Female Orthodox Rabbi – The Latest Crisis In Modern Orthodoxy

Shmuel Hain, a Modern Orthodox rabbi, writes on JTA:

NEW YORK (JTA) — Another month, another round of recriminations in the Modern Orthodox community.

Two months ago it was a breakaway rabbinic organization established, in part, to promote decentralized conversion standards. Last month it was a public forum on homosexuality in the Orthodox community.

The latest controversy centers on the decision by two rabbis to bestow the title of rabba, a feminized version of rabbi, on a woman previously ordained with the title of Maharat.

Public pronouncements followed by denouncements that generate name-calling and more rhetoric: chilul Hashem (desecration of God’s name). Conservative. Post Orthodox. Fundamentalist. Haredi. Beyond the pale. Off the reservation.

From a comment to Hirhurim:

There once was a wise Maharat
Who said, “Shas and poskim I’ve got
Though I’ve studied those tomes
With two X chromosomes
An Orthodox Rabbi I’m not.”


She now seems more clever than wise
The Maharat title just a disguise.
Proving she and her mentor
Are far far left of center
To ordain Orthodox female rabbis.

Y. Aharon posts: Thee best that can be said of R’ Pruzansky’s post is that it’s not as ignorant as the editorial in the American Yated. I note also that he is melamed zechut on those who believe that income tax evasion or having a kept woman is permissible according to halacha. Interesting that he can see the other side on ethical and moral issues, but not on issues of equity.

I note that Gil appears to equate melacha on shabbat with ordaining women rabbis, whatever their official title. That is a highly questionable comparison even if we only consider amira le’acum which is forbidden rabbinically (i.e. explicitly assur, not just a question of novelty). I wish the Conservative movement would have adopted busing congregants to shul on shabbat instead of having them drive themselves. That would have been an halachic approach to a distance problem (even if some like RYBS may have demurred). Instead, they opted for overt chilul shabbat compounded by a so-called ruling that perverted halacha. By the way, the issue primarily involves turning on and feeding fuel to a combustion (not combustible) engine. In fact, I don’t understand why RYBS would object to busing by a Gentile driver since that would constitute zarchei rabim which is normally permitted, to my knowledge – as opposed to the Conservative congregants violating grave issurei de’oraita to attend services.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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