Sunday, 23 June 2013

Just What is Orthodoxy Anyway?

Question to consider

Is R Avi Weiss's move to ordain women any greater break with tradition than R YD Soloveichik's move to teach Gemara to women?

There are many approaches to resolving this question, which is what makes this a fascinating topic?

«Not that Rabbi Rothstein needs my approbation, but this article is spot on. Thinking it through to the next level, the question will be whether this school (along with other schools, synagogues, and individuals with a similar approach to Judaism) will continue to call themselves Orthodox, or whether they will find another name to be more appropriate. The other possibility is that mainstream Orthodox will find a new name for themselves (after all, the term Orthodox isn't written in stone).»
Yeshivat Maharat And Orthodoxy | The Jewish Week

Best Regards,


Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

Of course, one of the distinctions between the Rav's decision and R. Avi Weiss' is the very distinction in the very status of the two individuals. The comparison of the two in regard to their decisions is, in many ways, even a non-starter.

There is, however, another distinction that should be made -- and this, perhaps, would be of similar application to why Nishmat and Rebbetzin Henkin's teaching of gemara to women is also more accepted than the Maharat. Basically, the Rav and Nishmat already demonstrated fealty to tradition -- even as an applicable value in decision making. The Rav is noted as a strong defender of minhag -- note the Brisker objection to techelet. Such a base allows for greater acceptance of new positions -- for it demonstrates that the new position is not just part of a radical or conciliatory attitude. The further challenge with R. Weiss is his general leaning towards the radical. It is difficult for one to join his bandwagon on even an item with which one would, in a vacuum agree, when this one position is part of a collection of items, noted as radical, with which one would not necessarily agree.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Rabbi Rich Wolpoe said...

Of course there are many distinctions to be made in terms of
Between RYD Soloveichik Z"L and R Avi Weiss

The underlying common concern is re: "breaking new ground". IOW, once we see that one may disregard Tradition re: Women's Study of Texts, does that provide a precedent to go even further - even if it as unintended consequence.

EG Some Hareidim have accused Stern College's advanced courses as a pre-cursor to granting women Semichah.

One may claim that this is a "straw-man" attack - Lo Hayah v'lo Nivra...
OTOH one may defend that accusation with "The Slippery Slope" argument: that once we endorse women mastering Talmud, Women's Semichah is just a small step away.

Best Regards,