Monday, August 15, 2022

Can My Daughter Sing?

My eldest daughter is a very talented singer (which she certainly didn't get from me). When she asked me recently if there is any halachic room for her to sing in front of men, I regretfully but confidently replied in the negative. I had never really studied the topic, since it never been of relevance or interest to me, but I knew enough to know that kol b'isha ervah (the voice of a woman is nakedness) is an explicit Gemara that is undisputed. 

So she decided to look into it herself, with a tenacity that she might have gotten from me. When she came back and reported that there are rabbis who permit it under certain circumstances, I didn't believe her. And so I decided to look into it.

I. The Biblical Picture

While there are some famous accounts in Tanach of women singing, such as the songs of Miriam and of Devorah, it can be argued that those were only sung in the presence of other women. However, there are several references in Tanach to women singing in the presence of men:

"When the [troops] came home [and] David returned from killing the Philistine, the women of all the towns of Israel came out singing and dancing to greet King Saul with timbrels, shouting, and sistrums." (I Shmuel 18:6)

Kohelet, taken to be Shlomo HaMelech, says that he had female singers:

"I further amassed silver and gold and treasures of kings and provinces; and I got myself male and female singers, as well as the luxuries of commoners—coffers and coffers of them." (Kohelet 2:8)

And we also find the following account:

"Of the sons of the priests, the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, the sons of Barzillai ... they also had 200 male and female singers" (Ezra 2:61.65). 

Rashi and Metzudat David explain that these singers accompanied the people back from Bavel, to add celebration to the journey. 

Now, of course Biblical Judaism was very different from rabbinic Judaism, and we don't pasken from Tenach. Still, at the same time, we do try to harmonize halacha with Tanach. And all these verses show that it can't be unthinkable for men to listen to women sing. And, if we take a closer look at the sources in the Talmud and Rishonim, we will be able to actually understand these verses, rather than studiously avoid thinking about them, as people normally do.

II. The Talmudic Prohibition

The primary source regarding women singing is usually taken to be Berachot 24a. It begins with the following discussion:

"Rabbi Yitzḥak stated: An exposed handbreadth in a woman constitutes nakedness. Regarding which halakha was this said? If you say that it serves to prohibit looking at an exposed handbreadth, didn’t Rav Sheshet say ...Anyone who gazes (with impure intentions) upon a woman’s little finger is considered as if he gazed upon her genitals? Rather, it is referring even to his wife, while he is reciting the Shema." (Note - I do have a question on this Gemara: why didn't it just answer simply that whereas Rav Sheshet is referring to a case of looking with impure intentions, Rav Yitzchak is talking about seeing areas that are normally uncovered even without impure intentions? Why does it need to add that it is referring to reciting Shema and qualify that it is referring to his wife? I'd be grateful if anyone can suggest an answer to this.)

The Gemara then proceeds to list three further aspects of women that are rated as nakedness, but it does not clarify whether it is adding things to the category of Rav Sheshet (i.e. things that are generally prohibited) or the category of R. Yitzchak (i.e. things that are prohibited during Shema):

"Rav Chisda said: A woman’s leg is considered nakedness...

Shmuel said: A woman’s voice is considered nakedness, as it is stated: “Sweet is your voice and your countenance is alluring” (Song of Songs 2:14). 

Rav Sheshet said: A woman’s hair is considered nakedness... "

Rosh and others explain that these additions are referring to general prohibitions, while Raavya and Ritva explain that they are things that are prohibited during the recital of Shema. 

Whichever way one explains the Gemara, an important point to clarify is what is meant by a woman's "voice." I have seen various contemporary halachic works state that various authorities "clarify" that the Gemara is referring to a woman singing. However, these are not "clarifications" - they are interpretations. They are disputed by other, earlier authorities, who understand the Gemara as referring to a woman's speaking voice, and draw no distinction between speaking and singing. 

Furthermore, these authorities have far stronger grounds for their case. The reason is that Shmuel's statement that kol b'isha erva also appears in another Talmudic passage, where it is explicitly referring to speaking rather than singing:

"Later on, Rav Nachman suggested: Let the Master send greetings of peace to my wife Yalta. Rav Yehuda said to him: This is what Shmuel says: A woman’s voice is considered nakedness." (Kiddushin 70b)

It may sound surprising that a non-singing voice should be considered problematic, but we find the same sentiment elsewhere in the Gemara:

"Rachav aroused lust with her name, Yael with her voice" (Megillah 15a)

But can it really be that it is prohibited to listen to a woman talk? Rashba (Berachot 24a) explains that Shmuel is referring to speech which gives rise to feelings of intimacy, which is the context of the story with Rav Nachman and Rav Yehuda.

III. The Development of the Halacha

Rav Moshe Lichtenstein has a fascinating article in which he gives an unprejudiced analysis of the halachah. He notes that Rashba, as pointed out above, explains the Gemara in accordance with its straightforward meaning, in which there is no distinction between speaking and singing; the only relevant factor is the content and context. R. Lichtenstein adds that Rambam likewise only prohibits listening to a woman's voice in cases where it is done for lust. And the third of the major Rishonim to deal with the topic, Raaviah, also says that prohibition of listening to a woman's voice does not apply when one is accustomed to it.

The Shulchan Aruch mentions the prohibition regarding a woman's voice and does not distinguish between song and speech. It is with the commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch (Beit Shmuel and Magen Avraham) that we find a distinction being drawn between song and speech. As summarized by Sdei Chemed, most Acharonim follow in this path and place a blanket prohibition on listening to song; but Divrei Chefetz, following similar reasoning to Rashba, permits listening to song as long as it does not cause lust. Sdei Chemed says that one should follow the majority opinion, but notes that the opinion of Divrei Chefetz is cogent. This view is also cited in the famous ruling of R. Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg in Seridei Esh, about whom Rav Lichtenstein points out that he was particularly qualified to balance the requirements of halacha with the challenges and needs of the era.

Rav Lichtenstein summarizes the matter with a very important point about halachic methodology. He notes that when there is a halachic position which is the dominant view among the Rishonim, and still finds support among the Acharonim, and has been applied in the modern era by a prominent posek who is particularly attuned to the circumstances of the era, then it is a perfectly legitimate position to take. To this we can add that it is a view which is the most straightforward explanation of the Gemara, and also allows us to accept all the Scriptural verses about great men listening to women singing.

IV. Putting It Into Practice

Thus, there is a legitimate halachic view that a woman's voice is only forbidden when it causes lust. But this immediately raises a question: How can we decide when it is a case that causes lust? Rav David Bigman, Rosh Yeshivah of Maaleh Gilboa, has an article on this topic in which he presents five criteria via which to distinguish permissible from forbidden speech/song:

1. Context and atmosphere
2. The words being said
3. The musical style
4. Dress
5. Body language

Of course, even with these five criteria, the "devil is in the details" - there is still a lot of ambiguity and grey areas. But then, that is true of tzniyut in general. (Incidentally, Rav Bigman additionally argues that these five criteria should also apply to men singing for women!)

So, does all this mean that I am comfortable with my daughter singing in front of men?

Well, it's complicated. At the same time as being very proud of my daughter's talents, I must admit that it's a difficult adjustment for me. 

But if there's one thing that my daughter respects me for, it's my giving her honest answers. And I have to admit that she is correct - there is halachic legitimacy for it.

 

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263 comments:

  1. From the sources you cite, isn't the prohibition against listening rather than singing? I see nothing which would prohibit a woman from singing. Rather, the potential prohibition applies to the listener.

    So your daughter should be allowed to sing as long as any listeners have a chance to leave before she starts. It is up to the audience members to judge (based on circumstances and their interpretation of Halacha) if they would be prohibited from listening.

    One additional issue worth investigating. Is there a distinction between a woman's actual voice and a recording of that voice played back later?

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    1. Perhaps Miss Slifkin would be able to serve them [real] bacon, as long as they have an opportunity to leave first. Or if it's being served in the next room anyway. -?-

      If one assumes there is a prohibition against listening, one cannot "serve" that which is prohibited to one to whom it is prohibited. Either it would be lifnei iveir or m'sayei'a lidvar aveira.

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    2. Until around a month ago, I never cared that much about the Modern Orthodox world, because I always mistakenly assumed that, as their name implies, they are modernizing Orthodoxy, and I am perfectly fine with traditional Orthodoxy. However, after chancing upon this site and learning that in fact WE are the reformers and the MODOX are practicing the original Orthodoxy, I decided to sit up and take notice how the MODOX halachic sausage is made. Here are my takeaways:
      In a piece described as RNS as ‘unprejudiced’, Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein declares quite clearly right out of the gate of his unambiguous agenda “given the cultural changes that have taken place regarding the status of women and their place in society”, and that “the issue demands halakhic treatment, not only regarding religious society itself – which has also undergone and is undergoing internal significant changes in this matter.”
      Without getting too much involved in the substance of his ‘heter’, the Rashba, whom Rabbi Lichtenstein blames this ‘heter’ on, himself makes the differentiation, but only with SPEECH. With song he seems to imply that there is no difference what the intent or circumstance is.
      One thing that really bothers me is that all the heterim to my knowledge that the poskim issue, are based on new circumstances. For example, R’ Moshe Feinstein’s heter of Cholov Stam was based on the new metzius of the FDA enforcing food purity. In traditional Orthodoxy, there is no such thing that someone living 2,000 years after the chasimus haTalmud can invent a new heter for a situation that has been in existence since the creation of mankind due to ‘cultural changes.’ Women have always had voices and enjoy singing. Men are born with a yetzer hara. The gemara and subsequent poskim do not have an asterisk in kol b’isha erva.
      One would expect that if such a heter were valid, SOMEONE from amongst the poskim over the last 2,000 years would have told us about it. Especially as the gemara is quite unambiguous and does differentiate between different circumstances. Even the Seridei Eish, who did not think of this ‘heter’ of Rabbi Lichtenstein, describes being uncomfortable with his heter of women and men singing together. I’m not getting into whether or not his heter is valid, but this is a great case study of the proverbial slippery slope for those seeking reforms.
      I believe that this is a major difference between MODOX and real Judaism. While the real poskim will at times seek heterim for new circumstances, it is always withing the framework of what previous poskim held, and the new heterim are borne out of new circumstances. Only a MODOX rabbi would attempt to create a ‘heter’ out of thin air.

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    3. Mekharker 5:16 pm.
      "not my belief but...." A major factor may be a difference in attitude to the "Mesorah" i.e. the idea that current practice is the same as moshe rabeinu's ( not to be confused with the "Mesorah" i.e. Pirush Hatorah)
      If you believe that our practice is unchanged you may be more likely to be madche pesukim not conforming to our customs and maybe understand the gemara as prohibiting that which we dont do.
      However if your view is that our practice has evolved over the centuries ( like waiting six hours: the rema (yore deah 89 ) rules like tosafos that no definite time is necessary between meat and milk says that the "minhag hapashut" is one hour and recommends 6 (quote below) how many ashkenazim wait 1 hour?) Then current practice is a much smaller factor and you may be more open to learn the pesukim simply and maybe learn a different peshat in the gemmara.
      You might say the reason women don't sing in public is cultural and it was assumed that we rule in accordance with a certain peshat in the gemara however now that the culture changed and there is a "need" (shas hadechak) rav Lichtenstein informs us that we never ruled like that peshat rather we always (pre cultural aberration) permitted it and now we are returning to the "Mesorah"
      As for the slippery slope - i think their target demographic has different needs and risks than your community. (i.e. the danger of alienating the women of their kehilla may cause greater damage to their community than the potential lowering of tznius standards).

      Shulkhan arukh yore deah 89:rema:
      ויש אומרים דאין צריכין להמתין שש שעות רק מיד אם סלק ובירך ברכת המזון מותר על ידי קנוח והדחה (תוס' ומרדכי פכ"ה והגהות אשיר"י והג"ה מיימוני פ"ט דמ"א וראבי"ה) והמנהג הפשוט במדינות אלו להמתין אחר אכילת הבשר שעה אחת ואוכלין אחר כך גבינה מיהו צריכים לברך גם כן ברכת המזון אחר הבשר (ע"פ הארוך והגהות ש"ד) דאז הוי כסעודה אחרת דמותר לאכול לדברי המקילין אבל בלא ברכת המזון לא מהני המתנת שעה ואין חילוק אם המתין השעה קודם ברכת המזון או אחר כך (ד"ע ממהרא"י ולאפוקי או"ה) ואם מצא בשר בין שיניו אחר השעה צריך לנקרו ולהסירו (ד"ע ממשמעות הר"ן הנ"ל) ויש אומרים דאין לברך ברכת המזון על מנת לאכול גבינה (ארוך בשם מהר"ח) אבל אין נזהרין בזה ויש מדקדקים להמתין שש שעות אחר אכילת בשר לגבינה וכן נכון לעשות:

      YidPoshut

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    4. YidPoshut:

      I never said that our practice is the exact same as Moshe Rabbeinu's. Of course it has evolved over the millennia! However there is a clear paper trail as to what was added when. Takanos derabanan, chumros of Rishonim (of which Basar B'chalav abounds) and of Achronim. Chazal and Poskim do not have any compunctions with adding safeguards to the Torah, as the mishna in Pirkei Avos teaches, and as Chazal praise Shlomo Hamelech.

      The problem is when people come along with devious ways of UNDOING Judaism. Here is a perfect example. A forward thinking Rav who penned a heter based on a valid halachic concept (despite being uncomfortable with it) spawned others to completely ignore an open and undisputed isur (either d'rabanan or d'oraysa as we already discussed, but clearly discussed by chazal) and cite him as precedent.

      As to your comment about the slippery slope. Yes, I agree 100%. If the MODOX would call a spade a spade and own up to to this that they are modernizing Orthodoxy, I would leave them to keep burning through it until they're done. What enraged me and brought me to start commenting here is Slifkin's assertion that THEY are practicing real Judaism and WE are the radical reformers.

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    5. Mekharker:

      "What enraged me and brought me to start commenting here is Slifkin's assertion that THEY are practicing real Judaism and WE are the radical reformers."

      I can't speak for RNS, and I don't know his position for certain.

      However, from my own personal perspective Modern Orthodox ARE practicing real Judaism!! However, [the non-modern orthodox / the Chareidim - or whoever the "WE" in
      your statement refers to] are NOT radical reformers.

      The Chareidim are simply afraid / anxious / scared / timid (Chareidi); they are afraid to be modern. They are stuck in the pre-modern era due to fear of losing what they have.

