Monday, July 4, 2022

The Myth of the "Mainstream" Position

Contrary to how it was misunderstood by some, the previous post, Rabbinic Mythbusting, was not about abortion per se; rather, it was about myths regarding halachah. In that post, I discussed the myth that the normative, mainstream position among halachic authorities is that abortion is unequivocally a form of murder. To this I responded by pointing out that many rabbinic authorities over the ages took the view that abortion, while generally prohibited, is not homicide in any shape or form.

Subsequently, I came across an article that is perhaps even more extraordinary than the popular myth of the unlearned. It's called "The Jewish Approach to Abortion" and it's from Morasha, which seems to be some sort of institution for providing learned Torah analyses of various topics for use in a study syllabus. 

Early on, the article notes that "The mainstream opinion in Jewish Law is that abortion is considered murder." However, a page later, it states that "While the mainstream traditional Jewish approach is that expressed by Rabbi Feinstein – that abortion is forbidden for a Jew because it is deemed a form of murder – nevertheless, other halachic authorities have expressed differing opinions on the matter." And it proceeds to cite some of the many Rishonim and Acharonim and contemporary Gedolei HaPoskim who state that abortion is not a form of murder, from Ramban to Maharit to the Chavot Ya'ir to Rav Benzion Uziel to Rav Waldenberg to Rav Wosner. (To this list, one could add Rashi, Rav Aharon Shmuel Kaidanover, Tosafos Yom Tov, Rav Chaim Pilaggi, Rav Chaim Ozer, and numerous others.) But then towards the end, the article insists that "The mainstream opinion, written by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, is that an unjustified abortion is considered an act of murder."

It's extraordinary. Since Morasha is putting out an article for use as a study syllabus, they have to provide a range of sources. And they are fully aware that many of these - in fact, probably the majority - state that abortion is not an act of murder. And yet they insist that the opinion of Rav Moshe Feinstein is "the mainstream traditional Jewish approach"!

How does a learned writer come to make such a statement that is contradicted by the rest of his own article? I would suggest that from his perspective, "mainstream traditional" simply means what is the norm in his particular segment of the Anglo-charedi litvishe world. And the word "traditional" is being used in its peculiar charedi sense where it does not mean how things were done, but rather how things are done.

(But it goes even further. It's not even the norm, it's just what is voiced as being the norm. It probably still doesn't even accurately reflect how actual instances of this situation were dealt with, since in practice poskim would not follow Rav Moshe's stringent approach. How many times have you heard of a single charedi girl giving birth?).

This is a very, very common mistake, which appears in all kinds of situations. People talk about "the Gedolim" when they mean the particular rabbanim of their own narrow community. People talk about "the Torah perspective" when they really mean one particular perspective out of several in traditional Judaism. They subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) studiously avoid the notion that there is diversity of thought in Judaism, even if their own perspective is the minority perspective.

I think that it's particularly ironic when this distortion occurs regarding the position of Rav Moshe Feinstein, because he himself was a believer in rabbinic independence rather than conformity. He was once sent a question by a rabbi in Bnei Brak who wanted to know if he was allowed to dispute the view of the Chazon Ish, another resident of Bnei Brak who was widely respected as the Gadol HaDor. R. Feinstein notes that it is permitted to disagree even with one’s teacher; all the more so with a rabbi who is not one’s teacher, and the difference in age or stature is irrelevant. (Iggrot Moshe, Yoreh De’ah III:88; see also Iggrot Moshe vol. 2, Yoreh De’ah I:101, p. 186, where he even permits disputing Rishonim.) 

Soon, I will be posting about another halachic topic regarding which that which is assumed to be the normative, mainstream, traditional halacha actually has zero basis in classical sources and is directly contradicted by them. Meanwhile, if you can think of further examples, I'd love to hear them.



145 comments:

  1. It is commonly believed (at least in the Charedi world), that a convert who didn't accept even one mitzvah is not a convert at all. Some extend that even to extrapolating from the convert's later behavior that he never had any intention of accepting the mitzvos. The fact is, that the gemara in Bechoros says "אין מקבלין אותו" which sounds more like לכתחילה than בדיעבד.
    Anyway, I recently saw that Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffman paskened that there may be cases when the Bet Din can perform a conversion, even if they KNOW that the convert will violate one or more mitzvos!

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  2. Amazing that you decide to dedicate a third post to the subject to make it really clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter how odious it is, nor how askance Chaza"l view the subject, to the extent they discussed or commented on it, it is of extreme importance to nitpick this subject to death. Please. You've murdered the subject already. Can this be the last post for real. I await your next gotcha misunderstanding that is likely just as misconstrued.

    That being said, I reviewed all uses of the word murder in the last post. I personally did say that the halacha on abortion for goyim was "murder, or tantamount to it." That is not an unequivocal statement by any stretch. Also, an accurate statement of what appears to be normative halacha, certainly as held by important segments of traditional Jewry, regardless of what Tosafos or the Gemara say on the subject.

    Only Brodsky states flatly that our mesorah considers abortion murder. This post has him serving as your straw man, like I served in your last post. Congratulations are do to you, sir!

    Most uses of the term were clearly rhetorical. The general opinion of those who share my views on the subject probably feel similarly to Gavriel M's comment, copied in full.

    Some pro-abortionists are wondering why they are being attacked. Here is why you are being attacked. Your main argument (because halacha is complex, it is likely that restrictions on abortion will entail some halachically mandated abortions being forbidden, especially since a minority of poskim are quite lenient on issues like the mental health of the mother) is obviously stupid. It makes as much sense as saying that the Supreme Court should discover in the constitution a right to steal since the Rema permits Ta'us Akum. But it's worse than that because abortion horrifies all decent people. If you have ever put your hand on a woman's tummy and felt the kick, and you are not literally a demonic fiend, it horrifies you. Women who have felt that kick themselves are even more horrified. If you think hundreds of thousands of fetuses should be dismembered and sucked up tubes every year to facilitate fornication and hypergamy so half a dozen halachically mandated abortions can happen, you are a disgusting human being. Sorry, that's how it is; don't shoot the messenger. If you want strong safeguards for abortion in case of rape, risk to the mother's life, and incest, then you should lobby for such safeguards, which, in any case, are overwhelmingly popular, even in pro life states. You could also simply lobby for a law that permits abortion in cases where a Rav has signed off on it.

    Your (and your sycophants) tone-deaf obsession with discussing this subject over and over again to make sure all hairs are split appropriately and agreed upon by all (which will never happen) is sickening but not surprising.

    I just today listened to a shiur by a rabbi who was a Talmid of Reb Moshe. He too used the word "murder" to describe the 70M+ elective abortions in America since the 1973 ruling. I am pretty sure if you wanted to pin him down on what abortion is for Jews, he might actually concede your point. But he would be deeply disgusted, like some of us here, at your insistence on quibbling. Elective abortion is a type of murder, period. Is it literal murder as per your definition? You are the only one who cares about that answer.

    At least those of you who live in Israel will be okay, because you are among brothers. When the goyim have had enough of the GloboHomo "rules-based world order" and rise up, those of you who live among them will be in serious trouble.

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    1. "Congratulations are do"

      Due, dult.

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    2. That's just an observation.

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    3. Your point being? Does that disqualify what I wrote, anonymous petty thinker? Should I delete the whole comment and redo for one mistake, which I happened to notice later? I'm also not the one who spelled dolt, dult, idiot. I've noticed other recent comments that are nearly unreadable, but I've never seen you pick on them. I think you should start now.

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    4. Shimon: No, but you should delete the entire comment because it is abject nonsense. The subjective emotion one does or does not feel when touching a pregnant woman's stomach has the same relevance in halakha as the subjective revulsion one might feel when watching a shechita. Meaning, none at all. It is not "a half a dozen" abortions that this is relevant for. It is probably a hundred times that number every year just for the Torah-observant community.

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    5. Neither I nor Gavriel nor anyone else of like mind is talking about "relevance in halacha" you cold-hearted idiot, although clearly it is relevant to some degree, if rabbonim use words like "murder" to describe what you might correctly and pedantically argue is no such thing. Your number is just as speculative as mine; you simply don't know, but want to believe it is very high to suit your purposes. Why so passionate on such a grisly subject? Did your wife (assuming you are or were married) have an abortion? Some other woman you know?

