R Barry Freundel / As the discussion has gone on concerning my analysis of Partnership Minyanim in halakhah I find the critics going further and further afield to try and challenge what I wrote. These arguments tend to share some troubling common characteristics. They misstate what I have written The cite me as saying things that others have written They challenge peripheral issues with an approach that seems to say that any flaw anywhere in my argument means it all falls, when I was at pains to show multiple arguments that each stand alone They draw parallels where none are warranted They present sources that support what I am saying as if they actually present a challenge I do not know Chana Luntz and I don’t mean to be unkind, but her post on Avodah (link) does all of these things and more; while being written in an English that is often difficult to understand. Let me begin by again stating the purpose of my article because much of what she claims that I didn’t cite simply is beyond the scope of what my goal was in my article. I wrote an article about Partnership Minyanim (a new phenomenon in the Ashkenazi community where women lead things like Kabbalat Shabbat, Pesukei Dezimra etc. but not Maariv), and about why I believe that these services are halakhically unsustainable within our community. I first challenged those few halakhic defenses of Partnership Minyanim that I have read or heard and then provided many additional sources to challenge the practice. Inter alia I did discuss the custom of some communities that allow male children to lead Pesukei Dezimra and Kabbalat Shabbat because that practice does potentially challenge my conclusion and I then provided answers to that challenge. That is the totality of what this article required for its purposes on this last subject, and as such I did not write the definitive discussion of children leading any and all parts of davening as found in halakhic literature.

Partnership Minyanim VI

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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, IV, V)

I. Responding to a Critique

As the discussion has gone on concerning my analysis of Partnership Minyanim in halakhah I find the critics going further and further afield to try and challenge what I wrote.

These arguments tend to share some troubling common characteristics.

  1. They misstate what I have written
  2. The cite me as saying things that others have written
  3. They challenge peripheral issues with an approach that seems to say that any flaw anywhere in my argument means it all falls, when I was at pains to show multiple arguments that each stand alone
  4. They draw parallels where none are warranted
  5. They present sources that support what I am saying as if they actually present a challenge

I do not know Chana Luntz and I don’t mean to be unkind, but her post on Avodah (link) does all of these things and more; while being written in an English that is often difficult to understand.

Let me begin by again stating the purpose of my article because much of what she claims that I didn’t cite simply is beyond the scope of what my goal was in my article.

I wrote an article about Partnership Minyanim (a new phenomenon in the Ashkenazi community where women lead things like Kabbalat Shabbat, Pesukei Dezimra etc. but not Maariv), and about why I believe that these services are halakhically unsustainable within our community. I first challenged those few halakhic defenses of Partnership Minyanim that I have read or heard and then provided many additional sources to challenge the practice. Inter alia I did discuss the custom of some communities that allow male children to lead Pesukei Dezimra and Kabbalat Shabbat because that practice does potentially challenge my conclusion and I then provided answers to that challenge. That is the totality of what this article required for its purposes on this last subject, and as such I did not write the definitive discussion of children leading any and all parts of davening as found in halakhic literature.

This introduction alone responds to 90% of what she says in a general sense (I will be more specific below) but I would add one other general point that takes care of most, if not all of the rest before I get to specifics.

Ms. Luntz cites Sefardi poskim such as R. Ovadiah Yosef and R Untermann in her presentation. Is she seriously suggesting that if they were asked whether women could lead Kabbalat Shabbat or Pesukei Dezimra they would say “yes”? Is the track record of Sefardi poskim on issues such as this one that suggests they would respond in the affirmative?

I think not and that alone raises some serious questions about the things that she is claiming in her post.

Turning to specifics I simply don’t have the time to keep writing ten page responses to these types of posts. So I will do so, hopefully for the last time, to show that what she says creates no problems for me and, in fact, in several important ways supports what I say which has been true all along with all of these challenges that have been raised.

II. Understanding the Beit Yosef

In her very first paragraph there are two serious misstatements

  1. She says

    He (meaning me) then cites as (sic) Meiri, which he (me) quotes as “often cited as a critically important source supporting the arguments of those who see aliyot for women as acceptable”, but which, as he (me) correctly points out, does not discus (sic) prayer services in any great detail,

    That is not what I said and more importantly, that is not what the Meiri says.

    For at least the 7th or 8th time in my article and in these posts the Meiri says a) that a male child may get an aliyah b) but may not lead services AT ALL. Those who support Partnership Minyanim have used part a of this sentence to support aliyot for women but then have ignored part b and in fact have extrapolated to women leading parts of davening. This is a serious challenge to those who have defended Partnership Minyanim based on the articles that defend women getting aliyot, and that is why I discuss it as I do.

  2. She then continues:

    although it (Meiri) does deal make reference to what is the critical halachic question, which is what is the situation for minors [katanim].(sic)

    With all respect, the status of MINORS is not the critical question, the status of WOMEN is the critical question. One can accept any and all participation by male children and still not allow women to lead. I have already suggested that the Sefardic poskim Ms. Luntz cites who allow children to lead in some places in the davening all follow that view. This is true because the permissive argument for children is based on Chinukh which as I have shown repeatedly does not apply to women. I will have more to say about this as we go but even at this point the post has already shown a lack of credible argumentation.

Chana Luntz then goes on:

However it is somewhat astounding, to my mind, that Rabbi Freundel brings this Meiri, Tosepheta and other sources, but does (sic) bring what I would consider the more authoritative halachic literature on the subject. In my view, the key halachic source is rather this Beis Yosef Orech Chaim Siman 53 (letter 2): (sic)

Once again this is simply egregious. First, the source is letter 10 not letter 2. Second, the literature she refers to, including this source from Beit Yosef, is about children leading services not about women leading services and is not “the more authoritative halachic literature on the subject” unless one changes the subject from women to children, which seems to be her intent here. Third, I didn’t bring the Meiri; R. Mendel Schapiro did on p. 7 of his article and I am responding to that fact. Fourth, the Tosefta which she consistently denigrates is discussed repeatedly in the sources she cites and specifically in this text from the Beit Yosef, where what the Tosefta says is cited from Tractate Chullin in the paragraphs just above the one she cites. Therefore, since the Tosefta rejects women from any possibility of being Chazzanim and R. Yosef Caro both here and in Shulchan Arukh accepts the Tosefta’s conclusion (that only beard growing individuals, or potential beard growing individuals, can be chazzanim) and starts the discussion in both places from that point–these sources can’t possibly be justifying women leading services. Therefore, her comments here sadly range from irrelevant to profoundly wrong and in particular her downplaying of the Tosefta which she returns to at the end of her post ignores the fact that what the Tosefta says and its interpretation is codified in the very sources she cites.

The quote from Beit Yosef simply supports what I say, repeatedly, and really has no place in the conversation about Partnership Minyanim. I will go through it step by step using Ms. Luntz’ own translation and adding emphasis to illustrate. She writes:

it is derived explicitly that a katan is NOT permitted to go down before the ark even only on a casual basis and there is to wonder on that which is the custom that a katan goes down before the ark on Motzei Shabbatot and prays the prayer of Arvit,

So the discussion is about Maariv on Saturday nights and at this point in Beit Yosef no child (despite a custom to the contrary) and certainly no woman may lead.

Beit Yosef then suggests a view that a child can lead Maariv and not Shacharit because Shacharit contains things that are chiyuvim (this seems to be based on the idea that Maariv is a reshut and not a chiyuv discussed just below), and therefore for Shacharit only one who is chayav may fulfill the obligation for others. He does not distinguish Pesukei Dezimra from the rest of Shacharit (probably because, pace the Rambam as discussed in my response to Prof. Kaplan there is no chazzan at that point in the services in Sefardi circles), and tells of two great Rabbis who actively and forcefully worked against the practice of children leading Maariv.

So at this point again, no children and no women.

We then have Beit Yosef, bringing Rashba citing Ravad, saying what I cite R Uziel as also saying and going even further that because of the rabbinic requirement of chinukh children might lead the davening which is also rabbinic. So at this point children may lead but not women

But children may lead because their leading fulfills a chiyuv (of chinukh). This as Ms. Luntz herself says is the basis of all the Sefardic allowances for children. This is not a type 2 chazzan who just sets the pace and chooses the tunes. It is actually an extended type 1 chazzan who is there to fulfill an obligation which women do not have. I have some problems as I say in my article with this extension of the chinukh chiyuv in this way. Nonetheless it gets you to male children at most and not to women (more below)

But, Rashba continues, such a plan involves a violation of Kavod ha-tzibbur if a child (not a woman) leads.

So at this point, no children and no women.

Nonetheless Beit Yosef argues that the community may forego its honor and so it might be ok for male children to lead Maariv.

In other words it is only because children fit into the category of chinukh that we might suggest that they lead, but that might impact the tzibbur’s kavod. Yet there may be a way around that concern as well according to Beit Yosef.

But this dynamic doesn’t occur with women because they can’t get past the first obstacle since there is no mitzvah of chinukh when it comes to them and therefore they cannot lead the services. Hence we need not approach the issue of kavod ha-tzibbur at all in their case.

So at this point, children may lead but not women.

Beit Yosef then cites Rashi who would not let male children lead because only those who have a chiyuv (for tefillah) can lead, to which Beit Yosef responds that Maariv is different since it is a Reshut and not a Chovah.

My article spends a great deal of time showing that Kabbalat Shabbat is a chovah (derived from minhag) and the fact that it is recited every week (essentially). Pesukei Dezimra is, from Talmudic times, a requirement. We today treat Maariv as a chovah in that we do not see Maariv as optional on any given night and Partnership Minyanim do not allow women to lead Maariv on Friday nights because certainly on Friday nights since the insertion of Magen Avot, Maariv is a chiyuv.

So again, Partnership Minyanim have no support here.

Further for Ms. Luntz, how has a source that discusses male children leading Maariv which is thought to be a reshut (which means it doesn’t reflect our contemporary halakhic reality), which also includes several authorities who were absolutely opposed to that practice (or to children leading anything), in any way a challenge to my position on Partnership Minyanim, even if Beit Yosef, based on Chinukh, Maariv as a reshut and mechilat kevod ha-tzibbur allowed these young boys to lead there is still no challenge to what I say.

Parenthetically, Beit Yosef cites Kavod ha-tzibbur here but not from a Talmudic source. I said that there is no Talmudic source citing Kavod ha-tzibbur in relation to prayer services and particularly prayer services for women and that remains true. Later authorities mention it but I do not include it in my article so its mention does not touch the points that I make.

III. Other Sources

Ms. Luntz goes on to cite the Mechaber as saying that we should find a defense for those communities that allow a katan to lead Maariv on Motzaei Shabbat. I again fail to see the relevance (his defense is presumably what he said in Beit Yosef). Again, it is male children, not women, and Maariv as reshut, and no other prayers. Also I believe no communities follow this practice today, and Ms. Luntz cites none who do. So what part of what I say is challenged by all of this?

Ms. Luntz then cites the Ramo in two places being absolutely opposed to children as chazzanim and saying “a katan cannot go down before the ark EVEN FOR the prayer of Arvit”, and apparently for no other prayer either. Now as I have said several times Partnership Minyanim are an Ashkenazi phenomenon. As such any challenges to me from children leading Pesukei Dezimra or Kabbalat Shabbat should end right here and any Ashkenazi shuls letting kids lead these things should stop right now. Again the sources support me. They do not challenge me.

We then see two versions of Dagul Mervavah, both of which speak of Maariv as a reshut, which is not how we see it today. Both versions exclude the katan from Friday night Maariv but allow him to lead on other nights because Maariv is a reshut. We have already responded to all of this and despite Ms. Luntz assertions these sources are irrelevant to my discussion.

What follows is Ms. Luntz’s most disingenuous comment in her entire post. She writes and I will interject

as can easily be seen from these sources, that distinctions can and are made within halacha between those parts of the prayer service in which the leader needs to exempt the obligations of others (this is only in her version of the dagul mervava but not in R. Ovadiah’s version and not in the other sources where the issue is only Maariv as reshut verses chova which Dagul Mervava cites in her version of his text as well), where a katan cannot fulfill those roles and others where he may (not according to Ramo et al and only in Maariv when it is seen as a reshut according to others- there is no wide ranging permissive stance from anyone she cites as she suggests), but where there may be issues of kovod hatzibbur. It seems to me that without these sources you cannot have a meaningful discussion about the topic, and that it is rather odd that they have not been quoted in favour of a Meiri.

But Ms. Luntz fails to point out that I do distinguish between the role of the chazzan in chazzarat hashatz etc. where he fulfills the obligation of others and his role elsewhere where he serves to create the tzibbur for tefillah be-tzibbur and she leaves out the part of the Beit Yosef where citing Ravad and Rashba, the katan only has a role because the rabbinical mitzvah of chinukh applies to him so that he can recite berakhot and tefillot which are derabannan for others. All of this would preclude women from the role.

Further, please see above regarding the Meiri. He is here because R. Schapiro brought him to the dance – not me.

Ms. Luntz moves on to a discussion of Kavod ha-tzibbur but I don’t cite that issue and don’t see it as relevant so that even though some of what she says supports my position I am not moving to embrace that concern. As I have said before, Aryeh Frimer deals with this in his critique of Partnership Minyanim but it doesn’t belong in a discussion of my article. I would only point out that the Bach which she quotes here and is central to what she says is also based on the Tosefta that she so denigrates.

Next she, quite unfairly, does what R. Farber did previously and uses her understanding of Kavod ha-tzibbur against my position. She says:

the real issue at (sic) portrayed by this portion of the Bach, and the part picked up by the Taz and Magen Avraham is that you would not send a child to represent a community for an important matter. In past times one would also almost certainly not send a woman, but I doubt that is the case today – many countries have female ambassadors – I doubt there are any that have children. Whether this changes the nature of this halacha is an interesting question.

Maybe it is interesting for some, but I never raised this issue in my article in part to avoid this type of argument and in part because the Gemara doesn’t raise Kavod ha-tzibbur in regard to women and tefillah. It is simply dishonest scholarship to associate me with a position I never articulated and then to try to score points by challenging that position which I never presented. Again this raises questions about the seriousness of her post.

IV. Sefardim and Ashkenazim

Ms. Luntz then offers an ad hominem attack:

But the real problem with Rabbi Freudel’s (sic) analysis is, as I have mentioned, that in his zeal to write partnership minyanim out of Orthodoxy, appears to be doing a good job to write the Sefardi Community wholesale out of Orthodoxy.

Now I have said here and previously that Partnership Minyanim are an Ashkenazi phenomenon. As such it is the positions of Ashkenazi poskim that are relevant to them to a far greater degree than Sefardi poskim. So this attack is just preposterous. Second, I cited and analyzed Rav Uziel on male children and Pesukei Dezimra in my article. Third, is Ms. Luntz suggesting that Sefardi poskim who do not allow women to recite Kaddish in shul or say a blessing on mitzvoth for which they are exempt would accept Partnership Minyanim? Based just on what I have said a woman could not say Barukh She’amar the berakhah that begins Pesukei Dezimra since women have no chiyuv for Pesukei Dezimra.

Her next statement concedes the entire issue. Ms. Luntz states:

Because the Sefardi approach to chinuch (and this may not be true of the Spanish and Portuguese, who are after all very European, I do not know, but is very much the case amongst the Gibralterians, Moroccans, Iraqis and various others of my acquaintance) involves the active participation of katanim in a way that is flabbergasting to your average Ashkenazi.

But if the rationale is chinukh, as I cite Rav Uziel as saying in my article, then for the umpteenth time this does not and cannot apply to women. So again, Partnership Minyanim are illegitimate and that is what I wrote about and what I said.

Now I did raise a question about Rav Uziel’s position but I never suggested that to follow his opinion puts one outside of Orthodoxy. If this is what Ms. Luntz is reacting to I suggest she go back and reread what I wrote and apologize for wasting our time.

Ms. Luntz then says:

Now Rabbi Freudel (sic) does note this, but appears to treat it as some sort of halachic aberration.

As far as I know, I raised some questions about the practices but never used terminology like this. And the questions are legitimate. Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Rav Uziel and the Mechaber (all of whom she cites), all indicate some trouble with these practices even while defending them.

Ms. Luntz then quotes Rav Uzziel, whom I quoted, back at me. This is just strange. So is the claim that many communities allow children to lead Pesukei Dezimra (a point which I also made though I said “some”). While this is interesting those communities still need to provide halakhic rationale for doing so. And if that rationale is chinukh, as it appears to be, that raises the questions which I asked in my article. Even if the rationale is accepted that does not offer license for Partnership Minyanim, which is my subject unless you sidetrack me into this discussion, large parts of which are irrelevant to my point despite her claims to the contrary.

The Quote from Rav Yosef is even stranger since he challenges the leniencies suggested by Ms. Luntz throughout her post in terms similar to my own concerns and again limits any possible leniency to Maariv which he sees as a reshut. (how a katan would do this, since it includes Barchu and Kaddish is unclear but again his only basis is chinukh which is not applicable to women).

We then get a series of customs that occur in Sefardi shuls which find children doing various things that are troubling even to Sefardi poskim. Again, this is all under the rubric if chinukh and doesn’t involve women.

Ms. Luntz then takes an unconscionable leap and declares that what she herself has called practices that emerge from chinukh represent R. Farber’s second type of Chazzan who only sets the pace and chooses the tunes, but again she cites no one who says so. This is the same wishful thinking we have seen all along in this dialogue. Everything she says about a katan is predicated on the chiyuv of chinukh. As such, if a katan leads, he does so as a sort of type 1 chazzan fulfilling a chiyuv and not as R. Farber’s type 2 who has no chiyuv at all. I am sorry but this is just not serious halakhic analysis.

