Blogging Allowed On Festival’s Intermediate Days

Rabbi Gil Student says: R. Yuval Cherlow rules that you are allowed to blog on Chol Ha-Mo’ed (link). See also this post: link.

Note that you should ask your own rabbi and not rely on internet rulings.

YEHUDA POSTS: I really don’t understand this idea of having to ask your rabbi questions that are widely discussed on the Internet and halachic journals. Are you telling me that I have to ask my rabbi if I can shake a woman’s hand when I already know that many, many poskim permit it?

What if the rabbi of my family’s shul doesn’t reflect my hashkafos and will say "No"? Must I follow his psak? That frankly seems like a very strange position to maintain.

ANON POSTS: What is fascinating is that Yehuda (and, granted, I don’t know anything about you) doesn’t even see why it might be a problem – his whole way of thinking about psak is in the context of the sovereign self – not the shulchan aruch.

This bodes well for the future of Orthodoxy (unless, of course, Yehuda is not Orthodox!)

YEHUDA POSTS: Please read the Eim Habanim Semeicha’s account of how he tried to convince Hungarian chassidim that he was right about Zionism. He criticizes them bitterly because they didn’t confront his arguments. No matter how many proofs he brought for his position, the only response he got was: "But my Rebbe is against Zionism."

Do you believe Judaism should run that way? That the only decision a Jew should make is who his rabbi is and that’s the end of using his mind for the rest of his life?

I believe strongly (and this is just one example) that shaking hands is permitted. That’s the way I grew up and Rabbi Schechter told me explicitly that it’s permitted (in addition to the many articles which argue for that position). But Rabbi Schechter is not my posek and there are many questions I would never ask him.

I don’t have one posek. That may be unfortunate, but it’s a fact of modern life where someone may grow up and be around multiple communities and rebbeim.

I also don’t have one mentor. But I don’t think this is revolutionary. Do you think most Jews in the shtetl had a mentor? Sometimes yes and sometimes I’m sure they didn’t get along that great with the rabbi of the town and had no mentor. This is idea that everyone must have a mentor is I think bizarre.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in Hirhurim and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.