healing the rift between reform and orthodox

4 views
Skip to first unread message

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 16, 1995, 1:22:18 PM3/16/95
to
wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu (Matthew P Wiener) wrote:
>
> In article <3k7atj$l...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
> >There's also the small matter of the position of women, some of whom
> >are in fact Reform rabbis. I don't see the rift being healed as long
> >as the Orthodox deny women the right to be heard in the synagogue.
>
> What right are you referring to? Is this some 9th amendment thing?
> --
> -Matthew P Wiener (wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu)

I said "the right to be heard in the synagogue". The same right men
have to raise their voices and be heard. The right to be a shliach
tsibur. C and R recognize that women have the same rights in these
matters as men. O doesn't. Obviously a rift which is not likely to
be healed in our lifetime.

Is there anything in this paragraph which is news to you, Matthew?

BTW, what on earth is the 9th amendment? The assumptions you Americans
make that everybody knows (and cares about) the minutiae of your
constitution ...

Happy Purim, Hadass

--
Hadass Eviatar Email: evi...@ibd.nrc.ca
National Research Council of Canada Phone: (204) 984 - 4535
Institute for Biodiagnostics, Winnipeg Fax: (204) 984 - 5472
Obligatory disclaimer: NRC wouldn't dream of saying a thing like that.


Miriam Wolfe

unread,
Mar 16, 1995, 6:00:00 PM3/16/95
to
In article <3kadpl$k...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar
<evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> wrote:

% sr...@crux1.cit.cornell.edu (Motti) wrote:
% >
% [Lots of stuff about how everybody could basically participate in
% Orthodox minyanim no matter what their affiliation]
%
% Nu, Motti, does Judaism (of all kinds) consist only of men? If I were
% to walk in an Orthodox shul and put on my tallit and tefillin, what would they
% say? In my Conservative shul (which does not institute "radical reforms"
% to deal with intermarriage - I do know many converts who feel at home
% there, though), the reaction is uaually "Good morning".

% Shalom, Hadass


Hadass, you asked this question----
"If I were to walk in an Orthodox shul and put on my tallit and tefillin,
what would
they say?"


If you were on the women's side of the mechitzah----they'd probably raise
an eyebrow or two towards the mechitza and say to the guy standing next to
him "Nu?" and then go back to their davening.

If you were on the men's side of the mechitzah----they'd probably raise an
eyebrow or two towards the mechitza and say "Nu! The women daven on their
side. So if you don't mind, we'd appreciate it if you'd go to the other
side."

Are you aware that the daughters of Rashi lained tfillin. There is no
halacha I've heard of (I'm not by any means a scholar, so if I'm wrong
about the halacha, I hope some one will obilge and point out my error)
which prohibits women from wearing a tallis during prayer. I think it is
just not customary for women TO do it. During Birkas Kohanim the girls'
under bat mitzvah run over to their Tattie's and stand under the tallis
with thier brothers.
I think you are mistakening what is customary with what is Halacha and by
nature is a constant. Speaking as a woman. I do not feel left out,
because I don't wear tallis, and tfillin, nor do I feel spruned because I
will not lead the prayer of a mixed minyan.
Who do you think leads the daily/weekly gathering of Bikur Cholim women in
the recitation of the entire Thillim? A man? No, its a woman! And on a
regular basis each girl in each of my 3 daughter's classess, has their
turn to lead the klal in their class in Schacharis, and in MIncha. Have
you ever had the spiritual delight to be in the halls of a girls' Cheder
and be lifted on the sweet kvanah of their voices singing "ashrei yoshev
baisecha......." Go sometime. You'll see what I'm saying.
I see no advantage the men have to lead the tzibur in a mixed minyan. The
orthodox and chassidische women who embody my chevra don't feel deprived.
Miriam Wolfe

--
Those Who Make Unqualified Assumptions, ARE Assumed To Be FOOLS, until proven otherwise.

Miriam Wolfe

unread,
Mar 16, 1995, 6:26:46 PM3/16/95
to
In article <3kalkv$5...@netnews.upenn.edu>, wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu
(Matthew P Wiener) wrote:

% In article <3kadfr$k...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar
<eviatar@ibd writes:
% >I know _why_. It has been explained to me at great length on this very
% >newgroup. However, the matter is _not_ more complicated. The _facts_
% >as I have stated them are true.
%
% That you mention "rights" shows the above is absurd in the first place.
%
% I can think of a few "rights" that O recognizes, regarding what is done
% in shul. A bridegroom, a bar mitzvah boy, and a few others, have first
% dibs at aliyos. A mourner generally has dibs at leading the davening.
% But that's about it, and even then, custom varies. There is nothing
% like men having the "right" to an aliyah in O.
% --
% -Matthew P Wiener (wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu)

There is a distinction to be made between those things you are labeling as
"RIGHTS". There are OBLIGATIONS, there are PRIVLEDGES, and I suppose
there are a few rights.
But Hadass (and a few others) are lumping all three together--and you shouldn't.

Men do not have the "RIGHT" to pray 3 times a day. Its their OBLIGATION
to do so.
Women should also make time for prayer. Prayer is not denied to the women
by virtue that the men are OBLIGATED to pray.
Men have the PRIVLEDGE to be the baal Koreh b'tzibur.
Men also have the privledge to be the baal Tfilah.
Klal B'nai Yisroel (every Jew) has the RIGHT (also the obligation) to Keep
the Shabbat, while the goyim share no such right These kinds of mitzvot
and the equal obligation or right if you will of a bas Yisroel as well as
a ben Yisroel.

"Torah tzivu lanu Moshe, morasha kelias Yaacov" The Torah given to Moshe
is the inheritance of the congregation of Yaacov[ meaning = and all his
descendants]. Yaacov, the people Israel, both male and female--- all have
their share in the inheritance. The "share" may have differences. If a
great grandmother left an inheritance of two pieces of jewlery a watch and
a brooch, both of equal value. She had two great-granchildren a girl and
a boy, to the boy was left the watch and to the girl the brooch. It would
be difficult for anyone to complain, the value is equal, only the function
of each piece is different.

Miriam Wolfe

Matthew P Wiener

unread,
Mar 19, 1995, 9:26:45 AM3/19/95
to
In article <3kga71$7...@chaos.aoc.nrao.edu>, yodaiken@chelm (Victor Yodaiken) writes:
>In article <strnlghtD...@netcom.com>,
>David Sternlight <da...@sternlight.com> wrote:

>>[bleah bleah bleah]

>And you come to this conclusion without the use of any "interpretations
>according to your particular ideology." How impressive.

I think it is perhaps not a coincidence that when someone asked where all
the C-vs-everybody flamewars went, and it was pointed out that the main
instigator left two years ago, who should show up but David Sternlight, of
all people, to fill the void?

Wheeee.

adina s levin

unread,
Mar 19, 1995, 2:45:41 PM3/19/95
to
Matthew P Wiener (wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu) wrote:
: In article <3kciqa$t...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
: >I have not ignored them. I have listened, understood and do not accept.

: You have not understood them at all, as evidenced by your use of "rights".

No Matthew, she may have understood them, but disagreed with the
underlying analytical framework to apply. The traditional view says that
that there is an objective and God-given difference between the
responsibilities and obligations of men and women. The way Hadass
understands things, despite this language of responsibility and
obligation, men are in fact, in a priviliged position with respect to the
public sphere in Judaism. The language of obligations and responsibilities
obscures the human power dynamics of the situation.

Hadass, please correct me if I have misunderstood.

- Adina
--
For every simple problem * Adina Levin
There exists a complex * ale...@world.std.com
technical solution. * Somerville, MA

Matthew P Wiener

unread,
Mar 19, 1995, 5:00:46 PM3/19/95
to
In article <D5pD...@world.std.com>, alevin@world (adina s levin) writes:
>Matthew P Wiener (wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu) wrote:
>: In article <3kciqa$t...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
>: >I have not ignored them. I have listened, understood and do not accept.

>: You have not understood them at all, as evidenced by your use of "rights".

>No Matthew, she may have understood them, but disagreed with the

>underlying analytical framework to apply. [...]

She claimed that men had various rights in the traditional framework,
and that this is a fact, when the facts are that they don't.

>The language of obligations and responsibilities obscures the human
>power dynamics of the situation.

And the language of rights was inaccurate and inapplicable. Ergo, her
claim to have understood the situation is specious.

Daniel P. Faigin

unread,
Mar 19, 1995, 5:38:16 PM3/19/95
to
On 18 Mar 1995 18:30:15 GMT, yoda...@chelm.cs.nmt.edu (Victor Yodaiken) said:

>> I'm the last person to suggest that the Reform should give up their
>> practices. If they like not observing, fine. If they like picking and
>> choosing rules, and practically making their own new little religion, I
>> won't stop them. Fine.

> This is such a collection of unthinking cliches and stock phrases that I
> wonder why you felt you had to write it out. Perhaps we could get a
> numbering system and you could just type something convenient like "cliche
> #3".

We may, whenver I get the Reform FAQ finished (I've been so busy I haven't had
time to write sections, and although I've sent out a few, I still haven't
gotten any draft answers). In any case, one part of the FAQ is as follows:


IV. Stereotypes: The myth verses reality

IV.A. Myth: Reform Jews (RJs) choose practice based solely on convenience
IV.B. Myth: Either patrilineal or matrilineal descent is accepted
IV.C. Myth: Reform Conversions take no study, and are for convenience only
IV.D. Myth: Reform Judaism encourages intermarriage
IV.E. Myth: Intermarried couples have exactly the same rights as
non-intermarried couples in Reform Congregations
IV.F. Myth: Reform Judaism has Rabbis and congregations that don't believe in
God
IV.G. Myth: There are few 3rd or 4th generation Reform Jews.
IV.H. Myth: An atheist could be considered a "good" Reform Jew
IV.I. Myth: Reform Jews don't have Bar Mitzvahs
IV.J. Myth: Reform totally ignores "Jewish" divorce (i.e., gets)
IV.K. Myth: All Reform Congregations Are Rich
IV.L. Myth: Reform Rabbis do not study Halacha
IV.M. Myth: Reform Jews don't care about Jewish ideals & principles.
IV.N. Myth: Reform Jews don't need to attend synagogue.
IV.O. Myth: Reform Jews don't believe in Zionism and don't support Israel.

--
[W]: The Aerospace Corp. M1/055 * POB 92957 * LA, CA 90009-2957 * 310/336-8228
[Email]:fai...@aero.org, fai...@acm.org [Vmail]:310/336-5454 Box#68228
Proud first time daddy of: Erin Shoshana Faigin (b. 11/17/94)...
Now: 4 mo. old, >15lb, solid food: carrots (boo), sweet potatoes (yea!)

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 1:37:41 PM3/20/95
to
ale...@world.std.com (adina s levin) wrote:
>
> Matthew P Wiener (wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu) wrote:
> : In article <3kciqa$t...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
> : >I have not ignored them. I have listened, understood and do not accept.
>
> : You have not understood them at all, as evidenced by your use of "rights".
>
> No Matthew, she may have understood them, but disagreed with the
> underlying analytical framework to apply. The traditional view says that
> that there is an objective and God-given difference between the
> responsibilities and obligations of men and women. The way Hadass
> understands things, despite this language of responsibility and
> obligation, men are in fact, in a priviliged position with respect to the
> public sphere in Judaism. The language of obligations and responsibilities
> obscures the human power dynamics of the situation.
>
> Hadass, please correct me if I have misunderstood.
>
>

Couldn't have said it better myself. All these people who are annoyed
at my use of the word "rights" (actually, all these men - while I have
discussed the matter privately with at least one O woman, none of them
seems to be taking part in this thread. I wonder why?) are persisting
in trying to force me into their conceptual framework, which I can and
do understand intellectually, but reject from an emotional and religious
point of view.

Thanks to the gentleman who said it was intelligent of me to move
away from O. In a C-context, my use of the word "rights" makes perfect
sense. When I (and a few other women) first started wearing tefillin
at the morning minyan, one of my fellow-congregants privately asked
the Rabbi "Do we allow women to wear tefillin?". The Rabbi simply
looked at him and explained that it wasn't a question of "we" (the
men) "allowing" the women to do anything of the sort. Our right to
take part in the ritual as we feel the need and the obligation is as
enshrined and self-evident as that of the men. We are also counted in
the minyan, for the same reason.

Of course I have an agenda here - so does every single one of you,
or you wouldn't be discussing this. Mine is simple. I do not believe
that Hashem does not wish me to be counted in his/her holy congregation.

Every single one of my interpretations and arguments comes from this
point of view. As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
my ability. Didn'r our sages prohibit mitsvot which were beyond the
people's ability to perform?

Shalom, Hadass

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 1:41:58 PM3/20/95
to
jba...@merhaba.cc.columbia.edu (Jerry B Altzman) wrote:

[About the reaction in an O shul to a woman wearing tefillin]
>
> 1/3 of the men would chuckle to themselves.
> 1/3 of the men would simply gape in amazement.
> 1/3 of the men would say "cool!".
>
> 9/10 of the women would look at you askance.
> 1/10 of the women would ask to borrow your t'fillin when you were done with
> them (of those, 9/10 of them would ask you to show them how its done)
>

You are probably accurate. Certainly in my shul, most of the people
who have problems with women wearing tefillin tend to be of our own
gender. They seem to view it as threatening, although I have never
clearly understood why. After all, by their lights, they are under
no obligation to follow suit.

