Weekly Digest – News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy – Week of Parshas Tzav 5776

Rav Soloveitchik zt”l on Purim – Audio

Rav Hershel Schachter: Volunteering Mitzvos

Rav Mordechai Willig: What Is (and Isn’t) the Rabbi’s Job?

EXCLUSIVE: Letter from Rav Shalom Kamenetsky Confirms P’sak of Bais Din Led by Rav Dovid Feinstein

Rav Aviner Opposes Women’s Megillah Readings, and Rav Amnon Bazak Disagrees

Women of the Wall Plans Its Own Female Birkas Kohanim (“Kohanot”); Rabbinic Protest

Final group of Jews from Yemen airlifted to Israel in secret mission

New Issue Of Jewish Action Magazine

Rav D. Lau Affirms: Mikveh Attendants Should Be Present for Immersion

Machlokes Between Yerushalayim Chief Rabbis on Purim in Ramot



Senior Latvian lawmaker says ‘smart’ Jews working to undermine country

Report: Widespread Support for Trump Among US Chassidim

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

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13 Responses

  1. R.B. says:

    “Women of the Wall Plan Birkat Cohanot”

    There is no halachic basis for this at all. This just goes to show that WoW’s claim that it follows halachah, including that it opposes the heterodox prayer space because they don’t wish to daven with men, is just a facade.

  2. Shmuel Landesman says:

    Aren’t the Cohanot afraid of using Hashem’s name in vain?

    • dr. bill says:

      they are reciting entire pesukim, so i don’t see a basis for a violation.  there are various situations where even non-cohanim give the priestly blessing.  nonetheless, i find this a bit odd; even in egalitarian minyanim, only men receive kohen and levi.  imho repeating the amidah is a more substantive issue.  however, perhaps they have figured out how to do this in a strictly speaking halakhic manner.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Aren’t only Kohanim ( males) obligated in this Mitzvah? What is rationale for any female descendant of a Kohen reciting a Bracha Lvatalah and taking Shem Shamayiom Lvatala other than an obvious case of feminist inspired male envy? Many Poskim debate whether the Psukim of Birkas Kolhanim can be recited elsewhere as in Friday night before Kiddush. I would highly doubt that “hey have figured out how to do this in a strictly speaking halakhic manner.”

      • mycroft says:

        I personally follow the Rav who held like many others that a non Koen is prohibited from using those words as a blessing-ko tvarchu et bnei israel-however, many in practice do not follow that-there are non kohanim who bless their children with those words-I have seen Rabbis -non kohanim use those words in blessing people. I wouldn’t do that but it is not generally considered beyond the pale. If a non Kohen uses such words how is a women worse.

        On a personal level IMO this behavior is strange and just consistent with WOW who  many of them don’t even claim to be Orthodox.

      • R.B. says:

        Actually, the Biur Halochoh in Siman 128, d”h Zar Oiver B’Aseh, finds justification for this common Minhag Yisroel (RYSB notwithstanding) because a) we pasken mitzvos tzrichos kavana and there is no kavana to do a mitzvoh here, b) that is only with perisas yadayim that a zar is oiver like the Bach or c) since this is not done during davening, that shows explicit kavanah that a zar or even a Kohen is not mekayam the mitzvoh of Birkas Kohanim. This proposal is not the same – it will be done during davening and with an intention to “mekayem” this mitzvoh by women who cannot duchen! The two are not anologous at all. See here: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49624&st=&pgnum=3.

        As for your contention about WoW, that is disproven by the new org, “Real WoW”. http://forward.com/sisterhood/332693/the-real-women-of-the-wall-arent-going-anywhere/.

      • chaim7356 says:

        WOW isn’t interested in your fine explanations about how even a Yisrael can bless others – they are doing this only as “kohanot”. The logical result will be that a woman whose mother is a kohenet will bequeath kehuna to her daughter, even if the father is not kohen.

      • dr. bill says:

        i wonder if a talmid chacham who could find 70 reasons to be metahair a sheretz would perhaps be able to.

      • Sass says:

        Maybe then the shayla should be sent to R’ Shalom Kamenetzky.

  3. R.B. says:

    Here is the link to the WoW website and its announcement in English: http://womenofthewall.org.il/2016/03/women-of-the-wall-to-hold-womens-priestly-blessing-for-the-first-time-at-the-kotel/.



  4. Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:

    Women of the Wall Plans Its Own Female Birkas Kohanim (“Kohanot”); Rabbinic Protest”

    I think that really should be “BURKAS’ Cohanim.

  5. R.B. says:

    Will OO leadership condemn this brazen violation of halacha?

  6. Tal Benschar says:

    The plan to hold a female version of priestly blessings illustrates just how unmoored and farcical the WoW are.  Consider:
     1.                  The group seeks to act in an “egalitarian” manner.  The institution of kehuna in general is one of the most un-egalitarian parts of the Torah.  A person gets the status of kohein, and all the privileges thereto, by mere circumstance of birth.  Are they so not self-aware that they don’t see the contradiction?
     2.                  Kehuna is inherited in the male line.  A kohein is one because of his father, who was one because of his father, etc., all the way back to Aharon ha Kohein.  So these “kohanot” have achieved their suppose status by patrilineal descent.  Their mothers and grandmothers counted for nothing.  And yet again, they see no irony or contradiction in what they are doing and their “egalitarian” philosophy.
     3.                  That this is a serious breach of halakha goes without saying.  Question in my mind is, to what end?  What exactly have the women gained by doing this?  I understand why someone would want to, say, read from the Torah or lead services, those are all public rituals that ostensibly someone would be attracted to.  Is there some spiritual high to being blessed by women “kohanot” that could not be gained from being blessed by kohanim?

    What this absurd episode reveals is that this group, and its feminist fellow travelers, seem to have one goal in mind: erasure of any distinction between men and women.  For some reason, they seem to feel that the ideal is to be a man, and anything holding them back from acting like a man makes them less of a Jew.  Whatever men do, women should do, regardless of the underlying philosophy or halakha. 

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