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    6. @Yehoshua.
      1)I have witnessed shechitah. I wasn't horrified at all. You sound like a deeply disturbed human being incapable of basic compassion for a baby, or, at best, severely autistic. You should stop having opinions.
      2) I referred to half a dozen halachically mandated abortions that might be prevented by new laws after the repeal of Roe Vs Wade. That is a very generous estimate. A more likely number is 0. However, you know full well that tens of thousands of babies who have committed no sin other than being conceived in an evil, hedonistic, and greedy society will not be dismembered and vacuumed up. And you don't care, because you don't have a soul. Again, don't shoot the messenger.

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    7. To sum up, the conversation goes like this. "I have deep feels about aborting fetuses." "But halachah has a lot to say about that, and your feels don't determine halachah. By the way, the CI thinks halachah determines right and wrong." "Idiot. Dolt. Retard. Soulless monster. My feels trump halachah." This level of antinomianism would put even Hasidim to shame!

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    8. @Dave. Well over 98% of abortions carried out in the U.S. are against halacha according to the most lenient opinion. *Your* opinion is that all these abortions should be allowed to happen, because of the slight chance that tiny percentage of permitted abortions might not be able to happen if laws are introduced to stop forbidden abortions. It is self-evident on its face that *your* position is not based on halacha at all (in fact, it is obviously a crazy position), but it is also worth pointing out that your position is ghoulish and incompatible with basic humanity.

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    9. @Gavriel
      I don't recall many any comment regarding how the US should regulate abortion. My interest is in whether in the mainstream *halachic* view it is murder that is almost never allowed or not.

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    10. This discussion happened because Slifkin wrote: "Thus, as Jews, we cannot welcome the overturning of Roe v. Wade".

      It has been patiently explained over and over again, how every sincere Jew welcomes the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade, as does every goy with the flicker of a conscience. The whole subsequent discussion has been an attempt to deflect from the extreme wickedness and imbecility of Slifkin's original post. As others have pointed out, this attempt to eke out some sort of technical win on whether abortion is murder, only renders its author more contemptible.

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    11. Gavriel M., this is the problem with you. Most people talk about what Jews should or should not do. You, on the other hand, declare that every Jew who does not share your view is a "sicko" without a "flicker of conscience." Now, the rest of us all know that there are many great rabbanim and sincere, serious, caring people, doctors and therapists and community activists, who do not share your extreme view. And yet you declare them all to be sickos without a conscience. By doing so, you reveal yourself to be a fanatic extremist who is simply incapable of acknowledging the complexities of issues or honestly evaluating things.

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    12. Gavriel,
      Focusing on what you consider the locus of the conversation: If it were true that abortion isn't murder, i.e., the fetus isn't considered a life, how many "real" lives would be worth exchanging - as a public policy matter - for not real lives? Reportedly, 700 women die due to complications from pregnancy, 3/5 of which were preventable. It stands to reason that that number will go up (in a number of states e.g., Texas, Michigan, Ohio, docs are waiting for mothers' vitals to crash before intervening for fear of running afoul the ambiguous law). Keep in mind that the vast majority of abortions are very early. Does the life of one mother equal the non-lives of a thousand fetuses? Ten thousand? How would you weigh these competing concerns? (I happen to think this is also a halachic question, not one that can determined by feeling a mother's belly, but I don't pretend to know the answer.)

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    13. It's not complex. You want hundreds of thousands of babies to be ripped up and sucked into a hoover because (you claim) it's just too hard to pass abortion laws that permit the permitted and forbid the forbidden. This position is so incredibly stupid that no-one has ever applied it to any other issue ever, or ever would. Try applying this logic to theft, or copyright infringement, or trespassing, or anything, you see instantly how stupid such a line of argument it is. But at least in these cases, such a stupid argument would not be as revolting as making the argument about cutting up babies.

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    14. @David If the current law is badly phrased, then campaign for it to be amended. What percentage of people do you think support waiting for a mother's vitals to crash before aborting non-viable pregnancy? I would be surprised if it were 1%.

      Again, the "argument" that "oh it's too complicated so legalise everything" is not serious. The fact that this "argument" is made, of all things, about hacking up babies to support a culture of mindless consumption and sexual license by people who claim to be believing Jews is just astounding. Try imagine standing in front of Yirmiyahu haNavi and coming out with this twisted stuff. Enough.

      My position on abortion law, as a poshite yid, is that it should conform to the consensus halacha. When we get there, maybe it's time to argue about exactly what that consensus halacha is or should be. In the meantime, reversing Roe Vs Wade is a small first step towards getting somewhere even close to that, and reducing somewhat an affront to the moral conscience of mankind.

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    15. Gavriel
      I expect the number to be much higher than 1%. Firstly any committed Catholics - to my understanding they don't really hold of the din of rodef. Secondly, many cultural conservatives (rightly or wrongly) are loath to leave the determination up to individual doctors ( which they would view as a de facto loophole) and it follows that all laws will necessarily be ambiguous.
      Consensus halachah at the very least requires it be up to discretion of the doctors, which is not the law in most red states in practice.
      Thus to me the overriding question is how to weigh the numerous less than lives of fetuses versus the far fewer but more than lives of mothers. That seems to me to be a halachic question.

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    16. 68% of American Catholics admit to using contraception. The fact that some ivory tower weirdo has a moral quandary about an ectopic pregnancy is neither here not there, practically speaking. You are right that the fact that many evil doctors will give fake medical heterim for convenience abortions, and the correct remedy for this is to have individual doctors make the decision and a rigorous process of review to strike off aberrant doctors. Is this hard to achieve in practice? Yes, obviously. Lots of things are hard to achieve in practice. Is this a reason to allow TENS OF MILLIONS of babies to be ripped up and sucked up tubes to facilitate a culture of sexual freedom? No, obviously it is not, and - again - it is flabbergasting that this is even an argument that people make in public.

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  3. I think you misunderstand the concept of "פוּק חָזִי מַאי עַמָא דָבַר"

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  4. It's blindingly obvious that RMF's view isn't the "mainstream" approach. He says explicitly that abortion is allowed only when the danger to the mother karov l'vadai! Ponder what a high bar that is. 50/50 the mother is going to *die*? Nope - no abortion. Probably 70/30 she's going to die is also not good enough (I would consider that *likely* but NOT "practically certain." I challenge anyone (serious) to claim that that is the mainstream approach of the poskim. (Of course, I am not impugning RMF's psak at all - but that is simply not followed in practice.)

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    1. Any doctor who waited until the probability of a person's death was >70% before treating a patient would not be licensed to practice medicine for much longer. We treat life threatening conditions as soon as we discover them. Including most pregnancies that threaten the mother.

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  5. I think you're nitpicking. There's nothing wrong with refering to the אגרות משה as mainstream, especially if the other opinions are presented. (And בשעת הדחק we can rely on non-mainstream opinions.)

    It's a very nice sourcesheet, and perhaps including Michael Broyde among the citations should redeem the sourcesheet from its sins.

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    1. It would be like presenting the Maharal u'd'imei as the historical mainstream view on Aggadah, while presenting the other opinions as well. It's not nitpicking to note that that is a total misrepresentation.

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  6. The mainstream of halacha is defined not merely by those who are Jewish, and not even by those merely orthodox, but by the majority of the people who care deeply about halacha. And in such people's minds, and rightly so, R. Moshe Feinstein's halachic view in America (and this is an American issue) outweighs anyone else's. A museum director, on the other hand, might have useful things to contribute about animal behavior, but his opinion on halacha is worthless. That is especially true when the professor's understanding of the halachic issues comes - as he cited in the previous post - from an article in an atheist feminist journal called "Women in Judaism", co-authored by a German professor from the University of Oldenburg.

    Grn Pckls.

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    1. Stop with the nonsense. The gedolei haposkim today do not rule in accordance with R' Moshe's opinion.

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    2. RHS, RDC, RAW are all major, internationally sought after contemporary poskim who rule not like RMF. Who are the comparable figures today who rule like him?

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  7. One can not determine the mainstream Halacha merely by counting the number of names on each side! What is or was, the generally accepted and practiced opinion? Slifkin does not even attempt to answer this question! There are many times when the mainstream (i.e. generally accepted) Halacha actually has less names than the other side. Slifkin cites NO ACTUAL evidence that Rav Moshe's ruling was not the mainstream opinion. Name counting, is not necessarily what determines mainstream Halacha.
    Besides, I think this whole issue is a non issue. The gemara calls an abortion for a non Jew by the term שופך דמים, which means spills blood. That is enough for people to colloquially use the term murder or kill in regards to aborting a fetus, even though technically it might not be לא תרצח to do so. Rav Uziel (who the Morasha article lists in the non murder camp) also uses the term שופך דמים, even though he maintains that it is not technically murder. Rav Waldenberg uses the term הורג, even though he explicitly says it is not רציחה.
    I think, that in his zeal to discredit people, Slifkin is reading way too much into the wording of this article.

