthodox shuls had bat mitzvahs?

  204. History – even a kiddush in shul was not kosher for decades in america. into the 1960s and i know of one instance in the 1970s where a rabbi in an mo shul cancelled the kiddush the wed/thurs. before a bat mitzvah when nothing else was to be done except a kiddush.

  205. I’m not sure I have a current opinion (certainly not a well thought out one) regarding “a ritual — where the bat mitzvah girl does something”

    That’s in part becuase “does something” is incredibly broad. It basically includes every possible thing in the world.

    I don’t just say that to be obnoxious, we’re talking about difficult issues where lines of demarcation matter. It may be in fact ok, or very good for 12 year old women to do some things and not others. These are issues can be discussed and decided on a category by category basis (not I did not say case by case). But the analogy was already strained and this just shows why every situation is different.

    In the specific case of partnership minyanim I still have not seen anything compelling that it is halachikally permissible under a non agenda driven Orthodox epistemology.

  206. Ruvie I’d have to know a lot more about why the Kidush was canceled. What was going on in the shul, who was sponsoring the kidush, what did the rabbi know about their motivations. ect . . . You may have all of that information but in the abstract its hard to learn a lesson out from such an example.Did the rabbi write a responsa explaining his position?

  207. History – the story is not that important or its details. The issue – as well as the teshuvas- is bat mitzvah celebrations or ceremony[whether via acknowledgement publicly in a shul via a kiddush or something else in or outside the shul]. overtime it meant different things.

    the first teshuva that i mentioned earlier – zakan aharon – 1927 – called it a confirmation ceremony for young girls coming of age in the synagogue [chag the bagrut after transliterating confirmation into hebrew in his teshuva].

  208. History — That phrase you keep using — “Orthodox epistemology” — is generally a Christian usage. What, specifically, do you mean by it?

  209. IH, I cannot do that question justice in these short posts at work. So if you want to savage what I write here feel free. If a Rabbi here wants to chime in, in a more thoughtful manner he should feel free. I do think that RDBF’s first post at least alludes to this often.

    I mean what the words literally say, an Orthodox Method of looking for truth. A structure by which methodology has to fit where the answer doesn’t matter so long as the tools were a) the proper tools b) they were used appropriately. In this context it means honestly looking into halacic sources and how they played out in our tradition. In extremely brief detail it means looking for sources that were excepted and became part of the organic tradition and not either ignoring source, or relying on off sources that existed at a particular moment in time, or reasoning from a political reformist agenda and making sources git that agenda.

    I happily admit to read quite a bit of Christian philosophy, but it would be a real shame if you’re saying that they’re the only ones interested in a structured, rigorous looking for knowledge. I honestly don’t believe that is the case.

  210. “The issue – as well as the teshuvas- is bat mitzvah celebrations or ceremony[whether via acknowledgement publicly in a shul via a kiddush or something else in or outside the shul]. overtime it meant different things.”

    Are you saying that a kiddush makes a bat mitzvah but a sermon doesn’t?

  211. History – “.. partnership minyanim I still have not seen anything compelling that it is halachikally permissible under a non agenda driven Orthodox epistemology.”

    and I and many others do not see anything compelling not to permit it. to me its no different than WTG or the rabbah issue (not that i am an advocate of both, btw)- its a gray area where i do understand both sides but this is more disruptive to mo institutions than the others.

  212. History — RW Orthodoxy is not generally receptive to philosophy (let alone Christian Philosophy) so you may want to find other language.

    If you didn’t get a chance to look up R. Elchonon Wasserman yet, here’s your chance: “When the famed head of the yeshiva in Baranowicz, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, visited the United States, he praised the more traditional institution, Mesivta Torah Vodaath, and condemned Yeshiva College. He refused, despite personal pleas by Dr. Revel, to set foot in the building. Rabbi Wasserman’s view was that although philosophy had been studied in the past by gedolim (giants in scholarship) such as the Vilna Gaon, in these times there were no individuals of sufficient stature to study such subjects without risking their faith.”
    From Helmreich’s The world of the yeshiva: an intimate portrait of Orthodox Jewry

  213. Ruvie,even assuming that you haven’t seen any source you find compelling the burden of proof is on the side what wants to change hundreds of years of tradition.

