Pre-Hoshana Rabba Apologies


Before the gates and books are closed on Hoshana Rabba, I would like to make the following amends.
1) Apologies to Rahel Jaskow . Yaakov Menken and others were unfairly harsh with Rahel Jaskow in the discussion below on Beinisch: the bane of the Supreme Court? . My primary focus in my posting was on the Supreme Court and Justice Beinisch. I think the Court used Women of the Wall to promote the Court’s activist agenda. The WOW were a pawn in a struggle between the judicial and legislative branches. That stuggle was my primary interest – I too didn’t care that much per se about WOW but rather felt that the Court should not be interfering with religious matters. Rahel Jaskow is one of the most sincerely spiritual people I know. She has a beautiful voice (I bought her CD Day of Rest) and Rahel wants to use her voice to worship Hashem. Although I think the Wall is not the venue for this, I realize that she and many of the women in WOW got caught in the aforementioned power struggle. It is the Court I wanted to criticize, not specifically WOW.

2) Apologies to Dorit Beinisch . My original post was critical of Justice Beinisch and her using WOW to promote her own position which seems to be adversarial vis-a-vis Orthodox authority, and supportive of feminist positions. I was happily surprised to read that having assumed her responsibilities as Supreme Court President, she is modifying her outlook. Specifically, I read the following description of Yom Kippur services at the Jerusalem [Orthodox] Great Synagogue in a Jerusalem Post column by Greer Fay Cashman:

But the surprise dignitary was Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, who as far as any of the powers-that-be could tell, had not previously attended High Holy Day Services at the Great Synagogue. Asher Schapiro, the chairman of the congregation, was seated alongside Yehezkel Beinisch, the husband of the president of the Supreme Court, who is well-known for his love of music. Schapiro asked Beinisch if they were there to hear Cantor Naftali Hershtik and the choir. The reply was in the negative. The reason for their presence was that Dorit Beinisch considered it her duty as president of the Supreme Court to make an appearance on the Day of Judgment in the Great Synagogue of the capital of Israel. [emphasis mine, SLS]

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Bob Miller
8 years 11 months ago

Rahel said (#19 above) “As uncomfortable as it may be for Mr. Miller to admit, our attackers act out of hatred and ignorance.”

Rahel should admit she has no actual idea of their basic motivation or knowledge level, but that she has assumed in her self-righteousness that only hatred and ignorance could have motivated them.

But that is not her only reference here to motivation. Earlier (#11 above), she said something else: “I really don’t care about the purity of their motivations; it’s their actions that matter.” Following this reasoning, I could say that WOW’s possibly noble motivations in no way justify WOW’s anti-halachic activities.

With reflection, Rahel might even understand that WOW’s public anti-halachic activities at our holiest site truly are a provocation to those serious Jews not mesmerized by the WOW party line.

Steve Brizel
8 years 11 months ago

Rahel-in this context, “live and let live” means that WOW’s raison de etre is sacrosanct and not subject to any critical analyis-that is exactly intellectual imperalism under any reasonable definition. WOW certainly has far more sympathy in such “mainstream” media as Haretz, the Jerusalem Report, and the High Court of Justice etc than the Torah community. FWIW, I invite all interested posters to check out the table of contributors in the book that Ms. Schmidt mentioned-it is sufficient for the purposes of this post to note that many listed there cannot be considered as living halachic lives.

8 years 11 months ago

Bob Miller writes: “They acted altruistically and not maliciously.”

Since when is unprovoked physical attack an altruistic act? There was nothing there that needed to be protected — and even if you say that the Torah needed protection from us, well, it’s our attackers who have thrown it and tried to take it from us by force. As uncomfortable as it may be for Mr. Miller to admit, our attackers act out of hatred and ignorance. I have seen their ugly actions and their faces twisted with hatred; apparently, he has not.

Can he possibly believe that altruistic motives justify unprovoked physical attack? I won’t even go there.

Steve Brizel writes: “That is the equivalent of saying that my view is sacrosanct and not subject to discussion, let alone approval or rejection either totally or partially.”

Oh, are we talking about discussion now? No problem. Let people discuss to their hearts’ content, let them open all the sources they like and debate as much as they please — but let them keep their hands and projectiles to themselves.

Also, I hardly think that the principle of “Live and let live” qualifies as imperialism, intellectual or otherwise. The Western Wall area has undergone substantial changes over the past several years, and WOW is not responsible for a single one of them. Why not just say that WOW controls the media and the government? Regrettably, it sounds like things here are heading in that direction. Intellectual imperialism, indeed.

So what’s with posting those dates? I have received no answer even now, and I think I know why: because no one can think of any possible justification for it other than ones that will prove my point. It stands to reason. After all, who wants to admit that a member of WOW could possibly be right about anything at all?

Steve Brizel
8 years 11 months ago

Let’s look at some facts, as opposed to the tired rhetoric trotted out by Rahel. The book that she cited is a pure agit prop tract for WOW, denigrates Gdolei Torah and is devoid of any discussion with anyone, especially women, who oppose WTGs. One of its authors admitted to R A and R D Frimer that a WTG that she participates in does not refrain from reciting anything recited by a minyan and was viewed by the Frimers as acting in an anti-halachic manner. Therefore, the book and the POV of its author cannot be considered as a valid halachic argument. Like it or not, the priniciple of “giving someone the benefit of the doubt” has no application to the consideration of such a practice which has been rejected by the overwhelming majority of frum women and which has never been accepted by a Posek.

Likewise, we also see another exercise in heterodox intellectual imperialism. Rather than debate and discuss whether WTGs at the Kotel or elsewhere are appropriate, they merely say that “they should be left in peace.” That is the equivalent of saying that my view is sacrosanct and not subject to discussion, let alone approval or rejection either totally or partially. We now see that WOW advocates that it should be allowed to do as it sees fit anywhere or anytime, regardless of the views of the High Court and certainly without its practices being subject to any critical inquiry. That agenda is intellectual imperialism which is so evident today among the heterodox streams of Judaism and their apologists.