Why Can't Women Get Modern Smicha and Become Rabbis?
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May 9, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm #1071547Avi KParticipant
1. Rav Moshe does not call them kofrim (actually it would be kofrot). He says that certain beliefs are kefira.
2. He also says that a woamn may be president of a synagogue board and, in fact, an observant woman is preferable to a non-observant man.May 9, 2013 1:03 pm at 1:03 pm #1071548gavra_at_workParticipant
interjection: You are 100% correct (IMHO).May 9, 2013 1:56 pm at 1:56 pm #1071549
I am not a feminist. I am not a kofer. My question is not based on kefira. There have been rare, isolated occurrences in Jewish history of women being religious leaders, acting as Rabbis, Roshei Yeshiva or Poskim but without the title “Rabbi.” I don’t even care about the title. The issue is whether a sufficiently learned woman can be given r’shus (the modern smicha) to pasken and whether she could accept a pulpit position.
If the issue is so pashut, then it would not take a “real” talmid chacham to answer the question.
I am not asking about women’s rights (at least not in the sense you are thinking of). I am not discussing the average woman but the exceptional woman.
I agree that Rebbetzins should be trained in such matters just for that reason and especially in out of town communities. It is evidence from a Gemara in Nidda that it was common for there to be a woman “in the neighborhood” who would examine maaros for the other women.May 9, 2013 2:48 pm at 2:48 pm #1071550
” the concept of medical school certainly existed but in much more of an abstract way”
Not true; there were medical schools, not abstract but concrete, in ancient times and in the middle ages. Sforno got a medical degree from the University of Rome.
“It’s pashut that women cannot be Rabbis.”
No, there is no such pshat.
“Women have NEVER been Rabbis”
Regardless of what title you give them, Devorah and Beruriah would be of higher status than any rabbi alive today.
“argue with anonymous posters”
I’m not anonymous.
“We don’t know God as well as our sages did.”
True. And our sages interpreted the Torah to say that there are only about a dozen mitzvot for which men are chiyuv and women are patur — none of which are in the areas covered by yoreh yoreh semichah.May 9, 2013 3:23 pm at 3:23 pm #1071551
if I knew of a female who was qualified to deal with those shailos, I would feel way more comfortable than going to a man.
I think you definitely have a valid point, and this is what I was thinking when I wrote:
if there was a situation impacting mitzah observance in the Torah community, and some feel that a group of women who are certified to answer specific shailos would increase the ability of the community to observe the mitzvos
I don’t see how there would be a problem with a woman trained in these halachos answering shailos for other women, and such a system may have a lot of benefit for the mitzvah of taharas hamishpacha. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the aim of groups such as YCT.May 9, 2013 4:22 pm at 4:22 pm #1071552WolfishMusingsParticipant
I don’t see how there would be a problem with a woman trained in these halachos answering shailos for other women, and such a system may have a lot of benefit for the mitzvah of taharas hamishpacha.
Especially inasmuch as women today *are* making halachic decisions for other women in certain aspects. The main one I can think of is when a woman immerses in the mikvah, another woman makes the halachic determination whether or not the immersion was halachically valid. They also make halachic determinations regarding chatzitos before immersion as well.
The WolfMay 9, 2013 4:37 pm at 4:37 pm #1071553
charliehall: “Not true; there were medical schools, not abstract but concrete, in ancient times and in the middle ages. Sforno got a medical degree from the University of Rome.”
Many of these medical schools were, as I mentioned, more in the manner of the master physician teaching a few students- more of an apprenticeship. Perhaps “abstract” was a bad word to use in this case.
In the Christian Middle Ages, there were very, very few colleges at all, and pretty much no medical schools- many of the woman doctors did achieve degrees informally, as did the male doctors. These prefab med schools really came about in the time of the Renaissance (the time of the Sforno).
In the Muslim Golden Ages, there were medical schools (the Rambam went to one), but I’m not sure how regimented they were or whether women were permitted to be students. I also don’t know if there were noncertified female doctors in Muslim lands.May 9, 2013 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #1071554
“The main one I can think of is when a woman immerses in the mikvah, another woman makes the halachic determination whether or not the immersion was halachically valid. They also make halachic determinations regarding chatzitos before immersion as well.”
