The Battle for Orthodoxy Repeats Itself Half a Century Later

As was to be expected, the leadership and organs of Open Orthodoxy are not too happy (to put it mildly) with the OU’s decision to put a stop to female clergy in OU member shuls.

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, who, along with Maharat (female clergy) Ruth Balinsky Friedman, leads OU member congregation Ohev Sholom, retorted:

(T)he OU does not get to define what is Orthodox. (The OU statement is) horrible.

These men in the leadership of the OU don’t want to give proper credit and respect to women. When they came to our office, they spoke to the maharats and asked them to change their title. The chutzpah. I feel that there is very weak leadership at the helm of this organization.

They said that they will reevaluate in three years. I pray that in these three years, the OU will be reevaluated, that there will be new leadership that will not be so narrow-minded and short-sighted, and that they can grow and be a more open and inclusive organization.

International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), which is led by men and women largely affiliated with Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) and Yeshivat Maharat (YM), the Open Orthodox rabbinical schools, likewise harshly condemned the OU:

The OU, itself has stated that it has chosen the single issue of women’s spiritual leadership to project itself as Orthodoxy’s gatekeeper rather than as its facilitator.

By choosing to enforce standards that exclude Orthodox colleagues in avodat Hakodesh who demonstrate in their work and personal practice a complete commitment to Orthodoxy and halakha, the OU is reversing decades of precedent and good will, and enacting bad policy.

We believe the OU is missing a historic opportunity to truly promote women’s spiritual leadership across the spectrum of our diverse Orthodox community. By doing so, it is squandering its role as a unifying force in the community.

It is ironic that Rabbi Herzfeld and IRF label the OU as narrow-minded and excluding others from Orthodoxy, while Rabbi Herzfeld and IRF conveniently forget that Orthodoxy – Torah – is a set of rules and standards, and is not a piece of Silly Putty that can be defined as one likes and that can be bent into whatever one desires (even though a quick perusal of Open Orthodox practices and beliefs leads one to the conclusion that this denomination maintains that Orthodoxy is another word for “everything goes”.)

It is ironic that Rabbi Herzfeld and IRF negate the concept of Orthodox Judaism being anchored in the consensus of halachic rulings by the generation’s most preeminent rabbinic leaders (e.g. here, here and here) and instead insist on rabbinic autonomy in the weightiest and most potentially divisive of areas, including Who is a Jew and Who is a Rabbi. YCT and YM leadership have led their denomination down a path of unilateralism and fragmentation, encouraging each rabbi to decide his (and her!) own standards. Hence have Open Orthodox clergy penned responsa that materially reform conversion regulations, synagogue practices, and muchmuch more.

It is ironic that Rabbi Herzfeld and IRF accuse the OU of divisiveness, when it is Rabbi Herzfeld, IRF, and the Open Orthodox denomination that have knowingly and deliberately broken away from mainstream Orthodoxy and consensus halachic practice, knowing that Orthodox leadership did not sanction their radical actions and novel approach to Judaism. Rabbi Herzfeld nastily said of the OU, “the chutzpah”; I’m afraid that Rabbi Herzfeld should have rather focused that remark inward.

If this is not a case of the pot calling the kettle black, then I do not know what is.

The OU has taken a principled stand and most necessary step to preserve Torah, following a broad-based ruling of the generation’s foremost rabbinic leaders. The OU’s actions harken back to the mechitzah issue of half a century ago, when the practices of progressive congregations threatened the integrity of Torah Judaism and Orthodox authenticity.

To quote the eternally applicable words of Rav Soloveitchik regarding that watershed battle for the stability and perpetuation of Orthodoxy:

It is completely irrelevant to our problem whether fifty or five percent of the membership of the RCA occupies pulpits in synagogues with improper seating arrangements. The violation of a religious, ethical principle does not affect its validity and cogency even though a large segment of the community is engaged in doing so. A transcendental tenet is binding regardless of its unpopularity with the multitudes. Was the commandment against murder declared null and void while the Nazi hordes were practicing genocide?

