Response to Rabbi Adam Starr and Young Israel of Toco Hills

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212 Responses

  1. Glattsomequestions says:

    Rabbi Gordimer, Thanks for your further explanation on the article you wrote. However, if you wanted to “clear the air” with Rabbi Starr, you might have considered apologizing to him for erroneously suggesting in your initial article that women served as a sandek in R’ Starr’s shul … which you have now changed to “women appearing to serve as a sandek”. You made a factual error in your initial article, and you have refused to correct it or apologize for it. With respect to Rabbi Held, are you aware that Rabbi Held gave a shiur at Yeshiva University, your alma mater, this past year? Why arent you equally upset that a Conservative rabbi was invited to teach and was celebrated at YU? Or is only liberal Orthodox synagogues that deserve condemnation for this? As to your objection to Rabbi Starr’s appearance at a Reconstructionsist synagogue, all I can say is that if you feel that Jews cannot get together in solidarity after the worst attack on American soil against Jews in history, then count me out of your brand of Orthodoxy.

  2. DF says:

    Your article was spot on. The items raised above are minor points which, even if true, do not detract from the gravamen of it.
    Less grounded are the conclusions you drew from it. You wrote “We tend to rely on people based on their affiliations and identifiers.” Very true. As you also wrote, “we” – by which I take it you meant, “some people” – tend to view rabbinic-looking people as reliable, and clean shaven and hatless men, less so. You then proceeded to write about “heimishe-sounding hechsheirim that are anything but reliable.” Only this time around, you failed to say anything about the other side of the coin – perfectly good hechsherim who are questioned because of the way their administrators look.
    I am well aware of at least several different hechsherim who use the same principles and standards as others, but are the subject of innuendo for no other reason that their mashgiach’s beard isn’t long enough, or didn’t go to the “right” yeshivah. (VERY often it is all about the money, and the kashrus organization that didn’t get the supervision contract exacts its revenge by whispering campaigns against the one that did.) In some cases its because the Mashgiach calls himself (e.g.) Steven instead of Sender. More to say, but that’s the gist of it. It seems to me if you are to draw any lessons from the evils of affiliations and identifiers, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    Women speaking after a bris seems to be very common — I don’t keep count, but most orthodox brisses I feature it and not just the “left wing” ones. I have never seen a woman serve as a sandak, though. Is this much ado about nothing?

    Not only did a JTS musmach speak at Yeshiva University but within my lifetime, the two oldest orthodox congregations have had JTS grads as their senior rabbis. Are YU and the two congregations with the longest mesorah in America also threats to orthodoxy?

    I do appreciate the defense of the Rema, though, as I am a big fan. I look forward to the end of the delays of Pesach seders caused by the recital of Hallel in shul on seder nights, to being able to eat ice cream an hour after meat, and to have a lot more folks joining me in wearing tefillin on chol hamoed as all Ashkenazim return to the practices of the Rema.

  4. Chochom Bmah Nishtaneh says:

    “Women speaking after a bris seems to be very common — I don’t keep count, but most orthodox brisses I feature it and not just the “left wing” ones.”

    Charlie, you are the very definition of the ultra left wing. How can you say “I feature it” in the same sentence of not just “left wing” ones?

    ” Are YU and the two congregations with the longest mesorah in America also threats to orthodoxy?”
    Being old congregations hardly make them with the oldest or longest mesorah. Or even a legitimate claim to any mesorah.

    The proof that YITH has apparently gone of the rails in conforming with normative yiddishkeit, L’A is by seeing who comes to defend them wielding the most ridiculous of arguments.

  5. StevevBrizel says:

    One can question whether happens either in the shul st issue or in HIR comports with mainstream Halacha and Mesorah on many issues aside from that of roles of gender and other issues. The pictures from the Bris as linked IMO WADR prove R Gordimers case

  6. BF says:

    What’s your take on the YU thing? Why don’t you feel the need to speak about OO streams taking root in some sections of YU?

    I’m curious to hear. I’m kinda wondering if it’s because you’re afraid it will fortify preexisting bias against YU that would spill over to elements of YU that you think don’t deserve it. That countering YU opposition actually a was a strong theme of your Yates piece.
    If that theory happens to be true (can’t read your mind), I think it’s not so honest, especially because it really does justify the fears charedim have about YU. Even if you believe it not to be sufficient reason to invalidate the beis midrash of Rav Schachter, Rav willing, etc, they think it does, and that’s their right.

    • rkz says:

      I’m not RAG’s spokesman, but it could be that he did not know that YU invited that person to speak there? (BTW, did he give a “shiur” there or was he invited as an academic scholar?)

      • BF says:

        The R’ Starr post that he’s responding to hear notes it, so he was made aware.
        R held have a talk about Herschel, definitely talking about inyanei machshava.
        Thanks for your comment

    • Steve Brizel says:

      OTOH, look at YU Torah where clearly Charedi speakers have spoken on campus

    • Steve Brizel says:

      YU . has always had and will always have a noisy LW that views itself as persecuted and criticizes anything or anyone remotely to its right, a silent majority and a right wing who spend their time learning and ignoring the LW . Somethings never change

      • dr. bill says:

        in my day at YU 50+ years ago, the right wing was Rav Lipshitz ztl and Rav Gorelik ztl. The left wing was the Rav ztl and RAL ztl and Rav Cyperstein ztl and Rav Belkin ztl.

        a bit of a change from then in from my POV, a view supported by the Rav’s daughter and RAL’s wife. despite this view being contentious according to some, it is unmistakable from where I sit.

  7. Steve BRizel says:

    The pictures IMO prove R Gordimers case that the shul in question in the same manner as HIR acts in many ways that are problematic from mainstream Halacha Minhag and Mesorah of what is proper conduct of the genders in a shul

    • dr. bill says:

      I hope you are not trying to redefine the parameters of proof in the SA? i assume it is only your opinion, which is nota normative.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Please citeeany authority quoted within SA that would allow a woman to be a sandek, which is clearly depicted in the pictures.

      • Daniel W says:

        Steve – she was not the Sandek. That picture was taken after the Bris, when all the Halachic ceremony, Brachot, naming, etc. were over.

      • dr. bill says:

        we are not talking about a woman sandeket. we are talking about your claim of clear proof; maybe in your SA that is clear proof. I still have the traditional one.

    • mycroft says:

      “dr. bill
      June 30, 2019 at 9:59 pm
      in my day at YU 50+ years ago, the right wing was Rav Lipshitz ztl and Rav Gorelik ztl. The left wing was the Rav ztl and RAL ztl and Rav Cyperstein ztl and Rav Belkin ztl.
      a bit of a change from then in from my POV, a view supported by the Rav’s daughter and RAL’s wife. despite this view being contentious according to some, it is unmistakable from where I sit.”

      Certainly agree that the Rav, RAL, and R. Belkin were to the left of other RYs.
      Certainly agree that the Ravs children-not sure what you mean by Ravs daughter and RAL’s wife. One of his daughters was RAL’s wife, on the matters that we are discussing both daughters are similar. Certainly, those who sat shiva for the Rav from Boston are similar in their viewpoint in these matters. To a great extent, even those who worked under the Rav in Boston IMO have similar viewpoints including current RIETS Mashgiach Ruchani who was an assistant principal at Maimonides. In general, can see a fault line between those who saw the Rav lemaaseh and those who knew solely from shiur.

  8. Shades of Gray says:

    “There is a website run by a black-hatted, bearded man in a frum Northeast community whose goal is the dissemination of the Documentary Hypothesis(Yated article)”

    In the comments of one of R. Gordimer’s previous essays, I referenced the reason why the individual in question started his website (“From Openness to Heresy”, July, 2013”):

    “After spending more than ten years in kiruv – outreach, it is my belief that current approaches used in some Jewish organizations to strengthen Jewish identity are at best shallow and sometimes even dishonest…Are we to conclude that there is a deep scary secret that we are trying to hide about Torah? Many have concluded just that, and with this kind of fear, is it at all surprising that Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, the executive vice-president of Agudath Israel of America, recently identified the single greatest challenge facing the Orthodox community as the increasing number of “adults at risk,” who find themselves struggling in mid-life with the meaning of religious observance.”

    Interestingly, R. Aharon Lopiansky has addressed both the direct topic of Biblical Criticism as well as the issue of depth and honesty in strengthening Jewish identity. On the first issue, R. Lopiansky has a lecture available for download on his website titled, “Shiur 023 – The False Assumptions of Biblical Criticism” (I haven’t heard the shiur, but I imagine the website R. Gordimer cites would have issues with it).

    In a recent Inyan interview about his new book, R. Lopiansky agreed with the need for depth and honesty in the context of chinuch(Hamodia,1/9/19):

    “We tell our children a lot of things that we might think are mechazek their emunah but far too many of them in the long term do the opposite. When a lawyer gets up in court and says that he has 35 proofs that his client is innocent, he’s really hurting his case, because many of them will probably be very weak and when the prosecutor shows that, his whole case will look shaky.

    We’ve learned to tell our children both at home and in the classroom about ideas that are at best oversimplifications. I’ll give you an example. You tell a child that before the war in Europe the Yidden in shtetlach were kulo kodesh. So what’s going to happen when he finds out how many were communists, how many were Yiddishists, and so on? Why are we telling stories that are gross exaggerations or just blatantly not true? We have so much in our mesorah that is compelling, why should we keep saying bubbe maasehs and set ourselves up for cynicism and failure?”

    • Steve Brizel says:

      R Lopiansky said in relevant part:
      We’ve learned to tell our children both at home and in the classroom about ideas that are at best oversimplifications. I’ll give you an example. You tell a child that before the war in Europe the Yidden in shtetlach were kulo kodesh. So what’s going to happen when he finds out how many were communists, how many were Yiddishists, and so on? Why are we telling stories that are gross exaggerations or just blatantly not true? We have so much in our mesorah that is compelling, why should we keep saying bubbe maasehs and set ourselves up for cynicism and failure?”

      WADR, reading MOAG goes a long way in correcting the above ideas. It is as important to be familiar with the writings of those pre war Gdolim who offered their views on the issues then confronting the Torah communities ranging from RAYHK to REW and in between. That IMO is the best way of understanding the environment and the world as it existed in that part of the 20th century.

  9. Efraim Cooper says:

    I don’t see why YU allowing Rabbi Held to speak should validate Rabbi Starr’s position. היא גופא קשיא – why would we allow a conservative rabbi to speak at an Orthodox shul that supposedly would like to uphold authentic Judaism? Seems like a fair line to draw…

    • dr. bill says:

      Not to compare rabbi held to the GRASH, but RAL ztl took his talmud class to meet the GRASH at JTS. He told the class they can ask anything of the dean of JTS to whom kol hatorah kula is at his disposal.

      i have heard rabbi held in conversation with a currently famous YU figure; since when is our position so weak that we cannot hear from anyone who might oppose parts of it?

      with serious issues making a mockery of us as an AM Navon happening on the right, proportionality might suggest we look there also, at least on occasion.

      but wait!!! prof. christine hayes is featured at YU

      • Steve Brizel says:

        We should not accommodate in any iota any aspects of the feminist agenda and its cohorts who view the conventional family as a concentration camp. We should not welcome views that are decidedly beyond the mainstream solely for the means of being au corant. As far as RAL ZL and his trip to RSL ZL, that was a different era . Today’s academic Judaic studies warrants careful inquiry as to whether its advocates work from the same Ani Maamins as mainstream Orthodoxy

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Dr Bill wrote in relevant part:
        “..serious issues making a mockery of us as an AM Navon happening on the right, proportionality might suggest we look there also”

        Such as?