    I think I have seen compelling arguments against PMS from RDBF, Forrest Seeker, the Frimers and others. But even if you think all of those arguments are merely tied or even a little bit worse than the reformist arguments that isn’t enough to pass the very serious burden of proof required to change centuries of practice.

    And yes, I do think we can add that to what it means to be an Orthodox way of thinking. If Orthodoxy the tie, or even the near tie, goes to the tradition. (not that I think this is a tie, or even a near tie)

  214. Machshavos – if its a celebratory one yes. there are no teshuvas that i know of that discusses or prohibits a rabbi making a speech for a girl reaching the age of bat mitzvah. making a speech, i guess, is not a celebratory event to rabbis – but maybe it is. the teshuvas as discussed above use the wording of “ceremony or celebration”…seredei eish phrasing is “permitted to celebrate a bat mitzvah”

  215. IH what in that quote is supposed to bother me? (or be deemed relevant?)

    Also the epistemology term is one I’ve heard frequently used by rabbis including RDBF and I think it fits quite nicely.

    I have no idea what RW Orthodoxy is . . . but I for one am quite comfortable and interested in philosophy, Jewish and otherwise . . .

  216. זיל גמור

  217. Note that Gil in a previous article quoted one of the greatest all around philosophers ever. (Edmond Burke) So if he or I are a part of “RW Orthodoxy” something is wrong in your categorization.

  218. Gil – ‘Who started this idea that bat mitzvahs were forbidden until Mordecai Kaplan? R. Yaakov Ettlinger used to do them in his community’

    do we agree that there were no bat mitzvah celebrations or ceremonies done by r’ ettlinger or is this subject still in dispute [assuming you mean by bat mitzvahs a celebration or ceremony and if not then what is it?]

  219. Ruvie: I have no desire to debate this but it seems to me that even commemorating the event with a speech qualifies.

  220. Gil – sounds like revisionism of what a bat mitzvah celebration/ceremony meant 9or what you said earlier). but even that became assur – the speech- because of the reformin. you are re-defining a celebration to a speech?
    In 1830 r’ ettlinger, while rabbi of mannheim, objected to conducting a bat mitzvah ceremony even though he thought it was not prohibited in the synagogue [as long as it does not compromise the service] see avraham reiner’s book quoted above footnote 3 p.59.

    do you have any evidence that anyone – a posek perhaps- permitted a bat mitavah ceremony/celebration in america when it started or a decade later?

  221. I absolutely disagree with your limitation. Any recognition of the event, even by a speech, constitutes a bas mitzvah.

    R. Yaakov Ettlinger initially permitted it, and even conducted it, but then changed his mind because of the circumstances.

  222. R Gil, turn it on its head. You are living in 1900 and someone wants to make a party for a bas mitzvah girl, where the girl will give a dvar torah. They say, “but R Ettlinger gave a sermon in shul! I see no difference between what I am doing and what he did.” Would you agree that that is something an individual could just decide?
    And historically, did rabbis agree with that application of the limited precedent? If not, it seems quite analogous: Rabbi X permits something, people extend it to something else, an extension which the rabbis oppose, and eventually the rabbis permit the something else too.
    (This does not mean that rabbis will or should come around on PM, only that the mere fact that something started before a rabbi said “ok” does not mean it will be forever treif.)

  223. My limitation? its the poskim’s definition of the event in their teshuva. who am i to define or re-define to something nobody has to this day? you are ignoring all the data to the contrary for what purpose? that someone approved at some point a bat mitzvah speech (then not) which equates to you as a celebration or ceremony? you change your definition in mid-stream.

  224. emma: You are living in 1900 and someone wants to make a party for a bas mitzvah girl, where the girl will give a dvar torah. They say, “but R Ettlinger gave a sermon in shul! I see no difference between what I am doing and what he did.” Would you agree that that is something an individual could just decide?

    No, because 1) it is different (rabbi speaking vs. girl speaking), 2) R. Ettlinger changed his mind, 3) local circumstances are very important on these issues.

    And historically, did rabbis agree with that application of the limited precedent?

    I don’t know. I’m not sure why that’s significant. We’re only discussing who was first.

    Ruvie: My limitation? its the poskim’s definition of the event in their teshuva. who am i to define or re-define to something nobody has to this day? you are ignoring all the data to the contrary for what purpose?