To allow a male child to lead parts of the service because of the rabbinic mitzvah of chinukh, whatever questions I may have (and Rav Ovadiah has) about that practice is still dramatically different than allowing women with no halakhic chiyuv or basis to do the same. No Sefardi posek makes that leap and, as I have said, I seriously doubt anyone would. Also, continuing to distinguish between Maariv, which some Sefardi poskim are willing to still see as a reshut other than on Friday nights, and Maariv on other nights does not get you to the practices of Partnership Minyanim which do not deal with weekday Maariv.

Finally, Ms. Luntz challenges my use of the Tosefta again despite the fact that many of the sources she cites especially those from Caro and the Bach explicitly cite this source and accept it. Again I find this to be very troubling as a serious halakhic presentation.

In sum, there is no question that Sefardi practice, despite some hesitation from Sefardi poskim, allows male children to do things that Ashkenazim do not. The rationale for this is chinukh, which is not applicable to women and I already mention all of this in my article

Partnership Minyanim are an Ashkenazi phenomenon, so while this is all interesting it isn’t relevant and in any case no Sefardi posek allows women to lead any part of the services.

No Sefardi posek cites R. Farber’s second type of chazzan and if it did exist there would be no need to mention chinukh as the rationale.

Maariv is the prototype here because it is still seen as a reshut by some in the Sefardi world–but not by Ashkenazim

Everyone, including me knows that some parts of the service require a chazzan who fulfills peoples obligations and some parts do not. My article spends a good deal of time explaining what this second type of chazzan is and I have shown repeatedly that it is not R. Farber’s type 2 chazzan and nothing Ms. Luntz writes comes close to changing any of that.

I end with a plea. Can we please be a little more responsible in our halakhic analysis and save everyone the time and effort of going through this type of exchange.

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.

267 comments

  1. Of course Ms. Luntz responded to this criticism as well, as linked by Ruvie earlier.
    http://lists.aishdas.org/htdig.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/2013q1/025826.html

    I am not saying who is right, but it is strange to post his initial response again here without acknowledging that she has (tried to) explain again what she is and is not saying.

    (useful excerpts:
    “To me, and my piece, the status of MINORS is indeed the critical question. As indicated, I am perfectly happy for RBJF to make a halachic case against partnership minyanim, and/or against women leading psukei d’zimra. What I personally am not happy about is him making a case against minors leading psukei d’zimra. The problem that I see at the moment is that the halachic case he tries to build against women saying psukei d’zimra at the same time possels the practice of katanim saying psukei d’zimra.
    . . .
    “That it seems to me is the problem. That the analysis was fundamentally to show that psukei d’zimra is a chova (I agree because the target was women in partnership minyanim) but in doing so, it was ruling common Sephardi practice out of Orthodoxy. That was my objection.

    “Now I gather, in an attempt to somehow allow the Sephardim back in a Rashba like obligation of chinuch has materialised in order to push aside the chova that is being postulated by this analysis. But that just isn’t how we hold. There is extensive discussion on the extent to which chinuch impacts in various ways, and the debates amongst the rishonim as to what sort of obligation chinuch creates is well known. It just doesn’t work very well, which seems to mean we are back with the Sephardim being out again.”

    In general I have found that Rabbi Freundel has conflated arguments that he has not conclusively proven “partnership minyanim are assur and nonorthodox” – i.e., arguments that his article makes logical leaps or mistakes – with arguments that partnership minyanim are “muttar and orthodox.”

  2. I didn’t realize she had responded. I couldn’t get through her original piece. Very long and generally missing the point. I gave up after a while.

  3. Very telling response, Gil. Thank you for your candor.

  4. After 6 posts, R. Freundel still hasn’t convinced even people not in favor of Partnership Minyanim. How many more posts are you planning?

  5. Gil, please — this is enough. Rav Henkin shlita obviously felt that Luntz’s piece was at least reasonable (enough for him to call it a “refutation” of Rabbi Dr. Freundel’s analysis). So it is not appropriate to post more attacks as if her piece is “not responsible”. The only substantial posek so far to weigh the merits of Rabbi Dr. Freundel’s halachic analysis against that of Chana Luntz has spoken.

    I think Rabbi Dr. Freundel has had ample opportunity to make his case and you have been very indulgent. But all things must come to an end. Many of us agree with Rabbi Dr. Freundel (and Rav Henkin and you) as a matter of policy but disagree with his halachic analysis, and these additional posts are descending to a level of attack that is not educational or helpful.

  6. Only 4 more and RBF and his partner Gil will have their own partnership minyan.

  7. IH: She kept talking about ketanim leading services without mentioning R. Freundel’s discussion of that in his original paper. After a few paragraphs of not mentioning what he wrote, I just gave up. Not worth the effort. Either she didn’t read R. Freundel carefully, she didn’t have the courtesy to quote him properly or she was too disorganized. Either way, not worth my time. I have no idea if R. Henkin read R. Feundel’s original paper carefully either.

    Skeptic: I totally agree. I’ve been giving R. Freundel the right to respond but he already responded with this on Avodah so I didn’t have to post it here also. I was just busy on something for Jewish Action and didn’t have time to write a post for today or tomorrow. Hopefully my article in last issue of JA will be online for tomorrow night because I won’t have time tomorrow to write a post.

    Although people complain when R. Michael Broyde doesn’t respond to their comments. R. Freundel responds in great detail.

  8. Lawrence Kaplan

    There must be a shvil ha-zahav between not responding and responding as does R. Freundel. I also think that Rabbi Freundel indulges too much in preliminaries about how his critics do not follow proper methodology, etc., instead of just showing it. Too much warmups.

  9. I for one found this article and all of the preceding ones, educational and important. I also found the discussion enlightening, if at times somewhat sharp, and I am in no way exempting myself from being a contributor to the tone of the comments. But I frankly have to disagree with everyone claiming that this topic has played out. Many of us, myself included, came into this debate with our minds made up and there was very little chance that anyone was going to change that. But I suspect that for ever IH, History, Skeptic, “you lost me,” and so on, there are many other people less deeply embroiled in this debate who are reading, learning, and making up their mind. Gill has done those people a great service by allowing a full and honest discussion of one of the most important topics in Modern Orthodox life today.

    R Henkin is often mentioned by the pms supporters, but his short comment doesn’t give any indication of why he came to the conclusion that he did. It is hard respond to such a comment. Skeptic returned to what we say before, a pure appeal to authority saying that Rabbi Henkin “has spoken.” I suspect that if he were to fully articulate his position here, the conversation regarding his comments would change greatly.

    In most forums there are dozens of readers for every person who posts a comment. Based on the number of hits this blog gets each day it is likely that the trend holds true here. A few vocal commenters may not like to have their assumptions questioned by RDBF’s well reasoned and thoughtful articles but there is no reason to suspect that they speak for everyone.

  10. Completely off topic, Gil, but since you brought up Jewish Action: Some time ago, for about one or two issues, they had the magazine online in a form you could read, flipping through it. The website now is very hard to navigate- you can never be sure which articles are from which issue and so on. Is there any chance they could upload the actual issue, in pdf or whatever format?

  11. moshe shoshan

    Rabbi Freundel

    I sincerely think that you are doing youself and your cause by continuing to respond to every critque of your article. I think you have made you points in a learned and articulate manner, those who are convinced have been convinced and those who are not willl not be by further posts.

    As I have noted, you have set an extraordinarily high bar for yourself in attempting to show that all those who disagree with your particualr arguments, even if they agree with your conclusions, are not simply wrong but beyond the pale of halakhah and I think you need to acknowledge that reasonable people may disagree with some of your points.

    Furthermore, continued argumentation re-enforces the impression that like R. Yonatan ben Horkonous’s approach in yevamot (15a?) all halakhic issues are to be decided on the field of halakic combat, winner take all.

    Would you allow PM’s if a suprior Tamid Chacham demonstrated flaws in your argument?

    THe issue with PM’s is that even if one can construct a viable halakhic argument to permit them, lo kol a rotzeh litol shem shamayim yitol. AS I argue extensively in my book, halakha is not just about cocepts and arguments, itis about authority. How many times have I heard R. Lichtentien say that he thinks that a particular accepted psak could or should be chyanged, but that he lack the authority to do so despite his impecabble arguments?

    PM represents a significant change established practice and to the ballance of gender role in halakhah. This not something to be undertaken by baalei batim or even common talmidei chachamim, but requires very broad shoulders indeed.

    I would go further, R. Sperber is beyond all doubt an outstanding Talmid Chacham, a yirei shamayim and a respected posek inhis circles. Now thathe has permited PM’s the only truely relevant question is has he over steped his authority in authroizing these changes andhad he over steped his jurisdiction by allowing them in communities other than his own. If he isout of his league on this, it doesnt matter how good his arguments are. If he does have sufficient stature, then even if we reject his arguments, it is not so simple to write him or his opinion out of orthodox without an argument that goes beyond the implications of a given rishon or shut.

    repectfully,

    Moshe Shoshan

  12. moshe shoshan

    first line should read:

    I sincerely think that you are doing yourself and your cause no benefit by continuing to respond to every critque of your article.

  13. I sincerely thank r’ ms for his articulation of a good part of my response to all such issues – who gets to decide when it’s time for a change? Of course there are halachic boundaries but in our information age saying “halacha forbids” (which most people in the past thought meant look it up here in talmud and s”a where it says thou shalt not ever ever ever) will often result in a list of exceptions in past practice somewhere or logic that could yield such).

    Of course learned discussion of such is fascinating and educational for wanabees like me but the mechanism for change is much more complex. I suspect many readers have used their own version of r’ybs’s halachic intuition and then read the texts but the halachic change process? therein lies the rub.Clearly in the us r’hs and “a certain rabbi in riverdale” would disagree.

    KT

  14. Nachum: The Pesach issue is in that format. It seems to me less web-friendly, certainly to search engines. I think the current format needs to be tweaked so you can easily find what is in the current issue.

  15. Moshe – whatever its merits in the abstract — and I have my doubts — the argument for authority needed for change is moot in an era when the so-called “broad shoulders” have not earned the trust of the amcha.

    In fact, it seems to me that one of the major problems facing Orthodoxy is that following such a process means that it is nigh impossible to climb down from all the chumras that have piled one on the other in the sociological lurch to the right of the past 30 years. Impeding the ability of Orthodoxy to climb down from that tree is a recipe for disaster.

    To the contrary, salvation for Orthodoxy will come from those brave enough to withstand the inertia to permit that which is permissible. As we all know: it doesn’t take a Talmid Chacham to be machmir.

  16. moshe shoshan

    IH

    Chumra is not intertia it is a positive response to changing times.
    Also how do you know what is permissible?
    I cannot beleive that person of you education and sophistication believes that there there is an absolute answer to the question.

  17. Moshe — an individual’s chumra may be a positive response to changing times, but we are a community-oriented people. As R. Belovski has nicely stated:

    Stringencies – in Hebrew, חומרות – are very much in vogue in the religious world. While in the right circumstances, the implementation of carefully-selected stringencies can stimulate genuine spiritual growth, it is regrettably common for them to [be] little more than a type of destructive halachic one-upmanship. The passage of the nazir provides a stark lesson – one must always question one’s motivation when adopting voluntary religious responsibilities. The Torah requires us to develop the self-awareness needed to distinguish between a genuine desire for spirituality and ‘keeping up with the Cohens’.”

    As for “How do you know what is permissible?” Depending on your haskhafa: you either follow your Rav, or evaluate the arguments and make a decision about which Rabbi’s psak to follow. I believe I can marshall Rav Lichtenstein to support the latter.

  18. R’IH and R’MS,
    IMHO you’re both right :-). SOmetimes chumrah is a reaction to changes in society or circumstances(e.g. the more coarse society gets, maybe some more distance in certain issues is appropriate) and sometimes it’s My chumrah’s bigger than yours. This is true of kulot as well imho(e.g. if you can only get a minyan for maariv at 7pm all year long then that’s when we’ll daven maariv, or perhaps horseradish as marror or yoshon outside of eretz yisrael?)

    Unfortunately IMHO R’IH is right (in my perception of the MO community) that ““broad shoulders” have not earned the trust of the amcha.”. I’m not sure who that is really a reflection upon.

    But even in R’IH’s approach one still has to wonder if one can follow any opinion that resonates with them. As I said above, the range of results that one can come to based on prior minority opinion, or logic that circumstances have changed is extremely broad, IMHO ths stature of one rabbi in Riverdale or eretz yisrael would need to be literally towering to say that their endorsement is sufficient (of course it worked for the baal shem tov, so who knows?)
    KT

  19. shachar haamim

    “PM represents a significant change established practice and to the ballance of gender role in halakhah. This not something to be undertaken by baalei batim or even common talmidei chachamim, but requires very broad shoulders indeed”

    Moshe – if you followed the discussions in the recent Makor Rishon Shabbat Supplement (Einat Rimon, R. Dov Berkovitz and others) it should be obvious that PM’s also present significant challenges to the balance of gender roles in society – and more specifically the religious community. Frankly, I came away with the feeling that even the more conservative (as in “shamrani”) feminist orthdox leaders have not given much thought to the long term effects that the march of feminist thought has had on our community.
    I have yet to hear or have read ANY modern orthodox leader or thinker who has advocated for women’s issues express anything like this. Frankly every time I read Einat Rimon I just come away astounded that she came out of Berekely with such clarity of thought.

  20. R’ Joel — no, I don’t think that if one is serious about the halachic process that “one can follow any opinion that resonates” but that is precisely why R. Sperber’s imprimatur is critical to the success of Darkhei Noam on the UWS.

    —–

    As an aside, R. Freundel’s several attempts to tar R. Sperber’s psak as not Orthodox, by association, were disgraceful in my view.

  21. S H — I have not followed the Makor Rishon discussion you mention, but here in galus, the majority of the 200+ people who attend Darkhei Noam each Shabbat are not there for primarily ideological reasons, in my experience. At least in NY, we are well past the ideological innovator stage in the adoption lifecycle (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_adoption_lifecycle)

  22. IH: As an aside, R. Freundel’s several attempts to tar R. Sperber’s psak as not Orthodox, by association, were disgraceful in my view

    You should call him Classic, not Orthodox

    He is the chancellor of a Classic Judaism yeshiva
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Yeshiva_%26_Rabbinical_School
    http://www.cdnyeshiva.org/about-us/about-us/classic-judaism/

  23. Has R. Freundel ever published a tshuva articulating the halachic arguments in favor of his psak to allow a Womens T’filla Group at his shul?

    That would seem a logical place to start a halachic evaluation if he thinks the line is drawn there and not where R. Sperber has drawn it.

  24. I think the fringe benefits article over at news and links should be tagged to the partnership minyan discussion. It speaks volumes.
    KT

  25. R’ Freundel closes: “I end with a plea. Can we please be a little more responsible in our halakhic analysis and save everyone the time and effort of going through this type of exchange.”

    I agree with R Moshe Shoshan’s comment: “I sincerely think that you are doing youself and your cause by continuing to respond to every critque of your article.” Although possibly not for the reasons he intended.

    Mr Luntz wrote on Avodah, a discussion forum. No one claims their posts are final pesaqim. A collection of conclusions would not make up a discussion. R’ Freundel is bemoaning a lack of rigor in a venue where rigor isn’t called for. (And, to overlap RMS’s comment, it makes him look overly defensive.)

    As for halachic change… Such change is always evolutionary, not revolutionary. The notion of pushing an agenda to force change that isn’t flowing naturally is itself a bending of halachic process. But now we’re approaching the point of seeing whether this revolution can be accepted post-facto.

    RIH writes: “As for ‘How do you know what is permissible?’ Depending on your haskhafa: you either follow your Rav, or evaluate the arguments and make a decision about which Rabbi’s psak to follow. I believe I can marshall Rav Lichtenstein to support the latter.”

    I do NOT believe this is an issue of daas Torah. Everyone holds of the mishnah “asei lekha rav”. Halachic issues require expertise, and the plurality of possible correct answers requires finding one expert and sticking to his perspective, rather than risking pursuing paradoxical paths to G-d. This is called having a poseiq.

    The second problem with citing RAL is that he actually believes in theory in daas Torah. What his essay “Im ein da’at, manhigut minayin?” laments is

    (1) Confusing daas Torah with the legal quality of pesaq. It makes sense to follow daas Torah, but one is not obligated to do so. And
    (2) The lack of gedolim who actually possess daas Torah. Theoretically, it’s a good idea. In practice, RAL believes that since RSZAurbach, there is no “in practice” to the topic.

    So I’d be curious to see RIH’s sources, preferably in a place like Avodah more suited for discussion of ideas rather than of others’ essays.

    But in any case, I would reiterate that there is nothing in MO that tells someone to pasqen halakhah for themselves.

  26. R’ Micha — IH on March 6, 2013 at 8:51 am already responds, I believe. To be clear: I was not implying Da’as Torah in the first option — merely that some people’s hashkafa is to ask (only) their Rav and that is perfectly legitimate. Apologies if I was not clear.

  27. I am opposed to PM. I think it will destroy Orthodoxy and is on a slippery slope to getting rid of mechitzah and complete egalitarianism. On the other hand, I find Rabbi Freundel’s arguments to be without any halachic merit. He doesn’t even come close to creating a halachic basis for forbidding PM. He acts as if what he says is obvious, when everyone is telling him that he is inventing concepts which have no basis in halachic literature.

  28. Such change is always evolutionary, not revolutionary. The notion of pushing an agenda to force change that isn’t flowing naturally is itself a bending of halachic process. But now we’re approaching the point of seeing whether this revolution can be accepted post-facto.

