The Upcoming Ordination Imbroglio

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48 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    Interesting, I suppose to the extent one “believes” that OO is really not orthodox , one would hope the ordination takes place.  The quicker reality becomes apparent the better.  OTOH to the extent one hopes that OO can be drawn back in to “mainstream” orthodoxy, one would hope the ordination does not happen or an appropriate formula devised for the individual to at least publicly disavow the offending beliefs.  Time will tell.

    KT

     

    • R.B. says:

      Reb Joel,

      At this point, as OO continues is consistent slide to the left, I don’t think there really exists a possibility of OO moving back into the mainstream. The horses have fled the stable and there is not going back. The only thing I could see is a “right-wing” breakoff movement that feels that movement is going too far. This particular ordination may start that process, since it appears the OO leadership is basically turning a blind eye to OO rabbis’ believes and worldviews.

  2. Larry says:

    If you must speak now, instead of writing an article, did you consider discreetly calling the many RCA member Rabbis who serve on the YCT board of Rabbinc Avisors or perhaps the Israeli Orthodox Yeshiva Ramim  who serve on the YCT Board and often give shiurim at YU?  Perhaps the dialog needs to begin in private with your distinguished and well meaning colleagues who advise YCT.

    The contrast between your opinion and the opinion of so many RCA and YU Rabbis who advocate for OO is stunning and confusing to the lay observer. Until that gap is bridged and the positions of the RCA, YU and certain Israeli Yeshivot are clarified, everything is moot.  It is most likely difficult to effectively condemn OO from a platform that supports OO.

    • rob schwartzman says:

      Excellent point. It must not be forgotten that the real problem is not YCT or even OO; there are plenty of OU, RCA, and Tzohar rabbis with fine pedigree and of popular renown who either support the slide down the slippery slope explicitly or by omission. These things are just symptoms the real problem of the continuum of lenient/liberal/progressive/left-wing Jews, regardless of movement or organization, who elevate secular values and personal feelings of sympathy over G-d’s desires for us as expressed in Torah and Halacha.

      Judaism has survived and will continue to fulfill its mission by remaining different from the non-Jewish world, not by adopting the values and priorities of the non-Jewish world.

      • Aaron Emet says:

        If Cross-Currents had a “like” button, I would give you one.

      • joel rich says:

        do you feel the same way about a slippery slope in the other direction?   this quote is from a C-C post from R’ J Rosenblum:One of the members of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of the United States told me recently that the gedolim cannot even discuss questions surrounding poverty because if they did the “street” would just label them fake gedolim.

         

        KT

         

      • mycroft says:

        “Excellent point. It must not be forgotten that the real problem is not YCT or even OO; there are plenty of OU, RCA, and Tzohar rabbis with fine pedigree and of popular renown who either support the slide down the slippery slope explicitly or by omission. ”

        Thus, not only OO Rabbis are illegitimate but also MO Rabbis and MO Jews. Spoken explicitly which was common during the Ravs lifetime but now with Revisionism one can state that these Rabbonim are misinterpreting the Rav.

         

        “These things are just symptoms the real problem of the continuum of lenient/liberal/progressive/left-wing Jews, regardless of movement or organization, who elevate secular values and personal feelings of sympathy over G-d’s desires for us as expressed in Torah and Halacha.”

        Many opposed are just as guilty of :These things are just symptoms the real problem of the continuum of harsh/conservative/reactionary/right-wing Jews, regardless of movement or organization, who elevate secular values and personal feelings of callousness towards the poor over G-d’s desires for us as expressed in Torah and Halacha.

        “Judaism has survived and will continue to fulfill its mission by remaining different from the non-Jewish world, not by adopting the values and priorities of the non-Jewish world.”

        Agreed but what priorities those of the rationalists or those of mystics-BOTH of which we can see non Jewish influences on.

