Rabbi Alan J. Yuter writes in the NY Jewish Week:
Orthodox Rabbi Avi Shafran does not like the bashing of haredi rabbis. He then bashes the late Conservative Rabbi Louis Finkelstein who, while one may disagree with the gentleman, was a very pious and learned Jew. (Letters, Sept. 1) Recent research has shown that he viewed himself independent from and not responsible for the actions of the Conservative Movement.
Rabbi Shafran correctly finds women’s leadership roles to be innovative. But are they really forbidden by Jewish law? There are medieval precedents for such leadership, and the world-class modern Orthodox scholar, Rabbi Daniel Sperber of Bar Ilan University, relies on these precedents.
Rabbi Shafran chides The Jewish Week for not buying into Agudath Israel’s definition of Orthodoxy. There are many claimants to Orthodoxy. Rabbi Moses Eisenemen wrote that Orthodox women should not do mayim aharonim, the after-meal hand washing, although the Talmud calls the rite an obligation, and Tosafot claims that the rite no longer applies because the reason for the rule [Sodom salt is not found in France] no longer applies. For some, Tosafot’s reasoning sounds Conservative. And an Orthodox Judaism that tells women they may not do what the Talmud obliges them to do should not criticize other observant Jews for their affiliations and then complain about haredi bashing
Rabbi Alan J. Yuter
Yuter 1, Shafran, 0. Shafran down for the count.
[Hat Tip: CP’s Friend.]