      And in a way it makes sense, Yahdut is precious beyond words. Who wouldn't be afraid of losing it?

      However, Yahdut is also an amazing, living, breathing, organic religion. Unfortunately, some of our most devout brethren have too much fear to permit them to continue to allow the religion to live and breathe (as it had been doing for millenia - and continues to do). It's precisely the OPPOSITE of being REFORMERS. It's a state of being radically stuck in the past, the stale past. It's really incredibly sad and heartbreaking from my perspective. And my soul cries out for the Chareidim who tremble so much that they can't move forward.

      As the Edah slogan once proclaimed, being modern and Orthodox takes great courage: "The courage to be modern and Orthodox."

      Instead of fear and trembling, we need courage to serve G-D in a brave new world; to quote Moshe Rabbeinu when telling Yehoshua it's time for the dawning of a new day: "Chazak Ve'Ematz" Be Strong and be Courageous.


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    6. (Instead of) [With a sense of] fear and trembling, we need [to exhibit the]courage to serve G-D in a brave new world; to quote Moshe Rabbeinu when telling Yehoshua it's time for the dawning of a new day: "Chazak Ve'Ematz" Be Strong and be Courageous.
      kt

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    7. Jeffrey, I pity you more than you pity me. I do not know where you live and which Chareidim you are in contact with, but the people that I know for the most part maintain happy productive lives, earn an honest living, and are careful about dikduk hamitzvos. Yes, they are involved in the world to the extent of earning a livelihood and other day to day matters, but NO, do not embrace secular culture, celebrities, movies and education (as an ideal that is, other than for what is directly needed for earning a living). They feel blessed to the Am HaTorah and devote serious time for Torah study, whether they are learning or working. I never saw any stats on the MODOX world, but the suicide rate in the secular society which you so embrace is FAR higher than that of the Chareidi world.

      So no, we are not afraid/anxious/scared/timid. Yes, we are true to our Mesora and attempt to follow the Torah to it's truest form as much as possible. If anyone is afraid/anxious/scared/timid, I think it is those who try to mutilate Judaism to conform to today's society. 

      This Kol Isha case study is a perfect example. We can watch the process unfold before our eyes. How it begins with a custom in Germany to allow boys and girls to sing Shabbos zemiros together which was done as a hora'as sha'ah (I saw some on this site question that, but if they would have been educated enough to look it up (Shu"t Seridei Aish v1 s. 77:6,9) they would have seen he is quite clearly uncomfortable with it) and has transformed into the complete and unequivocal negation of a prohibition, to the extent that women are being permitted to perform in front of men! Just make sure your skirt is not too high above your knees, don't dance too much and don't say anything explicit.

      I'm not saying that all Jews throughout all the ages kept the Torah perfectly. There are many documented instances otherwise. The innovation of the Modern Orthodox, as R' Shalom Schwadron points out, is that when dealing with the generations nisyonos, instead of throwing up their hand and saying 'not everyone is perfect, this is the nisayon of today's generation, hopefully they'll repent or their kids will be better', the MODOX diabolically attempt to co-opt Judaism and claim that it is in fact permitted! Maybe even a MItzva if they are in an especially creative mood!! 

      This is exactly how Reform started and we see where they are today. In fact, as I learned on this site, the early maskilim are in fact glorified by many of the MODOX. According to the stats
      https://www.srugim.co.il/165178-%D7%A1%D7%9B%D7%A0%D7%94-%D7%94%D7%AA%D7%95%D7%A4%D7%A2%D7%94-%D7%A9%D7%9E%D7%90%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9E%D7%AA-%D7%A2%D7%9C-%D7%94%D7%A6%D7%99%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%94%D7%93%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%AA
      30% of kids raised MODOX go off the derech, and another decent percentage become Chareidi (I heard once that it is around 10% but could not readily find any real stats). A 40% defection rate. Talk about a failed system! Your system is bankrupt and your kids know it.

      That does not mean the Chareidi Jewry is perfect. Far from it! We definitely have our follies and foibles and things that need improvement, like all human beings. My point is that this attitude of embracing secular culture and compromising Judaism to conform with it is heading in the WRONG DIRECTION, whereas the Chareidi attitude of focusing on the lifestyle that Hashem gave us and tradition handed down for 2,000 years is heading in the right direction. Yes it is not exactly the same as Chazal practiced and there are definitely changes in practice, but the overall practice and attitude is the same. 

      Chazak Chazak V'NISCHAZEK

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    8. What I mentioned about just making sure that your skirt is not too high above your knees, not dancing too much and not say anything explicit, don't worry, it is not for long. In your kids generation, the MODOX rabbis will take it to the next level and allow them to dress and act like showgirls, the same way today's MODOX rabbis took it a level further then yesterday's Seridei Aish.

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    9. @מכרכר בכל עוז,
      Perhaps analogous heterim in recent generations to this one from formidable, widely respected poskim would be Rav Shlomo Zalman's and Tzitz Eliezer's heter to walk behind a woman nowadays, since women are in the street, this no longer is necessarily seen to cause hirhur. Also aruch hashulchan's and Rav Moshe Feinstein's stating that hair is not considered erva nowadays because so many women don't cover their hair and therefore no longer causes hirhur (not that they are allowed to not cover their hair, due to the gmara in ksubos, but since people get used to it, it loses the erva status). There is also tosfos at the end of kiddushin about hakol leshem shamayim who allows women to do things for men that previously wasn't allowed due to societal norms, there's also a maharshal on the topic. I humbly didn't agree with certain things that Rav M Lichtenstein wrote in his article while also recognizing him to be a far bigger talmid chochom than myself (although I know of talmidei chochomim who respect Rav Mosheh who also disagree with aspects of what he wrote) it is ignorant to think that there is not a tradition within great halachic thinkers historically to defend the practice of their time (I limited myself to examples that came to mind offhand related to societal norms changing what would cause hirhur and be considered erva by universally accepted greats)

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    10. Mekharker,

      A linchpin of your stance seems to be what you said here: "While the real poskim will at times seek heterim for new circumstances, it is always withing the framework of what previous poskim held, and the new heterim are borne out of new circumstances. Only a MODOX rabbi would attempt to create a ‘heter’ out of thin air."

      Further down this thread you point out that: "The poskim say that the isur is to look at what is normally covered in that society. So if they didn't cover their ankles and toes there is nothing wrong."

      This is to concede one of the arguments dearest to Modern Orthodoxy, namely, that halacha recognizes that standards are relative to society, thereby creating a large amount of space to apply halachic concepts differently to how they were applied in the past on the basis of current sociological reality.

      I don't want to confuse apples and oranges. The first quote is about kol b'isha erva and the second is about tzniyut. However, since the underlying principle, as outlined by the poskim, is the same in both arenas, I think we can say that the heterim regarding kol b'isha are not made out of thin air, but rather are based on an existing halachic principle.

      (And if I may, without being patronising, kol hakavod to you for the way you have throughout this post presented your arguments based on content and in a civilized manner. By doing so you generated much thoughtful discussion. And this is opposed to how both many of Rabbi Slifkin's detractors and myself have operated over the years. )

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    11. The main problem with the heter is not just the actual Gemara reasoning (although that is very, very questionable also, ואכמ"ל), but the type of change it is recognizing- the motivation for the heter. If somebody says walking behind a woman nowadays is permitted, given the cultural changes that have taken place regarding the status of women and their place in society, that is problematic. If somebody says we don't have עבדים nowadays because we now believe all human beings are created equal, that is problematic. If somebody says we are not careful about the איסורים of לפני אידיהן because Judaism has taken a more "universalist" approach, that is problematic. If somebody says women are accepted as עדים nowadays, given the cultural changes that have taken place regarding the status of women and their place in society, that is problematic.

      If somebody says we need to allow קול אשה based on tenuous reasoning of a דעת יחיד, given the cultural changes that have taken place regarding the status of women and their place in society, that is problematic. It is the same issue with women rabbis, which has a far stronger halachic basis to permit than this.

      The Torah has a value system, and although it is not always clear, it is sometimes clear which values are totally foreign to it.

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    12. Mekharker:

      "but the people that I know for the most part maintain happy productive lives, earn an honest living, and are careful about dikduk hamitzvos...They feel blessed to the Am HaTorah and devote serious time for Torah study, whether they are learning or working." this perfectly describes the Modern Orthodox as well. The Chareidim have no Monopoly on Yahdut, Torah, or Mitzvot.

      "we are true to our Mesora and attempt to follow the Torah to it's truest form as much as possible." again simply a decription of Modern Orthodox. Chareidim have no monopoly over Mesora.

      "If anyone is afraid/anxious/scared/timid, I think it is those who try to mutilate Judaism to conform to today's society" I'm not sure that's necessarily a sign of fright/anxiety/timidness, perhaps just disinterest or something else, but whatever it is, it certainly DOES NOT describe Modern Orthodox.

      "the MODOX diabolically attempt to co-opt Judaism and claim that it is in fact permitted! Maybe even a MItzva if they are in an especially creative mood!!" this is simply not true; it's made up by those who simply wish to disparage the True Mesorah which is in the possession of the Modern Orthodox in order to keep their own community members from seeing the light so that they can control them like sheep in a frightened state of being stuck in the past. again - its due to the fear (charada) that they have of losing their precious Torah - a noble fear, but a fear nonetheless.

      "This is exactly how Reform started and we see where they are today." simply an irrelevant red herring.

      "A 40% defection rate. Talk about a failed system! Your system is bankrupt and your kids know it." I don't know whether your stats are true or not, and it doesn't matter - it's simply another irrelevant red herring. I said above it takes COURAGE to be modern and Orthodox!! why? because it's not easy. I admit it's harder to be Modern Orthodox than to sit back, put your legs up and be Chareidi, insulating oneself from the entire outside world. OH - but being Modern Orthodox is SOOOOO worth it!! Staying true to the True Mesorah and facing and confronting the fear and living a full glorious life of True Avodat Hashem all while fully engaged with the entire world created by and cared for by the Ribbono she OLAM (the full OLAM) is worth the sacrifice that it might be difficult for some percentage. Again, I realize that that's the fear of the Chareidim. I get it. I understand it. I feel sad for them. (and for the children who might not be able to cut it).

      "My point is that this attitude of embracing secular culture and compromising Judaism to conform with it is heading in the WRONG DIRECTION" Modern Orthodox DOES NOT Compromise Judaism. Embrace, Engage with, confront secular life head on? perhaps. compromise Judaism? No Way!! again this is just false disparagement from the camp that harbors great fear, so great, that they named themselves those who fear (Chareidim).

      My own Father-in-Law was born in 1943 in Poland. Yes, a full year after the Wannsee conference. Can you just imagine the COURAGE it took for his parents to decide to bring a new Jewish child into such a world? Thanks to that courage, those parents had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren on the entire spectrum of Jewish life. Some who are more courageous in their engagement with Judaism, and some who are less so; but all of whom understand and owe their very lives to that Courage.








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    13. Not a fan 1:46 pm
      Maskim to the last pargraph!
      Mekharkers point based comments and responses were refreshing!

      YidPoshut

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    14. Jefferey, I really would like to respond to you point by point but I haven't got the time. But either we are talking about two different MODOXes or you don't even know what true limud Hatorah and dikduk Hamitzvos look like! As I discussed at length in my previous reincarnation when I used to post under the pseudonym Marc Loberbaum or ML, the MODOX are severely lacking in these areas. I will copy and paste Marc's comment from last month to you here. I was still in shock at that point and quite insulted about the insinuations of Chareidi Jewry being reformist, but I have since followed this site a little more and now see that the whole thing is one big joke.*

      Here's Marc's tirade:

      "...I live in a New Jersey suburb, work for a living and have Yekkishe ancestry. Yet I feel I have more in common with a Satmar Chasid living in Williamsburg or a Yemenite living in Israel, than I do with the MO community. We all define our Judaism as fidelity to Halacha and yes, I will use the word - mesorah. Trying to keep Torah and Mitzvos as we perceive previous generations have done. Not attempting to adapt them to modern times. I happen to have grown up in a neighborhood in close proximity to a Modern Orthodox one and I have a relative who is MO so I am quite familiar with what goes on there. The vast majority of them have a complete ignorance or even indifference to some of the most basic mitzvos, and at best seek heterim to try to get out of whatever they can (there are of course some notable exceptions such as R' Herschel Shachter, but incidentally, I was told by a talmid of his that he actually considers himself somewhat chareidi). Walk in to a seforim store in Lakewood and you will find aisle after aisle of seforim published over the last 2,000 years. Walk in to any shul and you will find floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with seforim and people coming to learn before work, after work, and even during work. Walk in to a seforim store in a New Jersey Modern Orthodox community however, and you will find a couple of seforim in English and a bunch of Judaica items. The shuls have almost no seforim and are empty besides for tefilos and maybe if your lucky a daf yomi shiur. So I think a lot of people are quite incredulous when they see you trumpeting that the Modern Orthodox are the real thing and Chareidim are the impostors. There have been many shitos and opinions over the centuries, and I am sure one can find shitos that the prevalent Chareidi society do not jive with.

      Delete
    15. But like I said in my original post, to say that Modern Orthodox is the real thing and chareidim are the impostors is either completely ignorant, or disingenuous."

      I noticed some other pretty nutty things in this last post of yours, specifically that we must embrace secular culture because Hashem is the king of the whole world, even secular culture. So we can disregard לא תלכו בחוקות הגויים, because Hashem is the king of the whole world??!! And that it takes courage to watch movies and be drawn to secular entertainment?! It always looked so enticing to me! Even if we were to assume that there was no inherent problem of trying to lead a dual life of Torah and Mitzvos and immersing in secular culture, AND one's Judaism was not compromised from it (which is NOT true, the OU recently put out a study that majority of MODOX teens admit to texting on Shabbos. My FIL is community posek in a large tri-state community with a considerable MODOX representation and told me that he gets many hilchos nidda shailos from the general population but very sparse from the MODOX, I guess you are all such big Talmidei Chachomim! In fact, I can't even get anyone to take me up my challenge that MODOX teens are mezane together!), the fact that your kids cannot seem to keep up with this 'brave' lifestyle should give you pause and perhaps consider living a more 'cowardly' lifestyle.


      * I also have since read Marc Shapiro's great book Changing the Immutable and see that even the most strident criticism of change within Chareidi society does not chalk up to wholesale reform of the corpus Torah and Mesora as we know it, rather a compilation of many individual forms of censorship. If that is the entire charge of the Chareidi 'reformation', I am less than impressed.