The Rabbinical Council of America stands now at the crossroads; and must decide to either assume boldly and courageously the time-honored, by-ages-sanctified role of the traditional rabbinate which traces its history back to Joshua, Moses and Sinai, and thus be ready to fight for an undiluted Halakhah which is not often in the vogue; or to deteriorate into a so-called modern rabbinic group of undefined quality and of a confused ideology, vague in its attitude and undecided in is policies…

I call on the convention to make its stand clear on this problem, and to break finally with the policy of evading issues and employing ambiguities and inconsistencies. Matters have gone too far…

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79 Responses

  1. Chochom B'mah Nishtaneh says:

    I think this line is the crux of the matter.

    “The OU does not get to define what is Orthodox.”

    Herzfeld and his group wanted to reinterpret what is Orthodox. They wanted to toss millennium long established methods of p’sak in favor of the newest societal (ab)norms. Including gender roles based on the newest flavor gender of the week. (As evidenced by the apparent necessity of visiting an “everything but heterosexual” bar on a Yom Tov)

    The OU is not defining Orthodoxy, or more truly, halachaic Judaism. That has been established for millennia.

    Oy, how sad it is that it has come to this. I guess we are in a generation of Chutzpah Yasgei.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    “The OU has taken a principled stand and most necessary step to preserve Torah, following a broad-based ruling of the generation’s foremost rabbinic leaders.”

    The ruling is fine, but doesn’t the above presume a bit much? I’d imagine that many “foremost rabbinic leaders” have not weighed in on this matter because to them the whole concept of a female rabbi is unthinkable. Many such leaders are Hareidim whose circles are thankfully not exposed to this heresy.

    In politics, “divisiveness” typically means unwillingness to unite behind the latest shiny, new stupidity. So, too, in the inverted world of today’s mock-Orthodox schismatics. Let them unite behind Torah and mean it.

  3. Honestly, what’s so hard to understand? Take out a patent on the term “Orthodox Judaism” already and end the matter!

  4. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Shlomo HaMelech wrote that there is nothing new under the sun. 90+ years ago, there was a movement afoot to merge RIETS with JTS, since both were “Orthodox” rabbinical schools. Rabbi Aharon Rafkefet, in his biography of Bernard Revel, covers the subject quite well. However, in this day and age, it might be helpful for someone to re-examine Dr. Revel’s unpublished essay “Seminary and Yeshiva” for its insights. I think it might be relevant today.

    • dr. bill says:

      in those days the seminary had academic scholars of note; even the Yeshiva housed a few at times during that period. today among the various characterizations of YCT, having any academic scholarship in talmud or halakha or philosophy or Midrash IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

      ironically today, both Revel and JTS both have established academic scholars though at Revel certain areas of academic scholarship are off-limits.

      • Shades of Gray says:

        Which areas of academic scholarship in Revel are off limits? Doesn’t someone need to deal with them in some way ?

      • dr. bill says:

        biblical criticism is not covered, as far as i know. there are really are not many scholars who deal with it in a way that would be academically adequate. there are at least two individuals at YU, one at RIETS and one at YC, whose views would be of interest. even dr. berman at bar ilan, whose essays appear on hirhurim, might be a tad too controversial. even rav breuer ztl, who taught at har etzion – ironically , i read a “frum” comment of his on the most troubling trop in last week’s haftarah, ten minutes ago, page 384, someone just pointed out; I personally like another approach – was attacked by some in the non-chareidi orthodox camp.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Did not Dr Leiman criticize R Breuer ZL’s approach in one of the Orthodox Forum books?

      • dr. bill says:

        yes, he was among those who attacked him; of course, the fact that he taught at the Gush indicates who allowed his approach to be taught.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        If you go to the SOY Seforim sale, there is generally a table with a fairly good selection of Academic Jewish studies . IIRC R D Leiman wrote that R Breuer ZL’s derech would never convince any academic whose views on Tanach were decidedly academically rooted in Bible study.

      • dr. bill says:

        it was meant for bnai and benos torah not academics; rav breuer ztl taught at gush, not in a university.

        nothing ever written or spoken has ever convinced an academic bible scholar to mend his ways. that was not rav breuer’s intent.

  5. lacosta says:

    what is not clear is why the OU couldnt do the right thing and expel these OO synagogues. the choice is clear—either OU or OO , either YU or YCT…. but i fear the colleagues of these four temples will neither shun nor condemn; so the line will be blurred , and in 3 yrs time, they will be kashered lechatchila….