These women should either learn the sugyos of tevila b’iyun or not make these halachic determinations. I have come across a few stories (first and second hand) of Mikva Women making terrible halachic mistakes with potentially grave consequences.May 9, 2013 5:22 pm at 5:22 pm #1071555WolfishMusingsParticipant
These women should either learn the sugyos of tevila b’iyun or not make these halachic determinations. I have come across a few stories (first and second hand) of Mikva Women making terrible halachic mistakes with potentially grave consequences.
I fully agree with your point that women (and men) should be well-versed in halachic areas in which they rule. But the fact remains that we *do* allow women to rule in these areas.
The WolfMay 9, 2013 6:11 pm at 6:11 pm #1071557
Agreed.May 9, 2013 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #1071558
“Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the aim of groups such as YCT.”
YCT has an all male student body.May 9, 2013 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #1071559
YCT has an all male student body.
My mistake – perhaps saying “groups such as Yeshivat Maharat, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, etc.” would have been more accurate.May 9, 2013 7:27 pm at 7:27 pm #1071560
Avi K: “1. Rav Moshe does not call them kofrim (actually it would be kofrot). He says that certain beliefs are kefira.
2. He also says that a woamn may be president of a synagogue board and, in fact, an observant woman is preferable to a non-observant man.”
So the beliefs are kefira but the people espousing them (including many men) are not kofrim? That is ridiculous.
I said The Rov held that a women cannot be a president of a shule. Now, since the ultra left modern “orthodox” are the ones espousing such views that so blatantly conflict with the Mesorah and are the same ones that hold by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, they are all the more foolish. No one with true yiras shamayim would even suggest such an idea.May 9, 2013 8:03 pm at 8:03 pm #1071561
“These women should either learn the sugyos of tevila b’iyun or not make these halachic determinations.”
Agreed. And that is precisely what happens at Yeshivat Maharat and Nishmat.
“I have come across a few stories (first and second hand) of Mikva Women making terrible halachic mistakes with potentially grave consequences.”
And that is why we need institutions like Yeshivat Maharat and Nishmat.May 9, 2013 8:42 pm at 8:42 pm #1071563
charliehall: Of course we do not need them. It is kefira. What have we done for the past 1000 years.May 9, 2013 9:20 pm at 9:20 pm #1071564
I agree with you on Nishmat. I am holding out judgment on Maharat. What I have seen so far is not so good.
You are tossing around the word kefira much too easily. Not everything innovative is kefira, not everything you disagree with is kefira and acknowledging changed circumstances is certainly not kefira. There is a machlokes Rishonim about what beliefs are necessary components for yiddishkeit. Learn what they are and then come back.
A thousand years ago there were no bodekets and mikva ladies just watched to make sure hair went under the water. If you are going to innovate by adding halachic roles for women then you need to correspondingly innovate by properly teaching them the halacha.
BTW, wise women who would check maaros are mentioned in the Gemara.May 9, 2013 9:38 pm at 9:38 pm #1071565
I am specifically referring to giving women “smicha” and calling them Rabbis. True, smicha today is not halachic smicha anyway but allowing women to do bedika and calling them Rabbis and having them poskin shailos or be presidents of shules is completely different.
This thread was titled “Why Can’t Women Get Modern Smicha and Become Rabbis?”
If you want to talk about a specific different issue, why not have it on another thread. I am addressing the question of the OP.May 10, 2013 4:44 pm at 4:44 pm #1071567
And that is why we need institutions like Yeshivat Maharat […]
This ends justifies the means argument makes no logical sense to me. To aid in these mitzvos does not seem to be the goal of Yeshivat Maharat; at best it is a side effect. The mission statement of Yeshivat Maharat is (from their Web site):
Yeshivat Maharat is changing the communal landscape by actualizing the potential of Orthodox women as rabbinic leaders. Yeshivat Maharat represents a natural evolution towards a pluralistic community, where women and men, from every denomination, can enhance the Jewish world.
Their mission is a political one, to reform the Jewish community and its practices, not out of a stated halachic necessity, but to create a “pluralistic community”, as the Conservative and Reform movements have done.
