In this highly relevant edition of Current Jewish Questions, Rabbi Josh Yuter explores the complete range of Tzniut / Modesty as defined in the Talmid, and its holistic implications for Jewish living.
Category: Jewish Law / Halakha
In light of the recent religious violence in Israel, Rabbi Yuter begins his new Current Jewish Questions series with a discussion of religious coercion in Jewish law.
Rabbi Yuter shares a mussar story from rabbinical school
At times it seems that the Orthodox rabbinate has little more to contribute to the world of Jewish ideas than proclamations declaring who is, or more precisely who is not, “Orthodox.” Consider a few recent examples. This past summer Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky wrote a blog post (since removed) discussing his aversion to reciting the daily blessing shelo asani isha, thanking God for not having made him a woman. In response, Rabbi Dov Fischer castigated R. Kanefsky and the community he represents as, “propagating their views without being subjected to scrutiny and critique by those committed to a Mesorah-driven frumkeit” [emphasis added]. In other words, R. Kanefsky’s halakhic opinion is not part of the genuine “mesorah/tradition,” which R. Fischer apparently does possess. Another writer echoes R. Fischer sentiment more explicitly, “In my view this not only takes Rabbi Kanefsky out of the realm of Orthodoxy, it firmly puts him into the realm of Conservative Judaism.”
In this Very Special 50th Podcast, Rabbi Yuter’s Fundamentals of Judaism explores the basis for Rabbinic authority.
One reason why I started this blog way back when was to post answers to frequently asked questions, and this is a perfect example. I often get asked about kashering dishwashers and how to use them for meat and dairy dishes.
I will not go into a full treatment here of the multiple opinions, but I’ve found people seem genuinely shocked when I cite the opinion of the Shulhan Aruch, a usually acceptable source which in this case is relatively lenient compared to other opinions or conventional understanding.
The national trend toward legalizing same-sex marriage has posed a unique challenge to Modern Orthodox Judaism. Part of the allure of Modern Orthodoxy is its willing integration with the secular world and in legitimizing a wider range of religious lifestyles than their parochial counterparts. However, the religious proscriptions against homosexual activity must necessarily limit the extent of Modern Orthodoxy’s pluralism. While the topic of homosexuality in Orthodox Judaism has been discussed at length elsewhere, the frequent focus is on individuals struggling with their personal conflicting religious and sexual identities. In contrast, gay marriage is a public announcement and celebration of two people embracing a lifestyle forbidden by Jewish law.
Rabbi Yuter discusses the recent controvery of Maharat/Rabba and women serving leadership roles in Judaism
An Orthodox colleague recently created a controversy after writing a blog post explaining why he no longer recites the blessing shelo asani isha – thanking God for not creating him as a woman. Several Orthodox rabbis criticized this position for various reasons with one even questioning the author’s right to call himself “Orthodox,” ostensibly for deviating from the traditional liturgy through his omission. In the grand scheme of Orthodox Jewish history this rabbi’s personal choice is relatively trivial. However, in the subsequent squabbling over one rabbi’s legitimacy, the Orthodox rabbinate inadvertently exposes the inherent cognitive dissonance prevalent in the contemporary Orthodox community.
Rabbi Yuter’s Politics of Exclusion series shifts focus to on Orthodox Judaism’s ethos of preserving traditional gender roles, beginning with the topic of mechitzah vs. separate seating in the synagogue.