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    1. Just Pointing OutJuly 4, 2022 at 7:50 PM

      Shmuel, when's the last time you saw a single teenage charedi mother?

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    2. This is a strange argument. It assumes that a noticeable percentage of single chareidi teenagers could have intercourse enough times to get pregnant in the first place. But if you are familiar chareidi society, you would know this would almost never happen. Rape and seduction is extremely rare in this community, and not every rape case leads to a pregnancy either.

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    3. Can you name the major living posek who rules this way? I already mentioned the views of RHS, RDC, and RAW. Who disagrees with them?

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    4. Just trying to stay neutral and helpfulJuly 4, 2022 at 10:05 PM

      @Just confused, I heard Rav Moshe Shternbuch say on a Dovid Lichtenstein podcast on abortion that he basically holds like Rav Moshe Feinstein, unfortunately I have not read the tshuva by him brought in the source sheet, but the source sheet brings תשובות והנהגות כרך ג סימן שסה, I have no idea whether he says the same thing in the tshuva though (maybe far to the right, but certainly a major talmid chochom with many volumes of shu"t)

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    5. Sure, RMS is indeed a major posek and I would expect he holds like RMF. However, a. I'm not sure how large a community he serves and more importantly, b. He is FAR from a mainstream rabbinic figure. It's laughable that the purveyors of this blog would consider RMS to set the mainstream position. They can't even imagine how much they'd have to turn their lives upside down if they remotely believed that. (To start, obviously they wouldn't frequent this blog!).

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    6. "Rape and seduction is extremely rare in this community." Oy, the naivete. Hasn't it occurred to you that when these do things happen, they are hushed up?

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    7. To Just explaining.
      I don't follow your logic at all. I am simply saying that one can not determine what is mainstream halacha by simply counting the poskim who said yes and those who said no. Mainstream opinion is determined by actual practice. There are plenty of times when the generally accepted practice has less names on its side than on the other side.
      I am taking issue with Slifkin for trying to portray the chareidi public as fools simply because they don't know how to count the number of names on each side of the debate. Just because one position has more names voting for it, does not necessarily make it the mainstream opinion. If you want to know what the mainstream opinion is, look at the generally accepted practice, don't count how many people say what.
      I also take issue with Slifkin for nitpicking over the Morasha article calling abortions murder. Some of those who did not say it what was technically murder still used the word שופך דמים to describe the practice.

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    8. Besides single girls pregnant from consensual sex there are also single frum teenagers pregnant from rape, usually by relatives.

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    9. "Rav Moshe's ruling was not the mainstream opinion."

      Rav Moshe z'tz'l gets cherrypicked a lot in the US. People who ignore his lenient opinions on a wide variety of subjects (some rather controversial) suddenly call him the gedol hador when it came to eruvim in Manhattan and Brooklyn (he opposed), even though most communities in both Boroughs have eruvim and he is clearly NOT the mainstream position at least in Manhattan. And I haven't noticed a lot of rabbis in Israel referencing him (which is unfortunate IMNSHO).

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  8. "How many times have you heard of a single charedi girl giving birth?"

    This comment is the product of a seriously depraved mind. I happen to know of a case. She went to Switzerland for 5 months, and the baby was found a home. It certainly would have been a lot easier and cheaper to abort, but not all people are sickos.

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    1. So everyone who authorizes an abortion, even in the case of rape, is a sicko? That's a whole lot of very fine people, including great rabbis and many others, that you're condemning.

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    2. I can't answer for Gavriel. But in my opinion, everyone who endlessly discusses the matter is a serious sicko.

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    3. The moment someone says "so anyone who authorizes an abortion, even in the case of rape, is a sicko?", he's lost the argument and his credibility. Such cases are extremely rare even in general society, all the more so in Jewish society. If one wishes to discuss abortion, he can only do so as a general postulate, like the Supreme Court. There are exceptions to every thing. They mean nothing to the overall issue.

      GP

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    4. The comment is sick because it insinuates that there are significant numbers of Charedi teenagers getting pregnant , and the reason we don't know about it is because they are getting hush-hush abortions. This is the kind of comment one excepts from someone who gets his values from Netflix and information from comments under Ha'aretz articles. The reason you have not heard of many Charedi singletons giving birth, is because out of wedlock Charedi pregnancies are sufficiently rare that you never hear about them. Full stop. When they do happen, there are lots of ways to keep them under wraps without an abortion. Nothing to do with your depraved insinuations. You really should look in a mirror and reflect on what you have become.

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    5. "Such cases are extremely rare even in general society"

      Actually they aren't rare at all. The best evidence is that between 1% and 2% of all pregnancies become ectopic, which is always a life threatening condition for the mother and for which there is absolutely no posssibility of saving the fetus.

      I work for a Jewish Health System that treats them in the emergency department with methotrexate. I have seen unconfirmed reports now in some states that methotrexate is no longer available to persons with rheumatoid arthritis or some cancers for which it is an important chemotherapy drug, all because it can be used for abortions. If these reports are true -- or if the misnamed "pro-life" movement gets abortion drugs banned, as many in that movement are trying to do, persons with cancer will be their next victims.

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    6. GP, you are criticizing GM or RDS?

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    7. No-one is talking about preventing termination of ectopic pregnancies. This is not actually a thing in the real world. It is simply and solely a lie propagated by depraved people who want to rip up babies to make it easier to have sex when they want. Anyone who propagates this lie is either wicked or stupid. Do you have no shame?

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    8. Gavriel, "No-one is talking about preventing termination of ectopic pregnancies?" Not the law anywhere (yet), but definitely being talked about.

      Don't let facts get in the way of a good narrative:

      https://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills221/hlrbillspdf/5798H.01I.pdf

      https://thefederalist.com/2019/09/09/is-abortion-really-necessary-for-treating-ectopic-pregnancies/

      This is aside from the numerous doctors testifying that will wait to terminate even ectopic pregnancies until the mothers' vitals crash out of fear of the ambiguous laws.

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    9. Gavriel,

      Here's another lie propagated by depraved people pretending to be anti abortionists:
      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/29/ohio-extreme-abortion-bill-reimplant-ectopic-pregnancy

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    10. The bill, as presented, sounds quite stupid (and in general, conservatives are quite stupid, but that is a conversation for another day) but it's actual wording simply says that it should be done 'if applicable', which is never. Surely, you agree that, if it were possible, then it should be done?

      The article from the Federalist literally begins with a disclaimer "The author has publicly apologized for this article, which no longer expresses her opinion after more consultation with medical doctors and research. Please read her apology here." You should read her apology. As I wrote in the original thread, pro-life women tend to take it a bit far because they can't reason over their emotional horror of abortion. This is a good reason that women shouldn't be involved in policy formation. It's not a good reason to permit abortion.

      This is just stupid scaremongering by - how many times do I have to repeat this? - people who believe that it is fine to hack up babies so you can have a more diverse sex life. In practice, you know perfectly well, that there is precisely zero danger of any law forbidding termination of ectopic pregnancies, a procedure which is done every day by pro-life doctors, and in catholic hospitals.

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    11. To anon, who asked "GP, you are criticizing GM or RDS?" - I've read Gavriel M's interesting comments. We said the same thing, that the teenage pregnancies that drive much of abortion (that is, the sexual freedom) is irrelevant to religious Jews, and that it is risibly absurd to claim that there are really many pregnancies that are somehow being hidden behind a wall of secrecy somewhere in Williamsburg. Beyond that I cannot tell his overall position. I am certainly not criticizing him.

      GP

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    12. Wow, Gavriel will go a long way to avoid saying he was flat out wrong that "No-one is talking about preventing termination of ectopic pregnancies"
      1. You ignored the recently proposed Missouri bill, which literally contradicts you.
      2. Even in the Federalist apology her headline concedes only that "sometimes" it's necessary to remove ectopic babies. Clearly, she would countenance banning "some" abortions of ectopic pregnancies.
      The fact that anti abortion women "go too far" is itself the antithesis of your claim. "No one says it, but alright, anti abortion women say it, but they go too far?" Am I getting that right?
      3. "If applicable" is a pathetic excuse. Obviously, the law is meant to apply in *some* cases.

      I'm sorry that you have to keep repeating your demonstrably false, if confident, assertions. It really is a pain, isn't it?