      Delete
    16. Reb HGL (the irony of your name never fails to amuse)...if you are using the Torah - or anything - to justify slavery and misogyny, that is problematic.

      Delete
    17. And about the Reform being an 'irrelevant red herring', I think it is in fact very relevant schmaltz herring!! Both of you started with an attitude of adapting Judaism to fit with the times, and both had an astonishingly fast slippery slope in terms of what they permit and alarmingly high dropout rate from amongst the youth (I'm sure you know that only two of Mendelsohn own children remained Jewish https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_Mendelssohn#Family). Why make the same mistakes as others if you can learn from them instead??

      זכור ימות עולם בינו שנות דור ודור!

      Delete
    18. YidPoshut, 'not a fan’:

      Huh??!! Don't you see I am going out of my way to be nasty, abrasive, and annoying??!! What more do I need to do, employ my French??!!

      @#$%&!!

      I am a raging, frothing-at-the-mouth Talibanist, stuck in the 18th century! Rah rah rah!

      not a fan,*****, Daniel:

      Ok, now that we've cleared that up, I don't think that you understand what I am saying! Obviously (for more reasons than one), the MODOX are not too familiar with Hilchos Tznius. I was not implying to **** that because the times have changed, now it is permitted! (I know that **** and Daniel still do not seem to get what I am saying and I guessed since as a Chareidi these things are so obvious to me we are talking over each other's heads). What I was saying is that the poskim (MB 75:1,2 in the name of the PM”G, CH”A, E”R) are VERY CLEAR that there are two levels two tznius:

      A. One is a woman's thighs and forearms, which must remain covered regardless of the prevalent custom of that culture and society.

      B. The second, is that if in a specific region, they have the custom to keep that part of the body covered, even if it is BELOW the knees or the elbows, it must be left covered, because since men are not accustomed to seeing it, it will cause arousal when left uncovered. For example, if at the time of Matan Torah when Klal Yisrael was on the exalted level and standing by Har Sinai, the custom was not to wear stocking, one need not wear stockings. However, if in the 19th century shtetlach in Poland the prevalent custom was to wear stockings, then one must wear stockings in since the men were not accustomed to seeing women’s lower legs!

      However, even if a woman were to live in Tel Aviv (or RBS for that matter!!), and the locals go with their thighs and forearms uncovered, there is still a chiyuv to cover at least that. This is clear in the Mishna Berura 75:1,2 . I know the radical Mishna Berura might be a hard pill for some of you who are so medakdeik b'mitzvos to swallow (listening Jeffery?), but he brings it in the name of the Rishonim and earlier poskim. In fact, Rashi explains the gemara in Brachos that we are discussing of shok b’isha erva as not referring to Krias Shma, rather an isur to look at as erva. So too with a woman’s forearms, the gemara in kesubos 72b says that a married woman who does not cover her forearms is Overes Al Das Yehudis and is divorced without a kesuba.

      Daniel, the Rambam brings that gemara of forearms (Ishus 24:12). He does not talk openly about thighs, but as a male, I can assure you that they are more alluring than forearms. I also did not find any discussion amongst the Poskim that the Rambam dissents about thighs. Interestingly enough, the Rambam does not even mention thighs in regards to Krias Shma, and perhaps had the Pshat of the Bais Yosef in the name of the Rashba and the Raavad, look at the beginning of the Bais Yosef in 75 and you’ll see what I mean.

      Moshe A, I think this addresses of your point as well. There are definitely aspects of tznius that are dependent on time and place. Not rooted in actual Halacha in essence but forbidden because it is provocative in that location. However, the problem is reforming things that were set as red lines by Chazal and the Poskim, because it does not jive with modern secular society.

      Delete
    19. Jeffery, what I find particularly entertaining is your denial that you are NOT modifying Judaism. I would really like to devote some time to compiling all the different 'scholarly' MODOX articles out there of MODOX rabbis doing just that!! Off the top of my head, I recall seeing an article from Moshe Tendler around ten years ago saying that women are kasher l'eidus nowadays, even though the gemara learns out from a drasha that they are not! Efraim Mirvis and other leading MODOX rabbis have a very permissible attitude to LGBTQRSTUV+ (did I miss any of the latest sexual orientations? If so, no offense. I still 'tolerate' you. Not. GO TO HELL). Rabbi Lichtenstein now permits Kol Isha. Rabbi Kraus does not need husbands to give a Get anymore, he can undo the kidushin on his own. Again, I never really paid that much attention to all this garbage and thought it was self-evident that you guys are reforming Judaism, but now that I see that some of you are in denial, if I get a chance I would like to present you with a more comprehensive list of 'innovations' that you guys are promoting.

      Delete
    20. @Jeff:

      MODOX teens texting on Shabbos:
      https://www.jta.org/2011/06/22/ny/for-many-orthodox-teens-half-shabbos-is-a-way-of-life

      And this was 11 years ago, when smartphones were still new.

      Delete
    21. In my rant to 'not a fan', the word forearm should be replaced with upper-arm. Not that I ever thought that forearms had that halacha :-), just confused the term.

      Delete
    22. ".if you are using the Torah - or anything - to justify slavery and misogyny, that is problematic."

      This is a very good demonstration of the difference between followers of the Torah and secularists.

      Delete
    23. Anon 7:27 AM:

      Yes, the Torah CONDONES slavery! Not the slavery of 1800s America. Far from it! But slavery nonetheless. And if you are referring to Hilchos Tznius as misogynistic, then I am a PROUD MISOGYNIST!!! And it is not problematic! What IS problematic is that you have are completely immersed in secular society to the point that you see the world through a lens of 21st century liberal values!

      Delete
    24. "...if you are using the Torah - or anything - to justify slavery and misogyny, that is problematic."

      Here's a nice response to you, just change the word 'Chazal' to 'the Torah'.
      http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2022/08/can-my-daughter-sing.html?showComment=1660631547886#c6576280571669203726

      See also the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Avadim.

      Then think of the pithy line of a leading 20th century rabbi, "Men bullied women into feminism".

      Delete
    25. It's clear that מכרכר בכל עוז is absolutely correct. We have to protect our ancient Torah heritage from those who make "compromises" and "adjustments for the era." Whether it's men wearing pants (which our holy prophets and sages certainly did not do), or unmarried girls not covering their hair, or girls learning Torah, or men getting paid to learn Torah, we must stop all these dangerous reforms.

      Delete
    26. The sock puppet is really scraping the bottom of the barrel here, comparing gender roles to men's clothing styles. But even within his silly error, he makes another silly error. If somebody would come along and say we should change our hats and jackets because we should dress more like secular society, that would be almost as bad. If we dressed however they dressed 3000 years ago, and somebody would come along and say we should wear pants, that would be almost as bad. If our פנויות covered their hair, and somebody would come along and say it is totally fine to uncover because women should be "liberated", that would be even worse. Kapish?

      Delete
    27. True Zealot, you smugly think you are so clever, but in fact you are a TRUE CLOWN, and an even bigger one than me! There is no prohibition of men wearing pants, unless they are too tight ( ), or of single girls leaving their hair uncovered, unless it is a region where it the custom for them to do so in which case it is considered provocative (see my tirade about this last night. I believe the Bais Yosef in 75 mentions this in the name of the Rosh). These are CULTURAL changes! If for example, in Tunisia they wore they wore purple robes, it would not be consider changing Judaism if their descendants were to adapt a different mode of clothing!

      In terms of women learning Torah, you are 100% correct! That is why WE DON'T teach them Gemara (what the isur is referring to) and only teach them Tanach, Hashkafa, and the Halachos that are relevant to them. And the isur for men getting supported to learn Torah, that is the shita of the Rambam, not from Chazal, but many of the Rishonim already disagreed with him, most prominently the Tashbatz, whose shita is brought in the Rama. BUT (RNS, ARE YOU LISTENING??), I am confident that even the Rambam would agree that a society that is against supporting people in learning, and as a result of them not having a sizable presence of Talmidei Chachomim, their Judaism seems to be disintegrating, would be better served disregarding his ruling about this then to become completely secular! Come on, if you guys are so into the Seridei Aish's Ais La'asos, this one is a slam dunk!!

      (Sorry, I know that people like when I post my sources but it is Erev Shabbos and I do not have time to look everything up right now!)

      Delete
    28. Mekharker:

      All of your statements are little more than rubbish. whining about a slippery slope. oh no, teenagers act like ... teenagers (shocker!!). rabbis and communities look at the world and live as a part of it. oh no!!

      "Trying to keep Torah and Mitzvos as we perceive previous generations have done. Not attempting to adapt them to modern times." except that's not true. many Chareidim, specifically don't act like previous generations - intentionally, (see Rupture and Reconstruction by Haym Soloveitchik)

      "But like I said in my original post, to say that Modern Orthodox is the real thing and chareidim are the impostors is either completely ignorant, or disingenuous." you are the one who keeps saying this, repeatedly. I never did. I just said that Chareidim have an overwhelming fear of modernity (which I understand because Torah is precious) and so prefer to insulate themselves rater than fully embracing the true mesorah of a living breathing tradition.

      "that we must embrace secular culture because Hashem is the king of the whole world, even secular culture. So we can disregard לא תלכו בחוקות הגויים, because Hashem is the king of the whole world??!! And that it takes courage to watch movies and be drawn to secular entertainment?!" certainly "לא תלכו" has been unnecessarily broadened (but that's for another discussion); however relevantly, being able to watch (some) movies while drawing appropriate boundaries and mainting fidelity to Judaism, torah, mitzvot, and mesorah... yes it takes courage.


      "what I find particularly entertaining is your denial that you are NOT modifying Judaism." I'm not entirely sure you said what you intended to say (denying...NOT), but I understand your point. What you fail to accept is that Judaism is constantly evolving and changing. As I said it is a living breathin religion. it is dynamic. in that sense, yes modifications are occuring, and have been since Moshe Rabbeinu. Heck, even G-d had to make changes for Tzlefchad's daughters, those who carried Yosef's bones, and in many other cases. modifications are new, and they are not alien or improper in anyway - and Modern Orthodoxy handles that squarely 100% within the Mesorah. It is the Chareidim who decided to freeze dry Yiddishkeit and treat it like a museum exhibit (sorry RNS, no insult intended to your good work) rather than allow it to continue to develop, evolve and grow as it always has from day one.


      Delete
    29. Mekharker regarding modox teens texting on shabbos

      I found this shocking. So i followed up on your linked article with some phone calls to rabanim / askanim ( yeshivish style/ lakewood/monsey/boro park) i have communication with.
      Turns out this is also a problem ( they didn't give me numbers just "common " "not common" very common" "common but not very common " vekhulu) in lakewood and brooklyn (non modox) one story told was of a father complaining about the yeshiva not enforcing its no tv rule in that the boys were discussing tv shows and his son was left out. The menahel told him that they wish they could crack down but they were dealing with parents texting on shabbos!. This yeshiva had and has talmidim in avrohom yeshua and reb dovid, yagdil ,preagers ,BMG vechulu.( im not saying its a sug alef but not worse than an alef minus)
      I also heard this problem is found (again none of them gave me numbers)in yeshivos (sug beis) in monsey.
      None of them were surprised. Some were surprised that i didn't know about it.
      Im not saying its as common as by the modox . i have no idea of the numbers by either group and frankly i would be surprised if they weren't worse than our mosdos.
      Its just not a "modox problem".
      והוא רחום יכפר עון..

      P.s.
      (i was told names of yeshivos but i dont want to post them.)

      YidPoshut

      Delete
    30. Jefferey, I am extremely dismayed that you totally dismiss the severity that your teens are mechalel shabbos and mezane, but I am not surprised. This is how I always thought was the attitude of MODOX. What surprised me was your claim that you are a medakdek b'mitzvos and devote serious time for Torah study. Seriously?? If you can so flippantly dismiss your teens transgressing the worst of sins, how exactly can you claim to be concerned Torah and Mitzvos?? I mean, it doesn't really get worse than chilul Shabbos and nidda! Yet you claim 'teenagers act like ... teenagers (shocker!!)'! Newsflash: this is NOT how teens generally act like in our circles, and NOT how they have been traditionally acting for the last 2,000 years. In my mind, once you openly display this attitude, it is really no use in engaging with you because you have basically admitted flat out in the open that you don’t give a d@mn about the Torah.

      As to your statement about being part of the world we live in, I agree, to the extent that is necessary. For the record, despite my moniker's claims of being a Talibanist stuck in the 18th century, his owner hiding behind his computer holds 2 jobs (in addition to maintaining 2 sedorim a day) which require him to very much be a part of the world. The difference between you and I is that you embrace secular society as an ideal, giving it superiority to Torah. The Torah must conform to today’s values and society. If there is something in the way, you modify that aspect of the Torah to ‘wokify’ it. I’m sorry, but that is reprehensible. You have not yet explained why my comparison to the Reform movement is inaccurate, but this was exactly the same attitude that they had as well.

      …”except that's not true. many Chareidim, specifically don't act like previous generations - intentionally, (see Rupture and Reconstruction by Haym Soloveitchik)”. I am familiar with Soloveitchik’s essay, although I am not sure what it has to do with anything. He’s busy kvetching that Chareidi Jewry today is more medakdeik textually to mitzvos than Jewry of his youth in the 60’s, yet more materialistic and less spiritual. It’s possible, probably the by-product of greater affluency and better Torah education to the masses than was available then. Not sure what this has to do with anything.

      … “you are the one who keeps saying this, repeatedly. I never did. I just said that Chareidim have an overwhelming fear of modernity (which I understand because Torah is precious) and so prefer to insulate themselves rater than fully embracing the true mesorah of a living breathing tradition.” I thought I mentioned that this was my post to Slifkin, and it was a response to a post that he DID make this claim http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2018/06/no-charedim-arent-original.html (although he may have since hinted at a quasi-retraction or perhaps ‘qualification’ http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2022/07/what-is-forest-and-what-are-trees.html )...

      Delete
    31. (cont.) “however relevantly, being able to watch (some) movies while drawing appropriate boundaries and mainting fidelity to Judaism, torah, mitzvot, and mesorah... yes it takes courage.” I find this attitude extremely self-deceiving. I definitely can understand the temptation to watch movies. In fact, unfortunately, there are Chareidim that do fall for this temptation. But I always thought that not following a temptation takes courage, as the Mishna says, “Eizehu gibor, hakovesh es yitzro – who is courageous, one who vanquishes his desires.” Not the other way around!!