Luckily the number of people who look askance at all has decreased
exponentially and is now very close to zero.

Shalom, Hadass

Adam Jeremy Schorr

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 3:14:19 PM3/20/95
to

Hadass Eviatar (evi...@ibd.nrc.ca) wrote:

: Of course I have an agenda here - so does every single one of you,


: or you wouldn't be discussing this. Mine is simple. I do not believe
: that Hashem does not wish me to be counted in his/her holy congregation.

So your agenda is to do what Hashem wants? What are valid cues that one
could use in evaluating Hashem's desires?

: Every single one of my interpretations and arguments comes from this


: point of view. As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
: the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
: my ability. Didn'r our sages prohibit mitsvot which were beyond the
: people's ability to perform?

First of all, our sages did not prohibit mitzvot that were beyond the
people's ability to perform. They just refrained from making gzayrot and
takanot that were beyond the people's ability to perform. Those mitzvot
that are deoraysa are untouchable.

You must realize what you have just said. You said that you attempt to
follow halacha but that there is a certain thing in halacha that you just
cannot accept. It would appear then that it is not halacha that is your
primary motivator but some sense that you have. I consider it important
to figure out what that sense is and whether it is a worthy motivator
(not all are).

Matthew P Wiener

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 4:15:17 PM3/20/95
to
In article <3kki1l$l...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
>Couldn't have said it better myself. All these people who are annoyed
>at my use of the word "rights" are persisting in trying to force me

>into their conceptual framework, which I can and do understand
>intellectually, but reject from an emotional and religious point of
>view.

Huh?

What are you talking about?

Your use of "rights" to characterize something present in Orthodoxy
was flat out wrong. I'm annoyed at the inaccuracy. I couldn't really
care all that much what you do on your time.

>Thanks to the gentleman who said it was intelligent of me to move
>away from O. In a C-context, my use of the word "rights" makes perfect
>sense.

I'm sure it does. As I said in other postings, I don't believe Torah
is central to R, and presumably it isn't central to C either. Modern
secular philosophy, however, is, and you're a perfect demonstration
of this.

>Of course I have an agenda here - so does every single one of you,
>or you wouldn't be discussing this. Mine is simple. I do not believe
>that Hashem does not wish me to be counted in his/her holy congregation.

So what? What does this have to do with your inaccurate use of "rights"
in the context of Orthodoxy? Is your agenda to misrepresent O, all the
better to bash them?

>Every single one of my interpretations and arguments comes from this
>point of view. As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
>the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
>my ability.

That makes absolutely no sense.

> Didn'r our sages prohibit mitsvot which were beyond the
>people's ability to perform?

The people's, not the person's.

Motti

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 4:42:53 PM3/20/95
to
Hadass:

Of course I have an agenda here - so does every single one of you,
or you wouldn't be discussing this. Mine is simple. I do not believe
that Hashem does not wish me to be counted in his/her holy congregation.

Motti:
So is this the only problem you have with orthodox customs? It doesn't
sound like such a big problem. The men aren't saying that you are not
part of the congregation: they aren't counting you in the minyan... but
perhaps you can regard that as their problem.


mordechai steve seidman _ __ ____ __ ,__
sr...@crux3.cit.cornell.edu | | | | | |
se...@ee.cornell.edu (use only if crux3 fails) __| | | | _|

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 5:23:39 PM3/20/95
to
aj...@uchicago.edu (Adam Jeremy Schorr) wrote:
>
>
> Hadass Eviatar (evi...@ibd.nrc.ca) wrote:
>
> : Of course I have an agenda here - so does every single one of you,
> : or you wouldn't be discussing this. Mine is simple. I do not believe
> : that Hashem does not wish me to be counted in his/her holy congregation.
>
> So your agenda is to do what Hashem wants? What are valid cues that one
> could use in evaluating Hashem's desires?
>

Well, Torah and Halakha, obviously. But I do not live in a vacuum,
and I cannot follow rules blindly. Avraham Avinu argued with Hashem,
and so do I. Where did he get his cues about Hashem's desires? We are
told that Hashem spoke to him. I'm not claiming that he/she speaks to
me as he/she did to Avraham Avinu. But a rigid set of rules is not a
framework in which I can live my life. I was always in trouble in the
army, too ... I must consent freely, or else have nothing to do with
it (as was the case for twenty years, before I discovered an egalitarian
congregation).

> : Every single one of my interpretations and arguments comes from this
> : point of view. As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
> : the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
> : my ability. Didn'r our sages prohibit mitsvot which were beyond the
> : people's ability to perform?
>
> First of all, our sages did not prohibit mitzvot that were beyond the
> people's ability to perform. They just refrained from making gzayrot and
> takanot that were beyond the people's ability to perform. Those mitzvot
> that are deoraysa are untouchable.
>

You are quite right, of course. It was gzerot which must not be beyond
the ability of the people to perform. That'll larn me to try and take
shortcuts ... I also apologise for the typos!

Let me point out that I, at least, do not know of any mitzvot deoraita
which forbid women to lead prayers in a mixed minyan. Perhaps you
could enlighten my ignorance.


> You must realize what you have just said. You said that you attempt to
> follow halacha but that there is a certain thing in halacha that you just
> cannot accept. It would appear then that it is not halacha that is your
> primary motivator but some sense that you have. I consider it important
> to figure out what that sense is and whether it is a worthy motivator
> (not all are).

Again, you are quite right. This is a matter to which I have given
considerable thought. At the moment, it is the only way for me. I do
not desire to be exempt, and I do require to be counted. Otherwise,
there is no place for me in the community. Halakha, as such, is not my
primary motivator. I do not think it has any intrinsic value. However,
it has an important place in a Jewish life, and as such I attempt to
follow it. Let us remember that we worship Hashem, not Halakha. Although
sometimes one does wonder ...

Victor Yodaiken

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 6:45:22 PM3/20/95
to
In article <D5r9J...@midway.uchicago.edu>,

Adam Jeremy Schorr <aj...@uchicago.edu> wrote:
>You must realize what you have just said. You said that you attempt to
>follow halacha but that there is a certain thing in halacha that you just
>cannot accept. It would appear then that it is not halacha that is your

That's not what she said. "I disagree with your interpretation of
Halakah" is not equivalent to "I do not follow halakah that I cannot
accept." Capiche?


Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 6:50:59 PM3/20/95
to
wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu (Matthew P Wiener) wrote:
>
> In article <3kki1l$l...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
> >Couldn't have said it better myself. All these people who are annoyed
> >at my use of the word "rights" are persisting in trying to force me
> >into their conceptual framework, which I can and do understand
> >intellectually, but reject from an emotional and religious point of
> >view.
>
> Huh?
>
> What are you talking about?
>
> Your use of "rights" to characterize something present in Orthodoxy
> was flat out wrong. I'm annoyed at the inaccuracy. I couldn't really
> care all that much what you do on your time.
>

You may recall (if you choose to, but I don't expect you will) that I
said that C and R recognized that women had these rights, and that O
didn't. Therefore, these rights are not present in Orthodoxy. What is
your problem, aside from elective dyslexia?

> >Thanks to the gentleman who said it was intelligent of me to move
> >away from O. In a C-context, my use of the word "rights" makes perfect
> >sense.
>
> I'm sure it does. As I said in other postings, I don't believe Torah
> is central to R, and presumably it isn't central to C either. Modern
> secular philosophy, however, is, and you're a perfect demonstration
> of this.
>

There are other people more qualified than myself to explain to you
for the umpteenth time that Torah and Halakha are central to C Judaism.


> >Of course I have an agenda here - so does every single one of you,
> >or you wouldn't be discussing this. Mine is simple. I do not believe
> >that Hashem does not wish me to be counted in his/her holy congregation.
>
> So what? What does this have to do with your inaccurate use of "rights"
> in the context of Orthodoxy? Is your agenda to misrepresent O, all the
> better to bash them?

I was not bashing O. I was stating that these rights are not recognized
by O. You tell me yourself that the whole word is inaccurate in
describing O. So what are we arguing about?

>
> >Every single one of my interpretations and arguments comes from this
> >point of view. As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
> >the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
> >my ability.
>
> That makes absolutely no sense.
>

Must be all those way way way way too many sexual thoughts clouding
your brain ... what don't you understand about this paragraph? Let me
repeat in words of one syllable (okay, two): I try to follow Halakha
to the best of my ability. However, (oh dear, three syllables!) I
cannot accept not being counted, it hurts me and makes me want to run
away and have no part of the community which treats me like this. That
is what I did for twenty years. I don't want to do that anymore. Thus
I have found a community which counts me.

Is that clear?

> > Didn'r our sages prohibit mitsvot which were beyond the
> >people's ability to perform?
>
> The people's, not the person's.

So the people isn't made up of persons? There is no way a people can
perform mitzvot (or indeed suffer under gzerot, as Adam pointed out
to me) unless the individuals do.

Adam Jeremy Schorr

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 11:46:27 PM3/20/95
to
Hadass Eviatar (evi...@ibd.nrc.ca) wrote:
: > : Of course I have an agenda here - so does every single one of you,
: > : or you wouldn't be discussing this. Mine is simple. I do not believe
: > : that Hashem does not wish me to be counted in his/her holy congregation.
: >
: > So your agenda is to do what Hashem wants? What are valid cues that one
: > could use in evaluating Hashem's desires?
: >

: Well, Torah and Halakha, obviously. But I do not live in a vacuum,
: and I cannot follow rules blindly. Avraham Avinu argued with Hashem,
: and so do I. Where did he get his cues about Hashem's desires? We are
: told that Hashem spoke to him. I'm not claiming that he/she speaks to
: me as he/she did to Avraham Avinu. But a rigid set of rules is not a
: framework in which I can live my life. I was always in trouble in the
: army, too ... I must consent freely, or else have nothing to do with
: it (as was the case for twenty years, before I discovered an egalitarian
: congregation).

Whoa, let's back up a minute soldier. Are you claiming that following
Torah and halacha is equivalent to following rules blindly? I suspect not
because I'm sure you're aware that one could study and come to understand
and accept Torah and halacha. Unless of course you don't believe that
studying them will ultimately lead to an intelligent acceptance. If that
is the case then you should reject them right now as being worthless. Of
course, you could argue that they are not completely worthless and that
sometimes they can be relied upon to accurately represent what might be
called truth. Well if that is the case then somewhere along the line
there would need to be a final arbiter to decide when Torah and halacha
can be trusted and when they should be rejected. Unless you are that
final arbiter, you will eventually find yourself in exactly the same
position that you are in right now.

You have already explained why your Avraham Avinu example is a poor one
so I will comment on that no further.

A set of rules is inherently rigid. That's why they're called rules.
Everyone lives by a set of rules. The question is which set will you
choose. Not choosing a set leaves you with the default which is to satisfy
the physical and emotional desires that are yours alone as a result of
genetics and your environment. In any case, the rules you live by are very
rigid. The appearance of some measure of flexibility, even up to the
point of total anarchy, is an illusory effect that obtains when people
are incapable of deriving the rule. Again we come back to the question of
which set of rules you will live by. We seem to be dealing with those
presented by the Torah and those presented by Hadass. Which is it?

: > : Every single one of my interpretations and arguments comes from this


: > : point of view. As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
: > : the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
: > : my ability. Didn'r our sages prohibit mitsvot which were beyond the
: > : people's ability to perform?
: >
: > First of all, our sages did not prohibit mitzvot that were beyond the
: > people's ability to perform. They just refrained from making gzayrot and
: > takanot that were beyond the people's ability to perform. Those mitzvot
: > that are deoraysa are untouchable.
: >

: You are quite right, of course. It was gzerot which must not be beyond
: the ability of the people to perform. That'll larn me to try and take
: shortcuts ... I also apologise for the typos!

: Let me point out that I, at least, do not know of any mitzvot deoraita
: which forbid women to lead prayers in a mixed minyan. Perhaps you
: could enlighten my ignorance.

Remember that mitzvot deoraysa are not limited to those things that are
explicit in the Torah. This was (is) the opinion of the karaim. I also do
not know of one but that does not mean it doesn't exist. If you're
serious enough then do some research. Regardless of the existence of the
deoraysa, if there is a drabanan then you'd still be obliged to adhere to
it. Even if the prohibition against women leading prayers is something
that the rov of the kahal cannot abide by now, it obviously was a rule
that was tolerable when it was passed or else it would not have become a
law. The fact that people cannot abide by it today would have no effect.
You would need a bet din of requisite size and knowledge to overturn the
drabanan.

: > You must realize what you have just said. You said that you attempt to

: > follow halacha but that there is a certain thing in halacha that you just
: > cannot accept. It would appear then that it is not halacha that is your
: > primary motivator but some sense that you have. I consider it important
: > to figure out what that sense is and whether it is a worthy motivator
: > (not all are).

