When Sincerity Is Not Enough

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10 Responses

  1. dr. bill says:

    from your two examples, i too learn three things. 1) as halakhic jews, we do not derive practical guidance directly from the Bible. 2) As Prof. Halbertal explains brilliantly in his book On Sacrifice, temple service had unique rules, that do not necessarily apply directly to the three rabbinic sustitutes – tefillah, tzedaka, and tshuvah. 3)how one views the result of years of conflict, should not color ones assumptions of the fundamental motivations of others.

  2. Raymond says:

    The Women of the Wall movement is entirely political, and radically political at that. Not only is there absolutely no true, sincere religious motivation involved, but their objective is exactly the opposite, that is, to attack anything that is sacred to traditional, Orthodox Jews. No spot on Earth is more sacred to religious Jews than is the Western Wall and Temple Mount area in general, which is precisely why that feminist movement wishes to show as much disrespect toward it as possible. Anybody who has ever been to the Western Wall, knows that even without the interference of any feminist group, that women have plenty of access to that area. I am surprised and disappointed at Natan Sharansky’s compromise plan. He should know better than that.

  3. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Most normal adults when annoyed or bothered by something, know how to look the other way when they see things that bother them. Unfortunately, there are a small minority of people who never learned the basics of self-control. (Or whose ideology teach them to ignore it.) More and more, whether in Bet Shemesh, Mea Shaarim, Dearborn Michigan, the Temple Mount or the Kotel, it is this fanatic fringe that’s being catered to. Law enforcement takes the path of least resistance to keeping the peace. So when faced with a choice of dealing with potentially violent fanatics or a larger group of law-abiding citizens they’ll general come down on the latter. It is really more this issue that has forced the Wow to politicize. Imagine if our chair-throwing friends could just ignore them as we might ignore a newly minted bunch of black hatters from Aish who are gesticulating wildly as they shout out Shema next to us while we’re trying to concentrate. (Nobody seems to question the “sincerity” of guys who went from motorcycle gangs to black, white, and tzitzes in a couple of months!) A similar issue as at play on the Temple Mount where police must studiously observe Jews there lest they move their lips in prayer and spark a riot among similarly impulse-control challenged Moslem fanatics.

    And talking about sincerity, given the fact that the WoW are not really doing anything that is in direct violation of halacha, (at least according to all sources) it’s quite telling how our fanatic friends and their cheerleaders on Cross Currents and elsewhere give a free pass to married women who go to the Kotel with their hair uncovered or women who wear pants and short sleeves, all of whom can be found in abundance. That the frum world, from Modern Orthodoxy on, has an irrational obsession with so-called feminist issues is evident. The reasons require much deep analysis.

    Regardless, when you live in a civil, mixed society, you have to balance rights against sensitivity. In this case, while the behavior of the Wow may be irksome, it does not directly interfere with any else’s right to pray as they wish. Being “irksome” simply should not pass the threshold of taking action, legal or otherwise. And, needless to say, while this may be irksome to some women, the so-called “pious” men who are bothered by this have no business peering over the Mechtiza in the first place!

  4. Reb Yid says:

    As the recent Haaretz article notes, the Women of the Wall are hardly monolithic. They are also Conservative and Orthodox and 2 out of their 8 Board members are Orthodox as well.

  5. L. Oberstein says:

    “A wise man has eyes in his head”. The issue of the wall is not primarily with these women themselves as with the publicity they garner for their cause. It is harmful to Israel to have this bad publicity. Therefore, I am happy that Sharansky is finding a way to make them feel good while not really allowing them to change the customs of the place. Just give them seperate but equal space near Robinxon’s Arch and let them be. How many of them are there really, if there is no fuss, it won’t be that much of a deal.

  6. Benjamin E. says:

    I won’t speak for Anat Hoffman, but I know other participants in WoW who *do* daven regularly at Rosh Chodesh (and other) minyanim and who *are* religiously meticulous in other respects. What do we do with them? If everyone who came met those standards (and this is not a pie-in-the-sky dream; there are unquestionably enough people who could if they so chose), then what would/should we say about them?

  7. Yaakov Menken says:

    Menachem and Mrs. Hecht, your blind naivete would be quaint and even touching were it not so dangerous. If you have no knowledge of Anat Hoffman’s agenda or the attitude of the WOW founders and leaders towards traditional Judaism and prayers, you should edify yourselves further before commenting in a way that favors those who would happily see prayer at the Wall come to an end at 9 am.

    Reb Yid, really. They have two Orthodox women out of more than 400,000. There’s a few crazies in any group, and the WOW undoubtedly includes many sincere women who really believe this is right and just and true, and don’t seem to care that their leadership has an agenda of “sticking it” to what Frankel called the offended public. The average board and staff member of WOW (which totals 10 women) is incapable of bringing even five friends with her on a monthly basis, because most Jews in Israel, no matter how liberal, give them a very, very wide berth. This is not a “live and let live” movement; which of course explains the difference between them and individual women showing up in non-Tznius clothing who are largely left alone, as Menachem mentioned.

    They have more press coverage than mispallelim, and you call this a “prayer” group?

  8. Dovid says:

    As is often the case, the question of right or wrong is far less important than the question of what, if anything, should be done about it. Any parent knows that sometimes the best course of action in response to deviant behavior is to leave it alone. I am certainly opposed to the WOW movement, but the question really is whether we have more to lose by making a fuss. Rabbi Menken, how dangerous are they? If we let them win this battle without opposition, how much have we really lost? You yourself noted that they’re not interested in davening. So shouldn’t we just let them daven in peace, so there’s no cause for them to get excited about, and it will all just fizzle out? Aren’t we turning this into a major social/political movement by fighting?

  9. lacosta says:

    not that i would want to change the status quo at the Kotel, we are fortunate that the site is controlled by the 10% of world jewry O segment. imagine had somehow control gone to the non-O movements. the kotel would have been mechitza -free [see pictures from shavuot season 1967 ] , shabbat guitar services there conducted by women rabbis etc… i wonder if we would have been satisfied then if they offered us a haredi section around the corner….

  10. Yaakov Menken says:

    Dovid, they are incredibly dangerous. Partly because they have some Orthodox people thinking there’s no big deal to all this.

    Anat Hoffman isn’t a newcomer to anti-Orthodox activism, she’s only new to Reform.

    I’ll limit further comment to my more recent and other upcoming posts.

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