Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rabbinics vs. The Rabbanus

Courtesy of the Rev. H.B. Schmoe (הרוצה באילום שמו)

Don't ask why, but I ended up on the website of JTS's rabbinic school. The curriculum was laughable until I got to the part on "required skills." Your average flatbush/boro park shul rabbi can do about half of this and relies on bochurim and baalei batim for the rest.

Required skills:

  • Weekday nusah: Shaharit, Minhah, and Ma'ariv
  • Shabbat: Kiddush and havdalah
  • Knots (tying of tzitzit and tefillin knots)
  • Hallel
  • Torah/haftarah reading
  • Shabbat nusah: Shaharit, Minhah and Ma'ariv
  • Use of luah
  • Megillot trope
  • High Holy Day Torah reading
  • Shofar
  • Shalosh Regalim

Even funnier is that they not only expect the Rav to need the luach, but they don't expect him/her to know how to use it and need to give him/her a test.

53 comments:

e said...

This list is stuff that they aren't taught and they're expected to know on their own. they must all be kind of ignorant if there's a possibility that a candidate for the rabbinate won't know this stuff already, but at least they don't need to be taught it in school.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Actually, this is stuff they get taught.

The Real Shliach said...

e+Modeh: I'll let you two duel this one out.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what the Rambam would say about the luach thing? He writes that a school-age child could fully understand the principles of our fixed calendar in three or four days of study.

(Granted, this is probably the same school-age child who would come up with all of those complex Rashi questions that the Rebbe used to discuss...)

e said...

It appears that they have nusach classes which one can test out of but the other skills must be acquired on one's own.

TRS: perhaps include a link to http://jtsa.edu/The_Rabbinical_School/Academics.xml
as Rev. Harotzeh B.S. originally did.

e said...

Anon: the rambam was talking about when to make Rosh Chodesh, leap years etc. This is probably about zmanim.

The Real Shliach said...

e: I did include it. The words "The curriculum" are a hyperlink.

e said...

My bad. When you click "Show Original Post" the link doesn't show up.

The Real Shliach said...

In the email?

e said...

Nothing to do with the email. On the top of this here page there's a button "show original post." Click it . You will not see any links.

Anonymous said...

The luach refers to the 30x30" three pages of microprint that most ashkenazic shuls (ranging from sakmer kiryas yoel to apparently conservative temples) keep on the mizrach vant. It includes everything from the molad to who doesn't say tachanun today.

--HB Schmoe

e said...

But do conservatives believe in those luachs?

Jacob Da Jew said...

"Knots (tying of tzitzit and tefillin knots) "

Since when do all Rabbis know how to do this?

And also, do all rabonnim know how to lein megilla? I doubt it.

Shofar? Come on.

sarabonne said...

Hm, yeah the shofar always proves dissapointing. Especially because I expect thunder and lightening to go with it...shame.

Big N8 said...

There goes my dream of becoming a Rabbi... SHUCKS!

Big N8 said...

There goes my dream of becoming a Rabbi... SHUCKS!

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

I think that after semicha every newly minted rabbi should go to JTS and learn to lein like a mentch.

We should also institute a ksav for gabboim that they can tie tefillin knots and read the luach, after all that's what they're for.

Mushkie said...

TRS, you're international. Feel proud.

What group are JTS?

The Real Shliach said...

I am.

Not us.

e said...

jts=jewish theological seminary=conservative

Crawling Axe said...

If only they also believed in G-d...

Crawling Axe said...

And to think that back in the day, every man of the household could slaughter his chickens and circumcise his sons. Not to mention fix the refrigerator.

theRealPianist said...

And make an omelette.

Crawling Axe said...

Some can still do it today. Even if it does look like dog vomit.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Back in the day the women would circumcise their sons.

Crawling Axe said...

Isn't it one of eight time-bound mitzvos?

Nemo said...

How is a bris time-bound? Even if it was time bound, why can't a woman do it?

Crawling Axe said...

8th day. No?

e said...

CA: dacht zich mir that women are really obligated in millah. The only reason they're not actually obligated to do anything is due to anatomical circumstances which make them "k'man d'mihili dami" ("like one who is already circumcised"). Therefore they can circumcise a male. But I don't really remember. I may be wrong.

What are "the eight" time-bound mitzvos? Aren't there a few hundred?

Crawling Axe said...