      • dr. bill says:

        The GRASH left EY because the HU would NOT hire him; he was too traditional. Today the HU has many traditional academic scholars and before their passing, some of his students taught at HU. Weiss-halivni, Boyarin, Friedman, all his students rank among the leading scholars in the world. RAL ztl has a son who is an academic. Har Gilboa is an academic hesder Yeshiva. Shaye Cohen replaced the late Prof. Twersky.

        you may not like some of those noted above; i too have an issue with at least one. But academic talmud today is more replete with academic talmudists than ever. If you would like to know of what you speak, I can recommend a good text, ironically from younger colleagues of Rabbi Held.

        i doubt i will see you at Prof. Hayes lecture. Surprise, urprise when she was a scholar in residence over Shabbat in Teaneck, individuals you have quoted positively attended.

      • dr. bill says:

        steve brizel, you need me to identify serious issues on the right: 1) metzitzah be’peh, 2) disrespect for gedolai yisroel, 3) calling Jewish and even religious doctors or policemen Nazis, 4) extortion/thievery for the sake of Torah, 5) making easily proven false assertions about what is Torah mi’sinai, 6) Gadol worship, 7) evaluating the guilt of the low-life Berland, 8) just touching the surface and I have to go back to learning.

      • rkz says:

        Dr. Bill-
        A. AFAIK, HU did not hire RSL zl because of petty academic politics and jealous faculty.
        B. “Weiss-halivni, Boyarin, Friedman, all his students rank among the leading scholars in the world”. We certainly have different definitions of “leading scholars”. The first two are far from being “leading” (and most of the academic talmudists that I know do not consider them to be scholars at all) SYF is a leading scholar indeed. However, this is ittelevant to the issue at hand, which is serious breaches in halakha and emuna.
        C. Ma’ale Gilboa (there is no yeshiva called Har Gilboa) is considered to be beyond the pale in very large segments of the RZ olam haTorah.
        D. Hayes is not Jewish. Therefore, anything she says or writes is not Talmud Torah. (Besides the fact that there is a serious tzniut problem to have a woman give a lectute to men)

      • dr. bill says:

        rkz, weiss-halivni single handedly promoted the notion of layers. boyarin is the most cited/quoted scholar in academic talmud. go over and ask weiss-halivni anything in traditional learning, any sugyah, any rishon, etc. and then tell me he is not a gaon otzum.

        i thought christine Hayes was serious when she said she does not depend on the teaneck eiruv; i guess it was only a joke. her lectures were attended by individuals whose ankles you might reach on a lucky day.

        i agree maale gilboa, is beyond where most of the RZ movement is. btw, prof. hayes has lectured there dressed appropriately.

        she has also mentored a number of YU musmachim, who not even the writers for this blog would have the temerity to attack.

        i assumed when the geonim asked a non-jew or a karaite for their view of a word’s meaning, that was also not Torah

      • rkz says:

        Dr. Bill-
        DWL wrote books, they do exhibit scholarship (the layers issue is a major theory, ably opposed by Brody and Havlin, while ably promoted by SYF. DWL treatment of the issue is both superficial and arrogant)
        When Rav Hai Gaon asked it was a tool for learning Torah, not Torah.

      • dr. bill says:

        the existence of layers is commonly accepted by most academic scholars today. If you ever heard shiur from prof. brody, perhaps one of the best shiurim in Yerushalayim, you would better appreciate his viewpoint. some academics have shown, not entirely convincing, that certain Rishonim treated the different layers with different authority. time will tell, but i thing Weiss-Halivni’s reputation will grow with time. hopefully, we are both around in 25 years to see how it turns out.

  10. rkz says:

    Perhaps there is a difference between the minhag in EY and (le’havdil) the US, but I never saw anyone (male or female) speak at the brit itself (only in se’uda, of course). It sounds very strange to me.
    Furthermore, A woman addressing the tzibbur in a shul (even if after the brit) is the opposite of tzinut and looks like a way to sneak in a woman to the brit, based on a Far LW feminist agenda, which is jefira in the eternity of the Torah

    • Daniel W says:

      This seems like a fundamental point of contention between right wing/Charedi Orthodoxy and Modern Orthodoxy – MO sees many elements of Tzniut as affected by local/community social norms. There are a wide variety of head covering models. There are a wide variety of skin covering models. And women are absolutely present in the public sphere and in public spaces, such that to see and hear a woman give a speech adjacent to a Halachic ritual event (like this Bris, or a Shabbos morning Drasha adjacent to Davening) is not seen as unTzniusdik in any way.

      I have no issue with that not being the standard of Tznius in your community. But to question someone’s status as Orthodox based on this is to excise Frum communities all over America (and the world?) – which is far too zealous an act for you to take.

      • rkz says:

        There is a variety of head covering models (tikhel, shaytel, hats), but all must be within the parameters of halakha, as defined by SA, Rema, and Gedoley HaAkhronim.
        Also about women speaking in public (esp. in a shul!)- are there any poskim who permit it? (and if there are, which I do not recall learning, but I will be happy to learn otherwise, do they permit it even if it is done to spite halakha and derekh haTorah?)

      • Ben Waxman says:

        It is very simple: Today there is a disconnect between what goes on in the synagogue and what goes on outside of the synagogue. Everyone, for all practical purposes, is fine with women holding public positions outside of the synagogue. At the very least, they’ve learned to live with women doing things in public. The examples are endless.

        The Modern Orthodox are uncomfortable with the disconnect (at least in things that aren’t strict halacha). The Chareidi world is perfectly fine with the disconnect.

      • rkz says:

        A. I know many people who oppose public positions for women outside of a shul situation (I gave a few shiurim about the issurim involved, and some of the participants agreed with me and others did not)
        B. In a shul it is even simpler to understand the issur.
        C. here we are talking about kefira.

      • Ben Waxman says:

        You may know people but the religious world, even the Chareidi world, has made its peace with it. They even go with it when it suits their purposes.

        One of my rabbis used to laugh at secular Jews who own a TV but say that the dati’im are brainwashed. There is a second side to that coin:

        I have never been in the synagogue in question, but if it is like any other Modern Orthodox synagogue, even a right wing synagogue, most if not all of the members have a TV or internet. In that case, making a fuss about a savta giving a talk makes me giggle with “oh who are you kidding?”

        If people don’t see the contradiction, well more the pity.

      • rkz says:

        I do not have a TV and use a filtered internet. That is the halakhic approach that is the norm in my community, b”h (some do not have access to the internet at all)
        However, a shul is different and even people who do not understand the issur in TV and unfiltered internet should understand the issur in a shul (RHS shlita has a brilliant ma’halkh about this in Eretz Hatzvi)
        Furthermore, there is the major kefira(rh”l) issue in this situation, as I explained before

      • Ben Waxman says:

        Whether you have a TV and filtered internet is not the question, unless you are a member of the shul in question. Policy and tshuvot are localized, not global.

        The right wing sees kefira at the drop of a hat. They saw (see) it in Zionism, in any secular learning, in IDF service. The word has become meaningless. As Rav Bazak pointed out in his latest post, many of the things about which Rav Gordimeir is complaining about are the norm in many batei knesset in Israel, including YOSH. If you all want to declare us to be kofrim, go for it.

      • rkz says:

        Response to Ben Waxman:
        A. “Policy and tshuvot are localized, not global”- sometimes, not always and not here. Halakha binds all of us. If someone deviates from it he is wrong (usually out of ignorance. Sometimes out of malice or spite against Halakha rh”l)
        B. As I wrote before, GRMF zt”l declared “orthodox” feminism to be kefira. That is the general consensus among the leading RZ poskim in EY and in the US.
        C. Bazak is wrong. The large majority of RZ shuls in EY do not practice the lunacies described here by RAG, including Yosh (I live in Yosh).

      • Ben Waxman says:

        1) Halacha binds us all and there are 50 (on an easy day) shades of halacha with ein sof examples of how people, all of whom claim to keep the halacha, do so in practice.
        2) Are you declaring RAL tz”l to be a kofer because of his various piskei halacha allowing women entry into various Orthodox areas? Or for that matter, RAL’s father in law? Are you declaring Beit Hillel to be a bunch of kofrim? Sivan Rahav Meir? Nechama Leibowitz?
        3) You made a scarecrow argument. Neither I nor Rav Bazak claimed that most shuls in YOSH or EY have women giving drashot. Many, a significant number, do. Tekoa does. One of my shul’s in Ariel has a shul in which women give shiurim to men. That is besides the Givat Shmuel crowd, etc. let’s not forget 929.

      • rkz says:

        Response to Ben Waxman:
        1) There are many shades of halacha – true, and there are many more shades that are outside of halakha..
        2) I did not declare that any one in the world is a kofer, I wrote that we are talking about kefira (and in my Bet midrash we follow Radbaz and Ba’al HaIkkarim that someone whomade a mistake in his understanding of the sources and said divrei kefira is not a kofer, but what he said or wrote is kefira) AFAIK Sivan Rahav Meir does not speak in shuls (although I must say that she is making a big mistake that she gives lectures to men). Nechama Leibowitz did not speak in shuls, because she was a woman (and she refused to do so even when she was explicitly asked to do so)
        3) “significant number, do.”- No, that it a mistake. Tekoa is in the Gush, so there is no proof from there. One out of many shuls in Ariel- not a significant number (but I must thank you for sharing that information. B’ezrat Hashem I will talk to one of my friends who teaches in Ariel to try to rectify the situation in that shul). Givat Shmuel is a very large community, and most shuls there are normative, I highly doubt that there are many shuls there who hve women teach men (but I (but I must thank you for sharing that information. B’ezrat Hashem I will talk to one of my friends who teaches in GS to try to rectify the situation in that shul). 929- there are worse problems with that project, and it was and is condemned by many (AFAIK most) leading RZ rabbanim.

      • Shades of Gray says:

        “AFAIK Sivan Rahav Meir does not speak in shuls (although I must say that she is making a big mistake that she gives lectures to men).”

        Perhaps she considers kiruv different, even though it says “Avraham converted the men and Sarah converted the women”. From a Chabad website(see link):

        “Women publicly speaking to crowds of both men and women is common practice today. Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis inspired audiences with her tale of survival and faith during the Holocaust, while Shlucha Rivka Slonim lectures internationally on Jewish observance and contemporary life.”

        https://collive.com/rebbetzin-micdrop-sees-pushback/

      • Ben Waxman says:

        RKZ you are walking on extremely thin ice.

        Look you cited RMF several times but you are unwilling to admit what is obvious to everyone: The dati leumi world has rejected much of that approach. Now you have even tried to narrow down the actual area of problematic behavior. First you said “Orthodox feminism is kefira”. Now you have limited the problematic area to “teaching, speaking in shul”.

        Without feminism, there wouldn’t be women with phd’s in Talmud or even women learning Talmud at all, at least not in an organized manner. There would not yoetzit halacha (yes I know that Rav Gordimer opposes them). There would not be women in the moetzot datiot. There wouldn’t be a large number of changes that have happened. Orit Struk (with Rav Lior’s heksher) or Omer Yankelevich wouldn’t be in the Knesset, certainly not Struk as part of a dati list. All of these changes and many many more are part of the dati world and all happened because of feminism in the secular world.

        Regarding your list: Saying that someone like RAL tz”l had kofer ideas and that RAL DIDN’T UNDERSTAND (!!!!) the sources but he wasn’t a kofer isn’t a compliment. Nehama Leibowitz may not have given a drasha in shul but she taught in yeshivot. My BIL learned with her in his smicha classes. Yemei Ha-Iyun is starting soon.