    There is a dance in which the initial innovation is scorned and slowly becomes acceptable if it passes the amcha’s muster. Partnership Minyanim are part of the evolution that began with a rejection of revolutionary change by Modern Orthodoxy in the 1980s.

    In 100 years time, perhaps some PhD candidate will write about the evolutionary changes in Orthodoxy on a related set of modern challenges: Zionism, true emancipation for Jews in North America and Feminism.

  29. “You should call him Classic, not Orthodox”

    As in “Classic Coke”, right?

  30. RIH — thanks, I didn’t see that.

    But I’m saying that any hashkafah that IMHO can rightfully be called O would only allow people to not “ask (only) their rav” in two situations:
    1- the question is settled, open-and-shut and not really a question (more like initial ignorance); or
    2- said rav gave them a piece of paper that says that they are capable — “Yoreh Yoreh”.

  31. r’IH,
    Had you heard the dance analogy before I used it? (i”ll survive if the answer is yes, just curious :-))
    KT

  32. R’ Micha — Empirically, that is not the way Orthodoxy has operated on communal matters. If it did — few of us would be Zionists, Rabbi’s sermons would not be in English, women would not be learning gemara etc. etc.

  33. R’ Joel — no, I usually credit you!!!

  34. RIH writes, “There is a dance in which the initial innovation is scorned and slowly becomes acceptable if it passes the amcha’s muster. Partnership Minyanim are part of the evolution that began with a rejection of revolutionary change by Modern Orthodoxy in the 1980s.”

    I think this is unique. In the past, revolutionary change ceased being revolution when it passed some authority’s muster — not “amcha”. (And this is of a piece with my 9:49am comment.) Eg: Beis Yaaqov took the Chafeitz Chaim’s and Belzer Rebbe’s backing. And even then, the halachic argument — which in theory would have been sufficient on its own — was buttressed by invoking “eis laasos Lashem” to legitimize the entire concept of revolution.

  35. RIH writes, “Empirically, that is not the way Orthodoxy has operated on communal matters. If it did — few of us would be Zionists, Rabbi’s sermons would not be in English, women would not be learning gemara etc. etc.”

    Actually, all of your examples are top-down. Zionism got legitimacy from R’ Reines, R’ ZH Kalisher, the Netziv, and R’ Kook (who just got it from his rebbe). Sermons in the local language doesn’t even rise to the level of this discussion, as the norm of having a sermon altogether isn’t much older and the predecessor was having it in Yiddish when that was the common tongue of the listeners — not artificially sticking to a “holy” language. But that too started with people like R’ SR Hirsch. Teaching gemara would not have gotten anywhere without R JB Soloveitchik and R MM Shneerson. Etc…

  36. Micha – an example of bottom up: the acceptance of the bat mitzvah among the orthodox before any rabbinic approval.

    i would also would add all the books by jacob katz, ta- shma and others showing acceptance by communities and post facto approvals by rabbinic authorities.

  37. right, perhaps i am too young, but the history i have heard does not involve a rabbi-opposed, lay-led push of women who were already learning gemara before rabbis of statute agreed to teach it to them.

  38. i’d disagree that zionism is “top down” – it was a social force likely with influence among the orthodox with or without r. reines. at this point in hsitory we look back and say it was ok b/c of those you name…

  39. Actually, emma, at this point in history the people who care most about finding authoritative sources write them out of history and say Zionism is not okay because allegedly no one did support it.

  40. i was using “we” in a limited sense of “those (like you?) who say it is ok do so by looking back…”

  41. Lawrence Kaplan

    I hope commentors on this post will take a close look at Chana Lunz’s response on Partnership Minyanim V to RBF’s analysis of the Meiri. Since Gil found her initial lengthy response difficult to follow, he might want to focus just on this. I found Luntz’a analysis convincing. Again, I think that RBF is so enamored of his hiddush that pesukei de-zimra and Kabblat Shabbat are tefillah be-tzibbur or, at least, tefillat rabbim that he simply cannot appreciate how tenudous most of his arguments are and he dismisses almost all opposing views, even by those who oppose pms, as employing non-Orthodox methodology.

  42. I just read it and was thoroughly unimpressed. It seems to me that Chana mistranslated and misunderstood the Meiri. I’m not even sure she understood what R. Freundel was trying to argue.

  43. the basic argument is, what does the meiri means when he says
    אבל אינו עוב ר לפני התיבה אע”פ שהביא שתי שערות עד
    שיראה כגדול

    r freundel paraphrases “over lifnei hateva” as “lead services” in his original article.
    chana luntz argues that “over lifnei hateva,” as used by the meiri (and perhaps in general) is a technical term meaning “lead shemone esrei.”

    my inclination s that she is right though one would have to do an exhaustive review of how meiri uses the term.

  44. to clarify, that is “the basic argument” between r freundel and chana lunzt re: the merir. it is not, of course, “the basic argument” re: whether partnership minyanim are allowed. but that’s the point: partnership minyanim could be not allowed and rabbi freundel could be wrong as to why.

  45. Emma this section from part V seems to answer your question from your 12:10 PM comment fairly thoroughly.

    “III. Descending to the Lectern

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

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

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

  46. ps.
    In Partnership Minyanim IV R. Freundel wrote:
    “[Meiri] 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.”

    First, if we are going to resort to technical “digs” as R Freundel does regarding the letter int he beit yosef, then the meiri says “over” and not “yored.”

    Second, Jon baker pointed out in the comments t that post that “over lifnei hateva” does not obviously mean “lead services,” but rather usually means “lead shemone esrei, specifically.”

    R. Freundel;’s rejoinder in PM V that the meiri would have had to specify which portions of leading he was excluding boys from and which he was allowing is therefore unconvicning. The Meiri _did_ specify by using the technical term “over lifnei hateva” that only refers to certain parts of the service.

    The way to respond is to show that “over lifnei hateva,” in general and especially in the meiri, in fact means “lead any part of services.” I do not believe rabbi freundel has done so though it is, admittedly, hard to keep track of all the responses.

  47. Micha – “The second problem with citing RAL is that he actually believes in theory in daas Torah. ”
    not really a problem (they are not mutually exclusive positions)- RAL has stated that a person may follow a talmid chacham of lesser stature and learning than a gadol because one’s hashkafa matches the lesser talmid chacham.

    On history: it is clear that at major transformative points in jewish history for the last 300-400 years the rov “gedolim” were certainly and unquestionably on the wrong side of history. Such points are: shabbateism, hasidism, modernity, zionism (plus est. of the state of israel), and the holocaust. Should we add women/feminism (at least what we name orthodox feminism – like voting, advance talmud, WTG, yoatzot -whatever that may be) too? the issue is claiming those beyond the pale/heresy and becoming more insular than need be.

    As Y. Leibowitz said in 1980:
    “The question of women and Judaism is more crucial than all the political problems of the people and its state. Failure to deal with it seriously threatens the viability of the Judaism of Torah and Mitzvoth (commandments) in the contemporary world. (Leibowitz 1982: 128).”

  48. Emma, it seems that he did, in the response you just quoted, show that “over lifnei hateva,” in general, in fact means “lead any part of services.” He gave three examples, as I cited above. Do you object to the examples he cited?

  49. Also, Emma you cite Jon Baker as opposing this section of the discussion. Jon Baker himself says

    Jon Baker on March 5, 2013 at 8:31 am

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

  50. thanks- i knew he did address it.

    two issues:

    (1) refering to magen avot as “yored/over lifnei hateva” does not prove, to me, that the terms can refer to _any_ prayer, as magen avot is specifically a shemone-esrei-like prayer. so that leaves one reference from taanit. that proves the use is not exclusive but it does n ot prove that the “normal” meaning of over/yored lifnei hateva is ot shemone-esrei specific. as i said that requires an exhaustive review but my instinct, recalling my elarning of many years ago, is that for this one taanit reference there are many others where the phrase means the amidah specifically.

    (2) the meiri himself, as quoted by chana luntz, seems to define “over lifnei hateva” as shemone esrei specific. he goes into the history to expain how the term came to mean that. so even if someone (even in cahzal) used the term nonspecifically, that doesn’t mean the meiri is doing so.

  51. also, the reference in taanit is aggadic, and may be picking up the verb simply to parallel to the previous action.

  52. (ps, HIstory, there was some cross-posting, that’s why my 12:22 post appears nonresponsive.)

  53. IH:

    “salvation for Orthodoxy”
    That’s an interesting phrase. Does Torah need us to save it?

    Quoting R. Belovski–“Stringencies – in Hebrew, חומרות – are very much in vogue in the religious world”
    Isn’t this getting tiring? When the Rama has chumros that the mechaber doesn’t, was that “in vogue”? How many hundreds of years can a phenomenon exist and still be tainted with the veiled pejoration of “in vogue?”

    “attempts to tar R. Sperber’s psak as not Orthodox, by association, were disgraceful in my view”
    What did you find disgraceful, calling someone non-Orthodox, or the fact that is was done by association? If he approved of partnership minyanim, and partnership minyanim are non-Orthodox (see, e.g., http://www.yrg.org.il/show.asp?id=33537 which was previously referenced on Hirhurim), let’s say, then would you still call that “non-Orthodox by association” or rather “directly non-Orthodox?”

  54. emma: I continued the discussion in post V. I contend that Chana misunderstood the Meiri and combined two different opinions. The Meiri’s actual language for Yored Lifnei HaTeivah is “Tefillah Sheleimah”.

  55. To stake out a somewhat less broad claim on “yored lifnei hateva,” it seems to me at the very least that it refers only to certain subsets of leading – if not only shemone esrei then only the “important” parts that are said at the ammud.
    Note that contemporary practice, I believe, preserves not saying pesukei dezimra and kabbalat shabbat at the ammud. Note also that R. Akiva in the story in taanit apparently did go to the ammud. How does this tell us that the Meiri meant to include non-amidah, not-at-the-ammud prayers in his exclusion of ketanim?

  56. Emma, as a hypothetical base on your last comment. As a tangential question not related to pms halachik status.

    How do you think the women at pms would respond if they were told that they can say a part of davening out loud, but they cannot do so from the ammud? They have to stay in the women’s sectiosn and can say things out loud from their seat or some “lesser” not real ammud. And the parts of davening they can do that for are parts of davening that are of lesser importance. And they’re not really a representative of the congregation, they are just setting the pace and choosing tunes?

    How long would that system work for?

  57. i don’t know, but other than the different location that is essentially what they are told now. it has been discussed here a lot – why/whether women should be happy being told they can only do the “lesser” things. i don’t know, though i suspect we will see.

    i don’t see real utility in arguing more about it, and as i said i am not sure.

    i am persisting in this drawn-out discussion on the limited question of whether rabbi freundel’s reading of his sources is the only one, or is even a correct one.

  58. Rabbi Y.H.Henkin

    I do not endorse partnership minyanim, similar to what I have
    written about women’s aliyot. My disagreement with Rabbi Freundel pertains to the why. I am not convinced that tefilah berabim is not a halachic invention.
    (I also do not think that labeling something as Sephardic makes it irrelevant to discussion.)
    There was another reason for my posting: to bring Chana Luntz to the attention of a wider audience. I find her writings clear and cogent.

  59. I agree that is isn’t directly on point and I won’t belabor it. But, to me it does further highlight that these are post-hoc rationalizations. If this explanation was the real reason these groups allowed women’s participation they would be the farthest thing from egalitarian. They would have taken a system which has separate and defined roles and replaced it with a system in which women really do have roles of “lesser importance.” I don’t think a single person I know who goes to pms would find that palatable, if it were broadcast and made clear. It outright conflicts with their goals. It puts on a show of egalitarianism by putting women into the spotlight, but only by creating a never before heard of hierarchy in which women get the lesser roles.

  60. R’ Micha — The examples of communal changes I mention are neither top-down, nor bottom-up. They are, using R’ Joel’s apt metaphor, a dance in which the rabbinate and amcha take turns slowly evolving some concept. Some of these have been covered in some detail in previous parts of this discussion.

    As far as I’m aware many of these changes took root in Orthodoxy without the formal t’shuva process that R. Freundel feels is so important for Partnership Minyanim (but, seemingly not for Womens T’filla Groups of which he de-facto approves). Point me, for example, to the Rav’s t’shuva detailing the halachic reasoning behind the establishment of Maimoindes as a full CoEd school in which girls are taught gemara alongside boys.

    Finally, as I keep stating, Darkhei Noam is considered kosher by many UWS Orthodox amcha who flock to it because of R. Sperber approbation. The transparent attempts at character assassination such as R. Freundel’s repeated jibes in this series of posts and Gil’s comment of 9:01am just illustrate the desperation at those opposed to not successfully making a convincing case using the halachic process they claim to be defending. How throwing dirt serves Orthodoxy or the halachic process is beyond me.

    Unless something really new comes up, I am going to bow out here. My bottom line remains — whether you like them or not — PMs are past the point of being assur’ed out of Modern Orthodoxy. Further, I predict that PM features will become mainstream in Establishment Modern Orthodox Shuls over time, just as other innovations have in the past 100 years: use of English, women learning gemara, T’filla le’Shlom ha’Medina, Bat Mitzva celebrations et al.

  61. IH- I can assure you that I will never in my life daven in a shul that incorporates a PM. No matter how smug and boastful you are, I am not alone. (whenever I read your posts in this vein I cannot help but hear echos of Nikita Khrushchev swearing to bury the west. I offer him as yet another example of the fact that revolutionaries predictions are not always right.).

    What you are predicting is a tear in the community that widens and widens. The more that PMs are incorporated the more people will have to take sides. That even applies to the people here who say they oppose PMs but don’t accept RDBF’s argument. If your prediction is correct, we will enter into a period of very bitter strife. I continue to hope that such a catastrophe can be avoided.

  62. History — you will always have an option. Shul breakaways over far more trivial matters are a dime a dozen. But, if you have any sense of history, you’ll know that a like-minded visitor from 100 years ago, might very well have the same opinion of the shul you like.

  63. “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.”

  64. Superintendant Chalmers

    IH:
    I believe you just made History’s point. The same way that there has been a rift between modern and Chareidi orthodoxy in America, with YU/RIETS being totally marginalized by the Chareidi community, there will likewise be a split between the “open” orthodox and the traditional wing of MO.

    History,
    What I am not clear on is why you consider this a catastrophe. I think a clean break like this would be the healthiest option for everyone involved.

  65. IH responded to this comment:

    “Moshe — an individual’s chumra may be a positive response to changing times, but we are a community-oriented people. As R. Belovski has nicely stated:

    Stringencies – in Hebrew, חומרות – are very much in vogue in the religious world. While in the right circumstances, the implementation of carefully-selected stringencies can stimulate genuine spiritual growth, it is regrettably common for them to [be] little more than a type of destructive halachic one-upmanship. The passage of the nazir provides a stark lesson – one must always question one’s motivation when adopting voluntary religious responsibilities. The Torah requires us to develop the self-awareness needed to distinguish between a genuine desire for spirituality and ‘keeping up with the Cohens’.”

    As for “How do you know what is permissible?” Depending on your haskhafa: you either follow your Rav, or evaluate the arguments and make a decision about which Rabbi’s psak to follow. I believe I can marshall Rav Lichtenstein to support the latter.

    First of all, one can obviously disagree with R Belowski’s comment and find numerous Chumros that are accepted Halachos and Minhagim which have been accepted as normative practice for hundreds of years and which have Talmudic roots. The observance of Chanukah , the number and nature of the Kolos blown on RH, Shivah Nikiyim, the proper shiur acilah for Birkas HaMazon and Yom Tom Sheni in the Diaspora are but a few obvious cases. See Rashi on RH 16b sv. Larev es HaSatan where it is obvious that a Chumra is understood that one undertakes to perform more than MeIkar HaDin as a means of demonstrating Ahavas HaShem as opposed to indicating that performance of the mitzvos is undertaken as mere rote or worse, as opposed to being solely an exercise in one upsmanship.Like it or not, Chumros, in many areas of Halacha, depending on the nature of the Halacha involved, have a very old history in halacha. That fact being stated, being Yotze Lchol HaDeos and incorporating Hiddurim into one’s Avodas HaShem has a long and even praiseworthy history.

    As far as RAL is concerned,IIRC, R Frimer has quoted that RAL was opposed to PMs.

  66. In fact, it seems to me that one of the major problems facing Orthodoxy is that following such a process means that it is nigh impossible to climb down from all the chumras that have piled one on the other in the sociological lurch to the right of the past 30 years.

    It’s funny how often people use the word “chumra” to refer to any accepted halacha that they were previously unaware of and/or which they find too burdensome…

    “The question of women and Judaism is more crucial than all the political problems of the people and its state. Failure to deal with it seriously threatens the viability of the Judaism of Torah and Mitzvoth (commandments) in the contemporary world. (Leibowitz 1982: 128).”

    Interesting that Leibowitz raised such a concern. His whole philosophy is that you should do mitzvot for the sake of obedience without caring about fulfillment or reward. So why would he care if people found halacha’s attitude towards women distasteful?

    “We Jews of New York discovered that in the Yeshiva Rabbi Isaac Elchanan …

    You quote that over and over and over. I don’t see why, as it proves absolutely nothing except that there were charedim 100 years ago too!

  67. “IH:
    I believe you just made History’s point. The same way that there has been a rift between modern and Chareidi orthodoxy in America, with YU/RIETS being totally marginalized by the Chareidi community, there will likewise be a split between the “open” orthodox and the traditional wing of MO.”

    Push comes to shove, charedi people will daven in MO shuls. It is a real rift but not complete.

