He Must Be Doing Something Right-More Rabbah
Sometimes you can tell the correctness of someone’s actions by their critic’s statements. Here is a good one. (hat tip)
Their principal objection is based on tznius, modesty, in the understanding of Rabbi Avi Shafran, Agudah’s director of public policy.
“Tznius isn’t a mode of dress. It includes the idea that women are demeaned and not honored when they’re put in the public eye and put on a pedestal. The position he [Weiss] has created violated the concept,” Shafran said. Whether the ordination violates a specific halacha (Torah law), is unimportant, he explained.
“Putting a woman in front of a group of men and women on a regular or ad-hoc basis is violative of tznius. Halacha accomplishes much more than the letter of the law. There is nothing in the Shulchan Aruch about keeping a cat in the aron kodesh. It’s technically permitted but it’s wrong to do.”
Is Rabbi Shafran saying that technically woman can be rabbis, “but it’s wrong to do”? Also, can someone tell this guy that he should try out his analogies on someone before he uses them in an interview. It’s always convenient to throw around the tznius (modesty), argument. This argument was also used by some in the Conservative movement who opposed the ordination of women rabbis. See the following statement by Rabbi David Feldman in Seymour Siegel ed., Conservative Judaism and Jewish Law, p. 301-302.
The most forbidable problem, from a strict halakhic point of view, is that of sex segregation and the attitudes and practices associated with it. This is illustrated by the incongruous suggestion of Professor Meir Friedmann, written as a Responsum to the President of the Jewish Community of Vienna in 1893. If you want to institute, or re-institute, aliyot for women, he wrote, “it goes without saying” that a special, covered stairway should be set up, leading the women, unseen, from and to the women’s gallery!
I learned the following Gemara today, and I can’t help but thinking about how for some men, things really haven’t changed all too much when it comes to how they think of women.
תנא: כוס אחד יפה לאשה, שנים – ניוול הוא, שלשה – תובעת בפה,
ארבעה – אפילו חמור תובעת בשוק ואינה מקפדת.
A Tanna taught: One cup [of wine] is becoming to a woman; two are degrading, [and if she has] three she solicits [sex] publicly. [But if she has] four she solicits even an ass in the street and cares not.
It very well may be that I am being overly critical of some people, and I know that there are even people within Rabbi Weiss’s own congregation who were very opposed to “Rabbah” and are very upset at what has happened, as I imagine that there are also those who are very supportive. Additionally, this source is talking as much about wine and alcohol as it is about women. I am not saying that all people who oppose women’s ordination hold such opinions, but I do think that for some of them, deep down inside, things might not be so different.