      …”What you fail to accept is that Judaism is constantly evolving and changing. As I said it is a living breathin religion. it is dynamic. in that sense, yes modifications are occuring, and have been since Moshe Rabbeinu. Heck, even G-d had to make changes for Tzlefchad's daughters, those who carried Yosef's bones, and in many other cases. modifications are new, and they are not alien or improper in anyway - and Modern Orthodoxy handles that squarely 100% within the Mesorah.” You keep saying this. First of all, to bring ra’ayos from G-d making changes to implicate that we can change the Torah, I trust you are intelligent enough to appreciate is flat out ridiculous. In terms of you assertion that ‘modifications are not alien or improper in anyway - and Modern Orthodoxy handles that squarely 100% within the Mesorah’, I challenge you to bring me precedent in halacha or Orthodox Jewish history of a movement bent on modifying the Torah to conform to current secular society. I will say it again: The only precedent is the Reform, which the MODOX are an outgrowth of (in which case you may be right that it’s 100% within YOUR Mesorah). The Reform were just quicker in achieving their ultimate goal and you guys are taking longer, perhaps a little slower on the pickup.

      Delete
    32. YidPoshut, I don't know who you are, or how old you are. But I am personally a product of the American yeshiva system within the last 20 years, and can guarantee you that this assertion of yours is blatantly false. Cell phones and texting were around when I was Yeshiva, and I never saw or heard of ANYONE using them on Shabbos, not when I was in mesivta, bais medrash, learning is Israel etc. And lest you say that times were different then and now things are worse, I have 2 brothers currently in Yeshiva, and when I told them of this charge of yours they thought it was flat out ridiculous. Is it possible that in the at-risk or quasi at-risk Yeshivos these things occur? Definitely a possibility. Is it possible that there are isolated incidents here and there flew under my radar but the menahelim are aware of? Perhaps. But this is definitely NOT the norm.

      I say this with the certainty of a first-hand witness. With the MODOX, at least as the JTA article quotes an interviewee, "everyone is doing it". And may I direct your attention to Exhibit A, Jeffrey's comment above, which dismisses this as normal!! So I guess it should not really come as any surprise! I am sorry, I don't know whom you were speaking to, but that is NOT the situation in our yeshivos BH.

      Delete
    33. Mekharker:

      "it is really no use in engaging with you because you have basically admitted flat out in the open that you don’t give a d@mn about the Torah." Well there you said it. So this will be my final response to you drivel. That's my whole point: your position is that there "is really no point in engaging" with someone who disagrees with you and has shown beyond a doubt that your intentional seclusion from engaging with the world is NOT what the Torah is about.

      Its clear that all you are about is nitpicking at irrelevancies. "reform", "teenagers", etc. . none of which is relevant to actual Modern Orthodoxy.

      oh no, look what a teenager is doing.... oy. and because I pointed out the silliness of your argument, your retort is "Newsflash: this is NOT how teens generally act like in our circles," What the teens in your circles don't act like dumb teenagers?? ok.

      how about an actual "NEWSFLASH"
      https://www.timesofisrael.com/ultra-orthodox-extremists-interrupt-american-boys-bar-mitzvah-tear-up-prayer-books/
      okay... so I guess this is actually what "your circles" sees as proper behavior??? fine - go tear pages out of siddurim and wipe the boogers from your nose with them on camera for the world to see. And in the meantime, jeer and disrupt Jews trying to daven to Hashem. Oh and do it all at the Kotel just before the 3-weeks. Brilliant. it's all good in "your circles" because teens never act like teens. OK

      oh, and and when YID Poshut states "So i followed up on your linked article with some phone calls to rabanim / askanim ( yeshivish style/ lakewood/monsey/boro park) i have communication with." your response is that you "can guarantee you that this assertion of [his] is blatantly false." which is simply saying he's lying and never made the phone calls he claimed to have made. I don't know either of you (Yid Pushut or Mekharker), but it seems apparent that Mekharker is simply in a state of denial. The grass is not greener on your lawn. Maybe you simply smoke so much of it you just think it is.

      Oh and while we're on the topic of the 3 weeks - you keep asking me to respond to your point about Reform. as I keep saying, it's not relevant. its about as relevant as your point that you are Taliban!! or maybe the Kenaim of the Bayit Shayni!! Or how about: תַּנָּא רִבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹנָייָא. תַּלְמִידֵי בֵית שַׁמַּי עָֽמְדוּ לָהֶן מִלְּמַטָּה וְהָיוּ הוֹרְגִין בְּתַלְמִידֵי בֵית הִלֵּל. תַּנֵּי. שִׁשָּׁה מֵהֶן עָלוּ וְהַשְּׁאָר עָֽמְדוּ עֲלֵיהֶן בַּחֲרָבוֹת וּבִרְמָחִין. דתַּנֵּי. שְׁמוֹנָה עָשָׂר דָּבָר גָּֽזְרוּ וּבִשְׁמוֹנָה עֶשְׂרֶה רָבוּ וּבִשְׁמוֹנָה עֶשְׂרֶה נֶחְלְקוּ. (Jer. Tal. Shabb 1:4).
      good way to win the battle. bad way to keep the Beit Hamikdash standing.
      You Charedim / Kenaim just won't learn.

      Oh, "I challenge you to bring me precedent in halacha or Orthodox Jewish history of a movement bent on modifying the Torah to conform to current secular society." how about the otherside of that dispute - Beit Hillel, R. Yochanan Ben Zakkai... changing the entire religion as we know it to survive in the brave new world at the time.

      Mekharker, You are just wrong. Yiddishkeit has been changing and evolving FOREVER. you're the one who wants it to shrivel up and place it on a shelf in some beis medrash somewhere.

      Delete
  2. "Now, of course Biblical Judaism was very different from rabbinic Judaism..."

    Really? Chazal made up with 'Rabbinic Judaism'? Chazal definitely didn't believe so:
    ספרא, בחוקתי, פרק ח י׳
    "אלה החקים והמשפטים והתורֹת"... "והתורות"-- מלמד ששתי תורות ניתנו להם לישראל; אחד בכתב ואחד בעל פה... "אשר נתן ה' בינו ובין בני ישראל"-- זכה משה ליעשות שליח בין ישראל לאביהם שבשמים. "בהר סיני ביד משה"-- מלמד שניתנה התורה הלכותיה ודקדוקיה ופירושיה על ידי משה מסיני.


    הקדמת הרמב"ם למשנה ב׳:א׳-כ״ה
    (א) דע כי כל מצוה שנתן הקב"ה למשה רבינו ע"ה נתנה לו בפירושה. היה אומר לו המצוה ואחר כך אומר לו פירושה וענינה.וכל מה שהוא כולל ספר התורה. וענין למודו לישראל היה כפי שאומר (עירובין פ"ה דף נד:):

    (ב) היה משה נכנס באהלו ונכנס אליו בתחלה אהרן ומשה היה אומר לו המצוה הנתונה לו פעם אחת ולימדהו פירושה.

    (כד) וכאשר מת ע"ה אחר שהנחיל ליהושע מה שנאצל עליו מן הפירוש והחכים והתבונן בו יהושע ואנשי דורו. וכל מה שקבל ממשה הוא או אחד מן הזקנים אין לדבר עליו ולא נפלה בו מחלוקת.

    (כה) ומי שלא שמע בו פירוש מפי הנביא ע"ה מן הענינים המשתרגים מהם הוציא דינים בסברות במדות השלש עשרה הנתונות על הר סיני שהתורה נדרשת בהם. ובאותם הדינים שהוציאום יש דברים שלא נפלה בהן מחלוקת אבל הסכימו עליהם ויש מהם מה שנפלה בו מחלוקת בין שתי דעות זה אומר בכה וזה אומר בכה זה סובר סברא ונתחזקה לדעתו וזה סובר סברא ונתחזקה לדעתו כי מדות ההיקש שעל דרך התוכחת יקרה בסברותיהם המקרה הזה.

    רבנו חננאל, פסחים ל״ח:
    ... שכל הדברים המפורשים במשנה הלכה למשה מסיני הן, ואף על פי שהן שנויין סתמא.

    I can bring you many more proofs but I think you get the point.

    So why do you bother with Rabbinic Judaism? Practice 'biblical Judaism'! That's the real McCoy!

    It's amazing how rationalists think they are so smart but keep coming up with the same stupidity over and over again. The Sadducees, Karaites, early Reform, 'rationalists'. The real Torah is the biblical Torah and the rabbis invented "Rabbinic Torah." All your predecessors fell into oblivion.

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    1. Biblical Judaism had very few derabanans. You could do basically whatever you wanted on Shabbos with a shinuy, for instance.

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    2. NS just means the Judaism that was practiced before the many, many, Rabbinic decrees. Wouldn't you say that would be a bit different? It has nothing to do with challenging the validity of the Oral Torah.

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    3. You are hopelessly confusing gezeiros, takonos and torah sh'pal peh. There is a difference between hilchos shechitah, hilchos teffilin and hilchos chanukoh, you know. The gemoroh itself makes that clear.

      Quiz question. Who was mesaken tekios d'meumad and tekias d'meyusha and where was he at the time? Tipos dam k'chardal? What about shemonah esrai? From har sinai? Birchas krias shemah? The gemoroh states clearly that brochos are d'rabbonon (other than birchas hatorah/hamazon).

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    4. Mekharker, the context was that there are thing that Biblical Judaism permits but Rabbinic Judaism prohibits. That's why the story isn't over after the I. Biblical Picture. That's why we have to continue to the II. Talmudic Prohibition. No more.

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    5. Of course Chazal didn't beleive so. That would undermine their authority. But Chazal are not accurate when it come to history nor do they claim to be. And those statements were written centuries after the biblical times.
      But we have historic documents including books in Tanach that paint a completely different picture of Judaism before and after Rabinnical Judaism came into the picture.
      We are Talmudic Jews more than we are Torah Jews

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    6. CY, Weaver, *****, Anon 9:27

      I considered that maybe he meant Biblical to the exclusion of takanos d'rabanan. The problem is that it does not say anywhere that קול באשה ערוה is a takana derabanan! The gemara gives many examples of takanos derabanan, such as shniyos l'arayos, kisvei kodesh metame es hayadayim etc. However, when the Gemara extrapolates something from a Pasuk as it does by Kol Isha, it is d'oraysa, unless the Gemara (or in some instances the Rishonim) gives us a heads up that it is in fact d'rabanan and the pasuk is an asmachta. No such a thing by Kol Isha.

      Anon 10:02, allow me to introduce you to a Rambam:

      הלכות ממרים פרק ג הלכה א

      מי שאינו מאמין בתורה שבעל פה, וכו' הרי הוא בכלל המינים, ומיתתו ביד כל אדם. מאחר שנתפרסם שהוא כופר בתורה שבעל פה--מורידין ולא מעלין, כשאר המינים והאפיקורוסין והאומרין אין תורה מן השמיים והמוסרים והמשומדים: כל אלו אינן בכלל ישראל, ואינן צריכין לא עדים ולא התראה ולא דיינין; אלא כל ההורג אחד מהן, עשה מצוה גדולה והסיר מכשול.

      I felt obliged to quote him, as this is presumably a forum dedicated to 'exploring the legacy of the rationalist Rishonim.'

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    7. Mekharker aug 16, 12:35 am.
      The Rambam states explicitly the opposite of your argument!!
      In sefer hamitzvos shoresh 2 near the beginning: וכשיהיה זה כן" הנה לא כל מה שנמצא לחכמים שהוציאו בהיקש משלש עשרה מדות נאמר שהוא נאמר למשה בסיני ולא גם כן נאמר בכל מה שימצא בתלמוד שיסמכוהו אל אחת משלש עשרה מדות שהוא דרבנן, כי פעמים יהיה הפירוש ההוא מקובל ממשה בסיני לפי הראוי בזה שכל מה שלא תמצאהו כתוב בתורה ותמצאהו בתלמוד שלמדוהו באחת משלש עשרה מדות אם בארו הם בעצמם ואמרו שזה גוף תורה או שזה דאורייתא הנה ראוי למנותו אחר שהמקובלים ממנו אמרו שהוא דאורייתא. ואם לא
      "יבארו זה ולא דברו בו הנה הוא דרבנן שאין שם כתוב יורה עליו וכו' .
      (See the Ramban (there) where he quotes a teshuvas haRambam that says " only approximately three or four" derashos deoraysa exist) see there in detail.

      YidPoshut

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    8. Mekharker aug 16, 12:35 am
      In regards to the Rambam in mamrim 3. The Rambam while being a major authority is not the only opinion on this matter. See Chidushei agados Maharal to shabbos 31a ( the hillel/shammai ger stories. Specifically the one about "how many torahs do you have"?) who argues. Also see the Magen Avrohom in orach chaim 330 sif katan 4.(the straightforward reading is not like the Rambam, however see the Machtzis Hashekel and the Pri Megadim ( on same Magen Avrohom) who interpret / argue.)

      YidPoshut

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    9. YidPoshut

      Ok, I looked into it. It looks like it's a disagreement amongst the achronim if kol b'isha erva is d'oraysa or d'rabanan. The Sdei Chemed (klal Kuf, 42) brings that most poskim do in fact hold that kol b'isha erva is d'oraya based on the drasha mentioned in Brachos, however the Chayei Adam (klal 4, Nishmas Adam s.k. 1) is of the opinion that it is only an isur m'drabanan. I guess Slifkin knew of the Chayei Adam and was alluding to it. Fair enough. He does draw his inspiration directly from Rishonim so he probably just alludes to his sources the way many of the Rishonim do and you have to be a big enough scholar to figure it out. So we'll cut him some slack... This time.

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    10. Mecharker: You think even a derasha from a pasuk in Kesuvim is assumed to be a de'oraysa? Do you have any source for such an assumption?

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    11. Yid Poshut: That is the wrong peshat in the Rambam. In sefer Hamitzvos he is not discussing what is de'oraysa or derabanan. He is discussing what is categorized as נאמרה למה מסיני. You can see the Megillas Esther there, or, even better, the sefer Nata Besochsinu by Harav Shmuel Ariel.

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    12. YidPoshut 6:38 am
      HUH?? This is a forum where 'we explore the positions of the rationalist Rishonim'. Not sure why you are throwing the mystical achronim at me.