  68. The same way that there has been a rift between modern and Chareidi orthodoxy in America, with YU/RIETS being totally marginalized by the Chareidi community, there will likewise be a split between the “open” orthodox and the traditional wing of MO.

    More likely, the RW of RWMO will simply continue to ease into Charedi orthodoxy.

  69. I don’t see why, as it proves absolutely nothing except that there were charedim 100 years ago too!

    Shlomo — to spell it out, RIETS was embarking on bold innovations that was threatening to people like History, hence their cry of anguish that is akin to History’s cry of anguish yesterday: “My main goal is to be left alone, to not have my friends and family lured away from their traditional Orthodox practices. I am deeply troubled by what I see as many people I know and care about drifting away from what I consider Orthodoxy.”

  70. And, of course, some of those innovations are normative not just in the YU camp, but also in the Lakewood camp. Does Artscroll translate into Yiddish, or English?

  71. IH- As I’ve discussed before the “RWMO” tag simply doesn’t fit all the people who oppose you. I own and watch a tv, prize secular knowledge, dress normally, listen to modern music (I’ve cited Eminem in this discussion), I will eat Quinoa on Pesach, I do eat kosher fish without any new concern about parasites, I drink the water in NY, I have never worn a black hat, ect . . .

    Superintendant Chalmers- A clean break would be painful, but I agree it would be for the best. I am afraid that we’re nto going to get a clean break.

  72. IH wrote in part:

    “In fact, it seems to me that one of the major problems facing Orthodoxy is that following such a process means that it is nigh impossible to climb down from all the chumras that have piled one on the other in the sociological lurch to the right of the past 30 years. Impeding the ability of Orthodoxy to climb down from that tree is a recipe for disaste”

    Like it or not, the above quoted excerpt and R Belowski’s observation are IMO equally incorrect. One can find numerous “chumros” which have been accepted as part and parcel of mormative Halacha since the Talmud. A short list would include Neros Chanukah, YT Sheni, Shivah Nekiim, the amount of Tekios on RH, and the shiur achilah for Brikas HaMazon and many halachos of a rabbinic level such as Muktzeh, etc that place siyagim around the Torah. See also Rashi to RH 16b where going beyond MeIkar HaDin is viewed as showing Ahavas HaShem as opposed to just fulfilling a Mitzvah out of a sense of obligation. That is also one of the rationales of the incorporation of Hiddurim and being Yotzei Lchol HaDeos in one’s Avodas HaShem. The notion that Chumros are a purely a 20th Century reaction cannot withstand serious inquiry.

  73. IH wrote:

    “More likely, the RW of RWMO will simply continue to ease into Charedi orthodoxy”

    Proof please?There are many people who may affect the externals of the Charedi world in their attire, but who certainly do not share the Kollel forever POV and who definitely have a positive theological POV about Zionism and the State of Israel.

  74. Steve, this is why I am opposed to adoption of chareidi dress. We should all be able to agree that even if we could say something might be “halachic”, it doesn’t mean it should be done. We should have learned this from observing the heterodox movements, even if you want to claim this is somehow different. I certainly do not believe in the chareidi definition of “daas torah”, but would defer such globally impacting things to those of stature and their “halachic intuition”

  75. Superintendant Chalmers

    I too find it highly unlikely that RWMO will adopt the Chareidi hashkafos regarding college, working, Zionism and Daas Torah. I’d suggest that IH’s assertion that the RW of MO will drift into Chareidism is just a subconscious (or possibly even a conscious) attempt to paint anyone who disagrees with him as anyway a Chareidi and not MO, in order to justify his own liberties with the Halachic Process.

  76. Shlomo: “So why would he care if people found halacha’s attitude towards women distasteful?”

    distasteful? its the failure to deal with the changes in any serious manner – the role of women in the western society for a century plus the rise of the feminist movement of the 60s/70s. thats how he saw the rabbinic response – i guess.

    I venture that by 1980 he saw that many or most of the poskim for orthodoxy felt that any changes to the traditional way of life from an halachik basis are illegitimate and posed grave dangers to judaism- this would include the mo camp in the last 10-20 years starting with wtg.

  77. I personally do not like the labels RWMO and LWMO. If YU is the “flagship” institution of MO [as per most press articles], then anything outside of YU’s realm really should look for another name. From a sociologic standpoint I find it interesting that the “Traditional”,independent and PM’s do not want to be part of the Conservative movement. I think they certainly would have fit in 25 years ago. It seems a bit desparate that some groups want to cling to the label “orthodox” as if it gives them more legitimacy

  78. An example of gender-role change in Establishment MO shuls, in the history of the present, is the existence of women clergy — for now given an anodyne title like Community or Resident Scholar – in shuls like the JC, KJ and LSS. That was unimaginable as recently as 15 years ago, but now their services (I’m told) are much in demand by the congregants and this has fast become the new normal for shuls who can afford it.

  79. IH- the fact that shuls adopt some changes and not others does not help your cause, unless you don’t believe that there is an backstop and that anything is permissible. You can give a litany of changes that have occurred over time, but those changes occur because they are deemed to be mutar. That doesn’t remove your obligation to prove that this change is mutar. Even many of your sort of allies on this page don’t adopt that position. You cannot argue that since we accepted some change we will accept all changes.

    That is not any sort of argument as to why PMs, themselves, are in fact Mutar, in contrast to the statements of RDBF, R. Student, R. Henkin, Rs Frimer, and others.

    If we followed your view, that once one change is allowed they all have to be allowed, we’d all worship Jesus today. He was far more accepted by “early adopters” or whatever you want to call them than PMs. Adopters of Jesus outnumber traditionalists by over a billion. And yet we rejected that innovation. Why were we right to reject that innovation? What principle would you use? Is there any other allowable principle other than what makes you happy? (I’ll cite my prior disclaimer that I am not comparing Christianity and pms in any way other than that they are reformers both who wanted to change Judaism.)

  80. History — Please point me to the t’shuva that made hiring a woman clergy member mutar. As to the remainder of your comment, please see my previous comments on the dance and its historical antecedents. I was just trying to illustrate with a contemporary example to bring the point home.

  81. IH- Scholars who works for schools are not clergy. They aren’t Rabbis. If a shul has a day school attached to it that doesn’t make all of the teachers at the day school rabbis. The only female “rabbi” who ever claimed to be Orthodox is Sara Hurwitz and she is not accepted as a Rabbi in Orthodox shuls.

    If you were referring to a specific legal definition of clergy for the purposes of employment law I don’t think that governs halachic definitions.

  82. IH * Scholars who works for shuls are not clergy.

  83. Ruvie wrote: “Push comes to shove, charedi people will daven in MO shuls. It is a real rift but not complete.”

    Haredi people will daven in MO shuls because the service conforms to their standard of halacha, at least minimally. There is a mechitza and no women lead anything. The differences between the movements are confined to ideology and not synagogue practices.

    But Haredi and YU type MO won’t daven in a PM because the style of service is qualitatively and tangibly different in a way which they find unacceptable. That is the key difference. And a perfect illustration of why change in synagogue practice creates rifts in ways that hashkafic differences do not. Hashkafic differences are in the abstract. Different synagogue practices, on the other hand, are tangible and real, and create a visceral gut reality of difference. That is why PM are now de facto a different denomination of Judaism.

    To paraphrase R. D. Weiss Halivni: Haredim and MO may not be able to “talk together” (i.e., agree ideologically) but at least they can daven together. Mainstream Orthodoxy and Open Orthodoxy, on the other hand, may actually be able to “talk together”, but they can no longer daven together! And that is truly tragic. The rift is tangible, quantifiable. That is the basis of real schism, as articulated so well by Rav Halivni when he left the Conservative movement.

    It may be that Open Orthodoxy finds this schism to be worth it. But they need to embrace the fact that it is indeed an irreparable schism and just own up to it, and accept the consequences.

  84. Scholars who works for shuls are not clergy.

    My understanding is they provide pastoral counseling, answer certain halachic questions, teach, etc.

  85. IH- None of those things make them clergy. Psychologists, social workers, and teachers serve important purposes, and we should in no way diminish their importance. But, they are not Rabbis.

  86. “Scholars who works for shuls are not clergy.”

    except that the shuls in question tend to list them under the “clergy” section of the website, and they perform clergy functions like giving drashot, answering shailas, etc…

    It’s rather tautotlogical to say that they are not “rabbis.” the point is that they are female non-rabbis functioning as rabbinical clergy.

  87. ie, if the only way to be “clergy” is to be a rabbi then no, a “community scholar” is not a rabbi. but she is, effectively, fulfilling the functions that an assistant rabbi would fulfill.

  88. Emma- I don’t think this is the right place to get back into a debate over female rabbis. But the women you describe are not fulfilling the functions of a rabbi. They do not officiate at life cycle events, sit on bati din, give binding pesak to either individuals or the community, convert people. Those aren’t just things that they don’t do, they’re things that they cannot do. They are not Rabbis.

    The nice things about tautologies is that they are always true. In some cases they might not be meaningful, but in this case it very much is meaningful. If X (which isn’t a rabbi) is not a Rabbi, because only a Rabbi is a Rabbi, I don’t have to argue why its ok for X to be a Rabbi.

  89. Moshe: Ruvie wrote: “Push comes to shove, charedi people will daven in MO shuls. It is a real rift but not complete.”

    Not my quote.
    “But Haredi and YU type MO won’t daven in a PM because the style of service is qualitatively and tangibly different in a way which they find unacceptable.”

    Maybe Haredi in general will not but YU type i think have very little problem davening in pm (for sure there are many mo that won’t either). At the YU seforim sale i was introduce to a 4th yr undergrade at YU that started a PM minyan in the heights this past summer/fall. It seems many (of course not all) YU/MO types as well as a many mo who spent their year or 2 in israel have little issue in attending pm for what i know. It seems more acceptable in the last 2-3 years – perhaps r’ sperber has something to do with that. no one deems it a different denomination than mo (for what i understand there at least 3-5 men have orthodox smicha in attendance)

  90. Ruvie: oops! You are correct, I meant to quote Emma, sorry.

    I went to YU and I can tell with certainty that not one of the rebbeim there consider PM to be Orthodox, and my impression is that the vast majority of YU students (certainly of semicha students) do not consider it to be Orthodox either. You seem to have met the few mavericks who support it. I assure you they are in the minority.

  91. Emma: please see my comment above from 5:24pm since it was actually meant to be a response to you and not Ruvie

  92. I also attended YU, and I will also agree with Moshe that I don’t know a single rabbi there that would permit someone to attend a PM, and the vast majority of the students and alumni that I know agree as well. Even those who have fallen completely off the derech (become atheists and agnostics) would agree that pms are not a YU friendly institution.

  93. Emma, these community scholars are not seen as full and equal clergy by their community, and their title is meant to deliberately reflect that. I’d say the key difference is that they are viewed as serving a functional purpose for the community, but not viewed conceptually as amongst the spiritual leaders of the shul the same way a real rabbi is. That may be a fine distinction, but the very fact that these communities make the distinction in title themselves shows that they find it to be a relevant distinction, and there is a line which they are not prepared to cross.

  94. Moshe — change usually starts with a minority of mavericks and grows. The sociological model graphed is: http://tinyurl.com/ab6j5rp

    That a Partnership Minyan has penetrated the YU community, is salient.

  95. IH, I had plenty of friends who weren’t frum at all at YU. I had friends who were conservative and reform. I had a lot of friends who were atheists. A very disproportionate amount. Maybe 75% of my friends would have said they were Orthodox. I had numerous roommates who didn’t consider themselves Orthodox.

    I had friends who weren’t even halachically Jewsish. None of those things show that YU is about to become a reform non-jewish atheist school.

  96. YC or RIETS?

  97. IH- If you are asking me, I went to YC. I am not a Rabbi.

  98. IH wrote:

    “That a Partnership Minyan has penetrated the YU community, is salient”

    So what? Major political parties in the US also have members who apologized for or who were openly sympathetic to extremist political philosophies such as Communism, anti Semitic isolationsists ala Joseph Kennedy and Charles Lindberg and sympathetic to the views of the KKK. That in no way rendered such views as mainstream.

  99. Side topic… Chana’s real name is Chana Sassoon; “Luntz” is her maiden name, which because of the licensing or accreditation her profession requires is hard for her to disentangle from. I mention this not to reveal personal information, but because it goes to my next point.

    Her main point of disagreement is NOT the Meiri. It’s R’ Freundel building an argument that would also prohibit calling up a boy to lead Pesuqei deZimra. And yet, this is the norm in most Sepharadic communities. (Thus my pointing out her obviously Sepharadi surname and thus her vested emotional stake.) We can take it for granted that R’ Ovadia Yosef did so as a boy on many occasions, and boys lead Pesuqei deZimra at his minyan now. As I said, it’s the norm.

    So… Why focus on a Meiri or other peripheral issues, and not the discussion in the Shulchan Arukh and other sources that defend this minhag? I noted on Avodah that the Beis Yoseif only accepts the minhag begrudgingly, and when he writes the Shulchan Arukh he is even harsher, calling the justification a mere “limud zekhus”. But Chana replied that this still isn’t R’ Freundel’s argument, even if it’s his conclusion.

    Similarly, she writes, “But the real problem with Rabbi Freu[n]del’s analysis is, as I have mentioned, that in his zeal to write partnership minyanim out of Orthodoxy, appears to be doing a good job to write the Sefardi Community wholesale out of Orthodoxy.” R’ Freundel called this an ad hominem attack, but I see it as an argument against the ideas under dispute. How do you create a chiddush of “tefillat rabbim” that would mean that normative practice across most if not all of the Sepharadic world is invalid? Effectively, the mesorah of a large percentage of Adas Yisrael is being ignored.

  100. Micha I think we have already very fully discussed your question. RDBF’s article was discussing the ashkenazi world. He was no more saying that “normative practice across most if not all of the Sepharadic world is invalid” then he would be if he said there is no way to make an opinion under which Ashkenazim can eat Kitneot on pesach. We have different traditions and have reached different positions on certain issues. Those positions have their own internal structure and logic.

    I can understand having a “vested emotional stake” but the emotional reaction is entirely illogical. RDBF does not claim that Sephardic pesak/minhag is FOR SEPHARDIM. But even looked at in the best light it cannot be used as a justification for for Ashkenazi practice. If it could I’d be eating rice in a few weeks. And every Sephardi everywhere would be able to carry on shabbos. But it can’t. It doesn’t work that way. And that honors both ideas, it doesn’t denigrate either.

  101. these community scholars are not seen as full and equal clergy by their community. . . serving a functional purpose for the community, but not viewed conceptually as amongst the spiritual leaders

    To my ears, this sounds remarkably similar to Tal’s comment in the Talit thread about giving false hope to those pretending to be pseudo-men. It doesn’t jibe with what I hear (second hand) about these women de-facto Assistant Rabbis. Moshe, History, can you confirm you are hearing this from member congregants of these shuls.

  102. IH, I can confirm that I know people at two (and have briefly attended one) shul with something similar to such positions. And I don’t think anyone considered them women rabbis. They are highly respected to be sure, but I do not know of anyone confusing them for Rabbis.

  103. Moshe and History – i was not referring to YU rabbis or RY or even students attending now (although was surprise of the 4th yr student at YU living in the heights starting a PM) but to grads that have no problem on attending occasionally – i have no idea of the make up of DN with regards to YU grads.
    It seems (from conversations at the shabbat table etc) that a major impediment or stigma has evaporated among the young (the old grads do what they want). i would venture to say that you cannot tell the difference (religious wise and their shomer mitzvot) between the male attendees n DN vs any local shul.
    I also would venture to say that many don’t attend not because of halachik reasons too.

  104. It’s subjective to start discussing the perceptions of congregants. The balebatim don’t set religious policy anyway. It remains a fact that the RCA, the largest MO group of Rabbis has declared as a matter of policy that Orthodoxy cannot abide female clergy, regardless of title. The OU, Young Israel and YU agree, as does the religious zionist community in Israel; i.e., institutional establishment Modern Orthodoxy.

    Even conceding that these women function as sort of “assistant rabbis”, there is not a single MO shul that has a woman as the equivalent of SENIOR rabbi or spiritual leader of their shul. Even if they wanted to do this, they know it would cause a rift in Orthodoxy.

    These distinctions are important. It’s fallacious to point out that just because there are some vague examples to point to that confuse the distinction (like resident scholars) that the distinction does not exist at all. The existence in a few progressive avant garde MO shuls of female resident scholars who sort of resemble assistant rabbis does not prove that these communities fully accept female clergy. They in fact demonstrate the opposite, that these communities are being very cautious about maintaining the distinction and not crossing that line.

    It also may mean, by the way, that these communities are mistaken and engaging in folly by providing women with false hope by giving them a token role accompanied by a glass ceiling which they’ll never be able to surpass, as well as providing fodder for the heteredox.

  105. Ruvie, as someone who lives in a community with PMs, I do not agree. I think many people start to attend PMs and then their religiosity declines. Kashrus is the first obvious example (things like, eating dairy out). I have noticed a general decline in the religious practice of many friends who have started to go to PMs. Of course they don’t think they’re getting less religious, they just adopt a new mentality. They, for example, no longer think that a kashrus agency or VAAD can tell them whats kosher or not.

    Also some friends now recoil at the idea of going back to an nonegalitarian shul which they view as degrading to women. That is a pretty significant change.

  106. History — They are not Rabbis, de jure. I am trying to tease out Moshe’s “not viewed conceptually as amongst the spiritual leaders”. Does that jibe with your information?

