Tuesday, 3 August 2010

More About the Woman Cantor

The argument about the infamous woman cantor has been heating up on DovBear.

So far DovBear has published 3 excellent posts on the issue which are worth a read.

On the other side of the argument is Harry Maryles (at whom my last post was directed) Although he is often rather moderate, on this issue he is adamantly against Rabbi Weiss and apparently all advancement of women's roles in Orthodox Judaism.

Here are some of his comments on DovBear (different colors denote different comments)which are a bit frightening due to their (IMHO) lack of logic or reasoning. It's a little scary when otherwise intelligent people turn their brains off in the name of religion, let's take a look:

(BTW Rabbi Maryles if you happen to read my blog [And I would be flattered] I apologize in advance if I come off as offensive, I hold you in the higest regard, but I strongly disagree with you on this issue. )

Harry Maryles

I'm sorry. Sometimes bending over too far backwards to accommodate someone else can cause your back to break. What ever happened to common sense?

SH: Erm.. does common sense = women must not daven?

Must we now have female Chazanim davening at the Amud?

I would say yes but according to Orthodox halacha THAT is no good. Unlike here where halacha allows it! (because kabbalat shabbat is not a real part of davening)

What possible spiritual benefit is there in that? How does one increase their Avodah SheB'Lev by listening to a female Chazan? Can you honestly say that it does so in any siginficant way? What exactly is accomplished here, DovBear?

SH: How about treating women as equal with men? Or is that not a lofty goal for you?

How does Klal Yisroel gain by having a female Chazan Daven Kabbalas Shabbos? How does the Shul gain? Are the Mispallelim going to ave more Kavana with a feamle standing and 'shuckling' ang the Bima or Amud?

SH: What with the shuckling in quotes

Do you think this is what God wants His people to do now? Come on.

SH: WHAT!? Why do you think you understand God better than Rabbi Weiss?

Dont you think there might just be something else driving this? ...and not a search for greater spirituality?

SH: Yeah it's called egalitarianism do you have a problem with that?

I'm sorry you see RYA in this way. I think he's right.

Judaism's Laws are not necessarily based on logic, zach.

SH: Um .... okay...

They are based solely on the will of God.

SH: WHAT?! If you're Orthodox you believe the Torah was given at Sinai. Now unless you happen to not know history or you haven't learned enough Gemara it is obvious that the Rabbis subsequently INTERPRETED the Written Torah. Rabbis + God = Halacha. How can you seriously say that "they are based solely on the will of God????" (Oh and one more time .... There is NO HALACHIC PROHIBITION HERE!)

It has nothing to do with what I think. Besides - I never said I don't respect women as equal in religion. I sadi the opposite. They are equal! But equal does not mean identical. Men and women are qually valued in the eyes of God. But they have been given different roles.

SH: Roles given by sexist Rabbis from 500 years ago. Sexism is obsolete as are laws based on it.

So in essense if a woman wanted to wear a Talis and teffilin, you're OK with it?

SH: Lol! Why not! It's funny that you automatically assume that this is the WORST thing that could ever happen when once again... IT'S COMPLETELY MUTTAR!

What about a woman's Tefillah group that requires women to wear Talis and Teffilin? How far do you want to go with this? Just because there is no explicit Issur in the Torah doesn't mean it must be done.

Do you have a problem putting a cat in the Aron Kodesh? No where in the SA does it say that doing so is Assur? Same thing Mechitzos in a shul. It is not in the SA anywhere. Do you think it's OK to daven in such a shul?

SH: When did a woman become equal to a cat? Are you saying that a woman davening is like the disgrace of putting a cat in the Aron Kodesh!? Shame on you.

That wasn't the point. The point is that not everything we want to do should be done just because its technically Mutar. If it is so out of the mainstream as to make it ridiculous then it ought not be done. In fact Im would say that by encouring women to be Chazanot one is encouringing abnormal behavior and rather than advancing the cause of women, one is hurting it.

SH: Abnormal by whose standards?

Let me ask you a question. What if your wife decided that she wants to express her high regard for Tznius by wearing a Burkas in public. Or what if a WTG required their women to wear Burkas. Would that be OK with you? After all there is no technical Issur against it.

SH: Whatever floats their boat

Check out the comments yourself if you think I took anything out of context.


Baruch Spinoza said...

What is funny is that Rashi's daughter wore tefillin. Back when I was still Orthodox and asked a friend of mine why did Rashi allow his daughter to wear tefillin he was really uncomfortable with that question. He did not want to say that "Rashi was corrupted by modern values" - because it is Rashi after all, so he had to make up the answer by saying, "she did it but she did not recieve any reward from doing that".

Shilton HaSechel said...

>What is funny is that Rashi's daughter wore tefillin.

Unconfirmed AFAIK

>"she did it but she did not recieve any reward from doing that".

According to the Gemara (maskana) it would be less reward not NO reward

G*3 said...

> I would say yes but according to Orthodox halacha THAT is no good. Unlike here where halacha allows it! (because kabbalat shabbat is not a real part of davening)

What makes something a "real" part of davening? Most of davening was added bit by bit over time. Kabalas Shabbos is just one of the more recent additions.

Shilton HaSechel said...

I would say the only "real" parts of davening are Shema and it's berachot and Shemone Esrei. These prayers were given a special authority by the Gemara (and whoever enacted them) and therefore are distinctive from the rest of davening which was never "officially" enacted.

Puzzled said...

Why would you say that SH? I can see an OJ buying that distinction, but I have trouble seeing you buying that distinction. The Gemara was written by a bunch of guys, and a bunch of guys later said more prayers. Why is having been said by an earlier bunch of guys more 'official'?

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