      But that is besides for the fact that they have NOTHING to do with the matter at hand. The Rambam is coming off the gemara in Sanhedrin 99a that says that one who denies a 'dikduk' from a kal v'chomer or gezeira shaveh is an apikores (we just heard an enlightening shiur from you a few hours ago that those are many times d'rabanan). A (very) quick perusal of the Rishonim did not turn up anyone arguing on the Rambam about this. As for the wild goose chase that you sent me on with these achronim, the Magen Avraham and commentaries are saying that a Jew cannot perform a birth for a non-Jew on Shabbos, even if they are not idol worshipers. Can't even conjecture what in the world you were trying to bring out from this. As for the Mararal which is al pi derech drush, and is referring to the Ger who wanted to convert and not accept Torah Sh'ba'al Peh, that is definitely not a mekor not like the Rambam!!!! First of all, he did not convert yet! So he wasn't a Jew who was rejecting Torah Sh'ba'al Peh! Second of all, if he would have been, who said that he wouldn't have been chayav misa if Shamai wouldn't have been able to convince him?! Third of all, the Maharal is al pi derech drush!! Fourth of all, he is an achron, and wouldn't be an authoritative opinion to dismiss the Rambam and the gemara in Sanhedrin on his own. Fifth of all, what have you been smoking??

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    13. If קול באשה ערוה is d'oraisa, does that mean Barzilei Hagiladi transgressed? Or perhaps even on a d'oraisa level there is 'evolution' (cf. Ritva RH 16b).

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    14. Yehoshua:

      Yes, it can be a "giluy". Not that there is a new 614th mitzvah called Kol Isha, but from the pasuk in kesuvim, we know that קול is also arayos and is included in לא תקרבו לגלות ערוותן or ונשמתרם מכל דבר רע. Duh.

      DS:
      In terms of Barzilai Hagiladi, who seems to have been recreated on this site as 'righteous', the gemara in Shabbos 152a informs us that he was שטוף בזימה - exceedingly promiscuous. So it's quite bizarre that RNS is attempting to bring a proof from him at all.

      As for the Ritva in Rosh Hashana 16a, I am not quite sure what you are referring to but if you are talking about the one I think you are, he is in fact saying the exact opposite! He writes that when Chazal say that something is d'rabanan and the Pasuk is an asmachta, it does not c"v mean that Chazal fabricated it out of thin air and found a little cute Pasuk to blame tie it to as well (ח"ו ישתקע הדבר ולא יאמר שזו דעת מינות הוא), rather that it was a giluy from the pasuk that it is something they can make a Rabbinical enactment if they feel it necessary. But that is all referring to a d'rabanan. A d'oraysa however, remains just that. D'oraysa.

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    15. YidPoshut, I was looking at the wrong piece of Maharal. I see which one you are referring to now. Although I still never heard of someone negating an undisputed shita of a Rishon because of an Achron in chidushei agados.

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    16. Yehoshua 9:48 am
      I didn't have time to look up the megillas ester however the ramban in his hasagos(there) clearly learns the rambam this way (he says according to the rambam if someone is mekadesh an isha with kesef and she is mezaneh there is no sekila).

      Mekharker 10:28 am
      1. The Magen avraham goes on to say one may be mechalel shabbos for a karaite( who don't believe in torah shebaal peh).

      2. The maharal presents and rejects the idea that hillel would have been megayer him to a belief which would render him a min.
      3. Why do you think the maharal is "derech drush"?

      4.the maharal is an acharon. Agreed. Also before you run around telling people (i assume anon is not a bot) they should watch their ladders when in pits you should also let them know that not all orthodox jews agree that its permitted to kill them (moriden v'lo maalin).
      5. I only smoke Grease Monkey - because bein hazmaanim!

      YidPoshut

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    17. "Mecharker: You think even a derasha from a pasuk in Kesuvim is assumed to be a de'oraysa? Do you have any source for such an assumption?"

      כעי"ז
      א״ל רבינא לרב אשי הא יחזקאל מאן אמרה א״ל דאמר רב חסדא דבר זה
      לא למדנו ומדברי קבלה למדנו, כל בן נכר ערל לב וערל בשר לא יבוא אל מקדשי(לשרתני) הא מקמי דאתא יחזקאל מאן אמרה, אלא גמרא גמיר לה ואתא יחזקאל ואסמכה אקרא, הכא נמי גמרא גמיר לה ואתא יחזקאל ואסמכה אקרא
      תענית יז: (יומא עא: מו״ק ה. סנהדרין כב: פג: זבחים יח: כג:)

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  3. Over the years that my wife and I have been religious we have known three different women who, before they became baalei tshuva, were professional opera singers. Two of them I know for a fact were, at least somewhat, known in the opera world. They all stopped singing professionally in that world due to the halacha of kol isha. One succeeded in turning her talents towards teaching teenage girls to sing. One, unfortunately, was never able to adjust to the change and had a mental breakdown. I don't know what happened to the third woman; we've lost contact with her.

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  4. The שרידי אש's responsa on this topic was very formative in my own thought. In fact, I have been quoted by others for my statement that the biggest heters I ever found occurred when I actually sat down and learned the halakhah!
    I would also point out that Salamone Rossi (Italy, 1570-1630) wrote mixed Jewish chorale music. If a woman's voice is totally forbidden (cf. the רא"ש), then who was he writing for?

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    1. In fairness, in that era it was very common for mixed choirs to be composed of men and boys. Even in Bach's day (100 years after Rossi) the religious music would have been sung by boys on the soprano and probably also the alto parts.

      That said, Rossi did write a lot of smaller scale works apparently intended for female singers, and apparently his sister was also a well regarded singer.

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    2. Mixed choirs included castratos. I doubt that that is halachically acceptable.

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    3. Black Bear: Well, in 2022, God help us...

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  5. Hi - we have an extensive discussion of the sources and piskei halacha on the topic on the Deracheha website. A series of three articles starting with https://www.deracheha.org/kol-isha-1-halachic-basis/

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  6. I personally found the teshuva of the Seridi Esh very informative. I also wondered for whom Salamone Rossi (Italy, 1570-1630) wrote Hebrew choral music. If no one could listen to it, then why did he write it in the first place?

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  7. Shulchan aruch orach chaim 75,3 does say singing voice for kriyas shma (as does ritva on the gmara in brachos)

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  8. A chip off the old block!

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  9. The gemara did not give the answer you suggest in parentheses because it also did not understand the words of Rav Sheshet as you have done. The prohibition of gazing upon the little finger of a woman applies even with pure intentions. This is also clear in Avoda Zara 20a.

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    1. I assumed RNS was referring to the famous words of the Rosh that the Bais Yosef quotes in OC 229, that the word להסתכל, means to gaze and examine, whereas the is no prohibition of just looking. I believe that the Yad Malachi says clearly that this concept applies to women as well.

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    2. It is indeed correct that להסתכל means to gaze rather than just to see. But this includes gazing with pure intentions, such as to appreciate the asthetic beauty of Hashem's creations, as in Avoda Zara 20a. Thus the gemara quoted above could not give the answer that RNS suggests.

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    3. But the Rambam does say that the isur to be mistakel is only if one is 'miskaven lhenos'. So I totally understand RNS's question. According the Rambam one could suggest a very simple answer. A tefach is osur even if one is not miskaven lhenos. But if one is miskaven lhenos even gazing at a woman's pinky is osur.

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    4. This could not be the answer because it simply is not true. Without being "miskaven lhenos" there is no prohibition, even with a tefach.

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    5. Really? It is permitted to look at a tefach which is supposed to be concealed as long as one is not "miskaven lhenos"? Wow, so many new heterim being created on rationalist Judaism today!

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    6. Firstly, this is certainly not new. You pointed out yourself that this is clear in the Rambam.
      Secondly, it is not much of a 'leniency.' Staring at people without being "miskaven lhenos" is not something that normal people would do anyway, unless they were in shock.

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    7. No, I pointed out that the Rambam employs the term 'miskaven lhenos' when forbidding gazing at a woman's finger. He does not say it when looking at a tefach which is normally covered. In fact, look in Mishna Berura 75:8 in the name of the Pri Megadim which states this clearly.

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    8. And where exactly does the Rambam say that there is a separate issur of looking at tefach even without being 'miskaven lhenos'? That Pri Megadim is not following the Rambam.

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    9. Well, let me ask you a question! If there is no difference between a pinky and a tefach megula and both are only asur to gaze at when miskaven lhenos, women should either have to walk around in a spacesuit to make sure their pinkies are covered, or should be allowed to walk around naked, the same way they can reveal their pinkies! So which one is it?

      As to where the Rambam says that there is a 'seperate issur' of looking at a tefach megula without being 'miskaven lhenos', it is in Hilchos Krias Shma 3:16.

      I'm not sure what about the Pri Megadim makes you think that he is not following the Rambam. He quotes the Mechaber in E"H 21:1 who is quoting over the pinky Rambam verbatim, and then PM"G goes on to qualify it that it is only if he is miskaven lhenos, but if it not, then only a tefach megula is asur. Sounds like he is following the Rambam to me!

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    10. I'm not sure if you are being disingenuous, but the Rambam in Hilchos Krias Shma speaks about saying Krias Shma in front of the tefach, not in other contexts. Hardly surpising, as this is what the gemara says as well. So the Pri Megadim cannot be consistent with the Rambam.
      What kind of clothing women must wear is a separate discussion, but this is very much dependent on the prevailing customs.

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    11. See my comment towards the top of the thread where I respond.

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    12. Your response there, relating to the way women have to dress, is not especially relevant to the isurim on men gazing at women. There is no way to infer the laws of the latter from a Rambam in Hilchos Ishus, discussing which type of promiscuous behaviour is grounds for divorce and loss of the keusva. The Rambam knew how to codify prohibitions on men looking at women, and his failure to do so regarding thighs or forearms cannot be dismissed in this manner.

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    13. But for the record, it is correct that the Rambam doesn't distinguish between the thigh (or calf, which is the correct translation of שוק) and the rest of the body, even in relation to krias shema. This is entirely consistent with what I have said.

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  10. With all do respect to Rav Moshe Lichtenstein, he first characterizes being lenient as a שעת הדחק, but then takes a turn I do not understand. While he demonstrates strong support for the lenient approach, he then says that undo stricture is a kula because it diminishes the stature of men. I am curious if there is precedent for this type of argument in halacha. Additionally, doesn't the Mechaber say that one needs to distance oneself מאד מאד from נשים? (Obviously, the Mechaber is not arguing for "undo" chumra but presumably, the bar is much higher for what constitutes "undo" chumra according to the Mechaber and presumably as well that the Mechaber wasn't particularly concerned about diminishing the stature of men.)

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    1. The word you seek is "undue," as in not-called-for.

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  11. That Gemara in Berakhot 24 does not cite a Mishnah or a Braiita. Just statements of Amoraim. The pshat of that Gemara is that those Amoraim are presenting examples of things that MAY turn you on sexually, and if they do, avoid them. It's all up to you and your conscience. Just like what Rav Aha told his students in Ketubot 17a.

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    1. 'Just amoraim"
      This is kefira. The gemara doesn't make 'suggestions' unless a mainstream rishon interprets it that way. Not Avi Rosenthal. And you can't get away with this one by claiming it's aggadah.
      R. Natan, you have to draw the line somewhere!

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  12. Now I get why you insist that we modified Judaism. You are so original, you practice Biblical!

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  13. Nice summary - kudos

    Sounds like either you’re uncomfortable with it given your past religious conditioning, as well your present milieu, and/or, as a responsible and protective father, you naturally intuit the potential issue of exposing your daughter to admiring males

    FYI many religious girls put stuff up on social media with a disclaimer that allows the end user to make their own decision

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  14. I think R' Mosheh Lichtenstein spells his name with an additional h.

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    1. So it will be pronounced properly, milera.

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    2. One h just seems to get people confused. Maybe if he were to spell his name Moshehhhhhh it would work!

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    3. I see women writing their names as RivKAH or the like. So he could write MoshE. But that just looks weird.

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  15. five criteria via which to distinguish permissible from forbidden speech/song:

    1. Context and atmosphere
    2. The words being said
    3. The musical style
    4. Dress
    5. Body language
    --------------------------------------
    Great business opportunity - providing hechsher based on this algorithm for different singers and communities. I totally get why many would feel this is a very slippery slope . (Anyone remember Mick Jagger on the Ed Sullivan show - I can't get no...)
    kt

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  16. Want to give a woman’s pinky overt sexual significance? Tell people they can’t look at it because it has overt sexual significance. And while you’re at it throw in everything else including her speaking voice.
    In the context of the rest of the world it’s just a pinky and a voice but for the zealous it’s sexual.
    Nice going.


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    1. Glad you're so smart. Smarter than Chazal. Boruch asher nossan m'chochmaso l'??????

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    2. 2020 hindsight

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  17. Fotheringay-PhippsAugust 15, 2022 at 9:44 PM

    The Seridei Eish appreciated that his heter was not so solid, and he only premitted it because it was necessary in order to promote religious activities. He writes this (or something along these lines) explicitly in his famous t'shuva on the subject.

    Most poskim did not accept the SE's heter. This is in part because they disagreed with his reasoning. But in addition, there is a tendency for poskim to permit something בשעת הדחק only to have people apply it much more broadly. As has happened with the SE's heter.

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    1. The industrial revolution has made everything שעת הדחק.

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    2. Please cite the words where Seridei Aish said what you are claiming he said.
      You state it as if you haven't actually seen it with your own eyes (ie, this, "or something along these lines"), but if you haven't seen it, how do you have the confidence to characterize it in this very particular way? This seems odd to me.

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    3. Fotheringay-PhippsAugust 17, 2022 at 7:59 PM

      I've seen it with my own eyes, but it's been a while and I don't remember the exact formulation. I looked around a bit and can't find the exact language or the Sefer Seridei Esh online.

      But FWIW, Wikipedia says he was matir because of "עת לעשות". IOW, "something along those lines".

      https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%99%D7%97%D7%99%D7%90%D7%9C_%D7%99%D7%A2%D7%A7%D7%91_%D7%95%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%92

      If you have (access to) the sefer, you can look it up; it appers to be in Vol 2 #8.

