Tolerance and Women of the Wall

women praying at western wall in Jerusalem

How to relate to the prayer group, “Women of the Wall,”  has been one of the most divisive issues in the National Religious community in Israel.

I wrote up my thoughts and published them on Times of Israel, and it is one of the top posts there.

Today is Rosh Hodesh Tammuz. The Kotel is quiet. Wishing you all a good month.

Please read: My Lesson in Tolerance

image: Rahel Jaskow

 

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Comments

  1. Rav Zilverman and his whole family stopped praying by the wall years ago. [I refer to the rosh yeshiva of the yeshiva that goes by the Gra in the old city.] From what I understood he thinks it has become a kind of idolatry. I don not remember if hi heard this from him or one of his brothers.

  2. Manya Shochet says:

    really think that unless WoW wins the right to pray at the Kotel in their custom, which is halachically permissible, that in another 20 years, haredim will decide that no woman can pray at the kotel unless she’s wearing a mid-calf skirt and long-sleeved baggy shirt. 20 years after that, they will add a full black poncho to their “requirements”, and 20 years after that, they will prohibit women from the Kotel entirely, because they are a distraction to the men.

    This has very little to do with halacha, and a great deal to do with “turf”, and with the increasing insistence by certain haredi sectors that they have some kind of “right” not to be offended in any area they deem “theirs”, no matter how public.

    a few seconds ago · Like

  3. Danny Kurtz says:

    Sorry, Hannah, but I disagree. Your position is basically that anybody can do anything he likes in the public domain (except maybe engage in physical violence) and if people don’t like it, they can just plain lump it, because we all have to be tolerant. Hannah, I can list for you a whole slew of activities, that don’t involve physical violence, and that you and your readers (and all normal people) will agree should be forbidden in public because they are so offensive or downright disgusting. But I won’t do it because I’m sure that you and your readers can come up with such lists yourselves.

    The fact that it is not technically forbidden for women to don tefillin is irrelevant. There is even a Talmudic opinion that the requirement of tefillin for men and for women is equal (Rabbi Meir, Shabbat 62A). So what? No one should be permitted to defy the status quo where by doing so, he will cause offence that may lead to violence. Here we are talking about a status quo which is based on a precedent of thousands of years – that women just don’t wear tallit or tefillin – and certainly not publicly. It seems strange that the WoW while accepting the precedent that establishes the Kotel plaza as our spiritual nerve-centre, reject other precedents on behaviour in public.

    • Danny wrote: Sorry, Hannah, but I disagree. Your position is basically that anybody can do anything he likes in the public domain (except maybe engage in physical violence) and if people don’t like it, they can just plain lump it, because we all have to be tolerant.
      You’re right that my premise doesn’t apply in every situation. Some actions that offend are just plain frivolous or unjustified. However we don’t have to go off the rails at every action that offends us. And we shouldn’t have to avoid doing things that are meaningful to us because it “may lead to violence.” Every situation needs to be judged on its own merits.

      • miriami says:

        Danny, when you say: “he will cause offence that may lead to violence,” you make it sound as if the violence just happens and can’t be prevented. Of course that is not the case: the people who cause the violence against WoW are not WoW but rather riffraff in the Haredi community (we don’t even need to get into the issue of whether or not their leadership riles them up/supports their actions or is horrified).

    • Manya Shochet says:

      “No one should be permitted to defy the status quo where by doing so, he will cause offence that may lead to violence”
      You’re painting with a pretty broad brush there. The unfortunate upshot of this is that the violent party always “wins” and he end result is not peace, but (surprise) more violence and a constant ratcheting up of haredi demands/

  4. Danny Kurtz says:

    Well, you all misunderstood my point, but I am at fault because I didn’t express myself clearly. My point was that nobody has the right to defy the status quo … period! (particularly where this status quo is based on precedents of thousands of years). Then I added a parenthetic clause indicating that such defiance is liable to lead to violence. But violence or no violence, in any system of human social interaction, if individuals feel they have the right to exercise the prerogative of unilaterally following courses of action that seem appropriate in their own eyes, where such courses of action may be offensive or disruptive to others (and in defiance of the status quo), the result will be nothing but chaos. (This includes women publicly wearing tallit and tefillin, as well as any violent response to same by Hareidim or anyone else.)

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