Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Who Is An Authority?

Hashem is so good to me. I have been involved in a series of shiurim recently on the topic of לפני עור. It is a broad and fascinating topic. 

By "chance" I saw an article whose author called himself "Rabbi" where he said that while a man may not hear a woman singing, a woman may sing in front of men. It is soley the man's problem.

I wrote him an email saying that it is clearly forbidden for someone to cause someone else to sin. So a woman of course may not sing in front of men and it is her sin as well [just as she must dress modestly so as not to cause the man to stumble].

His response was shocking. He attacked me personally. That was it. No explanation of his position. Just a personal verbal assualt. Short and to the point.

So all I have to say is that if one wants to learn Torah then the best place is the Beis Medrash. Not only is the Internet filled with false information - the very nature of the discourse is often foreign to our tradition.

Another example is that on the Internet everyone's opinion is equal. Someone will write that "Rav Shteinman thinks this, Rav Elyashiv thought that but my opinion is...." What is your opinion worth? You haven't learned one sugya properly in your life! You don't know one masechta well - even on superficial level. But you are on the level to suggest that your opinion carries equal weight to those who have ninety years of Torah under their belt.

The Rabbis in the gemara never quote their wives when engaging in halachic discussions. Why not? Women have strongly held opinions, as we all know. "Rav Huna says that my wife Malki thinks it's muttar. Rav Ashi says that my sister in law Chavi holds that it is assur. Abaye says that my sister Chani thinks that ... but her friend Shprintza holds ..." Never. Why not. The answer is that in order for one's opinion to carry weight one must be a top tier Torah scholar which women were not [and are still] not. Women are great. We love them. They created, literally, the Jewish people. In their merit we left Egypt. They are responsible for all of the Torah that the men and children learn. Can't do it without their help. But when the question of whether מפגלין בחצי מתיר or מיגו להוציא אמרינן arises, they are just not authorities and thus anything they say on the matter cannot be seriously considered. But on the Internet, every Tom, Dick, Harry, Shaindy and Blumy express their opinions and expect to be taken seriously.

That doesn't mean that one may not ask questions. Of course one may and should ask. But after all is said and done one must know their place. And a blogger who is an accountant or dentist [or housewife] is dust under any gadol's feet because the gap between his knowledge and understanding and the gadol's is a huge abyss.      

And for all those angry people out there who write acidic [not hasidic] articles, blogs, comments etc. etc. I say - get in touch with Hashem. Study Torah deeply. Work on your middos. Practice mindfulness. Learn why you think, talk and act the way you do. Understand how your upbringing and environment shaped your personality. Do lots of chesed for others.

If you do so then you will be a much happier person.