Widening the Discussion
Last week, Rabbi Dr. David Berger published a bold and provocative critique about Open Orthodoxy. A brief attempted rebuttal of the article on the part of Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld seems to have gained little traction, and appears to have largely backfired, judging by the comments.
This week, Rabbi Harry Maryles likewise posted a serious critique of Open Orthodoxy, which YCT graduate Rabbi Ben Greenberg subsequently attempted to rebut. As this rebuttal attempt was quite elaborate and public (in Times of Israel), and was also posted by the president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, I felt that a response by yours truly would perhaps be of use.
Here is my response, published likewise in Times of Israel.
As I’ve noted in other threads, the comparisons between CJ and OO simply don’t work historically.
That, and as Rabbi Oberstein has previously noted, the objections here are overly legalistic and devoid of proper, wider context.
In that sense, these objections do remind me of the UTCJ rabbis who objected in the late 1970s and early 1980s (it was only the rabbis who objected). They were speaking to themselves and never attracted a lay following (or, for that matter, much of any following).
Why not, Reb Yid. Let’s compare these movements positions on controversial issues and where they take similar or like positions:
1) Women’s ordination – no difference;
2) celebration or acceptance of homosexual marriage in society – check;
3) acceptance of heresy as part of Torah learning, such as applying the Documentary Hypothesis and textual source criticism and acceptance of multiple authors of Chamisha Chumshei Torah – check;
4) changing the liturgy to accomodate recent social developments (ie. abrogating “shelo asani ishah”) – check
Also, here is a link to an article of an on-campus partnership minyan and the kind of pressures to complete egalitarianism that OO’s philosophy attracts and which it will not be able to resist:http://newvoices.org/2013/02/04/a-mechitza-runs-through-it-egalitarian-orthodox-prayer/
This quote really stick outs for me and exposes where OO is trending:
“Because their minyan doesn’t draw so many Orthodox students, they end up impacting the Conservative community more noticeably. “With the Conservative minyan, it’s known that a big reason they’re struggling so much is because Shalva is so strong,” Katz said. Katz and Horwitz are now starting to talk to the Conservative minyan about the possibility of combining the two. “We think it would definitely turn away those 5 or 6 [Orthodox students], but at the same time it would bring in people who would otherwise go to the Conservative minyan,” Horwitz explained. “It’s kind of difficult for us.”
“Another concern for students lies in the partnership minyanim’s balance of tradition with egalitarianism. “It’s hard for me to imagine that partnership minyans are going to exist for a long time,” Sarna said. For Sarna, it’s somewhat awkward that Shira Chadasha minyanim don’t count women for a minyan and only let them lead some parts of the service. “In some ways it exacerbates the situations. We’ll let you do this, but only because we don’t even really need to do it,” she said. Bedo feels similarly. “I grapple with the idea that women can’t do everything. I grapple with halacha,” she said. In her opinion, the ideal minyan would be completely egalitarian, but with a mechitza separating men and women.”
Forget the fact that the Rav ZTL did not take such action in early 70’s against the late Rabbi Rackman despite the Rav’s open opposition to a number of his views. Religious deviation in theological matters is a genie best left in the box. Instead, it seems to be Rabbi Maryles’s primary basis for expulsion. We already have moetzet members requiring belief in the literal truth of biblical stories or the age of the universe else one’s participation in marriage and certainly geirut will be questioned, if not disqualified. I find such fundamentalism more troublesome than Rabbi Farber adopting what is (similar to) the accepted view of most Bible scholars. I would first expel bible codes adherents and those who do not condemn them; their fundamentalism creates yet greater danger. I for one find the writings of some great thinkers who have views even more radical than Rabbi Farber and, nonetheless, maintain orthodox practice instructive. Reading and discussing such views is more useful than just declaring them out of order. At the very least, “dah ma shetashuv” requires more than just stamping the view pasul. I have been attempting to get strict adherents to Rambam’s 13 principles to explain how an incorporeal God speaks or writes in a way that differs fundamentally from some of Rabbi Farber’s views.
R Gordimer mentions the devastating critique of R R D Berger-Like it or not, R D D Berger is an Ish HaEmes who has never been afraid of criticizing anyone whose hashkafic POV is beyond the boundaries of traditional Hashkafas HaYahadus-I know of noone who has criticized both R Y Greenberg and messianist Chabad in that regard. Those who view R D Berger as merely engaging in parsing a manuscript haven’t encountered a person with the fierce devotion to Toras Emes as R R D Berger.
Dr Bill-you wrote in part:
“Forget the fact that the Rav ZTL did not take such action in early 70’s against the late Rabbi Rackman despite the Rav’s open opposition to a number of his views”
The facts on the ground were as follows:
1) RER had written and spoken in favor of Hafkaas Kiddushin in the early 1970s.
2) RYBS openly rejected any consideration of Hafkaas Kiddushin at a shiur on Gerus given to the RIETS alumni.
3) RER left YU and moved to Israel where he served as head of Bar Illan.
4) R Lamm succeeded R Belkin
Do you really think that RYBS did not publicly oppose RER’s views and that RYBS was amenable to RER becoming president of YU?
Perhaps, R Rackman read the writing on the proverbial wall and left on his own accord after RYBS publicly and rather sharply rejected his views on Hafkaas Kiddushhin.
dr. bill – what you just wrote is utter nonsense. At this point, you are bending over backwards and every which-way to defend OO (and I say this as somebody who has a major issue with the Torah Codes). Anyway, your comment ignores Farber’s stated view that the Avos didn’t exist. Also, one can decry some literalist views while not accepting with open arms a critical approach to the Torah. Also, why are Torah Codes a greater danger? The views set out on theTorah.com website can lead people away from Torah and Shmiras HaMitzvos, and create acceptance of Orthopraxy, as you do. Are you fine with Orthopraxy, because the Rishonim, even those who did not agree with the Rambam, certainly did not.
