Weekly Digest – News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy

Last week’s installment of Weekly Digest – News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy can be viewed here.

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18 Responses

  1. Steve Brizel says:

    Once again, we see that feminists simply don’t understand or are intentionally blurring the obvious distinction between living a life rooted in adherence to Kedoshim Tihiu and a lifestyle that fits the description of a Kedesha.

  2. mycroft says:

    Rabbi Grodimer:
    The Israeli CR/Misrad Hadatot is an institution that has been a circus for decades. I remember RAL ZT”L at a Yavneh Convention referring to it in precisely those terms in the 60s. Nothing has changed for the better since then. Do you believe an institution with a decent percentage of top people having been indicted/ others who have family connections not even having passed the basic CR smicha exams is an institution that generates kavod hatorah. For hashgacha who needs them-private organizations like the OU do a very good job.
    Re gerus the power play that I among others have been complaining about the scandalous affects of onaas hager of the CR because of power playfor close to a decade-for starters google mycroft and gerus to see some of my posts-is reason enough to hope that the CR quickly is sent to the dustbin of history

  3. dr. bill says:

    I welcome your addition of some Israeli developments.

    As I have often argued, leadership within modern orthodoxy will increasingly come from Israel. There the rabbinate is currently largely in haredi hands, so much so that haredi leaders have been able to place questionable candidates into leadership positions and strive to impose their overly stringent halakhic opinions on the entire population. In Israel the analogues to open orthodoxy and those who fully accept them within the traditional tent are a growing force. No rabbinic organizations outside some fundamentalist haredim have tried to silence Rabbis like Sperber or Bigman or B. Lau. And unlike the US, if you look behind the few names that Americans recognize, they do not lack for first-rate poskim, talmidai chachamim, scholars, etc. Taking on the heads of various hesder yeshivot is a tad different than taking on the likes of Rabbi Weiss.

    Furthermore, unlike the American scene, you will find that Israeli talmidai chachamim have more familiarity with a broader set of texts on a variety of issues including biblical criticism, feminism, academic study of talmud and halakha, the history of Jewish Belief, etc. Their views are often more deeply grounded.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Unfortunately, there is no need to silence either R Dr Sperber , who is a wonderful historian of minhagim, but whose views on Psak , Nusach HaTefilah and women’s issues rendered himself beyond the consensus of mainstream Psak.

      I have read one volume of R B Lau’s works on Chazal, and view it as well written, but suffering from an overly strong injection of PC and a more problematic view of viewing the Heilige Tanaim from our POV infused by textual comparisons, sociology and psychology. IOW what I would do if I were in the shoes of a Tanna before or after Churban HaBayis. R Bigman’s yeshiva and its student publication was previously critiqued at Torah Musings.

      I would suggest that anyone who seeks to find a Gadol BaTorah in the RZ world should devour the works of R Yosef Tzvi Rimon on Shemittah, Haggadah and military service.

      I would similarly recommend R D Feldman’s superb work on Lashon Harah in the age of the internet for anyone interested in the application of Hilcos Lashon Hara to the web. One cannot talk intelligently about these issues without reading R Feldman’s book.

    • Rafael Q says:

      There is no need to silence R’ Sperber, Bigman, Lau. As they continually push the envelope and move further and further to the left, and continue to break down all barriers, they will be rightfully judged on the deleterious effects of their reforms.

      • dr. bill says:

        A major point of contention concerns change in a traditional society.  I would contend that maintaining old practices in a changed world is meaningless adherence to a practice versus applying age-old principles to a new circumstance.  Of late one can argue that the greatest changes have come from the chareidi community where the obligations of the father have been subverted.   The rabbis I mentioned have made only modest changes by comparison, and those changes in practice are often driven by changed circumstance, applying age-old principles.