  107. IH- I honestly have no idea what that description means. They are certainly viewed as learned, wise, important figures. If a “leader” means one who can make a binding decision for the community or for an individual then, no, they are not viewed as leaders. If by leader you mean someone appropriate to officiate at a wedding, sit on a bet din, or do a conversion, then no they are not viewed as leaders.

    But,if all you mean is that they are viewed as intelligent people who know halcha, and have worthwhile guidance to give,then yes.

    But that is not a rabbi,

  108. Moshe — the point I was making is that these Community Scholars are an example of contemporary evolutionary change in Modern Orthodox shuls. The innovation can fail; can grow, but remain in its present form; or can continue to evolve. I bet on the latter. But, in any case, where is the halachic analysis as to whether it is muttar?

  109. History — I’m sorry, but your argumentation is bordering on sophistry. Are they “spiritual leaders” for their congregations, or not?

  110. IH- First you may want to look up what sophistry means.

    Second of all my answer to you is no. I don’t know how to make simpler than that. I apologize for trying to give you context for the answer so that you could have a full understand of why I was saying no.

    The answer is no.

  111. R. Freundel, if you are still reading these comments: A teshuva from Iggerot Moshe supports your thesis and goes even further:

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14677&st=&pgnum=131

    Igrot Moshe O.C. 4:70,5 was asked about a certain Rabbi who had instituted a custom in his shul that a woman would come down from the Ezrat Nashim into the shul and recite a tefillah in English in front of all of the men. Rav Moshe writes:

    “It is obvious that that this is assur. To me it is a wonder that an Orthodox Rabbi should do such a thing…You yourself write that Hagaon Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman has stated that it is assur. It is obvious and clear that that it is assur. I do not understand why this Rav saw fit to translate one prayer into English and to recite it in front of the congregation. Could he not find any man who could translate a prayer in front of the men that he felt compelled to choose a woman. Surely this does not bring to Yiras Shomayim. On the contrary this itself is something that is a davar assur.”

    R. Moshe takes it for granted that women cannot lead any prayer for men. He either accepts R. Freundel’s thesis that any new prayer which is said communally automatically becomes a form of tefillat rabbim, or he accepts the Frimer brothers’ thesis that this violates kvod hatzibur (and the rabbis Frimer also shows that kvod hatzibur is an objective halachic requirement related either to modesty concerns or to women not being part the minyan-tzibur, and that it can only be waived be’shaat ha’dechak at best. It is not a social concern which changes with the social status of women).

    This teshiva of R. Moshe also shows perhaps the most important point to be made about PM. Its supporters anachronistically hold that the lack of source material in halacha against women leading prayers means that theories like R. Freundel’s are a chidush, because they haven’t been discussed before. In fact, R. Freundel’s article only sounds novel because QUESTIONS like these have never been asked before; rabbis throughout the ages never even seriously considered the halachic possibility that women could lead any of davening, so they simply didn’t bother discussing it. R. Moshe’s answer is so short, and he doesn’t even bring sources to prove his point, because he apparently feels it is so self evidently against the halachic system! Note that he uses the word assur several times explicitly, he does not merely appeal to “policy” considerations.

    So the best that we can do when answering these questions is mine the sources for relevant precedent, of which there is very little. But the point is that what little precedent which does exist (discouraging even minor boys from leading services) points away from PM.

  112. History wrote:

    “Ruvie, as someone who lives in a community with PMs, I do not agree. I think many people start to attend PMs and then their religiosity declines. Kashrus is the first obvious example (things like, eating dairy out). I have noticed a general decline in the religious practice of many friends who have started to go to PMs. Of course they don’t think they’re getting less religious, they just adopt a new mentality. They, for example, no longer think that a kashrus agency or VAAD can tell them whats kosher or not.

    Also some friends now recoil at the idea of going back to an nonegalitarian shul which they view as degrading to women.”

    Why would anyone be surprised at such an observation? Once one adopts a DIY attitude towards one aspect of Halacha and Hashkafa, it has a negative affect on one’s POV toward Halachic authority and respect for the same. Antything that either they don’t follow or reject automatically is viewed as a mere “chumra” either for Charedim for anyone who is even a shade more mdakdek bmitzvos.

  113. “This teshiva of R. Moshe also shows perhaps the most important point to be made about PM. Its supporters anachronistically hold that the lack of source material in halacha against women leading prayers means that theories like R. Freundel’s are a chidush, because they haven’t been discussed before.”

    I think you are confusing R. Freundel’s conclusion (that women can’t lead kabbalat shabbat, etc) with his “theory” (that the reason is that any prayer recited communally has a halachic status of “Tefillat rabim” that is an obligation that requires an obligated chazzan to lead).

    The first is not a “chiddush” and no one is calling it one. The second most certainly is a “chiddush.” (or, as rav henkin politely put it, “not … not a halachic invention”)

  114. History – obvious we see things differently anecdotally. i cannot comment since there is no real survey or study. maybe IH has seen otherwise. i also don’t see what you describe from the children of my friends who refused to attend and now regularly do – they are in their mid 20s. the situation as described to me is very fluid. the older generation that attend have stayed the same from what i see and are members of mo shuls in their hood (also lainers and regularly daven from the amud in their mo shuls).

  115. Micha: See pages 22-23 of R. Freundel’s original article in which he allows for ketanim to lead services because of chinukh, although he is uncomfortable with it
    https://www.torahmusings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/partnership-minyanim.pdf

  116. for those interested in more ping pong: meir shinnar has some interesting words on the subject (including RCL vs. RBF dispute)-

    http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/2013q1/025836.html

    will someone eventually opine on the possibility that ketanim may have an actual chiyuv unrelated to chinuch (which is really no chiyuv at all) – which would explain the sephardic practice? hamavin yavin.

  117. Family members and friends who daven in LSS tell me that they, and many others, consider Elana Stein Hain to be an assistant rabbi in every way but title.

  118. This should be an open and shut case. When formally instituted and communally accepted ritual prayer services are recited publicly, they are, by definition, “tefillah betzibbur”. Arguing that Shemoneh Esrei is unique, or that some other prayer is unique, is frankly absurd. Shemoneh Esrei was not even recited in many areas during Amoraic times, yet Jews met for tefillah betzibbur all the time – the synagogue is older than Shemoneh Esrei or almost any prayer we use today. The prayer itself is irrelevant – the context of public ritual prayer (replacing sacrifice, which was always the purview of men in Judaism, as opposed to other ancient religions which utilized women) is what matters. Kabbalat Shabbat was introduced as a prayer service. When it is recited publicly, it is a public prayer – it is tefillah betzibbur. Period.

    The business with ketanim is completely irrelevant. It has nothing to do with women versus men, particularly when it comes to understanding Judaism’s unique exclusion of women from ritual sacrificial leadership.

  119. ” as someone who lives in a community with PMs, I do not agree. I think many people start to attend PMs and then their religiosity declines.”

    you have not proved causality here. also I suspect that this is not true.

  120. Shosan- You want me to prove causality in a post on a blog? You don’t want your own posts held to that same standard. We’re not writing social science here. I will not wait until you post and then ask for your sample size and P values. I hope you always use a random ,generalizable sample, your respondents never know what the study is about, and you always have a well matched control group. That’s not a remotely serious comment, its a cliche.

    As for your calling me a liar, that’s fine. I’m a big boy I can take it. I get it, you don’t like people who have the temerity to disagree with you. Sorry though, calling me a liar isn’t going to change my mind.

  121. Forest Seeker

    Moshe Shoshan:

    The causal relationship might actually be reversed, which leads us to a different, and fairly obvious problem. The partnership minyanim movement has long embraced an almost total lack of rabbinic leadership. This is nothing new in Jewish practice. We have a long history of rebellions against the scholarly classes. I guess our measure of how religiosity declines indeed depends – two thousand years ago, a number of Galilee fishermen rebelled against the entire rabbinate. Their successors even instituted female clergy. They were certainly religious, though most Jews took to seeing them as less Jewish. Perhaps this is the verdict that History should have rendered about people who engage in practices that violate one of the most ancient and unique Jewish practices in existence, that of male sacrificial leadership. Perhaps he could have written – “people start to attend PMs and then their Judaism declines.”

  122. moshe shoshan

    History,
    I did not call you a liar, I was merely questioning the representitive nature of your observations as well as their quality.

    “The partnership minyanim movement has long embraced an almost total lack of rabbinic leadership.”

    I agree that the lack of halakic leadershiop is major problem with many PMs. However, at the current time, at least two are operating under the supervision of R. Sperber. As I have said this is a game changer. They may have been dead wrong to start their minyan (something I IH wont acknolwedge) but in their present form it is not so simple to completely delegitimitize them, even if we prohibt them and gfight their spread.
    I think the RWMO is having a very hard time formulating their positions onthese issues in a way that is coherent to those who dont already agree with them.What I like about Forest Seekers formulation is that he is up front about the fact that he seeks to preserve male hegemony in Jewish ritual matters and sees it as absolutily central to Judaism. you lack pof PCness is a refreshing (I am quite serious).

  123. They may have been dead wrong to start their minyan (something I IH wont acknolwedge) but in their present form it is not so simple to completely delegitimitize them…

    I never really thought about it, but note the similarity to Womens T’filla Groups.

    During this period, most women’s tefillah groups met in private homes, as Orthodox synagogues were not prepared to sanction the practice. Two notable exceptions in New York were the Riverdale group, which was invited by Rabbi Avi Weiss to meet in the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, a major Orthodox synagogue, and an East Side group which met in Kehillat Jeshurun under the guidance of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. Mainstream modern Orthodox rabbis and community leaders rejected women’s tefillah groups for reasons that ranged from the halakhic to the sociological. This issue came to a head in 1985 with publication of the “teshuva: responsum” by five highly regarded Yeshiva University rabbis. The position paper viewed the movement as stemming from, and copying, the feminist movement in America with no serious spiritual or religious basis. It prohibited all organized women’s prayer groups in any form.

    What I like about Forest Seekers formulation is that he is up front about the fact that he seeks to preserve male hegemony in Jewish ritual matters and sees it as absolutily central to Judaism.

    That does seem to be the over-arching objection to PMs despite protests to the contrary. I agree the honesty is refreshing.

  124. Only in your imagination have people been hiding their support of the status quo. I actually first formulated my “three approaches” to R. Freundel in conversation a few years ago and suggested that he is in the middle and I take the first (status quo). https://www.torahmusings.com/2010/03/three-approaches-to-womens-issues/

  125. Gil – Whose status quo are you referring to? What is the status quo now in terms of women’s education in YU or even Beis Yaakov, was (and is for many still today) an unacceptable innovation.

  126. Status quo by local community. Women’s education was a conscious break with the past.

  127. How do you know when “a conscious break with the past” is legitimate, without hindsight?

  128. Let’s just say that Bais Yaakov did not really affect and create waves that would seriously overhaul women’s status in Judaism. In fact, BY schools are accepted across the board and in fact they help maintain traditional roles. That is the brightline test.

    PM’s won’t do that. They will lead to the breakdown of gender roles in Orthodox Judaism, as seen from recent newsstory Gil posted a couple of weeks ago, and eventually to the discarding of halachic barriers.

  129. IH: How do you know when “a conscious break with the past” is legitimate, without hindsight?

    Top down by the greatest leaders of the generation

  130. So WTGs are assur?

  131. I’ve argued that at length on this blog and in my book

  132. And the answer is? Muttar or Assur?

    Assuming the standard you set — “Top down by the greatest leaders of the generation” — how can it be muttar?

  133. Either assur or impermissible: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3ATorahmusings.com+%22women's+prayer+groups%22

    That’s the “status quo” approach

  134. It’s only “status quo” in hindsight. The point of departure was Moshe Shoshan’s perceptive comment:

    They may have been dead wrong to start their minyan (something IH wont acknolwedge) but in their present form it is not so simple to completely delegitimitize them…

    —–

    Your response leaves open the question of consistency in championing R. Freudel’s assault on PMs, when you know he hosts a WTG in his shul.

    It also leaves open the question whether R. Freundel’s insistence on a published t’shuva to validate PMs is consistent with his lack a published t’shuva, to the best of my knowledge, to validate his WTG.

  135. There is a distance between saying something is forbidden and completely delegitimizing it.

  136. What are the deciding criteria? I presume they are sociological or political, once past the halachicly forbidden goalpost.

  137. Agreed. WPGs were the beginning of the trend, at the top of the slope. PMs are already much farther down the slope, twenty years later.

  138. “Either assur or impermissible”
    Gil
    assur=impermissible

  139. -Hoffa Araujo on March 7, 2013 at 9:36 am

    -PM’s won’t do that. They will lead to the breakdown of gender roles -in Orthodox Judaism, as seen from recent newsstory Gil posted a -couple of weeks ago, and eventually to the discarding of halachic -barriers.

    To what newsstory are you referring? Do you have a link?

  140. Ye’yasher kochakhem R. Freundel and respondents, all of who raise excellent points.

    Special thanks to R’ Moshe (March 6, at 8:14 p.m.) for citing R. Feinstein’s responsum forbidding a lady from entering the gentlemen’s sanctuary during prayers in order to translate into English a prayer. In footnote 21 of my essay at http://www.wepapers.com/documentinfo.aspx?id=474815 , I struggle with the meaning of this responsum, since it can be interpreted in multiple ways (as our current interlocutor R’ Moshe elaborates). It sounds to me (as I indicate in the footnote) that R. Feinstein was chiefly concerned about maintaining absolute demographic separation between ladies and gentlemen in the synagogue, a concern which is supported by one other responsum but which contradicts three other responsa of R. Feinstein. I admit that I am unable to reconcile the contradictory responsa (other than to say it was “hen ve-lav ve-rafya be-yadeih”), and I maintain that this goes back to a machaloket Rishonim featuring Rashi vs. Tosafot in Kiddushin 52b.

    Recently, R’ Joel Rich cited an oral report which claims that R. Feinstein even openly admitted that he was not always consistent in adjudicating questions, since Elu ve-Elu Divrei E-lokim chayim. On the other hand, as I quote in the footnote, Ha-Rav Ha-Ga’on R. Tendler maintains that R. Feinstein told him that he never retracted a pesak halakhah. Perhaps there is a difference between retracting a pesak halakhah and being open-minded to multiple possibilities. Tzarikh iyun…

  141. Gil – sounds like your approach is the status quo as of the early 1970s not before. Not much of a philosophy. It also seems you have difficulty with change.

  142. Ruvie: I have no problem with top-down change

  143. Moshe: assur=impermissible

    Not quite. See my letter to the Edah Journal: link

  144. Gil- I understand but history shows that its very rarely top down for most changes – certainly never rov gedolim I it’s infancy (first 100 yrs)

  145. Ruvie I have a two tiered framework for dealing with change in Judaism.

    1- If the change isn’t halchikally permitted, or arrived at through an halchikally permissible framework, then it is dead on arrival for me. I am convinced by the likes of RBDF, the Frimers, Forrest Seeker, and others that PMs fit into this category. But lets assume for a second that they didn’t.

    2- The burden of proof (where a change isn’t halhically barred) is on those advocating the change.

    The level of the burden depends on how drastically they are changing the tradition. In other words, how strong is the tradition and how far is their deviation?

    I would look at factors including; how long the tradition has persisted, how strongly it is a part of what we believe, how consistently it has been followed, and how deeply interconnected it is to other parts of our life. The stronger the tradition the higher the burden for the revolutionaries (a word I generally consider a pejorative).

    They have to show the change is needed and likely to have positive outcomes, at level of certainty and materiality high enough to overcome the strength of the tradition. It isn’t just the case that the tie goes to the runner. For a weak tradition, the tie would go to the runner. For a strong tradition it would have to be nearly incontrovertible. Imagine a legal standard. In this case I would start the burdens of proof at “clear and convincing evidence” for weak traditions, and go up to “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” for strong traditions. (and pms are violative of a very strong tradition, see Forrest Seeker’s comments.)

    What I would not consider permissible is an appeal to revolutionaries own, reason or intellect, to say that the tradition no longer matters, that times have changed, ect . . . reasoning from those premises denigrates the wisdom of tradition and takes a view of human reason that I think is incredible folly. Though it is no surprise to me that many of the backers of PMs are academics and ivy leaguers who have a very high estimation of their own intellect. I don’t mean to insult anyone by saying he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, I don’t think anyone is, or can be, as smart as you think you are.

    The ideas I criticized above regarding changing times, may come into play, to some degree, in showing that the change is safe/positive, but they are not suitable for the primary arguments as to why to change a traditional practice. They are a small piece of the puzzle that occurs several steps into the analysis and can never be enough to carry the day alone.

    In this case, I agree with Forrest Seeker. The tradition of women not leading communal prayer is extremely old, deeply tied to our practice, and ingrained across a wide swath (if not all) of our tradition. It is a factor that separated our sacrificial practice from that of the pagans. Even if this change were not halachically forbidden, the burden of proof on its proponents would be steep indeed. I don’t think its a burden that supporters of PMs have seriously tackled.

  146. The shift in attitudes towards female education was not initiated from the ‘top’ at all. And who defines which gedolim one can hang one’s hat on in the first place? Can gedolim ever miss opportunities to initiate changes? Can the overwhelming majority of ‘greatest leaders of the generation’ get things wrong?

    I seem to remember you once remarking that you were opposed to the fact that there is no high-school level secular education in Israeli charedi yeshivos. This policy is certainly backed by a considerable proportion of the ‘greatest leaders of the generation’ – or are the leaders only those who fit into a narrow RWMO-LWUO bracket?

