Must the precepts of Torah have productive purposes? Must they, in other words, “have a point”? Most modern thinkers have thought so. God’s Revelation, they assumed, must surely be as rational as the human species that God created to receive it.
The case for the evolution of gender roles in Jewish life.
Rabbi Shai Held
Special to the Jewish Week
This past week, Rav Hershel Schachter, eminent Torah scholar and leading figure at Yeshiva University, issued fighting words. The ordination of women as rabbis is such a serious infraction of Jewish Law, he insisted, that it technically falls under the rubric of “Yehareg Ve-al Ya’avor”—one should sooner be killed than violate the Law.
A young woman looks at me from her hospital bed and confesses that grappling with her illness has helped her understand what her bat mitzvah Torah portion — which concerned isolating people with certain afflictions from their community and welcoming them back in once health was restored — was really all about.