At this point I want to make the following point: its amazing how the same people who rely on the Rambam and the Moreh is allow expansive views on Torah and Science, then go ahead and reject the Rambam’s 13 Ikkarim when it comes to defining proper beliefs. How does that work exactly?
Rafael Araujo-thanks for that very important link. Once again, we see that OO has no halachic or hashkafic boundaries other than giving in to the current Zeitgeist, while peddling their mistaken and misinformed views on Halacha and Hashkafa.
Steve Brizel, we agree as to your facts. as I said the Rav opposed RER; the Rav’s opposition went beyond what you wrote. however, my point is despite that opposition, he never expelled him from the orthodox camp and did not say Kaddish for him. add to your list, RER written views on the Bible, and you will see why I mentioned him in the context of Rabbi Farber. IIRC, there was a nice eulogy for Rabbi Rackman on Hirhurim (after he died!)
Rafael Araujo, I suggest you find (all the) shiurim on YU Torah on the existence of the Avos or the nature of the flood story. As to your use of the word orthoprax, consider the possibility that someone might have alternate theological reasons for being a shomer mitzvot. Of course there are many orthoprax in both modern, yeshivish and chassidic communities who behave a particular way only because of social pressures. As to your last question, it has received many and varied answered. In any case, accepting idea A from a particular person, does not imply the need to accept an independent idea B from that person.
I am not sure why I am wasting time posting here because many here do not let the facts influence their opinions
1. Please read R. Joel Roth’s teshuva which was the basis for Conservative ordination of Women rabbis and then read the Maharat position. There is a world of difference. While you are at it, please state the exact reason that ordination of women is assur. Because if you read an objective presentation such as R. Brody in Hakirah 11 you will see that according to many shitot there is no issur.
2. No one as far as I know as said that homosexual relations are muttar. The only openly gay orthodox rabbi has semicha from YU. Whether general society public policy has to follow Halacha is a matter of debate with prominent voices on both sides.
3. Regarding various authors of the Torah, you will have to excommunicate the Ibn Ezra, Abarbanel, and many others who have written that not every word of the Torah came from God to Moshe
4. Changing the liturgy- guess yiu
מפניני הרב עמוד קע
לפני כעשרים וחמש שנים לאחר שנפטר הר”ר שמואל בלקין והיו צריכים לבחור נשיא חדש לישיבה אוניברסיטה החליט רבנו שאחד מהמועמדים לא היה ראוי לאותה אצלטא בגלל דיעותיו הבלתי-מסורתיות רבנו כינס את כל הרמי”ם ביחד וערך וניסח מכתב לועד-הנאמנים של הישיבה שהוא מתנגד מאוד להתמנותו של פלוני וחתם את שמו למטה ומסר את המכתב לשאר הרמי”ם שאף הם יחתמו אחד מהרמי”ם פתח ושאל לרבנו ומה כל הרעש הזה מה פשעו ומה חטאתו של אותו פלוני ענה רבנו ואמר שיהודי המדפיס במאמר בעתון שלפי דעתו שני חלקי ספר ישעיה נכתבו על ידי שני בני אדם נפרדים אפיקורס הוא ואי אפשר למנותו כנשיא של הישיבה והמשיך הלה לטעון ואמר דהלא אף באברבנאל גם כן מצינו לפעמים דברים זרים אשר הם נגד מסורות רז”ל חכמי התלמוד וענה רבנו ואמר שאף את האברבנאל לא היה רוצה לראות כנשיא ישיבה-אוניברסיטה ובזה נסתיים הויכוח כל הרמי”ם שהיו נוכחים בשעת מעשה חתמו על מכתבו של רבנו המכתב נמסר לועד הנאמנים ונתבטלה מועמדותו של הלה
4. changing liturgy- liturgy has evolved over time. we say yizkor and kabbalat shabbat. look at how various brachot in the shemonei esrai changed and how the versions are different in edot hamizrach versus ashkenaz. true, some parts are considered fundamental parts of tefilla, and there are legitimate disagreements as to what and how much can be changed. But they are not changed in response to recent social developments. There are fundamental Halachic values that have become more emphasized over time. we no longer support slavery, we encourage deaf and differently abled to particpate more in mitzvot- and not surprisingly societal values mirror these changes. But the changes would not occur if they were not reflections of basic Halachic values. Similarly, we have an obligation of ‘nachat l’nashim’ and Tzelem Elokim and these, not the societal values, are the basis for considering changes in the liturgy. Do not confuse the ikkar and tafel, and please dont pretend that the process hasn’t occured over the the course of the Mesorah because it actually has. The radical change would actually be not to re-examine our Halachic approach and see if it is in consnance with the Halachic values which we are commanded to observe.
Nice story. But the Rav didn’t kick the Abarbanel out of orthodoxy
“Regarding various authors of the Torah, you will have to excommunicate the Ibn Ezra, Abarbanel, and many others who have written that not every word of the Torah came from God to Moshe”
From “RCA Statement on Torah Min HaShamayim”, 7/13:
“Whatever weight one assigns to a small number of remarks by medieval figures regarding the later addition of a few scattered phrases, there is a chasm between them and the position that large swaths of the Torah were written later– all the more so when that position asserts that virtually the entire Torah was written by several authors who, in their ignorance, regularly provided erroneous information and generated genuine, irreconcilable contradictions. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, none of the above mentioned figures would have regarded such a position as falling within the framework of authentic Judaism.”