  147. J. better to stick with our tried and safe tradition and “miss opportunities to initiate changes” than to jump into untested waters without proper thought. It is of course best of necessary change is made after the proper considerations as I discussed above. There are some cases where that is the much, much better option. But if you take away that possibility and leave only 2 options. 1) run headlong into a change the violates our longstanding traditions in the hopes that it will work out well, 2) stay in line with out longstanding traditions that have worked for millennia,

    If those are the only two choices, I will always choose 2. (As I am sure someone is going to claim I am saying that I am saying “never change.” I reiterate that my 1:43 PM post outlines when I think change is permissible, laudable, and sometimes essential.”

  148. History, can you give some examples of what changes, particularly changes that occurred more than 40 years ago, you believe meet your criteria and which do not?

  149. Ruvie: history shows that its very rarely top down for most changes – certainly never rov gedolim I it’s infancy (first 100 yrs)

    I never said you need rov gedolim. You need some gedolim.

    And I really don’t think that history shows change generally comes from the bottom up. Mechiras chametz didn’t. Even sermons in the vernacular, which IH likes to mention, had support from gedolim.

    J: The shift in attitudes towards female education was not initiated from the ‘top’ at all

    The change may not have been initiated from the top but it was approved and even encouraged by (some of) those at the top.

  150. r’ history,
    that’s the kind of analysis I love and wish I could make it fit the data 🙂
    KT

  151. r’ss,
    Lulai dmistifina I would say that it’s hard for me to imagine someone continuously learning not changing his ntiyah (i.e. in clearly not slam dunk cases) on something over time. In particular when responding to real life questions I don’t think that requires reversing earlier psak.
    An example that worries me is the current ntiyah shift in who is the mom – birth or genetic? Are we telling pople who we once told are Jews, sorry, it’s a do over?
    KT

  152. moshe shoshan

    Gil,
    I dont care what you wrote there. in normal usage the words are synonymous and hense your staement incoherent. You need a different means of expressing you idea.

  153. You might not care but someone else is going to ask how I can call it assur when elsewhere I said that it isn’t.

  154. moshe shoshan

    btw, I think the formulation staked out by Mayer Twersky is quite dangerous. It essentially gives poskim the right to declare things forbidden even if they lack a halakhic justification. Clearly it is true that the is a “fifth chalek” and there is such a thing as a naval bereshut hatorah and one can sin with out violating halakha. However, the idea that the fifth chelek can be translated into the normative terms of the other four chalkim, with out actually be formulatedinterms of those chalkim seems to me to be very problematic.

    Of course chazal were able to formulate such things and there are also takanot, but the idea that a modern posek can prohibit with out halakhic justification or creating a takana is a radical increase in rabbinic power.

    Knowing RMT well however, such formulations do not surprise me.

  155. I think that a Judaism that ignores desirata beyond halakhah is incomplete. How does one fulfil “qedoshim tihyu”, “ve’asisa hayashar vehatov”, “vehalakhta dirakhav” etc… without some notion of an ideal state to strive for in ways that don’t fit black-letter law?

    I don’t think it’s a “radical increase in rabbinic power” to acknowledge the role of a moreh derekh. Yes, this means that the religious leader has more power. I guess the trick to dealing with this is to pick a rav one trusts with that power. After all, “asei lekha rav” means that it’s up to you to find someone you trust and who can further your Yahadus from the basis of your abilities, proclivities and beliefs. It does not empower rabbis to claim that authority on their own.

  156. Earlier this year, a frum columnist for Israel Hayom, wrote a piece that included this:

    Before the Holocaust, my grandfather Shimon, may his memory be a blessing, had a British Mandate-era certificate that would allow him and his family to immigrate from Czechoslovakia to the Land of Israel. To decide whether to use the certificate or not, my grandfather consulted, as he did on every issue, with his rabbi. The rabbi was an extreme anti-Zionist, and he warned my grandfather that he should not dare to go to Israel, because Zionists violate Shabbat and eat non-kosher meat. Thus it would be better to remain in exile. My grandfather had never gone against his rabbi’s suggestions or guidance.

    A few years later, my grandfather lost his wife and six children in the Holocaust. I have always refrained from asking my grandfather about the bad advice he received from his rabbi. The answer was clearly hidden in his perpetual silence. Needless to say, after the Holocaust, the lofty status reserved for “words of the wise” from learned rabbis and teachers had distinctly changed for him.

  157. Just because rabbis don’t know EVERYTHING does not mean that they don’t know ANYTHING.

  158. Gil — This wasn’t just one Rabbi. This was the ideological groupthink among many Rabbis at that time and place, which makes it particularly apt.

  159. Gil – “And I really don’t think that history shows change generally comes from the bottom up. ” more often than not rabbis only dealt with issues that became community norms. there is a whole thesis of the intuition of the religious community that reject some kulahs as well. even beis yaakov in the beginning had no approval then the belzer rebbi gave some tepid approval by saying mazul u’vrocha but refuse to send his hasidim. innovation takes time for approval. some innovation is started by rabbis because they are active in the process – your example of mechirat chametz fits that model.

    “The change may not have been initiated from the top but it was approved and even encouraged by (some of) those at the top.” years later – since i believe it started in 1915 -1917 – when was the first teshuva written?

  160. IH: This wasn’t just one Rabbi. This was the ideological groupthink among many Rabbis at that time and place, which makes it particularly apt

    And many disagreed! There was an active Religious Zionist movement at the time.

    Ruvie: For one, R. Azriel Hildesheimer–at the time assistant rabbi to the Kesav Sofer in Pressburg–wrote explicitly in 1865 in his response to the Michalov kol koreh that sermons in the vernacular is acceptable.

  161. History – your two tier models are interesting but i believe do not match up to the history of halacha and its changes – be they evolutionary or revolutionary.

    “The tradition of women not leading communal prayer is extremely old, deeply tied to our practice, and ingrained across a wide swath (if not all) of our tradition.”

    focus on ” women not leading communal prayer” and change it to not leading or being in the parsha in judaism – in anything public would also be true. look at the constitutions of synagogues pre wwII – women could not be members – they didn’t count. tradition has change in this matter will it in others is debatable but not definitive yet.

  162. Just to be clear, my quotation was in response to Micha’s comment about the role of a moreh derekh. The history is well known.

  163. IH-Like it or not, most pre war Talmidie Chachamim in Eastern Europe neither shared the views of the SR, REW or of RAYHK. Most were cautiously positive about the renewal of Jewish life in the Land of Israel, even if they had serious reservations about secular Zionism. Quoting extreme rabbinical perspectives, as opposed to R Gil’s ebook on the subject previously published here,which surveyed the view of major Talmidei Chachamim on the subject, sheds no light on the subject.

  164. Gil- I was referring to beis yaakov and the teaching of women ( pre beis Yaakov) of having no approval til latter not before it started not sermons.

  165. Ruvie-Like it or not,the historical record is clear-the formal teaching of women in BY ( as opposed to Yavneh) was approved by the CC, R Chaim Ozer and the Gerrer Rebbe Zicronam Livracha, who all recognized the need for the same.

    I wholeheartedly agree with R Micha’s post of 4:26 PM today.

  166. Moshe Shoshan wrote in part:

    “btw, I think the formulation staked out by Mayer Twersky is quite dangerous. It essentially gives poskim the right to declare things forbidden even if they lack a halakhic justification. Clearly it is true that the is a “fifth chalek” and there is such a thing as a naval bereshut hatorah and one can sin with out violating halakha. However, the idea that the fifth chelek can be translated into the normative terms of the other four chalkim, with out actually be formulatedinterms of those chalkim seems to me to be very problematic”

    See the discussion in Sanhedrin 46a as well as R Asher Weiss’s discussion of Ratzon HaTorah and the fact that numerous Torah based halachos were Mosru Lchachamim to define the assur and mutar,etc.

  167. Ruvie: And when Bais Yaakov faced rabbinic opposition, they obtained rabbinic approval from leading scholars.

  168. History – please show with your models some of the major changes in Halacha – would they pass?Hasidism, Bat mitzvah, women learning torah sheba’al peh, women in public office, yoatzot..etc…without hindsight. Do they make the grade – which do and don’t.

  169. – Chasidism was not a change in halakhah
    – Women learning Talmud was championed by specific rabbis, particularly Rav Soloveitchik
    – Women in public office was explicitly permitted by some poskim before, and during the early days of, the state of Israel
    – Yoatzot are trained in an institute guided, in part, by R. Henkin!

    Before we discuss bas mitzvah, please define the term.

  170. Gil – The bat mitzvah celebration – chagigat bat mitzvah. Does it need to be defined?
    I was referring to History’s – 2 tier approached – sorry to conflate. Will come with more examples later for bottom up.

  171. Ruvie: Yes, it needs to be defined. Are you talking about a party outside of synagogue? A dinner-dance in the shul’s hall? A kiddush? Being called to the Torah? Giving a speech during Shabbos services? After services? Being announced during the announcements?

  172. Chasidism was not a change in halakhah

    They certainly changed the previous “halacha” in respect of liturgy, which what Partnership Minyanim do.

    Whereas it has been reported throughout the camp of the Hebrews that by reason of our great sins the [sinful practice] has been rekindled, in the midst of our people, of sects and groups detaching themselves from the unified and just community, adopting new practices and evil laws. They throw off the yoke of the Torah and prefer license. […] They build themselves [separate] altars to set themselves apart from the holy community, making their own special minyanim, not praying with the community in the synagogues or study halls appointed for the public. They also alter the phrases coined by the sages, the great codifiers [who determined] the entire liturgical order of these lands. […]”

    This 1772 criticism of Chassidism sounds very much like many of the comments heard here in 2013 on PMs.

  173. Gil – i would say however it was defined by the teshuvot – starting with the zakan mamre. not being called to the torah but a kiddush plus a derasha etc. lets be clear many mo shuls have no problem with a derasha by the bat mitzvah from the binah at the end of davening – i believe jewish center still does it (or at least i did attend one 10-13 yrs ago (regardless of rmf’s teshuva).

  174. IH: You are referring to specific changes of Chassidim, not Chassidism itself. That’s fine, although I caution against relying too heavily on the initial accusations which seem to have been based on biased testimony.

    However, I have in the past registered my objection to Nusach Sefard and was countered with the argument that this change was made by great Torah scholars, i.e. top down. Certainly the Ba’al Ha-Tanya is widely quoted as a worthy halakhic authority.

    Ruvie: To be clear, you are defining a bas mitzvah as a Kiddush in shul and a speech by the girl during Shabbos morning services. Is that correct?

  175. I caution against relying too heavily on the initial accusations which seem to have been based on biased testimony.

    Another common thread to Partnership Minyanim.

  176. Gil — Let’s come at this from the other directions. Which, if any, accomodations for the changed role of women that have been made within Modern Orthodoxy over the past 30 years do you unequivocally support?

  177. Halacha and change:
    praying maariv after mincha during the daytime (3-4 hours before nightfall) against halacha (esp. the talmud) [that you have fulfilled all your oblihgations-] askenazi practice. see the r’ isserlein’s trumat hadashen for justification of this long standing practice {whether he succeeded is questionable on halachik grounds).

    The analysis of this issue will show that poskim objected to this custom which is contrary to halacha but tried to justify the practice – much ink has ben spilled on this topic.

  178. IH: Which, if any, accomodations for the changed role of women that have been made within Modern Orthodoxy over the past 30 years do you unequivocally support?

    Too broad of a question so I will answer that anything R. Mordechai Willig supports, I do too.

    Ruvie: When was the change? Was it conscious or did it evolve? When I studied this sugya, I did not see much hesitance among the Ba’alei Ha-Tosafos but maybe I did not look at it this way so carefully.

  179. Ruvie: To be clear, you are defining a bas mitzvah as a Kiddush in shul and a speech by the girl during Shabbos morning services. Is that correct?

    When the orthodox world started to celebrate bat mitzvahs and the rabbis oppose – whatever was done was considered a chagigat bat mitzvah.

    i would start with that but not exclude other forms of celebration – i would also start with the teshuvot and puk chazi – look around to what is done in MO shuls to hareidi shuls today (acceptable forms of celebration change – its non static). that would include the acceptance of wtg in some (as not heretical or non-orthodox) to a kiddush and derasha from the bima in places like the jewish center. they all to seem within the orthodox world.

    But originally i am not sure how the teshuvot defined – some were just a kiddush that rabbis oppose because it was creating a pseudo seudat mitzvah. Today the definition would be what RCA rabbis and their OU shuls plus those that everyone considers orthodox do and find acceptable. or are you delegitimizing those as non-orthodox? the only question is where do bat mitzvahs in PM stand – probably where bar mitzvah do.

  180. Gil — Surprise me. What is the single most “radical” accomodation for the changed role of women that has been made within Modern Orthodoxy over the past 30 years do you unequivocally support?

    You keep telling us your RWMO friends think you are too far to the left. Here’s your chance to demonstrate!

  181. Ruvie: You are confusing me with your constant going back and forth between definitions and time periods. Are you asking whether bas mitzvahs are widespread today, after permissive teshuvos by the Seridei Eish, R. Ovadiah Yosef and others? Or are you asking whether they were widely accepted before any significant rabbi allowed them? As an aside, how were there shul kiddushes and speeches without the rabbi’s approval?

  182. IH: Of all people, I would think you recognize that there is more to being left wing than women’s issues!

  183. Here’s an easy one. Do you unequivocally support the hiring of women clergy as Community Scholars by MO Synagogues such as the JC, KJ and LSS?

  184. Gil – too complicated and i am cooking for shabbat and a shiva minyan – you can start with r’ hai to ra’aban to r’ tam then the ri…but you end up with the trumat hadeshen in the end. see J. katz – Alterations in the time of Ma’ariv: an example of the interrelationship between religious customs and their social background.

    For other examples – just read jacob katz – ta-shama and others: i don’t understand why this is not devar pashut at this point on this blog with intelligent folks.

  185. IH: Your history lesson is about the erranvy of daas Torah, but I said nothing about daas Torah.

    I advocated everyone having personal goals to be holy, good, upright and to aspire to have a character that emulates how G-d treats us — as those terms are described in Hilkhos Deios and aggadic sources — and to have a mentor they can talk these issues out with. Nothing about turning to people with near-prophetic abilities or who think in a manner more shaped by Torah because their advice is likely to be accurate.

  186. Ruvie: I thought we were discussing conscious changes, not evolving practices.

    IH: No, I do not unequivocally support it.

  187. Micha — you also talked about ceding power: “Yes, this means that the religious leader has more power. I guess the trick to dealing with this is to pick a rav one trusts with that power.”

    The distinction with “Daas Torah” you seem sensitive about strikes me as Presentism in the context of the family history of the columnist I relayed. Once one delegate power to a Rabbi, where is the boundary drawn at which point you override him?

    —–

    Gil — I don’t understand why you can’t answer a straightforward question. You choose to keep posting posts on the role of women, so it’s entirely legitimate to understand where you stand on changes that normative Modern Orthodoxy has made to accomodate them, so we understand where there is common ground.

    You have now said that WTGs are “Either assur or impermissible”. So, I have asked about another experiment MO is conducting.

    Do you unequivocally support the hiring of women clergy as Community Scholars by MO Synagogues such as the JC, KJ and LSS? Yes, or no?

  188. Overlap. Thank you for answering, Gil.

    So, is there any accomodation that you do unequivocally support?

  189. Gil – “Or are you asking whether they were widely accepted before any significant rabbi allowed them?”

    that is about it. the bat mitzvah celebration was accepted by many in orthodoxy before any significant rabbi allowed them. with the permissive teshuvot of the seredei aish and ROY it seems there are very few things not allowed today in the mo community [eventhough these type of celebrations were not approved originally].

  190. Gil – what is not conscious about praying ma’ariv – 3 to4 hours before nightfall? its against halacha.

  191. IH: When you don’t like your moreh derekh, find a new one. Just like when you feel the pesaqim your are getting from your moreh hora’ah are wonky. It’s pretty simple.

    And I am not “sensitive” about the distinction between this idea — which dates back to Sina — and daas Torah — which dates back to the early 20th cent. You posted an example of daas Torah failing miserably, and later said it was a question on what I’m talking about. You assumed they’re the same, so I pointed out they’re not.

  192. Ruvie: It’s a machlokes in the Gemara!

  193. Micha — thanks. It was those 2 sentences about power that threw me.

  194. Gil – praying ma’ariv 4 hours before nightfall? before peleg ha-mincha? and fulfill all your obligations? we must have diff. gemeras. see trumat ha-deshen,1,45.

  195. Ruvie and Emma, you each asked me for a few examples of things which I think would pass my (really the standard conservative) framework for when beaks with tradition are ok and, when they are not. I spent a few hours to think about this, both because I’ve been really busy, and because I wanted to do my best to give you an honesty and thoughtful answer.

    I am prepared to give you a few examples but I do want to premise it with a few caviots. First, in our original discussion we were assuming that PMs are mutar so I am going to assume that all of the innovations I list here are mutar as well. Second, this is of course not a test that gives precise mathematical answers. It is a framework. You and I can both adopt the framework and come up with different answers. The world isn’t so easy that adopting this framework will always lead us all to the same answer. I do not live the following topics in anywhere near the same way I live with PMs and their adherents on a weekly basis. I am going to give my best, honest answer here, but I don’t think any of the answers I am about to give are set in stone with a 100% certainty.

    Some examples I think pass the test include; women learning, the abolition of polygamy, the adoption of an halachic prenup, more widespread adoption of living wills, an allowance of doing business with non Jews because they’re not “really” idol worshipers, more effort put into kiruv, American patriotism, celebrations of American secular holidays

    Some examples which I think do not pass the test; pms, women rabbis, trying to force people to stop eating fish that have always been kosher because of parasites, a concern for microscopic bugs in the water, more draconian tztniut standards if done in a way that denies people who meet traditional standards access to shuls and communities, a harsher than traditional rejection of science (calling people heretics for accepting intelligent design/evolution. Someone just tonight told me that someone told her it was asur to get a sonogram. Thats silly.), messianism, a refusal to work to earn a living, an attempt to downplay or minimize the prohibitions on homosexuality, an attempt to say that Jews and Jewish ideas shouldn’t be involved in the American political discourse.