: Again, you are quite right. This is a matter to which I have given
: considerable thought. At the moment, it is the only way for me. I do
: not desire to be exempt, and I do require to be counted. Otherwise,
: there is no place for me in the community. Halakha, as such, is not my
: primary motivator. I do not think it has any intrinsic value. However,
: it has an important place in a Jewish life, and as such I attempt to
: follow it. Let us remember that we worship Hashem, not Halakha. Although
: sometimes one does wonder ...

I'm not a big fan of midrash but there's a famous one that I think speaks
volumes about what you have just said. It's the one about G-d wanting to
give the Torah to a nation. He goes from nation to nation and they all
ask what is in the Torah. G-d tells them and each nation finds some flaw.
One nation says that they cannot refrain from stealing and another nation
says that they cannot refrain from murder etc. Finally G-d gets to the
Jews and they accept it (I know I'm off on the details but the gist is
correct). You have done the same thing here. You have entered the program
with a prerequisite: that you be counted in a minyan. Where does that
prerequisite come from? It comes from Hadass. Well based on your posts,
you sound like an awfully nice person but do you really want to take on
the role of G-d?

So halacha is not your primary motivator. OK. What is? You are correct
that we worship (I hate this word) hashem and not halacha but how do you
worship him? Primitive people worshipped god by projecting their
emotional needs upon the universe and creating religion to serve these
needs. The point of Torah is to prevent people from acting out their
emotional fantasies. Today we have much more elaborate emotional needs
that do not look like the needs of our primitive ancestors. They are,
however, the same needs. The reason there is so much halacha surrounding
the beit hamikdash and korbanot is that this area is particularly
sensitive to invasion from primitive ideology. Halacha is G-d's system.
It represents his wisdom and it is the only system that is worthy of
guiding you.

Adam Jeremy Schorr

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 11:48:26 PM3/20/95
to
Victor Yodaiken (yoda...@chelm.cs.nmt.edu) wrote:
: In article <D5r9J...@midway.uchicago.edu>,

Hadass said: "As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to the


best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond

my ability." Capiche?

BeisYYS

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 2:24:12 AM3/21/95
to
These maybe are cliches, but I think the reform movement is a shanda for
d'goyim. I can't count the number of goyim who comment to me an observant
Jew(BT)...What, you don't eat this or that?...I know many "Jews" who do.
What you say the Torah forbids...? How can they(reform Jews) go against
the Torah then? The fact that many goyim realize what a Jew is supposed
to believe and generally speaking they have some inclination of how we are
supposed to live too. It is a shame that many reform Jews don't more
fully embrace OUR emes diche Torah and Torah values!

Daniel Israel

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 2:57:05 AM3/21/95
to
Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> writes:
> In a C-context, my use of the word "rights" makes perfect
> sense. When I (and a few other women) first started wearing tefillin
> at the morning minyan, one of my fellow-congregants privately asked
> the Rabbi "Do we allow women to wear tefillin?". The Rabbi simply
> looked at him and explained that it wasn't a question of "we" (the
> men) "allowing" the women to do anything of the sort. Our right to
> take part in the ritual as we feel the need and the obligation is as
> enshrined and self-evident as that of the men. We are also counted in
> the minyan, for the same reason.

Pardon me, but your reason for becoming C is identical to my reason for giving
up on it. Even according to C responsa on women davening with tefillin, or
counting in minyanim, there is no "right to take part in the ritual as we feel
the need" for men or for women.

--
Daniel M. Israel "It is more important to have
<dan...@vega.ame.arizona.edu> beauty in one's equations than
Aerospace Building, University of Arizona to have them fit experiment"
Tucson, AZ -Dirac


Daniel Israel

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 3:01:11 AM3/21/95
to
In Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> writes:

>Matthew P Wiener wrote:
> > Your use of "rights" to characterize something present in Orthodoxy
> > was flat out wrong. I'm annoyed at the inaccuracy. I couldn't really
> > care all that much what you do on your time.
>
> You may recall (if you choose to, but I don't expect you will) that I
> said that C and R recognized that women had these rights, and that O
> didn't. Therefore, these rights are not present in Orthodoxy. What is
> your problem, aside from elective dyslexia?

Your implication (implicit in the word "recognized") is that women do indeed
have these rights, and C and R acknowlege the fact, while O denies it. This is
the innacuacy (I think).

In fact, according to O, these things are not "rights" for men or women. To
claim that O denies rights that don't actually exist is at best judging it by
the standards of R or C (or secualar PCism) and at worst, propaganda.

Matthew P Wiener

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 9:11:29 AM3/21/95
to
In article <3kl4d3$6...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
>wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu (Matthew P Wiener) wrote:
>You may recall (if you choose to, but I don't expect you will) that I
>said that C and R recognized that women had these rights, and that O
>didn't. Therefore, these rights are not present in Orthodoxy.

I also recall, and which you conveniently forget, that you said that O
gave certain rights to men, which is utterly false. I pointed out in
immediate response that this was proof that your claims to understand
the O view were ipso facto untrue.

> What is
>your problem, aside from elective dyslexia?

My problem is that I know what I am talking about, and that I try to
speak with precision and accuracy.

>> I'm sure it does. As I said in other postings, I don't believe Torah
>> is central to R, and presumably it isn't central to C either. Modern
>> secular philosophy, however, is, and you're a perfect demonstration
>> of this.

>There are other people more qualified than myself to explain to you
>for the umpteenth time that Torah and Halakha are central to C Judaism.

I'm sure there are. But when you invoke secular philosophy in all
seriousness, I have my doubts.

>> So what? What does this have to do with your inaccurate use of "rights"
>> in the context of Orthodoxy? Is your agenda to misrepresent O, all the
>> better to bash them?

>I was not bashing O. I was stating that these rights are not recognized
>by O. You tell me yourself that the whole word is inaccurate in
>describing O. So what are we arguing about?

Your inaccurate use of "rights" in describing O.

>> >Every single one of my interpretations and arguments comes from this
>> >point of view. As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
>> >the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
>> >my ability.

>> That makes absolutely no sense.

>Must be all those way way way way too many sexual thoughts clouding
>your brain ... what don't you understand about this paragraph?

The beyond your _ability_.

I'm quite certain that not-counting-for-a-minyan is something you are in
fact capable of, but do not wish to do so.

>Let me repeat in words of one syllable (okay, two): I try to follow
>Halakha to the best of my ability. However, (oh dear, three
>syllables!) I cannot accept not being counted, it hurts me and makes
>me want to run away and have no part of the community which treats me
>like this. That is what I did for twenty years. I don't want to do
>that anymore. Thus I have found a community which counts me.

No O community I know of does not "count" the women.

>Is that clear?

It's clear. It just doesn't make sense.

>> > Didn'r our sages prohibit mitsvot which were beyond the
>> >people's ability to perform?

>> The people's, not the person's.

>So the people isn't made up of persons?

The people's ability to observe is not the same as individual persons
being incapable or unwilling of observing something.

> There is no way a people can
>perform mitzvot (or indeed suffer under gzerot, as Adam pointed out
>to me) unless the individuals do.

So if someone, somewhere says he just *has* to have pork, we permit it?
At this rate, there is no Judaism.

Richard Schultz

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 9:40:23 AM3/21/95
to
In article <3kciqa$t...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>,
Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> wrote:

>I have been told by O women that it is not encouraged, if not actively
>discouraged. I have also read in books that women are _forbidden_
>to wear them, Rashi's daughters nothwithstanding. This is the first I have
>heard of O women wearing tallit and tefillin in public.

This book wouldn't have been "The Hole in the Sheet", by any chance?

I have no doubt that part of the reason that Orthodox women are not
encouraged to put on tefillin is the Evil Male Conspiracy. But as
I have said, it is more complicated than that. The concept that one
gets a greater reward for fulfilling those mitsvot in which one is
commanded than for accepting additional ones was not invented to prevent
women from putting on tefillin.
--
Richard Schultz

"_Cro_, the Children's Television Workshop's attempt at a commercially
appealing science cartoon show, will be cancelled in September by
ABC TV. . . . In _Cro_'s time slot will go _Dumb and Dumber_, a cartoon
about two moronic louts, derived from the movie of the same name."
-- _Science_, 3 March 1995

Richard Schultz

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 9:47:27 AM3/21/95
to
In article <3kki1l$l...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>,
Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> wrote:

>In a C-context, my use of the word "rights" makes perfect

>sense. . . . Our right to

>take part in the ritual as we feel the need and the obligation is as
>enshrined and self-evident as that of the men. We are also counted in
>the minyan, for the same reason.

Would you say that a woman's right to sit on a Bet Din is "as enshrined
and self-evident as that of the men"? You might consult with your
Conservative rabbi to see what JTS's answer to that question is.

>As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
>the best of the ability.

Do you believe in principle that women are obligated to follow the laws
of taharat mishpachah? I am not asking whether you personally follow
them, which is none of my business, but rather whether you feel that
those laws are part of halakhah.
--
Richard Schultz

"Life is a blur of Republicans and meat." -- Zippy

Jo Pitesky UCLA Astronomy

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 11:59:42 AM3/21/95
to

Yes, these are cliches. How do you think I feel, as a Reform Jew,
when I get O Jews who embezzle but insist on keeping kosher
in prison thrown in my face as examples of hypocrisy? Or
those who looked on Baruch Goldstein's actions as being somehow
"typical" of Judaism? There can be shandas and cliches on
both sides.

BTW, there are Reform Jews who keep kosher.

The idea that many goyim "realize what a Jew is supposed
to believe"--well, how do you feel when you meet a Catholic
who uses birth control? Do you start commenting on how
they are going against the Pope?

Jo Pitesky
pit...@bonnie.astro.ucla.edu

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 1:21:59 PM3/21/95
to
wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu (Matthew P Wiener) wrote:
>
> In article <3kl4d3$6...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
> >wee...@sagi.wistar.upenn.edu (Matthew P Wiener) wrote:
> >You may recall (if you choose to, but I don't expect you will) that I
> >said that C and R recognized that women had these rights, and that O
> >didn't. Therefore, these rights are not present in Orthodoxy.
>
> I also recall, and which you conveniently forget, that you said that O
> gave certain rights to men, which is utterly false. I pointed out in
> immediate response that this was proof that your claims to understand
> the O view were ipso facto untrue.
>

We are arguing about a question of perspective. You use the words
"obligation" and "exemption", I prefer to see the matter as including
power and rights as well. The facts which I was referring to were the
fact that men may lead mixed minyanim and women may not. I presume you
will agree that this is _fact_. The explanations _why_ this is so use
different terminology. You attack me for not using the O terminology
on this matter, and conclude that therefore I have not understood the
argument.

Just because I choose to describe a situation in words which the
people inside do not recognize, does not mean I have not understood
the situation, merely that I see it differently than they do.


> > What is
> >your problem, aside from elective dyslexia?
>
> My problem is that I know what I am talking about, and that I try to
> speak with precision and accuracy.
>

We should all have such problems ... 8-)

> >> I'm sure it does. As I said in other postings, I don't believe Torah
> >> is central to R, and presumably it isn't central to C either. Modern
> >> secular philosophy, however, is, and you're a perfect demonstration
> >> of this.
>
> >There are other people more qualified than myself to explain to you
> >for the umpteenth time that Torah and Halakha are central to C Judaism.
>
> I'm sure there are. But when you invoke secular philosophy in all
> seriousness, I have my doubts.
>

I didn't even mention secular philosophy, you did. Don't put words in
my mouth.

> >> So what? What does this have to do with your inaccurate use of "rights"
> >> in the context of Orthodoxy? Is your agenda to misrepresent O, all the
> >> better to bash them?
>
> >I was not bashing O. I was stating that these rights are not recognized
> >by O. You tell me yourself that the whole word is inaccurate in
> >describing O. So what are we arguing about?
>
> Your inaccurate use of "rights" in describing O.
>

See above. I know that O do not see the matter in terms of rights; I,
however, have the right (if you will excuse the expression) to see
it differently. However, you have the right to disagree with me and
claim that their view of their own situation is the only valid one. I
doubt whether many psychologists would agree with you.


> >> >Every single one of my interpretations and arguments comes from this
> >> >point of view. As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
> >> >the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
> >> >my ability.
>
> >> That makes absolutely no sense.
>
> >Must be all those way way way way too many sexual thoughts clouding
> >your brain ... what don't you understand about this paragraph?
>
> The beyond your _ability_.
>
> I'm quite certain that not-counting-for-a-minyan is something you are in
> fact capable of, but do not wish to do so.

Read what I wrote. Obviously not-counting-for-a-minyan is something
I am capable of, I have no choice in the matter. _Acceptance_ of this
situation, however, is very much up to me. And I am not capable of
accepting it, never have been.

>
> >Let me repeat in words of one syllable (okay, two): I try to follow
> >Halakha to the best of my ability. However, (oh dear, three
> >syllables!) I cannot accept not being counted, it hurts me and makes
> >me want to run away and have no part of the community which treats me
> >like this. That is what I did for twenty years. I don't want to do
> >that anymore. Thus I have found a community which counts me.
>
> No O community I know of does not "count" the women.
>

I said counts, not "counts". I know perfectly well that women are very
important in Orthodox communities. However, their role in these
communities is one which I cannot (not even will not, but cannot)
fulfil.