      • rkz says:

        Ben Waxman, I did not narrow anything. “Orthodox” feminism is kefira, and will stay kefira, even if some segments of the DL world make mistakes. I centered on “teaching, speaking in shuls” because that is what you centered on in your response.
        A. “Without feminism, there wouldn’t be women with phd’s in Talmud or even women learning Talmud at all, at least not in an organized manner.”- Why do you think this is good? The Orthodox Jewish would have been much healthier without all of that.
        B. ” There would not yoetzit halacha (yes I know that Rav Gordimer opposes them).”- I oppose that as well, and look forward to the abolition of this mistaken project (in the current problematic form).
        C. “There would not be women in the moetzot datiot.”- Again this is a bad thing, not a good thing.
        D. “Orit Struk (with Rav Lior’s heksher)”- You can ask GRDL shlita what he thinks about this.
        E. “or Omer Yankelevich wouldn’t be in the Knesset”- Again this is a bad thing, not a good thing.
        F. I was not trying to give compliments, but to answer your post. (BTW, RAL ztl was not greater than Rabbi Hillel the amora, who is the proof that the Radbaz brings to his distinction)
        G..” Nehama Leibowitz may not have given a drasha in shul but she taught in yeshivot. My BIL learned with her in his smicha classes.”- she taught in auxiliary rooms. and she was not happy teaching men..

      • Ben Waxman says:

        RKZ

        Whether or not you oppose these developments is irrelevant to the discussion. The Orthodox world, including right wing Orthodox world, has accepted these changes and many other changes. In that sense, we have rejected RMF’s approach, or at most have restricted it’s application. That’s the point.

      • rkz says:

        Ben Waxman- What do you mean by “accepted”? AFAIK there most major poskim oppose all of these changes

  11. paraguas says:

    I think it’s better to come back to certify chalav nochri

  12. Steve Brizel says:

    RSL ZL may very well have had “kol hatorah kula is at his disposal” but one can argue that his influence on CJ as a major member of JTS’s faculty was negligible, especially on a potential joint Bes Din and on other issues as CJ drifted away from any pretense of being anchored in halacha.

    • rkz says:

      Agreed, and CJ has gotten much worse since his days

      • mycroft says:

        They permitted driving to schul on Shabbas in 1950! Don’t romanticize CJ from the past 70 years

      • rkz says:

        I know, but back then they at least pretended that it was justified. IIRC, LG even wrote a “teshuva” to permit it. Now they don’t even pretend, and that means they are totally shameless.

  13. Tal Benschar says:

    And what, pray tell, is the answer to Nos. 3 and 5? Those are both very serious breaches. It seems that the only answer is bluster.

    • Daniel W says:

      Tal – the answer to #3 is Ahavas Yisrael and Achdus at a moment when an attack on even a non-Orthodox Jewish institution affects the safety of the Orthodox community. I imagine that’s why this event was held in a neutral location. I daresay this is another fundamental difference between MO and right-wing/Charedi communities in general: the willingness to engage non-Orthodox communities about anything.

      • Tal Benschar says:

        Sorry, this is another dodge. Ahavas Yisrael is not an excuse to kasher heterodox movements, let alone a “gay” synagogue. You want to have something for the Jewish community at large, that is one thing.

        And the difference is between OO and the rest of the Orthodox world, not MO. MO, to my knowledge, does not have joint programs with heterodox groups (as opposed to general Federation type work).

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Would you come to the Siyumim
        haShas at MetLife as a sign of Achdus and Ahavas Yisrael and if not why not? I would suggest that unity is more than just solidarity with heterodox movements but rather that our very status as a people stems from
        Matan Torah

      • Daniel W says:

        Tal – in what way is this “Kashering” someone else? At most it acknowledges that they are Jewish, even if not at all practicing Halacha. This is a common counter to anything that has a hint of another movement attached to it, that somehow acknowledging them in any way equates to “we think they’re following the path of Hashem.” That is a woefully misguided approach that leads to far too many Chillulei Hashem by discouraging people within Orthodoxy from interacting respectfully with others.

      • Daniel W says:

        Steve – I would come to the Siyum HaShas as a sign that I completed learning the cycle of Daf :^) And if I lived more locally to it, I would consider coming just to experience the majesty of such Limmud BiTzibur. Each of those counts has overlap with Achdus and Ahavas Yisrael as trying to share this experience together.

        The better question is, if someone from the Reform or Reconstructionist movement also completed the Daf cycle and wanted to attend the Siyum HaShas, would they be welcomed?

      • Tal Benschar says:

        ” in what way is this “Kashering” someone else? At most it acknowledges that they are Jewish, even if not at all practicing Halacha.”

        Holding an event with another religious institution — a place of worship devoted to Heterodox beliefs, and in this case, to violation of an explicit Torah prohibition — is granting them recognition as a proper “Jewish” organization. You can invite individuals to anything you want and treat them with dignity as human beings and Jews. When you hold a joint event with a Heterodox shul, you are kashering them.

        Would the same shul hold a joint event with Jews for J_____? After all, they are halakhically Jewish, even if not practicing halakha. What is the difference?

        And, sorry, not impressed by the causal flinging about of “Chillul Hashem” as an argument. You can treat an individual with dignity, but not an an organization, particularly one founded on kefirah and, in this case, rampant disregard for the Torah. THAT is the real Chillul Hashem.

      • Daniel W says:

        Tal – 1) J for J are by and large not Jewish, so poor comparison. [Also, “appeal to J for J” seems like it ought to be a logical fallacy in these sorts of forums.]
        2) You are also throwing around terms like “Kashering” and “Kefirah” just the same. Not surprisingly, the actions of each side are viewed positively by some and negatively by others. So I suppose we are all making Kiddush Hashem and Chillul Hashem all at the same time!

      • rkz says:

        Daniel- many of the members (and some of the leadership) of the hterdox movements are not Jewish.

      • emet le'amito says:

        rkz, one can be non-Jewish from a halakhic perspective but be Jewish according to other systems of definition. the halakhic system/perspective may be important and even primary to you and me, but it is only one of many ways of defining things.

        the state of Israel accepts immigrants being persecuted as jews independent of halakhic definitions, a good thing from my perspective.

      • rkz says:

        emet la’mito- “the halakhic system/perspective” is the only way of defining things (unless I misunderstood what you meant)

      • dr. bill says:

        rkz, you may have. but to a secular state or to an aino – Yehudi or to an anti-semite or even a traditional jew the halakha is only one of many perspectives through which to observe/classify/reason. there are other religious, political, biological, genetic, etc. perspectives. fundamental to understanding the Rav ztl.

      • rkz says:

        Dr. Bill- I know that there are are other many perspectives, but they are illegitimate and wrong’ if they contradict halakha.

      • dr.bill says:

        rkz, you have the right to your view; the Rav ztl, in many of his writings but primarily in the Halakhic Mind disagrees. those who understand his intent have argued that this is fundamental to his thinking.

    • Daniel W says:

      As for #5, it is useful to note that this “Leining” is not a 1:1 analog to the standard Kriyah Bitzibbur. There’s no Borchu, no Kaddish, the men are all in the main Shul listening to regular Leining (or perhaps some close family has gone to a Hashkama Minyan to hear Leining earlier).
      Now, there’s plenty in there that I’m sure you find objectionable too, but I imagine many people think that this was presented as a Kosher Leining by a woman for men and women, with Brachot and everything, and it is not so.

      • Tal Benschar says:

        What you describe is exactly what is wrong with most of the OO of left-wing innovations. It is ziuf ha Torah — or more precisely, pretend Torah. Woman get to play act something that has no halakhic significance, to play at being pseudo-men. Frankly, it is an insult to women, and a disgrace to the Torah.

        Reminds me of when my brother-in-law had a bar mitzvah. My in-law’s shul has children sing Anim Zemiros and Shir shel Yom at the end of davening. We do not do that in our shul. My in-laws wanted my son (their grandchild) to do it, so I taught him how. So he sang it, and everyone got some pleasure. Halakhically, it meant nothing.

        That is how these women are being treated — like children. The real leining is down the hall, but they get to put on a play-act lenining.

        That some people think this is progress or respectful to women is astounding.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        What you described is a WTG which has dubious Halachic bases and which was viewed as beyond the pale by RHS and RMW among other decades ago . I really don’t care or are interested in what academic outsiders or what they say about these issues because their views are rooted in feminist notions ,the destruction of Halachic norms as set forth in Shas and in the destruction of the family which has always been a goal of feminists and remains so today. No pseudo ritual will satisfy radical feminists and their demands and tHe LWof MO is poorer for having caved in to the demands and supporters of the feminist Zeitgeist

      • mycroft says:

        dr. bill
        July 5, 2019 at 1:07 am
        rkz, you may have. but to a secular state or to an aino – Yehudi or to an anti-semite or even a traditional “jew the halakha is only one of many perspectives through which to observe/classify/reason. there are other religious, political, biological, genetic, etc. perspectives. fundamental to understanding the Rav ztl.
        rkz
        July 5, 2019 at 2:07 am
        Dr. Bill- I know that there are are other many perspectives, but they are illegitimate and wrong’ if they contradict halakha”
        Question is what is halacha? I assume that you accept that the Rav is an Ish Halacha, he used to emphasize that we are both a community of faith and one of fate, There is both Brit Sinai and Brit Avot.
        Thus, unlike many other gedolim he felt the issue of Conservative Judaism was complex, on one hand they violate halacha, on the other hand they can be a movement that prevents people from assimilating completely.
        I don’t know if there is a transcript available but decades ago he gave a shiur to the RCA about complexities that a posek must follow in dealing with maaseh questions concerning Conservative movement.

      • rkz says:

        Mycroft- If a Gadol Ba-Torah has a view on a certain Halakhic question which is different than the mainstream halakhic view, that is certainly legitimate.

  14. Steve Brizel says:

    The Bubbie in question was clearly sitting on Kisei Shel Eliyahu holding the infant in the same position as any other Sandek See Lincoln re fooling some of the people all the time all of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time

    • Daniel W says:

      It is incumbent upon all of us to accept the Eidus from people who were present there that she was not the Sandek. If you refuse to believe that Eidus, then we’re no longer dealing in the pursuit of truth and we might as well stop talking.

      • rkz says:

        She was not the sandek per se, but they did all they could to make her look like a sandek. That is enough to make it completely assur

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The picture, and what is depicted therein , which I have no doubt was and is a an fair and accurate representation of what is happening, with the Bubbie sitting on Kisei Shel Eliyahu and another woman reciting something from a text, with the father in the near background. That cannot be explained by anyone or everyone who was present to the contrary. as not being that of a woman be honored as a sandek either during the Bris or during the recitation of the Brachos and Tefilos thereafter.

      • Daniel W says:

        Steve – it’s called a prepared speech. Many parents give a prepared speech explaining their choice of name while the crowd is still assembled at the Bris (as opposed to, say, later at the Seudah, at which point many will have already left).

        As I said before, if you refuse the Eidus, then what can I do, for you willingly accept Sheker when presented with Emes?

      • nt says:

        Believing eidus only applies when the eidim are trustworthy and unbiased. People who break communal norms are neither.
        As for the picture, the woman speaking is reading from a laminated printout of the type used for bentching, kiddush levanah, and other set texts. She was most likely reading from a printout of the ceremony. Maybe she also talked about the significance of the baby’s name, but either way she and the shul were way over the line.

    • dr. bill says:

      perhaps in your SA the kisei shel eliyahu cannot be used after the brit? do you have a reference?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        In many shuls, a chair is donated and utilized solely and exclusively for Kisei Shel Eliyahu.

      • dr. bill says:

        steve, things donated for a specific purpose be they a coat-rack or shtender should be used consistent with the wishes of the person who donated the item. whether and when another (temporary or even permanent) use is permitted requires further halakhic analysis. not the place to overview the halakhot involved.