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    13. The only thing I can find on any "proposed Missouri bill" is this:

      This package included language from Branson Rep. Brian Seitz' bill, HB 2810. A previous version of HB 2810 included language that would have made it illegal in some circumstances to abort a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy, but language was removed during the committee process.

      Alarmist claptrap posing as factual.

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    14. @Shimshon

      I think Dave knows he is lying. We all have our yetzer haras, but imagine if your yetzer hara was spreading misinformation to promote a culture of promiscuity and hacking apart babies. Sad!

      It is probably more productive to try and persuade hysterical pro-life women to try and moderate their statements to avoid giving the evildoers ammunition.

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    15. Extremists serve a purpose. It should be evident on these recent abortion posts that pretexts are plentiful. Evildoers will do evil, period. They can change, but the unwillingness to do so has nothing to do with a few exuberant women.

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    16. Gavriel m
      If you'd like emend your screed to "practically no one of importance is advocating to abolish abortions for ectopic pregnancies, except for some over the top pro life women and pandering politicians in the Midwest" that would be much closer to the mark.

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    17. At least the discussion has devolved completely to pure politics. What does any of this have to do with Torah? It was never l'shaim shamayim, thus rendering whatever "Torah" Dave previously contributed moot. It was always a weapon to rationalize his opinions and not anything else.

      Gaviel, just concede the point, which is pointless anyway. Or, continue to push Dave's buttons until he claims he won't respond to you again. Gammas act like exaggerated lawyers. Every last issue must be discussed to their satisfaction. And they are never satisfied. They quibble endlessly. Look at the recent endless back and forth between Happy and Jew Well.

      There is no practical difference between "no one" and "practically no one," or whatever pathetic quibble he has with your statement.

      His claim of women already suffering the ill effects of the decision has been shown to be an easily verified lie. Now he's resorting to the usual conflation of the hypothetical and speculative with the actual, which is just another type of lie.

      HL Mencken's famous quote (“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”) needs a corollary to describe people like Dave and their endless agitation because of what could be, not what actually is, or even likely. I await the gammas pouncing on me for embracing a famous Jew hater merely by quoting him.

      And Dave, referring to me as "Shimshon", while not rising to the level of an unwanted nickname, is appallingly juvenile. What does that even mean? How old are you? Old enough to legally comment here? You know what an adult who behaves like a child is called? Retarded. You are so resistant to conceding even one point to me, that you act like a five year old. Thank you for not responding.

      Delete
    18. Not everyone who issues an abortion is a sicko. For example, in cases of rape. But most people who issue abortions are not only sickos but they have blood on their hands!

      Delete
  9. The "abortion is murder" opinion has become mainstream because non-jews have gone so far left on the subject that we cannot afford to be nuanced. "Better be safe than sorry". This is why I believe that many rabbis have autorized aboritions in private on a case by case basis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "abortion is not murder" opinion has become mainstream because non-jews have gone so far right on the subject that we cannot afford to be nuanced.
      The right is so extreme nowadays, forcing their religion on an entire country, that we need to stop them. Even those who believe abortion is murder according to Torah

      Delete
  10. PS : "It's particularly ironic when this distortion occurs regarding the position of Rav Moshe Feinstein, because he himself was a believer in rabbinic independence rather than conformity."

    This is how RMF concludes his Teshuvah on abortion in CM (2:69):
    וברור ופשוט כדכתבתי הלכה הברורה ע“פ רבותינו הראשונים המפרשים והפוסקים ממש שאסור בדין רציחה ממש כל עובר בין כשר בין ממזר בין סתם עוברים ובין הידועים לחולי תיי - סקס שכולן אסורין מדינא ממש. ואין לטעות ולסמוך על תשובת חכם זה ושרי ליה מריה הכו"ח לכבוד התורה ודיו אמת.

    So much for that "rabbinic independence" of RMF. (That key last line doesn't appear in Sefaria, and its probably not cited either by the German professor in the University of Oldenburg, so maybe all the Wikipedia Poskim here aren't aware of it.)

    GP

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    Replies
    1. The challenge with this teshuva of RMF is that he spends a lot of time warning no to rely on other poskim. It's not just Tzitz Eliezer. He says not to rely on R Chaim Ozer, Sridei Aish, nor Rav Pe'alim. At some point it seems that a posek will decide that so many major poskim were meikil, that he can rely on them.

      Delete
    2. Koillel Nick - one is not obligated to follow RMF. At the same time, however, to claim publicly that he doesn't represent "mainstream" halacha in America is badly mistaken, and reflective of דעת בעלי בתים. (I know in this modern democratic age that phrase grates on all the Wikipedia Poskim who, because they went to yeshivah a few years or finagled the title of "rabbi", think that they're also players. And truthfully I too sometimes bristle at it, and the phrase is sometimes abused, and no doubt many ballebattim are indeed smarter or more learned than many rabbis. HOWEVER - none of that changes the point. The wrongheaded attitude it depicts exists, and this blog post is a parade example of it.)

      Picks, G.

      Delete
    3. It's all politicsJuly 5, 2022 at 6:04 PM

      Gp
      It's so obvious that you righteously take up the mantle of RM's view purely because of your personal political views instead of vice versa. It's amusing that you seem completely unaware of this.

      Delete
    4. To "its all politics" - boy, talk about projecting. Maybe your view of halacha is determined by your politics. Not mine, tho. I call it like I see it. I already said above I don't think people are obligated to follow RMF. But - even tho I also have smicha, (and from a real yeshivah) - I don't deign to publicly state my view of halacha as if it was worth anything. And to say in a comment that one need not follow RMF is one thing. To publicly declare RMF "isn't mainstream halacha", as though he were just another opinion in the galaxy, is quite another. That isn't even politics, that's just ignorance.

      GP

      Delete
    5. Unknown - I agree with your basic premise. I also agree that RMF's reading of Rambam is very straightforward. I believe that many non poskim may not see how Rambam's role in Halacha is much more than other Rishonim. Rambam is almost never relegated to a being a daas yachid, even when he arguing on many (or even most) Rishonim - and more so, when Shulchan Aruch uses his language. That being said, many poskim explain the Rambam differently - there is a basic kushya on Rambam, and perhaps they want to also minimize the machlokes. RMF's insistence on not relying on them is in one way normative of his style - RMF did not feel bound to Acharonim. On the other hand, we dont see RMF telling people that they could not rely on other opinions in other areas of halacha. Possibly because of the chumra of the issue - even Chavos Yair and Rav Pe'alim seem afraid to pasken it straight out.
      It's still a bit of a surprise. It's definitely not the norm to write that one cannot rely on R Chaim Ozer. I cannot recall ever seeing something like that elsewhere.

      Delete
    6. Wait, everything RMF said is mainstream halachah?? How many people follow his view that chatzos is the same time every day?? How many people don't use shabbos clocks for almost anything? How many people use a single dishwasher? These are just a handful of places where RMF is indeed "not mainstream halachah." Do you disagree? I got plenty more.

      Delete
    7. Koilel Nick - Agreed. But it's about attitudes. It's just silly to say things like RMF isnt "mainstream", on this or on any other American issue, or insinuate that he's merely just another opinion out of many. Come now. That's amharatzus.

      G-Picks.

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    8. Dave - You're proving my point rather than refuting it. RMF approved time clocks for lights, and nothing else. Despite the questionable logic of this distinction - if you can turn on lights via timer, why not televisions, dishwashers, computers? - nevertheless, the common practice is indeed to only allow it for lights. Just like RMF said.

      But I dont want to make too much of this. The key here is attitude. Natan Slifkin is an animal expert. I respect his learning there, I've learned much from him in that field. Any comments from him beyond that are like political comments from Lebron James and Barbra Streisand. Ever heard the phrase "shut up and sing"?

      Gersh.

      Delete
    9. GP,
      1. Very neatly ignored chatzos and a single dishwasher.

      2. I don't know where you live, but I don't know a single person who refrains from setting a/cs, heaters, or fans on timers (although I bet some in the lower east side do, but that's basically it). The other cases you bring up have no shaychus. Tvs and dishwashers have a possible hashmaas kol issue, which is why many people won't leave them on even before shabbos without timers - that's unrelated to RM. I don't know how you would set a computer on a timer and accomplish anything thereby.

      In the three cases that I mentioned, and especially the two you ignored, RMF is 100% a non-mainstream view as evidenced by the fact that few if any people keep them (seriously, is there a place in the world other than maybe MTJ that keeps RM's chatzos???), and even fewer contemporary poskim would pasken that way. Btw those three were off the top of my head; I bet asking an IM expert would turn up many more.