> >Is that clear?
>
> It's clear. It just doesn't make sense.
>

Then I give up.

> >> > Didn'r our sages prohibit mitsvot which were beyond the
> >> >people's ability to perform?
>
> >> The people's, not the person's.
>
> >So the people isn't made up of persons?
>
> The people's ability to observe is not the same as individual persons
> being incapable or unwilling of observing something.
>

So explain the difference to me. To me, a people is composed of
individuals, and the people as such cannot do anything without its
individuals doing it.

# > There is no way a people can
# >perform mitzvot (or indeed suffer under gzerot, as Adam pointed out
# >to me) unless the individuals do.
#
# So if someone, somewhere says he just *has* to have pork, we permit it?
# At this rate, there is no Judaism.

I have yet to encounter anyone with an existential need for pork. (Except
possibly Bernie). To quote a Wienerism, your example makes no sense.

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 1:23:41 PM3/21/95
to
sr...@crux1.cit.cornell.edu (Motti) wrote:
>
> Hadass:
> Of course I have an agenda here - so does every single one of you,
> or you wouldn't be discussing this. Mine is simple. I do not believe
> that Hashem does not wish me to be counted in his/her holy congregation.
>
> Motti:
> So is this the only problem you have with orthodox customs? It doesn't
> sound like such a big problem. The men aren't saying that you are not
> part of the congregation: they aren't counting you in the minyan... but
> perhaps you can regard that as their problem.
>
>
>

I see. And when I come before a Beit Din and don't see a single
woman there, or am at the mercy of my husband if we decide to split
and he doesn't give me a get, is that the men's problem too?

Sorry, Motti. Nice try, but I don't buy it.

Shalom, Hadass

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 1:25:35 PM3/21/95
to
aj...@uchicago.edu (Adam Jeremy Schorr) wrote:
>

Thanks for the support, Victor, but Adam is quite right. That is what
I said. Unless, of course, Halakha can be interpreted sufficiently
differently as to have women counted in the minyan ... but when that
happens I, for one, will be looking around for the Mashiach.

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 1:45:17 PM3/21/95
to
aj...@uchicago.edu (Adam Jeremy Schorr) wrote:
>

You must be a philosopher, probably a logician. The only people I
know who are so absolute in defining the worth and worthlessness of
things are philosophers ... study of Halakha does not necessarily lead
to acceptance, no. How could one say so in advance?

And yes, for the time being I am that arbiter. Does that make my
position closer to Reform? Possibly, but the tradition is too dear to
my heart to let it all be a matter of personal choice. There are some
existential things in which Hashem and I must reach some sort of
agreement before I can let him/her be the arbiter. Maybe I will reach
that point someday, as Sam Saal has predicted to me. But at the moment
this is the best I can do.


> You have already explained why your Avraham Avinu example is a poor one
> so I will comment on that no further.
>
> A set of rules is inherently rigid. That's why they're called rules.
> Everyone lives by a set of rules. The question is which set will you
> choose. Not choosing a set leaves you with the default which is to satisfy
> the physical and emotional desires that are yours alone as a result of
> genetics and your environment. In any case, the rules you live by are very
> rigid. The appearance of some measure of flexibility, even up to the
> point of total anarchy, is an illusory effect that obtains when people
> are incapable of deriving the rule. Again we come back to the question of
> which set of rules you will live by. We seem to be dealing with those
> presented by the Torah and those presented by Hadass. Which is it?
>

Hadass' rules are the only ones I can live by. They are the ones my
parents taught me and which I have internalised far beyond any rational
ability to change them overnight. I can try to make them a subset of
Torah rules, but when Torah rules appear to contradict my most important
existential needs, then a discussion needs to take place. There is no
way I can accept something "just because that's the way it is". Never
could. The explanation given for women's position in O does not satisfy
me. So I find an egalitarian community, which does not cause this
conflict in me, while helping to satisfy my other needs for a Torah-based
life.


[ ... ]


>
> : Let me point out that I, at least, do not know of any mitzvot deoraita
> : which forbid women to lead prayers in a mixed minyan. Perhaps you
> : could enlighten my ignorance.
>
> Remember that mitzvot deoraysa are not limited to those things that are
> explicit in the Torah. This was (is) the opinion of the karaim. I also do
> not know of one but that does not mean it doesn't exist. If you're
> serious enough then do some research. Regardless of the existence of the
> deoraysa, if there is a drabanan then you'd still be obliged to adhere to
> it. Even if the prohibition against women leading prayers is something
> that the rov of the kahal cannot abide by now, it obviously was a rule
> that was tolerable when it was passed or else it would not have become a
> law. The fact that people cannot abide by it today would have no effect.
> You would need a bet din of requisite size and knowledge to overturn the
> drabanan.
>

The story about the Judge Dvora already contradicts the prohibition
of women serving on a Beit Din, for example. And Moshe's sister Miriam
led the rejoicing after the splitting of the Red Sea. These are just
two examples from the Tanakh which come to my mind. Of course it is not
simple to change a derabanan; but it is not impossible, if the will
exists. What about Levirate marriage, is that still practiced today?
How about polygamy? And these are deoraita!

[ ... ].


>
> I'm not a big fan of midrash but there's a famous one that I think speaks
> volumes about what you have just said. It's the one about G-d wanting to
> give the Torah to a nation. He goes from nation to nation and they all
> ask what is in the Torah. G-d tells them and each nation finds some flaw.
> One nation says that they cannot refrain from stealing and another nation
> says that they cannot refrain from murder etc. Finally G-d gets to the
> Jews and they accept it (I know I'm off on the details but the gist is
> correct). You have done the same thing here. You have entered the program
> with a prerequisite: that you be counted in a minyan. Where does that
> prerequisite come from? It comes from Hadass. Well based on your posts,
> you sound like an awfully nice person but do you really want to take on
> the role of G-d?
>

Thanks for the compliment, Adam. Yes, I know this midrash. Even as a
child celebrating Shavuot I had problems with this "na'ase venishma"
business. Clear thought and free acceptance are the only ways for me.
I am hardly taking on the role of Hashem if I determine what is right
for me. After all, I am not announcing it with thunder and lightning
from a mountaintop! In fact, there is an entire community which agrees
with me. Is the Rabbinnical Assembly taking the role of Hashem?


BTW, the only mention of women in the ten commandments (which is what
this midrash is about, if I recall properly) is to require everyone to
honour their mother!


# So halacha is not your primary motivator. OK. What is? You are correct
# that we worship (I hate this word) hashem and not halacha but how do you
# worship him? Primitive people worshipped god by projecting their
# emotional needs upon the universe and creating religion to serve these
# needs. The point of Torah is to prevent people from acting out their
# emotional fantasies. Today we have much more elaborate emotional needs
# that do not look like the needs of our primitive ancestors. They are,
# however, the same needs. The reason there is so much halacha surrounding
# the beit hamikdash and korbanot is that this area is particularly
# sensitive to invasion from primitive ideology.

Agreed entirely. As a vegetarian, I look forward to the days of the
Mashiach, when the lion shall eat hay like the ox and there will be no
more animal sacrifices.


Halacha is G-d's system.

# It represents his wisdom and it is the only system that is worthy of
# guiding you.

If you say so, Adam ... I do take its guidance. I do not take it as an
iron rule which brooks no dispute and no change. After all, it has
changed in the past, and it can change again.

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 1:54:28 PM3/21/95
to
aj...@uchicago.edu (Adam Jeremy Schorr) wrote:
>
>
> Joe Slater (j...@melbourne.DIALix.oz.au) wrote:
>
> : >: As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to

> : >: the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
> : >: my ability.
>
> : >You must realize what you have just said. You said that you attempt to
> : >follow halacha but that there is a certain thing in halacha that you just
> : >cannot accept. It would appear then that it is not halacha that is your
> : >primary motivator but some sense that you have.
>
> : I don't believe that that is what she said, nor do I believe that it is
> : fair to draw that conclusion from her statement.
>
> You are the third person to reply to my post. One of those people was
> Hadass and she didn't argue with this point of mine. In fact, at the end
> of her reply she said herself that halacha was not her primary motivator
> in this instance.
>
> Hadass, please tell me if I'm wrong here.
>

No, you are not wrong. That is what I said. While I find the study of
Halakha to be fascinating, and its guidance in general to be wise and
sensible, I would not follow it for its intrinsic qualities. In and of
itself, it has only historical value, I feel. It is its role as the
framework of Jewish life, as the way in which we are supposed to
follow the will of Hashem, if you will, that gives it value. And I
do not believe it is immutable.


> : She has said that she attempts to follow Halacha to the best of her
> : ability - is not Halacha then her primary motivator?
>
> Simply put, NO. If you tell me that you will follow American law except
> you just cannot pay taxes, then your primary motivator is not American
> law. It might be your conscience (if you refuse to pay tax because you
> are against what the taxes are used for) or your greed (if you refuse to
> pay tax because you want a jacuzzi).
>

Cute.

> : Rather than
> : criticising her for the instance where she has difficulty, you should
> : recognise the areas where she succeeds, and thank G-d that you have not
> : been placed in a situation where you have failed.
>
> First of all, I have failed more times than I can count. Secondly, I
> wasn't aware that Hadass was a little girl that needed her hand held. We
> mature adults discussing an issue. My comments to Hadass are not personal
> and I sincerely hope she does not take them to be personal. Judging from
> her replies to me, I don't think she does.
>

Lord, no. I'm finding this discussion quite fascinating, and it gives
me food for thought and a reason to clarify my position on these
issues, but it doesn't keep me awake at night, I promise you. Also, I
have been on the net for many years, and I know what its culture is
like. This discussion has mostly been remarkable friendly and civilised
(except Matthew, of course, but I'm not afraid of him. I wonder when
Silver is going to join in?).


> : Suppose that by digging and enquiring, by posing hypothetical questions
> : and carefully construing her replies, you manage to demonstrate that in
> : fact her main aim in life is not to achieve a more spiritual, G-dly
> : existance, but rather to achieve glory by overturning tradition. Assuming
> : that there is in fact a reaction, I can see two possibilities:
>
> Digging, enquiring, posing hypothetical questions, and carefully
> construing replies are how we acquire knowledge. Do you have a problem
> with that? If this discussion were a hostile fight and I was using these
> methods to get a knife in Hadass then I would be accountable. The fact is
> that we are discussing an issue and careful analytical thinking is the
> only way to go.
>

I don't feel any knives around here. I wouldn't worry about it. There
isn't much glory to be got by overturning tradition in this particular
field, anyway. Joe, don't you know how many egalitarian congregations
there are? Not to mention women rabbis, chazanim and the rest. Changing
O is not on my agenda.


# : Which is more likely? If there is any chance of the latter, would it not
# : be better to avoid your inquiry? Remember, there's 95% of Judaism that she
# : (presumably) has no problem with. Logic-chopping has a certain
# : intellectual pleasure, but is your pursuit of this question based in a
# : sincere desire to encourage Jewish observance ... or have you, too, a
# : suspect primary motive?
#
# The reason I got into this in the first place was that Hadass made some
# comments that seemed inaccurate to me. If someone misrepresents Torah
# then it's my duty to correct them to the best of my ability (or refer
# them to someone who can).
#

Now I'm positive you must be a philosopher! Who else is so concerned
about accuracy in language?? 8-)


# If you are suggesting that I have an ulterior motive then tell me what it
# is. If not...

Hey guys, go easy on the flamefests. This thread is too interesting
to let it degenerate into a personal fight!

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 1:59:30 PM3/21/95
to
sch...@garnet.berkeley.edu (Richard Schultz) wrote:
>
> In article <3kciqa$t...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>,
> Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> wrote:
>
> >I have been told by O women that it is not encouraged, if not actively
> >discouraged. I have also read in books that women are _forbidden_
> >to wear them, Rashi's daughters nothwithstanding. This is the first I have
> >heard of O women wearing tallit and tefillin in public.
>
> This book wouldn't have been "The Hole in the Sheet", by any chance?
>

Good Lord, no. I believe it may have been Donin, actually, but don't
quote me on it. It was a serious book on how to be a Jew, anyway.

> I have no doubt that part of the reason that Orthodox women are not
> encouraged to put on tefillin is the Evil Male Conspiracy.

Sarcasm will get you nowhere ... 8-). I don't think it is evil or
even a true conspiracy. Call it inertia. Women haven't, therefore
they shouldn't.

But as
> I have said, it is more complicated than that. The concept that one
> gets a greater reward for fulfilling those mitsvot in which one is
> commanded than for accepting additional ones was not invented to prevent
> women from putting on tefillin.
> --
>

Somebody told me the story of a rabbi who was blind and therefore
exempt from the mitsvot. He did them anyway, though, and was very
upset when it was pointed out to him that there was no extra merit
for doing them. I believe he said that if anyone could prove he was
"chayav" after all he would give a party. Anyone remember how the
story ends, or is that the end of the story?

So tell me, what was that concept invented for, then?