      • rkz says:

        The problem that I see here is that the use of the kisei ahel Eliyahu was meant to cnvey the appearance of a woman to be a sandek- out of spite against Halakha and derekh haTorah

      • Steven Brizel says:

        A person who donated a Kisei Shel Eliyahy or a Sefer Torah has a rightful and reasonable expectation that it will be used for the proper purpose snd in the case of a Sefer Torah can ask that it be returned if he requests.

    • dr. bill says:

      rkz, mehzai ke’sandek, a new seif in the religious feelings SA of right-wing reformers. Historically, many things were standard in our society not for halakhic reasons but because that was the way the world was. that makes it traditional to some. it certainly does not make it traditional and kal ve’homer beno shel kal ve’homer halakhic to others.

      a shtreimel or metzitzah be’peh or women’s roles in many situations are all examples to consider. in the Rambam’s time there were no women doctors, philosophers or astronomers AFAIK.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Based upon your logic, what would you contend is the reason why women are exempt from Mitzvos Aseh SheHazman Grama or do you view the same solely rooted in non-halachic terms ?Do you contend that women should have some sort of ceremony that would be the emotional but certainly lacking any halachic basis of a Bris Milah? Do you contend that men should give birth? Do you support either same gender marriages or children beingraised without a father? Merely contending that “many things were standard in our society not for halakhic reasons but because that was the way the world was. that makes it traditional to some.it certainly does not make it traditional and kal ve’homer beno shel kal ve’homer halakhic to other” requires citation to such instances as you claim as opposed to a sweeping generalization that such was the case.

      • dr. bill says:

        steve brizel, if I could follow your logic I might respond. I cannot. Since you mention mitzvat aseh she’hazeman grama there is an “interesting” book almost exclusively on that topic by Elizabeth shanks Alexander that is sure to put your hair on fire. 🙂

      • rkz says:

        I referred here in the pat to Hagaon Rav Moshe’s teshuva that “orthodox” feminism is a type of kefira, and that’s what I also meant to say here (which is what I think that I wrote)

      • tzippi says:

        OK, Dr. Bill. I took the bait and googled Dr. Shanks Alexander. Do you think as an observant Jewish woman I would enjoy the book? Because her cv seemed…inadequate to me. But maybe I don’t know the teachers she was exposed to in the various institutions she attended.

      • dr. bill says:

        tzippi, i don’t know. she is the daughter of herschel shanks and i know nothing of her beliefs or views. she is a student of steven fraade, who has had orthodox rabbis as Ph.D. student. her book upends some normally assumed hierarchies in the place of women in halakhic systems. her view is hardly haslakhic and represents the fringe of the feminist movement within traditional Judaism.

        as you might guess I read vociferously and consume multiple academic texts a week while working on a number of talmudic/halakhic topics. i don’t recommend what i read; however, many who write/comment on this topic are rately as reasoned or measured. nonetheless, what she writes is beyond the pale of the even most left-wing posek.

      • Tal Benschar says:

        rkz, mehzai ke’sandek, a new seif in the religious feelings SA of right-wing reformers.

        You being disingenuous. The problem here is the attempt to give the appearance, but not the reailty, of a woman being a sandek. It is of a piece with the other forms of ziuf ha Torah that are done by LWMO. The faux Torah leining I discuss in a separate comment above is one more example.

      • dr. bill says:

        Tal Benschar, do you assume you too are yodehah machashovot? maybe she thought she was Eliyahu in the flesh? or perhaps Beruriah? We do not know what she thought, certainly not from the meager information we have.

        there is enough evil in the world to oppose; we do not need to worry about mechzai ke’evil!!

        it is probably also not an ethical mode of behavior, or one chazal suggested.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        This is Dr Grachs thesis. Dr Judith Eich wrote a strong snd sustained critique of the same in one of the OF books that you can read for free on YU Torah. Just because something isn’t explicitly prohibited or permitted does not imply the converse or that the bdieved or beinoni should be viewed as a lchatchilah

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    Masking a far LWMo
    Agenda by claiming it hat the same is rooted in a disagreement with political stances taken by Trump strikes me as bordering on intellectual dishonesty

  16. Bob Miller says:

    1. Some people “bravely” do the objectively wrong thing, but, when confronted, they are much less brave and much more evasive.
    2. We’re living in an era of consumer fraud and intentionally misleading appearances.

  17. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill wrote in part:
    “The GRASH left EY because the HU would NOT hire him; he was too traditional. Today the HU has many traditional academic scholars and before their passing, some of his students taught at HU. Weiss-halivni, Boyarin, Friedman, all his students rank among the leading scholars in the world. RAL ztl has a son who is an academic. Har Gilboa is an academic hesder Yeshiva. Shaye Cohen replaced the late Prof. Twersky.

    you may not like some of those noted above; i too have an issue with at least one. But academic talmud today is more replete with academic talmudists than ever. If you would like to know of what you speak, I can recommend a good text, ironically from younger colleagues of Rabbi Held.

    i doubt i will see you at Prof. Hayes lecture. Surprise, urprise when she was a scholar in residence over Shabbat in Teaneck, individuals you have quoted positively attended.”

    As long as such individuals refuse to engage in discussing where they stand in terms of their own emunah or lack of thereof on issues such as Torah MiSinai, and the concomitant transmission of TSBP from Moshe Rabbeinu to the Chasimas HaTalmud as TSBP in its most pristine and purely oral nature from Rebbe to Talmid, one should be very careful as to accepting their views, regardless of where they have been feted as speakers.

    • DF says:

      Dr. Bill – don’t get too enamored with academics. I personally am very familiar with the academic approach, and cite them when appropriate in my articles. However, much of what the academic world has to say – yes, just like much of the traditional yeshivah approach – is, in my opinion, gor amharatzus or worse. But unlike traditional study, the academic approach is marked by overconfidence and self-assurance. As someone once remarked, the chief difference is that where the traditionalist says נראה לי the academic says ברור.

      More than that – even the greatest of the academic scholars, R. Saul Lieberman, is of very little value once you get past his specialty of natters touching on Ancient Greece and Rome. He has a tremendous preoccupation with textual variants, the vast majority of which do not change the essential meaning. He shows very little analysis of the texts, preferring mainly to show parallels in other sources. Which is definitely nice, but sometimes doesn’t get you very far. And frankly, his writing, at least in English, is often not very clear.

      I own the entire JQR, First Series and Second [the First Series was once owned by Elkan Adler] and have reviewed all of it into the 1950s. Lots of great stuff in there. But lots of narrishkeit also, including many articles by the Editor in Chief, who distinguished himself by insisting that the Dead Sea Scrolls were a hoax.

      I should say also that a lot more people in the Yeshivah world are familiar with academics than you think. The average yeshivah bachur or avrech might not, but the real scholars are quite well acquainted with them, and often – I might say, usually – far surpass them.

      • dr. bill says:

        i am not too enamored and read selectively. academic talmud like traditional RY is hardly uniform. even some great academicians are too detail/text-oriented for my interest.

        the Toseftah by the Grash is perhaps the most important work of the 20th century. his ability to integrate traditional and academic learning set a bar that an academic must strive for. when they don’t their academic insights are weakly grounded at best.

        i am much more interested in the analysis of sugyot than grand theories. only true scholars have earned the right to theorization.

      • DF says:

        The “Tosefta of the Grash” is nearly useless. I’ve discovered that most of the people who wax lyrical about it never actually read it themselves. I have. Aside from the cumbersome nature of it (a short commentary, a long commentary, and the Tosefta itself in a separate volume) the same problems I described above abound. I would much rather use the Abramsky edition or even the standard edition.

      • dr. bill says:

        i have and can point to any number of places that his insights, with meaningful references, are very insightful. in fact, any number of Haredi seforim on topics in which I read broadly, plagiarize the GRASH sadly assuming no one will ever know. i can only comment in those (few) areas that i have a broad understanding. the people who sat at his feet are themselves testament to his unique greatness

    • Nachum says:

      Just for the record, Maale Gilboa is not a hesder yeshiva but a shiluv yeshiva, the only one. I believe there used to be one other.

      • mycroft says:

        even more pro medina than hesder-serve full army time plus two years Yeshiva, unlike Hesder which if 16 months which includes training leaves relatively little time to serve in defense of country.

      • rkz says:

        And a lower retention rate than that of regular Hesder

  18. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill-please provide a source or a link to a source that documents that a “sandeket” was allowed as normative practice in any Torah observant community.

  19. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bil-are you confusing Har Gilboa with Maale Gilboa, the views of whose RY, R Gordimer documented in his article?

  20. Reb Yid says:

    It is very troubling that on so many occasions this posters and others have attacked others on the basis of news accounts or other second-third hand accounts. As a result, the information is often erroneous or incomplete–to say nothing of being insulting. Presumably these posters would not like it if centrist or right wing Orthodox Jews were made the subject of similar attack or ridicule.

    And the two fine Jewish leaders here are individuals that I actually know, have spent Shabbat meals with, and learned with. So there’s plenty to take offense at.

    But before even getting into that, the author of this post is of course being incredibly hypocritical with his selective use of institutional affiliations to cast aspersions about certain individuals but not others. This inappropriate method is often used by posters on this site with a variety of religious and political issues, with the transitive property being added to cast additional aspersions upon others.

    Mordecai Kaplan. Adam Starr. Avrohom Gordimer. All 3 with YU affiliations. So I guess all 3 are treif . This is where this convoluted logic on the sole basis of institutional identity (past or present) inevitably leads us.

    Rav Starr is Avrohom Gordimer’s worst nightmare, since unlike the 15-20 posts he has made over the years castigating the world of YCT, Rav Starr has semicha from YU. So he can’t play the card he almost always uses and indeed, does not even mention his YU pedigree. Indeed, to do so would thus link Rav Starr’s world with his own.

    We were blessed to have Adam Starr as our assistant rabbi when we lived in Riverdale. We know him and especially his wife’s family well. He is a blessing to the Orthodox community. Like Chabad, he wants to reach out to help as many Jews as possible. You don’t like his politics? Say so. Don’t question his Orthodox credentials.

    While this poster does not play the institutional affiliation by association guilt game when it comes to YU, he has no trouble doing so for JTS. But if you spent any time with Shai Held, you would know that this is not a very salient feature in his current life. The institutions that he has headed are non-denominational; he himself could not tell you the intimate details of what is going on at JTS since he is not a part of it–indeed, the reason he created the institutions that he has is that he does not find the existing Jewish religious and educational infrastructure sufficiently compelling.

    DId you also know that he should be referred to as Rabbi Dr Shai Held? He has a PhD from Harvard in Judaic Studies. He is a brilliant scholar, orator and teacher. I have had the privilege the past two Shavuot to hear him give a shiur in his home which is open to all and has attracted participants from across the Jewish denominational spectrum (earlier in the evening for this past Shavuot he also spoke as part of our Orthodox synagogue’s Tikkun Leil learning activities) . Every single individual, whether male or female, Jewish or not Jewish, Orthodox or not Orthodox, cannot help but learn much from Shai Held. He draws on an incredible array of sources, from all of the traditional commentaries to more contemporary authors from multiple religious traditions and general scholarship. While he can be critical of sources, he is an equal opportunity critic and certainly does not bash Orthodoxy.

    So is the Hertz Chumash now banned from all Orthodox synagogues according to the Gordimer transitive property rule?

    The author of this post owes both gentlemen a public apology. Genug.