  3. Steve Brizel says:

    Once again R Gordimer demonstrates beyond any serious doubt that YCT is a breeding ground for Apikorsus and Kefirah .

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    Once again R Gordimer delivers the evidence on the ground.

    • Larry says:

      Is this how we solve our differences?  By proving to the masses that our fellow Jews are heretics? This student is most likely a tinok shenishba. let us judge him favorably.

      God forbid a chareidi organization was to examine every MO educational institution and judge it L’Chaf chov.  Do you think YU or the many LWMO high schools would stand up perfectly to such scrutiny?

      If YCT is heretical then MO  leaders need to speak privately with OO leaders.  Look at the Rabbinical Board of Advisors of YCT, it is replete with many well known MO Rabbis who have taught MO students at MO institutions and have pulpits in OU shuls.  There is huge overlap and common ground. The dialog begins there not here.

      Our goal has to be to unify.  Embarrassing others in public, which we equate to bloodshed, is a last last resort.  telephones existed before blogs.  It is time to call people in private not call them out in public.

      (YCT was privately contacted about this previously. That proved unsuccessful. In light of that, and in light of the fact that the student posted this all openly and was the one to have made it public, rabbinical consultation advised to publish this article. -AG)

      • Avraham Marks says:

        You’re conflating two issues.  While this particular student may be a tinok shenishba and thus considered an ones (yes, even like the Rambam, as per Peirush Hamishna in the the first perek of Chullin), that only suffices to consider him a kosher Jew.  Whether or not such a person should be given the title of Rabbi and, with it, the authority and leadership role it connotes is another matter entirely.  Indeed, I would suggest that inasmuch as one is a tinok shenishba, he is definitely not fit for the rabbinate.  In other words, while he might be totally kosher, YCT’s giving him smicha most certainly would not be.

        • larry says:

          It would only matter if YCT’s smicha was recognized by anyone of repute.  But even the most knowledgable YCT musmach does not have the training to paskan. Some MO high schools that teach an order of magnitude more pages of gemarra, with greater focus on Rishonim, than YCT.

          We’re not talking about a real world smicha, we are talking about a degree in social work with a minor in Jewish anthropology and interfaith simcha dancing. No one who attends YCT should be called Rabbi or recognized as a Rabbi.  That is known and a given.  Even the RCA agrees.

          The issue is that there are plenty of real actual Orthodox yeshiva trained musmachim of prestigious schools on the YCT advisory board and that is an everwidening chasm within MO that goes well beyond YCT and is a latent problem at MO shuls and educational institutions.  Someone has to fix it and it won’t be by fighting over a confused tinuk shsnishba who thinks he is Rabbi.

      • Arthur says:

        Surly, Larry, you recognize a distinction between discussing the views of our ordinary friends and neighbors versus and discussing the publicly expressed views (and just the views) of those who have positioned themselves, or seek to position themselves, as rabbinic or academic leaders or who are publishing their views and seeking to influence the marketplace of ideas.

        • Larry says:

          YCT does not have the power to grant smicha. Whether they give smicha to a illustrious Torah scholar or to a puppy it does not matter.

          Once a restaurant is trief we do not complain if it serves bacon cheeseburgers instead of cheeseburgers. Such is the case with YCT.  Why care about this smicha when we refuse to recognize any of their  musmachim.

          The marketplace will always have kosher and non kosher ideas. My problem is not with the people vending treif.  My problem is too much of MO (RCA OU YU SAR) has a foot in OO for me to see the boundaries.

      • sberman says:

        The media routinely downplays Arab extremism. If an Imam calls for the destruction of Israel, the media labels it “rhetoric”. Yet, as Jews , we know in our heart that they mean it. The same applies to kefira. If it walks like a kofer and talks like a kofer , it’s a kofer. No need to be “Dan lkav zchus “, not when these individuals are placing themselves to be in a position to lead others astray. When Jewish lives and souls are at stake you don’t tread lightly.