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    4. He says quite clearly a few times that he permitted because of "Eis L'asos." Here it is:

      ומה שנוהגים לשיר ולזמר זמירות קודש בנים ובנות יחד כבר נשאלתי ע"ז ממנהיגי המחנות והשבתי להם כי בבואי לברלין ראיתי בבתי החרדים מזמרים אנשים ונשים יחד זמירות קודש בשבת והשתוממתי למנהג זה שהוא נגד דין מפורש באו"ח סי' ע"ה סע' ג' שקול זמר אשה בשעת ק"ש אסור ועי' שם במג"א שקול אשה ערוה כגון אשת איש או נדה אסור אפילו שלא בשעת ק"ש והבתולות בימינו לעולם בחזקת נדה...
      He then goes on to establish his heter, but at the end concludes:
      ויש עוד סניף להתיר זמירות קודש עפ"י מה שכתב הרמ"א באבהע"ז סי' כ"א שכל שאינו עושה דרך חיבה רק כוונתו לשם שמים מותר ומקור דבריו בתוס' קידושין פבא ד"ה הכל לש"ש שע"ז אנו סומכים השתא שאנו משתמשים בנשים ואף שיש לחלק בין שימוש בנשים ובין שמיעת קול זמר מ"מ יש לומר כיון שהמזמרים זמירות קודש ג"כ מתכוונים לש"ש כדי לעורר רגשות דתיים אצל הבנות ולטעת בלבם חיבה לקדשי ישראל יש לסמוך על המקילים ועי' במס' יומא סטא גבי שמעון הצדיק עת לעשות לה' וכר' ובפירש"י שם ובמס' תמורה יד,ב איתא שהתירו לכתוב דברי תורה שבע"פ משום עת לעשות לה' הפרו תורתך ואמרו מוטב תיעקר אות אחת מן התורה ולא תשתכח תורה מישראל ובמס' גיטין דף ס"א למדו מזה שמותר לטלטל ולקרות בספר אפטרתא משום כיון דלא אפשר עת לעשות הפרו תורתך.

      ובוודאי שדבר זה נמסר רק לחז"ל להכריע מתי הוא העת לעשות ומה מותר להפר ולא נמסר לכל אדם לעשות מעשה בשביל שהוא יודע כי יש כאן עת לעשות וכר' ואולם בנידון שאין כאן איסור גמור ורק יש כאן מנהג חסידות ומדת צניעות אפשר לדרוש סמוכין ולהתיר בארץ צרפת שכבר הגיע מצב היהדות עד משבר ואם לא נאחוז באמצעים חינוכיים מנוסים ומעוטרים בהצלחה כאותם של ארגון עזרא באשכנז וארגון ישורון בצרפת עתידה תורה ח"ו שתשתכח מישראל וד"ל

      ולכן הוריתי למנהיגי הארגון ישורון שיכולים לסמוך על גדולי אשכנז שהיו בקיאים בחכמת החינוך וידעו רוח בנות הדור שהתחנכו בבתי ספר ולמדו לשונות ומדעים שיש להן רגש של כבוד עצמאי והן רואות עלבון ודחיפה לחוץ למחנה באיסור שאוסרים עליהן להשתתף בזמירות קודש ולכן התירו לנשים להשתתף בזמירות של שבת ואנו רואים ויודעים כי גדולי אשכנז הצליחו בחינוך הבנות ונשים צעירות יותר מגדולי שאר הארצות ובאשכנז ראינו נשים מלומדות ובעלות דרגא השכלה גבוהה שהיו חרדות על דת ישראל ומקיימות את המצוות בהתלהבות ומשום כך אין אני מרהיב לאסור מה שהתירו הם ובכגון דא נאמר עת לעשות לה' הפרו תורתך וכעין מה שכתב המרדכי ובעונותינו שאנו מפוזרים בארצות שונות ועת לעשות לה' הפרו תורתך הלכך אין אנו נזהרים מללמוד בשמיעת שיר נשים ארמאיות והובא במעיו"ט בברכות שם ואך שיש לחלק בין הנושאים מ"מ הטעם אחד הוא שבארצות כמו אשכנז וצרפת הנשים מרגישות עלבון ופגיעה בזכויותיהן אם נאסור עליהן להשתתף בעונג שבת ע"י זמירות קודש ודבר זה מובן למי שמכיר טבע הנשים במדינות הללו והאיסור יוכל לגרום לריחוק הנשים מן הדת חלילה.

      ובפירוש התניתי במכתבי להנ"ל שאין לכוף על הנשים שצריכות להשתתף בזמירות קודש ואם יתרצו להחמיר על עצמן חלילה ללעוז עליהם ולהתלוצץ בהן שהרי סוף סוף מנהג אבותינו הקדושים בידן שנזהרו מלהתיר לנשים אפילו זמירות קודש

      He then goes on to establish

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  18. I would say the answer to your question is that 'erwah' doesn't really translate litterally into neutral 'nakedness', but carries a notion of prohibition, and therefore if it is already forbidden to gaze on a little finger (and the desire to do so already constitutes 'impure intentions'), there is no reason why it should be allowed to do so on normally-covered body parts.
    And therefore there is no further point teaching us that seeing these parts is genuine 'nakedness', because it is obvious that nakedness is nakedness.
    But the husband is usually allowed even to gaze on his wife, therefore it makes sense to restrict that right on holy occasions.

    I must say I do not really like the 'biblical'/'rabbinical' opposition you're making here, especially as you already have the answer, as discussed in Shut Seridei Esh, that a song which is intended as prayer or praise to God cannot be considered 'erwah' (even though it might make sense to forbid it as a gezeirah because of the risks).

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  19. Surprised you didn't mention why Miriam and the women used tambourines - to drown out the sound of their singing.

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    1. but why would they need to if 2 voices singing together are anyway mutar?

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    2. 1) Tambourines are not loud enough to drown out voices
      2) Are we sure we know what instruments were used?

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    3. Yes, I'm sure that as Am Yisrael were rushing out of Egypt, the mothers all called out to their families: "Whatever happens, don't forget to pack the tambourines!!!!"

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    4. Actually, I heard a shiur about this. It's a testament to the faith of those people; they were ready to celebrate for whats about to come.

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    5. 'Yes, I'm sure that as Am Yisrael were rushing out of Egypt, the mothers all called out to their families: "Whatever happens, don't forget to pack the tambourines!!!!" '

      שכחת את דברי רש"י ותקח מרים ... : בתופים ובמחולות. מובטחות היו צדקניות שבדור שהקב"ה עושה להם נסים, והוציאו תופים ממצרים (מכילתא):
      והנה כתוב כמה זמן קודם יציאת מצרים, שמות פרק יא פסוק א - ויאמר ה' אל משה עוד נגע אחד אביא על פרעה ועל מצרים אחרי כן ישלח אתכם מזה כשלחו כלה *גרש *יגרש *אתכם מזה. "גרש יגרש אתכם" - שהמצרים יהיו דוחפים אותם החוצה, (ואמנם כך כתוב אח"כ "ותחזק מצרים על העם למהר לשלחם מן הארץ כי אמרו כולנו מתים),
      וא"כ סביר שכבר ארזו את מזוודותיהם לפני כן עם כל מצרכיהם - בגדים, אוכל, רהיטים מה שיכלו לקחת ... וגם התופים, עם מספיק זמן קודם יציא"מ.

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    6. 'not a fan':

      We know that they were allowed to plunder the wealth of the Mitzriyim before they left, why is it so far fetched if they took תופים ומחולות along with them?

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  20. At the end (last page) of rav Lichtenstein's teshuva he write "In terms of day-to-day life, this means that we may permit women’s
    singing of Shabbat zemirot, participation in offi cial ceremonies of a
    serious and formal nature, listening to random radio commercials, and
    the like."
    He (in my opinion; conspicuously) leaves out entertainment style listening and performing.
    RNS didnt specify what type of singing his daughter wanted to do but if its concerts not of a "serious and formal nature" Rav Lichtenstein shouldn't be used as support. (If RNS means that his reasoning can be used but not with his conclusion then i agree)
    YidPoshut

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  21. I've heard about her research from her friend in Midrasha who is a close friend of my niece and my son. My son did similar research for himself, from the perspective of a young man whose female friends tend to break out into song. He went through these sources and others, and made a few interesting conclusions. And that's how I heard about this before you published it :-) May her Torah go far and wide

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    1. Halevai that a young man with 'female friends' worst sin should be hearing them at times break into song!

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    2. I once saw an Ivrit article somewhere (I tried very hard to find it now but could not) about dati le'umi single girls using the mikva which alleged that a very large percentage of this demographic sins. The article concluded with a quote from one of MODOX interviewees that the MODOX model of commingling of the genders is unsustainable and he predicts 'that within 20 years' (his prediction, not mine), the MODOX will either drift towards chareidi or 'traditional' Jews.

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    3. First I dropped a nasty hint under the name NOT SO NAIVE, because I thought all the MODOX would jump out of the woodwork and attack me as not knowing what goes on. No response. When that didn't work, I used my provocative moniker and was a little more explicit to what I mean. Still silence.

      מדשתק ולא מיחה, ניחא ליה. ש"מ אין אפוטרופוס לעריות.

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    4. YOOOHOOO!!!!!! ANYBODY HOME????!!!!!

      The silence is deafening.

      Until someone looks me in the digital eye and takes me up on this, I do not want anymore BS from you guys about how you are more sophisticated or superior.

      RNS, instead of focusing so much outwards, perhaps it is time to devote some posts to the problems in your own backyard!

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    5. So you admit that your both a sock puppet and a troll. Cool.

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    6. YUP!! That's me! DO YOU DENY MY ALLEGATIONS???

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    7. @Anonymous August 19, 2022 at 7:26 AM, "So you admit that your *[you're] both a sock puppet and a troll. Cool."

      That's disappointing. Here I thought there might an exciting fight to come and watch. But you avoided the subject, the challenge itself.

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  22. Friendly SpelllcheckerAugust 16, 2022 at 6:05 AM

    "since it never been of relevance or interest to me" -- since it *had* never...

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  23. I believe the gemora agadata regarding speaking being kol Isha was in the context of a dispute. R'Yehuda could have been splitting hairs as the wounded party and putting down any suggestions.
    The woman's hair as ervah is interesting and I assume includes unmarried

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  24. Why is it that a "normal" non religious man can listen to a female singer, or look at a 12 year old girl who is wearing short sleeves and sandals without stockings, and not be consumed by lust? With the increase on the fixation of tzniut lchumra in the religious world, we have hypersensitized "normal" hareidi men to become hypersexualized in their thoughts (and hopefully not in action), and ironically, have objectified females in the process.

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    1. Normal is relativeAugust 16, 2022 at 4:30 PM

      Maybe hypersensitization to subtle sexual signals in appearance and behavior is something that halachic Judaism considers the norm for men? Maybe our modern non-religious man is not "normal" if he is not at least slightly stimulated by these subtle sexual signals? (Not necessarily "consumed by lust"--It's enough if these signals are even slightly stimulating for the halacha to be motivated to forbid.)

      Maybe, by secular society normalizing the exposed female body, certain kinds of innuendo and body language, it has done tremendous damage to the natural sense of modesty many women would automatically feel if not desensitized?

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    2. Who said that a religious man is consumed with lust by listening to a female singer or looking at a 12 year old girl who is wearing short sleeves and sandals without stockings? An irreligious man does not care about not following his desires and willingly will sin freely. As frum Jews, it is something that concerns us and we must be extremely careful about it. Even more careful than other potential aveiros. So Chazal enacted safeguards to keep us far far away. The reason it bothers us is not because we are consumed with lust if we inadvertently hear a woman singing or see a 12 year old girl who is wearing short sleeves and sandals without stockings. Rather because it is against the boundaries that Chazal established that we shouldn't end up behaving like a "normal" non religious man.

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    3. Stockings are clearly minhag ashkenaz. I can assure you the imahos and later
      Jewish women walked around in sandles, no stockings, and bare toes and ankles. Perurzot!

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    4. That's not the point. The poskim say that the isur is to look at what is normally covered in that society. So if they didn't cover their ankles and toes there is nothing wrong.

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    5. That's not what you said.

      In Western society (and Eastern for that matter) feet and lower leg, like hands, are clearly displayed, not considered ervoh or sexual in the least. And in cold countries they are only covered for warmth, not for decency.

      So the fact that the Ashkenzi chareidi community clings on to it is anachronism at best. That is of course the hetter for stockings. Nobody would tolerate the whole body covered in stocking type material. If the foot and lower leg was a problem, stockings would not solve the problem.

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    6. Not sure how that is not what I said. First of all, I just quoted 'Obsessiveness' verbatim, but the Halacha is clear that anything that in a society is not normally covered does not need to be covered, besides for the thigh and up which must remain covered even if in that society they don't cover it. So if in Mesopotamia they did not wear stockings, the Imahos would have not needed to wear stockings. Besides for the fact that it was before Matan Torah so you cannot bring any ra'ya from then either way. Really don't see what you're getting at here.

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    7. You think after matan torah all the women started wearing stockings? You are funny.

      You wrote

      "So Chazal enacted safeguards to keep us far far away. The reason it bothers us is not because we are consumed with lust if we inadvertently hear a woman singing or see a 12 year old girl who is wearing short sleeves and sandals without stockings"

      You lumped together singing with short sleeves and sandles without stockings. Completely incorrectly.

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    8. See my comment towards the top of the post where I respond.

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    9. M'charker, we can't wait for Elul zman to start!

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  25. "I do have a question on this Gemara: why didn't it just answer simply that whereas Rav Sheshet is referring to a case of looking with impure intentions, Rav Yitzchak is talking about seeing areas that are normally uncovered even without impure intentions? Why does it need to add that it is referring to reciting Shema and qualify that it is referring to his wife?"

    True, it could've answered as you suggested but that would've changed the understanding of these statements more than the answer posed. The talmud asks the question assuming that both statements were referring to improper looking and it was just a question of how much skin qualifies as ervah. Thus in its answer it sticks with its initial understanding but just adds one detail that Rav Yitzchak said when it comes to shema one cannot even gaze at his wife (even though that is usually permitted) however they weren't as strict to say that even her small finger would be prohibited but were somewhat more lenient and said that only a tefach meguleh would be an issue but not etzbah ketana.

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    1. I mean this in all earnest and C"VSH to sound otherwise. How do we have halachos (and I believe there's more than 1) concerning sight from Rav Sheshes who was known to have been blind? I assume the answer has something to do with the fact that he probably wasn't blind from birth. In any case, I would appreciate it if anyone could shine some light on this conundrum. (If he was repeating that which he learned from others, I would think he would say so.)

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    2. "(If he was repeating that which he learned from others, I would think he would say so.)"

      https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=22434&st=&pgnum=29&hilite=
      ... ואעפ"כ ר' עקיבא ור' תנחומא דברו על נדון זה כאילו לא נודע מעולם וכאילו למדוהו הם מהפסוק בכח עינם ובדקות פלפולם. ולפיכך כשם שבענין זה הודיעונו דבר ישן כאילו הוא חדש, כן שאר הלימודים הדומים לאלו היו מקובלים בכל ישראל אעפ"י שנראה שהחכמים חדשום וכו' וכו'

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  26. Concerned Jewish fatherAugust 16, 2022 at 7:38 PM

    I suggest you turn this whole question around and ask your daughter why she would even want to sing the presence of men and not just for women?
    Isn't she concerned that some married men in the audience will be gazing at her and perhaps thinking about her after her performance?
    And why wouldn't performing exclusively in front of women not be satisfying enough? Is she harboring some level of internalized male chauvinism which makes her think performing can only be worth doing if it is done in front of men?

    Don't come off as judgmental-- Just ask some frank questions to prompt some honest soul-searching on the part of your young, perhaps naïve, budding religious female performer.

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    1. You, are not her Father…..

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    2. Concerned Jewish fatherAugust 18, 2022 at 10:20 AM

      Never said I was...not sure why it's relevant. I'm just talking to Rabbi Slifkin as one concerned Jewish father to another--maybe to give him a different perspective to his daughter's question.
      And the title of this post is very misleading--as usual. Of course her daughter can sing! The question is before whom. And there should be nothing stifling about a religious woman singing exclusively for female audiences. On the contrary--It should be a source of religious pride.

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    3. I found this comment by 'concerned father' to be one of the more offensive comments on this thread, even though I am sure the author did not intend to be offensive.
      The author seems not to be able to consider the possibility that the daughter likes singing and to share music with others, regardless of their gender. Sharing music is a very nice thing to do. It's art.
      It's also disingenous - by positing (in the 'internalized male chauvinism' section), that inherently, a woman who isn't 'satisfied' by singing in front of a female only audience has something wrong with her.
      I'm fine with people having certain attitudes about what is appropriate for each gender in society, as long as they admit it. This concerned father would have been better off saying "But Rabbi Slifkin, aren't you concerned that your daughter is not living according to my standards whereby such things just arent dont?" Rather than assuming that the whole world shares his values.

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    4. Concerned Jewish fatherAugust 18, 2022 at 9:10 PM

      Of course every performer likes singing and displaying her talents to anyone who would care to watch/listen. But just because you like doing something doesn't mean it's worth doing when it comes at a cost.
      You may have different standards which tell you its worth the cost. But don't try to pretend that there is no spiritual cost altogether.

      A woman displaying her art at a gallery or publishing them in books for everyone to admire and enjoy is one thing. More the power to her as far as I'm concerned.
      A woman performing her art in front of men is quite another-- and perhaps the young lady should stop and think about the spiritual implications of doing that instead of shopping around the sources for a hetter.
      Sorry if that's offensive to people with different standards, not a fan..

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    5. "I found this comment by 'concerned father' to be one of the more offensive comments on this thread"

      Ahemm... Maybe give some credit where credit is due???

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    6. Always on the woman to save the man from sin. Quite the world view.

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    7. "*Always* on the woman to save the man from sin. Quite the world view."

      Actually, as 'Jewinthecity' writes repeatedly, *never*.

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    8. Concerned Jewish fatherAugust 20, 2022 at 9:54 PM

      Let us clarify the specific scenario we are discussing. There is a social event which has included an entertainment segment to the evening. (or a talent show) The female performer knows in advance that men and women are present at this event.
      Does she accept the gig --relying on all kinds of kulos accepted by her community-- knowing the men who will most probably be continuously gazing at whomever is at center stage? (The men in this community aren't exactly known to tape their eyes shut in such circumstances)? Or does she decline in order to preserve her own spiritual integrity and her sense of dignity?
      That is the question.

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    9. Concerned Jewish fatherAugust 21, 2022 at 9:36 AM

      Rabbi Slifkin, you have been conspicuously silent on this question I am posing to you and your daughter. Have you nothing to say about it?
      Do you think there is zero spiritual cost involved in a female performing her art or talents in front of men who will be gazing at her almost continuously for their entertainment? Or perhaps you think the cost is worth paying to satisfy your daughter's need for "self-expression" in front of as large an audience as possible?
      Is there a third possibility I overlooked?

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  27. U quote, in parentheses, that Rav Bigman believes that the injunction against women doing certain types of singing should apply to men as well. But, what about all the other halachot of tsniut that apparently apply to women but not to men. Frum men wear short-sleeved shirts and do not cover their hair. Non-Hareidi orthodox men even wear shorts. Would Rav Bigman wish to re-visit tsniut laws for men?

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  28. Two sources that prohibit women singing independent of the definition of kol b'isha erva, and that make the Sridei Eish's heter an ultra-thin reed to stand-on:

    1)אמר רב יוסף זמרי גברי ועני נשי פריצותא זמרי נשי ועני גברי כאש בנעורת למאי נפקא מינה לבטולי הא מקמי הא (סוטה מח עמוד א').

    This prohibits even group singing where you cannot make out a specific woman's voice. At that point, there shouldn't be any difference whether or not there are men in the group. This is a much stronger and on-point source than קול באשה ערוה.

    2) The fact that Miriam and her group had to sing separately shows that this prohibition applies even to songs of kedusha, at least in a public venue.

    I had to laugh when reading Barzelai Hagiladi described as "righteous", considering Chazal's depiction of him as שטוף בזמה. The proofs or leniecy from tanach brought above are very easy to dismiss, as either talking about separate groups of singers (which we see from Miriam was not unheard of), or done by people who were not makpid, for better or worse- considering that rampant nonobservance of other mitzvos, it is no surprise that this form of tznius was not adhered to either.

    That said, we do find that women would wail at funerals, so that was probably not considered arousing. And non-performative group singing isn't necessarily covered by the above sources either (like group zemiros led by a male hosts, with no solos, etc.) And perhaps recorded female singing could be allowed as well. But live performative singing seems unambiguously covered as prohibited by the above sources, and is far worse than the mere greeting prohibited in Kiddushin 70b. There is no good heter to stand on.

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    1. "The proofs or leniecy from tanach brought above are very easy to dismiss, as either talking about separate groups of singers (which we see from Miriam was not unheard of), or done by people who were not makpid" Shaul HaMelech and Shlomo HaMelech are people who were not makpid?

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    2. Shaul Hamelech didn't ask them to come out, and as in many other instances, didn't see fit to challenge the public. Shlomo Hamelech made much more serious errors with women, but all of a sudden he will be the model for paskening kol isha?

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    3. And Rashi explains the pasuk of Shlomo Hamalech as referring to instruments (while Metzudat David does not)

      Another Dave

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    4. Although it is possible that the girls acted wrongly with Shaul, כדי להצדיק בנות ישראל הכשרות, I would like to suggest a possible "heter" for *them*.

      We have to keep in mind that the main issue of ervah is for somebody who is really an ervah, ie prohibited.

      In the days of Shaul:
      1. Most people were careful about טהרות, there was no issue of נדה for a single girl
      2. tביאה was קונה with no need for anything else
      3. Men could marry multiple wives
      4. According to many authorities, פלגש was permitted

      Therefore, most single girls were permitted to most men, and not just permitted, but permitted immediately. Therefore, there may have been no issur de'Oraisah of single girls singing, dancing, or having uncovered skin in front of most men, who they were totally permitted to without delay, although there may have been more general modesty issues. And especially if done לשם שמים, if the girls actually wanted to attract a husband/master, and there was a realistic chance of that happening, then besides for there being no issur d'Oraysah, there wouldn't even be an issue of immodesty. This is ESPECIALLY the case with King Shaul, who could take several of the girls by force any time he wished. And most likely the girls knew that too, and hoped for that, which would be לשם שמים.

      This is all לפלפולא בעלמא, מה שעלה על רעיוני. It is a big chiddush, and I haven't looked into this matter, and I may be totally mistaken. I would welcome corrections or הערות.

      Delete
    5. Of course, that answer would have to assume the נשים are בתולות

      Delete
    6. נעימים הדברים למי שאמרם. And truth be told there is no reason at all to assume that married women did the singing. And the pashtus is that there is no prohibition, even m'drabanan, to hear
      an unmarried non-niddah sing when it doesn't generate forbidden thoughts. (The Mishna Brurah is strict but Rav Moshe disagrees in theory although in practice he defers l'chatchilah to the Mishna Brurah). Niddah women typically didn't go out in those days and one can easily postulate that married women weren't the ones going out either. No more problematic than the twice-a-year dance that used to occur every tu b'av and Yom Kippur. The modern minhag of keeping all our p'nuyos in an indefinite state of tum'ah has definitely skewed our perception of what is normal, and created more issurim than would have existed beforehand.

      Delete
    7. Shmooli, the Gemara in Sota is talking about men and women singing together. There is nothing there at all about merely listening to women singing.

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    8. Why is זמרי נשי ועני גברי considered כאש בנעורת? Evidently paying attention to a live performance of women singing is considered to be highly risky to induce forbidden thoughts. The example given ensures that the men are paying attention to the women's singing, which of course will happen any time men are in attendance for the purpose of hearing a woman perform. This is distinguished from the opposite case where the men lead, which is still forbidden on account of the women's participation, but is not as bad as the opposite case, because in this case the men's primary purpose is their own singing. A man who comes to a performance to hear a woman sing has primary purpose of listening to the woman and therefore falls under the stricter prohibition.

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    9. Shmooli: That is your interpretation of the difference betwen the two cases.

      Delete
    10. "Therefore, most single girls were permitted to most men, and not just permitted, but permitted immediately"

      I don't follow. Are you suggesting a man can gaze on the unclothed figure of a penuah who is tehorah? Whar about wearing a bikini? If kol isha ervoh means ervoh, what is the difference?

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    11. "Are you suggesting a man can gaze on the unclothed figure of a penuah who is tehorah?"

      Indeed, I am suggesting a tremendous chiddush that it wouldn't fall under an איסור דאורייתא of ערוה since she is not an ערוה. It would be tremendous breach of צניעות though, and may fall under many other איסורים just because of that. But if done for the purpose of marriage/פלגש, with a very realistic chance of that happening, it wouldn't be a breach of צניעות and would in fact be a מצוה. Even nowadays, when our singles are נדות, we allow things that would otherwise be considered a breach of צניעות, for the purpose of dating for marriage.

      Delete
    12. Yehoshua, how does coming to a performance to hear a woman sing possibly not fall under that gemara in sotah? The men are coming for the purpose of enjoying the singers voices', and the fact that they don't participate doesn't change that at all. Your chiluk is not reasonable or justifiable.

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    13. Shmooli: The Gemara discusses a case where there is two-way interaction between the men and women who are singing. You are extending that prohibition to merely listening to women singing. I am just noting that your extension to that case is not explicit in the Gemara, and there are factors present in an interactive experience that could render prohibited that type of singing in particular.

      Delete
    14. Happy,


      "Indeed, I am suggesting a tremendous chiddush that it wouldn't fall under an איסור דאורייתא of ערוה since she is not an ערוה"

      Its not just a chiddush its a cholent. What does a 'tremendous breach of tzniyus' mean? You need to be far more precise than that. What does 'issur d'oreysoh of ervah' mean? What issur exactly?

      Anyway, For the purpose of marriage we allow histaklus even when the woman is a niddah and ervoh. Unless the briskers insist their dates tovel.

      Delete
    15. "What does a 'tremendous breach of tzniyus' mean? "

      Why is this hard to understand? Every frum yid should understand this.

      " What does 'issur d'oreysoh of ervah' mean? What issur exactly?"

      Sorry, as I said before, I didn't look into the matter. After now checking the Rambam, it seems that קול is not לא תקרבו, it is not לוקה, so it is either דרבנן or some lower level of דאורייתא. However, it is certainly not more חמור than לא תקרבו, which only applies "כל הבא על ערוה מן העריות דרך איברים או שחבק ונשק דרך תאוה ונהנה בקרוב בשר..." as the Rambam says. And a פנויה טהורה is not ערוה מן העריות. But I assume a פנויה טמאה is ערוה מן העריות, so ואפילו לשמוע קול הערוה או לראות שערה אסור, as the Rambam says. Also, the בית שמואל says explicitly that קול פנויה is מותר (he doesn't discuss טמאה or טהורה). Is it less of a cholent now?

      Delete
    16. "Why is this hard to understand? Every frum yid should understand this."

      We are a textual religion. Everything needs to be sourced and defined. The yeshivish response "Well, the XXXX said it is forbidden/permitted" etc, without any textual sources, proper record,context etc, is a nonsense. How many times does a yeshivish debtate end along those lines?

      What is a 'lower level d'oreysoh'?

      Why does no malkus show it is d'rabbanan or a 'lower level d'oreysoh' anyway? Is gazing on ervoh mamesh lokah? Methinks it is a classic lav she'ein bo ma'asah.

      You comparison to 'lo sikravu' is irrelevant. There is a seperate issue with the woman herself, no? Again, is a penuah tehurah permitted to wonder around in a bikini? What is the issur exactly, according to you? "Every frum yid should underststand this" is not an acceptable response. Ever frum yid should understand what happened with Sha'ul and the dancing girls on tu b'av was totally incorrect, a mistake and forbidded. In fact insert yeshivish [he was chozer b'sof yomov/ some non-Jewish printer inserted the dancing girls in the talmud] take your choice.




      Delete
    17. "We are a textual religion. Everything needs to be sourced and defined. "

      This entire sentence is wrong.

      "What is a 'lower level d'oreysoh'?"

      I meant something like חצי שיעור. The Ramban talks about it in regards to לא תקרבו itself.

      "Why does no malkus show it is d'rabbanan or a 'lower level d'oreysoh' anyway?"

      I don't understand the question.

      Is gazing on ervoh mamesh lokah? Methinks it is a classic lav she'ein bo ma'asah.

      Rambam is clear it is not לוקה. I don't think the reason is לאו שאין בו מעשה, but that might be true also, in regards to gazing.

      "You comparison to 'lo sikravu' is irrelevant. There is a seperate issue with the woman herself, no?"

      I don't understand the question.

      "Ever frum yid should understand what happened with Sha'ul and the dancing girls on tu b'av was totally incorrect, a mistake and forbidded. In fact insert yeshivish [he was chozer b'sof yomov/ some non-Jewish printer inserted the dancing girls in the talmud] take your choice."

      I thought we were having a serious conversation. Now I see you are joking. Good joke! 😄

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    18. No, you are joking by falling back on the old "Why is this hard to understand? Every frum yid should understand this."

