The Western Wall Compromise, and Compromised Commitment to Torah

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16 Responses

  1. Daniel Goldman says:

    Rabbi Gordimer,

    I am reminded of the words of Rabbi Dr Lamm, who during an interview in 2007 said:

    “When I was in the rabbinate … I used to pound the pulpit and storm against Conservative and Reform and secular ideas and practices. In retrospect I think it may have been the wrong approach … The only thing that happened as a result of all these anti-Conservative/ Reform/secular groups is that we have less people davening [praying].”

    The all out hostility to Reform and Conservative Judaism (the current bon ton amongst Israel Haredi and parts of the non-Haredi religious leadership is ultimately counter-productive.) The religious Rabbis, and much of the religious (non-Haredi) community that supports the accommodation of heterodox prayer at the Kotel does not come from ideological compromise, but an understanding that the State of Israel is the home (as it constantly states) to Jews everywhere, and as such needs to accommodate their expressions of Judaism.

    There is a great deal of disingenuity implied or real, when the government sponsors three years of negotiations with the Haredi leaders, that agreement (which includes compromise from all sides) being approved by the government, only to be reneged upon.

    Whilst I have much to criticise in the tone of the way Haredi MK’s and others refer to Reform and Conservative Jews and their movements, the main criticism should be of the Prime Minister who is trying to have his cake and eat it.

    What is also clear to me (and this is only a tactical comment), that Rabbi Rabinowitz has done all he can to create a public platform for the likes of Anat Hoffman et al to become international figures, after more than 20 years when the WOW were a small and frankly irrelevant group who showed up once a month to pray at the Kotel.

    Seeing Rabbi Rabinowitz’s orderlies scuffling physically with the leaders of the Conservative and Reform movements as they held Sifrei Torah gave me an amazing up to date view on how holy Jews in times gone by fought with one another, missing the much bigger picture.

    I was saddened by this display, and this without expressing a personal view on what I think that solution should be (this has already been agreed between the heteredox movements and the Haredim as mentioned).

    Your attempt to make this an adjunct argument about your pet subject of Open Orthodoxy is marginal as it is shallow.

    • R.B. says:

      Alright, Daniel. Let’s say that you are correct that “pounding the pulpit” about the heterodox movements is counterproductive. Let’s say that we ignore WoW’s rejection of the compromise and say the blame for the collapse of this agreement falls on the shoulder of the chareidim and Bibi. Would you agree then that while attacks are not productive, so gushing “halachic” and “hashkafic” support given by the IRF and Neemanei TvA is also the wrong approach as well? Why can’t silence, or support for the deal without support for the heterdox’s approach to public tefillah and women’s roles in public tefillah be the approach? Also, OO is very much connected, as the IRF is the OO’s rabbinic arm and Neemanei TvA has many OO in its ranks, and wholly represent a partner of thought prevalent among OO leaders and their approach to the heterodox, thereby invalidating your comment.

    • mycroft says:

      We should adapt the approach of the Rav that Conservative, Reform are mistaken rather than evil. One never succeeds by attacking another’s motives.

  2. dr. bill says:

    Four points:

    1) Among those criticizing chareidi blackmail blocking the implementation of a compromise is Beit Hillel.  Take them on at your own risk; their members contain some critical thinkers.

    2)  Rabbi Benny Lau chose a woman without semicha, but a teacher at Migdal Oz  (gush for girls) to minister to those in his congregation more comfortable talking to a woman.  Yesh al mi lismoch.

    3) Quoting a drasha by the Rav ztl whose relevance is rather indirect at best convinces no one.  the Rav was in favor and opposed to various things; would he maintain those views in all circumstances in today’s environment?  Few are qualified to even venture a guess.

    4) I too do not feel comfortable with a bus on shabbat morning, but i assume there may be some ancillary reasons to choose that timing to engage with those who are not at all sabbath observing.   I would probably still be opposed but the logic of the decision would be worth hearing. BTW, there is another shabbat observing event scheduled for those who are observant.

    • mycroft says:

      It is very interesting the details of how Rabbi Benny Lau succeeded step by step in getting an assistant in and then shift it to be a woman. I have heard her speak and she is not in the league of Rabbi Lau. Never underestimate R Lau’s political skills his father was a leading diplomat for Israel including serving as their chief diplomat in NY.


  3. Bob Miller says:

    Were they out partying when the rest of us said Na’aseh v’Nishma?

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    R Gordimer deserves a great Yasher Koach for continually reminding and demonstrating the danger and increasing growth of the extreme POVs of OO, as its slowly but surely infects both MO and RZ ala RL a Trojan horse.  Dr Bill and I have discussed and disagreed as to our perspectives on Beit Hillel, and I remain unchanged in my POV that the above cited views of R Riskin, whose evolution in  hashkafa and views we have previously discussed  and IRF are apologetics, nothing more nothing less.,rather than public statements or private stances that are sacrificial, because they  show a lack of  “submission and surrender, acceptance of God’s will, to abide by His will even if His will sometimes runs contrary to our aspirations, His will sometimes makes no sense to us…” to use a perfectly appropriate observation of RYBS. Indeed, if we were to apply Dr Bill’s litmus test of “the Rav was in favor and opposed to various things; would he maintain those views in all circumstances in today’s environment” would leave us with a reductio ad absurdum that precious little, if any of RYBS’s legacy, except for the contents of his library in Boston was relevant to such issues.

    Daniel Goldman-Anat Hoffman is interested in media events and has a studied lack of tolerance for Torah Judaism and Torah observant Jews-regardless of their headgear. Ms. Hoffman has continuously used the Israeli judicial system and an appeal to R and  C in the US whose views have been rejected by traditional Jews who are “not yet observant”, to use R Riskin’s phrase.