      • DavidF says:

        Whether the individual in question is an Oness, is irrelevant. What is relevant is that YCT cannot claim to be Onussim and that, I believe, was the crux of Rabbi G’s point.

        I, for one, am thrilled that YCT has taken this step. The sooner and clearer they make their break with traditional Judaism, the less the long-term damage that they will cause. Once it’s clear that they’re not in any meaningful way loyal to traditional Orthodox Torah ideals, those who may have been misled by them will be much more wary. Those who don’t know any better, are likely lost anyhow and YCT is not worse than the alternative [Conservative/Reform.]

        Of course, I wish YCT would recognize the error of their ways and stand up for truth. In that way, they’d impact Jews in very positive and meaningful ways. So long, however, that they insist on pursuing their liberal agenda, they may as well be up-front and clear about it so that we can stop pretending their part of the big tent of MO.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    Any ordination by such a movement is problematical with or without overt evidence that an individual crossed a major theological line.

  6. Arthur says:

    I am glad you brought attention to this because the thought of that individual obtaining an Any-Adjective Orthodox smicha has been eating at me (a nobody) for some time.  More than for its support of hard left culture — there’s no shortage of that going around — the article attempting to make homosexual relations a mitzvah was stunning for its display of a total lack of understanding of how halacha works, as well as (I thought) intellectually dishonest use of some sources.

    YCT can ordain whomever it wants.  I was concerned that their very educated senior rabbis would not be aware of this fellow’s publications before making an ordination decision.  Now that they presumably are, how YCT reacts, or doesn’t, may say much about where it stands as an institution.

  7. dr. bill says:

    For me to reach a definitive conclusion, I need to read entire articles, not snippets.  Quotes, especially from combatants, are rarely neutral.  I was able to download his article concerning the LGBT community and found it disturbing, but not for for what I view as an imprecise summary.  (I would change the word used in Rabbi Gordimer’s summary from “should” to “could” something disturbing as well but a bit less so.  I found his adoption of rather academic views of rabbinic change to biblical law even more troubling.)  As to his views on Torah, I would withhold judgement; particularly as the Rav ztl argued in The Halakhic Mind, a separation even between various scientific disciplines and kal vechomer between the hypotheses of secular disciplines and religious truths is to be expected.  Conflicting statements can both be valid.  Particularly with review essays, and given the orientation of the authors with whom I am familiar, I wish the 4 pages were free (yes I am cheap and I have already read many articles on this topic.)

    • R.B. says:

      Adar humour? Or a poor attempt at deflection? Not sure.

       

    • DavidF says:

      Instead of attempting to deflect the point, why don’t you actually take the time to read the articles just as Rabbi Gordimer has done? If you don’t care to spend the minimal amount of time required to do so [you don’t even have to google them – he provides links for everything he quotes from] then don’t bother to comment at all. We all know by now how you feel so you needn’t feel like your perspective will be missing.

  8. Yonah says:

    It has come to my attention that among the potential musmachim of  a notable haredi yeshiva there is a talented young man, greatly gifted by the Lord, who has actively promoted minyanim of the radical Carlebach sect, who has declared that non-Jews are “worth talking seriously to,” and who is suspected of supporting a leftist intermarried kofer for U.S. president, who shall remain nameless. Clearly none of these things are part of Our Tradition, especially all that singing during davening; it’s embarrassing to klal yisroel that anyone would divert their attention from Our Father in Heaven to prance about like the cast of a Broadway musical.  Of course, I am particularly entranced by this species of kefirah, which is why I’m always writing about it, and actually I secretly desire to be more involved with New Manifestations of Our Tradition, but for now the only way I know how to do this is by jumping aboard the Inquisition, approved and recommended by my rabbis of course, to root out all new garments and strip these whippersnappers bare in front of the world so we can all delight in their naked shivering Jewish bodies, baruch hashem. We’ll soon succeed in bringing teshuva to the world, with the help of Chai HaOlamim and a few black hats with chains on them, and our hit old program, Yeshiva Eye for the Modern Guy.