    You are very passionate about this and I’m not sure why. I don’t even know what we’re discussing. Did I miss some context here? Are you trying to prove something here? (not being sarcastic)

  225. The problem with a dogma driven by “the slippery slope” is that you end up in absurd positions like having to prove that we can find a way to allow a form of Bat Mitzva because there is a strand of evidence that a posek at one point may have acknowledged a girl becoming a Bat Mitzva in some form.

    The argument Gil strings together makes a mockery of criticism of LWMO for finding opportunities to permit that which is permitted.

  226. IH, by the time you’re done we’re going to have more acronyms than the US government.

  227. מנהג המקום

  228. IH: The problem with a dogma driven by “the slippery slope” is that you end up in absurd positions like having to prove that we can find a way to allow a form of Bat Mitzva because there is a strand of evidence that a posek at one point may have acknowledged a girl becoming a Bat Mitzva in some form

    I never said such a thing and that is definitely NOT my justification for allowing a bas mitzvah

  229. My general point there was that Modern Orthodoxy doesn’t need a million subdivisions, most of which I don’t know where they begin or end. Once we have to talk about MO, LWMO and RWMO, maybe MMO (moderate modern orthodox, not massive mutliplayer online) and who knows how many more that I cannot even think about the actual term Modern Orthodoxy loses almost all of its significance. We start to put all of the weight on the modifier and empty the actual term of any meaning at all.

    If RWMO and LWMO don’t have a strong nucleus in common I just don’t know what we gain from adding more and more letters rather than just using a new word.

  230. “We’re only discussing who was first.”

    I believe you agree that while a rabbi may have, technically, been the first to say yes to marking a bat mitzvah _in some way_, it was laypeople who were the first to mark it in any way other than a speech by the rabbi in shul. The point, therefore, is that all such ceremonies are activities that were begun without rabbinic approbation (indeed, in the face of rabbinic censure) and have still become acceptable. I suspect ruvie’s point is that, therefore, the fact that something begins befoer a rabi says “yes” is not dispositive of its status forevermore.

  231. If that is your point then I agree. Practices evolve, sometimes without rabbinic guidance at first. I don’t think this is an issue where one counter-example undermines the general rule. Especially when we are discussing major changes like egalitarianism in shul.

    It’s like saying that we can abolish Yom Tov Sheini and the rabbis will eventually approve since, after all, bas mitzvh celebrations are common. If anything, this is the attitude of hefker I find so religiously dangerous.

  232. I don’t doubt for a second that people can start doing something and then later on a Rabbi can say its mutar, but he can also say its asor just as easily. He still has to make a good faith inquiry into the truth.

    This does not however justify people running off pell mell into wild halachic adventures in the hopes that one day someone will say its ok. That is all the more so once Rabbis start to condemn it. Charging forward to reform something as fundamental as the halachik role of half the Jews in the world despite the statements that this behavior is asur is indicative of the motives of the people doing the charging.

    Note that I suspect may of the people now claiming RDBF and the Frimers are “RWMO” and hoping they’re overturned in some Utopian future were saying the exact opposite when those very same rabbis said women only prayer groups were mutar.

  233. Well, no, it’s like saying that a major liturgical innovation like Kabbalat Shabbat crept from local usage to global usage and was even able to withstand the Rabbinic backlash to Shabbtai Tzvi because, as Reif writes: “While the texts and practices were attractive and won a place in the prayer-book, the more intense and systematic approach to kabbalah remained a matter for the few. Consequently, when the ‘profound upheaval’ brought about by Shabbethai Sevi and his followers rocked the Jewish mystical world and led to strong reactions against the mystical approach, those who tried to discredit all the kabbalistic additions to the prayer-book achieved only a very limited.”

    In other words, all the concern about “radical feminism” as an ideology is misguided when looking at the history of liturgy.

  234. missed a word at the end of the Reif quote: “achieved only a very limited success.” — and this was a response to Hirhurim on February 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm

  235. What may have started as “Nusach Feminism” (to borrow Gil’s neologism) will live or die on the basis of whether the amcha accepts it as desirable and halachically defensible.

    The ideology that created it is separable and may not survive, as such, in the mainstream.

