Ba’alos Mesorah

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61 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    This shows the problem with poorly thought out half-measures.  If you consciously groom a person for Task A and then remove Task A from that person’s list of life options, what have you done?   Especially when Task B should have been that person’s priority all along.

    Or this can be looked at as a blatant (or at least poorly disguised) attempt to create irresistible pressure to alter our historic priorities, in which case all the negative fallout was part of the plan.

  2. Daniel Edelman says:

    Rabbi Gordimer: 
    I am not quite sure what experience, authority or credentials gives you license to proclaim unequivocally what the Rav’s views are.  Did you ever meet the Rav?  Did you ever ask him a halakhic or any question?  Did you ever attend in person a lecture or shiur he gave?
    Irrespective of what you may have read in a book by someone other than the Rav or in a shiur you heard by someone else about the Rav, what personal knowledge do you have that allows to you pronounce his positions?
    If, however, all you are doing is offering your point of view based on studies and analysis of the Rav’s own words, you may want to factor in some other comments the Rav made which likely have bearing on the issues you raise.  I offer you two such examples:
     1.     In analyzing the famous beraita in Kiddushin about fearing and loving parents in which the father is identified as the one teaching Torah, the Rav stated:

    “I want you to understand: the Baraita does not speak of father and mother, but of types – father and mother types. The real father may have certain characteristics which belong to the mother-type, and the mother-type, and the mother may act like a father. The Baraita is speaking of so called ‘deyoknot,’ prototypes, archetypes.” (Family Redeemed p.161).
     2)   In his public lecture about the covenantal role of Sarah, the Rav taught:
    “Yet, even as we recognize metaphysical differences, we insist that they do not differ axiologically, as regards their worthiness before God. Both bear His image, which is the ultimate criterion of value; both may be ‘called to the colors’ to assume leadership roles as history makers, as God’s messengers. Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Esther and many others whom Scripture has relegated to anonymity, were elected by Providence as shelihay hakel, His emissaries, when great problems were to be overcome . . . .” (Man of Faith in the Modern World (Besdin ed.) p. 85).

    • Steve Brizel says:

      The above quotes state the obvious-the Imahos Miriam Esther and many others except for Dvorah who was clearly a shofetes during a shas hadchak all served as Shlichei HaKel but not in the same manner as the Avos Moshe Rabbeinu or Aharon HaKohen. It is a distortion of the views of RYBS and a normative understanding of Tanach to state otherwise

  3. dr.bill says:

    The Rav ztl was talking descriptively, not prescriptively.  His comments are penetrating but were not directed at the problem at hand.  I think that women who study intensively with anyone, particularly in a religious environment, can develop a connection like one that develops between rebbe and talmid, which goes well beyond what some call mesorah.  That relationship does not come from 1-2 years sitting in a course/shiur.  It develops with much more intense interaction.  I suspect that generally (and with some exceptions) that interaction is better had between those of the same sex be that student/teacher, rebbe/talmid, or rabbi/congregant.  This argues for a considerable increase in the number of women scholars, teachers, rabbis, etc., a goal that I think need be broadly endorsed.
    This need is a new one.  Some will discount it because their bubbe did not the need.  That is why as the result of the feminist reality, change will never be limited to some circumscribed set of proclamations; they will evolve (significantly and slowly) over time.  Quoting decisions/insights of the past as if they directly answer current dilemmas is as useful as quoting responses to a question that was not asked.  The value of decisions/insights of the past is in extracting ideas that may apply in our changed circumstance.  That is clear in psak; apparently less so in the yet more evolving areas of hashkafa.
    This will not come quickly.  In academic circles there were no/hardly any first rate women scholars in bible or talmud fifty years ago.  (the late nechama Lebowitz was a devotee of the beit midrash.)  today the likes of hindy Najman and Christine hayes have joined the ranks of first-rate scholars.  Orthodox attitudes will have to evolve before we can expect to see women join the ranks of first-rate RY and rabbis.  My guess is that is why a host of orthodox women travel down an academic path in which opposition to reaching the pinnacle of achievement is non-existent.  There is not just a qualitative difference between the BM in Hebrew univ and the Mir; one provides an environment where women can participate.  And they do!

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill noted in relevant part:

    “some will discount it because their bubbe did not the need”.