The irony is that outside of staunch activists, if you were to ask a typical Jew of any denomination who the first female Reform rabbi was, or who the first Conservative rabbi was, s/he would probably not know the answer. If you walk into almost any large bookstore in the nation, however, you would probably find works written by Esther Jungreis and her daughter Slovie Jungreis. Other frum women, such as Tzipporah Heller and her talmida Gila Manolson also have renown within the Jewish world. They have gained their renown the way Jews – men and women – have through the centuries, not by chasing after titles and honors, but by serving Hashem, seeing needs within the Jewish community, and addressing them through writing, learning, and teaching.May 10, 2013 5:18 pm at 5:18 pm #1071568
“They have gained their renown the way Jews – men and women – have through the centuries, not by chasing after titles and honors, but by serving Hashem, seeing needs within the Jewish community, and addressing them through writing, learning, and teaching.” +1
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“Well, I want to be a doctor, so let’s say, hypothetically, that I know everything I need to know to set up shop, but since I didn’t go to med school, I can’t get my MD- even without the title, even though I can practice medicine as well as any doctor, I’m obviously limited in what I can do with my knowledge, as nobody wants to be healed by someone who’s not an MD. “
But unlike a doctor, you do not need a degree to practice Torah learning and teaching. So if people will not listen to you it is there fault not yours. Smicha or not, you cannot psak halacha. You need a posek for that, and the Chafetz Chaim never had smicha until the end of his life when he needed it to travel.May 10, 2013 7:15 pm at 7:15 pm #1071569
“smicha today is not halachic smicha anyway but allowing women to do bedika and calling them Rabbis and having them poskin shailos or be presidents of shules is completely different.”
“Smicha or not, you cannot psak halacha. “
Plenty of poskim PERMIT women to be presidents of shuls. And if you are knowledgeable you are OBLIGATED to address halachic questions, whether you have semichah or not. All semicha is is a declaration that someone is sufficiently learned to be trusted; there is really no halachic or other reason why women should not be included among the persons who should be able to receive this declaration in the areas for which they are chayev. And as pointed out, women used to do bedika in talmudic times.May 10, 2013 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #1071570
“There is a machlokes Rishonim about what beliefs are necessary components for yiddishkeit. Learn what they are and then come back.”
I’ll save him the trouble: Neither Rambam, nor Crescas, nor Albo included “I believe with perfect faith that women can not get semicha” as one of their basic principles.May 10, 2013 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #1071571
I said The Rov held that a women cannot be a president of a shule. Now, since the ultra left modern “orthodox” are the ones espousing such views that so blatantly conflict with the Mesorah and are the same ones that hold by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, they are all the more foolish. No one with true yiras shamayim would even suggest such an idea.
charliehall: Don’t you repect Rov Soloveitchiks decision not to allow women to hold roles of communal leadership?May 10, 2013 8:29 pm at 8:29 pm #1071572letschmoozeMember
The spirit of the halacha is that a women cannot be in a dominant position over men. The role of a woman is supposed to be more supportive and subservient. If not subservient, she must at least not be in a public position of dominance. She must work on the side lines, in private. This is tznius.
A women also should not be a police officer. It is not proper for a woman to arrest or detain a man. That is why it is assur for a woman to carry a weapon or dress like a man.May 12, 2013 3:34 am at 3:34 am #1071573
Halacha is not a fuzzy spirit realm. There are rules and logic. Sometimes there are ambiguities that might be resolved by appealing to the spirit of the law but you first have to have an ambiguity.
Where are you getting the spirit of the law that woman should be “subservient?” You need a source of something like that.
There is a specific prohibition of “srarah” according to the Rambam, that prohibits women from certain types of positions. The modern Rabbi, having no enforcement power, is probably not one of those positions. IMHO it is more problematic for a woman to be President of the Shul than to be the Rabbi.
“A women also should not be a police officer. It is not proper for a woman to arrest or detain a man. That is why it is assur for a woman to carry a weapon or dress like a man.”
Do you have a source for that?May 12, 2013 4:34 am at 4:34 am #1071574ChesMember
beninguman: Where is there any demand for women rabbis? Where do you see anyone seeking such a thing?
Regarding your discussion with letschmooze, see the Torah regarding Chava and the situation after eating from the eitz hadas. Also see S”A YD 240:17, Daf ahl Daf (Shabbos 118b), Rambam Hilchos Ishus 15:20, Rambam 21:7, Ben Yehoyada (Menachos 43b), (among many other areas of halacha.)May 12, 2013 5:00 am at 5:00 am #1071575rebdonielMember
Rav Benzion Uziel, zt”l, had no issue with a woman becoming a judge.