From “Flexibility with a Firm Foundation: On Maintaining Jewish Dogma”(TUM Journal), by R. Yitzchak Blau:
“As Dr. Johnson remarked, the fact that there is a twilight does not minimize the distinction between day and night. We can exclude Ibn Ezra’s view from the charge of heresy, remain unsure about how much more latitude to give for an expansion of Ibn Ezra, and still confidently assert that J, P, E and D are beyond the pale.”
No comment on the content. Rabbi Gordimer enjoys this and who am I to deprive a yID OF Hana-ah. You remind me of something I observed. Years ago , a former day school teacher in Vancouver opened a Kosher restaurant, Hamitriah. It didn’t last. Once I was there and saw that a customer had sent back a steak because it was not rare. The owner, not wanting to lose the money,came out and tried to convince the man that the meat was not well done. I thought at the time that you can’t convince someone of that, it is a matter of taste.
My point, I know people who love Judaism but will not accept the dogma and doctrines prevalent today. They are intelligent and well educated and not willing to ignore what they believe is contrary to their ideals and concepts of fairness. You have a choice, throw them out or let them have their partnership minyanim, women rbbis, tolerance of gays,etc. That is the modern zeitgeist and you can’t stop it. They are going to do it and why do you want to kick them out of the camp of the faithful. Their yirat shamayim will stand up to your’s any day. Why do YOU have to be the judge, isn’t there only one Dayan Haemet.
Noam – I love you and others take a pinhole of a comment of the Ibn Ezra that there may be a later addition to the Chumash, and ram a truck through that pinhole and come to a conclusion that the Ibn Ezra a) is open to viewing the Torah as a whole as being a composite of various authors aka Documentary Hypothesis. I see that is in fact what Farber does on theTorah.com and it is wholly unconvincing. That fact that you conflate a comment of the Ibn Ezra to be same or should be treated the same as viewing the Chumash through the prism of bible criticism is troubling, to say the least. See Shades of Gray quote of R’ Blau that is on point on this issue.
“Similarly, we have an obligation of ‘nachat l’nashim’ and Tzelem Elokim” – ah, the usual code words. Tell me – what does Tikun Olam mean for you?
Dr. bill: :As to your last question, it has received many and varied answered. In any case, accepting idea A from a particular person, does not imply the need to accept an independent idea B from that person.” – Your are right generally, but in this case, I would term it “have your cake and eat it too”.
As for YUTorah, please direct me to the links to the shiurim where the Avos are said to not having existed. I am not going to waste my time looking for them, because I doubt they in fact exist. However, I am prepared to be surprised.
Rabbi Oberstein: You state that “I know people who love Judaism but will not accept the dogma and doctrines prevalent today. They are intelligent and well educated and not willing to ignore what they believe is contrary to their ideals and concepts of fairness. You have a choice, throw them out or let them have their partnership minyanim, women rbbis, tolerance of gays,etc. That is the modern zeitgeist and you can’t stop it. They are going to do it and why do you want to kick them out of the camp of the faithful.”
Your comment could be just as easily made about many sincere Conservative and Reform Jews. (And yes, there are reform Jews who hold to many halachos!) Are they also part of “the camp of the faithful?” If not, what exactly is the difference?
“You have a choice, throw them out or let them have their partnership minyanim, women rbbis, tolerance of gays,etc. That is the modern zeitgeist and you can’t stop it.”
Absolutely. We cannot stop anyone from doing anything nor can we “throw them out of orthodoxy in a technical sense.” We can however, make it absolutely clear to anyone who is on the fence about these things or doesn’t quite understand why/if they’re wrong, that these sorts of things don’t conform with normative Torah thought on any level. We can – and Rabbi Gordimer has done a fabulous job of it in spite of being cast a baal machlokes – continue to demonstrate how far afield their innovations are and why they’re so inconsistent with halachah and mesorah.
Your constant insistence that none of this is important enough to warrant raising the alarm say less about Rabbi Gordimer and more about you, I’m afraid.
Rafael- I love how you and others completely ignore the questions asked of you and then expect others to answer your questions. Please address what is assur about women’s ordination and address how R. Brody and Broyde illustrated that according to some shitot there is no issur. So, what is the issur? Or are you going to bring out the usual code words: “it hasn’t been done before”, “it is against the mesorah”… How about giving your explanation about how attitudes and halacha has changed regarding slaves, differently abled people, etc.
I actually didn’t mention tikkun olam, why are you asking me to define it? Are you going to claim that there is no obligation of nachat l’nashim, or you dont have to treat others properly and that they weren’t made in God’s image? Or you can argue with R. Eugene Korn who published in the journal of the RCA- Tradition- on the topic of Tzelem Elokim. Are you going to say that his view is outside of Orthodoxy as well? How many people are you and R. Gordimer etc. going to try to kick out of Orthodoxy?
Briefly on the issue of Torah m’Sinai. I assume that you and R. Gordimer et all are arguing that R. Farber is out of bounds because he violates an ikkar emunah of the Rambam. The ikkar emunah of the Rambam, read plainly is that each and every word is from Moshe. So everyone who doesn’t believe that each and every word came from Moshe has the same status regardin the ikkar. It doesnt matter if it is one word or many words. It doesn’t matter if it is EJP etc or Yehoshua, Ezra, or anyone else. According to the Rambam, it is either all or not all.
You can argue that accepting Biblical criticism is wrong, and I would actually agree with you(that it is wrong, but not that it puts someone out of the camp- as long as they believe it is binding and accept ol malchut shamayim). But you cant argue that it is a violation of the Rambam’s ikkar emunah and say that the Ibn Ezra isn’t. Furthermore, if you read R. Blau carefully he states:
“By incorporating such limitations on post-Mosiac
verses, it would seem possible to allow for a few isolated verses as coming
from a later prophet while still asserting that for all intents and purposes,
the Torah of ours can be traced back to Moshe”. Read it carefully- FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES. that means in reality it all CANT be traced back to Moshe, but for the specific purpose that R. Blau identifies as crucial, it can be. that is again a lot different than what the Rambam wrote. He didn’t write “for all intents and purposes”.