  9. I thought i was modern orthodox.... says:

    There seem to be 3 choices according to what is presented in this post:

    1) Go through life without ever encountering any material that raises serious doubts in your mind about Biblical Authorship.

    2) Encounter material that raises questions and doubts regarding Biblical Authorship, but become satisfyingly convinced by the traditional rebuttals to that material.

    3) Don’t find  yourself convinced by those traditional rebuttals, but somehow make a knowing decision to opt with “Emunah Pshutah”, discard all the doubts, and happily return the the original model you learnt in kindergarten.

    What do people do who don’t fit into these three categories?  Are they automatically not Orthodox?  What if they are struggling to figure out a nuanced Model that they can somehow jive with what they have come to learn and be persuaded by?  Do you write these people off / out?

     

     

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Perhaps one solution that warrants serious consideration is RYBS’s application of Teiku-we live without solutions to every hashkafic problem. To paraphrase RCS-We don’t die from a kasha.

      • I thought i was modern orthodox.... says:

        One may not physically die from a question, but their faith, and their trust in the the strength of our religious claims slowly decays.

        Basically, the “answer” that  you advocate for falls into category 3 that I listed above: “Emunah P’shuta”, put the question aside, and don’t worry about it.  I would venture to guess that this sort of answer doesn’t really help many who have reached this point.

        Not only that, but this sort of answer can seem to just re-enforce their growing suspicion, that maybe there are no answers.

        If we don’t allow Orthodoxy to openly and honestly face these questions, and have *some* flexibility and creativity in talking about them, then we’re basically writing off those who see themselves as curious, open-minded, and truth seeking (values that are generally promoted, and venerated even in “Orthodoxy”, or least they have been up until now), and find themselves as the stage I mentioned earlier.

        Maybe the assumption is that there aren’t that many people who fit that description – and that this group is not who Orthodoxy is for – we should just count them out and cut our losses. But, there may be more than you think.

        Does the Orthodoxy you envision want to be able to address people in this sort of situation?

         

        • R.B. says:

          According to your approach, how would Orthodoxy be orthodoxy? If we allow open inquiry to the point that even ordained rabbis are allowed to put forth whatever theory or viewpoint they feel is correct (ie. accept bible criticism, multiple authors, Torah is wrong about homosexuality, is mysoginist), or ask whatever question a person wants, where would the boundaries be demarcated. Also, is our purpose to retain every viewpoint no matter how far outside the box it is? Is member retention the overarching goal that MO should uphold above all else? Your approach, and tell me if I am wrong, seeks to have open inquiry, no dogmas or required beliefs, and membership based on Torah observance ie. Orthopraxy.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Emes Yesh Lo Raglayim. Sheker Ain lo Raglayim. It is far more intellectually honest and a sign of true humility when one admits, as do great Rishonim and Acharonimk, that they don’t think that have all of the answers to questions of how to understand a Pasuk.

    • micha berger says:

      Actually, if we look to the rishonim, taking Genesis 1 (and perhaps 2) literally is the controversial position. The statistics shifted to literalism during the counter-reformation of the late 19th through mid-2oth centuries.

      What is relevant, though, is not literalism vs allegory. Since we aren’t Qaraites, the question is understanding the Torah as per our mesorah, or finding new ways to do so that contradict it. Since there is a good mesoretic argument for taking Creation as allegory, it is non-problematic. If someone could find a mesoretic argument for localizing Noah’s Flood, it too would be valid. The methodology has to be to continue the dialog, not change it.