  6. Raymond says:

    I realize that what I am about to say is not the central point of the above article, yet I feel compelled to remark how inspiring I found the words of Rav Soloveitchik quoted above to be. Among the Torah books I own, I probably have more of his books than any other single author, and yet I have felt intimidated by his quite formidable intellect to actually read what he had to say. After absorbing his words above, however, I feel encouraged to finally plunge into his works, although come to think of it I have read probably his two most famous works of all, Halachic Man as well as his Lonely Man of Faith, both of which I strongly recommend that every Jew read at some point in their lives.

    As for the pot calling the kettle black, that is apparently a trait not only among those on the religious Left, but also on the political Left. For example, the political Left is forever calling us political conservatives “racists,” when in reality it is they who are constantly judging people by the color of their skin rather than by the content of their character. and here I see that it is the Open Orthodox who are really the intolerant ones, not the mainstream Orthodox who are simply trying to maintain the status quo. Thank G-d that the Orthodox Union has a real backbone on this issue.

  7. Shmuel says:

    I hope and praye Ohev Shalom in Washington evaluates it’s leadership and Herzefeld and his media grabbing antics are asked to leave now.

  8. Alex says:

    If a fish cannery started selling swordfish with an O-U on its label, the O-U would shut that down in an instant. I don’t understand the three-year delay. I do feel bad for the yashar shomrei torah u’mitzvos members of these shuls who are being railroaded by those with other agendas. I hope the O-U will do everything possible to assist them in breaking off and forming shuls that follow the guidance of our chachamim and poskim. Sixty years ago the challenge was over mechitzos, today it is a different wind of “personal autonomy.” Those heroes of the past who had the courage to preserve Orthodoxy, and leave shuls that tore down mechitzos, should be the models for today’s challenge.

    • dr. bill says:

      the OU has acted CONSISTENTLY. sixty years ago no expulsions over not having a mechitzah; today no expulsion over women in clerical roles.

      there are still a number of OU shuls with mechizot that might cause a raised eyebrow, at least when trying to find them.

      • Mycroft says:

        Agreed, even some very prominent shuls , including some with prominent Rabbis with shuls as you say have mechitzot that night cause a raised eyebrow at least when trying to find them.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The decision by the OU is IMO rooted in the following -RYBS told musmachim who took a mixed seating shul to have a mechitza installed in no less than two or three years or leave. That is what happened at LSS and other shuls with talmidim of RYBS around the US. Other rabbonim of other yeshivos stayed in their houses of worshio with mixed seating microphones and driveways and many of their sons and SILs who went to yeshivos other than RIETS did not assume their fathers’ responsibilities. You may not like the mechitza at LSS but it was a functional mechitza. The OU worked hard to enable shuls to erect mechitzos. One or two shuls that did not, or recruited rabbanim on the pretense that a mechitza would be established, but went back on the premise of hirung a rav on that basis, lost their rav and withdrew from the OU.

      • Mycroft says:

        LSS had transfer of Torah to women to carry in their section on the way to and from the Aron Kodesh.
        I was not referring to the mechitza at LSS. BTW I am aware of a couple of mechitza where the Rav was directly involved in the actual plans. Schuls in different cities. They both followed a combination of parts that are not see grouch and relatively small portion on top with some saves in between solid blocking.
        One has to distinguish the Rav and lack of proper mechitzot and mixed pews.
        I actually once heard the Rav referring to a time when he predicted the Rabbi would be dealing with him of increasing size of mechitza. His prediction was accurate but he specifically left to person when to make the fight. He Rav trusted local Rabbonim. Many times people cite the Rav as giving generalized specific times for things. He trusted local Rabbis more than many current RY.

      • lacosta says:

        They both followed a combination of parts that are not see grouch and relatively small portion on top with some saves in between solid blocking.

        —could any speeling errors in this be corrected so that those of us who speak american west coast non-architectural english can understand it ?

      • Mycroft says:

        When the Rav was alive and active he was far from th posek of the YU. Many Baal batim and certainly leading executives of OU had other gedolim that they followed.
        One can for a period of 30-40 years when the Rav was undisputed head of RDA Halacha commission show that the RCA followed the Rav. Not the situation for OU. The Rav had influence there, but there’s also had nflence.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        On crucial issues preswntrd to OU Board RYBS views were followed.