Here again is where you fall into the problem i keep bringing up about OO. You will run into many Noam Stadlan’s (brilliant people who are philosophically way off). He makes flawed points , but some sound fantastic until we look further and relaize misquotes and broad generalizations. You just keep running in circles about; ” is this outside the pale of Orthododxy or not?”. We all know it is – but we have to appease the people who bend halacha because we have to pretend there isn’t a smell test. These people are simply off. Avi Weiss is not a true Transmitter of Mesorah. When he was in YU he was not. When the Rav was alive many have testified of his disagreements with Avi Weiss. So instead of the same R’ Gordimeer piece that Yssochar Katz will make fun of on his facebook wall (and get 15 “likes” from 13 feminists and 2 YCT rabbis), lets call it like we see it. If we took of poll of the Rav’s 10 closest talmidim (both with regards to Torah Knowledge and hashkafa) and ask them if Avi Weiss is a transmittor of Mesorah , what would they say. My assumption is none will say he is. If he is not the Rav’s talmud then he is a man without a Rebbe and has broken the chain. This is the same thing we can say of Mosses Mendelson, Zecharia Frenkel, Solomon Shechter and AY hecshel. Regardless of the level of the break they have broken it, lets move on!
“According to the Rambam, it is either all or not all.”
Maybe there are levels even according to the Rambam? The Rambam would be forced to say that if it could be proven that R. Yehuda Hachasid etc. disagreed with him on the details of the 8th ikkar.
In general, whenever Chazal say, whoever does X, it’s as if he does Y, they are not necessarily the same.
Noam – I raised tikun olam because that phrase and other phrases you used (you forgot Kavod HaBriot/Brios) are now used as politically correct code words with reshaping (or mishaping) halachah in pursuit of social goals, like economic justice, egalitarianism, and other hot social trends. You throwing those key words into your comment do nothing to support you argument, since these phrases are now used in ways that have nothing to do with their original intent.
Zev Farber has gone beyond “for all intents and purposes”. If you read his writings, there is nothing to indicate that the Torah has any Mosaic authority at all. Also, you keep harping on violating the 13 Ikkarim of the Rambam. Denying Moshe’s Authorship of the Torah, independent of the Rambam’s shitta, goes to the foundation of Judaism – the Torah is binding because it was written by Moshe Rabbeinu, who received it from Hashem through a level of nevuah not obtained by others. Who among the Rishonim, besides the Rambam, take the position that denying Mosaic origin of the Torah is acceptable.
R Herzfeld used the phrase “parsing a statement of R Lopatin’s like it is a medieval manuscript” in describing R D Berger’s article. Such a comment , which sounds almost supercessionist in its rejection of the importance of reading a text closely-which was what any student of Chumash , Gemara and SA does on a daily basis, should be viewed as part of the inherent problem with YCT- the close reading of a text is always viewed as a secondary factor to the contemporary Zeitgeist. Should one be surprised that the founder of YCT applauds gay marriage because the separation of church and state allows the founder of YCT to practice his faith as he sees? The linked article to the partnership service at U of P illustrates that while the Ivies may be the home of some of the “best and brightest”, even with many having attended a yeshiva or seminary post high school, modernity trumps halacha.
Dr Bill-I would suggest that RER heard the music as expressed by RYBS as to his views and realized that his future was elsewhere. Hespedim, about RER and others, generally can be summed up as Acharei Mos Kedoshim Emor.
Noam Stadlan-there is a huge difference between acting Btzelem Elokim, and what is called Tikun Olam, but what is really the liberal-left agenda , which OO kowtows to endorsing female ordination, and changing liturgy.
To Noam Stadlan and Dr. Bill – we’ve all read Dr. Marc Shapiro’s books. (Many of us, anyway.) There is no need to lecture us on the existence of opinions, through the centuries, that don’t comport with the Rambam’s eighth principle. But can you not see the difference between these outliers and the neo-conservative movements of 2015? All or nearly all of the examples cited by Dr. Shapiro came buried in abstruse rabbinic books, such that only the most educated, and the least susceptible, would be exposed to them. None of them were ever shouted from the pulpit, and no one ever suggested that such viewpoints be taught to the masses. Yet that is exactly what Farber – supposedly the best and the brightest of OO – is doing. And he’s doing it, not as an academic or private citizen (like Dr. Shapiro) free to express his own personal views; he’s doing it as a Rabbi, responsible for teaching Torah to others.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.666064-anyone who has learned the relevant Talmudic sugyos and passages in Chumash-ask yourself whether the opinion expresssed in the linked passage can be justified by the reading of Rov Mfarshim on Chumash, and Rov Rishonim and Acharonim on the relevant Sugyos.
Rafael and Steve. Excellent debating technique. Rafael mentions something that I didnt, and then Steve bludgeons me with it. Please read what I wrote in the first two comments. The changes are NOT because they are what society is or wants. It is because we are recognizing our Halachic obligations. I have pointed out that this is how it has always been. If you want to argue, then argue facts and explain the coincidence of attitutdes towards slavery, the deaf, etc. have changed, very coincidentally with society. See, that has nothing to do with feminism.
If you want to say that ordination of women is grounds for expulsion, do me the simple favor of identifying the specific issur and explaining how R. Brody and Broyde, in their analysis, show that according to some well accepted explanations, it is not assur. Raphael, why dont you read R. Korn- he is an orthodox rabbi publishing in the RCA journal. is that not orthodox for you? he writes about Tzelem Elokim.