    Those are by no means exclusive, and I did my honest best, but I cannot say that it is an easy process or that the answers are to a mathematical certainty. But it the traditional conservative test. It doesn’t claim to have all of the answers, it just creates a framework for thinking about things. We can still reach different results, but two people using that framework at least share a common language.

    For anyone who said that they don’t this framework is how things have always worked in practice. Of course not . . . who on earth thinks or claimed that it is? I am saying it is how conservatives approach such questions, and it is what I think is the right framework to approach such questions. It has been used in some cases and not used in others.

  196. moshe shoshan

    I think you are all confusing two distinct issues, historical analysis verses contemporary jurisprudence.
    retropectively lots of practices that initiaily lack rabbinic support were eventualy approved of and even supported by at least some rabbis. I think even Gil should agree to this.

    This does not mean that I the at the time it was OK for people to behave in a way that was not then rabbinically approved.

    I agree with IH that ulitmately time will tell as to whether or not PMs will accepted by Orthodoxy, and in principle it would not be a bigger change than others that halakha has already accomodated.
    But at the current time, lacking such support what justification is there for such services? A
    IH earlier, you argued that you are merely follwing your posek, R. Sperber. Does that mean that you would agree that before he came on the scene and PMs were based on an article by a layman and a bunch of ad hoc descisions made by people who were far from Talmidei chachamim- PMs were indeed prohibited?
    s as I can tell with out rabbinc support, your argument for PMs is essentialy a sort of aveirah lishma. not a case you can expext to get broad support.

  197. History – all that was asked for is an historical analysis of halachik change and innovation via your 2 models. what passes and fails based on your criteria vs. what happened.

  198. Ruvie: You are bringing a proof for Partnership Minyanim from the practice of davening ma’ariv before plag??? Certainly you understand that this is a practice that was stamped out of existence because of near-unanimity that it is forbidden. People still daven after plag but not before. After plag is justified by many rishonim and has strong support in the Gemara. Before is very difficult and is not allowed, even if the Terumas HaDeshen tried to justify it.

    And I’m not sure what edition of Terumas HaDeshen you are using but in mine, 1:46 is about tzitzis.

  199. Gil – not bringing proof at all. the topic is halacha and change/innovation with a look at history. the question is did halacha and practices change from the bottom up and only later – much later – justified by rabbis of certain communal practices. Ma’ariv – time of davening- is a good example of a communal practice contra to halacha that was eventually accepted centuries later. we are talking about both maariv and shema nightly obligations being fulfilled (i think).

    see trumat ha=deshen no.1 p.5 or the ramo SA, OH 235:1 (where he quotes him as well). it was totally accepted practice for centuries. stamp out? read katz to see the changes.

    are you saying there are no example of innovation/change with out prior rabbinic approval? please read the shannat goy by jacob katz for numerous examples. i do understand that this may not understood or accepted in some circles but nevertheless shown to be accurate in the last 50 years.
    see moshe shoshan comments above. i think what bothers people is the rate of change in today’s society with the change of status of women in the last 100 years. judaism is not static but also all changes at not at all acceptable either.

  200. shannat = shabbat
    at= are not at all acceptable either.

    i am truly surprise that this needs to be debated. the sabbath awaits.

  201. I agree with IH that ulitmately time will tell as to whether or not PMs will accepted by Orthodoxy, and in principle it would not be a bigger change than others that halakha has already accomodated.

    But at the current time, lacking such support what justification is there for such services?

    Moshe — The support is there, both from the amcha and tacitly, for now, from parts of the Orthodox Rabbinate. Let’s not confuse the noise coming from squeaky wheels with the broader soundscape. Your introduction of the word “hegemony” adds another complicating factor in analyzing the situation, but Gil will not allow the conversation to go there.

    IH earlier, you argued that you are merely follwing your posek, R. Sperber. Does that mean that you would agree that before he came on the scene and PMs were based on an article by a layman and a bunch of ad hoc descisions made by people who were far from Talmidei chachamim- PMs were indeed prohibited?

    I wasn’t there and have no way to evaluate your hypothesis. But, at a philosophical level, the moment of any liturgical change is technically “prohibited”. When breakaway shuls were created to adopt Chassidic innovations, or Religious Zionist ones for theirs, against the teaching of their Mara d’Atra that too is “prohibited” according to the same rules. I’m sure we could debate this to lower levels of granularity, but I am not sure of the point to be honest.

    “Nusach Feminism” (Gil’s neologism) is already competing in the marketplace of Orthodoxy and will either flourish or die as such.

  202. Ruvie: I don’t doubt that practices have changed and have sometimes been justified by poskim and other times been stamped out. Just see my post on R. Chaim Navon’s approach.

    However, I object to your claim that just because some things began that way, often due to hardship, that suddenly we can change whatever we want and the rabbis will eventually come around.

  203. IH: Nusach Feminism is based on R. Sperber’s words.

  204. IH: The support is there, both from the amcha and tacitly, for now, from parts of the Orthodox Rabbinate

    You live in a bubble. The support is minimal, consisting of many on the fringe who are only nominally Orthodox.

  205. IH- You should not confuse the silence of rabbis with their approval. The RCA struggled with whether to respond to things like the German (and proposed American) curtailments of circumcision, the HHS abridgment of religious liberty, various horrifying scandals, gay marriage ceremonies performed in pseudo Orthodox settings, and many other events. In some cases they eventually spoke out, and in others they remained silent. That is not a sign of their approval. It may be a sign of many things (ignorance, cowardice, inertia), but assuming that it is acceptance, is wishful thinking.

    As the threat posed by PMs continues to metastasize, and more people are lost from Orthodoxy the response will get more vigorous. Many frum people who don’t live in NY, DC, California, have still never even heard of PMs. Friends of mine not living in one of those areas would assume I was joking if I told them that such places existed and claimed to be Orthodox.

  206. Gil — Time will tell, but if “support is minimal, consisting of many on the fringe who are only nominally Orthodox” why all the effort to delegitimize it?

    As the R. Wolkenfeld recently wrote:

    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.

  207. GIL – ” object to your claim that just because some things began that way, often due to hardship, that suddenly we can change whatever we want and the rabbis will eventually come around.”

    I have no such viewpoint at all. i take exception to the revisionist history portrayed by orthodox folks. The example of we can’t do anything unless sanctioned by a gadol is historically false. yes there is a dance and its complicated but not due to hardships all the time.
    have you looked at the terumat ha-deshen

  208. Many frum people who don’t live in NY, DC, California, have still never even heard of PMs. Friends of mine not living in one of those areas would assume I was joking if I told them that such places existed and claimed to be Orthodox.

    History — undoubtably true. And we could say the same thing about many things now normative in Orthodoxy about which one could have said the same thing at that stage of their evolution.

    Change happens irrespective of your personal comfort zone. See R’Joel’s wry observation in The Starbucks Talmud thread.

  209. IH- RDBF’s shul has a women’s prayer group, a woman president, women giving classes, including shabbos morning after davening, women’s hakaphot. The claim that he is not looking for solutions to the problems that you think are facing our community (I don’t think they are problems.) is not reality.

    He has simply rejected one idea that he thinks is asur, and not based on any sort of defensible Orthodox epistemology.

    Turning around and minimizing the work he has done for your cause is petty.

  210. IH- In my 10:14 comment I was responding to your claim of tacit approval. Silence on an a deviant practice you have never heard of is not approval of that practice.

  211. History — You don’t know what you choose not to know.

  212. Ruvie: The example of we can’t do anything unless sanctioned by a gadol is historically false

    There’s a difference between something unsanctioned by a gadol and something unsanctioned and actively opposed.

  213. IH- I am not sure where you are going with that, but you in fact do know what you choose not to know. Otherwise how could you choose not to know it?

  214. There’s a difference between something unsanctioned by a gadol and something unsanctioned and actively opposed.

    joel rich on March 8, 2013 at 8:31 am
    r’IH,
    do you see any irony in the attacks on the original R’ Steinsaltz for not keeping the tzurat hadaf while now using the tzurat hadaf to spoon feed? (not to mention who designed the original tzura anyway)
    KT

  215. And how is Steinsaltz published now? With the Vilna tzuras ha-daf!

    Although that was never a halakhic matter

  216. The lesson is that both got better from having the competition. That will likely be the case for Partnership Minyanim as well.

  217. Are we really comparing how page is laid out, to changing the role that men and women in play in communal life? Even if you utterly reject the framework I laid out yesterday, I find it hard to believe that you think the two things are comparable. One is obviously a much steeper change that affects most (if not all) aspects of our communal life and has implications so far reaching that no one can possibly know where they will end up. The other is changing the layout of a page. Do you honestly think the risks of the two changes are the same?

  218. The perceived risk of democratizing Talmud study (without the need for a Rebbe) was a serious threat to the future of Judaism. See beyond your biases.

  219. Gil – “There’s a difference between something unsanctioned by a gadol and something unsanctioned and actively opposed.”

    Yes, like the bat mitzvah? History is replete with opposition to initial change by rabbis. not saying all changes are acceptable either. you seem unable to acknowledge this fact. The difference with women issues is recently the tendency to compare orthodox feminists with the heretics of old. cue or fade to RHS:
    “Clearly the motivation to have a woman read the kesuba is to make the following statement: the rabbis, or better yet – the G-d of the Jews, has been discriminating against women all these millennia, and has cheated them of their equal rights, and it’s high time that this injustice be straightened out … The Talmud records that during the period of the Second Temple the Tzdukim (Sadducees) had many disputes with the chachamim (Sages) … One of their big issues was this issue of discrimi- nation against women … Years later, after the destruction of the Second Temple, the early Christians picked up some of the “shtik” (chicanery) of the Tzdukim … History repeats itself. ”

    clearly the line is being drawn even for things that are permissible.

  220. Are we back to the bas mitzvah? You have failed to explain how a bas mitzvah–as you defined it–could be celebrated in a shul without the rabbi’s consent.

  221. IH- I cannot speak to the specifics of that debate, because quite frankly I haven’t studied it in enough depth. But, commentators such as Rashi had for years played a roll in making Talmud study more accessible to the people. I am unaware of a longstanding traditional taboo on learning that has deep ties in our religions history. If such a tradition exists it has been so thoroughly extinguished that I have never encountered it.

    That is a very far cry from male and female roles in life which you can see if you pick up any sefer including a chumash.

    There may very well have been some group at some point that opposed widespread learning. They may even have had a good reason that was specific for their time. But that is nothing at all comparable to our consistent traditions for different communal male and female rolls that has been uninterrupted from the beginning fo the religion.

    As for your closing ad-hominem, I’ll say “nener nener nener” right back at you.

  222. If the opposition to Steinsaltz was all about democratization, why not the opposition to Artscroll? Or Chavrusa? Or Mishnayos in Yiddish Teitch?

    In my opinion, the opposition was because R. Steinsaltz was “not one of us”.

  223. r’gil,
    I would guess that is partially true and that those involved with Artscroll made sure to line up enough (maybe that’s one – I don’t know) gedolic support so that they had cover.
    It would be really interesting to know whether “the gedolim” think that the democratization of talmud learning was a good thing (or perhaps that the tide couldn’t be held back so let’s channel it etc.)
    KT

  224. For the record, History, it was not intended — and I believe wasn’t — ad hominem. You appeared out of nowhere on Hirhurm for this one topic and I don’t recall seeing you in any other since you’ve started commenting here. It is logical to conclude you are a single-issue voter, so to speak.

    I have benefited from hearing your views and understanding your pain at the perceived loss of family and friends to an idea that you strongly oppose, but I think my reading that you do not see past your own biases is justified by what you have written here.

    I am curious, though: do you have a relationship with R. Freundel in real life?

  225. Gil – “could be celebrated in a shul without the rabbi’s consent.”

    It would seem that community pressure created the situation with no approval of any posek or major rabbi- actually they openly opposed as you well know. the local rabbi didn’t always aprove but really had no choice it would seem.
    Are we now going to the default line that its ok if the shul rabbi approves – like r’ a. weiss in riverdale?

  226. No. I suggest that the lack of WRITTEN consent from a posek does not mean that the rabbis were acting on their own.

  227. Gil – you seem to be saying that the bat mitzvah had verbal approval from the gedolim so the local rabbis had permission to allow it in their shuls? otherwise, how can it been done?

  228. No, I’m saying it’s possible. Do you think that, say, R. Tzvi Kanotopsky would have held a bas mitzvah without first checking with Rav Soloveitchik? Based on what I know of him, I highly doubt it. Other rabbis might have done it on their own. Perhaps we can do the research.

  229. Here’s a good test case: did R. Riskin receive formal approval from the Rav (or another “gadol”) in 1973 before Elena Kagan’s Bat Mitzva: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/13/nyregion/13synagogue.html

  230. And back to the point of this thread: which Gadol approved R. Freundel’s WTG?

  231. Wasn’t that after the Seridei Eish’s teshuvah?

  232. Here is R. Moshe Feinstein’s 1959 teshuvah (to R. Meir Kahane) permitting a bas mitzvah kiddush and speech: http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=920&st=&pgnum=50&hilite=

  233. IH: I’m not sure where you missed that I disagree with R. Freundel.

  234. Gil – Please first start with RMF first teshuva – IM, OH I,no.104: 1956
    Regarding those who wish to institute a ceremony or celebration for girls reaching bat mitzva, under no circumstances should this be done in a synagogue , not even at night…bat mitzvah is an optional matter and mere nonsense…”

    It seems it was already happening and there was major disapproval.

  235. Perhaps the key is defining what is meant by a ceremony. I don’t see much change in attitude between the 1956 and 1959 teshuvos.

  236. I’m not sure where you missed that I disagree with R. Freundel

    You more than disagreed. You stated that what he continues to sanction — a WTG — is “either assur or impermissible”.

  237. Ruvie, do you take that to mean in the sanctuary or in the social hall? Do women have bat mitzvahs in the sanctuary as a matter of common Orthodox practice?

    I guess to some degree it depends on what you mean by a bat mitzvah. If a ceremony includes announcing the event before kiddush that is obviously much more common. But if you mean a party, or some sort of ceremony (I’m not 100% sure what this term might include, leining?) it gets less common.

  238. IH: which equals disagreeing!

  239. Gil — Nu, so which Posek/Gadol does he rely on to maintain his WTG?

  240. I don’t know. Perhaps Rav Goren. It won’t matter because the phenomenon will disappear soon.

  241. It matters because he has stubbornly held humself up as a defender of halacha in respect of Partnership Minyanim — 6 posts worth. Does he play by his own rules?

  242. I don’t know who qualifies as a Gadol, but the Frimers have a very long and well sourced article on the subject.

  243. IH- going after the arguer rather than the argument isn’t convincing at all.Its grasping at straws.

  244. History — your silence makes me curiouser: do you have a relationship with R. Freundel in real life?

  245. Shabbat Shalom u’Mevorach to all still here.

  246. IH- I am flattered that you are so concerned with my identity. But, having seen how you personally attacked Gill based on his upbringing I’m going to say that my identity is utterly irrelevant. This is a discussion, not a dating website.

  247. IH: No fair. Don’t badger anonymous commenters to give personal information. Even if History does have a personal connection to R. Freundel, as long as it isn’t R. Freundel himself then it shouldn’t matter.

    (I can confirm that it isn’t R. Freundel)

  248. “I don’t know who qualifies as a Gadol, but the Frimers have a very long and well sourced article on the subject.”

    huh? are you saying that it would be ok to pasken based on an “article”? that would be esepecially surprising in this context of pms so i am not sure what you mean.

  249. Gil – RMF authored 3 responsa on the the topic. all were short and free of lengthy halachik discourse. the 1959 one you quoted reflects already what was happening already in the jewish community.
    RMF arguments: the sanctity of the shul forbids it to be used for a celebration of a bat mitzvah because of no halachik validity. since its not a seudat mitzvah and has no source in rabbinic texts its considered optional and mere nonsense.
    RMF opposes the introduction of a “ceremony” because of hetrodox origination and therefore forbidden.
    in the last one – 1959 – he says “you should push away this innovation of bat mitzvah celebrations and not draw it closer” – is that acceptance? he reluctantly accepts it as a birthday party – what can this rabbi do – RMF suggest to avoid derision since the date is set. its bedeaved at best – but its not approval.
    the first teshuva – 1956-shows sweeping opposition but the 1959 teshuva RMF agrees one may celebrate a bat mitzvah with “a kiddush as its customary in most shuls.” plus the girl may say a few words in “honor of this joyous occasion” – to me that is a big change from mere nonsense to something of educational value. i think we have over discussed this issue – but i notice much revisionism on it.

    BTW, RMF 1959 teshuva was only published in 1981! 22 yrs later. he was well established by most in orthodoxy including hareidim.