      • Mycroft says:

        Your statement has caveats which make it meaningless.. On crucial issues – what is a crucial issue? Presented to the Board- issues are decided effectively by Conventions and elsewhere.
        Suffice it to say the Rav was involved for example in strategy to keep the OU in the SCA, that fact alone is enough to show that the Rav was far from the sole source of influence.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The OU decided not at a convention to stay in the SCA. Most issues are decided long before they ever reach a convention debate. Prior to the 1990s RYBS was one of many Gdolim who the OU was influenced by . NCSY National Conventions always had rabbinical faculty speakers and advisors from many yeshivos.

      • dr. bill says:

        THe Rav ztl not “one of many Gdolim” as you write, he was the preeminent influence. RMF ztl and others were consulted. those who led the organization can tell you. many of those leaders are still alive; you have to wait a bit longer before attempting to rewrite history.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Dr Bill–Mycroft merely wrote that RYBS had influence within the OU but was not the only Gadol with influence therein.

      • dr. bill says:

        mycroft is not accurate. i daven with 2 ex-presidents and am related to a third.

  9. Steve Brizel says:

    Each of the subject four subject shuls their rabbinical leaders and allies in the US and Israel deserved more light and exposure on why OO is attempting to peddlein a fashion that border on the fraudulent a halachalless Orthodoxy and create a class of converts who might be married by a R or C clergyman but who they themselves would not officiate at such marriages. I would go one step further. I predict that at any of the subject four shuls or in any OO oriented shul or so- called “partnership minyan” that we will see a same gender”marriage ceremony”. An OO clergyman has already done so in Israel. If that happened in any of these shuls, IMO, that would be grounds for expulsion from the OU. and even seeking revocation of the smicha of such an individual. It should be noted that R D T Hoffffman ZL revoked the smicha of a German rabbi who committed a similarly objectionable act.

    • Nissan antine says:

      What oo clergyman performed a same sex marriage in Israel?

    • Mycroft says:

      I agree with your formulation. I intended to convey tha others besides the Rav had influence in the OU. Dr Bill by stating that Rav Moshe was consulted is enough to state that others had influence too. Obviously, writing that others had influence too indicates that the Rav had influence
      BTW in major issues of day concerning dealing with heterodox clergy, the Rav and Rav Moshe had different viewpoints. It is also true that they were different in dealing with non Jews.

      • mycroft says:

        “dr. bill
        February 11, 2018 at 9:36 pm

        mycroft is not accurate. i daven with 2 ex-presidents and am related to a third”
        I live across the street from an ex OU President. So what. To the best of my knowledge I am not related to any OU president.
        I merely state the following “Suffice it to say the Rav was involved for example in strategy to keep the OU in the SCA, that fact alone is enough to show that the Rav was far from the sole source of influence.”
        Are you denying that the Rav was involved in strategy to keep the OU in the SCA or are you denying my analysis that fact would show that he was from the only influence on the OU

  10. mb says:

    I fail to see how banning something that is legally permitted is good for Orthodoxy. Don’t like female Rabbis? Then vote with your feet and don’t attend their Synagogues. I bet I’m not the only one here who will not daven in a NK Shul. Besides, soon after eliminating those 4 Shuls the inquisition will spread to the practices of other left of the right Shuls.

    • lacosta says:

      when you say ‘legally’ — do you mean not a crime in the united states; or do you mean something consistent with halacha?

      • mb says:

        I was specifically referring to halacha, but now that I think about it, maybe both.
        “It’s just not done, old chap”, doesn’t work with many thoughtful and sincere people.

  11. Yonah says:

    I’m waiting for the time when, instead of yelling “shabbos! shabbos!” or writing articles like this frum Jews yell “Ahavas Yisroel! Ahavas Yisroel!” and spend a bit of effort on a limmud zchut.

    • Bob Miller says:

      Do you want us to say that the other side is sincerely dangerous?

