web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Letters To The Editor

Letters-logo

This inaction has resulted in the dangerous perception that Modern Orthodoxy has no standards and that any rabbi who has a popular following can decide when and how to make major departures from longstanding Orthodox practice.

I have no doubt that Rav Soloveitchik, as he did in his lifetime, would have spoken against the outliers’ drift toward Conservative Judaism in their embrace of non-halachic conversions, interdenominational dialogue, and women rabbis (among other troubling developments).

As was pointed out in the editorial, only the RCA, the OU and Yeshiva University have the standing and the influence to stanch the drift.

Robert Markowitz
Brooklyn, NY

The Rav On Women Wearing Tefillin

Who Speaks for Modern Orthodoxy?” was on target, especially in its recognition of the silence of the OU, the RCA, and the roshei yeshiva of YU.

I’d like to share a story about women wearing tefillin that involved Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, recounted by Rabbis Aryeh and Dov Frimer in their article “Women’s Prayer Services – Theory and Practice” in the Winter 1998 issue of Tradition:

R. Soloveitchik believed he had good reason to doubt that greater fulfillment of mitzvot motivated many of these women, as illustrated in the following story, related to us by R. Yehuda Kelemer, former rabbi of the Young Israel of Brookline, Massachusetts.

During the mid-1970s, one of R. Kelemer’s woman congregants at the Young Israel of Brookline was interested in wearing a tallit and tzitzit during the prayer services. After R. Kelemer had expressed to her his hesitations about the matter, she approached R. Soloveitchik – who lived in Brookline – on the matter.

The Rav explained that in light of the novelty of the action, it needed to be adopted gradually. Accordingly, he suggested that she first try wearing a tallit without tzitzit (which is, of course, allowed for women.) The Rav asked the woman to return to him after three months, at which time they would discuss the matter further.

When the two met once again, she described to R. Soloveitchik the magnificent nature of her religious experience in wearing the tallit. The Rav pointed out to the woman that wearing a tallit without tzitzit lacked any halachically authentic element of mitzvah. It was obvious, therefore, that what generated her sense of “religious high” was not an enhanced kiyyum hamitzvah, but something else. Under such circumstances, the Rav maintained, wearing a tallit was an inappropriate use of the mitzvah. Consequently, the Rav forbade the woman from wearing a tallit with tzitzit.

Jack Lieberman
(Via E-Mail)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Letters To The Editor”

  1. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    Yasher koach to Moshe Phillips. Yet how can Israel and Jewry invoke the historical connection between Jews and 'Eretz Yisra'el without having to deal with the Bible? Yet the Bible as an argument on any public issue has been considered beyond the pale for decades now–ironically, in large part because of historical Xian persecution of Jews. So now what happens? Mainstream Zionism usually ignores the Bible (and certainly HaShem) in its arguments with opponents in favor of a purely secular rationale. To maintain this rationale while invoking the Bible is going to be a problem.

    Furthermore if one begins invoking the Bible on one issue, the floodgates will be opened up to invoking it on other issues as well. Why should the Bible be listened to on one issue but not another? To invoke the Bible while still in political alliance (however "pragmatic") with homosexuals and atheists (as a "minority group") will make the Jewish community hypocritical.

    Perhaps…just perhaps Jews were never meant to turn to secularization for protection? Maybe their mission from Day One has been to teach the Nations about HaShem and His Law, which is the antithesis of secularism, however historically "benign" it has been to Jews (though it has been far from benign to everybody).

    Liberal Jews never let "separation of religion and state" stop them from agitating for ever more destructive policies. How can Orthodox Jews continue to cling to this false concept and refuse to agitate for G-dly positions on all issues?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colin H. Kahl, VP Joe Biden's new national security adviser.
Biden’s New NSA Chief Mocked Israeli Nuke Fears
Latest Indepth Stories

There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.

No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.

With $2 billion on hand the Islamic State is an extremely well-funded terrorist group that may pose a major international crisis for the U.S. and the world. Learn about their rise to power and the toll they’ve taken thus far.

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

A., a teacher: “I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll.”

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-289/2014/02/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: