So Avi Weiss can’t get the go ahead to ordain women as Rabbis (would he call them Rabbits to be that much more Zionist?), but apparently they are cool with him letting them lead kabalas shabbos and I’m down with that. I’m all for letting the girls out of the kitchen to rock the lecha dodi if they want to, the problem is, who will take care of the butter churn and the brood while they are gone?
Hey isn’t kabalas shabbos just a bunch of psalms and not mandatory anyway? Every time I would show up at shul late and start to daven kabalas shabbos while the minyan was already in maariv, someone would go through an entire davanese-constipated face explanation of why I should skip kabalas shabbos and just do maariv with a minyan, my father would be heard yelling “nu hefsik” in the back round as someone tried in vain to explain that kabalas shabbos was just some random thing we did to welcome BT’s into shul with our lame ass round the bimah shlumpy carlebach dances. I like to call it “dances with kiruv rabbis”.
So if kabalas shabbos isn’t mandatory for anyone, I guess women could do it, right? I am sure they could get around the whole kol isha thing because everyone else is singing along, unless they pick one of those obscure camp sternberg cheer songs that no one in the shul knows.
But what’s next? Once we allow them to daven kabalas shabbos they may want to do other things. Like leave the kitchen and home more often to learn torah, say morning tefilos at shul and maybe even learn gemara – gasp! They may end up davening and learning so often that taking care of things like going to the mikvah, taking challah and teaching their children to look both ways when crossing the street. (wait, how do they teach them to cross the street from the kitchen? That picture must be sent in to fail blog now)
Dov Bear has a serious post on the subject that destroys all arguments against letting a woman lead kabalas shabbos – strangely he doesn’t mention the fact that a talis would actually make a modern orthodox woman appear to be dressed tznius, she would be covering her hair and her thong would never poke out of her skirt.
Issues that may arise and the proof that they won’t:
What if her sheitle falls off during the bowing portion of lecha dodi? Left wing modern orthodox people are opposed to sheitles and their hair coverings tend to be only half covers for the psycological satisfaction of covering their hair without actually abiding by the law.
What if she sings an obscure tune that no one knows? This will be considered kol isha, but traditionally left wing modern orthodoxy thinks of such things as archaic. I mean, who on earth has the guts to run up to the bimah in the middle of lecha dodi, tell the woman that her voice turned him on so much, rip off the woman’s clothes and do her on the bimah, I sure as hell wouldn’t do it.
What if she wants to continue to maariv, like is traditionally done by other shuls? I would propose a trapped door under the bimah of the same vain that Mr. Burns of Simpsons fame used to do, that way, we wouldn’t have to violatre the laws of negiah by pyshically removing the chazzanit from the bimah before anyone could violate “real” halacha and say kaddesh with her still up there.
What should families who cannot afford a third world country maid to watch over the children do while both the husband and wife are at shul? We have proposed that kabalas shabbos daycare be set up in order to combat the issue of kids in shul.
Who will light candles in the home if the man traditionally drives to shul? If the man drives every week, it’s a chazakah and could create damaging issues, we would suggest that he drives while the wife walks – she doesn’t have to be there for mincha, only for kabalas shabbos.
Should the woman wear a talis? Yes and No, if her is uncovered, which it most likely will be – she should wear a talis to provide some sort of sanctity in the shul. If her is covered she should wear a talis anyway, because it probably won’t be covered the right way. If her hair is fully covered, she is probably a heretic, in which case you should call her up to the bimah anyway, I mean what would a frum woman be doing in riverdale – besides to pick her kid up from yeshiva – but Riverdale Yeshiva is all the way down the hill a pretty far walk from HIR.
What will happen if they decide to dance around the bimah after lecha dodi? The women can do it or the men can do it, but once you allow mixed dancing all hell can break loose – the RCA may be down with women leading kabalas shabbos, but mixed carlebach bimah circles are a big no-no, Carlebach may have kissed girls but he was off the derech. Practically every halacha ever made is so mixed dancing doesn’t occur and mixed dancing not only could, but will lead to sex and illicit sex, leads to mamzerim and that leads to people trying to explain what a mamzer is to folks without using the curse word of bastard.
So nu, what do you think of women leading kabalas shabbos services in the basement of Hebrew Institute of Riverdale?
I personally think it could lead to dry cholent and mixed dancing…