I once heard a girlfriend of one MO rabbi argue with him that there are only eight. He was struggling to name seven.

Crawling Axe said...

Perhaps not the best source.

Crawling Axe said...

e, obligation in mila meant circumcision of one’s son, not oneself. Are you saying that women have the obligation too?

e said...

dacth zich mir mahshhu kazeh. have you got an encyclopedia talmudis?

Crawling Axe said...

not on me.

Nemo said...

Firstly, mila is not time-bound, it is perpetual. If someone is not g'maleh't by their father (who is obligated to circumcise his son), they must do it on their own at some point in life.

A woman is obviously not commanded to circumcise herself (and a father is not commanded to circumcise his daughter) in the same way because the concept of mila doesn't apply if you don't have an araal to be nimaal (common sense, people, come on!).

Despite having no positive commandment for mothers to circumcise their sons, nothing stops a woman from performing the mitzva. Firstly, you don't have to be obligated to do something to have reshus to do something. Secondly, she can discharge her husband's mitzva to circumcise by acting as his shliach.

Nemo said...

I can't recall if the obligation to circumcise falls on the entire community as well if the child's father doesn't do it.

Whatever, it's a gemara in Kiddushin, approx. p. 30.

theRealPianist said...

The one mitzvah by which our Patriarchs drew down holiness into material existence was that of circumcision. For circumcision is unique in that it brings holiness into the human body, and that holiness continues to endure, as it is written:[74] "And My covenant will be an eternal bond in your flesh."

To clarify this point: There are two dimensions to the mitzvah of circumcision: a) the onetime act of removing the foreskin, and b) the continuous effect that the person will be circumcised, and that he will not be uncircumcised.[75]

The above reflects two concepts:

1. The intent of the mitzvah of circumcision is to affect the actual physical flesh. The physical organ is more than an intermediary through which the mitzvah is fulfilled, as are the head and the arm on which tefillin are tied. With regard to circumcision, it is not merely that the mitzvah is performed with this organ; the purpose of the mitzvah is to affect the actual flesh, so that the person be circumcised, and that he not be uncircumcised.

2. The mitzvah of circumcision extends beyond the time in which the foreskin is cut, affecting the person for his entire life.

Likkutei Sichot - Volume 6

The act itself is time bound, but the effects and the second aspect of the mitvah are continuous.

As far as who, what, ikh veist.

Nemo said...

The act of the mitzva is not time-bound. Time-bound is implicated by a mitzva with a defined date or time of day. Mila does not have to be performed on any date on the calendar and there is no requirement to do it first thing in the day time (although we do tend to emphasize the idea of zrizin makdimin l'mitzvos in regard to mila, saying that it ought to be done first thing in the morning). Furthermore, even if the eighth day custom can somehow be considered time-bound in the halachik sense, the mitzva is not bound to that date; it must be done at the earliest time on any date after that.

Lastly, the concept that women are not obligated to do time-bound mitzvos is a misconception. In fact, they are required to eat matza on Pesach, to bring a Karban Shalmei Simcha, and maybe a few others that I can't think of off hand.

theRealPianist said...

eating in a sukkah? I was told that they are not obligated.

I'm not sure that something has to be on a set date on the calender in order to be time bound. In what sense? In the sense that there is a count necessary, distinction necessary leading to a specific moment.

Its a halacha that if a person ends up on a remote island and is not sure what day of the week it is, that he should for himself set up a the 7th day following to be shabbas, regardless of whether it really is on the calender. To him, its obliging, regardless of the rest of the world. Just like in making soup, the intention with which one puts various elements into it effect which blessing to make (shehakol or adomah, etc), similarly this mitvah is time bound in relation to the birth of that child, there is a clock ticking.

Unless you mean to say that it is not specifically necessary for it to be on the 8th day, just from that moment on? But then again, the second aspect of the mitvah IS fulfilled from the 8th day on ideally, whereas the first already has to be done on the 8th day.

Nemo said...

No, women are not obligated to live in the sukkah. But they are obligated in the mitzva of honoring Shabbos, which is a mitzva with a designated time. They are obligated in some time-mitzvas and not obligated in others. The rule is imprecise.

Let's be clear and drop the "time-bound" term. In Aramaic, these mitzvos are referred to as mitzvos aseh she'hazman garma, or positive commandments that are caused by the time. The implication is that the time (i.e., time of day or the date) themselves cause them. They are obligatory based on the calendar, not independently.