    Perhaps, MO educators should rethink what is their most important goal-students who have a college ready education and are knowledgeable in Tanach, Halacha , hashkafa and Jewish history  who will be eager to build a Bayis Neeman BYisrael sooner rather than later as opposed to assuming that merely by offering courses in Talmud that will coopt the radical egalitarian feminist agenda which always has been and remains unsatisfied with any gender based differences.

    Sure, many a bubbe did not study Gemara, but to assert that every young woman is religiously at risk because she lacks the  understanding  that men, not women, were given the burdens of Mitzvos Aseh Shezman Grama and Talmud Torah precisely because women remained loyal during the episodes of the Golden Calf and Korah, as opposed to men who led and participated in both rebellions,  on the seemingly “impractical” aspects of Torah is tantamount to a rejection of gender based differences that go back to the Avos, Imahos, Moshe Rabbeinu and Miriam Haneviah. Perhaps , the time has either arrived for underscoring that fact, as opposed to suggesting that there is no difference between the genders in Halacha, Hashkafa and obligations in Mitzvos.

    • dr.bill says:

      as i have come to expect, you confuse the few and the many.  i addressed creating the few, who can become role-models for the many.  you would benefit from reading some of the Rav ztl’s essays cited by daniel edelmen above.  on the other hand, you will read it to conform to your well-established weltanschauung.  again NO one claims that there is “no difference.”  just that some elements of difference are axiological; others are not. and for some elements their nature is disputed.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Fwiw we live in a community where many women are very knowledgeable in Tanach Halacha and machshavah and very mdakdek Umitzvos and reject and all aspects of feminism as it has been accepted and voiced by JOFA and YCT and their supporters.Why create such role models for women the majority of whom neither need nor desire the same? If you want to look for role models to emulate look no farther than the bios of Rebbitzen Kanievsky Rebbitzen Machlis and R Moshe Twersky the latter of which has many pictures previously not seen of RYBS and R and Tibadel lchaim Dr Twersky . we can all find a midah tovah to emulate in such books as opposed to further allowing the insidious growth and acceptance of

      • dr.bill says:

        sorry, but i haven’t a clue of what i said that provoked your response.  for that matter, i can hardly  decipher your point.  you appear to have trailed off mid-sentence.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I lost part of that post but my point was that feminism and all of the assumptions and negativity that feminism has always had for the conventional family must always be rejected even and especiallymeans that we emphasize differences and roles between genders. A MO that seeks approval for feminists to put on tefilin without worrying whether every man of post bar mitzvah age does so is at grave risk

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I have read all that the Torat HaRav Foundation has published. Show me anywhere where RYBS assumed or stated that the obligation of Talmud Torah is identical in any manner between the genders.

      • dr.bill says:

        who ever mentioned obligation?  since you brought it up, just for your edification compare the rabbi’s interpretation of ve’shinantom levanecha to the translation of those words in any english bible from jps to artscroll.  you can throw in some christian translations as well.  this point was made by elizabeth shanks alexander in explaining her approach to some of history around women’s obligations to study and perform other mitzvot as recorded in early tannaic literature.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        That’s exactly my point men and women should be educated to maximize their commitment to what they are obligated to do and learn as opposed to bring educated in a manner that assumes a woman has the same level of obligation to learn and observe as a man. It is a recipe for communal disaster to educate and transmit the roles of the genders in any other way. MO has attempted poorly to coop the feminist onslaught and attack on the family and now has been placed under siege by the Trojan horse of feminism which sees no differences at all between the genders

      • joel rich says:

        Wow.  I find myself agreeing both with Steve and with Dr. Bill!

        My humble opinion the elephant in the room is we have  undertaken (consciously or unconsciously) a massive experiment in reallocating Our most precious resource, our time, away from what used to be considered One of our primary goals, raising the next generation. This is true of all elements of orthodox society. The point of  what works for a few versus being an aspirational goal for the masses I think is often lost.   This is true in many respects including a focus on  materialism.

        Kol tuv

      • dr.bill says:

        joel rich, your point is well taken.  neither the kollel wife, slaving to support her husband, nor the woman who is a full time doctor are solely focused on raising the next generation.  however, no one has demonstrated that other approaches to child-rearing are not equally or more effective.  i agree with you it is a large experiment/bet; but it is one where i have not yet seen any outcomes that can be clearly linked to the mother’s choices.