  10. Weaver says:

    “In this same 2013 article, the YCT student further wrote that Chazal’s account of the origins of the Bible is ahistorical, and he postulated that accepting the Bible’s account of Creation and the Bible’s account of its own origin as literal truth actually “compromises God’s unity“. (ibid. p. 231 )”

    Taking the Bible’s account of creation non-literally, while controversial, is not beyond the pale – it is the position of many Rishonim and Acharonim (Rambam, Ralbag, Akeidas Yitzchak, and Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Hoffman, Rav Kook, etc.). Just a quibble in an otherwise great article.

     

  11. dr. bill says:

    Over Shabbos, I read Daniel Goodman’s article on women and the LGBT community as charitably as I could.  With my apologies to those who do not appreciate academic methods,consider that  I am arguing le’shitascha.   Two observations:
    First, even adopting academic readings of the Talmud, there are significant differences in the ways the Rabbis rationalized their positions, having broad implications about how they might be applied in other cases.  Lumping them together, while serving his case, oversimplifies how the Rabbi’s viewed the halakhic process and their diverse methodologies for applying it.
    Second, then was then and now is now.  Even assuming that various strategies were used (or ascribed) to the tannaim, the methods used for the last 1500 years have been different.  Read the late prof. Katz’s masterful collection of essays – Divine Law in Human Hands – you will not find so radical a rabbinic edict as Goodman considers possible.
    This leads me to a conclusion in some ways similar to Rabbi Gordimer.  Forgetting about his beliefs about the Jewish canon, Bible, Talmud, etc., I would be quite troubled about a Moreh Horaah who imagines he possesses such flexibility.   That will help me better understand what Rabbis Linzer, Katz and Lopatin see as their red-lines.
    I often marvel how RSZA, RMF, and the Rav zichronam leberacha, and RAW in our day, were/are able to pasken liberally, confidently and consistently with what Prof. Katz ascribes to how halakha was practiced.  I could even imagine an evolving scenario many decades from now where some reduced version of what Goodman suggests as possible, might even occur.  (I will not to discuss this area in a public forum.)  But not now and certainly not by him or by those remotely similar to whom he quotes.
     
    I read a couple of his articles and I was impressed by his writing style and his ability to fluidly integrate diverse sources; it reminded me of Leon Wieseltier, for whom I have great respect, but not as a moreh horaah.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      I read the same article and thought it was just an updated, more contemporary  and equally unconvincing version of “if there is a halachic will , there is a halachic way”. I would not be surprised if the same author wrote an article viewing Shemiras Shabbos by the stubborn minority of Shomrei Shabbos as an obstacle to the full participation in the global 24/7 economy of the 21st century.

  12. reb charles says:

    in all this , does someone have good Pshat in what R Chaim allegedly said, “Nebach an Apikores iz Oych an Apikores”. That is as baffling to me as, “Daas Torah HayPakh Daas Balei Batim”.

    Never really understood both of the above, wonder if he really said it.

    • Shades of Gray says:

      Nebach an Apikores–Kovetz Mamorim(pg. 19) has a discussion of it.

      Daas Balei Batim – From R Hershel Shachter(Torah Web, “It’s Just Plain Common Sense”):

      “….Needless to say, all of these exaggerations are ridiculous. The Sema never meant to say that the sechel of baalei batim is always the opposite from sechel haTorah. A layman who is not familiar with the intricacies of physics or biology will often be mistaken if he will apply common sense to those disciplines; and the same is true of the self-contained discipline of Torah. But very often we will use common sense in establishing halacha! The Talmud tells us that by way of sevorah we can establish a din de’oaraisa!”

  13. cohen y says:

    Once again Kol hakavod to Rav Gordimer,

    cf. Ramban on Devarim 27:26

    One who shirks their obligation to uphold everyone’s Judaism (as much as is possible) is “Arur”

    Rav Aharon Kotler, warned  that the greatest threat facing Jewry is (not inter-marriage or assimilation, but rather) perversion of the Torah,
    (Mishnas Reb Aharon 1:2,3:6).

    We are in this world for the purpose of bringing moshiach

    That is all .