  4. Y. Ben-David says:

    I am not sure why the idea of taking down the Israeli Chief Rabbinate is “frightening”. There is no Chief Rabbinate in the US but Orthodox Jewry is doing fine there. I am not saying that I would support abolishing the Chief Rabbinate but the behavior of that Rabbinate and those who support those who control it are making more and more Israelis feel that would be a step in the right direction.
    In any synagogue, the membership has the right to choose who the Rav of that synagogue is. In the State of Israel, the public has no such right. The Chief Rabbinate has become a political football in which control is handed to the Haredi parties in return for their support of the ruling party. The secular politicians of both the Likud and the Labor/Left parties have no real interest in religious questions and so they have no problem handing over the Chief Rabbinate to the Haredi parties, even though the majority of the Jewish population would want it to be controlled by the Religious Zionists, and not only by RZ rabbis, but rabbis like Rav Stav who are willing to take a somewhat more moderate approach regarding social questions regarding conversion, flexibility in choosing which Rav should be allowed to officiate at weddings and the such.
    While there is no real prospect that the Chief Rabbinate will be abolished, many Israelis disillusioned with its behavior have simply chosen to ignore it….e.g. living together without huppa and kiddushin, or marrying outside Israel or turning to the non-Orthodox movements. In addition, the kashrut supervision under the control of the Rabbinate has also come under increasing criticism for inefficiency and slack standards of supervision. Apparently, this is not viewed as a problem by those in control because it is the CONTROL that is viewed as the goal, not the service to the public.. For those of us Orthodox who are concerned about the spiritual state of the whole Israeli Jewish population, it is a matter of great concern.
    As an example, I tried to contact my local Israeli rabbinate regarding the kashrut certificate of a local restaurant. Just in order to get someone in their office to talk to be required numerous telephone calls before I got someone to give me the cell phone number of the mashgiach. I even tried to contact the marriage registration office in order to get a referral to the kashrut department but NO ONE EVER ANSWERED THERE. What is a non-religious person who wants to get married supposed to think about the Rabbinate if they just get a run-around in doing what they are supposed to do?

  5. Lisa Liel says:

    Torah standards don’t require being rude. Walking out was childish.

    • dr. bill says:

      it was not childish; it was homophobic. haredi theology maintains outlandish beliefs about homosexuality and often forces it underground in their community. as a rabbi responded to a congregant when a homosexual Kohen duchened – do you react similarly to a mechaleil shabbos befarhesiah?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Dr Bill-Please describe in sufficient detail what you mean when you wrote that “haredi theology maintains outlandish beliefs about homosexuality and often forces it underground in their community” Since when is acceptance of homosexual behavior viewed as legitimate in any sector of contemporary Orthodoxy other than in the LW of MO?

      • dr. bill says:

        Steve Brizel, with respect to your second point, i said nothing about “homosexual behavior viewed as legitimate in any sector of contemporary Orthodoxy.” The MO community currently deals less with homosexuality as a group of people than with individuals, a trend that will hopefully spread. At present avoiding theories and dealing with individuals is a very positive development. As to your first point, just Google and you will even find some who you refer to favorably as having made statements that need not be repeated.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        There is a huge difference between tolerating an individual who engages in such behavior and rejecting any demand rooted in the Orwellian misused misnomers of our time of “tolerance’, “diversity” and “pluralism” any person or movement who demands acceptance of his or her lifestyle, regardless of whether the transgression is homosexual behavior or Chillul Shabbos

      • lacosta says:

        if the member said he is gay , but does not push a ‘gay agenda’ would they also boycott ? are they boycotting that Hashem created His creature foully , or that said creature has a leftist agenda?
        halacha does not demand that one not feel ‘gay’ , it demands one not act on those tendencies…

      • mycroft says:

        Maybe quibbling over words, but to me the issue is does the acceptasnce include acceptance of actions that are against halacha-not sure what acceptance of lifestyle means. If one means that both chillul Shabbos and homosexual conduct are both considered wrong-I agree.

      • steve b says:

        The word “homophobic” is not based on anything intellectual. It’s a PC term designed to imply that anyone who disagrees with the agenda of the LGBT lobby, is somehow “deficient”

        Rav Ahron Feldman writing in Dialogue a few years ago spelled out the Torah position. On an individual basis we need to show respect to all people , but we do not show respect to the politics nor the idea of homosexual rights. This Knesset member pushes the LGBT agenda and has little respect for charedim, therefore the protest was not only warranted but required.

      • dr. bill says:

        “the torah position.” ??? i hope you meant a torah position.  God forbid if one were to maintain that in so complex an area there is but one torah position.

      • steve b says:

        What’s wrong dr bill, my response wasn’t “nuanced” enough? Some things in our religion are black and white. The Torah is pretty clear on this one. That Rav Feldman felt it necessary to even write on this topic is a sign of our times. It is unfortunate how much the immorality of our neighbors has altered the way we think and feel.

        feel free to quote an alternative position from the last 2000 years of accepted halachic literature.


      • dr. bill says:

        Steve B, whether one should give kibbudim to a gay man, can he daven for the amud, how his adopted children are to treated, if he is a kohen may he duchen, etc. etc.  are unresolved issues where the arguments are often religious versus halakhic.  In various circles, these arguments cross various assumed lines.  And btw a relatively right leaning Rabbi referred to various positions as “homophobic;”  the term is not confined to PC adherents.

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