      • dr.bill says:

        read the Rav ztl’s letter dated may 27, 1953 sent rabbi leonard rosenfeld.  he did not talk about obligations, but merely the practical issue of whether boys and girls ought have the same IDENTICAL curricula.  (what one distinguished rabbi jokingly called the halakhic analog to Brown vs. the BOE of topeka.)

        clearly, as noted below reported by RAL ztl, his daughters did not participate in his family study of certain mesechtot.  but the rav also studied privately with rav chaim without his two SIL’s.  the implication that somehow zevachim or baba Batrah is harder than sukkah or beitzah, can only be made if one does not appreciate the innovations the Rav brought to the brisker derech.

        for anyone to presume they can authoritatively speak for the Rav in this complex area, is in my mind CHUTZPAH.  i remember the only time i heard a very, very mildly off-color word from RAL ztl was when asked to explain a certain decision of the Rav with which he disagreed.  when asked, why did you not ask him?  RAL said something i remember as i would not have the chutzpah to ask a gadol such a question using what was for rav aharon pretty colorful language.  i am upset when people who knew the Rav less well can ascribe views to him in situations arising 30+ years after his last ability to convey his exceptional halakhic and ethical insights.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I have read the letter. You have to have a gift of prophecy to think that RYBS would have advocated anything near the JOFA/YCT OO agenda based on that letter. I remain unconvined that the letter offers even a mahshehu of support for the aforementioned agenda .

      • dr.bill says:

        Steve Brizel, you remind me of what the Rav ztl said after asking a student if arrived directly from the eighth grade?  read your question on the 23rd at 1036, my response on the 26th at 841 and your “response” on the 27th at 654.  if there is continuity in your “response” i missed that class in rhetoric.

        you asked a question, i gave you a source and you told me about???

  5. S.W. says:

    This response (as well as Bob Miller’s) completely misses the point and reads intentions into Dr. Schwartz’s article that are not there. She writes, “What would it look like to have a community that understands that if it wants its women to act as insiders, it must treat them as insiders?” It is telling that you confuse a desire to be part of our community with a desire to be just like men.
    “Fathers and sons travel, and are drawn to Ger, Belz, Alexander, Bobov, all the places made citadels of religious life, dominated by the figure of the rebbe’s personality. And we stay at home, the wives, daughters, and the little ones. We have an empty Yom Tov … the mother goes to the synagogue, but the services echo faintly into the fenced and boarded-up women’s galleries. Outside the synagogues, the girls chatter; they walk away from the synagogue where their mothers pour out their vague feelings … While the men bend and sway in the rhythm tradition has created, and their heads are held aloft into visionary heights, the girls go skipping on their way, along the path of a world which is wide open, unfenced and pitiless.”

    • Bob Millr says:

      You appear to assume that it’s up to male functionaries of the shul or community to pull the women there into their emotional world.   Rabbi Gordimer’s article here suggests that, historically, there has been a women’s world or sphere within our communities that provides support and camaraderie.  So the question then arises: why is the women’s sphere so often atomized and disconnected within itself?    Do the women on up to the Rebbetzin and other female role models have trouble relating to one another?  If so, why?  My wife and I have lived in various places and seen both sides of this.  In some places, the women as a group have real esprit de corps and really care about and support one another.  In others, they’re as cold as ice except within small cliques.

  6. Yehoshua says:

    It seems that you are missing the point entirely. Rav Soloveitchik writes about toras imecha as the mesorah that woman impart. But they impart it to both women and men, not to women alone. The main thrust of Dr. Schwartz’s article is not about what role women will play in the transmitting of the mesora to others, but in the need for them to have exposure to and a kesher with Rabbanim and Rashei Yeshiva, so as to have access to that aspect of our mesora.

