Sunday, June 21, 2020

Handwritten Tshuva from R' Moshe Feinstein on Mechitzas and Response from Satmar Rebbe on Auction!

 Famous Autograph Response from Rabbi Moshe Feinstein Regarding Transparent Synagogue Partitions (Mechitza)

Handwritten and signed halachic response from Rabbi Moshe Feinstein regarding synagogue partitions where the top third is made of glass and transparent.

In his response, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein writes that such partitions are halachically permitted, despite the fact that some of the women in attendance do not cover their hair as mandated by Halachah and may be visible through the glass.

He includes the Aruch HaShulchan's ruling that since the occurrence of women uncovering their hair had become common, it is permissible to pray in the presence of uncovered hair.

However, Rabbi Feinstein conditions that it is only permissible if the women are otherwise dressed modestly.

Rabbi Moshe concludes with a suggestion to use glass that has only one transparent side, so that the women can see through but cannot be seen. 

The response is addressed to Rabbi Ephraim Asher HaLevi Rotenberg, rabbi of Ner Yisrael, Los Angeles, and son of the Admor Rabbi Moshe Shmuel HaLevi of Kosson.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986) was a leading Halachic authority in the post-Holocaust era and a founder of the Torah world in the United States. All significant halachic quandaries were brought before him and he was respected throughout the Jewish world as a final Halachic authority.

Dated Brooklyn, 1956.

Now see response from Satmar Rebbe

Polemics: Mechitzas in Shul
Famous Response from the Admor Rabbi Yoel of Satmar Railing Against Any Diversions to Traditional Synagogue Partitions (Mechitza)
Long handwritten response from Rabbi Yoel of Satmar strongly prohibiting the institution of changes in mechitzas for the women's gallery in a synagogue.
Background: In light of the spiritual decline of American Jewry, many congregations were becoming lax in their manner of erecting partitions for the women’s gallery. In response to this, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein publicized a long response on the matter, permitting setting the women’s gallery in a balcony, despite the fact that the women could be seen from below. Similarly, he ruled that partitions reaching shoulder-height are halachically sufficient, even though the women could be seen above it.

Rabbi Yoel of Satmar sharply opposed Rabbi Feinstein’s ruling, and wrote this present lengthy kuntress in response.

In this long and detailed response, the Admor asserts that erecting a partition where the women can still be seen is completely forbidden and that there is no heter (leniency) allowing it. He strongly concludes that it is even forbidden to enter a shul where such a partition was erected.

This response was sent to Rabbi Chananya Yom Tov Lipa Deutsch, ab”d of Helmez, author of Taharas Yom Tov.

The entire kuntress is completely handwritten by Rabbi Yoel of Satmar, including his corrections, erasures and additions.

Among his words, Rabbi Yoel of Satmar clearly stipulates his views regarding American minhagim (customs): "It is certain to me that there is no minhag in America, because only something that was established in a place of Torah leaders can be [considered] a minhag… As is known, there was no original settlement of Torah leaders in America, and at first it was all minhagim of the ignorant… For whatever reasons, a few G-d fearing Jews and Torah scholars came to America. It is clear that they are obligated to the customs of their land of origin, and Heaven forbid that they should change…"

21 sides (18 with the response + 3)


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