[Avodah] partnership minyanim

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Wed Feb 27 16:11:26 PST 2013

On Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 10:45:32AM -0500, Meir Shinnar wrote:
: One of the major changes that most of us live in is that women's roles
: are very much no longer confined to the private sphere - and have a
: very public role in every part of their lives except the religious one.
: Furthermore, very few (and none in the MO world) view the changes as
: ones that need to be fought in any sphere, except the religious.

: Given this reality, the consequence of this axiom is therefore a
: religious, moral and halachic imperative to find appropriate public
: religious roles for women (as changes in women's general education
: made it a religious and moral imperative to find the appropriate Jewish
: educaiton for women)

We've been through this a few times already, but since I don't see you
reflecting my objection in your current email, I'll try again.

There are actually two possible approaches, "given this reality". First,
one needs to decide if this reality and its implications have to be taken
as a given. Second, is it a positive or negative development vis-a-vis
avodas Hashem?

You presume it's positive or at least roughly neutral. I don't. I don't
think caring about a role in synagogue overly much is a good idea. I don't
think associating having the limelight with being a positive spiritual
development is a good idea. And most of all, I don't think tellinbg women
that the quest for egalitarianism in worship is a positive thing since
it comes with an unalterable glass sealing. The woman who gets Pesuqei
deZimra in her Partnership Minyan will never get Chazarat haShatz.

If one can change people from letting that equality in the workplace
generate a desire for equality in religion, and if one decides it's
a negative development, then one has an imperative to educate women
away from this misplaced desire.

If one feels one can't change the people but the desire is still negative,
on would be seeking ways to mitigate its impact and chance for progression.

As I wrote in the past, what bothers me the most is this jump to "given
this reality". It betrays a lack of cheshon hanefesh, a lack of attention
to the very issue you just stated before the above quote:
: It is different axiom that is of concern - one related more to the
: discussion of borer as the penultimate mitzva. To wit -
: 1. Halacha, reflecting the ratzon of the habore as reflected in the
: real world , is not a mere set of meaningless rules- but should have
: spiriitual meaning and relationship to the individual in the world that
: he actually lives in.

Where is the exploration of spiritual meaning? You take the world as a given
without deciding what's an advance and what's a new problem, and tell me that
if I don't, I'm disconnecting the religion of the woman in question from
her reality.

I would instead say the only way to connect them is to assess the merits
and dangers of that reality from the perspective of a relationship with
G-d and with other people, and not only see if halakhah can be made
to accomodate the attitude she already picked up from the lifestyle
the West has given her. The job of religion is (at least in part) to
shape attitudes.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             What you get by achieving your goals
micha at aishdas.org        is not as important as
http://www.aishdas.org   what you become by achieving your goals.
Fax: (270) 514-1507              - Henry David Thoreau

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