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 2:08:03 PM3/21/95
to
sch...@garnet.berkeley.edu (Richard Schultz) wrote:
>
> In article <3kki1l$l...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>,
> Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> wrote:
>
> >In a C-context, my use of the word "rights" makes perfect
> >sense. . . . Our right to
> >take part in the ritual as we feel the need and the obligation is as
> >enshrined and self-evident as that of the men. We are also counted in
> >the minyan, for the same reason.
>
> Would you say that a woman's right to sit on a Bet Din is "as enshrined
> and self-evident as that of the men"? You might consult with your
> Conservative rabbi to see what JTS's answer to that question is.
>

I would. They haven't yet. But time will show. They move slowly, but
they do move. You'd think that with the example of Dvora there wouldn't
be an issue about it, but there it is.

> >As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
> >the best of the ability.
>
> Do you believe in principle that women are obligated to follow the laws
> of taharat mishpachah? I am not asking whether you personally follow
> them, which is none of my business, but rather whether you feel that
> those laws are part of halakhah.

In principle, yes. Of course they are part of halakha. One could
argue about the concept of uncleanliness caused by menstruation, and
its relationship to other blood-superstitions of the same period. One
could also discuss why the rabbis chose to extend the original seven
day period to fourteen days, presumably to maximise the chance of
conception. Of course halakha also includes (or should include) all
the instructions in the Torah for dealing with leprosy and other skin
diseases. We now know that leprosy is a bacterial disease, and we
also understand menstruation better than the Sages did.

However, I prefer to deal with one issue at a time 8-). Taharat
hamishpacha does not offend my dignity in the way that not being
counted does.

Does this answer your question?

Herman Rubin

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 2:13:29 PM3/21/95
to
In article <D5r9J...@midway.uchicago.edu>,
Adam Jeremy Schorr <aj...@uchicago.edu> wrote:

>Hadass Eviatar (evi...@ibd.nrc.ca) wrote:

>: Of course I have an agenda here - so does every single one of you,
>: or you wouldn't be discussing this. Mine is simple. I do not believe
>: that Hashem does not wish me to be counted in his/her holy congregation.

>So your agenda is to do what Hashem wants? What are valid cues that one
>could use in evaluating Hashem's desires?

Not only is she putting it this way, but all of the serious Reform Jews
put it this way.

>: Every single one of my interpretations and arguments comes from this
>: point of view. As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
>: the best of the ability. However, accepting my non-counting is beyond
>: my ability. Didn'r our sages prohibit mitsvot which were beyond the
>: people's ability to perform?

>First of all, our sages did not prohibit mitzvot that were beyond the
>people's ability to perform. They just refrained from making gzayrot and
>takanot that were beyond the people's ability to perform. Those mitzvot
>that are deoraysa are untouchable.

There are others, including some serious Jewish scholars. While I was
reading it for other purposes, the book by Zimmels, "The Differences
between Ashkenazim and Sephardim, ...", put out under the imprimatur
of the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, accuses the Rishonim, not of
imposing things beyond the ability of the people of the time to perform,
but of imposing things which did not need to be imposed. The Shulkhan
Aruch corrected some of this, but left others in. Zimmels claims that
there were at least hundreds of different versions of Judaism at the time.

No society at the time considered women to have any substantial rights
in competition with men. They did have special privileges. In Islam,
where most of the Sephardim lived, women had essentially no political
rights, and in the Christian countries, not much. So there was no
strain put on the Jews to conform to this. When political rights were
determined by fighting prowess, this was not surprising.

>You must realize what you have just said. You said that you attempt to
>follow halacha but that there is a certain thing in halacha that you just
>cannot accept. It would appear then that it is not halacha that is your
>primary motivator but some sense that you have. I consider it important
>to figure out what that sense is and whether it is a worthy motivator
>(not all are).

There is far more in "halakha" which I, as a serious Reform Jew, cannot
accept. Maimonides did not have the scientific knowledge to carry out
the discussion of the correctness of Torah mentioned in his writings.
Despite the claims of the Orthodox that the ancient sages understood
Torah better because they were closer chronologically to the time it
was given, in the past couple of centuries we have learned more about
ancient times than was known even in the days of the Second Temple.
It is not just a matter of whether the people can carry out halakha,
but whether this particular halakhah is a true statement of the will
of the Almighty. Each of us has to struggle with this problem, we
cannot simply ask our rabbi what to do, but examine the reasoning
ourselves.
--
Herman Rubin, Dept. of Statistics, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette IN47907-1399
Phone: (317)494-6054
hru...@stat.purdue.edu (Internet, bitnet)
{purdue,pur-ee}!a.stat!hrubin(UUCP)

Janice Gelb

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 2:28:56 PM3/21/95
to
In article h...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca, Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> writes:
>
>Thanks for the support, Victor, but Adam is quite right. That is what
>I said. Unless, of course, Halakha can be interpreted sufficiently
>differently as to have women counted in the minyan ... but when that
>happens I, for one, will be looking around for the Mashiach.
>

The Conservative Legal Committee found enough minority opinions from
legitimate sources to make a ruling that women could be counted in the
minyan. They did not just make this decision capriciously. So, if you
accept that the rishonim and amoraim all were divinely inspired but
in a particular circumstance the halacha went with the majority, the
minority opinions still carry a lot of weight.


********************************************************************************
Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with this
jan...@marvin.eng.sun.com | message is the return address.

"Life is something to do when you can't get to sleep."
-- Fran Lebowitz, _Metropolitan Life_

********************************************************************************


Matthew P Wiener

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 2:44:18 PM3/21/95
to
In article <3kn5g7$h...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
>> I also recall, and which you conveniently forget, that you said that O
>> gave certain rights to men, which is utterly false. I pointed out in
>> immediate response that this was proof that your claims to understand
>> the O view were ipso facto untrue.

>We are arguing about a question of perspective.

No. I am referring to a basic factual error.

> You use the words
>"obligation" and "exemption", I prefer to see the matter as including
>power and rights as well.

What you prefer doesn't change the facts.

> The facts which I was referring to were the
>fact that men may lead mixed minyanim and women may not. I presume you
>will agree that this is _fact_.

What is not a fact, in fact, what is absolutely wrong, is you claim that
men have the _right_ to do so, or that they have a _right_ to an aliyah.

They do not, pure and simple.

> The explanations _why_ this is so use
>different terminology.

Regarding a falsehood, terminology does not matter.

> You attack me for not using the O terminology
>on this matter, and conclude that therefore I have not understood the
>argument.

I criticize you for claiming to understand something when your false
claims about men's "rights" make it clear that you do not.

>Just because I choose to describe a situation in words which the
>people inside do not recognize, does not mean I have not understood
>the situation, merely that I see it differently than they do.

But O men simply *don't* have the right to an aliyah, or to lead services,
as you originally claimed. This is basic fact.

>> >There are other people more qualified than myself to explain to you
>> >for the umpteenth time that Torah and Halakha are central to C Judaism.

>> I'm sure there are. But when you invoke secular philosophy in all
>> seriousness, I have my doubts.

>I didn't even mention secular philosophy, you did. Don't put words in
>my mouth.

You mentioned "rights", not I. That comes from secular philosophy,
not Torah.

>> >I was not bashing O. I was stating that these rights are not recognized
>> >by O. You tell me yourself that the whole word is inaccurate in
>> >describing O. So what are we arguing about?

>> Your inaccurate use of "rights" in describing O.

>See above. I know that O do not see the matter in terms of rights;

Because it isn't.

>I however, have the right (if you will excuse the expression) to see
>it differently.

And you are wrong (if you will further excuse the expression).

> However, you have the right to disagree with me and
>claim that their view of their own situation is the only valid one. I
>doubt whether many psychologists would agree with you.

I am certain that any of them who knew what goes on in O shul, knows what
the the word "right" means, and isn't a pathological liar, would. That
may be a small number of psychologists.

>> >Must be all those way way way way too many sexual thoughts clouding
>> >your brain ... what don't you understand about this paragraph?

>> The beyond your _ability_.

>> I'm quite certain that not-counting-for-a-minyan is something you are in
>> fact capable of, but do not wish to do so.

>Read what I wrote. Obviously not-counting-for-a-minyan is something
>I am capable of, I have no choice in the matter. _Acceptance_ of this
>situation, however, is very much up to me. And I am not capable of
>accepting it, never have been.

That is what doesn't make any sense to me. You _are_ capable of it--any
one is capable of it--but you choose not to.

>> >So the people isn't made up of persons?

>> The people's ability to observe is not the same as individual persons
>> being incapable or unwilling of observing something.

>So explain the difference to me. To me, a people is composed of
>individuals, and the people as such cannot do anything without its
>individuals doing it.

One can always find individuals with a cop out. That has no relevance
to the question of when a new restriction is kept or not. That's all.
That you choose to misinterpret as referring to every last person--an
a priori ridiculous idea--is your problem. (And gives less credence to
your claims to "understand" O.)

># > There is no way a people can
># >perform mitzvot (or indeed suffer under gzerot, as Adam pointed out
># >to me) unless the individuals do.

># So if someone, somewhere says he just *has* to have pork, we permit it?
># At this rate, there is no Judaism.

>I have yet to encounter anyone with an existential need for pork. (Except
>possibly Bernie). To quote a Wienerism, your example makes no sense.

Exactly!!! You got it! Just like no one is _incapable_ of accepting
not-counted-for-a-minyan.

Your incapacity to accept being not-counted-for-a-minyan is in the same
class as someone not accepting being unable-to-eat-pork. It makes no
sense: it's an individual choice that has _not_ been found a burden for
millennia. In both cases--the example you brought up and the one I
brought up--the claims of an individual that they can't handle it are
ignored.

Adam Jeremy Schorr

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 3:01:40 PM3/21/95
to
Hadass Eviatar (evi...@ibd.nrc.ca) wrote:

: You must be a philosopher, probably a logician. The only people I


: know who are so absolute in defining the worth and worthlessness of
: things are philosophers ... study of Halakha does not necessarily lead
: to acceptance, no. How could one say so in advance?

I'm not a philosopher or logician. I'm just a guy who is trying to think
straight.

If you are studying Torah and halacha in order to live your life by them,
then there must be a conditional a priori acceptance. If you don't accept
it conditionally then why are you studying it?

: And yes, for the time being I am that arbiter. Does that make my

: position closer to Reform? Possibly, but the tradition is too dear to
: my heart to let it all be a matter of personal choice. There are some
: existential things in which Hashem and I must reach some sort of
: agreement before I can let him/her be the arbiter. Maybe I will reach
: that point someday, as Sam Saal has predicted to me. But at the moment
: this is the best I can do.

Forget reform. If you are the arbiter then your position is closer to
avoda zara. You are worhipping Hadass. You have to realize how
nonsensical it is to talk about you and hashem reaching agreement. I
assume you meant it somewhat poetically but I think your statement
indicates a corrupt notion of G-d and halacha. What you're saying is that
halacha could be better. You're saying that you can make it better. If
this is the case then when you keep the rest of halacha, you're not
keeping halacha per se, you're keeping Hadassism which happens to agree
with halacha.

: > A set of rules is inherently rigid. That's why they're called rules.

: > Everyone lives by a set of rules. The question is which set will you
: > choose. Not choosing a set leaves you with the default which is to satisfy
: > the physical and emotional desires that are yours alone as a result of
: > genetics and your environment. In any case, the rules you live by are very
: > rigid. The appearance of some measure of flexibility, even up to the
: > point of total anarchy, is an illusory effect that obtains when people
: > are incapable of deriving the rule. Again we come back to the question of
: > which set of rules you will live by. We seem to be dealing with those
: > presented by the Torah and those presented by Hadass. Which is it?

: Hadass' rules are the only ones I can live by. They are the ones my
: parents taught me and which I have internalised far beyond any rational
: ability to change them overnight. I can try to make them a subset of
: Torah rules, but when Torah rules appear to contradict my most important
: existential needs, then a discussion needs to take place. There is no
: way I can accept something "just because that's the way it is". Never
: could. The explanation given for women's position in O does not satisfy
: me. So I find an egalitarian community, which does not cause this
: conflict in me, while helping to satisfy my other needs for a Torah-based
: life.

I appreciate your honesty. I'm not advocating accepting things "just
because that's the way it is." I firmly believe that with the right kind
of Torah study you will understand why halacha is the way it is and you
will recognize that it is the perfect system. If you want to live in
accordance with the Torah then you have to be willing to hear what it has
to say. If you say that you just can't do it then I can understand. [I
recently made a decision that was against halacha but I simply could not
follow the halacha.] If you say that what you want is a good thing and
the fact that halacha prohibits you from having means that halacha is
flawed then I must disagree. The explanation given for women's position
in the O community do not satisfy me either. In fact, just about every
explanation given by the O community doesn't satisfy me. I just about
tossed the whole thing out. I was lucky enough to find a yeshiva that was
into making sense. I think that's the way to go as opposed to creating
your own religion.