  21. Steve Brizel says:

    No apology should be forthcoming . R Gordimer merely documented what OO has wrought in Atlanta and it is disturbing to read that a RIETS musmach is its architect

  22. Steve Brizel says:

    For those interested in how “open minded” OO and it’s advocates and apologists are read Yoram Hazonys article which can be accessed via Gil Students blog. OO and it’s allies like members of the left view any critique as beyond the pale and seek to claim that what was depicted in R Starr shul should become the new normal in MO . Those who are concerned about the future of MO should be alarmed about such trends snd raise their voices in objection. When members of the guild of academic Bible scholars view Matan Torah and Torah Min HaShamayim with thinly veiled contempt that should be enough to raise voices in objection to such views ever becoming mainstream

    • Bob Miller says:

      OO proponents are experts at plausible deniability. Every provocative action is just ambiguous enough to allow the gullible or committed to brush it off.

  23. Steve Brizel says:

    Daniel W pictures are Emes and rationalizations of conduct are Sheket And what we see are two women participating in the Bris Milsh in the men’s section during or after the shul .What you are describing and rationalizing is the feminization of the Bris . Remarks by the Baalei Simcha properly belong at the Seudas Mitzvah not in shul because of Tircha Dtzibura

    • Daniel W says:

      Steve – as long as we can agree on what actually happened, then we can properly engage in discussing whether what happened was right, Halachic, Kefirah, downright Christian, or whatever.

      The facts being presented are that the Sandak, Mohel, and every participant in the formal Brachos and Tefillos (including the naming) were Jewish males age 13+. After the Bris and naming were completed, the attendees were seated, the grandmother was handed the baby (I imagine she was seated because her physical state is such that it would have pained her to stand during the speech, but that is presumptive), and the mother read a prepared speech (at which point this picture is taken).

      If you accept these facts, then we can go on to discuss Tznius, Tircha Ditzibura, etc

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The picture without any subsequent rationalization gives the distinct impression of a feminized Bris replete with a So called sandeket and a woman reciting a bra ha or text in the men’s section . Allowing a a milder hatamuah lrabim is no small Halachic issue

      • Daniel W says:

        Steve – nu, so I see a claim of Maras Ayin as the picture is clearly giving people the wrong idea of what actually happened, but now that’s we’re allowing this discussion to clear some of that up we can deal with more practical conversation.

  24. Ben Issacs says:

    How about instead of focusing on what OO believes about a woman holding a baby during a ceremony, we focus on their beliefs about the Yud Gimmel Ikarim and their view on Torah Min Hashmayim.

    How about their approach to Shulchan Aruch, e.g. Kabbalat Hamitzvot in conversions and many other fundamental Halachos.

    • rkz says:

      That’s exactly the issue- sacrificing the Torah (ch”v) to Feminism and other Far Left lunacies.

      • Ben Issacs says:

        Right exactly my point. Instead of arguing about when the bubbeh was holding the baby, let’s be honest that Rabbi Starr, apperantly a really nice sincere fellow, has fused his beliefs and Rabbinic approach with Rabbi Avi Weiss and the OO. They, the OO, regularly attemptt to change ikrei ha’emunah and the parameters of Halacha and need to be challenged.
        My claim about the OO is based on facts on the ground that I have seen in our Midwest community.

        I, for one, appriciate Rabbi Gordimer sticking his neck out for our Godly way of life.

      • rkz says:

        I agree completely (and we have similar problems here in EY)

  25. LAWRENCE REISMAN says:

    Once again, we here that Mordechai Kaplan went to YU. His “affiliation” with YU stems from having attended the Eitz Chaim Yeshiva as a pre-bar mitzvah student. Eitz Chaim became Yeshivas Rabbi Yitzchok Elchonon, and the elementary school eventually ceased operations. Kaplan’s Jewish stuidies were done at JTS.

    More importantly, it is unfair to judge an institution by individual students. Apikorsim came out of Volozhin (Bialik), Slobodka (Wolfson), and Telshe (Ginsberg). YU has produced its share of apikorsim and of wild-eyed right wing black hatters. JTS produced Rabbis Herbert Goldstein and JH Hertz, among others. Do any of these typify the institution?

    We’ve been going on about 2 of the 5 points Rav Gordimer raised. That leaves 3 which have not been contested or defended, such as a bas mitzvah girl reading from the Torah.

    • Daniel W says:

      I attempted a pass at items 3 and 5 above, though they may be lost in a subcomment thread.

  26. dr. bill says:

    Lawrence Reisman, Volozhin produced apikorsim, famous academics and many who left the fold. but wrt Bialik, see an essay by RAS ztl on Bialik. you might owe him an apology.

    Slabodka was a yet more selective/exclusive place. It produced many, many apikorsim; perhaps wolfson be’roshom. It also produced three of the greatest academic scholars of the 20th century. Of one who died at the age of 33 , RYK ztl said that had he lived it would changed our traditional derech ha’limmud. we have only a minuscule number of pages he wrote. one is in an area i know well and it supports RYK’s claim.

    remember were it not for kaplan, RIETS and JTS might have merged in the mid 20’s. Goldstein and Hertz were from the Schechter/Ginzburg era. JTS has been on a downward spiral for a century; all of the GRASH”s students left in the mid 80’s when JTS allowed women to be rabbis AND Dayanim.

    be careful who you call an apikores. a friend calls me acher. 🙂

    • Steve Brizel says:

      The bottom line remains that we are all in the transmission business of transmitting Torah and Amit’s is to the next generation.When the transmission iis neglected or it maintained properly dies the car dies,when we fail to transmit Torah to the next generation for whatever reason or because we think that worked in the past today will slslways work today despite the act new challenges require different responses snd that which was Assur may be mutar and vice versus despite a mimetic tradition we have failed individually and communally

  27. Daniel W says:

    Several comments here have encouraged me to review the core events from the initial post. Seems like this is really a discussion about two general things:

    1) Events 3 & 4 – To what extent can and should we relate to, commune with, talk amongst, learn from/with people and communities who have such starkly different religious tenets than we do? For example, how isolated must we stay to protect and prevent assimilation, and how does that balance with the gains to be had from Kiddushei Hashem, Kiruv opportunities, and the general idea of “Eizehu Chacham? Halomed Mikol Adam”?

    2) Events 1, 2, & 5 – How do we approach women’s public (in general) and religio-public (in particular) roles, to the extent that they are not replacing tasks that are, at their core, Halachic mandates for men? Examples: women in pastoral and teaching clergy roles, but never as a Mesaderes Kiddushin, Dayenes, etc.; women in the public/men’s spaces of a Shul when not during a Tefillah, like delivering a sermon after Davening; women reading from a Torah in the presence of other women, but without any Tefillos Shebikdusha and without any pretense of fulfilling a man’s Chiyuv to hear Leining?

    These are huge topics that seem to be a consistent source of debate throughout the streams of Orthodoxy today. Everyone points to their own historical sources and great Sefarim to bolster their own side. I daresay that Orthodoxy in general does indeed have room for many different approaches within its tent, and there are surely approaches that lie outside. I do not know how this resolves apart from seeing where we have landed in a generation or two.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      I think that you are attempting to justify the OO YCT JOFA playbook and I would like to suggest that there are numerous gender based differences that are apparent from a careful study of Chumash and Shas that are deliberate and reflect different spiritual needs and personsalities and should be maintained and not. Blurred to keep up with the Zeitgeist of radical feminism which sees no valid differences between the genders and has always fought the destruction of the conventional family as one of its goals

      • dr. bill says:

        i hate to break it to you, we do not pasken from chumash or shas. we have Rishonim’s understanding of shas, a variety of halakhic works from Rif, Rambam, Rosh, the SA , key achronim especially the Gra whose views guide halakhic behavior. use of the chumash and shas can lead to antinomian behavior, bein le’kulah bein le’chumrah. we gain insight and perspective from tanach and the various writings of the talmudic rabbis, but halakha, not so much.

    • nt says:

      In regards to 1: As one who believes in Maimonides’s ninth principle, the Torah that I live by is totally set. Anyone who denies that has nothing to teach me about Torah. I have had many positive conversations with people of all walks of life, but always with the attitude of da ma l’hashiv l’apikores.
      The principle of lomeid mikol adam means that there is at least something to be gained from any possible encounter, but it may very well be learning from others errors. And even if you do somehow learn something from a shoteh, that does not mean it makes sense to treat him as an authority. In fact, it would be incredibly destructive to do so.

  28. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill wrote in response to my question:

    “steve brizel, you need me to identify serious issues on the right: 1) metzitzah be’peh, 2) disrespect for gedolai yisroel, 3) calling Jewish and even religious doctors or policemen Nazis, 4) extortion/thievery for the sake of Torah, 5) making easily proven false assertions about what is Torah mi’sinai, 6) Gadol worship, 7) evaluating the guilt of the low-life Berland, 8) just touching the surface and I have to go back to learning.

    1) I hold no brief for MBP, but I am very skeptical of any purported basis for outlawing MBP
    2)The Agudah has been sending out Divrei Torah in anticipation of the Siyum every week related to the Gemara that is the DY of that week.. R M Willig was a featured speaker about how to write a will for your daughters. If you speak to anyone in the yeshiva world there is a great sense of Kavod HaTorah for RYBS, RHS, R Willig and many RY of RIETS
    3) The anti vaxers are an irrantional inconsequential minority
    4)Show me one case of “extortion or thievery”-
    5) Relying on Chazal and Gdolei Mefarshim and rejecting Biblical crit is nothing to be ashamed of
    6)Would you prefer that our children and grandchildren idolize popular celebrities and their lifestyles?
    7)Berland’s conduct has been determined-whether talking about it has any purpose is a legitimate halachic inquiry

    • dr. bill says:

      1) the basis for a law: protecting the welfare of infants, 2) JO. 3) inconsequential is inconsistent with massive hillul haShem, 4) try haredi political parties, 5) try bible codes and average lunation from the rabbis at aish, 6) might there be something that involves neither, 7) berland and many other abusers have been actively protected by the hareidi community especially in Israel and even in the US.

      the above are often major felonies not OO’s arguable departures from tradition.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        1) I repeat and stand by previously stated view on MBP
        2) regurgitating ancient history serves no purpose especially when rthe Charedi media today has great respect for the talmidim much skim of RYBS
        3) anti Vaxers have been condemned universally
        4)all political parties in Israel represent distinct interest groups. Why not Charedim ?
        5)most Aish Rabbis do not trot out or rely on codes .you will find articles about why Torah observance and support for Israel have contemporary relevance
        6)respect and reverence for Talmuddi Chachamim strikes me as far more positive than worshipping the representatives of secular culture You should read what RYBS said about Heidegger who was a great philosopher but a card carrying Nazi
        7)I am unaware of any prayer rallies or parlor
        meetings or dinners for Berland or any other abuser

        Before classifying anybof the above as s felony take a course in criminal law

  29. Steve Brizel says:

    Show me one Rishon Acharon who does not view the family as the critical element in the transmission of Torah to the next generation and who does not view the lives of the Avos As setting forth the key elements of Jewish identity and Moshe Rabbeunu as the Av HaNeviim who received and transmitted the Torah to subsequent generations . Denying that we learn Midos from the Avos or the elements of Jewish continuity from Yetziad Mitzrayim and Matab Torah is a remarkable statement to say the least

  30. Steve Brizel says:

    The values of the Avos as understood by Chazal and a Mefarshim are hardly antinomian .

