[Avodah] Abortion Legislation

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Wed Jul 6 11:06:52 PDT 2022

I assume most of you have seen the exchange between R Michal Broyde
and R Yitzchok Adlerstein

In case you haven't, there are the links.

I am not talking about the issue of abortion itself, but the question
of how does the existence of Noachide Law translate into political
imperatives for the observant Jew? And second, what if that mitzvah is
far too nuanced to realistically find legal expression -- do we still
have some kind of political imperative to minimize non-piquach-nefesh

I would love to get people's opinions here.

Here is what I took away from RMJB on this subject, in the form of
two snippets:
     I believe American Orthodoxy's relevant governing principle was
     articulated in 1989 by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel of Agudath Israel
     of America in the related area of brain death:

	The principle of religious accommodation is one that has stood
	the American Orthodox Jewish community in good stead in a wide
	variety of secular legal contexts... *it is in the interest of the
	Torah observant community to combat secular laws that preclude
	individuals from following the guidance of their individual
	decisors*.[19] [Emphasis added.]

    Agudah did not invent this idea; Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote as much
    in 1977. Writing about proposed legislation regarding brain death, he
    first noted the need, at a minimum, for a conscientious or religious
    exemption clause in secular laws that mandated a particular view of
    life and death decision-making[20] but ultimately favored a broader
    view that governments ought not pass any such laws at all.
    Freedom in matters of personal conscience is a better alternative
    for America, American Jewry as a whole, and American Orthodoxy in
    particular, than one which suppresses people's liberty by enforcing
    a particular view regarding widely disputed moral issues such as
    abortion. Moreover, Halakhah permits but does not mandatethat policy,
    by not requiring Jews to seek enforcement of the Noahide laws. Within
    the ordinary ambit of secular law, Orthodox Jewry should seek to
    increase religious, social, and cultural freedoms even though this
    will lead to violations of Jewish or Noahide Law. The alternative
    reduces our communities' ability to function consistent with
    Jewish law.

RMJB does give arguments for why one would think we should be promoting
more people doing Hashem's Will, but dismisses them. (Considers the
Lubavitcher Rebbe's Noachide campaign a daas yachid.)

(Emphasis his.)

By which he means a stereotypical Litvak, not that real Litvaks tend to
be this way. E.g. he writes:
    The point here is a different one, perhaps best characterized by an
    oft-repeated teaching of Rav Soloveitchik, zt"l. He said that we have
    not one mesorah, but three. The one that gets the most attention
    is the mesorah of deed how we are to behave and act. We've put a
    huge amount of energy in fleshing out the requirements of halacha,
    and making them known to people. There is also a mesorah of thought:
    what ideas should provide the conceptual framework for the Torah's
    practitioners. Which ideas are essential, which are volitional and
    which are dangerous and wrong. This mesorah is there, but a bit harder
    to access, as it is not as well known, and not as sharply defined.

    Finally, there is the mesorah that is the hardest one to determine,
    although it is most definitely there. It is the mesorah of how we
    ought to feel and emote. Assuredly it exists, although many are
    unaware of that fact.

    It is there that we find that Hashem is not indifferent to the sins
    of non-Jews, or to their rejecting Him. There we find that those who
    love Him will feel the "tzaar of the Shechinah" when people trifle
    with His honor.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 It is a glorious thing to be indifferent to
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   suffering, but only to one's own suffering.
Author: Widen Your Tent                    -Robert Lynd, writer (1879-1949)
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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