      Furthermore, the Rambam absolutely is a daas yochid on quite a number of occasions (although obviously not when Maran cites him). None of this has direct bearing on the abortion issue, but your and KN's presentation of the process of halachah is very flawed.

      Delete
    10. You don't know anyone "who refrains from putting a/c's heaters and fans on timers"? So all these people know in advance when it will be cold and when it will be hot, and actually set their devices accordingly, on shabbos, on individual old fashioned timers (b/c they're not connected to central lighting timers) rather than just leave them on? I'm dubious, Dave, I'm dubious. And even if that was an accurate depiction of where you live, I'm here to tell you that other people, and other cities (I've lived in a few) don't do that. They wrestle with other questions, such as whether or not you can move the oscillator, or if whether there is a distinction between too hot and too cold. But nobody I've ever heard of, but nobody, actually puts such devices on timers.

      GPs

      Delete
    11. Now you're just being ridiculous. People who have window acs in their bedrooms put them on timers for when they sleep instead of leaving them on all Shabbos.

      It's extremely obvious that you are ignoring the other cases I mentioned of chatzos and dishwashers because you don't want to admit you are completely wrong.

      Delete
  11. (But it goes even further. It's not even the norm, it's just what is voiced as being the norm. It probably still doesn't even accurately reflect how actual instances of this situation were dealt with, since in practice poskim would not follow Rav Moshe's stringent approach. How many times have you heard of a single charedi girl giving birth?).

    A fine paragraph if you would leave out or somehow modify the final sentence. An adopted child in my neighborhood was indeed born this way. Of course, no one talks about it. Halacha supersedes emotions, but he did make an incredible difference in his adoptive parents lives. And I know of such a single mother whose parents had her give birth in a different country and put up the child for adoption there. If Hanoch Teller is to be believed, RSZA made a considerable effort, (a successful one) persuading a single woman, irreligious at the time, to let her fetus live.

    Another consideration is the assumption that the Chareidi community (with others? no problem) has a lower rate of out-of -wedlock pregnancies to begin with. That we don't hear of these births might not be out of some prevalence of abortions but because of the dearth of such pregnancies.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Most adoptions in religious circles nowadays are from religious and Charedi girls who get pregnant, some way or another. Either through momentary lapses, otd, rape, or other ways of being taken advantage of.

    ReplyDelete
  13. One obvious corollary would be the assumption that all Poskim hold that one must use any and all efforts to prolong life, even for a terminally Ill patient, regardless of recovery chance or suffering cost.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Abortions are sometimes mandated by halacha for married women too. These include situations where the fetus has a condition incompatible with life, and carrying the pregnancy to term will cause physical or mental distress to the mother. Most women in these situations don't announce they had abortions though; they tell most people that they miscarried. Often these fatal conditions cannot be diagnosed until after the abortion deadline in many US states.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Other subjects that people figure they know the mainstream Jewish approach but are often mistaken:
    Masturbation
    End of life treatment and living wills
    Wine and non-Jews
    Many of the kashrut laws, often pointed out in the blog
    Learning Torah as a livelihood
    … and so many more

    ReplyDelete
  16. Possibly Rabbi MF's strict approach to abortion is due to
    his consultation with Rabbi Dr
    M. Tendler, his son in law,a professor of biology.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Just in terms of Jewish *attitude* to abortion, those mainstream figures who compared it to murder include:
    Rav Moshe Feinstein
    Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky
    Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
    Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik
    Rav Aharon Lichtenstein
    Rav Moshe Dovid Tendler

    They may or may not have permitted an abortion in any given circumstance, but they all viewed abortion generally speaking as akin to murder. (I heard from Rabbi Lebowitz that Rav Tendler did in fact paskin like Rav Moshe Feinstein halach l'maaseh, in contrast with Rav Schachter).

    This list consists of very mainstream gedolei Torah/gedolei haposkim. That does not mean that it is *the* Torah view on abortion. But the position that Judaism views abortion as murder is certainly not a fringe view.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rav Soloveitchik z'tz'l permitted aborting a Tay-Sachs fetus throught the sixth month of pregnancy, even when there was no danger whatsoever to the mother. Not exactly consistent with "murder".

      Delete
  18. This is sort of a normative halakha (or maybe a normative haskafa) that has no basis in the classics, and also is an example of a modern posek disagreeing with a Rishon. טב למיתב טנ דו מלמיתב ארמלו. Rav Soloveichik said that that is an existential statement. In Kiddushin 41a, Rashi says that it is a sociological statement. The Rav should at least have said that he disagrees with Rashi.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Rabbi Slifkin, sorry for the lateness, I did not have a computer the past few days, only a phone. As I said, I would bring your views about brain death, and here they are.

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2011/01/summary-of-lifedeath-issue.html

    1. Chazal believed that the heart and kidneys are the seat of the mind and free will. 2. Chazal were mistaken in this regard 3. There is a fundamental connection between the mind/ free will, the soul, and the presence of a live person - and thus the mistaken belief that the heart and kidneys house the mind has fundamental ramifications on the question of determining death."

    And therefore, based on this consideration, you are willing to consider brain dead people "not alive", whereas according to Chazal's criteria, they still have a soul housed in the heart/kidneys. Now, you can speculate that Chazal would change their mind if they knew modern science, but you can equally say that about abortion. Once you are speculating, you can speculate about anything.

    Especially this comment is gold:

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2011/01/summary-of-lifedeath-issue.html?showComment=1294983958893#c3977819579336905563

    Natan SlifkinJanuary 14, 2011 at 7:45 AM
    More re: an anencephalic baby with a brainstem and no rest of the brain - You can't bring evidence against my position on brain death from the fact that no posek allows killing such a baby, because my whole point is that no posek (of the type that you consider a posek) acknowledges the points in my post!"


    Aha, you are willing to go against all poskim if they don't acknowledge your reasoning, but all of the sudden here, no scientific reasoning is to be used in the case of abortion.

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2011/01/summary-of-lifedeath-issue.html?showComment=1294946294605#c8381189852784194188

    Natan SlifkinJanuary 13, 2011 at 9:18 PM
    Actually it says that the "nefesh" is in the blood. But, no, I don't think it's worthwhile analyzing the pesukim. After all, the pesukim say that the kidneys give counsel, and that the sky is solid.


    So you don't care about what the Torah says on this or any other matter that may relate to science, because in your view, the Torah made scientific mistakes elsewhere. But when it comes to abortion, science doesn't matter even a tiny bit, only the Torah.

    In general, the comments on that thread are great, Gil Student take you to town and makes some amazing points.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Is it not by definition חוקת הגוי to force all to follow the US supreme Court with its Catholic majority?

    ReplyDelete
  21. The position that in the USA all cases, even when there is clear life risk to the mother, have to follow the Supreme Court's Catholic based decision is in MHO a perfect definition of חוקת הגוי.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sotomayor is also a Catholic and the decision had nothing to do with Catholicism.

      Delete
    2. It effectively does. In some states the life of the mother exception is so narrow that it is meaningless. Already women with ectopic pregnancies -- always a life threatening condition -- are being denied abortions.

      Delete
    3. Charlie, this is at least the second time you have made this claim without attribution. Care to enlighten us rubes with a source?

      The only news I could find is that the decision could affect doctors' willingness to abort in even those cases, written by someone with an axe to grind, not an honest journalist, since it is not actual news, but opinion.

      Given that speculation and hypotheticals are constantly proffered as if fact on this site, I would not be surprised that is the case here too. You as guilty of this as anyone here.

      Delete
    4. Ectopic pregnancy should not, actually, be considered pregnancy, as it is not going to lead to viable baby and a normal birth. Removal of an ectopic should be more akin to removing a tumor, which is another word for a growing, parasitic, sometimes differentiated mass that reroutes blood vessels to itself in order to feed, without regard to the host.

      This is regardless of which side of the issue one finds oneself: ie don't use it as an example for "anti-abortion rules are bad" and don't actually ban it under antiabortion rules.

      Delete
  22. Raphip, you are either not American and ignorant, or American and stupid.

    The Supreme Court did nothing of the kind. It was purely Constitutional. What do you know about Roe v. Wade besides some talking points?

    Are you disturbed by the Catholics on the bench? Why not the Jews there who hate God and who are a constant chillul hashem?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your idea that the Jews on the Court (we now are down to one) is a vile slander with no basis in fact. Bad enough that you post comment after comment with no substance but your own uninformed opinions. But worse that you engage in namecalling. It shows that you yourself know that you don't a case.

      Delete
    2. I am relieved we are now down to one, given how Ruth Bader Ginsberg was turned into a weird totem that the left in America practically idolized, solely do to her situation for years holding back a repeal of Roe v. Wade, while the right, Jews among them, were disgusted.

      Talk to actual goyim about how prominent unbelieving Jews inform their opinion of all Jews. It's not pleasant, and it's not good. To many of them, prominent Jews in politics, nearly universally radically left wing, are the embodiment of Judaism as well as the embodiment of evil. I would not be the first to say we would be better off if Jews stayed out of politics in countries not our own. Certainly national politics.

      Is that namecalling? You just reflexively recoil at the suggestion, offering no argument in rebuttal. There is plenty of namecalling to spare from many here. If you are referring to calling Raphip "stupid" (conditionally, if he is an American), applying halachic terms (that apply to Jews) to a goyish country, its institutions, and how the constituent members (goyish or Jewish) carry out their duties, is far worse than stupid. He's angry at the ruling, thus emotional, and emoting, stupidly.

      The general gist of my arguments vis a vis abortion is, there is no point to discussing it. Something I share with a few others. There does seem to be something to my statements on abortion itself, even if not rising to the level of learning you deem sufficient.

      Delete
    3. " prominent Jews in politics, nearly universally radically left wing"

      Nonsense. While the majority are left wing, it's untrue to say "nearly universally radically left wing"
      But hell, even moderate Republicans are deemed fascist by the left. So why not the join the hysteric ranting style that has become pervasive in American politics, both left & right?

      Delete
    4. Ephraim, to them, the Diane Feinsteins of the world are Jewish. It doesn't really matter that they aren't.

      Look, when Ben Shapiro's media organ hosts Jordan Peterson interviewing some sodomite who is of the "right", in an episode entitled "Gay Parenting: Promise and Pitfalls," this right you speak of doesn't really exist. They may as well be radically left wing for all that they too embrace the left's agenda.

      You guys don't seem too far off, from Shapiro, who also wears a kippah, given your embrace of abortion even when the frum world you don't inhabit, like the Charedim, are wildly disgusted by such. And Shapiro is, as I understand it, pretty good on abortion. That, and nothing else.

      I have heard more than a few Jews wax rhapsodic about Shapiro and his wicked antics about how effective he is for the right. I have even seen people wonder if he was the messiah (I'd certainly prefer the English word for it here).

      Jordan Peterson himself is an open pervert. Have you read his books? Do you know how he treats his daughter in public social media accounts? He too is treated as of the right. He worked with John Podesta at the UN on Agenda 21.

      These are some of the standard bearers of the right.

      Delete
    5. Dave Rubin. Isn't he some sort of right wing icon today? He is quite publicly adopting two babies with his partner.

      Peterson certainly is. Now, he isn't Jewish. But Shapiro, Rubin, and many of Shapiro's partners are, including a very prominent messianic Jew. They would do all of us a huge favor if they joined up with their Jewish left wing compatriots where they belong.

      https://www.dailywire.com/episode/gay-parenting-promise-and-pitfalls

      Delete
    6. This is worse than politicians. As Breitbart famously declared, correctly, that politics is downstream from culture.

      Delete
  23. @happy What I see is validation for my points. 10+ years of pointless "debates" trying to convince the unconvinceable. There is a certain definition of insanity this brings to mind.

    The ball is in Slifkin's court. But I have my doubts you well get the response you want. Why? One, because speculation and crazy hypothetical scenarios are constantly bandied about as fact here. This is as true today as it was then. And two, a certain label comes to mind, which stands in for things like doubling down and never admitting being wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I tried to download the Morasha material. Because I am at the moment in Mexico (where ITS Supreme Court just last September overturned criminal penalties for abortion, making the US and Mexico having exactly reversed abortion laws within the past year) I could only get the Spanish version. Although I am not fluent in Spanish, a quick search of the text revealed that it does not mention the gemaras in Yevamot (which daf yomi completes in 2 days) that state explicitly that an embryo is water during the first 40 days 52-66 days the way we count today) after conception, and a limb of the mother afterwards.

    I suspect some selective cherrypicking is going on here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You touched on the subject so I'm just gonna point it out. Some states have passed 6 week limits. This is not similar to the 40 days maya be'alma in the Gemara and psokim. States are counting from the previous period (as do Drs). Whereas Halacha counts from intercourse. Accordingly, it is likely that woman would have little time to even know that they are pregnant before the law kicks in. There is a difference of at least 11 - 12 days here.

      Delete
    2. @Charlie Hall, Yevamos 69b about the widowed pregnant bas kohen eating teruma for the first forty days of pregnancy from a yisroel is brought on page 13 of the english version

      Delete
  25. Hi R'Slifkin, I am a big fan of yours for a long time and overall agree on many issues, but am curious if you are just making a point here overall that goes counter to your personal position on halacha to challenge "mainstream" though on this issue halachically. In other words, according to you personally, and to be consistent with your previous positions, why shouldn't science (if you believe the science points to where I believe it does) serve to "update" halacha so to speak (or if not necessarily update, but at least put in context halachic shortcomings based on faulty science of a previous era) especially in the most serious of questions-(potential life, or life with potential, and death). Why should the halachic rulings of the past have any sway according to you personally, since we now have access to science and 3d imaging and sonograms etc and can see the "life" of the fetus. I think the halachic position is generally to preserve life one way or another in the cases that permit abortions. Moreover, the more contemporary authorities that had access to some of the science of today may not share your view of science and halacha and can feel justified in relying on previous generations rulings DESPITE having today's science on the matter. Even so, it is to preseve actual life one way or another vs potential life, but it's never for any other reason such as nonsense like my body my choice. Bottom line, I don't think you are being personally disingenuous, and are just showing the straight "halachic" perspectives, but I think you should clarify your personal view on the matter given today's scienctific progress in seeing the fetus develop. At which point would you personally be in favor to forbid abortion (outside of matters to preserve another life)? I believe banning abortion can be argued without any specific religious argument per se, but rather on a scientific and basic moral "preserving life" position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. I just don't see why modern science would change anything here. It's not a "chiddush" that a fetus is a developing human.

      Delete
    2. Do you think the belief that a baby is water until 40 days is tenable in the light of modern knowledge of fetal development? Are you really not aware of the massive different that widespread proliferation of ultrasound has made in creating the pro-life movement? Do you really think that none of this would have had any difference *at all* on how Hazal approached the issue?

      Empirically, most pro-choice people think a baby is a 'bundle of cells', and they simply have no awareness of basic scientific facts, like when a heartbeat starts, when it can feel pain etc. Why would you assume Hazal knew all this stuff, when we know they didn't even think a baby born at 8 months was viable? How? Maybe you should write an appendix for Rav Meiselman on Hazal's remarkable knowledge of modern science.

      Delete
    3. They did believe that a baby born at seven months was viable. It's theoretically possible that had they known more about fetal development, their views would have been different, but that's just speculation.

      Delete
    4. Yosef R - I'm so sorry, your comment was accidentally deleted. Please can you post it again?

      Delete
    5. It is 'speculation' that if Tosefos had seen an olive, they would have paskened that a kezayit is like a zayit. But reasonable people speculate reasonably. Others have tried to point out how manifestly contradictory your position is here. At the least, a small r rationalist should lean to stricter opinions among contemporary poskim, since these comport more with what modern science tells us about fetal development, whereas lenient opinions are based on taking literally certain statements in the talmud and rishonim that, when read literally, are literally wrong.

      Delete
    6. "lenient opinions are based on taking literally certain statements in the talmud and rishonim that, when read literally, are literally wrong" Like what?

      Delete
    7. That a baby before 40 days is like 'water'. There is no reasonable doubt that this is based on ancient beliefs about what happens in the womb that have been demonstrated false by modern science.

      Delete
    8. It's not a "chiddush" that a fetus is a developing human. But it's a chiddush of science that child in womb has a functioning brain. And it's likewise a chiddush of science that the brain is a vital part of the definition of a person, much more so than the cardiopulmonary system (see all the brain death posts from Dr. Stadlan and yourself). And supposedly, Chazal did not know about the roll of the brain at all, much less in a fetus.

      Delete
    9. Encore, he should trust the scientists. A fetus is a baby. "As a scientist I know, not believe, know that human life begins at conception." Dr. Bernard Nathanson. A scientist.

      He knows full well that Chazal had no idea what they were talking abut when they called a fetus mere water. We know that a fetus isn't water.

      Sadly, it's a liberal bias that's holding him back from truth.

      Delete
    10. Happy - Chazal did not know that a fetus was more than water. modern science proves that a fetus is a baby.

      Delete
  26. This is Shimshon Kaplan. Different Shimshon than above. It won’t let me sign in with google, and I don’t want to comment anonymously.

    “(But it goes even further. It's not even the norm, it's just what is voiced as being the norm. It probably still doesn't even accurately reflect how actual instances of this situation were dealt with, since in practice poskim would not follow Rav Moshe's stringent approach. How many times have you heard of a single charedi girl giving birth?).”

    I will admit that I enjoy reading your posts. I often agree with them. I think this comment was a low blow. You have implied (insinuated?) that the reason we don’t see single charedi girls giving birth is not because of a high level of modesty and adherence to cultural norms. Rather, you suggest that the poskim are being lenient with abortions. You are suggesting that they are preaching against abortion as a necessary truth in order to preserve the status quo (I may be putting this part in your mouth). They are then quietly allowing abortions post facto. In order for that to make sense, they would have to be radically lenient, not just in cases that risk the mother’s life. There would also be cases that would only reach the poskim well after 40 days since any leniency in abortion is not well known to young women in the charedi community. At that point, being lenient gets a lot tougher. I would prefer not to judge the charedi community negatively in this regard when we do know that there is a strong cultural norm in place that resists intercourse out of wedlock. I would also consider the possibility that there are non-halachic abortions taking place in the community before I would consider a secret wholesale post-facto leniency in abortions in place. The latter requires conspiracy, which is not easy to do. The former can happen on an individual level without much fuss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In a community which has much higher standards of modesty, there will be far less pregnancies resulting from consensual extra-marital relationships. But the number of pregnancies resulting from rape and abuse won't change, and may well even be higher.

      Delete
    2. Why would it be higher for chareidi girls and how do you know how high it is generally?

      Delete
    3. Shimshon Kaplan again. Is there a known heter for pregnancies resulting from rape and abuse?

      Delete
    4. It is likely that in societies where abusers know that they can get away with it, they are more likely to abuse. Shimshon Kaplan - yes, there is more of a heter for pregnancies resulting from rape and abuse (but not according to Rav Moshe).

      Delete
    5. "In a community which has much higher standards of modesty... the number of pregnancies resulting from rape and abuse won't change, and may well even be higher."

      Of all the foolish things I have seen on this blog, this may be the worst. So professor - excuse me, RABBI professor Natan Slifkin thinks Chassidishe communities are no different than goyim at large, and in fact may even be worse. Maybe their murder rates are worse too, and that too is being covered up?? My God, what some people can believe.

      GP

      Delete
    6. Clearly you've never discussed this with professionals in the field.

      Delete
    7. OK. So let that be the closing argument. You think communities with much higher standards of modesty, such as Lakewood, Monsey, or Kiryas Yoel, have the same or more pregnancies resulting from rape or "abuse" (whatever that means), than Goyim. Your basis for this is "having talked with professionals". I think you're out of your mind, and my basis is my two eyes and common sense.

      Let the people believe what they wish to believe.

      G Picks

      Delete
    8. It's not common sense to believe that rape and abusive consensual relationships (e.g. between a much older Rabbi and a teenager) happen in front of your two eyes. Did you see Chaim Walder in any of his many acts of rape?

      Delete
    9. Here's a quote from an article in *Mishpachah magazine*: “I recently met with a clinician who deals with convicted pedophiles. She said that although only a small percentage of abuse occurs on school grounds, the safest place for a predator to operate is in a Jewish day school.”

      Delete
    10. It is well known that pedophiles don't go after older girls of childbearing age. hence the "pedo" before the "phile".
      So try again Rabbi Dr. Slifkin: exactly which experts in the field say that ultraorthodox pregnancies due to rape and abuse are more prevalent than in the general population due?

      Delete
    11. The ones that I've spoken with. And you misunderstood the point of the quote that I brought. The point is the *reason why* the safest place for a predator to operate is a Jewish school is the same reason why there is presumably higher numbers of cases of abuse.

      Delete
    12. It is indeed very easy to abuse children in Jewish schools. On my first day as a Chol teacher, a boy I had never met asked me to walk him home because he liked the story I told and he wanted to hear more. My interview before getting the job had been 10 minutes.

      But I don't see why the ease, and thus high prevalence, of homosexual child abuse (leaving aside whether the problem is being tackled enough) correlates to higher rates of teen pregnancies. It's not easy at all to gain access to women women in the Charedi world. I literally don't know how one would even start going about doing that. The few cases of this happening in sems (and even there it's not the heimish girls who get targeted) become famous worldwide because they are so weird.

      Delete
  27. I don't remember if anyone referenced this interesting article.
    https://forward.com/life/406674/orthodox-jewish-women-abortion-stories/

    ReplyDelete
  28. Abortion is murder. But you have to argue that it’s not because you know what your justifying is just evil. You have to justify murdering people. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒐𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒉𝒖𝒎𝒂𝒏 𝒃𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒆𝒙𝒊𝒔𝒕.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Rambam, R. Chaim Soloveichik and R. Moshe Feinstein –the very same ones that left of centre Orthodoxy claim to the choir that they adhere – unequivocally found feticide to be a non-capital form of homicide justifiable only if the fetus itself poses a threat to the mother. They would use those names to override virtually everyone else


    Now-who are they anyway? how much weight do they carry?
    Toss them in the bin


    As far as non-Jews are concerned, there is not even a scintilla of controversy. Abortion is an even more grievous offense under the provisions of the Noachide Code.

    On top of that,
    Many leading Modern Orthodox Rabbis and Organizations were part of the original pro-life movement fighting in response against the 1970 NY abortion law, and for legislative vote repealing it two years later.(Vetoed by Gov.Rockefeller)

    In 1970 when NY was voting in favor of abortion, Nash Kestenbaum, then president of Young Israel , personally lobbied against the pro abortion law. Right after the law was passed, Rabbi Joseph Karasick,president of the OU, and Rabbi Bernard L. Berzon, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, issued a statement jointly stating "In Judaism, the life of an unborn child is sacred, and only when It is a threat to the mother can the moral issue of abortion be resolved. For each person to decide arbitrarily, on the basis of economics or convenience, whether a fetus is to survive is literally for man to play God and is religiously blasphemous and socially destructive."

    In 1972 the RCA's policy‐making executive board of 80 members unanimously urged repealing of NY's abortion legalization law . These were Rabbis who had been practicing when abortion had been banned and, based on their actual experience with abortion bans, did not share contemporary panic over the potential that abortion ban would limit halachically acceptable abortions.

    Rav Moshe Feinstein, conducted himself in accordance with that view. In 1970 as referenced earlier, New York State became the very first state to legalize abortion [in a move that led to Roe v. Wade 3 years later]. In 1972 New York State Legislature voted to repeal this new liberalized abortion law, which was subsequently vetoed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. During the row to repeal it , Rav Moshe Feinstein personally called up the Lower East Side State Senator Paul Bookson, who had voted for the 1970 abortion law, and told him to switch and vote to repeal the law.

    Furthermore in the late 1980's, when it appeared that Roe might then be overturned, and hundreds of thousands of people protested to preserve abortion- Rav Aaron Soloveichik referred to those protesters as "pagans" .


    Emotional correctness and political correctness define the religion of your ilk. Got it.
    Anyone with an agenda will find something to pull out of context. In matter of fact against the very context and general intent



    Ahh these left leaning modox blogs

    1) Decide what conclusion you want to arrive at. This will often be based on predicting what the Jewish ethical response must be in a world that has changed so significantly from the early legal texts of Judaism.
    2) Find a few gemaros that deal with the issue. If they don’t agree with your conclusion, either ignore them, or find some understanding of each counterexample which will make it irrelevant to our times. This can be done by finding a single Rishon whose explanation of the gemara makes it possible to argue that the Talmud simply would not have said the same thing today. It doesn’t matter if that Rishon is outweighed by a huge number of contradictory opinions.
    3) Alternatively, show why such thinking is simply at odds with contemporary insight and reasonableness, and must be discarded as foreign to the spirit of Jewish law and its inherent resiliency and flexibility.
    4) Find a medrash as a springboard to show how quintessentially Jewish, how much in the spirit of Jewish law your conclusion is.
    5) Accept original argument.
    6)Dismiss Opposition

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cohen Y, you they would dismiss. Me and those like me, they mock endlessly. Slifkin, to his credit, merely dismissed me (or the source I cited, the Rambam).

      It's like I said in a previous post. These people are technically very knowledgeable. They can cite many chapters and verses from many sources, which they think is impressive. But their souls, which they still possess, are rotten, almost to the core. Effectively, soulless, because pulling back from that level of ga'avah is nearly impossible. There is something very broken about them.

      Even as they barrage their erstwhile opponents with "what aboutism" it occurred to me that, regarding responsa, my understanding is they are always a specific application of halacha and not a general psak, particularly when dealing with an issue like abortion, even for cases like Tay-Sachs. And citing endless gemaras in justification for their position is not halacha l'maaseh from the Rishonim and later, which has to be addressed and responded to, regardless of what the gemara explicitly or implicitly says. This is not learning l'shaim shamayim. I referred to it as "Talmudic Talking Points" which one death cult adherent took extreme umbrage at, and labeled me as something that makes no sense, and now says he won't respond to anything I say. B"H.

      Delete
  30. These posts are on the doubtful preposition than anyone here is concerned for Truth..

    The centrist bloggers of the moment fan favorite :Tzitz
    Eliezer

    Who will it be next month?
    Anyone in North America virtually even took notice of him before 15-18 years ago?
    Ultramontanism

    The gemara flat out has a term for those who cherrypick shitas: Rasha

    Nobody considered the Tzitz Eliezer to be a major posek. Even dati leumi considered him mid-level. Go ahead and deny it.
    And even he didn't allow abortion on demand as you guys imply eg Tay Sachs
    Though the previous is really irrelevant because if it wouldn't be him, you would find someone else
    Iirc the Lubavitcher Rebbe was a vocal public advocate of banning abortion completely nationwide


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. fyi Dr Avraham, of Nishmas Avraham, testifies that he brought a couple to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach for an abortion question and RSZA told them that he doesn't know very much about that topic, but that there's another Rav they could go to who knows far more than him on that topic. He then wrote that Rav's name and address on a piece of paper and handed it to them. (The Rav was Rav Eliezer Valdenberg, Tzitz Eliezer.)

      Delete
    2. Old story he did rely on occasion on the TzE when he felt it was inappropriate for him to give the imprimatur

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. Point is: RSZA felt Rav Valdenberg's position on abortion was a legitimate position on abortion from a legitimate posek and that he therefore sometimes directed people to ask their abortion questions to Rav Valdenberg rather than to himself.

      Yes, RSZA disagreed with him on this issue, but did not invalidate him or his psak.

      BTW, I get the sarcasm (it's oh so yeshivish), but what's with the Catholic allusions (imprimatur, ultramontanism)? Is it because we're talking about abortion?

      RSZA never saw himself as giving an imprimatur; he never saw himself as Pope. And that's why he could recognize the legitimacy of opinions he personally disagreed with and never felt the need to disparage or diminish other poskim.

      Good mussar there.



      Delete
    5. Dirty dense smokescreen is once more all this shrewd splicing and hairsplitting.

      The much bigger question is :
      Is our greater goal to redeem the world?
      "Confrontation"? Enlighten the world towards it's Creator?


      Hardly surprising.
      The ones who loudly claimed for their own demographic that mantle ironically whenever push comes to shove throw a sabotaging monkey wrench invariably. And will continue to do so.While covering their tracks. Intentionally.

      Don't bother answering.

      Delete
    6. "RSZA felt Rav Valdenberg's position on abortion was a legitimate position on abortion..."

      This is sophistry. His position on abortion no doubt is aligned with Rav Auerbach's. They might quibble regarding where the line of pikuach nefesh falls, but I have no doubt that there is a line beyond which abortion is forbidden that both have in common. The exceptions do not make the rule. The idea that a psak, or even more than one, permitting abortion in specific situations even regarding the same underlying issue, does not make for a blanket policy.

      I do not know what this rav said regarding Tay-Sachs and abortion. I do not need to know. I do know that you people are liars in other ways, so I assume you are lying or twisting his words on the matter here too.

      Delete
  31. Ultramontanism has been thrown around since Jacob Katz or the good doctor in r&r but centrists, as typical which they invariably get away with,only use it when suited for their purposes
    Magnifying the hypocrisy. Unsurprising.

    Re:impratur.
    That is indeed how Judaism works..
    There is often a value system that an authority believes strongly in, is afraid that it may become subverted,and wishes and expects will become pervasive going forward.
    However for extraordinary circumstances in the moment though hardly ideal there is possibility for a heter - but assuredly it should not ever become bigger than thus and supposed to start and end with that. . Too many disingenuous people out there with potential to rewrite articles and posts.. he had that awareness
    Likely it won't once his name becomes attached to it.
    Precisely what Your crowd has always did
    So sorry. Nice try though

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cohen Y, the sophistry here is that the word "imprimatur" is of Latin origin and is strongly associated with the Church in some way, so your usage is likewise implicit, according to him, endorsement of the Church. It's idiotic, especially as this word entered the vernacular long ago, but it's how these people think. As well, I have seen others here throw out the word ultramontanism. It's sheer retardery that this is the level of argumentation they resort to. This is what happens when you turn university into a form of idolatry.

      Delete
    2. This is what happens when you know you have nothing to say: You focus on the BTW line (ignore the rest of what someone has said) and attack someone ad hominem and with a genetic fallacy to boot.
      And then you congratulate yourself in the mirror for the cleverness of your "gotcha."
      Hope you had fun with that.

      Delete
    3. We all have plenty to say but why is it worth over here the bother? You guys need to have the last word for you rightfully fear you will lose your groupies
      Not worth bothering except insofar to help those few who are genuinely innocent and sincere.
      That site is a sleight of hand cover for near Open Conservodoxy- less daring though and more culturally tolerable possibly.
      This mostly orthoprax in all but name crowd and the bar kamtza chief-lucky fella, how many others have fantasies of making it like you, but don't because they carry more integrity -are forever mean spirited, defensive, and shrill! A tad disguised. So, who cares?
      All the so-called cute rationalism is out the window promptly eg rabbi G ribner, in case any gullible were lulled into believing it existed ever prior in the first place
      ?

      Delete
    4. You hereby have the last word (salad). Happy?

      Delete
  32. Thanks for the clarification!
    Please help me understand : RSZA felt that Tzitz Eliezer was a legitimate posek regarding abortion, while you, Cohen Y, do not.
    And we are expected to assign more weight to what Cohen Y says about Rav Valdenberg than what RSZA says about Rav Valdenberg.

    Did I misunderstood something?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Which side RSZA would be on re: Scotus discussion and the greater issue of abortion, there is little doubt.
    "Missing the Forest for the Trees" eh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cannot say, nor can anyone else, as he was never asked that question.

      (One reason I cannot answer for him was his reluctance to impose his halachic opinions upon others, which was a constant frustration for haredi politicians seeking endorsement. I have no idea why someone would think he would state a position on an American policy issue when he rarely stated opinions on Israeli political issues.)

      However I can say that he would not be on the side of someone who disparages the Tzitz Eliezer or the legitimacy of his opinion on abortion.
      And that is why I commented in the first place.
      For myself, that disrespect WAS the forest.

      Delete
    2. While progress comes in many forms, and your concern for the honor of a T C is
      laudatory
      How could you really though? And what about the non rational side to him ? Likely his
      heter - once again a red herring - was sourced erroneously on value judgement of primitive assumptions

      And while you guys are at these, what about polygamy? What basis for that parochial possibly subjective stricture to remain forbidden? Or pardon me,the zeitgeist of course calls all your shots?

      Delete
    3. I wrote of RSZA's respect for Tzitz Eliezer, that he was a legitimate posek giving a legitimate psak on abortion. Nothing else. You think that "the zeitgeist" called RSZA's shots and that explains why he took a different view of TE and his abortion psak than you do?

      Delete
  34. משום רבי ישמעאל אמרו אף על העוברין מאי טעמיה דרבי ישמעאל דכתיב (בראשית ט, ו) שופך דם האדם באדם דמו ישפך איזהו אדם שהוא באדם הוי אומר זה עובר שבמעי אמו
    It is stated in that book of Aggadot that the Sages said in the name of Rabbi Yishmael: A descendant of Noah is executed even for killing fetuses. The Gemara asks: What is the reason for the opinion of Rabbi Yishmael? The Gemara answers: It is derived from that which is written: “One who sheds the blood of a person, by a person [ba’adam] his blood shall be shed” (Genesis 9:6). The word ba’adam literally means: In a person, and is interpreted homiletically: What is a person that is in a person? You must say: This is a fetus that is in its mother’s womb. Accordingly, a descendant of Noah is liable for killing a fetus.

    https://www.sefaria.org/Sanhedrin.57b.5

    ReplyDelete

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