  31. Steve Brizel says:

    Lacking pride and a realization that the Avos Imahos Moshe Rabbeun and the Heilige Tanaim
    And Amoraim Rishonim and Acharonim are real people who have great relevance and influence on us today is one of the signs IMO of being the Ketamri Emunah and what RYBS described in his frustration in not being able to transmit the awe and experience of the Yakima Noraim to his talmidim.Being unable to be humble and accept Torah on its terms and parking ones secular knowledge and biases outside of the Bris Medrash remains the challenge of our times

  32. Steve Brizel says:

    I think Tal is correct Dr Hayes is a professor of Academic Talmud who some in the MO world view as worth reading or listening to but the bottom line is that she is a Gentile and Aino Mtzuveh BMitzvos and anything she writes or says is not Torah Lishmah by definition .I would add that most of the authors that Dr. Bill mentions also cannot be considered as Torah Lushmah because they are applying their academic and other external biases to Toras HaShem Temimah

    • dr. bill says:

      Steve, i assume you will never learn from a long list of academics. but to consider their methodology not Torah, but the brisker methodology Torah, requires a particular approach that few who make that claim are aware of. that point was brilliantly made by Prof. Barry Scott Wimpfheimer, a YU musmach, in his wise use of the terms “the essential Talmud” versus the “enhanced Talmud.” In general, traditionalists study the latter; academics study the former. Most great academic Talmudists study and integrate both. In the limited areas where I have deep knowledge, that approach has lead to hiddushim not obtainable otherwise. Particularly in areas where knowledge of what the Talmud assumed about realia and how tannaim/amoraim may have differed over time, attempting to make sense of various sugyot is challenging.

      the brisker methodology was criticized in its time; the Marcheshet’s: “I learned before Matasn Torah” is perhaps the best one-liner of the era. don’t be so quick to condemn what you are not even remotely familiar with. The rabbis told us that truth, however objectionable I might add, has away of winning out.

      • Truth says:

        ” the Marcheshet’s: “I learned before Matasn Torah” is perhaps the best one-liner of the era”

        Absent a specific citation, one must assume that this particular formulation is apocryphal. The Marcheshet does not use this phrase in his hakdama, where he addresses the new style of learning, although he does write that his chiddushim are in the style of the “old beis medrash”.

      • StevevBrizel says:

        Emes yesh Lo raglayim shekel ain lo raglayim .i stand by the classical definitions of Torah Lis a far cry from and which should never be confused with Academic Tslmud

      • dr. bill says:

        let us assume that I write divrei Torah only self-aggrandizement.; hardly, le’shemah. If a truly pious person were to read what I wrote and was learning le’shemah must I warn them not to read what I wrote because their learning would not be le’shemah?

        when Rebbi Meir learned from Acher, perhaps my hero, 🙂 was it Torah le’shemah?

        assuming a non-jew can never be assumed to learn le’shemah, an unproven assumption IMHO, are those who read Danby or Hayes unable to receive credit for Torah le’shemah?

        when the Geonim inquired of an aino-yehudi to establish peshat in a word, was that not le’shemah?

        i think when Danby or Albright or Hayes lecture or write they are mekadaish Shem Shamayim. but even in your calculus, the status of their study and those who study their works is patently not the same.

        Gentile scholars are rare indeed. However, there are areas of Jewish lesarning where without them we may not have been able to understand an area completely or even well. I know you will not believe that and I will not identify such an area. One of my next papers will be in such an area.

      • rkz says:

        Hayes or Danby are not Jewish, ipso facto what they are doing is not Talmud torah at all (not only not lishma)
        As I wrote before, asking non Jews something is atool for Talmud Torah, not Talmud Torah.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Comparing any externally based system of Academic Talmud with the Bridker derech deserves to be prefaced by Lahavdil Elef Valfei Havdalos.i would prefer to be surrounded by and mired in the words of the Gemara Rishonim and Acharonim in Gan Eden than be escorted by the words of academics whose Yirad Shamayim in basic issues of transmission of TSBP is and remains suspect and driven by the POV that they know more than the Rishonim and Acharonim

      • emet le'amito says:

        rkz, you are defining Talmud Torah according to your halakhic view, which may even be halakhically correct. Talmud Torah in secular parlance might include the study of the Torah whether or not it accords with a halakhic definition.

        Steve Brizel, the brisker and academic perspective typically relate to the expanded and essential definitions of Talmud as defined by Wimpheimer in his wonderful biography of the Talmud. It is independent of your religious or perhaps halakhic perspective.

      • rkz says:

        emet la’amito- secular parlance is not relevant to Torah.

      • emet le'amito says:

        rkz, again, words have (different) meanings in multiple different frameworks. a traditional Jew will impose a halakhic framework when viewing the world, but not exclusively. again, read the halakhic mind or prof. halberthal’s brilliant lectures on le’haamin sheh, bih, and keh.

      • rkz says:

        emat la’amito- of course words have different meaning, but when we are talking about halakha, other meanings are illegitimate (Halbertal is not an halakjic authority according to any possible definition

      • dr. bill says:

        rkz, halberthal never claimed to be a halakhic authority. his distinctions between le’haamin beh, shea, and keh are a critical contribution to meta-hashkafic thinking. he often works on the meta-halakhic as opposed to the halakhic plane. you appear to be confusing the halachic and meta-halakhic plane.

      • rkz says:

        Dr. Bill- Meta-Halakha is not independent of Halakha. Many discussions of meta-Halakha are simply creative ways to circumvent Halakha.

      • dr. bill says:

        rkz, meta-halakha has a well-defined meaning. it is neither independent of halakha nor a way to disguise a halakhic discussion as you incorrectly imply. meta-X and X are NOT the same things. Poskim may or may not be completely aware of the meta-halakhic implications of their rulings or their mode of justification.

      • rkz says:

        Dr. Bill, WADR I know the definition of meta-halakha, and of course it is not supposed to be the same thing as halakha. However, I also saw many cases where a supposed (academic or practical-academic) discussion on meta-halakha was really a disguised way to circumvent halakha.

      • dr. bill says:

        rkz, undoubtedly there are poskim who abuse the halakhic process with unwarranted humrot and kulot that meta-halakhic arguments can sometimes expose. similarly, academics can disguise an attack on specific psakim using a meta-halakhic argument.

        absent abuse, the two are certainly not the same.

      • rkz says:

        Dr. bill, we are in agreement in principle.

  33. Truth says:

    Bill writes: “JTS has been on a downward spiral for a century; all of the GRASH”s students left in the mid 80’s when JTS allowed women to be rabbis AND Dayanim.”

    I will note that Professor Lieberman’s teshuva prohibits semicha to women, regardless of whether that semicha allows them to become dayanim. In other words he prohibited women from being Rabbis, not only from being Dayanim or from being “Rabbis AND Dayanim”.

    • dr. bill says:

      truth, The point you make is disputed by eye-witness testimony from that era. I cannot vouch for it, but it appears that a conservative rabbi had the authority to be a dayan as well. the Teshuvah makes more sense assuming that background.

      • Truth says:

        Eye witness testimony does not override what he actually wrote in his teshuva, which as I said, flatly prohibits women from being Rabbis.

        The rest is also irrelevant. Professor Lieberman discusses the meaning of the title “Rabbi” and what authority any present-day semicha confers. He never once mentions any specific circumstances. It is clear that he is referring to semicha in general, not only the semicha given by JTS. The teshuva actually makes less sense assuming your ukimta.

        Read the teshuva yourself, and don’t rely on Conservative/JTS apologetics.

      • dr.bill says:

        i did; he was referring to what was being proposed vis-a-vis JTS semicha which included the rights of a dayan. the proof is the actions of his students, who left when semicha for women was introduced after his death, but NONETHELESS davened in shuls with a female rabbi who was NOT a dayan. they who were very close to the GRASH know what he meant much more than people reading whatever into what he wrote a quarter of a century earlier. this is not a theoretical argument: a number are still alive and you can ask them

  34. former Atlantan says:

    Apropos to Parshas Korach, a little history of Atlanta Orthodoxyis quite instructive.

    The Young Israel of Toco Hills was founded some twenty odd years ago as a rebellion against the authority and and Torah leadership of the Feldman family. A young scholar of Judaics, quite sure of his own brilliance, could not accept teh fact that communoty had nothing but reverence, love and respect for the Halachic and Hashkafaci guidance provided byRabbi Emnauel Fledman,and afterwards, his son Rabbi Ilan Feldman. he rallied around him other discontents and publicly proclaimed that there is more than one path to Divine service, and of course, Orthodoxy can speak in different voices as well,…..dah..de… dah… dah, we all know the pitch.

    There was nver a hint that the synagogu would waver on traditional Orthodox stances inbeleif and practivce, but the lseeon is clear: rebellion against Torah authority, and defiance of the Talmidiei Chachamim of the generation always leads to outright Kefira…

    This is not the first occurrence where basic standards of Orthodoxy are called into question at Young Israel of Toco Hills, and unfortunatelu, it will not be the last…but it is too late to talk to anyone over there now.

    This chain of events, which began unwittingly when they turned their backs on the beloved rabbis who had been trusted for forty-five years to share G-d’s Will. When Talmidei Chachamim and Baalei Mesorah are no longer considered men of authority, but rather just ‘one more opinion on the spectrum of Orthodoxy’ and quite extreme at that – just like Korach, we arrive at this point,,,the train has now left the station…how sad…

  35. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill wrote:
    “i hate to break it to you, we do not pasken from chumash or shas. we have Rishonim’s understanding of shas, a variety of halakhic works from Rif, Rambam, Rosh, the SA , key achronim especially the Gra whose views guide halakhic behavior. use of the chumash and shas can lead to antinomian behavior, bein le’kulah bein le’chumrah. we gain insight and perspective from tanach and the various writings of the talmudic rabbis, but halakha, not so much”

    I said nothing about psak, but rather gender rooted roles set forth in the Torah and Chazal. Again, one could be a super genius and have all of TSBP on one’s fingertips but miss the neshama of the Torah-as to what the Torah defines and expects from men and women and why men and women are spiritually equal as being created Btzelem Elokim but their obligations vis a vis Mitzvos Aseh Shezman Grama are vastly different. Only feminists and their supporters and apologists who see no differences between the genders or view gender as a social construct fail to see that HaShem Yisborach created spiritually equal men and women with very different roles via Mitzvos Aseh Shezman Grama.

  36. Steve Brizel says:

    Daniel W wrote:
    “Steve – I would come to the Siyum HaShas as a sign that I completed learning the cycle of Daf :^) And if I lived more locally to it, I would consider coming just to experience the majesty of such Limmud BiTzibur. Each of those counts has overlap with Achdus and Ahavas Yisrael as trying to share this experience together.

    The better question is, if someone from the Reform or Reconstructionist movement also completed the Daf cycle and wanted to attend the Siyum HaShas, would they be welcomed”

    Thanks for your response re the Siyum. As a Msayem ( at my own rate and machor which is much slower than DY) and just to celebrate the majesty and the Chashivus of the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah, I have attended the last four siyumim. I suspect that anyone who finished Shas regardless of his affiliation can pay for a ticket-but if a woman does so, she will definitely be seated in the Ezras Nashim. I suspect that there are more than a few people from Atlanta who will be attending.

  37. Shades of Gray says:

    On Torah Musing, Joel Rich reviewed a few shiurim, linked below, from the recent Etzion Foundation’s Jubilee Conference Panel. In “From The Yeshiva To The Academy; Opportunities And Challenges In Academic Jewish Studies”, the moderator began by saying that “academic Jewish studies have a tremendous diversity –what we mean– in terms of period, subject matter, and methodology”(5:15 in audio).

    https://www.torahmusings.com/2019/06/audio-roundup-special-18/

    There is also a recent Jewish Press article(available online) by R. Gidon Rothstein , responding to R. Gil Student’s halachic analysis about women as a sandek, titled “Make Sure The Juice Is Worth The Squeeze”. It begins by noting that “even the more left-wing R. Ysoscher Katz agrees we should follow the Rema’s ruling against women performing [as a sandek]”. More generally, R. Rothstein writes about both sides(similar to R. Gil Student’s “Why Orthodoxy Needs Its Left Wing” in the 2016 NJ Jewish Link):

    “I suggest we always ask ourselves two questions: Is it necessary and is it worth it? Sometimes the answer will be yes. More often, though, I think the answer will be no – in both camps. The first camp will swallow hard and choose not to act as it thinks permitted and the second camp will choose not to say what it thinks is obviously true. And as both camps make this decision, they can congratulate themselves for a step towards peace among the Jewish people.”