    • Rafael Quinoaface says:

      There is no limud zechus for given ordination to woman, an ideologically driven change implemented by OO as part of their vision to radically change Orthodox Judaism . Classically, limud zechus is reserved by the poskim to exculpate a practice of the hamon am, the people’ that appears to be a breach of halochoh. This doesn’t fit the criteria at all.

      • Yonah says:

        A limmud zchus is not reserved to poskim, and there is no reason to define it so extremely narrowly. Every time you walk down the street and see someone who you might judge unfavorably at first glance or even after witnessing something you think seems bad, you must work on your own capacity for limmud zchus. Because they do not deserve your scorn, and Hashem does not need hello judging such things, and we are commanded to love our fellow Jew.

    • Chochom b'mahnishtaneh says:

      What you probably mean is “Tikun Olam”.

    • lacosta says:

      ahavas yisroel ! ahavas yisroel ! bacon is kosher ! women can be rabbis! you can drive your car on shabbos ! men can marry men! ahavas yisroel! ahavas yisroel!

      is that what you meant?

      • Mycroft says:

        To compare women Rabbis which even assuming one accepts the psak of the Rabbis is not in the ball park of violating clear Torah rules such as eating clear treif, mechallel Shabbos, and assuming you mean mishkan zachar. A clear Biblical prohibition. In times of when there was a Sanhedrin in lishkas hagazit, the last two would be capital crimes.
        Exaggeration is not the way to win battles.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        There is evidence of OO rabbis performing weddings between Kohanim and Grushos as well as enabling a giyores with Gerus Las Vegas Style to marry a kohen but only by deviationist rabbis. I predict that an OO clergyman will in rhe near future participate in or preside over a same gender ceremony. This is as problematic as women clergymen.

      • mycroft says:

        Dont tell me what some OO Rabbis do, there are RIETS musmachim who did wrong also. Issue is what the institutional leadership advocate.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Don’t deny the facts on the ground-OO rabbis and their supporters in Israel are creating an entire of so-called converts whose level of Kabalas Ol Mitzvos would never pass muster for them to be married by even RCA members who don’t feel bound to the GPS but who will pass as converts in the deviationist communities, Facilitating marraiges between a Kohen and a Grusha and/or a Giyores is happening as these words are being posted. If you don’t think that an OO rabbi will participate in or preside over a same gender ceremony in the near future, IMO, you are sadly mistaken. I see no condemnation of any these acts by OO rabbinical leaders.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        An OO clergyman who faciliates paeticipates,or presides over. A martiage between a Kohen and a divorcee and or a convert is violating halacha as is such a person who facllitates presides over or participates in a same gender ceremony. This is far worse than womens ordination which violates a halacha of srarah and tznius. The above recerenced instances are outright violations of halacha .

      • Yonah says:

        That’s a strange leap.
        No one can decide for another person, and no community can decide for another community, which chumras and kulas and which minhagim should or can apply. Even in actual halachic questions, there must be a qualified Rav who knows a community or an individual, to decide. Some”centralized” Orthodox institutions are attempting to decide once and for all what minhagim should be followed in every Orthodox community, far overreaching their mandate (which doesn’t in fact exist, because who appointed them?). Women’s issues are obviously at the forefront of social evolution in religion, and there are many acceptable pathways to including women more in education and pastoral leadership. By going to war against their fellow Jews on this subject people like R. Gordimer do a great deal to disgust many individuals with orthodoxy and push them away from halacha. This is why we need to be machmir on Ahavas Yisroel. Because it is not necessary or good to always call your fellow Jews out on differences in culture and minhag that are unrelated to core commitments to emunah and chinuch and halacha.

      • rkz says:

        The problem is that we are talking about kefira. Ordaining women rabbis, in the current context, is a sign of kefira. When it comes to kefira, one is not supposed to be melemaed zchut.
        It should be noted that we generally follow the shita of the Radbaz, that when someone teaches kefira because he (or she…) misunderstood chazal, he is not a kofer, et what he says is kefira.

      • dr. bill says:

        a textbook example of tofastah merubah lo tofastah. i believe you honestly believe what you wrote; i doubt many of the rabbis the OU turned to would agree with you. i hope none would.

