|hatam_soferet (hatam_soferet) wrote,|
@ 2009-07-07 02:10 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||gender, hadar, halakha|
The answer, to get it out of the way so you can concentrate, is that strictly speaking it isn't necessary, and he himself would have been okay getting rid of it in those circumstances, but there are lots of reasons the reader's repetition should stay in place regardless.
In particular, one thing he explores is the idea that the reader's repetition is only warranted if some one of those present has not prayed the Amidah, since the original idea was that the reader would repeat the Amidah aloud on behalf of anyone who couldn't do it himself - praying by proxy, essentially. If all present have prayed, there is no reason for the repetition, and in this case, logically it ought to be omitted.
The particular nuance I'm interested in today is where he saysהיו החכמים ז"ל נותנים דבריהם לשיעורין והיו צריכים לבדוק כל אדם בבית הכנסת ולדעת מצבו, ואז יחזור שליח צבור על התפלה או לא יחזור, ולא כך עניין התקנות והגזרות - that if the repetition were to depend on the have-you-prayed status of every person there, you would have to inquire of each and every individual to establish whether or not he had prayed, and only then would you know whether the reader should repeat the Amidah or not. That is not how rabbinic enactments work, says the Rambam.
This interests me because it's my problem with Joel Roth's approach to women and congregational prayer, but I have never hitherto had halakhic language in which to express the problem. The problem Joel Roth faced was that of how to engineer being able to have women lead services and count in the ritual quorum despite their having a lesser level of obligation than the gentlemen present, given that praying by proxy, like voting by proxy, only works if one's proxy has a level of obligation equal to or greater than one's own. His proffered solution was that if women were to assume, voluntarily and permanently, the higher level of obligation, they would be able to function in prayer on an equal basis with men.
The problem, you will have seen, is that only some women will do this. Most of the women in your average congregation simply won't do this, for whatever reason. So if you go into a room of two men and seven women, you have to ask each of the women if she has raised her obligation level before you know whether you can repeat the Amidah, for instance. This is not practical except in very closed communities, and that impracticality was largely why I moved away from being a Roth Jew. Seeing it expressed by the Rambam in the language of halakhic discourse is terrifically gratifying.
The next bit of this thought train is circling round Friday night kiddush in synagogue, and I'm going to put it in another post, following complaints about long posts being hard to follow. (Part 2.)