      Why is charedism bad? Every frum Jew should understand. Why is ModOx bad? Every frum Jew should understand. Why is obsession with a rebbe bad? Why is chassidim bad? Why is [insert anything you like here]?

      It's simple. "Every frum Jew should understand".

      Delete
    19. Are you people out of your minds? happyetc... I'm talking to you in particular.
      The Seridei Esh's heter (that singing leshem shamayimin praise of G.d is not erwah, as was the accepted custom of the very pious neo-orthodox german jews), so you go on to invent foolish new heterim for Shaul and David Hamelekh?

      And what a heiter! So according to you, it is now acceptable for a woman to use her voice in a provocative way in order to seduce the man she wants to marry, in front of everyone!
      But on the other hand G.d forbid that she should use it in a modest way to sing praise to G.d!

      And wait, there is even more nonsense! It is even permitted to dance suggestively, to uncover her skin provocatively and what not, all of this because, after all, they are permitted to most men. Meaning the only reason why all of this is not permited today is because unmarried women do not follow the rules of niddah!
      No, you fools. It's the other way around, we stopped demanding it from them because it was seen as an additional (albeit a dangerous one) screen against promiscuity.

      Ah, and the icing on the case, rape is supposed to be totally permitted: 'King Shaul, who could take several of the girls by force any time he wished'.
      I don't even know where to start with a sentence so wrong as this one.
      Are you suggesting the women acted promiscuously with him in hope he would 'take' them by force? do you realize how horrible that verb sounds without any complement? where did you find that the king can rape young ladies?

      Delete
    20. "'We are a textual religion. Everything needs to be sourced and defined.'

      This entire sentence is wrong."

      Happy, I know we are digital comrade-in-arms, but in theory I agree with **** on this statement. Although I still believe that your proposed theory about this is correct, as the poskim are clear that only an erva has this prohibition. If I recall correctly, the MB mentions this in s. 75. However, since nowadays our besulos are niddos, it basically covers everyone. We do not find such an exception with gazing at covered areas, perhaps because that is considered more provocative and maybe included in ונשמרתם מכל דבר רע. I am just saying boich sevaras at this point and did not yet have a chance to look into it deeper.

      Delete
  29. Question to those interpreting the Gemara as making a blanket prohibition: the Gemara also says that a woman's hair is ervah. It doesn't distinguish between married and unmarried. So how do you justify single girls not covering their hair?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. About hair, elsewhere the *Mishnah* does distinguish, Kesubos 2:1.

      Delete
  30. I belong to a musical theater company in Jerusalem. Quite a few of us, including our director, conductor (he's from Manchester!), and many of our leads, are religious. We often have chazzanim. We have a few rabbanim. We even have some people from Ramat Beit Shemesh. :-) Our audience is heavily religious as well. Some of the regular attendees were my rebbeim. (Others of my rebbeim attended operas. My father's rebbe, Rav Soloveitchik, had season tickets to the Berlin opera with Rav Hutner, something the *latter* would proudly bring up. Clearly the issue is *not* as clear as people think.)

    Oh, and we daven Mincha and Maariv (depending on the season and time of show) between acts.

    Auditions for our next show are coming up- your daughter should try out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And did R' Hutner and R' Soloveitchik go to concerts featuring sopranos? You did not mention that part. As far as bringing a ra'ya from your self and some anonymous "rabbanim", I can see how hard you are scraping the bottom of the barrel!

      Delete
    2. They went to the *opera*. All operas have sopranos.

      Delete
    3. Ok, this is beyond my level of expertise so I will have to throw in the towel. If I take your word for it.

      Just bare in mind that when they were in Berlin, they were not exactly at the pinnacle of their spiritual journeys. Supposedly, R' Hutner had some juicy allegations about the Lubavitcher Rebbe who was also in Berlin at that time, which he repeated to talmidim many years later.

      Delete
    4. Yes, a soprano’s singing voice is assur, but a contralto isn’t as sexually alluring as her pinky. So b’shas ha’dchag listening to a contralto will get you only half a gehenim’s suffering.
      Ha! It’s all unfalsifiable claptrap. What a waste of time and energy to dwell on such foolishness.
      Instead of catering to such absurdity, take your wife to a production of La Boheme and when you get home get yourself aroused by her pinky.

      Delete
    5. Fotheringay-Phipps

      Delete
    6. Fotheringay-PhippsAugust 18, 2022 at 9:32 PM

      I believe the notion that RYH attended operas, despite its freqent repitition on blogs and the like, has no real source, and is actually one of these "urban legends".

      Delete
    7. Truly it has been said that da'at torah is not so much the following of the gedolim and reinterpreting the gedolim to fit what you want to believe.

      Delete
  31. Would a recording of a female singing be adjudicated differently? ACJA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This must be a really good place to ask a halacha question! In the comments section of a blog populated by a bunch of defensive MODOX, bored chareidim, and a smattering of flat out kofrim!! Ask your LOR, not the forum for that here.

      Delete
  32. From a cartoon of an obviously 'frum' man. I'M SORRY I CAN'T HEAR YOU, HONEY. I HAVE A KOSHER PHONE SO KOL ISHA DOESN'T COME THROUGH.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Writing out the caption of a cartoon is like trying to explain a joke that fell flat!

      Delete
  33. Rabbi Slifkin, you did not mention it in your post, but If I am not mistaken, and although I have not seen it mentioned in this forum, does the gemara not permit calling women up to the Torah (where the standard practice was for the person called up to read it), and only dismisses the notion because it is "a bellittlement to the congregation". I do not know the exact location in the Gemara and maybe I am just misinterpreting it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is really irrelevant, because it's only theoretical and not as if they were actually allowed to read the Torah in public.

      But on it's face, this is not much of a proof because
      1. Reading with the cantillation is not inherently a prerequisite of performing the the mitzvah of Torah reading, and is mentioned in the gemara and halacha only in passing.
      2. The cantillation that they had in the gemara's time was likely similar to that of the Yemenites (who are regarded by most as having the purest tradition, due to their tremendous emphasis on it and the fact that they were the one of the only Jewish civilizations who remained in the same location since the Churban), and is not much of a 'tune' at all!

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    2. Mecharker: The reason why they are not allowed to has nothing to do with kol isha, so I don't understand your first point.

      Delete
    3. It is impossible to read and understand the Torah without tropes. It would be like reading a English book without periods, commas, etc ONLY MUCH WORSE. IT is why the Masorites went thru the trouble of putting the symbols on the words, so the traditional understanding would not get lost. Torah tropes is unique in the world and is a very sophisticated way of partitioning sentences and it has a fractal nature. ACJA

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    4. @מכרכ

      More unfalsifiable confirmation bias.
      I say It’s not theoretical and they were in fact permitted to read the Torah in public. And on its face it’s plenty of proof. And the cantillation that they had in the gemara’s time is unknowable and could be very different than Yemenite tradition.
      I’ll say it again — it’s just more unfalsifiable claptrap.

      Delete

    5. @Yehoshua:

      Samuel was trying to say: "We see that theoretically there did not seem to be an inherent problem with women reading the Torah, other than the fact that it is a 'belittlement of the congregation'. What about the fact that if they were to read from the Torah with the cantillation and there should be a problem of Kol Isha? אלא מאי, (thumb-wave here) there is no problem of קול אשה!"

      To which my first response was, in the theoretical world, the cantillation does not need to be recited at all! So if we were to deduce from theoretical women reading from the Torah, who said they would be reciting with the cantillation?

      Uriah's Wife, you are a flat out kofer and not worthy of a response. I have seen this from other comments of yours on this site. It is futile to engage with someone so apathetic as you. When you're done watching La Boheme and getting aroused on your wife's pinky and looking for some good reading material in your spare time, I suggest Maimonides Mamrim 3:1. It reads like a murder thriller!!

      Delete
    6. Is there any doubt that women were called up to the Torah at a certain time in our history? If not, how do you read the mishneh, which clearly indicates that it became not "respectful l" to call up a woman at a a certain time. However, until that decree, women were indeed called up to the Torah.

      Delete
    7. Its not clear from the earliest sources that it was a "decree" perhaps a recommendation or best practice , a "lekhatkhilla".
      See https://www.etzion.org.il/en/halakha/studies-halakha/women-and-mitzvot/women-torah-reading-iii-kevod-ha-tzibbur

      HirschTeflon

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    8. מכרכר@

      When it comes to lol isha insipidness, kefira is the appropriate response, especially to the asinine hashkafa that warps the mind to deny a father the pleasure to hear his 6 year old daughter sing at her graduation. It’s the same crackpot Yiddishkeit that now forbids a woman’s very tzniusdik picture in any visible form. Or her feminine name from being spelled out on an invitation.
      My recommendation to enjoy La Boheme to you would be useless. Beautiful music sung by women might render you irreparable harm.
      Instead I might recommend an ancient midrashic opera composed by RASHBI as an addendum to The Zohar titled La Behaima. Your misogynistic mindset would love it, seeing how you treat women like בהמות.

      Delete
    9. @uriahs wife.. can u submit a link to this source please. I'm curious.

      Delete
  34. Megilla 23a, the source referred to in the previous comment, indeed clearly states that there is no halachic problem with women reading from the Torah.

    ReplyDelete
  35. נבל ברשות התורה!!!!!!!!!!
    Clearly not in the spirit of Judaism!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Naval B'rshus HaTorah is the Ramban! He was a mystic! Slifkin only cares about 'rationalists', and only when they are saying things he agrees with!!

      Delete
    2. Right! Absolutely not in the spirit of Judaism! Just like Dovid HaMelech and Shlomo HaMelech with their female singers were not acting in the spirit of Judaism!

      Delete
    3. Only those looking to trample Judaism interpret biblical narratives literally and apply it to modern Life! Funny how we are now taking biblical narratives literally when it is convenient! Did you also want to have 18 wives?!

      Delete
  36. Yeah, those awful singing women.

    נֹ֛פֶת תִּטֹּ֥פְנָה שִׂפְתוֹתַ֖יִךְ כַּלָּ֑ה דְּבַ֤שׁ וְחָלָב֙ תַּ֣חַת לְשׁוֹנֵ֔ךְ וְרֵ֥יחַ שַׂלְמֹתַ֖יִךְ כְּרֵ֥יחַ לְבָנֽוֹן:

    מַה־יָּפ֧וּ פְעָמַ֛יִךְ בַּנְּעָלִ֖ים בַּת־נָדִ֑יב חַמּוּקֵ֣י יְרֵכַ֔יִךְ כְּמ֣וֹ חֲלָאִ֔ים מַֽעֲשֵׂ֖ה יְדֵ֥י אָמָּֽן:

    שְׁנֵ֥י שָׁדַ֛יִךְ כִּשְׁנֵ֥י עֳפָרִ֖ים תָּֽאֳמֵ֥י צְבִיָּֽה

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    Replies
    1. No words for the degree of ignorance, even on the dubious assumption that SHSH is literal. The whole SHSH is about husband and wife.

      Delete
  37. Admitting up front that I'm merely one of the am h'aretz compared to most of the commenters here, and not intending to dismiss their many impressive scholarly citations, I can' help wondering if centuries of gezayrot have led us far astray from our ancient roots. Perhaps I'm naive, but when I read in Tehillim:

    Sing to the Lord a new song,
    His praises in the congregation of the faithful.
    Let Israel rejoice in its maker;
    let the children of Zion exult in their king.
    Let them praise His name in dance;
    with timbrel and lyre let them chant His praises.

    The beautiful mental image I'm granted is not one in which only men are singing and dancing and all the women and girls stand by silent and motionless. When our hearts are filled with love of Hashem, there can be no room for fleshly temptations. Or so, at least, it seems to have been for our ancestors before the second Churban.

    Considering the way we've objectified our women in the almost two millennia since as, before anything else, sources of sexual temptation, it amazes me that we didn’t precede the — le'havdil — Muslims in requiring them to wear a head-to-toe burqa in public.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moshe, your self-caveat is appreciated. Nonetheless, your mental image is projecting the habits of modern society into many centuries past. What I happened to read from relatively recently, the 19th century, has women satisfied, even excited, as observing men involved in certain activities. Remove your 21st century glasses and look again with glasses from the 19th. Or better yet from the time of David Hamelech, like 3000 years ago.

      Delete
    2. Nonsense and nonsense and nonsense.
      Don't listen to this Moshe, there are countless explicit examples. Let's cite a few of them, to break their teeth:

      Psalms 68,25-27:
      'Men see Your processions, O God,
      the processions of my God, my king,
      into the sanctuary.
      First come singers, then musicians,
      amidst maidens playing timbrels.
      In assemblies bless God,
      the LORD, O you who are from the fountain of Israel.

      Psalms 148, 12-13
      Youths and maidens alike,
      old and young together.
      Let them praise the name of the LORD,
      for His name, His alone, is sublime;
      His splendor covers heaven and earth.

      That's why the Seridei Esh says the erwah does not refer to singing in praise of G.d.

      Now it is true that we do not feel comfortable permitting it, because we do not feel our praises are indeed pure and devoid of any temptation, and that's why for centuries we preferred issuing a blanket prohibition that would keep sanctity in our singing. But that should not make us forget the ideal.

      And, as the Seridei Esh notes, it might be hard for modern day jewish maidens to be told that, and therefore the Torah luminaries and experts in jewish education who led german neo-ortodoxy in the 19th and 20th centuries felt compelled to allow it in certain settings.

      Delete
  38. Yoma 54a( last lines and top of 54b) tells of pictures or drawings of some sort on the wall of the heichal (according to rashi ) of a man attached and embraced and holding his wife in his arms (rashi-כאיש המעורה בלוייה שלו - הנדבק וחבוק באשתו בין זרועותיו:)
    Dafdude

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  39. This entire article is mistaken in drawing conclusions from biblical narratives. The Rabbis later on in the Talmud prohibited women from singing in front of men. Closed case not sure why narratives from the prophets are being considered. Jacob married sisters in the Torah. One cannot bring sources in the Torah as proof without considering what the rabbis in the Talmud have said.

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    Replies
    1. "The Rabbis later on in the Talmud prohibited women from singing in front of men." No, they didn't.
      "Jacob married sisters in the Torah." That was before the Torah was given.

      Delete
  40. Waiting for the next shoe to drop.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anonymous@ August 19,22 at 5:55. Woman can read the Torah publicly as per halacha but it's נבל ברשות התורה? Why when norms have changed?

    ReplyDelete

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