: > Remember that mitzvot deoraysa are not limited to those things that are

: > explicit in the Torah. This was (is) the opinion of the karaim. I also do
: > not know of one but that does not mean it doesn't exist. If you're
: > serious enough then do some research. Regardless of the existence of the
: > deoraysa, if there is a drabanan then you'd still be obliged to adhere to
: > it. Even if the prohibition against women leading prayers is something
: > that the rov of the kahal cannot abide by now, it obviously was a rule
: > that was tolerable when it was passed or else it would not have become a
: > law. The fact that people cannot abide by it today would have no effect.
: > You would need a bet din of requisite size and knowledge to overturn the
: > drabanan.
: >

: The story about the Judge Dvora already contradicts the prohibition
: of women serving on a Beit Din, for example. And Moshe's sister Miriam
: led the rejoicing after the splitting of the Red Sea. These are just
: two examples from the Tanakh which come to my mind. Of course it is not
: simple to change a derabanan; but it is not impossible, if the will
: exists. What about Levirate marriage, is that still practiced today?
: How about polygamy? And these are deoraita!

Devora did not serve on a beit din. She was a shophetet. Different thing.
My rabbi told me (I think it was based on a gemara but I'm not sure) that
Devora was considered the best scholar of her time but she still could
not sit on a beit din. She had to give her opinion to the beit din and
they would enact it. I don't have a tanach in front of me but didn't
Miriam only lead the women? Even if she did lead the men also, you're
assuming that was was a precursor to tefilla and that tefilla inherited
the attributes of that precursor.

About changing drabanan's: you are correct. It is difficult but possible.
I already told you the method. You need a beit din that is gadol biminyan
ubichochma than the one that enacted the law. I don't know about levirate
marriage. Somebody else will have to explain why we don't do that today.
Polygamy, however, is a bad example. The Torah allows it but the rabbis
don't. This is not an example of overturning a drabanan.

: > I'm not a big fan of midrash but there's a famous one that I think speaks

: > volumes about what you have just said. It's the one about G-d wanting to
: > give the Torah to a nation. He goes from nation to nation and they all
: > ask what is in the Torah. G-d tells them and each nation finds some flaw.
: > One nation says that they cannot refrain from stealing and another nation
: > says that they cannot refrain from murder etc. Finally G-d gets to the
: > Jews and they accept it (I know I'm off on the details but the gist is
: > correct). You have done the same thing here. You have entered the program
: > with a prerequisite: that you be counted in a minyan. Where does that
: > prerequisite come from? It comes from Hadass. Well based on your posts,
: > you sound like an awfully nice person but do you really want to take on
: > the role of G-d?
: >

: Thanks for the compliment, Adam. Yes, I know this midrash. Even as a
: child celebrating Shavuot I had problems with this "na'ase venishma"
: business. Clear thought and free acceptance are the only ways for me.
: I am hardly taking on the role of Hashem if I determine what is right
: for me. After all, I am not announcing it with thunder and lightning
: from a mountaintop! In fact, there is an entire community which agrees
: with me. Is the Rabbinnical Assembly taking the role of Hashem?

Naase venishma is not in any way a blind acceptance. Even if it is, it is
not meant to be a permanent state. There has to be a nishma eventually.
The easiest explanation of naase venishma is this: the Jews accepted the
general gist of the halachic system and the major categories of laws.
They did not, however, have time to sit down and learn the entire Torah
with all of its details at once. So they committed to keeping all of the
laws withj all of the details even though they hadn't learned it all.
This is clear thought and free acceptance. Do you not believe that if you
study enough that you will see why halacha's position on this is the best
position? The fact that an entire community agrees with you is 100%
worthless. If you want to go that way then you should be a Christian.
Then there will be an even bigger community that agrees with you.

: BTW, the only mention of women in the ten commandments (which is what

: this midrash is about, if I recall properly) is to require everyone to
: honour their mother!

So what?

: # So halacha is not your primary motivator. OK. What is? You are correct

: # that we worship (I hate this word) hashem and not halacha but how do you
: # worship him? Primitive people worshipped god by projecting their
: # emotional needs upon the universe and creating religion to serve these
: # needs. The point of Torah is to prevent people from acting out their
: # emotional fantasies. Today we have much more elaborate emotional needs
: # that do not look like the needs of our primitive ancestors. They are,
: # however, the same needs. The reason there is so much halacha surrounding
: # the beit hamikdash and korbanot is that this area is particularly
: # sensitive to invasion from primitive ideology.

: Agreed entirely. As a vegetarian, I look forward to the days of the
: Mashiach, when the lion shall eat hay like the ox and there will be no
: more animal sacrifices.

Who said there will be no more animal sacrifices?

: Halacha is G-d's system.

: # It represents his wisdom and it is the only system that is worthy of
: # guiding you.

: If you say so, Adam ... I do take its guidance. I do not take it as an
: iron rule which brooks no dispute and no change. After all, it has
: changed in the past, and it can change again.

Halacha has not changed in the past. Particular laws have changed but the
methods that produce these laws are exactly the same.


Adam Jeremy Schorr

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 3:16:52 PM3/21/95
to
Janice Gelb (jan...@Eng.Sun.COM) wrote:

: In article h...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca, Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> writes:
: >
: >Thanks for the support, Victor, but Adam is quite right. That is what
: >I said. Unless, of course, Halakha can be interpreted sufficiently
: >differently as to have women counted in the minyan ... but when that
: >happens I, for one, will be looking around for the Mashiach.
: >

: The Conservative Legal Committee found enough minority opinions from
: legitimate sources to make a ruling that women could be counted in the
: minyan. They did not just make this decision capriciously. So, if you
: accept that the rishonim and amoraim all were divinely inspired but
: in a particular circumstance the halacha went with the majority, the
: minority opinions still carry a lot of weight.

Can you imagine what science would be like if scientists formulated
theories based on outliers?

If the minority opinion is from a legitimate Torah scholar then of course
the opinion carries weight as an opinion. Unfortunately, there is an
overarching principle of majority rules in halacha that would prevent you
from practicing the majority opinion. It is capricious to throw that out.

Daniel P. Faigin

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 3:50:29 PM3/21/95
to
Hadass:

We've had this discussion before, in other fora. Just remember that much of
what you are battling is a terminology issue. Orthodoxy does not have a
concept of rights, instead, it deals with obligations and prohibitions. Men
have some obligations, women have different obligations. Both have various
prohibitions. You might say that something that is not prohibited to a man but
prohibited to a women is a right of the man, but that is not the orthodox way
of expressing the concept. Thus, to argue with them from outside their
paradigm is pointless.

The more egalitarian movements do talk of rights, and in that context, the
word usage makes sense.

Daniel

*****************************************************************************
* MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! RESPOND TO THE SOC.CULTURE.JEWISH SURVEY! *
* *
* If you are a regular participant or reader of soc.culture.jewish and wish *
* to participate in the survey, please send me an Email note asking for a *
* survey entry form. The survey is part of the information gathering effort *
* for the soc.culture.jewish FAQ. Its purpose is to get an idea of the *
* demographics of the readership of the newsgroup, in terms of their *
* religious affiliation. All regular readers of soc.culture.jewish are *
* invited to participate. *
*****************************************************************************

--
[W]: The Aerospace Corp. M1/055 * POB 92957 * LA, CA 90009-2957 * 310/336-8228
[Email]:fai...@aero.org, fai...@acm.org [Vmail]:310/336-5454 Box#68228
Proud first time daddy of: Erin Shoshana Faigin (b. 11/17/94)...
Now: 4 mo. old, >15lb, solid food: carrots (boo), sweet potatoes (yea!)

Matthew P Wiener

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 4:56:37 PM3/21/95
to
In article <3kn86j$h...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, Hadass Eviatar <eviatar@ibd writes:
>However, I prefer to deal with one issue at a time 8-). Taharat
>hamishpacha does not offend my dignity in the way that not being
>counted does.

Does circumcision offend your dignity?

Do all these questions offend your dignity?

Matthew P Wiener

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 5:07:19 PM3/21/95
to
In article <D5t3M...@midway.uchicago.edu>, ajs8@uchicago (Adam Jeremy Schorr) writes:
>: What about Levirate marriage, is that still practiced today? How

>: about polygamy? And these are deoraita!

>I don't know about levirate marriage. Somebody else will have to


>explain why we don't do that today. Polygamy, however, is a bad
>example. The Torah allows it but the rabbis don't. This is not an
>example of overturning a drabanan.

Levirate marriage was included in the ban of Rabbeinu Gershon, along
with polygamy and reading other people's mail. That's pretty much
the end all for why we don't do it today.

As to his reasons, we don't know, but it's easy to speculate. Most
likely, levirate marriage had degenerated into a form of legalized
rape, at least in some cases. Since it's pretty much impossible to
identify ahead of time who is proceeding by purity of motive regarding
his late brother's name, and who isn't, it was better all around for
the rabbis to not go along with any levirate marriages, leaving the
brother-in-law no choice but to not marry.

Herman Rubin

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 5:19:36 PM3/21/95
to
In article <D5t4C...@midway.uchicago.edu>,

Adam Jeremy Schorr <aj...@uchicago.edu> wrote:
>Janice Gelb (jan...@Eng.Sun.COM) wrote:
>: In article h...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca, Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> writes:

.........................

>: The Conservative Legal Committee found enough minority opinions from
>: legitimate sources to make a ruling that women could be counted in the
>: minyan. They did not just make this decision capriciously. So, if you
>: accept that the rishonim and amoraim all were divinely inspired but
>: in a particular circumstance the halacha went with the majority, the
>: minority opinions still carry a lot of weight.

>Can you imagine what science would be like if scientists formulated
>theories based on outliers?

Can you imagine what science was when scientists formulated theories
based on majority opinion? Or any kind of opionion of philosophers?
We know what it was; in the time of Maimonides, anyone who claimed
that Aristotle's "science" was wrong was in danger of execution in the
Christian world. How much of Aristotle's science is still used?

As for formulating theories based on outliers, white dwarfs, red giants,
black holes, supernovas, and quasars are all astronomical outliers, yet
much of current astronomical theory is based on these and other outliers.
The theories about quarks all come form looking at outliers in particle
tracks; nuclear fission was deduced by looking at outliers.

>If the minority opinion is from a legitimate Torah scholar then of course
>the opinion carries weight as an opinion. Unfortunately, there is an
>overarching principle of majority rules in halacha that would prevent you
>from practicing the majority opinion. It is capricious to throw that out.

Nobody is just suggesting throwing them out. But when secular knowledge
contradicts what the sages said, we can, and should, throw the relevant
rulings out, even if there is no minority opinion.

I do not accept that the sages were any more Divinely inspired than
the scholars of today. Many of their rulings would be considered
capricious if a body made them today; the ruling that a minyon of
ten was needed comes from calling the ten false spies an evil
congregation. What about the two true ones?

David J. Greenberger

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 5:25:22 PM3/21/95
to
In article <3kadpl$k...@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>,
Hadass Eviatar <evi...@ibd.nrc.ca> wrote:

>Nu, Motti, does Judaism (of all kinds) consist only of men? If I were
>to walk in an Orthodox shul and put on my tallit and tefillin, what would they
>say? In my Conservative shul (which does not institute "radical reforms"
>to deal with intermarriage - I do know many converts who feel at home
>there, though), the reaction is uaually "Good morning".

I'm frankly not sure how people in an Orthodox shul would react. Even
according to the Orthodox, there is no halakhic prohibition of tallit or
tefillin for women; there is simply no requirement, nor is it at all common
(among Orthodox communities). They would probably react as if you were making
some sort of political statement, which is a reasonable conclusion, especially
in an Orthodox shul. (If that's not the case, yet you find people looking at
you strangely, let them know why you wear tallit and tefillin!)

However, when did Motti refer to tallit or tefillin? You are most certainly
welcome to join an Orthodox minyan! No, you won't be counted as one of the
required ten -- but that means you'll never be woken up at 7 in the morning to
join an almost-minyan. Don't complain.
--
David J. Greenberger Young Israel of Cornell
Cornell University ('96) (607) 256-2171 / (607) 272-5810 fax
College of Arts and Sciences
Computer Science major http://crux3.cit.cornell.edu/~djg2/

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 6:28:35 PM3/21/95
to
aj...@uchicago.edu (Adam Jeremy Schorr) wrote:
>
> Hadass Eviatar (evi...@ibd.nrc.ca) wrote:
>
> : You must be a philosopher, probably a logician. The only people I
> : know who are so absolute in defining the worth and worthlessness of
> : things are philosophers ... study of Halakha does not necessarily lead
> : to acceptance, no. How could one say so in advance?
>
> I'm not a philosopher or logician. I'm just a guy who is trying to think
> straight.
>

I'm surprised. As I said, in my experience, it is usually professional
philosophers who set so much store by absolutes.

> If you are studying Torah and halacha in order to live your life by them,
> then there must be a conditional a priori acceptance. If you don't accept
> it conditionally then why are you studying it?
>

To find out whether I can accept it when I know it better. Based on
ignorance and prejudice, I would reject it out of hand. If I do end
up rejecting it, it will be out of knowledge.

>
> Forget reform. If you are the arbiter then your position is closer to
> avoda zara. You are worhipping Hadass.

Absolutely my favourite person 8-). However, I don't ascribe omniscience,
omnipotence or any of those things to myself. Those seem to be the
usual attributes of deities. I simply recognize that I cannot change
my whole value system overnight, and that there are some things which
I do not want to change, indeed cannot, because of very basic tenets of
who I am and how I was raised.