  7. mycroft says:

    IMO the current dispute about women Rabbis has unfortunately been escalated om both sides. For what its worth I was opposed to women Rabbis   in the early 70s when I heard Rabbi Riskin first advocate it and am probably still opposed now.    Why the probably, if I were just reading the comments by those advocating women Rabbis I would still be clearly oppose, my doubts come from the dicta that is present   in many  of the statements    opposed. Clearly, the strongest argument I have heard opposed   is the shochet    one. Why those opposed attempt to bring up metahalachik arguments that come down to essence you have trust us for decisions in the fifth Shulchan Aruch because  we know more sources in our mind.     Intended or not the affect is to appear that the parties opposed number one goal is to fight   anything that has the imprimatur of YCT.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Mycroft wrote in relevant part:

      “Intended or not the affect is to appear that the parties opposed number one goal is to fight   anything that has the imprimatur of YCT.”

      I would suggest that “anything that has the imprimatur of YCT” warrants  very strict scrutiny as to  whether it is consistent with the Mesorah of Halacha and Hashkafa. R E Saffran quotes RYBS as stating that Naaseh vNishmah represents our submision to Dvar HaShen even before we understand the meaning of the same. The question that has always been posed to YCT with no real answer forthcoming is whether its raison de etre is consistent with Naaseh vNishmah or not, which R Gordimer has demonstrated is far from the same in many instances.

  8. mycroft says:

    For what its worth IMO the article by Dr Rivka Press Schwartz reflects  more closely what the underlying thoughts of the Rav would have been in this issue than anything written on either side.

    Some undisputed facts about the Rav-he  taught his girls Talmud way before college age at a very high level.

    Many times we have a record that the Rav believed that one should teach Talmud to girls the same way we teach boys.

    The Rav once invited a female to attend his summer shiur in Boston that he gave to his talmidim from RIETS in NY.

    RIETS during his day did not in general teach the classic “Yeshiva mesechtot” 50 years ago the mesechta was Pesachim for 2 years!Remember something from half a century ago.

    Maimonides always had mixed classes even when they had multiple classes and could have had one boys and one girls class. Decades ago my brothers wife was chavrusa with my wifes sisters husband at Maimonides.

    The Rav started from the assumption that absent specific reasons men and women should do the same thing. In Berlin he noticed women on Yom Kippur doling korim -inLita they didn’t and felt on the surface they should except for his chiddush vham haomdim bazarah hayu korim-women were not in the azarah they were in the ezra nashim and thus no korim. A specific reason not a generalized difference.


    • Steve Brizel says:

      All of the above is fascinating but ignores a simple query-how many male members of a given class at Maimonides put on tefilin on either a Sunday when there is no davening at school or on a daily basis as post grads? I thino that is a far more telling stat than how and when or where or who studies Talmud and an observation that I would pose to many MO school s that boast of women studying Talmud while ignoring what many mchanchim in MO schools and more than a few graduates describe as a basic lack if seriousness about basic shmiras hamitzvos until and unless a student is inspired by a gap year or two to become more committed to such basic Mitzvos as tefiliin Shabbos and the like.

      • mycroft says:

        The fair question is given backgrounds of students what is the outputs received, tfillin of grads is certainly an important stat, but must adjust to student body.

        thus, no proof if Lakewood, or Borough Park have better stats in that area. Fair question to all schools , look at success as percent Shomrei Shabbos, kashrut observing ultimately Tamar’s hamishpacha observance instead f the avowal zarah of textual familiarity. Except for tfilah which is essential, can’t Daven, won’t attend schul and likely lost to Yiddishkeit.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Not responsive-Your comment is a down the road query and I was not interested in what happens in Lakewood or BP, where the OTD issue is also quite evident. One cannot two very different religious and educational environments. I was focusing on the student body and members of a certain class in a prestigious MO school.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      AFAik RIETS has always followed the derech of Volozhin and many masectos including the classical yeshivishe masectos as well as Berachos Shabbos Nidah  and Pesschim for many years. Every year the RY decide on which masecta except for those Talmidim learning YD will be learned in every shiur

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Fascinating memories. Yet as RAL ZL mentioned in one of his books it remains to be seen what is the core legacy of RYBS.  I think that in this context it is fair to ask whether RAYHK was correct in his predictions about HU and whether REW was correct in his evaluation of Zionism in all of its permutations. The question of whether RYBS would have reacted favorably to the rise of OO YCT and JOFA s agenda cannot be based upon the above or the inaugural shiur at SCW all of which predated the Trojan horse like invasion of radical egalitarian feminism and its ideological partners the LGBT agenda and its supporters and apologists within the LW of MO.

  9. Aharon says:

    FWIW. a description the Rav’s learning with his children by RAL:


    “As it turned out, I managed to learn a great deal of Torah in Boston.  I covered a lot of ground.  Partly, it was the learning itself, since I was learning Torah about six hours a day when I was in graduate school; but the ability to be exposed through the learning to the Rav, in his home environment, was priceless.  He would learn with his three children, his son-in-law, Professor Yitzchak Twersky, z”l, and myself.  In addition to that, he learned with his son, Rav Haym, and to some extent with Professor Twersky as well, and I was admitted to join that group as well.  In the first year that I was in Boston, early in the year we learned matters related to the yamim nora’im and Sukkot; then we learned the entire masekhet Beitza; then we finished all of Berakhot; in addition to which, Rav Haym, Rav Yitzchak and I learned Bava Kamma, up to daf 13 and Zevachim, up to daf 9″

  10. Rob says:

    To suggest a sociological consideration: in this era, some frum women will almost inevitably and certainly seek an education in and to the same depths of texts that the men study in pursuit of and before semicha. Would the “centrists” and “rightists” not agree it better for those women, under the circumstances, to get such training from centrist and rightist rabbis without the women receiving semicha than from the left-wing/OO/Chovevei/Maraharat/Rabba educators who always find a das yachid that to support a foregone conclusion?

  11. Steve Brizel says:

    Read the bio of R Moshe Twerski ZL to see how and what RYBS learned with his grandchildren who also attended Maimonides

    • mycroft says:

      Acharei mos kedoshim Emor.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Ignorance isn’t bliss. Don’t dismiss the comments of  talmidim and family members , the numerous photographs of RYBS , the hesped for RYBS therein and the evidence of a very close zeide-einekel and Talmid-rebbe relationship that is depicted simply because R Moshe Twersky ZL HaShem Yimkam Damo was Charedi and doesn’t and never fit your POV as a talmid of RYBS.

      • mycroft says:

        i sadly was at RMTs levaya , was Menachem Avel,  I spent time in the Boston area and knew the people involved. One would not expect or desire an objective discussion of anyone who was murdered al Kiddush Hashem.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The stories of Talmidim and family members of any Adam Gadol are always worth reading just for their inspirational value especially for those of us who were not zoche to be at the levaya or be mnahem avel

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Who says that objectivity is a virtue in such an instance?That is why we recite kinos and recount the lives and demise of the

        Asarah harugei malchus burning of the Talmud and Holocaust mzrtyrs to inspire us to live lives rooted in kiddish HaShem



      • Steve Brizel says:

        Would you apply the same comment and POV ( which is a nice but cynical bon motif to any hesped  of an Adam Gadol) to reading memoirs or books about a scientist, political leader or a great athlete, all of which might broaden what you didn’t know about such a person? I saw in the introduction to the bio of R Moshe Twersky ZL HaShem Yimkam Damo in the name of R Yaakov Weinberg ZL ( RY of NIRC) that we read such books because they depict the lives of great Yidden and what we can learn in some small way from their lives to be inspired more in our Avodas HaShem in our own lives.

      • mycroft says:

        Yes! Heapedimare the least accurate. FWIW both my parents in written Zara to us stated no hespedim, only tehillim. As my father AH stated to me on the way to Olam hames I dont want sheker stated

      • Steve Brizel says:

        That is your opinion and that of your parents. To call that a widely followed individual or communal practice especially if a memorial volume is published about the niftar means that the legacy of the life and contributions of the individual have been preserved regardless of their instructions to the contrary.yehi

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Yehi Zicram Baruch

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The book in question is hardly a book of hespedim. It is a fascinating story of how An einekel of RYBS applied himself in a constant manner throughout his life to become a great talmid chacham husband and father.

  12. Steve Brizel says:

    Like it or not every Jewish male is obligated to the best of his knowledge to learn TSBP and especially Gemara. You can offer any external reasons why women should learn Talmud but women are exempted for a variety of reasons first and foremost because men are obligated in Mitzvos aseh shehazman grams because of their spiritual inferioity to women who remained loyal during the episodes of the golden calf and Korach. No amount of feminist rooted rhetoric can or will ever change this.