    There are  many (mouthing piousness  ) whose goals are ..very different

    We have way too few working(in whatever endeavor) towards that goal

    Only the gullible and  guileless  (which would include a rather sizable proportion of the globe)  still  believe that the continuous battle is about orthodox rigidity or lack of
    heart or didacticism . It’s  but a dense smokescreen for the most basic tenets of life,morality and religion for all of us

    • Y. Ben-David says:

      I was under the impression that we are in this world to do G-d’s will which means pursuing the truth and performing his mitzvot.  The ultimate consequences of this are out of our hands.

  14. Naftali says:

    Rabbi Gordimer makes an excellent point. Before receiving semicha candidates should be subjected to an intense interview under harsh lights and sleep- deprived conditions. This way the institutions can smoke out any heretics before granting semicha.

    There is, of course, always the possibility that some heretics might slip through the net, or that others might develop heretical thoughts at a later point, which is why the setting up and maintaining an Orthodox Jewish inquisition is so important. We should encourage children to spy on their parents, pupils on their teachers and congregants on their rabbis. These informants should have their anonymity protected so that they can fearlessly report any potential breach of Orthodox thought.

    Those halued before the inquisition will no doubt protest their innocence but that is where torture comes in. It is amazing what someone will confess to when on the rack. Imagine how many crypto-heretics we could smoke out with a moderate investment in thumbscrews. Of course some innocent individuals might be wrongly charged but what is that compared with the overarching good of purging Orthodox Judaism of Hersey once and for all ?

     

     

     

    • R.B. says:

      Naftali,

      You’re so right. Instead, let us hand out smicha like candy. Let’s interpret heresy out of existence. Let make sure that anybody who wants smicha gets it, unless they are a racist, mysoginist, homophone, or xenophone. And course what R’ Gordimer is more comparable to the Gestapo than the Inquisition. You with me on this?

    • DavidF says:

      Is this really the best the OO supporters can come up? Why is this comment even printed? CC’s standards are usually far above this sort of silliness.

    • sberman says:

      The typical answer from any OO supporter on this site. Always a complaint about shining a light on the issue. Never a substantial answer .

    • Steve Brizel says:

      R Lopatin’s statement is hardly the end of the story. The question remains whether the student in question satisfies the standards set forth in the statement. Allowing such a student to matriculate strikes me as proof that “talk is cheap.”

      Naftali-look at the first mishnah in Yuma-the Kohen Gadol was indeed subjected to a very detailed inquiry to insure that he was not R”L a Tzaduki.

      • dr. bill says:

        Steve Brizel,  the Kohen Gadol was not subject to a witch-hunt;  for many years prior to the churban, the kohen gadol was quite often a unabashed tzeduki.  Rabbinic Judaism was not as dominant as many imagine prior to the Churban.

  15. Tuvy Miller says:

    I was just looking at R. Gil Student’s Daily Reyd and saw the post that Harry Maryles posted on his blog. In addition to his own analysis, it includes a a statement of clarification from R. Asher Lopatin. Reading it is important in this discussion and I think it would make sense for the statement to be posted somewhere on this blog  http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2016/03/yct-statement-on-belief.html

    • dr. bill says:

      I was not surprised that the post did not mention what i view as the more important practical issue for anyone being granted the authority to pasken – their understanding of the halakhic process as it has been practiced after the close of the Talmudic period.  As I wrote below, his essay on women and the LGBT community is more concerning to me.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      R Lopatin’s statement is hardly the end of the story. The question remains whether the student in question satisfies the standards set forth in the statement. Allowing such a student to matriculate strikes me as proof that “talk is cheap.”

  16. HE says:

    “”Hamozi Lechem Min Haarez.”- Lechem? The earth grows wheat, or rye- men work it, mill it, mix it with water(=Torah), bake it- then bless it. (Imbibe, consume, digest  and plant the seed for the next harvest.

    HE.

     

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