      • rkz says:

        Indeed, I honestly believe what I wrote (otherwise, I would not have written it).
        I heard so from some very important rabbanim here in Eretz Yisrael (although not from the rabbanim the OU consulted, whom I have not seen since around the year 5755).
        However, as I understand what RHS shlita wrote himself )not the joint psak), I think that he wil agree with what I wrote

      • mycroft says:

        Why is it kefirah? We don’t ordain Rabbis. Classical Rabbanus from the days of smicha doesn’t exist. There are roles that Rabbis sometimes did that women cant do clearly against halacha. There are roles that a Rabbi did that a woman can do.
        Most Rabbis officiate at funerals. A Cohen cant do that. We ordain Rabbis who are Cohanim. They don’t do the functions that are assur for them.
        What is essential is that halacha is followed.

      • rkz says:

        I wrote that this is a sign of kefira, because it is a product of feminism.
        As the Rav Moshe, the great posek of America, explained in his teshuva about (so-called) orthodox feminism, the ideological base of the whole movement is kefira, even if a particular change can be somehow reconciled with halakha.

      • Bob Miller says:

        So you toss this off as a minhag? Aside from being a laughable claim, this shows how little respect you have for any actual minhagim you want to uproot.

      • Yonah says:

        Yes, the development of leadership roles for women is a minhag. And it’s not the same as having “women rabbis” — obviously such a thing in full form would go against halacha, perhaps on multiple counts. But there are many ways to have women in leadership or pastoral roles, and to have their commitments to long term preparation and education for the position to be honored. Many minhagim need to be recalibrated with various halachic considerations, and sometimes this takes a generation or more.

        I don’t know what kefirah has to do with it, but I do know that allegations of kefirah in this and related situations only serve to alienate Jews on both sides from the necessary process of halacha working to resolve dissonances and evolutions of a community within a Torah context, which is what halacha has always done in galut.

      • lacosta says:

        my point stands that r yonah believes in live and let live judaism — ie all forms of non orthodoxy are acceptable . and just be nice to them because they are grownups who can decide for themselves… as i said , day is night , night is day, there is no right , there is no wrong , tra la la

      • mycroft says:

        “I do know that allegations of kefirah in this and related situations only serve to alienate Jews”
        Agreed-issues should be argued by ideas and sources.

  12. Yehudah says:

    Kvod shamayim may require a more forceful protest than a laze fair live and let live vote with your feet approach that your advocating!

    • dr. bill says:

      in what seif is the requirements on what and how to protest for Kvod Shamayim delineated? my sense is it is in the unwritten 5th chelek where derech eretz kadmah le’torah is repeated; it underlies a number of halakhot in the first 4 chalakim, as well. the fifth chelek also delineates the size of stones to be thrown at various avaryonim :).

  13. Mycroft says:

    One has to careful when one is advocating Kavod Hatorah that the real purpose is Kavod Hatorah and not Kavod oneself.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Sometimes the choices are rather elementary in advocating Kavod HaTorah. You vote with your feet, heart and mind. In such cases there is precious little if any Kavod Atzmo involved and generally no small amount of aggravation.

  14. Steve Brizel says:

    Actually there is a mitzvah of Tochacha which can be asserted even by a Talmid to a rav. The related questions in discussing this mitzvah are what violations of Torah law generate the obligation of Tochacha ( explicit violations of Torah law) , whether someone is a Mumar Lhachis or lteavon, how one gives Tochahca and who is worthy to give the same. That being said, there is a huge difference between raising issues either in print or on line with respect to the deviations of accepted boundaries of Halacha and Hashkafa by OO and its allies which is productive in that one is providing necessary background and documentation as to specific violations as opposed to throwing rocks. You can obviously either agree with or disagree in whole or in part in a constructive manner with an article either in print or on line. OTOH, if a rock breaks through your windshield or your clothes are attacked for their color, the manner of disagreement obviously is counterproductive.