I don’t consider Rav Soloveitchik, zt”l, to be my poseq. There were quite a few areas where Reb Moshe was more meikil than him, and where his psak is more sensible (ie/ shtar mechira, ger katan, etc.)May 12, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am #1071576
benignuman – don’t we learn in parshas bereishis that part of chava’s punishment was that she would be subservient to her husband? and this doesn’t mean that she should bow and scrape to his every whim, it means that she is supposed to be more in the background supporting and helping him in his own avoda.
if you look at non-jewish society, you will see that women who have attained very high positions of power, whether in the army/police force, government or top corporate positions, have lost the sensitive qualities that make a woman what she is – these women are ruthless and very often nasty pieces of workMay 12, 2013 1:17 pm at 1:17 pm #1071577OneOfManyParticipant
notasheep: I’ve always been confused as to why people persistently attribute women’s wanting to do x, y, or z to “wanting to be like men”–I mean, wouldn’t that really negate their entire wanting to do the thing in question, being that the premise of feminism is to assert feminine identity and capability? Now I sort of realize why you people think that–it is an inherent rejection of any sort of conception of woman other than submissive and demurring, making any aberrations unnatural and applying themselves to nothing more than trying to break from a feminine state to a masculine one.
So my question is: do you really find it impossible to conceive that some women are naturally as you describe them, and some are naturally “nasty pieces of work” (I mean, if you are going to call them that, at least give them the credit of their own nastiness), and that BOTH should be able to decide what their capabilities are and how to best use them? It is possible that what you claim is true, but logically, there is no reason why there cannot be an alternative hypothesis. And all I ask is that you entertain my claim as a possible premise, not accept it as fact.
And to clarify–I do not say this in defense of giving women smicha, allowing women’s minyanim, etc. The former may be perfectly admissible, as benignuman claims (and I do not know about the rest), but because all such moves can be so easily interpreted as superficial power-mongering, they are really ineffectual in proving “pure” motives–which I think is the REAL goal. Also, trying to make such a move before establishing that women are *capable* of analytic learning (in religious *or* secular disciplines) really does nothing but force the oppositional view that you espouse.May 12, 2013 1:25 pm at 1:25 pm #1071578
If everyone’s making all these arguments about the woman’s sphere, and how leaving it damages a woman, then why have gender roles been switched around, for all intents and purposes, with women going out to work and husbands going to kollel and many times staying home with the kids? Doesn’t that damage some kind of internal thingie in the man that’s supposed to be all macho or something? It should work both ways, no?May 12, 2013 2:49 pm at 2:49 pm #1071579
Ches and notasheep,
You are bringing sources of a how a woman should relate to her husband. Letschmooze was making a claim about how a woman should relate to everyone else.
A woman has no shibudim to society. The Rambam holds of a prohibition of srera on woman having positions of power (like being President, or King). I haven’t done a serious survey to see what other Rishonim held, but it isn’t relevant for rabbis because the modern Rabbi has enforceable power. People only listen because they want to listen (like Tosafos explains by Devorah).
As you can see from my posts, I am in favor of women being able to be Rabbis as an abstract matter. However what Maharat is doing is, I think, wrong. Because their stated goal is pluralism and being more like the goyim, and that is the wrong motivation.May 12, 2013 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #1071580
Oom, that’s precisely the sad truth about feminism. These women want to have all the same status and equality with men, forgetting that they are not actually men but women.
I had a teacher in sem who told us “I am a real feminist” – because she understood that women are different from men and therefore have different natures and roles in life. Yes, there may be some who naturally are nasty but if you think about it, the less feminine a woman makes herself, the harder and less sensitive she becomes in her personalityMay 12, 2013 7:18 pm at 7:18 pm #1071582
notasheep: The question is, what is femininity?
I personally don’t agree with the popular notion of feminism, which in and of itself undermines itself, as it’s implying that men are better than women and we need to try to reach their madreigah. (Because you’re NOT better than us, guys. Live with it.)
The difference is, is femininity simply expressing the differences between men and women or is it wearing fluffy pink dresses and makeup all day and waiting on top of a tower? I think that women have their own kochos, but I think that Jewish people are actually buying a little into the whole fairy-tale aspect of how delicate and vulnerable and etc. women are. According to the inyan that eishes chayil is meant to be taken literally (expressed by R’ Chaim Volozhiner, among others), an eishes chayil has a lot more capability and strength than just making herself look pretty for her husband and cleaning the floors. (Yes, I know that to an extent that’s there, but also along with haysa ka’aniyos socher.)
And if you want to have women be these delicate creatures who can’t do anything outside of the home, then let it be both ways, please. It’s like the joke: after the eitz hada’as incident, women were cursed with pain in childbirth. After epidurals were invented, they also received the curse of going to work. (My mom and aunt found this one hysterical, for some reason…)May 12, 2013 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #1071583About TimeParticipant
If it’s so pashut, the mods have nothing to lose by letting these kofrim duke it out with the real Jews.