  236. The analogy to the modern Orthodox Bat Mitzva, is indeed apt. The amcha doesn’t care where it originated, but it is viewed as desirable and halachically defensible. And the rabbinate slowly found a way to accept it.

  237. The comparison to Yom Tov Sheini is much stronger because both were previously considered forbidden. No one ever said that you can’t say extra prayers and Tehillim in shul, although there is a reason to argue that we can’t. There is also no explicit prohibition against celebrating a girl’s obligation in mitzvos. Both Yom Tov Sheini and calling women to the Torah are explicitly forbidden.

    If the amcha can void the prohibition unanimously agreed upon in the codes to call women to the Torah, why can’t they also void the prohibition of doing work on Yom Tov Sheini?

    That is only part of the non-Orthodox methodology we see going on here.

  238. IH I think to a large degree that is all true. Which is why it is incumbent on rabbis who think that Nusach Feminism is not halchikaly permitted to do everything they can to prevent it from taking hold. I agree with you entirely that if they do not it may very well take hold and lead countless people astray. Just becuase a practice “lives” and cannot be stopped doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t still asur.

    Many generations of Jews worshiped Avodah Zara despite the protestations of Moshe, the shopthim, prhophets and kings. Idol worship seems pretty dominant according the Chumash and Navi. And yet it was still incumbent on the religious leaders to fight against it. No matter how widely accepted worship an idol (or an ideology) was among the Jewish people that never made it acceptable to God.

  239. (to be clear I was trying to help you and Ruvie stop talking past each other, not taking a position on the implications of bat mitzvah history for PM.)

  240. Gil — As far as I am aware the Conservative Movement (i.e. JTS) still officially observes Yom Tov Sheni. [When I was a kid, that was, davka, the only time we would walk up so that my father could shmooze with some people he didn’t normally see after davening]. Has this changed?

    As for your assertion that calling women to the Torah is explicitly forbidden, that is a machloket not a given.

  241. As far as I am aware the Conservative Movement (i.e. JTS) still officially observes Yom Tov Sheni

    That is irrelevant

  242. Then why do you use it as a comparison? Seems to negate your point — what have I missed?

  243. It is an argument ad absurdum, showing the flaw in the methodology. Or at least the flaw in the argument that since it worked for Bas Mitzvah it must also work for Partnership Minyanim.

  244. Rabbi Stadlan-the Behag based on a tosephta-earlier than the 13th century, I believe.

  245. Thanks for the undeserved smicha. If I recall correctly, The two types of obligations are not mentioned in the Tosefta, and this is only one possible understanding of the Behag. Possibly the earliest specific statement of the differing obligations is the Rosh. Rav Frimer has an article online and this has been discussed a number if times. The point I was making is that nowhere in the Gemara, geonim or most of the rishonim does the separation of the mitzvot of listening and reading occur.

  246. Gil – “Who started this idea that bat mitzvahs were forbidden until Mordecai Kaplan? R. Yaakov Ettlinger used to do them in his community”
    “mentor saw a published sermon by R. Yaakov Ettlinger for a bas mitzvah”
    “R. Yaakov Ettlinger initially permitted it, and even conducted it, but then changed his mind because of the circumstances”
    ” I don’t even know what we’re discussing. Did I miss some context here? Are you trying to prove something here? (not being sarcastic)”

    well do you even read your own sources that you link? passionate? maybe but detest intentionally or unintentionally misleading readers on simple facts. there are no responsas prior to 1927 that i know of – if you have one please show it. r’ ettlinger never approved of any bat mitzvah celebration or ceremony ever or conducted any. He published articles in his journal against it. the published sermon was for a ceremony for graduating jewish girls from studies. according to your link its was the reformers who requested speeches for the bat mitzvah that he refused in his disputes with them.

    the context is simple: bat mitzvahs is a great example of changing ritual for women by the people against all rabbinic poskim – who prohibited it including on a biblical level. one can see similarities [rabbinic prohibition on a biblical level per reits5 and RHS] between this an wtg, rabbah and partnership minyans with slight nuances. history is replete with change in halacha by the people against accepted standards of halacha (and prior to rabbinic approval …the books of jacob katz, ta-shma and others is replete with examples.
    it seems as emma pointed out that you were trying to make the case that there was rabbinic approval somewhere – r’ ettlinger- as precedent to the practice that later developed. it seems that was not your intention but i thought that was your point. btw, there was a bat mitzvah ceremony in lwowe in 1902 by a rabbi caro.