To illustrate: if you miss putting on tefillin during the day, you have no obligation to make it up at night or the next day. The mitzva can only be done in its designated time.

Similarly, there is a mitzva to eat matzos on the first night of Pesach and to bring certain sacrifices during the 3 festivals. If you miss doing either of those, you missed the mitzva. Now, there are designated dates for making up missed opportunities, but that can only be done within a particular time frame.

In contrast, the mitzva of mila is not caused by any date and it doesn't have a designated time frame. The only temporal limitation on it is that it doesn't begin prior to the eight day. But it isn't the eighth day which causes the mitzva, i.e. "she'hazman garma," rather it is the incidence of the child's birth that causes the running of time.

Your comparison to an individual Shabbos count in inapt. Firstly, that is a very exceptional concept and cannot illustrate a rule. But more fundamentally to my point:

Shabbos does not have a designated date. It can fall out on any date on the calendar. But it does have a designated time in which it has to fall out - on the seventh day of the week. Now, if this individual is for whatever reason lost and unsure of time, he is told to count his oven seven days, to create the time designation. Shabbos comes on account of the seven day count, not account of the mishap of him getting lost. It is only the incidence of being lost that causes the running of time.

Lastly, that sicha, as nice of an explanation of the mitzva of mila as it is, does not reflect halacha.

Nemo said...

Anyways, I made a mistake. The mitzva of mila is only during the day, or so says the Rambam. It is a zman garma. Hil. Mila 1:8.

But that doesn't affect the original question of whether a woman can circumcise a child. The Rambam says in Hil. Mila 2:1 that a woman is allowed to perform mila.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

The mitzva to be nimohl is not a mitzvas asei shehazman garma however the obligation to have your son be gemahlt on the 8th day is. There is historical evidence that the mothers used to do it instead of professional mohalim but it could very well have been done as a shlichus from the father.

Nemo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nemo said...

I rather liked my vort, actually.

(Funny thing is, I wrote the whole thing and then went to the Rambam to look something else up and realized what a load of crock my vort was. I published anyways because it was late at night and I thought it was mighty creative - and coherent - reasoning.

The only difference between me and Conservative rabbonim (v'yesh omrim the Misnagdim), who come up with reasoning and then try to selectively read it into gemara nd halacha sources, is that I eventually admit when I'm wrong. See, I got some measure of bittul out of those long arduous years in Tomchei Temimim.

Then again, I may still be right. It's been six years since I learned that gemara on mitzvas aseh shehazman garma, so maybe I need to go back and do some selective reading :) )

Crawling Axe said...

So, how many time-bound mitzvos are there that women are not obligated to do?

Миша, иди в ешиву.

TheRealPianist said...

Awesome, thanks Nemo :]

e said...

I'm so proud of myself! I understood the Russian!

theRealPianist said...

the rest of us didnt :P

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, e is right, women are allowed to circumcised because they are considered to be so. Have none of you ever seen a Gemara Avoda Zarah before??? Perhaps the Conservatives do know more than you Lubab know-nothings.... At least they know knots.

Crawling Axe said...

Conservatives may know more, but they are rishoim gomurim. Not exaggerating.

The Real Shliach said...

Of course women can circumscise their sons-Moshe's wife Tzippora gave her son a bris, and of you're Sephardi, then you can follow the Beis Yosef's ruling that women can give brissen. The Rama, on the other hand, isn't such a big fan of it, but b'dieved it's still good. I once asked the Rosh if he'd allow a women to circumscise his son, and he couldn't bring himself to say no!

I also remember reading once about a conservative rabbi who said that it was easier halachicly for them to permit a woman to circumscise than to do something else (I forget what exactly). As for CA, yes, the leaders of the conservation movement probably fall under the category of maisis, and therefore, according to the Rosh, we have a sacred obligation to kill them.

Crawling Axe said...

But are they obligated to? E.g., if chv"sh, a woman's husband dies while she is pregnant, is she obligated to circumcise her son?

I also remember reading once about a conservative rabbi who said that it was easier halachicly for them to permit a woman to circumscise than to do something else (I forget what exactly).
Find a kosher minyan?

The Real Shliach said...

Ich vais nisht.

Lol. I seem to recall something about gay clergy.