If it isn’t, then there’s no reason for the mods to shut it down if they really want a place of discussion open to all (and they apparently don’t always, which is their right, I guess, but it’s still contrary to your point).”
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”May 12, 2013 7:35 pm at 7:35 pm #1071584About TimeParticipant
Rav Benzion Uziel, zt”l, had no issue with a woman becoming a judge.
Rav Uziel was always considered less than heavyweight
I don’t consider Rav Soloveitchik, zt”l, to be my poseq. There were quite a few areas where Reb Moshe was more meikil than him, and where his psak is more sensible (ie/ shtar mechira, ger katan, etc.)
Rav “whatever I prefer”May 12, 2013 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm #1071585
About Time: Okay, but once the truth’s got its shoes on, it should be able to knock all that kefirah out of everyone’s heads, right? It’ll be so blatantly obvious.
Basically, according to Daniel Rosen’s shittah that this is obviously kefirah, like everyone knows it and it’s pashut, there’s no reason to stop people talking about it, because we KNOW that all these people who believe it’s up for discussion are wrong. If not, then why can’t people discuss intelligently?May 12, 2013 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm #1071586
” Don’t you repect Rov Soloveitchiks decision not to allow women to hold roles of communal leadership?”
I will not dignify this insulting question with a response other than to point out that The Rav’s wife and one of his daughters both held positions of communal leadership at the Maimonides School.May 12, 2013 8:22 pm at 8:22 pm #1071587
I wasn’t implying that we are all delicate wishy washy and waiting to be rescued from the tower. I just meant that there are certain general attributes that women have (such as sensitivity to others and binah yeseirah) and those that men have. Women are allowed to be tough – I never said anything to the contrary, what I wrote specifically was ‘hard’ – ie insensitive to others. Sensitivity is part of being a mother – which normal woman can ignore the sound of her child (or any child) in pain, for instance?
When you wrote about epidurals, I also found that quite funny. I think that they have their place but too many women go for the ‘weak’ option before really trying to cope without it. Just to give you a measure of how I don’t think that women are supposed to be delicate little flowers, I gave birth to my daughter with no pain relief except for laughing gas and did not speak a word or make a sound throughout the entire thing.May 12, 2013 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #1071588
charliehall: “I will not dignify this insulting question with a response other than to point out that The Rav’s wife and one of his daughters both held positions of communal leadership at the Maimonides School.”
I will tell you that “other than to point out that The Rav’s wife and one of his daughters both held positions of communal leadership at the Maimonides School” is a response. Why can’t you answer the question? Would the Rov approve of such an institution? Of course not.May 12, 2013 9:06 pm at 9:06 pm #1071589
notasheep: As a high school kid who has never given birth, I can’t really identify with that part of the joke- my mom seemed to… edited. My point is that if compassion and sympathy are female traits, then nothing women decide to do is going to really change that. If anything, those women who are compassionate are going to channel that and try to use it in their lives. Besides, saying that women are compassionate is like saying that girls like pink- it’s a generalization borne out, quite possibly, by statistics, but that doesn’t mean that any woman you bump into on the street is compassionate and likes pink. I mean, the gemara says “nashim daasan kalos” which, regardless of what it actually means, does not necessarily mean that EVERY woman has daas kal or whatever.
Also, it all depends on what the person wants to do with whatever they have. I want to be a doctor (apparently I’m not supposed to say that, though, as it’s giving away who I am- don’t get it, but moving forward)- is it because I have a sadistic passion for dissecting people, or because I want to help others? Our cores affect our chitzonius. I don’t think that a woman who loses her sense of compassion had that happen because she picked such a job- she picked a job because that’s what she was like inside.May 13, 2013 1:52 am at 1:52 am #1071590OneOfManyParticipant
notasheep: I started writing a response, but it sort of spiralled into a thread of its own, over here: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/oh-they-just-wanna-be-like-men-1
One thing, though: you say:
Sensitivity is part of being a mother – which normal woman can ignore the sound of her child (or any child) in pain, for instance?