You have to realize how
> nonsensical it is to talk about you and hashem reaching agreement.

You mean there's nobody out there? 8-). So whom did Avraham Avinu
bargain with for the city of Sdom?

I
> assume you meant it somewhat poetically but I think your statement
> indicates a corrupt notion of G-d and halacha. What you're saying is that
> halacha could be better. You're saying that you can make it better.

Not me. I'm not a halakhic scholar. Not my job to improve halakha. I
could indicate areas where I feel the scholars need to work on it,
yes. I would like the changes to be consonant with the whole, as they
have been in the past.

If
> this is the case then when you keep the rest of halacha, you're not
> keeping halacha per se, you're keeping Hadassism which happens to agree
> with halacha.
>

I don't understand this statement. What else is there to keep but your
own rules? You try to make them fit the rules you accept, but by the
time you are an adult, your set of values is pretty well fixed.


> : Hadass' rules are the only ones I can live by. They are the ones my
> : parents taught me and which I have internalised far beyond any rational
> : ability to change them overnight. I can try to make them a subset of
> : Torah rules, but when Torah rules appear to contradict my most important
> : existential needs, then a discussion needs to take place. There is no
> : way I can accept something "just because that's the way it is". Never
> : could. The explanation given for women's position in O does not satisfy
> : me. So I find an egalitarian community, which does not cause this
> : conflict in me, while helping to satisfy my other needs for a Torah-based
> : life.
>
> I appreciate your honesty. I'm not advocating accepting things "just
> because that's the way it is." I firmly believe that with the right kind
> of Torah study you will understand why halacha is the way it is and you
> will recognize that it is the perfect system.

Maybe. I haven't reached that point yet.

If you want to live in
> accordance with the Torah then you have to be willing to hear what it has
> to say.

I'm listening.

If you say that you just can't do it then I can understand. [I
> recently made a decision that was against halacha but I simply could not
> follow the halacha.] If you say that what you want is a good thing and
> the fact that halacha prohibits you from having means that halacha is
> flawed then I must disagree. The explanation given for women's position
> in the O community do not satisfy me either.

So what explanation do you give?

In fact, just about every
> explanation given by the O community doesn't satisfy me. I just about
> tossed the whole thing out. I was lucky enough to find a yeshiva that was
> into making sense. I think that's the way to go as opposed to creating
> your own religion.

Many in the O community would say that that is exactly what you are
doing, if you reject their brand of Judaism. If your yeshiva can make
sense to me of these prohibitions, then they will have performed a
miracle.


>
> Devora did not serve on a beit din. She was a shophetet. Different thing.
> My rabbi told me (I think it was based on a gemara but I'm not sure) that
> Devora was considered the best scholar of her time but she still could
> not sit on a beit din. She had to give her opinion to the beit din and
> they would enact it. I don't have a tanach in front of me but didn't
> Miriam only lead the women? Even if she did lead the men also, you're
> assuming that was was a precursor to tefilla and that tefilla inherited
> the attributes of that precursor.

I must have been confused by the contemporary meaning of the word
"shoftet", meaning judge, one who sits in judgement. That's what a
Beit Din does. She is said to have judged Israel, presumably she handed
down verdicts, etc. With all due respect to the gemara, just as they
tried to whitewash King David's disgraceful affair with Bat-sheva,
IMHO they also had an agenda making sure there would be no precedent
of a woman judge who could sit on a beit din. The whole institution
probably didn't even exist in Dvora's time, although I'm not sure of
that. Miriam is supposed to be the author of Shirat hayam, which we
certainly say every day during Shacharit.

>
> About changing drabanan's: you are correct. It is difficult but possible.
> I already told you the method. You need a beit din that is gadol biminyan
> ubichochma than the one that enacted the law. I don't know about levirate
> marriage. Somebody else will have to explain why we don't do that today.
> Polygamy, however, is a bad example. The Torah allows it but the rabbis
> don't. This is not an example of overturning a drabanan.
>

No, it is overturning a deoraita! How do you explain that?

> Naase venishma is not in any way a blind acceptance. Even if it is, it is
> not meant to be a permanent state. There has to be a nishma eventually.
> The easiest explanation of naase venishma is this: the Jews accepted the
> general gist of the halachic system and the major categories of laws.
> They did not, however, have time to sit down and learn the entire Torah
> with all of its details at once. So they committed to keeping all of the
> laws withj all of the details even though they hadn't learned it all.
> This is clear thought and free acceptance. Do you not believe that if you
> study enough that you will see why halacha's position on this is the best
> position?

No. Why should I? I have an open mind on the subject. Why should I
assume that the halakhic position is a priori the correct one? The
rabbis were human, like you and me. They did change their positions
when necessary. The more I study gemara, the more I am convinced of
the humanity of its authors, with all its pros and cons. Doesn't change
the fact that this is our tradition, and I try to live accordingly,
inasfar as I can. Usually that is not a problem, except when it hits
on something existential that is really, really important to me, like
being counted.

The fact that an entire community agrees with you is 100%
> worthless. If you want to go that way then you should be a Christian.
> Then there will be an even bigger community that agrees with you.
>

Doesn't the gemara make decisions by majority vote? I don't need a
large community to agree with me, just big enough so that the same
people don't get the honours every Shabat 8-). Of course, with women
getting them too, that doubles the pool over O practice 8-).


> : BTW, the only mention of women in the ten commandments (which is what
> : this midrash is about, if I recall properly) is to require everyone to
> : honour their mother!
>
> So what?

Just thought I'd mention it.

> : Agreed entirely. As a vegetarian, I look forward to the days of the
> : Mashiach, when the lion shall eat hay like the ox and there will be no
> : more animal sacrifices.
>
> Who said there will be no more animal sacrifices?
>

Rashi. He changed his mind later, under pressure, but he did say it.

> : Halacha is G-d's system.
> : # It represents his wisdom and it is the only system that is worthy of
> : # guiding you.
>
> : If you say so, Adam ... I do take its guidance. I do not take it as an
> : iron rule which brooks no dispute and no change. After all, it has
> : changed in the past, and it can change again.
>
> Halacha has not changed in the past. Particular laws have changed but the
> methods that produce these laws are exactly the same.
>
>

I thought the usual meaning of the word "Halakha" was the actual body
of laws. Are you using it in a different sense? If particular laws
have changed, then halakha has changed. No?

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 6:47:45 PM3/21/95
to
Perhaps I should restate very loudly and clearly, to everybody, that
changing O is _not_ on my agenda.

>
I wrote:
> > The facts which I was referring to were the
> >fact that men may lead mixed minyanim and women may not. I presume you
> >will agree that this is _fact_.
>

Matthew:

> What is not a fact, in fact, what is absolutely wrong, is you claim that
> men have the _right_ to do so, or that they have a _right_ to an aliyah.
>
> They do not, pure and simple.

> '

Perhaps I should have used the word "privilege". To me, at least, being
allowed to touch the Torah with my tallit and bring its words to my lips,
or to read it for the assemebled congregation, is a great privilege and
joy. Maybe O men see this differently.

> > The explanations _why_ this is so use
> >different terminology.
>
> Regarding a falsehood, terminology does not matter.
>

Are you suggesting that O women are allowed to lead mixed minyanim? If
not, there was no falsehood.


> > You attack me for not using the O terminology
> >on this matter, and conclude that therefore I have not understood the
> >argument.
>
> I criticize you for claiming to understand something when your false
> claims about men's "rights" make it clear that you do not.
>

I was talking about nonexistent women's rights, actually, don't tell
anybody ...


> >Just because I choose to describe a situation in words which the
> >people inside do not recognize, does not mean I have not understood
> >the situation, merely that I see it differently than they do.
>
> But O men simply *don't* have the right to an aliyah, or to lead services,
> as you originally claimed. This is basic fact.

So who does? Why are there always men up there and never any women? I
suppose its a burden and an obligation for the poor guys to be allowed
to be near the Torah, touch it, carry it, read it for the assembled
people. My heart bleeds.

>
> >> >There are other people more qualified than myself to explain to you
> >> >for the umpteenth time that Torah and Halakha are central to C Judaism.
>
> >> I'm sure there are. But when you invoke secular philosophy in all
> >> seriousness, I have my doubts.
>
> >I didn't even mention secular philosophy, you did. Don't put words in
> >my mouth.
>
> You mentioned "rights", not I. That comes from secular philosophy,
> not Torah.
>

If the Torah doesn't believe in rights, what are all those laws about
how much people should pay for a goring ox, etc? How about the Hebrew
slave being freed in the seventh year? Surely that is his right? And
the Hebrew maidservant: she must be treated as a daughter rather than
a slave. Is that not her right?


> >> >I was not bashing O. I was stating that these rights are not recognized
> >> >by O. You tell me yourself that the whole word is inaccurate in
> >> >describing O. So what are we arguing about?
>
> >> Your inaccurate use of "rights" in describing O.
>
> >See above. I know that O do not see the matter in terms of rights;
>
> Because it isn't.

I see. The great Wiener has spoken, thus the matter is closed.

>
> >I however, have the right (if you will excuse the expression) to see
> >it differently.
>
> And you are wrong (if you will further excuse the expression).

See above.

>
> > However, you have the right to disagree with me and
> >claim that their view of their own situation is the only valid one. I
> >doubt whether many psychologists would agree with you.
>
> I am certain that any of them who knew what goes on in O shul, knows what
> the the word "right" means, and isn't a pathological liar, would. That
> may be a small number of psychologists.
>

Well, if there are any psychologists reading this thread, I leave it
to you to reply to this bit of friendliness and civility ...

> >> >Must be all those way way way way too many sexual thoughts clouding
> >> >your brain ... what don't you understand about this paragraph?
>
> >> The beyond your _ability_.
>
> >> I'm quite certain that not-counting-for-a-minyan is something you are in
> >> fact capable of, but do not wish to do so.
>
> >Read what I wrote. Obviously not-counting-for-a-minyan is something
> >I am capable of, I have no choice in the matter. _Acceptance_ of this
> >situation, however, is very much up to me. And I am not capable of
> >accepting it, never have been.
>
> That is what doesn't make any sense to me. You _are_ capable of it--any
> one is capable of it--but you choose not to.
>

It is not a matter of choice. The unhappiness caused to me by this
situation is such that I cannot remain in it.

> >> >So the people isn't made up of persons?
>
> >> The people's ability to observe is not the same as individual persons
> >> being incapable or unwilling of observing something.
>
> >So explain the difference to me. To me, a people is composed of
> >individuals, and the people as such cannot do anything without its
> >individuals doing it.
>
> One can always find individuals with a cop out. That has no relevance
> to the question of when a new restriction is kept or not. That's all.
> That you choose to misinterpret as referring to every last person--an
> a priori ridiculous idea--is your problem. (And gives less credence to
> your claims to "understand" O.)
>

I didn't say that "every last person" had to keep a mitsva for a people
to do it. I said that a people could not be seen apart from the persons
who make it up. If a majority of the individuals cannot keep a rule,
then the people cannot keep it.


# ># > There is no way a people can
# ># >perform mitzvot (or indeed suffer under gzerot, as Adam pointed out
# ># >to me) unless the individuals do.
#
# ># So if someone, somewhere says he just *has* to have pork, we permit it?
# ># At this rate, there is no Judaism.
#
# >I have yet to encounter anyone with an existential need for pork. (Except
# >possibly Bernie). To quote a Wienerism, your example makes no sense.
#
# Exactly!!! You got it! Just like no one is _incapable_ of accepting
# not-counted-for-a-minyan.
#

Wrong, Matthew. You have no idea of what I am talking about. You have
not experienced this humiliation. I cannot abide it, and I will not.
It is an existential matter for me, as I seem to be incapable of driving
into your skull. Not in the least comparable to eating pork (which is
revolting, anyway. I'm surprised a man of Bernie's refined tastes
could be so attached to it).

# Your incapacity to accept being not-counted-for-a-minyan is in the same
# class as someone not accepting being unable-to-eat-pork. It makes no
# sense:

It is NOT in the same class.


it's an individual choice that has _not_ been found a burden for
> millennia.

Neither was slavery, until it was abolished. Of course, it depends
whom you ask, doesn't it? Yes, I know, O women do not consider it
etc. I'm very happy for them. And yet there are thousands of women,
R, R and C, who _do_ find it a burden. At what stage will the numbers
be convincing enough for you, Matthew?


In both cases--the example you brought up and the one I
> brought up--the claims of an individual that they can't handle it are
> ignored.

That's why people turn their backs on Judaism.

Shalom, Hadass

Adam Jeremy Schorr

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 6:49:36 PM3/21/95
to
Herman Rubin (hru...@b.stat.purdue.edu) wrote:

: Can you imagine what science was when scientists formulated theories


: based on majority opinion? Or any kind of opionion of philosophers?
: We know what it was; in the time of Maimonides, anyone who claimed
: that Aristotle's "science" was wrong was in danger of execution in the
: Christian world. How much of Aristotle's science is still used?

Relevance?

Aristotle's science is wrong but his philosophy has yet to be outdone.

