[Avodah] partnership minyanim

Meir Shinnar chidekel at gmail.com
Wed Mar 6 15:52:04 PST 2013

> On 3/4/2013 9:18 AM, Chana Luntz wrote:
>> What I objected to in the piece was that, while the article's target was
>> partnership minyanim, the arguments being raised worked equally well to rule
>> out a very common Sephardi minhag, that of katanim saying psukei d'zimra.
>> And in fact that reality was acknowledged, ie there were various portions of
>> the piece which suggested that the author knew that the arguments that were
>> being raised to rule out partnership minyanim also ruled out katanim leading
>> psukei d'zimra - and in fact discomfort was indicated about davening in
>> minyanim where katanim did psukei d'zimra.

> And I think this was one of the major problems with your piece.  Just
> because a particular argument, bereft of context, could be used for
> something else does not mean it ever has, or should, or can be once
> context is included.  Your assumption that if the argument is applicable
> to women, it *must* be equally applicable to ketanim is invalid for the
> reason that you haven't established it.  You've merely asserted it.

> The fact that the same poskim who permit certain roles for ketanim do
> *not* permit those same roles for women is evidence that they see a
> distinction, and R' Freundel's suggestion that chinuch is the logical one.

> To reject that leaves 3 possibilities: (1) That the poskim who permit
> those roles for ketanim *would* permit them as well for women, (2) That
> the poskim who permit those roles for ketanim and do not permit them for
> women make this distinction for extra-halakhic reasons, and (3) That the
> poskim who permit those roles for ketanim and do not permit them for
> women make this distinction for halakhic reasons other than chinuch.

> You have agreed that possibility (1) is not the case.  Possibility (3)
> is equivalent in every way that I can see to R' Freundel's chinuch
> explanation.  Which leaves possibility (2).  It seems to me that the
> only logical possibility left to explain your position is that you see
> poskim who make a distinction between the permissibility of these roles
> for ketanim and women as operating outside of the halakha.  And I have
> to object to you accusing those rabbis of making their decisions for
> extra-halakhic reasons.

> Now... I don't actually think you are making that accusation.  I'm using
> that to illustrate what you've done.  As you did, I derived a logical
> implication that you were saying X, even though you've never actually
> said X.  And then I attributed that position to you.  Which is unfair,
> and less than honest of me.  But as God is my witness, I can't see how
> it's any different than you saying that R' Freundel is objecting to
> Sephardi minhag.  He has never said any such thing, to the best of my
> knowledge.  You are attributing that position to him based on your
> logical implication.  And that's wrong.  It's the very definition of a
> strawman argument.

RCL does not need my support. However, RLL completely misunderstands
the nature of her critique of RBF and of halachic reasoning.
The issue is not whether or not one can derive women from ketanim -
which is something that can be debated - and is litte addressed by RBF
except for raising hinuch.

The issue is that the specific halachic arguments that RBF brings in lead
to the inescapable conclusion that ketanim are forbidden from being a
hazzan in psuke d/zimra and kabbalat shabbat. RBF expresses his discomfort
with the fact that communities do allow that, and then tries to find a way
around that. However, his success is limited. There is no clear rationale
of why ketanim can do some things that require a hazzan and not others.

WRT chinuch - the problem is how chinuch works `- it can't work if there
is a real hiyyuv involved for the community.

The answer seems to be somewhat different
1)the problem with minors leading is NOT because one requires a real
leader or hazan - in such cases, ketanim can't lead. Rather, there is
a general problem with having anything done publicly by minors when it
could be done by adults (one thinks of the gmara of tavo me'ara on
someone who needs a katan to lead him in hallel, even though no such
me'ara on someone who needs an adult to lead him), as it suggests that
the adults of the community are unable to perform.
Here, as there is no requriement for a hazan, we allow a katan to get
up in front of the community as it is hinuch.
The question how this applies to women - and that reflects both halachic
and nonhalachic issues. (see related note)

[Email #2. -micha

Rav Freundel's piece (and RCL responses) require a more detailed analysis.

As someone with a day (and night..) job, I haven't had time for a full
response. I have started the following, and appreciate comments.

As someone who has known Rabbi Freundel for many years, and is
appreciative of his contributions to the community, I am troubled by
his analysis. While there are legitimate halachic issues to be raised,
I think most of his sources are actually irrelevant to the argument --
and would not be taken seriously in other contexts. Rav Freundel is too
good of a scholar for this.

This is a quick analysis by someone who is not a professional scholar
-- Rabbi Freundel's piece deserves a far more detailed analysis of the
individual components than is appropriate here (or that I have time for),
and was partially given by Chana Luntz..

To start, for what I know of the partnership minyanim, they are not
radically egalitarian -- they recognize that certain parts of the
tefilla may not be led by women, but argue that others -- essentially
those which we allow a minor to lead -- which implies that the leader
has a different halachic status than the leader of other parts of the
tefilla which may not be led by a katan.

That argument may well be flawed -- and an explicit analysis of why
one can or can not extrapolate is in order. However, the argument
therefore has to focus on understanding what that halachic status is,
and formulating the difference between women and ketanim.

The problem with Rav Freundel's arguments is, as Chana Luntz pointed out,
that his arguments ultimately imply that those parts of the service can
not be led by ketanim.

I would also argue that he misunderstands many of the sources, that are
actually irrelevant to the argument.