  5. Steve Brizel says:

    Many malignant tumors and infectious diseases invade the host organism very slowly but in an incremental manner until the host is overwhelmed due to its inability and unwillingness to fight the same. When one recalls Rambam’s view in Shemoneh Perakim that one must fight the root cause of Cholei HaNefesh rather than apply purely palliative treatment of the same if one is truly interested in a cure, one can and should apply this fact  in how one views  the acceptance of radical ideas and ideology in institutions of all kinds where the radical ideas prior thereto would have been deemed unacceptable and beyond the pale.  MO and RZ are increasingly under siege by radical egalitarian feminism, which RHS rightly and courageously recognized as a threat to the central institution of Torah observant Judaism-the family, which feminists initially conducted an end around against by seeking innovations in ritual and education that merely staved off the inevitable assault on the family, which feminists have always viewed and still view as a “comfortable concentration camp”, and the Halacha and the Ratzon HaTorah that set forth separate and equal roles for the genders. What a tragedy and a pity that R Riskin and the IRF have sold out MO and RZ and the distinction between Klapei Chutz and Klapei Pnim for the ideological bowl of pottage called “pluralism.”

    • Daniel Goldman says:

      Steve, I have the greatest respect for Rav Riskin and know personally and respect many of the members of Beit Hillel. I am sure they act L’Sheim Shamaim and are doing what they feel is right in trying to enhance the Jewish identity of the country as a whole. I would say that the complexities of developing Judaism in Israel, which can and should have room for halachic and non-halachic Judaism in a way that makes the country more rather than less Jewish in the broadest possible terms needs more than a response in a comments section on a blog. Would recommend for example Yoav Sorek’s ברית ישראלית as a good reader. The increasing control by Haredi askanim of the definition of Judaism in Israel, through the deepening of their grip ironically using the power of the secular State (including now a clear strategy of narrowing that definition of Judaism in the Diaspora (Re: Recent farce around Rabbi Lookstein) is just distancing more people for Judaism of any sort, in Israel and out of it. Many see the controversy of the Kotel on the same backdrop. Sadly there is a great difficulty separating the religion from the politics (nothing knew over here).

      In any event and with the greatest respect I am unable to have a proper discussion with anyone that compares sincere Jews to cancer or the mentally ill, so perhaps we should call it quits at this stage.


      • R.B. says:

        Yoav Sorek is definately not somebody the DL community should be listening to. His proposed changes to Israeli religious society, including the scrapping of the Rabbanut, will eventually allow for the pushing of specific Orthodox Jewish halachic concerns and opposition to societal trends to the margins and could lead to the situation found in the US and here in Canada – religious conservatives on the run, not able to protect their institutions from the encroachment of liberal lobbies, making religious conservatives 2nd class citizens. I used to believe that the Rabbanut and religious parties were preventing the growth of Yiddishkeit in EY. Now, I see that we need both, especially when there is an agenda to allow homosexual marriage and the like, and that such moves to the left will result in frum Yidden being unable to make their institutions exempt when these legal rights collide. The Rabbanut, if it does nothing else, is a bulwak against the complete dismantling of halachoh and traditional Judaism’s role in informing the laws and institutions of the State of Israel.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I stand by my post in its entirety, and note that you are unable to separate concerns of Klapei Pnim from Klapei Chutz and the failure of R and C to make any headway in Israel except via headlines at the Kotel-would you advocate similar tactics in Rome or Mecca against those in charge therein? I would hope not . R Riskin’s ( IMO tragic) migration from being a founding rav who created a community and set the mark for Torah education in the UWS and a great rebbe in YU’s JS   to the far LW of MO and RZ  needs no further documentation.

        I have read much at the website of Beit Hillel and I challenge you to find one world class Talmid Chacham and Posek among them, As far as The “farce around Rabbi Lookstein”, prior comments here demonstrated that the same was not a GPS approved Gerus.

      • dr. bill says:

        are you serious? do you not know the name of the individual responsible for editing much of RAL ztl’s publications?  and there are others!  In any event, traditional judaism is not a hero worship culture; the deliberate judgement of a group of scholars outweighs the pronouncement of an authority.

        btw, there were rabbis whose actions are to be respected prior to GPS approved conversions.  i missed the seif in the SA about GPS.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Obviously, the editor of RAL ZTL’s publications is a great talmid chacham-that does not answer my query-whether such a person is a world class Talmid Chacham and Posek. I think that such phrases as the”deliberate judgement of a group of scholars outweighs the pronouncement of an authority” don’t really add a whole lot to the discussion especially when we are commanded to revere Talmidei Chachamim with as much respect and awe, if  not more than a Sefer Torah. Perhaps, you should listen to shiurim from dayanim in the BDA about the lack of a standard for Gerus and the lack of compliance with many portions of Hilcos Gerus and many other portions of SA that existed prior to the promulgation of GPS that have practical ramifications on Hilcos Gerus before you castigate the GPS system. 

      • dr. bill says:

        tell me where i castigated the GPS system?  in fact i emphasized “rabbis whose actions are to be respected” NOT ALL rabbis.

        Have you read his seforim?  he is (more than) comparable to many you venerate.

        if you don’t understand on what critical halakha “judgement of a group” is based and what it adds to the conversation, zil gemor.

      • mycroft says:

        There are honest Rabbis and Rabbis who are not trustworthy. GPS is no guarantee, the leading Rabbi who was one of the heads of the system is serving time in jail for violations which are certainly against Halacha.

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    Ignoring the obvious-namely, that OO has infected much of MO and RZ thought can only be justified  if you ignore the facts on the ground and the views propagated by those with such views in the LW MO and RZ worlds.

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