    • mycroft says:

      Rav Wachtfogel ZT”L former masshgiach of BMG stated reason why Devarim begins with acharei hakoto et sichon… is that after doing the tova to Bnei Israel of getting rid of their enemies then and only then can tochacha be given. Tochacha can only be given by someone who the recipient likes

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Look in Erechin 16b as well as Ramban and the Mareh Mkomos cited by the Torah Temimah on Vayikra 19: 17. That is where the Mitzvah of Tochacha, which is stated in Sefer Vayikra, is discussed. WADR to Dvar Torah that you cited, neither the verse in the Torah nor the Talmud condition the Mitzvah of Tochacha on Klal Yisrael being rid of its enemies. Many Poskim understand that the two sided mitzvah of kruv and chizuk are based on the Mitzvah of Tochacha. That being said, the Talmud in Erechin assumes that Tochacha applies even when there is no practical value and even from a talmid to a rebbe.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        That assumes that Tochacha is only a Mitzvah that applies in Messsianic times-how and where is that derived from how and where the verse is stated in the Torah in Parshas Kedoshim and understood in many different sugyos in Shas?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        That is a nice vprt. Ut one can wuestion whether the mitzvah of Tochacha is so defined in tbe Torah and many sugyos in the Talmud and Rishonim who place no such limitation on how one fulfils the Mitzva and emphasize that tochacha can be given by a talmid to his rebbe and even when tbe protest is futile. One can veey seriously argue that Tochacha is not a mitzva that is dependent on the vanquishing of the enemies of Klal Yisrael.

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    For those interested, take a look at the linked article One wonders whether those commenters who wished the author a mazel tov ever learned Sefer Vayikra or simply view the Issur Min HaTorah which is one of the seven Noachide laws as RL either having no applicability or being R:L abrogated completely.

    • Bob Miller says:

      It’s easy for someone who feels new meanings can be assigned at will to any words, and that words too hard to redefine can be ignored. This is how Christians can claim to believe in the “Old Testament.”

      • Mycroft says:

        You used a term that Christians use for the Hebrew Bible. It is a demeaning term, implying that their law supersceded Torah. Their term for Tanach should never be used by us.

      • Bob Miller says:

        That’s why I put it on quotes! Should be obvious.

      • Mycroft says:

        IMO you are still using the term that they use. Why not use the academically correct Christian Bible or even the term that Prof Harry Wolfson advocated Gospels. Anything but the term that shows belief in the anathema of supercession

      • Bob Miller says:

        That’s why I put it in quotes! Should be obvious.

      • Bob Miller says:

        By the way, Mycroft, I did not use the words Christian Bible or Gospels—because I was discussing something else. I was addressing the Christian revisionist attitude toward Tanach in itself and in what they call it.

        You haven’t refuted Steve Brizel on any major point despite many restatements.

      • Mycroft says:

        What fact that Steven Brizel has cited sources that one can read that contradicts what I have written I have not answered or accepted .
        Please show what he has cited with sources. I don’t state he has to answer my statements which are not cited. Many of mine are based on information which I choose not to cite my sources. If someone doesn’t want to accept what I have written as credible that is their choice. I have been commenting for over a decade. People can determine my credibility or lack of on the basis of their beliefs of how accurate I am.
        We all do that, how many times for example has Steve stated that he stands in what he states. We all have credibility or lack of it.
        BTW credibility is different for different people, see eg different commentators clearly treat different Rabbis with different credibility.

  16. Ralph Suiskind says:

    What President Trump has achieved and will achieve in the political swamp of Washington DC, will certainly occur within the Jewish Community… ultimately, established historical eternal Torah Values will reign supreme
    notwithstanding modern trends…. Hopefully, another holocaust will be avoided!!!!

  17. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-Credibility , at least in my occupation, means that a witness or document is truthful. Credibility should not be confused with whether a particular argument has merit or the lack thereof which is never rooted in credibility but rather in the evidence and documents supporting the same or the absence thereof.

    • Mycroft says:

      Thus, I agree that one can argue logic of credible people . It is certainly far to disagree with pole without impugning the person ne disagrees with.

  18. Eric Leibman says:

    As this article makes quite clear, Avi Weiss and his minions aren’t even minutely concerned by the OU decision. Giving them any time at all is pointless. They should be expelled now and done with it. All the OU has done is make itself look pathetically weak and cowed while giving these people more time to make trouble.

  19. Bob Miller says:

    The offenders’ defiant posture should convince the OU to rethink the length of this reprieve.

  20. Steve Brizel says:

    If the offenders engage preside over and participate in marriages between Kohanim and divorcees or converts or same gender ceremonies that IMo shouuld prrcipitate a reaction from the RCA.

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