For example, the Meiri who talks about a katan not being able to pores
al shma or yored lifne hateva -- and the tosefta with similar language --
is irrelevant to the discussion -- as no one disagrees. The Meiri does
not say (as rav Freundel says

For at least the 7th or 8th time in my article and in these posts the
Meiri says a) that a male child may get an aliyah b) but may not lead
services AT ALL.

The problem is the term yored lifne hateva has a specific meaning in the
tosefta and the Meiri -- about leading a particular part of services --
(hazarat hashatz) -- and is not equivalent to the hazan (which is why
text is both about pores al shma (birkhot kriat shma) AND yored lifne
hateva -- an unnecessary duplication if yored lifne hateva is generic
for hazan).
There is no argument that ketanim and women may not do those parts (I
haven't had time to look it up, but think that this is standard pshat
in the understanding of that tosefta -- will try to look in tosefta

If the Meiri and tosefta is understood in the broad sense that Rav
Freundel understands -- then one is left with the problem of how we
allow ketanim to lead any part....

Rav Freundel then has a long discussion about whether communal practice
and norms can transform a part of the tefilla to tefillat harabim --
and then arguing that kabbalat Shabbat has been so transformed. I
think the details of the analysis are flawed, but regardless of how one
views the details, the conclusion is problematic (reduction ad absurdum
 One quick example of flawed analysis -- he brings a tshuva of Rav Moshe
Feinstein that if one davens with a minyan where only 6 people have not
yet davened, one may say hazarat hashatz -- but does not fulfill tefillat
harabim -- and argues that therefore

"It is not the content of the prayer, but the presence of ten men praying
that makes a service into a tefillat hatzibbur"

- that is not to be found or even implied in rav moshe's tshuva --
whose import is that for tefillat betzibbur one needs ten men who are
actually praying -- while for hazarat hashatz one needs only ten men
(even if only six are actually praying). There is nothing to suggest
that this applies to any tefilla other than shmone esre ( or similar
tefillot) -- or that the content of the prayer is not important). )


Furthermore, the sources, eg, dealing with selichot, do not seem to
assume that merely because the community has decided to say them they now
become part of tefillat hatzibbur -- rather, there are reasons related
to the nature of selichot that so transform them (eg, rav soloveichik's
analysis is that they are a form of ze'aka) that people delve into.
Rav Freundel's reasoning would eliminate the need for all that discussion.
One may argue that perhaps a community may deliberately institute a prayer
as tefillat harabim requiring a hazan -- but one needs far more proof
that the mere act of saying them as a community so transforms them....

However, the problem that one is facing is that if one assumes the
analysis is correct, the following dichotomy is problematic

1) Some parts of the prayer require an adult male as a leader
(pores al shma, yored lifne hateva, selichot, magen avot..)and we do
not allow a minor to lead.

2) Some parts of the prayer (that Rav Freundel views as requiring
a hazan), we tolerate a kattan as leader

What halachic criteria do we use to distinguish them? If selichot,
magen avot, kabbalat Shabbat, and psuke d/zimra all require a hazan just
because the community says them regularly -- what is the difference?

Rav farber suggested a difference between the two types of prayer --
Rav Freundel criticized him for lack of sources -- what is the source
for his distinction??


Rav Freundel suggests that the solution is hinuch. Indeed, some sources
do discuss hinuch as why we allow kids to lead sometimes. However,
there is no suggestion that hinuch will actually allow a kattan to lead
when there is a real obligation for a leader -- and the question remains
the difference between the two categories -- for which there is no source.

I think a far more plausible understanding of why hinuch is brought
in is on issues related to kavod hatzibbur (not in the formal sense
used for kriat hatorah) -- that it is embarrassing for a community
to be led by minors, as there should be men available who can lead
(and preferably leaders who can bring honor to the community) -- and
the answer is we allow minors to get up before the community as part of
hinuch -- but therefore implying that no real leadership is involved in
their actions....

This perhaps reflects the issues with women leading (see below).

The real halachic issues that I think are raised by kabbalat shabbat
being led by women are different.

1) Women leading anything. A different paradigm is women saying
Kiddush for others -- there is no question of the level of obligation
and intrinsic permissibility. -- but the Mishna Berura says that it
shouldn't be done as an inappropriate role. If one follows the Mishna
Berura and his logic, which many do, clearly one would not allow women
to lead any prayer for others as inappropriate.

However, as is known, Rav Soloveichik gave a psak allowing women to say
Kiddush to say for others -- even to say for a large group on a college
campus. If one follows the rav's psak, however, it isn't an intrinsic
problem (not that I think the rav would have allowed this -- because of
point 2 below..). Rav Freundel questions whether any sefardi posek (the
ones who allow ketanim to lead) would allow women -- but it seems clear
that most such as ROY would probably follow the mishna berura on this....

2) Minhag bet haknesset. This is far more problematic -- and Rav
Soloveichik was known to be strict on this. However, Rav Freundel, as a
scholar of the history of tefilla, is aware of the multiple changes that
have occurred in that minhag. One of the issues in his article is the
lack of halachic writings addressing the topic of women leading qabbalat
shabbat -- and the implication is that such change require some level
of formal halachic inquiry and authorization, and underlying that is the
question of who has the power to make such changes. Those are serious,
legitimate issues -- but the critique should be on that basis. Raising
new issues that are problematic undercuts the validity and force of
any legitimate critique.

Meir Shinnar

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