Since you dont seem to be getting around to reading the Conservative teshuva on women ordination, let me summarize. THEY DO AWAY WITH LIMITATIONS ON WOMEN AS WITNESSES. Read it and see. The orthodox approaches to women ordination acknowledge the halachic limitation.
“None of them were ever shouted from the pulpit, and no one ever suggested that such viewpoints be taught to the masses.”
R. Daniel Korobkin wrote in a letter to the 12/07 Jewish Action:
“Dismissing or de-legitimizing Dr. Shapiro’s work is a disservice to that significant minority of our bnei and bnot Torah who are true theology seekers. A serious yeshivah student who finds one of Maimonides’ Ikarim unsettling or problematic may be relieved to discover that a great Rishon also had trouble with that very same issue. The fact that at some point a “pesak” may have been issued requiring everyone to accept the Rambam’s Ikarim as absolute dogma will not assuage the person who is struggling with his own personal beliefs. On the other hand, books like Dr. Shapiro’s can offer the necessary soothing balm for the troubled soul who seeks to be frum and part of the Orthodox community, even though he has trouble with Maimonidean dogma. ”
R. Lopitan is saying something different–that Conservative theology is helpful if it brings people closer to Torah(I think there may be a point to there being a benefit for some, but one should be clear that it’s not Orthodox):
“During the Three Weeks I suggest we refrain from theological warfare. We are proud of the work Rabbi Zev Farber is doing to bring many many Jews closer to the Divine Torah. I am told many Orthodox Jews are downloading and printing essays from his website for their Shabbat reading. May we all grow in love of Hashem and Hashem’s Torah in our own unique ways.”
(An underlying issue of the website, is the contention by one of its founders that “after spending more than ten years in kiruv – outreach, it is my belief that current approaches used in some Jewish organizations to strengthen Jewish identity are at best shallow and sometimes even dishonest”. But one also has to be honest about not calling Conservative theology Orthodox)
When the RA’s 1979 Commission on the Ordination of Women responded 11-3 in the affirmative, it did not in so doing automatically say that the issue of edut was overturned. Some of the individuals on the Commission had responsa which varied, but even among those who voted in the affirmative there were some who clearly stated that edut in and of itself was not a barrier to ordination–i.e., that this was a separate issue which need not preclude a women from assuming many of the functions of a modern rabbi.
The RA’s CJLS teshuva on the specific issue of a woman serving as a witness did not occur until much later (2001).
Rabbi Oberstein, Your spot on; however, I believe there is something else going on as well. Intellectual opposition to biblical criticism has not kept up with newer developments. Where are the likes of RDZH, Prof Cassuto, Rav Mordechai Breuer, etc.?? Has the newly emboldened right quieted them? Those who adhere to any significant part of bible criticism and nonetheless motivate their halakhic observance based on principles and beliefs other than say Rambam’s ikarim, are called orthoprax; their beliefs are cavalierly discounted. Sadly, as the evidence becomes more sophisticated, the responses have become more primitive. It would appear that since I will not (or perhaps cannot) address your positions, I will declare anyone who expresses those positions beyond the pale, and try to isolate you.
Rafael Araujo, No hints! I am sure other bloggers can try to help you.
Steve Brizel, I am amused by your insights into what drove Rabbi Rackman to make Aliyah. Who knows, future generations may come to realize that the more obvious reasons ought to be replaced by your insight. In any case, the Rav did not expel or say kaddish for him.
DF, It may surprise you but I do not use various positions of rishonim opposed to (some of) Rambam’s ikarim as in any way similar to (or justifying) the documentary hypothesis in any of its forms.
RebYid- I do not have a date on this but given the context it looks like it was written during the discussions regarding ordination: http://www.jtsa.edu/prebuilt/women/roth.pdf So I believe my reference is accurate.
Now we are getting into some juicy nitty gritty–excellent. You link to the famous Roth teshuvah written, like you suspected, as part of the 1979 Commission’s report.
That teshuvah, however, only allowed for women’s ordination if these women took on all of the chiyuvim that men did. The Chancellor of JTS cited the Roth teshuvah as part of his political strategy to get female ordination passed. Once the administrative move was made, however, the Roth teshuva was discarded. L’maaseh, these women did NOT have to take on any additional chiyuvim.
More significantly, that teshuvah was never actually voted upon (either by JTS, the RA or its CJLS), so it never had any official standing in the movement.
Dr Bill=On 7/14/15 , you wrote in relevant part:
“Steve Brizel, we agree as to your facts. as I said the Rav opposed RER; the Rav’s opposition went beyond what you wrote.”
Subsequently, on 7/15/15, you wrote:
“I am amused by your insights into what drove Rabbi Rackman to make Aliyah”
I didn’t realize that you found the historical record and the facts on the ground so amusing.
Steve Brizel, Ikkar chasar min hasefer. in between my comments, you graced us with your insight into what may have motivated RER. I found THAT insight amusing.
I wonder if my earlier criticism of the RCA went too far. Had they expelled YCT rabbis Weiss and Lopatin the latter may have attained a martyr status. Weiss and Lopatin left on their own because of other restrictions on YCT, and I say good riddance. I still maintain that the OU needs a ban on YCT rabbis serving in OU congregations, and that the RCA should proclaim that YCT rabbis not be hired by Orthodoc day schools.
