[Avodah] Showering during the 9 Days
JRich at sibson.com
Tue Aug 13 01:45:50 PDT 2019
2. R’ Micha repeats the story told in the Frimer’s’ article about the Rav and the woman who wanted to wear a tallit. I note 2 things. First, it was printed after the Rav died and he never told the story publicly in his lifetime nor did he have a chance to confirm, deny, or explain it after it became public. I searched to see if (a) the story was ever told in his lifetime or (b) if there’s any source other than the one in the Frimers’ article but I was unable to find any.
I dislike the story but I'd suggest contacting R' Kelemer:
But first, the story as told by Rabbis Aryeh and Dov Frimer (“Women’s Prayer Services – Theory and Practice I” in Tradition, 32:2 Winter 1998, p. 41):
R. Soloveitchik believed he had good reason to doubt that greater fulfillment of mitsvot motivated many of these women, as illustrated in the following story, related to us by R. Yehuda Kelemer, former Rabbi of the Young Israel of Brookline, Massachusetts. During the mid-1970′s, one of R. Kelemer’s woman congregants at the Young Israel of Brookline was interested in wearing a tallit and tsitsit during the prayer services. After R. Kelemer had expressed to her his hesitations about the matter, she approached R. Soloveitchik — who lived in Brookline — on the matter. The Rav explained that in light of the novelty of the action, it needed to be adopted gradually. Accordingly, he suggested that she first try wearing a tallit without tsitsit (which is, of course, allowed for women.) The Rav asked the woman to return to him after three months, at which time they would discuss the matter further. When the two met once again, she described to R. Soloveitchik the magnificent nature of her religious experience in wearing the tallit. The Rav pointed out to the woman that wearing a tallit without tsitsit lacked any halakhically authentic element of mitsvah. It was obvious, therefore, that what generated her sense of “religious high” was not an enhanced kiyyum hamitsvah, but something else. Under such circumstances, the Rav maintained, wearing a tallit was an inappropriate use of the mitsvah. Consequently, the Rav forbade the woman from wearing a tallit with tsitsit.
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