    • mycroft says:

      For better or worse, some statements of the Rav were quoted, for balance some other statements were quoted. Thus issue is what walls the Ravs attitude be towards various issues involving women. I assume most of bloggers are not nvlved professionally in Yidishkeit, clearly Rabbi Gordimer is. Rabbi Gordimer takes his position and develops in a polite manner. It actually serves his side much better than others who attack much more ad hominem. I certainly never pasken end at most we quote either statements or Maaseh Rav.

    • dr.bill says:

      through an admixture of midrashim about limmud hatorah and the notions of mitzvot aseh sh’hazeman grama you have hit on a critical point made by academic talmud scholars who link limmud hatorah and the mitzvot aseh sh’hazeman grama.  baruch shekivantoh.  now read the early tannaic literature to see how that connection was established and developed.  were it only as simple as you seem to think, rishonim would not have to exercise their brilliance in trying to make sense of the various sugyot.

      btw, how was the mitzvah to learn gemara fulfilled by tannaim?  is learning the yerushalmi sufficient or must one also learn the bavli?  your notion of “especially gemara” flies in the face of those rishonim who explicitly differed!!

      • Steve Brizel says:

        During the tekufa of the Tansim prior to the formulation of the Mishnah as we know it today all of TSBP was studied in an oral manner.

      • dr.bill says:

        wow, even ma she’talmid atid le’chadaish.  even concepts/frameworks that did not exist?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        There are chiddushei Torah in every generation waiting to be discovered by a talmid vasik

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Show me one sugya and the Rishonim thereto not gender oriented contemporary scholars who assume that women are obligated to learn TSBP in the same manner as men

      • dr.bill says:

        no one is talking obligated.  there are other reasons to study.  even r. yosef and bruriah, though not obligated, studied.  even non-jews study a variety of topics some with great hasmadah.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Obligation is the issue. There is no dispute that a mtzuveh gains a larger scar mitzvah than an aino mtzuveh.R Yosef who was a sagi nahor and Bruriah are exceptional cases  who are not relevant to the discussion at hand

      • dr.bill says:

        to paraphrase the Rav ztl, obligation is the floor not the ceiling.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        There are so many statements by the Tannaim and Amoraim as halachic norms as to the importance of Talmud Torah for men as oppozed to women. What You are referring to are disagreements as to what constitutes the point of emphasis .show me one Tanna Amore or Rishon who defines the mitzvah in a lchatchilah basis as consisting of the first verse in Krias Shema.

  13. simon fleischer says:

    Steve, the manner in which you present subjective hashkafic considerations as objective truths is so off putting. Even if that’s how you truly feel, for tactical reasons I would think you would adopt a different tone. Your tone is so divisive, and does damage to Jewish unity, and hurts people who read your words– as it does me. I would assume as a frum Jew this matters to you.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Simon-I stand by my comments on this thread and related threads  and I don’t think that what JOFA and YCT advocate can be viewed as within the boundary of MO. I do not believe that issues of Klapei PNim in hashkafa and halacha  should ever be looked aside  and thrown under the bus because of  some vague and ill defined notion of “Jewish unity”  that I doubt coexists with that of R Saadyah Gaon. I don’t think  that feminism and its continuous threat to the health of the Jewish family should ever be viewed as a philosophy that can be coopted or rationalized within MO.( In this context, I am reminded of a story involving R Belsky ZL who responded to a query from a doctor or nurse as to why he had such a large family-R Belsky ZL replied that the Jewish People are an endangered species. Like it or not, the family unit and Jewish children who follow their parents devotion to Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim are the key to Jewish continuity. The question remains-shouldn’t thinking about marriage be as equally as important as the APs an Ivy League acceptance and a great professional career?)

      When you say that my comments “hurt”, that IMO is code for a refusal to discuss any POV except your own. I think that comments like yours IMO  illustrate why we are in such a dark Galus in the US-because we are far too comfortable with the Zeigeist of our times even when it poses a clear and present danger to a life rooted in Torah and Mitzvos, and seek rationalizations away from a life rooted in Kedoshim Tihiyu. .