    with r’ sperber PM have more heft and legitimacy. the question will be what will be in 20-30 years when the 20-30 yr olds grow up. will these minyans morph into institutions or stay where they are while the members move into regular shuls without any changes. time will tell. shabbat shalom

  247. Ruvie: maybe but detest intentionally or unintentionally misleading readers on simple facts. there are no responsas prior to 1927 that i know of

    On the one hand, you accuse me of misleading readers. On the other, you raise the bar to responsa. Since we are discussing history, responsa are not the only valid sources of information.

    bat mitzvahs is a great example of changing ritual for women by the people against all rabbinic poskim – who prohibited it including on a biblical level

    That kind of argument is overly broad. You have to discuss WHY the poskim opposed the practice. Was there an inherent prohibition or was it solely because of contextual circumstances (e.g. the Reform are doing it)?

    it seems as emma pointed out that you were trying to make the case that there was rabbinic approval somewhere

    No, I was just pointing out that Mordecai Kaplan did not wake up one morning and decide to celebrate a bas mitzvah. It was going on long before him even, if only for a time, among the Orthodox. I can’t imagine anyone with historical curiosity finding that unimportant.

  248. Gil – ““Who started this idea that bat mitzvahs were forbidden..” your words – can you show it was permitted by orthodox rabbis? r’ ettlinger was the opposite of proof. the only folks that instituted this ceremony/celebration were reformers – orthodox rabbis prohibited it. one way to permit it is via responsa. please show it that it was accepted practice by orthodox rabbis. there is no bar here except a new practice/ritual to be accepted would need something in writing by some rabbinic authority..no? reform movement is proof?

    the zakan aharon opposed it on 1) ptitzut – arayot 2)imitating gentiles – confirmation in christianity-and a form of avoda zara 3) establishing new customs not in our tradition 4)custom of evil reformers which is a war we must fight. if you read the sereidei eish he is responding without name to the the zakan aharon teshuva – point by point. he rebutted each point which till the 1960s no posek did.

    “It was going on long before him even, if only for a time, among the Orthodox.” I am not saying Kaplan was the first – there were reformers before him. but is there any evidence of any ceremony/celebration by orthodox rabbis in askenaz – to my knowledge there was only prohibition. If you have some real proof otherwise i would love to hear it.
    what kaplan did was different – she stepped up to the bimah read from the parsha and made a blessing. it was the first bat mitzvah ceremony in america. that is its significance.

  249. I realize that many do not have access to to all the teshuvas on the bat mitzvah. My source book is a 133 page mongraphL: Celebrating Bat Mitzva: A Halakhical analysis whic i studied with my daughter prior to her bat mitzvah 8 years ago (hence my passion and some limited knowledge on the subject). parts of the mongrap[h is available in hebrew (including the zakan aharon teshuva) on herzoh college website- just found it this am:

    Zakan aharon teshuva and analysis:
    http://www.daat.co.il/daat/mishpach/hagigat/2.htm

    a treamlined version of the monograph (without r’ ettlinger sermon and bio)

    http://www.daat.co.il/daat/mishpach/hagigat/tohen.htm

    appreciate any feed back

  250. Also on that website are excellent articles(from just perusing this am)on women and halacha from scholars and rabbis – including – grossman,askanazi,holzer, benny lau, chaim navon, kapach, frimers, aviner, etc

    http://www.daat.co.il/he-il/mishpacha/maamad

  251. Whatever happened in 1837 (and Ruvie has shown that it was NOT a bat mitzvah) by the mid 20th century, at least, bat mitzvahs were deemed forbidden in the Orthodox community, even the MO community. My ba=r mitzvah was in 1960, I went to a coed elementary school, coed camps and belonged to a coed youth group and I do not know a single girl, with one exception, who had any commemoration at all for reaching gil mitzvoth. This was so extensive that the MO shul my parents belonged to (which had mixed dancing at their dinners) and the coed school I attended (ditto) did not even wish girls turning 12 or their parents a mazel tov. This changed not because rabbis led the way but because the ballebattim realized that (a) there was nothing assur about it and (b) that the custom to ignore this life cycle event conflicted with the way our daughters were being brought up, an with a strong feeling that we were bringing them up properly. Whether this is precedent for PM is a separate story, but to pretend that there was ever a custom in the Orthodox community to celebrate bat mitzvah is just that — pretend.