    • mycroft says:

      It might be worthwhile to listen to Rabbi Ezra Schwartz on https://vimeo.com/310039157
      starting roughly at the 28th minute for a discussion of him and the OU psak which he was part of, worthwhile listening to.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      The real issue in going from the yeshiva to the academy is and has always been that of maintaining Yiras Shamayim and committment to Ikarei Emunah and not becoming a spiritual Marrano who looks like a Shomer Torah UMitzvos but who either won’t or can’t or does not have such a commitment

      • Reb Yid says:

        A knowledgeable and careful scholar that has the courage to say that in a specific circumstance that Rashi might have been wrong, for example, does not ipso facto mean this individual is any less authentic of an observant Jew than anyone else.

      • rkz says:

        However, an academic who utilizes academic research to undermine emuna and halakha is ipso facto not an authentic representative of derekh HaTorah (I know a few, and I also know academics who are true b’nei Torah)

  38. Shades of Gray says:

    There is an old article online in the 1992 Torah Umaddah Journal by Dr. Moshe Bernstein, “The Orthodox Jewish Scholar and Jewish Scholarship: Duties and Dilemmas”, which discussed different areas of study. Interestingly, Prof. Bernstein opposed James Kugel speaking at YU in 2008 on even non-controversial topics because it would imply approval of his problematic views to the community at large(he was okay with him speaking at a shul with a disclaimer).

    There are now some changes in the YU undergraduate bible requirements according to Prof. Aaron Koller’s “An Improved Judaic Studies Education” in 4/19 Commentator. Another change is that Dr. Ari Bergmann, who learned under Rav Moshe Shapiro(he gave a hesped for him which is on Torah Anytime) and was described by Ari Goldman as the “unlikely successor to Prof. Halivni” at Columbia, is going to be teaching academic Talmud at YU next year.

    Another Commentator article from earlier this year is “What Academic Bible Gets Wrong… And Right”, by Alec Goldstein of Kodesh Press. In it, he writes that “Currently, certain segments of the Jewish community are at a crossroads about how (if at all) to teach academic Bible to the next generation”.

  39. Steve Brizel says:

    Knowledge and being careful should never be se n as a camouflage for a lack of Torah Shamayim and committment to MatannTorah and The transmission of TSBP

  40. Steve Brizel says:

    https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/uncategorized/915/mort-zukerman-praises-lakewood.html
    If Mort Zuckerman had such praise for the traditional means of learning Gemara bchavrusa at BMG, shouldn’t we also in YU and RIETS ?

    • DF says:

      Steve, I like traditional methods myself – to an extent – but surely you understand Mort Zuckerman’s praise is meaningless. Any non-religious person is wide-eyed and impressed when they first see a yeshivah, and they think all the bachurm are scholars. Smart people, but they just don’t know.

      • Shades of Gray says:

        “Mort Zuckerman’s praise is meaningless”

        I wouldn’t call it “meaningless”. Perhaps his Jewish soul was touched by the experience. I agree that he is not in the position to compare traditional vs. academic methods.

        Noah Feldman, another Harvard graduate with a better Jewish backround, wrote a positive article about Lakewood in Bloomberg News some time ago(“Where Jewish Life Thrives in America”).

        I’m trying to remember where I heard R. Hershel Schachter saying that the Catholic Church was impressed with the chavrusah system and perhaps wanted to imitate it.

        The South Koreans aren’t in a postion to compare traditional and academic Talmud, but one can be inspired from their description in the JTA(linked below):

        “… interest in the Talmud eventually led Korean academics to explore how Jews study religious texts…What they discovered inside sent their hearts aflutter: vast halls resonating with the clamor of heated student discussion, with teachers’ voices nowhere to be heard.”

        https://www.jta.org/2019/01/14/global/talmud-inspired-learning-craze-sweeps-south-korea

        The yeshiva system also made it into the court with 3 affidavits by prominent Orthodox academics(see link), though that’s a different discussion.

        https://www.torahmusings.com/2019/04/professors-in-favor-of-yeshiva-education/

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Zucketmsn was impressed by the intellectual level of what he saw which he said was in a higher level than HLS , why doubt him?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Take a look at Dr Jack Wertheimers profile of BMG which is available on line in the archives of Commentary

    • Nachum says:

      How is Zucker qualified to judge? Come on.

  41. Shades of Gray says:

    “If Mort Zuckerman had such praise for the traditional means of learning Gemara bchavrusa at BMG, shouldn’t we also in YU and RIETS ?”

    Part of the difficulty, for some, might be the issue of reciprocity. After all, one might say that people in BMG should also have praise for RIETS, and perhaps even for the YU academia, since the latter arguably has a better understanding of certain challenges to Torah than does even the kiruv world(as R. Adlerstein wrote in the Fall 2015 Klal Perspectives regarding bible criticism).

    On the positive side, below is a link to a recent lecture in Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion in Baltimore, where each speaker was asked, in a very different and novel way, to begin first speaking about what they liked about the other community.

    https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/923832/rabbi-moshe-taragin/the-complementary-and-conflicting-flavors-of-torat-eretz-yisrael-panel-discussion-with-yonoson-rosenblum/

    Jonathan Rosenblum commented about the above in Mishpacha(linked below):

    “Rabbi Taragin’s ability to acknowledge and even celebrate the virtues of a religious community other than his own reflects a mindset that the Israeli religious world should embrace. (At some point, I’ll share my response from the chareidi side.) And I cannot stress enough how uplifted the audience felt by watching representatives of different communities relate to one another with respect.”

    http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/1997/strive-for-what-binds-us

    R. Yitzchok Lichtenstein spoke a few weeks ago as the new rosh hayeshiva at the Torah Vodaath centennial dinner in the Brooklyn Marriott. He began by mentioning the zechus avos and dedication of his father, grandfather, and father in law, among as his various rebbeim. See 1:36:20 in link below:

    https://matzav.com/watch-live-now-on-matzav-com-yeshiva-torah-vodaaths-centennial-dinner/

    R. Lichtenstein also mentioned his family’s merit at the inaugural shuir kloli he gave at YTV this past fall (see Matzav and Yeshivah World, “Rav Yitzchok Lichtenstein Inaugurated as Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva Torah Vodaath”).

    I have on good authority that after the dinner, R. Lichtenstein left together with his mother, Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein. The yeshiva gave her, as well as the women family members of the other honorees, a bouquet of flowers.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Reciprocity is not the issue as opposed to respect for the transmission of TSBP in. Pure snd pristine manner without hoping or thinking that someone who is not obligated at all in the Mitzvah can offer anything that is Torah Lishmah

      • Shades of Gray says:

        If I want to better understand pshat in Tosaphos, I would definitely go to R. Yehoshua Pfeffer(or to BMG/RIETS), rather than to Christine Hayes, though they both enjoy Talmud study and engaged in discussion at Tikvah.

        I am not dealing with whether a secular academic could enrich Torah study lishmah as an ideal(I’ve quoted R. Hershel Schachter that with specific limitations, “If someone has a suggestion, we would be happy to listen – and some of the suggestions of the non-traditional scholars are gevaldig!” See comments to “Reading Sefer Bereshis through an Open Orthodox Lens”, CC, 12/17).

        R. Adlerstein said at the last AJOP convention that “the people who should be giving the answers, often don’t have them themselves, because the questioning process has been shut down in their mind”(minute 20 in “AJOP 2017: Cynics, Skeptics, Bloggers and the Intellectually Curious…”, available online). Is that not a reason to invite Prof. Hayes to Revel—not RIETS– to engage in the questioning process?

        What I mean with “reciprocity”, is that just as YU and modern orthodoxy could be seen as having a paradox or a dialectic by inviting Prof. Hayes to Revel, similarly, Ohr Somayach/Aish Hatorah, which represent the charedi world’s intellectual kiruv, could be seen in the same manner for not inviting Prof. Hayes.

        Regarding a robust questioning process, in next week’s parsha, the students of R. Yochanon ben Zakkai complained that he gave a weak answer to a non-Jew who asked about the Parah Aduma(see link to Midrash Rabbah 19:8) saying:

        לְאַחַר שֶׁיָּצָא אָמְרוּ לוֹ תַּלְמִידָיו, רַבֵּנוּ, לָזֶה דָּחִית בְּקָנֶה, לָנוּ מָה אַתָּה אוֹמֵר

        https://www.sefaria.org/Bamidbar_Rabbah.19.8?lang=bi&with=Versions&lang2=bi

  42. Shades of Gray says:

    Further to my above comment, below is a link to a 2013 Torah Web shiur by R. Meyer Twerski with practical advice, titled “We’re Better Than They Are, Right? Examining Our Attitude Towards Other Segments of the Frum Community”:

    https://www.torahweb.org/audio/rtwe_122513_video.html

    At 41:30 in the shiur, R. Twerski discusses how to deal with, hypothetically, if one feels that the community in which one lives is on the receiving end of unfair criticism, is disrespected, or not given its due.

    R. Twerski acknowledged that it can be a very real and very formidable nisayon to even so draw inspiration and edification from the other community. But there is no alternative than to meet the challenge, lest one become guilty of the same attitude which one is critiquing.

    Below is a link to a shiur from R. Aryeh Lebowitz, also with advice, with some points noted:

    https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/859221/rabbi-aryeh-lebowitz/the-proper-attitudes-of-our-community-and-our-children-toward-gedolei-yisrael/

    17:15 – Story of R. Zelig Epstein who commented about the Mir yeshiva in Europe not listening to Daas Torah, that it was “before the term Daas Torah was invented”, though the notion of emunas chachamim, beyond direct psak halacha, had already existed.

    24:30 – Torah is strong enough that it can survive anything, including contemporary challenges of the internet (in the name of R. Shechter).

    28:30- Even if one may not want to follow every last thing R. Chaim Kanievsky says, one should acknowledge or focus on the fact that he knows how to read a Gemara better than us, and klal yisrael needs people like that regardless of hashkafah.

  43. Bob Miller says:

    Are we going to consider each new instance of OO chicanery as a special case, worthy of restating the many past posts and comments with new names, places, and minutiae? Or is it clear by now that OO has essentially one approach with many manifestations?

  44. too tired says:

    R. Shai Held’s mesadair kiddushin was Steven Greenberg. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/fashion/weddings/28Forster.html
    Nuff said.

    • emet le'amito says:

      Rav Eliyashuv ztl’s s mesadair kiddushin was Rav Kook, ztve’kl.

      more said. 🙂

    • Reb Yid says:

      So much for the JTS or CJ narrative carrying any weight.

      Had the pleasure of hearing Rav Greenberg a couple months ago in our shul as part of an Eshel Shabbaton. He is devoting his efforts to keep Jews with a variety of sexual orientations within the fold and to have communities be more welcoming.

      I am so very sorry that you find this so very offensive. Would you prefer that they all leave Judaism?

      • Bob Miller says:

        Teshuvah applies to them, too, so they first need to recognize and understand the gravity of their aveirot. You can help by not validating their current way of life.