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Simon I stand by my comments on this thread and others related to the same. I think that when you use the term you are calling for silence and acceptance of the unacceptable within halacha and hashkafic norms which clearly was the subject of the forums at the JOFA conference and the peddling of the same a la Pravda in the JW whose objectivity on this issue is as objective as the NYT on Trump. No amount of rhetoric which has its roots on the goals of feminism to destroy the conventional family can mask the fact that alternatives to Kiddushin gay marriage and single women having children are issues which are simply beyond any normative view of Halacha and the importance of creating families who are dedicated to building a Bayis Neeman BYisrael. The fact that this topic makes some uncomfortable should never be an excuse to shrink from the fact that any species that does not replicate ceases to exist. I do think that educating our next generation about the importance of marriage arb an earlier age is a critical issue that needs to be stressed far more than seeing how far we can minimalize the differences between the genders and rationalize away isdurim such as toevah prutza kadesha and shtuki.




    • Steve Brizel says:

      R Saadya Gaon stated that the Jewish nation is a nation only by virtue of the Torah. One cannot call for unity by proposing the rationalization and acceptance of the unacceptable

  14. Sarah says:

    When the Rav describes Torah Imecha, he describes an emotional experience that a mother has the capacity to generate for both her sons and daughters, the Rav being a prime example of a male beneficiary of his mothers form of Torah.  Is it not unreasonable then, that Toras Avicha, the intellectual and moral Torah that a father has the obligation to pass along, is similarly meant to be transmitted to both sons and daughters?  I believe that Avicha and Imecha refer to the transmitters, not the recipients.  Mrs. Schwartz reiterates that this is not a case of women asking to be Rabbis (transmitters of Toras Avicha) but recipients of that Torah.

    Each Jew needs a combination of both Toras Avicha and Imecha.  The Rav expresses the essentiality of the living experience of Judaism to enhance and underlie his “formal compliance with the law”. To deny girls access to Torah Avicha is to provide color without form, tone without composition.  There is no anchor for experiences, no weight to the ethereality. Might there be different proportions of the 2 aspects of Torah that are ideal for men and women? Of course. But you have undermined your ability to separate the 2 paths entirely along gender lines because as men need “the beauty, grandeur, and warmth” of Torah and the “flavor and scent” of the mitzvos, the stark lines have already been erased.

    Furthermore, perhaps in the days of old women were capable of living and believing on scents and ephemera alone, but nowadays, a vague expression of beauty is not going to keep a girl grounded and on a solid path.  In spite of what many frum men persist in believing, a good number of women are intellectual creatures, skeptical of hazy feelings and amorphous emotions.  If “Judaism is to a great extent an intellectual discipline, a method, a system of thought, a hierarchy of values”, how can you ask girls to maintain a commitment to that Judaism if you deny them access to, and invalidate their need for and abilities towards, that very discipline?  The answer is that you can’t.  Since Judaism is, largely, an intellectual and moral body, if you have determined that women have no place in that mesorah, you have have done exactly what Mrs. Schwartz describes, you have told girls that “they are outsiders to the core mission of our community” and you have essentially asked them to leave.  And they (we?) are, some overtly, but many, many more in an orthoprax modality.  And once there are too few able and willing to generate the emotional underpinnings of Judaism, you will lose Toras Avicha too.

    (I do not agree with Mrs. Schwartz’s proposed solution, but the problem is real, and denying its existence will come back to haunt us.)

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill wrote in relevant part:

    “joel rich, your point is well taken.  neither the kollel wife, slaving to support her husband, nor the woman who is a full time doctor are solely focused on raising the next generation.  however, no one has demonstrated that other approaches to child-rearing are not equally or more effective.  ”

    The question remains-who is more likely to raise their children and value and cherish the preservation and spiritual growth of her entire family? I would argue that since both spouses have to work to support the requirements of raising a family, one spouse has to be there to make sure that the huge responsibilities of running the home and being there for the children in their early years and encouraging her husband to learn ( Brachos 17) devolves on the wife-regardless of whether she is a kollel wife or a high powered full time professional

  16. asher says:

    sorry – skimmed through the comments so I apologize if this basic and simple point was expressed – are the modern orthodox not concerned with the potential ill effects of encouraging close relationships between female students and rabbanim?

    • dr.bill says:

      i for one am worried.  fortunately, those who do are more likely to be socially prepared and react appropriately.  in any case, the laws of yichud apply.

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