I would highly recommend that Open “Orthodoxy” supporters of proffering new titles to learned women, as well as hard left members of the RCV (re) read Abraham’s Journey by Rav Soloveitchik. One is thunderstruck again by his open understanding that the Avos, Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov were a team with their wives and through many verses he makes it obvious that without their wives, the covenantal leadership was significantly reduced.
In last week’s Parsha the Rav concentrates on the lack of any description in the Torah, save the burial of Sarah, about the last 38 years of his life. This is a long time. What was going on? Abraham without Sarah, was a “cappuccino without coffee”. There was little to report on or to talk about. If you find that “Abraham’s Journey” is too long and involved, I would also highly recommend the OU’s Soloveitchik Chumash which is a masterpiece in understanding the human side of Orthodoxy, existential reality, and the prime importance of Mesorah.
I can’t recommend these publications highly enough. Far from women being seenas secondary figures, they were masoretically part of a duo, to the extent that if that was broken up, so was the purpose.
Whilst the Mahari Bei Rav unsuccessfully tried to re-institute formal Semicha, I find it very hard to consider any female, religiously sincere, if the term Yoetzet Halacha is not enough for her.
It is also my view that no Yoetzet Halacha should ever address gatherings of Jewish (Religious or otherwise) Feminists. Feminism is a western ideology. It is viewed with extreme derision ranging from (the cousins) Rav Moshe Feinstein through to Rav Soloveitchik himself. There is no doubts about this. It is in black and white in their own words. Those words are prophetic and just as relevant.
It’s time we focussed less on titles and more on the actual Jewish Education of our youth. Therein is the challenge. The best teachers and expositors go out to the professional world and their skills are not used. This is the tragedy of our society.
2 thoughts on “The covenantal community”
One of the difficulties in this ‘debate’ is understanding why OO can’t settle on a different title than Rabbi and ensure what ever their ‘ordination’ is, that it is not to be confused with s’micha as more commonly accepted within Orthodoxy. Conversely, we know what the RCA does not permit for women – so what, according to RCA is acceptable for women within the spectrum of leadership in Orthodoxy. I agree that the Rav had a great sensitivity to the importance of women within traditional Judaism.
Because they are motivated by feminism which was the original concern of Rabbis. A Yoetzet Halacha is a longer term name for female graduates of Nishmat. They don’t decide Hilchot Shabbat. They deal with women’s issues and when in doubt they ask Rav Henkin. This is not enough in America where feminism and egalitarianism are the religions