Now, what exactly does this have to do with women? To my mind, it is an essential human quality to respond to another human’s pain–maybe not with sobbing and glomping, and even if it is not apparent. To appropriate the essential capacity of empathy as the right of one gender over another makes no sense to me (and scares me more than a little). And really–to what end must we apportion with such exactitude the natural qualities that we all posses?May 13, 2013 7:04 am at 7:04 am #1071591frumnotyeshivishParticipant
The question is not so much of the capabilities of women, the question is what is the mission women were created to do?
For the answer, we have Chazal and Mesorah.
It is not that women want to be men; it’s that women are looking at men and think “it’s not fair.”
Either it is fair, or it’s not supposed to be. Those are the only two options that fit with Chazal and Mesorah.May 13, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am #1071592ChesMember
It isn’t fair that non-kohanim cannot duchen. Why doesn’t Avi Weiss start advocating for Yisroelim to become Kohanim?
If a Yisroeli can be a rocket scientist certainly he can fulfill the demands of a Kohen.May 13, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am #1071593
There is third option (or alternatively an option with nuance). There might be a general mission of women, with exceptions.
Non-Jews have a general purpose in this world, but if an individual non-Jew is sufficiently motivated he deviate from that general purpose and become a Jew.
Non-Kohanim could choose to be ochel chulin al taharas hakodesh. According to the Rambam, non-Leviim can choose to act as Leviim and be entitled to community support.
In other words individuals can choose to be exceptions. A sufficiently motivated woman can become learned enough to pasken and even master kol hatorah kula.May 13, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm #1071594
Oom – women do have more empathy than men! Imagine the same conversation, one between two women and one between a woman and a man. The woman is discussing her woes (whether it’s a hard day at work or a problem with a neighbour etc). The second woman will be all sympathetic (“yes, it’s frustrating, I know how you feel…” but the man will start offering solutions (“so quit your job/move to another department”) since he sees it as a problem that needs to be solved, rather than the woman simply wanting to vent.
Also, imagine a new mother walking down the street pushing her newborn baby. How many women stop by, look inside the pram and coo over the baby, and how many men? Watch next time you are walking in the street and you will see I am right.May 13, 2013 2:43 pm at 2:43 pm #1071595
benignuman: Why don’t you ring up the ten of the greatest men of our generation constituting the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah and set them straight? They, in their lesser wisdom than yourself, collectively and unanimously strongly denounced the “simple” changing of “Maharat” Huruwitz’s title, yes just a title!, to “Rabba”.
Considering all your wise arguments how halacha allows women nowadays to get modern smicha and become rabbis, for crying out loud, how could those old men publicly and strongly act against a simple title change for a woman to rabba?!May 13, 2013 4:01 pm at 4:01 pm #1071596gavra_at_workParticipant
Why don’t you ring up the ten of the greatest men of our generation constituting the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah
Warning! Fallacy! Argument from authority!!!
First please prove to me these are 10 of the greatest men. Then prove no other “greatest man” (man being men or women) disagree. Only then is it is an Argument from authority. Without that you don’t even reach that point.May 13, 2013 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #1071597
If Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky, Shlita, or Rav David Feinstein, Shlita, had given smicha to Rebbetzin Davis, do you think the Moetzes would have said anything?May 13, 2013 4:43 pm at 4:43 pm #1071598
That’s absurd. Not only would Rebt. Davis never seek smicha, Rav Kaminetzky and Rav Feinstein would never give any woman smicha. Which furthers my aforementioned point. Perhaps contact Rav Kaminetzky and Rav Feinstein and advise them that in your infinite wisdom you have determined that it is okay to give women smicha, and perhaps they’ll both nod their heads and agree with you changing their previous position, and start issuing female smichas.May 13, 2013 5:12 pm at 5:12 pm #1071599
You are missing my point. Rabbi Avi Weiss is not considered a great Torah Sage or Halakhic scholar. Rabba Hurwitz was not a well known, respected woman of Torah learning. There is no doubt that her ordination was in part to advance feminism and pluralism in Orthodox Judaism. I don’t think that is the proper basis for ordaining a woman.
If however, you have a respected woman of well known Torah learning, who wants to start a shul (maybe for her talmidos and their husbands), and the Rabbi granting the semicha is a great scholar, then the ordination would be fine and good. And the Moetzes would not say a word.
Don’t take a political statement by the Moetzes as psak halacha.May 13, 2013 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #1071600
gavra: There’s nothing to prove. It isn’t just them. Even the RCA denounced the very idea of a simple title change to rabba from maharat. A simple title change! Denounced. From all corners. On this matter the entire Orthodox rabbinic world, from chasidic to litvish to modern orthodox all agree.
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