  250. he – should be it – bat mitzvahs

  251. Ping – pong anyone: More from r’ CL

    http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/2013q1/025855.html

    more on katanim, kavod hatzibur and Rn Sarah Schenirer…

    shabbat shalom

  252. http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/2013q1/025871.html

    I pretty thorough analysis of the meiri and rbf use of it in his article as well as women’s obligation to daven- also some comments on the comment section on this blog. interesting last paragraph:

    “And this discussion is not part of a theoretical article – let’s see if we
    can unpick the nature of women’s obligation in prayer from the way it has
    traditionally been understood, written for a scholarly audience in Hebrew,
    but as part of a polemic against partnership minyanim in an article which
    can be expected to be read by many people, many of them women, many of them
    with limited halachic skills and knowledge.
    Now Rav Freundel may not like partnership minyanim and may have good reasons to oppose them – but it is quite likely that as a consequence of writing this piece Rabbi Freundel will
    dissuade (some, maybe many) women from davening. And if the more
    traditional understanding of women’s obligation in Shmonei Esrei is correct,
    that would mean that he has directly caused them to be mevatel their chiyuv
    (for those that hold d’orisa, with the details being part and parcel of how
    to carry out the d’orisa) on a d’orisa level and if d’rabbanan, d’rabbanan.
    That is a pretty weighty thing to have on one’s shoulders.”

  253. Thank you and ye’yasher kochakha, R’ Joel Rich, for the awesome privilege of your response to me (March 7, 2:24 p.m.)

    Regarding the question you correctly raise of what occurs when there is a change in pesak halakhah over personal status, one suggestion is offered by R. Willig in his lecture on Nov. 24, 2011 at http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/766510/Rabbi_Mordechai_I_Willig/Geirus_Controversy_#

    R. Willig describes the RCA transition from heretofore acceptance of R. Moshe Feinstein’s ruling [that the conversion of a ger katan is effective even if the adopting family is not-yet-observant] to a more narrow approach [that the conversion of a ger katan is only certain to be effective if the adopting family is already observant]; a transition which is reflected in the RCA conversion guidelines embraced in 2007. R. Willig grapples with the dilemma of what happens to people who used to be considered gerim [as per R. Feinstein’s ruling], but whose personal status will now be questioned as a result of this transition to the more stringent approach.

    R. Willig compares this to a piece of meat which one Sanhedrin ruled was kosher. Someone then preserved the piece of meat (e.g. in a freezer or by pickling), and many years later a new Sanhedrin ruled the same piece of meat is not kosher. R. Willig’s conclusion: one must follow the new Sanhedrin, and – likewise – one must follow the new RCA standards, such that the person in question should convert again.
    [beginning 24:20-33:15 into the lecture]

    Suprisingly, R. Willig seems to overlook the fact that this problem is addressed be-derekh pilpul by R. Ezekiel Landau in his Doresh le-Tziyon, no. 11, beginning with the paragraph “ve-hineh ha-ramban”, available online here:
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20222&st=&pgnum=135

    In any event, one of the possibilities advanced by R. Landau is indeed congruent with R. Willig’s stringent approach.

  254. See also Shu”t Yabi’a Omer, Vol. 10 (section on Hilkhot Tish’ah be-Av) where R. Ovadiah Yosef analyzes the same sugya as R. Landau (viz. Chullin 17a). R. Yosef regards the matter as a safek, and therefore rules leniently in the context of leftover meat from Shabbat Chazon. I.e., one is permitted to eat meat during Shavu’a she-Chal bo Tish’ah be-Av if the meat is leftovers from Shabbat Chazon, because once a piece of meat is permitted there is at best a safek whether the same piece of meat can become prohibited, and (in the context of Shavu’a she-Chal bo Tish’ah be-Av) we would invoke the principle that safek de-rabbanan le-kula, argues R. Yosef.

  255. i don’t understand the reasoning: how does it become prohibited to eat the meat on tisha b’av (I presume that ROY doesn’t waive the fast)? What if one eats hard cheese, why is one not permitted to eat meat that was permitted before one ate the cheese? It’s not an issur cheftza, it’s an issur gavra…isn’t it?

  256. Thank you, R’ bt, for the excellent questions. Your gavra vs. cheftza distinction is eminently correct, and therefore requires clarification on my part in the context of the aforementioned responsum of ROY. [In fact, see Shu”t Yabi’a Omer I, Yoreh De’ah no. 4, where ROY specifically acknowledges the gavra vs. cheftza dichotomy of which you speak in the context of bassar be-chalav, on the basis of which (as a snif le-hakel) ROY allows feeding a small child even within less than six hours of having eaten meat. ROY claims that there may be no problem of “le-haz’hir gedolim al ha-ketanim” (as per Yevamot 114a), when the prohibition is purely one of gavra, as is the case with consuming milk less than six hours after having eaten meat. Thus, R’ bt, ROY is on exactly the same page as you are. Barukh she-Kivanta.]

    In Shu”t Yabi’a Omer Vol. 10, ROY is addressing the minhag of not eating meat during Shavu’a she-Chal bo Tish’ah be-Av. It should be emphasized that this is a minhag, and – moreover – a minhag of purely post-talmudic origin. The Talmud itself (Ta’anit 26b) only prohibits (as a mitzvah de-rabbanan) consumption of meat on Erev Tish’ah be-Av. Thus, whatever leniency ROY offers in the context of Yabi’a Omer Vol. 10 applies only to the days before Erev Tish’ah be-Av, but not to Erev Tish’ah be-Av itself (which is a higher level prohibition). A fortiori, ROY has no power to repeal the fast of Tish’ah be-Av itself (which is of even higher halakhic status, being a mitzvah mi-divrei kabbalah, as per the gemara in Rosh ha-Shanah 19a).

    Now, in Yabi’a Omer Vol. 10, ROY takes cognizance of the fact that some communities prohibit (as a post-talmudic minhag) the consumption of meat during the week of Tish’ah be-Av, and some extend it further back to Rosh Chodesh. Paradoxically, ROY transforms the Rosh Chodesh strigency into a leniency, as follows. Since some communities are strict to begin the prohibition at Rosh Chodesh, that means whatever meat is eaten on Shabbat Chazon became permissible (or at least possibly became permissible) by virtue of “ho’il ve-ishterei ishterei” (to employ the term from Chullin 17a), and therefore – as a matter of safek – may even be permissible during the subsequent days of Av (up until but *not* including Erev Tish’ah be-Av). [A safek on a minhag prohibition is adjudicated leniently, according to ROY.]

    As I understand R. Willig, he is arguing along the same lines as ROY, but in the opposite direction, since R. Willig is contending with a safek de-oraita. Namely, a Sanhedrin permitted a particular piece of meat, which thereby triggers “ho’il ve-ishterei ishterei”. But here, when the second Sanhedrin prohibits the same meat, we are left with a safek and so we must be stringent. R. Willig also appears to believe that the same notion should apply to gerut.

  257. Sorry, a correction: The precise semantic term “ho’il ve-ishterei ishterei” does not literally appear in Chullin 17a. [It appears elsewhere, e.g. Yevamot 7b.] However, it is the same conceptual idea being expressed by Chullin 17a (as a safek possibility which the gemara leaves as a “teiku”), and so ROY uses the expression “ho’il ve-ishterei ishterei” to encapsulate the tzad le-heter in Chullin 17a.

  258. so hoil veishterei ishterei only applies in case of safek? even when we know it definitely doesn’t apply sometimes, as on tisha b’av, as in the case during the rest of the year where one has eaten hard cheese and can’t eat meat immediately? What safek is there that the minhag is not to eat the leftover meat during the rest of the 9 days just as one can’t eat it on tisha bav and on erev tisha bav? is there really some doubt that this is indeed in the minhag?

  259. and do i understand correctly that this leniency doesn’t apply to sefardim who only refrain from meat in shavua shechal bo and only applies to sefardim?
    in that case, the example of hard cheese doesn’t apply, unless one modifies it to a case where one ate cheese, waited till the meat became mutar, and then the next time one eats cheese…?? or this doesn’t work because there’s no safek?
    what about wine – can ashkenazim drink wine after shabbos chazon too?

  260. “and only applies to sefardim”

    correction, should read to ashkenazim

    is r willig really comparing the RCA to a sanhedrin?

  261. Lawrence Kaplan

    Rabbi Spira: Despite my respect for his great learning, I cannot agree with R. Willig. As I understand it, the RCA did not pasken against Rav Moshe, did not say that his pesak was mistaken. Rather before they were willing to rely on his line of argumentation to convert a child adopted by a non-Orthodox couple if they commoitted themselves to sending him or her to a Day School, now they are more cautious and will not do so. This by no means implies that they were WRONG beforehand, much less that they now believe Rav Moshe’s pesak was wrong. The analogy to the piece of meat is thus flawed. I leave to the side the Panodra’s box R. Willig approach opens re the children of such a convert.

  262. I thank R’ bt and Mori ve-Rabbi R. Kaplan for their insightful responses to me, which have inspired me to revisit the topic. [Thank you also, R’ MJ, whose comments could be interpreted as a continuation of the personal status theme that R’ Joel Rich and myself introduced (as a tangent of this forum), although whose comments also relate to the general topic of a lady leading Kabbalat Shabbat.]

    1. “Ho’il ve-ishterei ishterei” is the subject of Rabbi Yirmeyah’s question in Chullin 17a. Since the question is resolved by a teiku, ROY (Shu”t Yabi’a Omer X, Orach Chaim 40; sorry I neglected to provide the precise reference until now) deems the teiku to result in a safek.

    2. “Ho’il ve-ishterei ishterei” means that there was a reason for an item or course of action to be prohibited, but due to special circumstances, the prohibition was suspended. Even after the special circumstances pass, the permission continues. [Again, I am not saying this is definitely so. ROY regards it as a safek.] Thus, “ho’il ve-ishterei ishterei” could neither permit eating on Tish’ah be-Av, nor eating milk immediately after having eaten meat.

    3. Indeed, ROY’s permission to eat leftover meat from Shabbat Chazon is controversial, as ROY himself concedes in his responsum, in which he quotes both stringent and lenient views. Still, ROY’s calculation at the end of the day is that the lenient camp is sufficiently credible to create a safek le-kula, which is enough to permit consuming the meat. Interestingly, ROY admits that he is contradicted by R. Ezekiel Landau (Shu”t Noda bi-Yehudah II, Yoreh De’ah 64), who believes that there is a sfek sfeka le-chumra: (a) perhaps we don’t pasken like the Rabbi Yirmeyah (as Rashi, in contradistinction to the Rosh, interprets the gemara in Chullin 17a); and (b) even if we do pasken like Rabbi Yirmeyah (as Rosh maintains), perhaps the answer to Rabbi Yirmeyah’s question is le-tzad issura. See here:
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=1447&st=&pgnum=133

    Nevertheless, ROY is unconvinced by Noda bi-Yehudah, since R. Akiva Eger in his glosses on Shulchan Arukh Orach Chaim 248 states that we never create a sfek sfeka le-chumra regarding a rabbinic prohibition. This dispute between Noda bi-Yehudah and R. Akiva Eger itself concerns a rabbinic prohibition, and thus ROY holds that safek de-rabbanan le-kula.

    Although not mentioned by ROY, it also emerges that there is a slight contradiction within the words of R. Ezekiel Landau himself, since his Noda bi-Yehudah responsum is more stringent than his pilpul in Doresh le-Tzion no. 11, cited in my earlier comment on March 10, at 4:18 p.m. [Namely, in his pilpul, R. Landau considers only Rosh’ view, and regards the sugya in Chullin 17a as culminating in a safek that could proceed either way for purposes of pilpul. In his responsum, R. Landau includes Rashi as a counterweight to Rosh, resulting in a sfek sfeka le-chumra.] This is certainly an interesting phenomenon, which merit a lecture on its own, and perhaps also strengthens ROY’s counter-position in challenging R. Landau.

    4. Although not mentioned by ROY, his lenient approach toward permitting leftover meat from Shabbat Chazon is rejected by R. Simchah Rabinowitz in his Piskei Teshuvot Vol. 6, p. 86. R. Rabinowitz writes “ve-khen he’etiku kol ha-acharonim de-chas ve-chalilah le-hakel”. ROY is certainly aware of this volume of Piskei Teshuvot, since he cites is approvingly (in a completely independent context) in Yabi’a Omer IX, Orach Chaim 58. [Viz., ROY permits nes’iat kapayim during twilight of Yom Kippur, and cites Piskei Teshuvot as justification. Apparently, ROY cites Piskei Teshuvot when it agrees with him, and omits reference to Piskei Teshuvot when it doesn’t agree with him.] Nevertheless, ROY is presumably entitled to at least as much an opinion as R. Rabinowitz, presumably leading to the conclusion that safek de-rabbanan le-kula.

    5. As I read his responsum, ROY seems to feel this leniency applies equally to Sefardim and Ashkenazim. Parenthetically, some Sefardim do begin the meat restrictions commencing at Rosh Chodesh (like the Rema), e.g. the Moroccan shteeble where I pray. [My Moroccan co-congregants tell me the Rema was influential in Morocco. Not as influential as the Mechaber, but still a celebrity. Hmmm…]

    6. Wine is an excellent question. If ROY permits leftover meat, should he not also permit leftover wine (which, admittedly, sounds a little absurd*)? ROY does mention wine a couple of time obliquely at the end of his responsum, but it’s not clear to me what he holds. I definitely agree that this merits a follow-up question to ROY. [*=The seeming absurdity resides in the fact that wine is more of a luxury item than meat. Also, wine can be kept long-term without freezing. So why the need to be lenient on wine? On the other hand, perhaps that itself creates the difference. I honestly don’t know.]

    7. I agree that – as great as the accomplishments of the RCA truly are – the RCA is not the Sanhedrin. Presumably, R. Willig’s comments were meant to compare a consensus (which happens to be reflected in RCA’s evolving gerut policy) with the Sanhedrin, akin to what Chazon Ish writes in his posthumously published letters, Vol. 2, no. 41. See here:
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=46852&st=&pgnum=49

    However, I admit that I am unable to speak for R. Willig. It is also possible – as Mori ve-Rabbi R. Kaplan indicates – that R. Willig’s approach is distinct from RCA’s approach. I admit I do not know.

    8. If last year’s RIETS “4th Year Halakhah le-Ma’aseh” course (as digitally recorded) serves as any barometer, the question at hand [of ger katan where the adopting family is not-yet-observant] remains a matter of active debate. Namely, last year, students of the “4th Year Halakhah le-Ma’aseh” class received contradictory guidance from R. Tendler and R. Bleich (each of whom lecture in the course). R. Tendler said that the Halakhah follows R. Feinstein that the conversion is kosher:
    http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/773189/Rabbi_Moshe_D_Tendler/Geirus_3_%285772%29#

    R. Bleich said he regards it as a sfeka de-dina:
    http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/776374/Rabbi_Dr_J_David_Bleich/Ishus_2_%285772%29
    [beginning 42:40 into the lecture]

  263. I don’t understand from where the safek arises. I’d think the minhag is not to eat meat from rosh chodesh on, with the exception of eating meat lekovod shabbos. If one is not eating lekovod shabbos, then why would one eat meat? (I understand the technical argument; I’m just saying I find it dubious that this is the minhag.) As a parallel, if someone is sitting shiva and changes to shabbos clothes for shabbos, does not everyone agree that they change back to torn clothing on motzai shabbos with the question only being how quickly they must change. Is there any opinion that one can remain in one’s shabbos clothing motzai shabbos even if one normally is noheg to remain in shabbos clothing motzai shabbos (and some do have such a hakpada to normally remain in shabbos clothing all night)?
    (I think this parallel stands without necessarily adopting RYBS’ paradigm of personal and communal aveilus, as I’m only trying to demonstrate the concept that there can be a temporary break in acts of aveilus in honor of shabbos or so as not to disgrace shabbos, but that practice of aveilus starts again motzai shabbos despite the waiver for shabbos.)
    I don’t know if there is an opinion that the avel can remain all night in shabbos clothing, but I’ve never heard of that. And really there is no reason for wearing shabbos clothing to end motzai shabbos – if one is wiliing to sleep in one’s clothing, or not go to sleep, one should be able to continue wearing shabbos clothing till the end of shiva. Perhaps even taking off one’s shabbos clothing to go to sleep shouldn’t be a barrier, just as I presume one needn’t eat nonstop for ROY’s reasoning to work – so the same shabbos clothing should be ok once it became permissible on this logic regardless of whether one removed them.
    As you can see, I’m finding the application of hoil deishterei ishterei to an issur gavra peculiar, though I haven’t seen the sources you cite inside.

  264. on reflection, the analogy to shiva and clothing probably doesn’t work, as after shabbos of a shiva, I presume that one would be actively required to tear one’s clothing again if one doesn’t change back into the already torn garments and that is probably not analogous to a requirement to refrain from something (wearing non-torn clothing, eating meat).

    “Also, wine can be kept long-term without freezing. So why the need to be lenient on wine?”

    Incidentally, when was ROY’s teshuva written? (Is the issue that food would otherwise go to waste or is the concept that lechatchila it’s mutar to eat meat motzai shabbos chazon absent any pressing need?)

  265. “on reflection, the analogy to shiva and clothing probably doesn’t work, as after shabbos of a shiva, I presume that one would be actively required to tear one’s clothing again if one doesn’t change back into the already torn garments”

    for one’s parents, but for siblings, I’m now unsure if this is conceptualized as an issur to change to non-torn clothing or an active requirement to remain in torn clothing

  266. R’ bt,
    Thank you for the follow-up analysis. I hear what you’re saying, and – since we still have a few months until Tish’ah be-Av (plus maybe there will be positive developments in the eschatological department that will pre-empt Tish’ah be-Av, be-Ezrat Ha-Shem Yitbarakh), I suppose there is no immediate need for a pesak halakhah on the matter of leftover meat from Shabbat Chazon. In terms of the historicity of the responsum, Vol. 10 of Yabi’a Omer was published nine years ago, in 5764. [I apologize that I don’t recall offhand when the particular responsum was written.] Chazak u-varukh tihiyeh.

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