  252. IH-I share R Gil’s views of what men do or should be doing in shul. As far as Kabalas Shabbos is concerned, one need only look in Shabbos 35b, Rambam Hilcos Shabbos 18, SA:OC 261 and the commentaries thereto as well as Shabbos 119a that Tosefes Shabbos and Kabalas Shabbos as a halachic means of ushering in Shabbos and refraining from Melacha was a communal concept in a communal and individual sense, which the Ari and his talmidim expanded on, and which became the accepted means of enabling the Tzibur in shul of accepting shul. Just ask yourself the following question which the Mordechai to Shabbos 35b poses-can a person who has not accepted Shabbos ask a person who has already accepted Shabbos to be Mchalel Shabbos? Absolutely not!Obviously, the notion of Kabalas Shabbos as having both individual elements such as Hadlakas Neros and a series of six Shofar blasts was one of the bases for the Minhag of the recitation of the six perakim of Tehilim that lead to the recitation of Lecha Dodi.

  253. R’ Freundel repeatedly invokes the second half of the Meiri as dispositive regarding women leading anything. E.g., in this post:

    Second, the Meiri does not make any of the Rambam’s distinctions between the different parts of the service. He only says that a katan cannot “yored lifnei ha-teivah” (he doesn’t mention tefillah be-tsibbur) which would seem to mean that a child may not serve as prayer leader at any point in davening where a Chazzan may be used. Any claim that all of this can support allowing women to be a Chazzan at any place in davening is simply not sustainable.

    It seems to me that the reason nobody besides R’ Freundel regards the Meiri as relevant is that R’ Freundel’s reading presumes his conclusion. The words of the Meiri do not conclusively prove that women may not lead Kabbalat Shabbat or Psukei DeZimra; it does not mention them at all.

    The Meiri only says “שהקטן אינו פורס על שמע ואינו עובר לפני התיבה”
    (can’t get the ellipsis between the first two words to work, so just imagine it’s there)

    Looking at the Gemara, poreis al shma is what R’ Freundel says it is, but “yored lifnei hateivah” is ONLY used in the context of real or quasi repetitions of the Shmoneh Esreh (on fast days, saying Magen Avot on Shabbat and not on Yom Tov – to the extent that there’s no Shaliach Tzibur for maariv on Yom Tov because there’s no Magen Avot)

    For the Meiri’s proscription to extend to women leading K”S and PdZ, one needs to add two facts, only the second of which R’ Freundel has been trying to prove: that Yored lifnei hateivah applies to any davar shebikedushah other than a repetition of the Amidah, and that K”S and PdZ count as real or quasi devarim shebikedushah. The first, nobody seems to have addressed.

    While RYBS’ analysis brought by Prof. Kaplan provides a strong argument that some kinds of services without an Amidah can be considered tefillah betzibur, that still doesn’t affect the Meiri’s narrow prohibition of minor boys leading Barchu and Chazarat haShatz.

    So it’s not that surprising to me that nobody has yet addressed R’ Freundel’s use of the Meiri. His repeated invocation of it is simply irrelevant, unless one already agrees with his other contested claims.

    The whole argument (which I’ve finally managed to read some of over this long weekend) seems forced: R’ Freundel invents a new category of tefillat rabbim which has the same rules as tefillah betzibur, but which does not contain any devarim shebikedushah, and on that basis bars women from leading them. It’s like RMF’s psak on eruvin in Brooklyn: he invented a new categorical description of reshut harabbim, one that ONLY applied to Brooklyn, and used that to ban eruvin in Brooklyn. Which is why many people ignore it and build eruvs anyway (leaving aside the political issues surrounding the Flatbush Eruv, there are eruvs in Boro Park, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, etc.) E.g., I’ve seen the handwritten psak of RHS authorizing the original Park Slope eruv, and his biggest issue was the Prospect Park lake, as eino mukaf ledirah. So too here, he invents a rationale on which to ban, and then surprise surprise, bans.

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