: As for formulating theories based on outliers, white dwarfs, red giants,


: black holes, supernovas, and quasars are all astronomical outliers, yet
: much of current astronomical theory is based on these and other outliers.
: The theories about quarks all come form looking at outliers in particle
: tracks; nuclear fission was deduced by looking at outliers.

Herman, I am going to start a school. I will gather all the data that has
ever been collected on children and education and I will construct an
educational program based on all of the outliers. Will you send your kid
to the school? (Tuition is gratis)

: >If the minority opinion is from a legitimate Torah scholar then of course

: >the opinion carries weight as an opinion. Unfortunately, there is an
: >overarching principle of majority rules in halacha that would prevent you
: >from practicing the majority opinion. It is capricious to throw that out.

: Nobody is just suggesting throwing them out. But when secular knowledge
: contradicts what the sages said, we can, and should, throw the relevant
: rulings out, even if there is no minority opinion.

What secular knowledge contradicts the no-women-in-a-minyan rule?

Besides, since Torah is knowledge it is absurd to think that any
knowledge could contradict Torah. Secular knowledge may contradict what
you think Torah is but that's not really a problem.

: I do not accept that the sages were any more Divinely inspired than


: the scholars of today. Many of their rulings would be considered
: capricious if a body made them today; the ruling that a minyon of
: ten was needed comes from calling the ten false spies an evil
: congregation. What about the two true ones?

Forget the divine inspiration because I'm not sure what the heck that
means. I'm not advocating tossing out modern poskim. Anyone who follows
the appropriate method can produce good Torah theory.

I think you're quite wrong about the origin of 10 for minyan. That number
seems to pop up all over the place. Ten seems to have a certain a priori
halachic status and this is probably responsible both for minyan and for
the use of the word to describe the mraglim.

Hadass Eviatar

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 6:53:19 PM3/21/95
to
jan...@Eng.Sun.COM (Janice Gelb) wrote:
>
>
> The Conservative Legal Committee found enough minority opinions from
> legitimate sources to make a ruling that women could be counted in the
> minyan. They did not just make this decision capriciously. So, if you
> accept that the rishonim and amoraim all were divinely inspired but
> in a particular circumstance the halacha went with the majority, the
> minority opinions still carry a lot of weight.
>

I'm glad to hear it! I know, of course, that C shuls (at least many
of them) count women in the minyan, otherwise I wouldn't be there.
But I'm very glad to know they based it on legitimate sources. As I
said, the tradition is dear to my heart and I would like change to
be in consonance with it. Also, I would hate to think that our Sages
were _all_ bigoted against the counting of women ...

Motti

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 8:05:55 PM3/21/95
to
jan...@Eng.Sun.COM (Janice Gelb) writes:

>The Conservative Legal Committee found enough minority opinions from
>legitimate sources to make a ruling that women could be counted in the
>minyan. They did not just make this decision capriciously.

On what principles did the committee decide that the minority opinion
was to be followed. For that matter why is the majority opinion decided
on in the first place? We all know that the minority opinions were recorded
because they have some merit too, and are important, but on what basis or
by what law should we now follow a minority opinion?


mordechai steve seidman _ __ ____ __ ,__
sr...@crux3.cit.cornell.edu | | | | | |
se...@ee.cornell.edu (use only if crux3 fails) __| | | | _|

Robert Rubinoff

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 10:15:01 PM3/21/95
to
In article <3kmotv$5...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

Richard Schultz <sch...@garnet.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>>As a Conservative Jew, I attempt to follow Halakha to
>>the best of the ability.

>Do you believe in principle that women are obligated to follow the laws
>of taharat mishpachah? I am not asking whether you personally follow
>them, which is none of my business, but rather whether you feel that
>those laws are part of halakhah.

I can't speak for Hadass, but I can tell you this: the Conservative movement
fully accepts taharat mishpachah as part of halakhah. In practice, it's
another matter. But there is no basis for someone who accepts the philosophy
of the Conservative movement (which is a much smaller set than those who belong
to Conservative shuls) to reject taharat mishpachah.

Robert


Adam Jeremy Schorr

unread,
Mar 22, 1995, 12:02:54 AM3/22/95
to
Hadass Eviatar (evi...@ibd.nrc.ca) wrote:
: aj...@uchicago.edu (Adam Jeremy Schorr) wrote:

: > I'm not a philosopher or logician. I'm just a guy who is trying to think
: > straight.
: >

: I'm surprised. As I said, in my experience, it is usually professional
: philosophers who set so much store by absolutes.

Don't get me wrong, there are many worse groups to be counted among. You
physicists are still trying to answer the questions that the Greeks asked.

: > Forget reform. If you are the arbiter then your position is closer to

: > avoda zara. You are worhipping Hadass.

: Absolutely my favourite person 8-). However, I don't ascribe omniscience,
: omnipotence or any of those things to myself. Those seem to be the
: usual attributes of deities. I simply recognize that I cannot change
: my whole value system overnight, and that there are some things which
: I do not want to change, indeed cannot, because of very basic tenets of
: who I am and how I was raised.

You don't have to be omniscient to be your own god. Many gods throughout
history have not been omniscient. The G-d of the Torah is not omnipotent.

It sounds like you're agreeing with me but declining to live halachically
in this instance because it bothers you. Have I understood you?

: You have to realize how

: > nonsensical it is to talk about you and hashem reaching agreement.

: You mean there's nobody out there? 8-). So whom did Avraham Avinu
: bargain with for the city of Sdom?

Hadass, you sound like a swell person so I'm going to give you free
advice. If you've been talking with G-d and he's been responding, it's
time to check into your local psych ward.

: I

: > assume you meant it somewhat poetically but I think your statement
: > indicates a corrupt notion of G-d and halacha. What you're saying is that
: > halacha could be better. You're saying that you can make it better.

: Not me. I'm not a halakhic scholar. Not my job to improve halakha. I
: could indicate areas where I feel the scholars need to work on it,
: yes. I would like the changes to be consonant with the whole, as they
: have been in the past.

Are you saying that the halacha should be different? Also, please explain
the last sentence of the above paragraph.

: If

: > this is the case then when you keep the rest of halacha, you're not
: > keeping halacha per se, you're keeping Hadassism which happens to agree
: > with halacha.

: I don't understand this statement. What else is there to keep but your
: own rules? You try to make them fit the rules you accept, but by the
: time you are an adult, your set of values is pretty well fixed.

We're talking about two different sets of rules and this is confounding
the discussion. One set of rules is made up of our genes and our
experiences. I call these our emotional needs. The other set of rules is
made up of those things that can appropriately be called objects of the
mind. The first set I take to be almost completely immutable. The second
set I consider flexible. You will only be able to understand my position
if you understand the distinction between the mind and the body.

The "rules" that are part of our body (i.e., our emotional needs) are not
worthy of being the yardstick that we use to measure the world. We should
not ignore them because a healthy person needs to satisfy these needs to
a certain degree, but they should not rule us. I am saying that one can
appreciate the wisdom of the Torah regardless of how the Torah accords
with one's emotional needs.

: If you say that you just can't do it then I can understand. [I

: > recently made a decision that was against halacha but I simply could not
: > follow the halacha.] If you say that what you want is a good thing and
: > the fact that halacha prohibits you from having means that halacha is
: > flawed then I must disagree. The explanation given for women's position
: > in the O community do not satisfy me either.

: So what explanation do you give?

Hey, I'm a philosopher not a rabbi.

: In fact, just about every

: > explanation given by the O community doesn't satisfy me. I just about
: > tossed the whole thing out. I was lucky enough to find a yeshiva that was
: > into making sense. I think that's the way to go as opposed to creating
: > your own religion.

: Many in the O community would say that that is exactly what you are
: doing, if you reject their brand of Judaism. If your yeshiva can make
: sense to me of these prohibitions, then they will have performed a
: miracle.

Many in the O community would say this. The problem is that my rosh
yeshiva has pristine credentials and everything he says can be backed up
be the accepted authorities.

: > Devora did not serve on a beit din. She was a shophetet. Different thing.

: > My rabbi told me (I think it was based on a gemara but I'm not sure) that
: > Devora was considered the best scholar of her time but she still could
: > not sit on a beit din. She had to give her opinion to the beit din and
: > they would enact it. I don't have a tanach in front of me but didn't
: > Miriam only lead the women? Even if she did lead the men also, you're
: > assuming that was was a precursor to tefilla and that tefilla inherited
: > the attributes of that precursor.

: I must have been confused by the contemporary meaning of the word
: "shoftet", meaning judge, one who sits in judgement. That's what a
: Beit Din does. She is said to have judged Israel, presumably she handed
: down verdicts, etc. With all due respect to the gemara, just as they
: tried to whitewash King David's disgraceful affair with Bat-sheva,
: IMHO they also had an agenda making sure there would be no precedent
: of a woman judge who could sit on a beit din. The whole institution
: probably didn't even exist in Dvora's time, although I'm not sure of
: that. Miriam is supposed to be the author of Shirat hayam, which we
: certainly say every day during Shacharit.

Yes, you were confused by the contemporary meaning of the word. As for
your dismissal of chachmei yisrael, I will tell you that if you assume
they had a certain agenda then you are not being honest by following
anything that they said.

About Miriam, I now have a tanach in front of me and I was correct.
Miriam only led the women in song. If you will reread shirat hayam, the
first line says "az yashir moshe uvnei yisrael..."

: > About changing drabanan's: you are correct. It is difficult but possible.

: > I already told you the method. You need a beit din that is gadol biminyan
: > ubichochma than the one that enacted the law. I don't know about levirate
: > marriage. Somebody else will have to explain why we don't do that today.
: > Polygamy, however, is a bad example. The Torah allows it but the rabbis
: > don't. This is not an example of overturning a drabanan.

: No, it is overturning a deoraita! How do you explain that?

Making a deoraysa more stringent is not the same as overturning it. It's
not even close. The job of the chachamim is to make gzayrot and takanot
to protect people from potential violations.

: The fact that an entire community agrees with you is 100%

: > worthless. If you want to go that way then you should be a Christian.
: > Then there will be an even bigger community that agrees with you.

: Doesn't the gemara make decisions by majority vote? I don't need a
: large community to agree with me, just big enough so that the same
: people don't get the honours every Shabat 8-). Of course, with women
: getting them too, that doubles the pool over O practice 8-).

The gemara made decisions by a majority of scholars. They did not go out
into the souq and ask laypeople to render their opinions.

: > : BTW, the only mention of women in the ten commandments (which is what

: > : this midrash is about, if I recall properly) is to require everyone to
: > : honour their mother!
: >
: > So what?

: Just thought I'd mention it.

I love chinese food.

: > : Agreed entirely. As a vegetarian, I look forward to the days of the

: > : Mashiach, when the lion shall eat hay like the ox and there will be no
: > : more animal sacrifices.
: >
: > Who said there will be no more animal sacrifices?
: >

: Rashi. He changed his mind later, under pressure, but he did say it.

Citation? I have the Davka CD-ROM so even if you don't have the cite, if
you remember some of the phrasing I can find it.

: > Halacha has not changed in the past. Particular laws have changed but the

: > methods that produce these laws are exactly the same.

: I thought the usual meaning of the word "Halakha" was the actual body
: of laws. Are you using it in a different sense? If particular laws
: have changed, then halakha has changed. No?

Sorry I was unclear. When I use "halacha" I mean the underlying system.
This is the essence of halacha and the particulars are accidental.

Daniel Israel

unread,
Mar 22, 1995, 2:01:33 AM3/22/95
to
Hadass Eviatar writes:
> Of course halakha also includes (or should include) all
> the instructions in the Torah for dealing with leprosy and other skin
> diseases. We now know that leprosy is a bacterial disease, and we
> also understand menstruation better than the Sages did.

For the record, most commentaries I have seen indicate that the disease commonly
translated leprosy is not actually leprosy, but that leprosy is a mistranslation
(probably of Christian origin).

--
Daniel M. Israel "It is more important to have
<dan...@vega.ame.arizona.edu> beauty in one's equations than
Aerospace Building, University of Arizona to have them fit experiment"
Tucson, AZ -Dirac


Richard Schultz

unread,
Mar 22, 1995, 9:19:41 AM3/22/95
to
In article <3knjdo$41...@b.stat.purdue.edu>,
Herman Rubin <hru...@b.stat.purdue.edu> wrote:

>As for formulating theories based on outliers, white dwarfs, red giants,
>black holes, supernovas, and quasars are all astronomical outliers, yet
>much of current astronomical theory is based on these and other outliers.
>The theories about quarks all come form looking at outliers in particle
>tracks; nuclear fission was deduced by looking at outliers.

Was I the only person to be really surprised to find this paragraph in
a post written by someone who claims to be a statistician?
--
Richard Schultz

"_Cro_, the Children's Television Workshop's attempt at a commercially
appealing science cartoon show, will be cancelled in September by
ABC TV. . . . In _Cro_'s time slot will go _Dumb and Dumber_, a cartoon
about two moronic louts, derived from the movie of the same name."
-- _Science_, 3 March 1995

Richard Schultz

unread,
Mar 22, 1995, 9:33:35 AM3/22/95