“Regarding various authors of the Torah, you will have to excommunicate the Ibn Ezra, Abarbanel, and many others who have written that not every word of the Torah came from God to Moshe”
False. These minority views claim the Torah is entirely revealed by G-d. The only debate is whether 1. all or 2. almost all of it was written down by Moshe. Ibn Ezra says 2. Others say 1. Zev Farber says denies everything I wrote and is a kofer b’ikar.
in the 1st Century CE , there were jews who were quite sincere in their prayer and devotion . chazal though saw their recognition of the Nazarene as the messiah as suffieciently dangerous as to call on a leading rav to add a bracha to Amida that guaranteed they could no longer pray in bona fide houses of worship.
i suppose you all would argue that this was a mistake , to call them a schismatic nascent other religion. and chazal should have let it go… and we would by now be then doing mitzvot while praying to the Father , the … you get the idea…
Noam, you wrote above, expanding the quote of R’ Blau and emphasizing “FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES” in order to differentiate R’ Blau’s view, based on the Ibn Ezra, from the strict view of the RAMBAM. However, here is a quote of R’ Farber from his essay on the Ibn Ezra and its implications (link here:http://thetorah.com/the-significance-of-ibn-ezras-position/) and it is more than just “FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES” and, as per my earlier analogy, is driving a truck through a pinhole. Here is the money quote:
The Real Implication of Ibn Ezra’s Position
Other than the Talmudic position that the last 8 verses of the Torah were written by Joshua, ibn Ezra had no mesorah that the verses he saw as late were not from Moses. It is unclear whether he even felt that he had found all the post-Mosaic additions. What ibn Ezra had was the gift of critical reading. He noticed that certain statements could not have been made by Moses because, contextually speaking, they were situated in a different period of time. Ibn Ezra’s critical eye was enough, in his mind, to give him license to claim that some of the Torah could not have been written by Moses.
Thus statements like that of the RCA that ibn Ezra’s position is essentially different than that of academic biblical scholarship, since the latter assumes most or all of the Torah does not stem from Moses whereas ibn Ezra believed that the overwhelming majority of verses were written by Moses, fails to recognize the implications to the traditional approach to Torah. Ibn Ezra’s position undermines the rigid model of an original Torah, and shatters the position of Torah as an eternal and perfect document. Without the ibn Ezra, the idea that people—even later prophets—could add to the text would be unthinkable. Ibn Ezra’s understanding of Torah was much more pliable than the traditional models.
From ibn Ezra’s perspective, the question here is not a question of faith but one of fact: could Moses have written the entire Torah? The point we must digest when reading ibn Ezra is that when faced with what his mind told him had to be a late addition into the text, he accepted this as fact and reinterpreted tradition accordingly.
Modern critical tools have taken us much further than ibn Ezra’s first realizations about the composite nature of the text. How he would have answered the questions will probably remain a mystery, but the fact that he took the leap simply because of critical reading and thinking is the real significance behind his position.
The question for us becomes: what do we do when our minds tell us that we are looking at a composite text that was put together over time from multiple sources? Do we say that this can’t be because it contradicts mesorah or do we say that if this is how it was, we must reinterpret our tradition accordingly? The ability to do the latter is the real significance of ibn Ezra’s position.
You want to keep this view “in bounds”? Forget the RAMBAM…R’ Farber is using the Ibn Ezra as a “green light” to accept modern biblical criticism and then challenge our mesorah on that basis. That is not how R’ Blau views this Ibn Ezra, nor does R’ Sherlow, whom is also quoted on the same website.
As for Tzelem Elokim – let me tell you something. You can quote me R’ Korn’s essay (which I will try to take time to review, b”n) but regardless of what R’ Korn writes, the terms like “Tzelem Elokim”, “L’aasos nachas ruach l’nashim”, “Kavod HaBrios”, are bandied about as catch phrases to justify all kinds of changes to halochoh that are both unprecedented but also lack the backing of the majority of the Gedolei HaPoskim and are only occuring within your little circle. Catch phrases that are used to upend centuries of halachic practice don’t cut it in the world of halochoh. You need more than to cite the various sources for Tzelem Elokim. Also, these phrases seem to be used repeatedly to justify all of these changes, like saying it over and over again makes it permissible. That is utter rubbish!
I don’t have time to continue to post so this will be my last.
Rafael- I don’t agree with R. Farber, I think he is wrong, and I certainly don’t want him to teach his views to my children. However, on the narrow issue of whether this is something that puts one outside of the pale of orthodoxy- it doesn’t. If you are going to boot him you have to boot ibn Ezra and many others. The key is if someone can make their beliefs result in the belief that they are commanded to keep the mitzvoth of the Torah. Rav Farber, despite how he looks at the Torah, manages to believe that God obligates him to observe the same mitzvoth that you and I believe we are commanded to observe.
I am sorry but you have moved the goalposts. Now anything that your designated Gedolei Haposkim don’t agree with is automatically wrong. So it seems that no matter how good a halachic argument is made, if it isn’t agreed to by your Gedolim, it doesn’t make it. I would note that this turns your poskim into God, and makes a mockery of the concept of elu v’elu.
I again note that Halacha has changed over time especially regarding Halachic disadvantages of various groups- slaves(Torah u’madda journal recently had an article on changing attitudes towards slavery), deaf, differently abled. you have to explain why this has been ok, but with regard to women it isn’t.
I again challenge you and any other readers to identify what exactly is so assur about women ordination that puts it outside the pale of Orthodoxy. And I bring as evidence the article in Hakirah 11 that illustrates how according to various views of the underlying issues, it is reasonable if not likely that there is no issur involved. I am not asking you to agree or support, just how it is you can justify the claim that it is outside the pale. If you again are relying on Gedolim, then this ceases to be a Halachic argument and turns into the ‘my gadol is bigger than yours.’
Reb Yid, thank you for the info. I was not aware of the entire history. However, it doesn’t affect my point Conservative and Orthodox ordination for women differ in approach and that they cannot be conflated.
Dov- thanks for the compliment, I think. your point would be stronger if you actually pointed out the ‘broad generalizations’ or ‘misquotes’.