      • Reb Yid says:

        To Bob Miller:

        Are you still among those holdouts who think that such individuals can be “converted”, or other such nahrishkeit? It is you who can help by treating them respectfully as fellow human beings who want to remain included in the observant community.

        Greenberg and those they serve could easily take the simple way out by either becoming part of the non-Orthodox community or leave Judaism entirely.

        But they don’t.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        They should all do teshuvah in some means so the geulah shelamah won’t be delayed by their demanding that those of us who adhere to the Torah surrender our values and accept their way of life .the current left wing notion of tolerance or progressive values seems to end at their noses when it comes to those who adhere to traditional values. The halachos concerning traditional family life is what Rambzm called Sefer Kedusha

      • Steve Brizel says:

        RSL ZL had negligible impact on CJ as a movement as opposed to RYBS and his enormous influence on all of Torah committed Jewry

      • lacosta says:

        there are no good halachic options for one who has the sad teva for mishkav zachar. but being mattir it lechatchila is not an option….

      • too tired says:

        Steven Greenberg might be the worst chotei u’machti es harabbim of the last two generations. I can argue that no one has done more to move the left fringe of modern Orthodoxy away from Torah miSinai through his fraudulent misrepresentations of the Torah’s proscription against homosexual behavior and his suggestions that someone no less than Dovid Hamelech had such inclinations. He has convinced thousands of unsuspecting Jewish college students that the Torah allows for aberrant behavior, and not simply that we should simply be more accepting. I was part of a community in which he caused major machlokes by flaunting his relationship in multiple shuls where the rabbis were rendered powerless to make any statement against him, so well did he and his partner play the victim card. It is not who wish him out of Judaism. It his he who bears responsibility for absolute and continuous ziyuf hatorah and for reducing basic standards of Judaism to ashes.

      • nt says:

        Judaism cannot be watered down. Period. If that means some people choose to leave, so be it. As the Brisker Rav said, “I am not responsible for Hashem.

  45. Steve Brizel says:

    Some have posted here that we should not use the word kefirah in our discussions. That is IMO a confusion and conflation of the views of CI and Binyan Tzion on the Halachic status of those who are far removed from Torah with someone who distorts Torah and is perceived to be a spiritual leaderREW quotes RCS that there is no concept of Shogeg with respect to Kefirah and that in this regard an Apikorus is nebech an
    Apikorus

    • mycroft says:

      RSL ZL had negligible impact on CJ as a movement as opposed to RYBS and his enormous influence on all of Torah committed Jewry.

      Agreed as to the impact of both.

  46. Nachum says:

    This discussion is getting more and more remarkable. R’ Gordimer, whatever the merits of his argument, made a set of flatly false accusations. And yet nowhere can he bring himself to utter the simple words “I made a mistake” or “I’m sorry” or anything like that. And his main defender in the comments is simply doubling down defending him. This is not healthy.

    As near as I can tell, it’s becoming increasingly common for women to have an official role in the brit- they bentch gomel in front of everyone at the end if they haven’t already done so, make a bracha, and drink wine. I imagine that would send some here in conniptions, but it’s all perfectly halakhic- mandated, in fact.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Where and in which shuls?

      • lacosta says:

        well not in any haredi or RWMO shul . in LWMO this should be either muttar lechatchila or even a required part of the ceremony . the question is if such praxy has penetrated the center…

      • Nachum says:

        Not every brit takes place in a shul. But even so. Have you never heard a woman bentching gomel in a shul?

  47. Truth says:

    DF says about Professor Lieberman’s Tosefta: “The “Tosefta of the Grash” is nearly useless. I’ve discovered that most of the people who wax lyrical about it never actually read it themselves.”

    To which Bill responds:
    “i have and can point to any number of places that his insights, with meaningful references, are very insightful.”

    To which I say to Bill – nu, so let’s have some examples of these insights that are very insightful.

    • dr. bill says:

      just two in the middle of the night 1) when we recite birkhat ha’hamah 2) differences between the terms ikrei torah and ikrei halakha.

      • Truth says:

        Nu, can you provide the mareh mekomos? Vague allusions are not much use to anyone. (I am perpetually baffled as to why you often write such useless comments…)

      • Truth says:

        For the record, I looked in Tosefta Brachos Perek 6 about birkas hachama, aside from collecting some unusual shitot, there is nothing useful or insightful there in Tosefta Kipshuta. So a more detailed explanation or reference would certainly be appreciated.

      • emet le'amito says:

        you might call those shittot unusual, but those familiar with the customs of the Zoroastrians would not. this passage was lifted in a haredi pub on birchat hahamah; i guess they like it 🙂

        gufai not ikrei torah/halakha are in horiyot, i believe.

        if you want to appreciate a level of genius perhaps last witnessed before by those who saw the Gaon of Vilna, read prof. Ta-Shma ztl’s recounting of the first and last time he met the GRASH on Shabbat a few years before he died. it is in volume 4 of Ta-Shma’s unfinished essays published posthumously.

        if that story was told of anyone else, it would be both hard to believe and gaavah; about the GRASH it is simply true.

  48. Shades of Gray says:

    I read a humorous story about the perils of outsiders judging the intellectual content of the yeshivah system. Avi Schick, lawyer for PEARLS, was interviewed in Ami Magazine a year or so ago. One city or state education official asked him if the Hasidic yeshivos also use the “Brisker method”, as yeshivah advocates had previously impressed this official about its intellectual benefits.

    Avi Schick responded, ” if you can get the Hasidic yeshivos to embrace the Brisker method, you will have succeeded where great rabbis have not!”

  49. Reb Yid says:

    Steve Brizel:

    This is not a mere “lifestyle” or hobby. It’s how we are wired. This is true for anyone, no matter what their age, but especially for many of the individuals in Eshel who are adolescents or pre-adolescents and certainly have not acted on this.

    Calling one’s orientation an “aveirah”? How sheltered are the individuals in this forum? How many of you are friends with Orthodox individuals who fall into this category? If you aren’t, your children and grandchildren most certainly will be, if they’re not already.

    • Bob Miller says:

      One is physically able to refrain from doing actions that violate Jewish law. Coaching someone to do the actions anyway is obscene.

      • Reb Yid says:

        It is the very unusual individual who can sublimate his or her sexual desires for a lifetime.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Reb Yid writes in part:

      “This is not a mere “lifestyle” or hobby. It’s how we are wired. This is true for anyone, no matter what their age, but especially for many of the individuals in Eshel who are adolescents or pre-adolescents and certainly have not acted on this.

      Calling one’s orientation an “aveirah”? How sheltered are the individuals in this forum? How many of you are friends with Orthodox individuals who fall into this category? If you aren’t, your children and grandchildren most certainly will be, if they’re not already

      You obviously have difficulties with how and why men and women were created by HaShem.It is well documented that the APA as a result of junk science delisted many forms of sexual deviance from the DSM. WADR, what you are espousing is junk science. We are “sheltered” because we subscribe to how HaShem created the genders and how we work very hard at ensuring that the next generation find a zivug and raise a Bayis Neeman BYisrael and transmit Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim to the next generation regardless of what, how and why the secular world views those values.

  50. Truth says:

    Bill,
    You ought not confuse finding unusual shitot with insight…

  51. Steve Brizel says:

    For those interested see http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/725788/dr-judith-bleich/liturgical-innovation-and-spirituality-trends-and-trendiness/

    Reb Yid-Sublimation of sexual desires is part and parcel of living a life of Kedusha. The failure to do so is graphically described by the Torah and read on YK at Mincha to remind us of that such sublimation is a huge portion of what is one of the key elements of Havdalah.

  52. Steve Brizel says:

    Reb Yid wrote in part:

    “This is not a mere “lifestyle” or hobby. It’s how we are wired. This is true for anyone, no matter what their age, but especially for many of the individuals in Eshel who are adolescents or pre-adolescents and certainly have not acted on this.

    Calling one’s orientation an “aveirah”? How sheltered are the individuals in this forum? How many of you are friends with Orthodox individuals who fall into this category? If you aren’t, your children and grandchildren most certainly will be, if they’re not already”

    Saying that a person is wired is a nice way of saying that junk science which caused the delisting of many mental illnesses and which rules regnent in our culture takes precedence over how HaShem created man and woman. If you think that “we are wired. This is true for anyone, no matter what their age, but especially for many of the individuals in Eshel who are adolescents or pre-adolescents and certainly have not acted on this”, you are repeating junk science and hoping that constant repetition establishes the same as scientific truth. What is clear that what Rambam includes as a huge portion of Sefer Kedusha and why we read the same on YK at Mincha and how Chazal describe Kiddushin remains the goal for all who wish to see their childrren find a zivug and raise a Bayis Neeman BYisrael regardless of what, and how the secular culture and media view the same. No amount of PC brainwashing can change that belief

  53. lacosta says:

    >>> it is in volume 4 of Ta-Shma’s unfinished essays published posthumously.

    — it would be a kindness if bibliophiles who own works that less an 1/1000 of 1 per cent of the readership here, would rather than refer to obscure unobtainable works , to recount the stories to make their points…

    • dr. bill says:

      ok lacasta, Prof. Ta Shma reports that the GRASH, approximately 80 years old at the time, reviewed the entire Talmud Yerushalmi in about 6 minutes and considered that an example of what happens when one ages and no longer has instantaneous recall; he referenced that as perhaps being the implication of in the last Mishnah in Kinnim, something readily available. 🙂 you do not find many stories like that.

    • Truth says:

      Golinkin relates the story here:
      https://seforimblog.com/2014/12/was-professor-saul-lieberman-orthodox/

      And yes, I also find it baffling how Bill makes so many vague allusions that are mostly useless to most other readers.

    • dr. bill says:

      truth, the retelling by Rabbi Golinkin may mislead you into thinking he reviewed the entire yerushalmi in 3 minutes; that is incorrect. it took him 6 minutes, not 3, as is clear from prof. Ta Shma’s original essay.

      I bought that volume because it contained two essays of strong interest. if you know anything about me and the essays in vol. 4, you can figure it out. I love to leave people scratching their head. 🙂 btw, volume 2 is available on amazon, 1 and 3 are not and 4 is not even listed. i am sure any good bookstore in Israel can oblige you.

  54. bo says:

    Where are the photos from the bris posted? Is there a link?

  55. Shades of Gray says:

    In a recent Tikvah Fund lecture(“Sacred Time Ep 11: Shavuot – The Treasure from Sinai”, 26:00), R. Meir Soloveichik quoted some of the homily below, titled “Yeshiva Lessons”, which Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput gave in his cathedral after visiting the YU beis midrash a few years ago :

    “Yeshiva is an Orthodox Jewish university that includes a focus on the study of traditional religious texts, mainly the Torah and the Talmud. The study is done through daily lectures. But it’s combined with a unique way of immersing oneself in the Word of God, called chavruta, the Aramaic word for friendship or companionship. In the chavruta style of learning, the young men sit together in groups of two and debate and challenge one another to a deeper understanding of the Scriptures. They’re guided by senior rabbinical scholars, but the scholars themselves become, as they walk around the study hall, part of the learning dialogue and expand their own understanding of the sacred text.

    …What struck me first was the passion the students had for the Torah. They didn’t merely study it; they consumed it. Or maybe it would be better to say that God’s Word consumed them. When a man and woman fall in love, a kind of electricity runs not just between them, but also in the air around them. The story of every true encounter with God is the same… I saw this in the students at Yeshiva.”

  56. Steve Brizel says:

    I would like to comment on the food less joint Kiddush. The response to tragedy is not a public pity party with groups that have a raison de etre that has nothing to do with the transmission of Torah and Mitzvos but rather looking at the core roots of and the where we are threatened by contemporary manifestations of anti Semitism Tefilah and Tehilim

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