Ultimately it does not seem that I will change your mind, and I doubt that you will be able to change my mind(although I do read and evaluate and am open to arguments). Even though I doubt that you will be successful, I hope you will carefully consider what you are advocating- trying to kick out a large contingent of people who observe Torah and Mitzvot. Because in reality no one is going to change their minds on deeply held beliefs just because R. Gordimer claims they are heretics. If it is so beyond the pale, then do what you think you are Halachically obligated to do. But I hope that you have thought long and hard about whether it actually is the Halachically proper approach, whether or not there is another way, and about the consequences.
Several people chose to comment on my comment. Here are my rejoinders. I fully agree with the reality that Open Orthodoxy as it is now practiced is outside of the mainstream of Torah Scholars and that they often are at the very edge. I also believe that the trend will not stop here. That is why I say that this is a schism. It is a different path. No argument there.This is not a machloket b’metziut.
What I do see are two conflicting trends in orthodoxy. One is very fearful of women and hides them behind higher and higher walls, now they won’t allow a woman’s photograph in an advertisement for a girls school. No one in the regular orthodox community ever opens their mouths against this travesty.
You are content to let women be sex objects whose very presence is a michshol and they have to stay in their place.That is the new norm. You can’t stand someone who tries to figure out a way to deal with his doubts about the literal truth of the Torah, which is indeed bver the edge, but is real and he is not the only one who has these doubts, he is just more learned and open about it.
As far as Conservative Judaism, it was a product of a different time and did keep several generations of Americanized, not learned and minimally observant Jews within Judaism. It has run out of gas. Open Orthodoxy ,as I see it when I visit Riverdale, has shomer shabbos people whose children go to day schools like SAR. There is no comparison. Is it “the new Conservative”, time will tell how far the schism goes. Perhaps mainstream orthodoxy is so strong internally and so committed to a certain path that there is no room for the philosophy of OO in normative orthodoxy. It is what it is. But, the ones I know are sincere, they have fear of Heaven and they are anxious to be good Jews in the 21st century, not turn the clock back to medieval times, which is the trend in the other camp. As long as you are quiet about misogyny in orthodoxy, how can you blame those who simply want equality. Not equality as you define it,but as they define it. i am not their judge, only Hashem will judge.
Dr Bill-I guess that we will have to await the biography or hagiography of RER to fill in any missing blanks.
Dr Bill-let me amend the last post to state “any purportedly missing blanks in the historical record.”
Always nice to have a back and forth in these comments that is barb-free. 🙂
I actually agree with you (and with Rabbi Oberstein) that OO is not “neo-C”, and that the OO standards for ordination are different than what C had.
The similarities I do see, however, are the reasons, battle cries and sociological objections (which sometimes masquerade as “halachic” objections) among those who have resisted these developments, as I have previously noted.
“As far as Conservative Judaism, it was a product of a different time and did keep several generations of Americanized, not learned and minimally observant Jews within Judaism. It has run out of gas. Open Orthodoxy ,as I see it when I visit Riverdale, has shomer shabbos people whose children go to day schools like SAR. There is no comparison. Is it “the new Conservative”, time will tell how far the schism goes”
SAR regularly has many students go to camp Ramah and have this year more than one student attending Nativ year course (both programs run by The United Synagouge of Conservative Judaism). The lines are blurred. Esp in riverdale. I know many HS graduates who can not tell the difference between the 2. I see many students who assoc themselves with LWMO who will go to the conservative minyan on campus to “help out with the minyan”. There are YCT semicha students married to JTS students. There is no line. I cant imagine an eye who can see the difference between the two.
Noam: I wouldn’t kick people out of Orthododxy, i would make it known they are not arbitrators of our mesorah. A rabbi once told me “a man with Halacha with no hashkafa is an educated Am Ha-aretz”. I don’t need to kick people out of judaim B’h i have a strong Mesorah a a very balanced normal wonderful rebbe with is part of that chain. Kicking people out is not for me ,I would not arrange R. Lopitan to speak in Chicago though. With regards to changing views- I completely agree.
Lastly, I wish we could actually have conversations about this stuff offline (I do live in your community). Sadly, people to do get vilified for having opposing beliefs and mostly people just circle their wagons and slander their opposition.
Dov- feel free to contact me. I will be happy to get together to talk. Noamstadlan at gmail
Has any OO or YCT rabbi explained exactly how they differ from the Conservative movement, and made clear that they believe the latter to be heretical (so that joining their minyanim and such, as mentioned in previous comments, would be assur). If not, why not? If not now, when?!
Seriously, someone should get in touch with a few OO rabbis and ask them for clarifying statements about their view of the Conservative movement. I know that YCT does not accept rabbinical students unless they daven in an Orthodox shul with a mechitza. But how about a statement from a OO rabbi that the Conservative movement is heretical and an OO Jew should not attend their minyanim?
It would be nice to have such a statement, for the benefit of their laity. Moreover, it could help some within the OO start the process of becoming more moderate and remaining within Orthodoxy. That is, so far they seem to only have voices on the left, pushing for changes in that direction, without a voice pushing for boundaries, to ensure change doesn’t go too far. Once OO rabbonim start making clear their boundaries, perhaps other moderating voices will emerge, pushing OO back within Orthodox bounds.
What you are suggesting is precisely the type of exclusionary model that OO is rebelling against.
Instead, why not ask any centrist/haredi/hasidic rabbi to produce a list of other rabbis (OO, C, Reform, Reconstructionist, etc.) that he learns with on a regular basis?
You see, when the shoe is on the other foot, you’re not so comfortable. My Orthodox (not OO) rabbi learns Torah on a weekly basis with a variety of other rabbis. That is a different model than perhaps of your rabbi or your community, but so be it. I wouldn’t expect or demand of your rabbi to promote this (or even necessarily think it’s a “good idea”), but your model is not the only valid way of being an observant Jew. In our shul, we have people who “cross over” all of the time and attend other minyanim (some more to the “right” of our shul, and some to the “left”). But that’s what we do in our community–no-one is interested in blacklisting anyone.
“Hespedim, … generally can be summed up as Acharei Mos Kedoshim Emor.”
The Rambam’s position appears to be misunderstood. He was fully aware the Torah we have may not be the text dictated to Moshe Rabbeinu. In ghe time of Ezra HaSofer we had 3 variant texts that were considered otherwise reliable, and created a consenus document using whatever 2/3 of those scrolls said about any given letter. The talmud notes we are unsure of whether all the words are spelled correctly. What the Rambam states, and this is normative Jewish belief, is that there was a revelation at Sinai of Oral Torah and some Parts of the Written Torah. At some point during the 40 years in the desert the Oral and Written Torah was transmitted to Moshe, (though as part of the process created within the Oral Torah he did add some innovations), who taught it to the Jewish people. It is within the bounds of normative Jewish belief to say our text of the Chumash has additions as a result of errors during the transmission process, but the original Torah was entirely Divine. Don’t confuse questions of origin with questions of accurate transmission.
” Steve Brizel
July 14, 2015 at 6:02 pm
R Gordimer mentions the devastating critique of R R D Berger-Like it or not, R D D Berger is an Ish HaEmes who has never been afraid of criticizing anyone whose hashkafic POV is beyond the boundaries of traditional Hashkafas HaYahadus-I know of noone who has criticized both R Y Greenberg and messianist Chabad in that regard.”
The issue is not whether or not R Berger is an Ish Haemes-one can be an Ish Haemes and be wrong or change ones mind. IMO far more are opposed to R Y Greenberg who IMO challenges much more fundamental beliefs than Chabad does. One can believe as many do that Chabad is wrong in Hashkafa wo taking R Bergers position on Chabad. There are those who warned about potential Messianic dangers for decades who opposed writing them outside of Yahadus a la Dr Berger-believing that Habad accepts halacha and the halachik system and that is the crucial difference.
You seem to almost troll the threads here on cross currents to defend OO/NC at every turn. Which is all fine but if you will always comment perhaps have the courage of your convictions to state your name.
On your last 2 comments, 1) So do you apologize for accusing ppl who disagree with you of “spineless misogyny” as you did in earlier threads? I thought you like “barb free”. 2) It is hilarious how you try to use the terms “exclusionary” and “inclusive” as the dividing line. I assume you are opposed to intermarriage (though I am not positive), is that not “exclusionary” ? I assume Avi Weiss wouldnt be mesader kiddushin at a gay “wedding” (at least not yet) is that exclusionary? Orthodox Judaism has beliefs and values that accompany its halachic demands, some of them exclude and some include, there are boundaries. OO/NC is as you say “rebelling” against that and precisely b/c of that it is beyond the pale.
And if your response is again under an anonymous name I quote to you R’ Hirsch who defended Torah and “excluded” the Reform.
“Any replies written anonymously or signed with a fictitious name will not receive any consideration from me. One who lacks the courage to sign his true name to his views must be aware that what he is saying is meaningless and that he therefore cannot expect others to take notice of it.Let the anonymous gnats buzz happily in the sunny meadows. I certainly do not want to spoil their pleasure” Collected Writings, vol 6. pg 198)
“And if your response is again under an anonymous name I quote to you R’ Hirsch who defended Torah and “excluded” the Reform.
“Any replies written anonymously or signed with a fictitious name will not receive any consideration from me. One who lacks the courage to sign his true name to his views must be aware that what he is saying is meaningless and that he therefore cannot expect others to take notice of it.Let the anonymous gnats buzz happily in the sunny meadows. I certainly do not want to spoil their pleasure” Collected Writings, vol 6. pg 198)”
Of course RSRH himself wrote the 19 letters of ben uziel anonymously.
http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/why-i-ordained-women/ The annexed is unfortunately where OO is heading and what its intellectual pretensions and bases are-Ask yourself the following question-would you answer Amen to any Bracha enunicated by the author?
http://www.timesofisrael.com/orthodox-women-arent-just-talking-about-a-revolution-theyre-driving-one/#!More proof, as if any more were needed-that feminist demands are the engine that fuel the demands of so-called “orthodox feminists” , their supporters and apologists.
R Hefter wrote in relevant part:
“•Humility: We do not have access to certainty or objective truth.
•Humans are created in God’s image, which means that human consciousness is the instrument of divine revelation. Since God is revealed through human consciousness, our refined moral convictions and religious sensibilities may be considered a form of divine revelation”
The Talmud tells us that after Churban Bayis Rishon, the desire to serve AZ was wiped out. However, the apikorsus of Kochi VAtzum Yadi obviously remains with us, even in Ir HaKodesh.
Reb Yid: I’m not talking about learning or personally associating with non-Orthodox people. I’m talking about understanding what is the line between heretical and acceptable. If OO congregants don’t learn that the Conservative movement is heretical, what’s to stop them from doing things that clearly assur according to all Orthodox authorities — davening with Conservative minyanim, adopting their heretical beliefs, marrying a Conservative (that is to say invalid) convert, following Conservative “halachic” rulings (even though no Orthodox rabbi has ever ruled in such a way), choosing a Conservative congregation rather than an Orthodox one next time they move, because it seems closer to OO or is attractive for some other reason), etc? Torah Judaism needs boundaries, and rabbis willing to express them. It’s possible to do so without being exclusionary in the sense of telling certain people they aren’t welcome.