Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WOW and their motives

Some people say they can see that the WOW have no real interest in performing mitzvot because WOW only care about one mitzvah, namely the mitzvah of wearing a talis; moreover they only care about this one mitzvah when in can be performed in public. 

I happen to know that, in a few cases at least, this is false. Some WOW pray as often as they can, wherever they happen to be, wrapped in talitot. Most of them are committed to the social justice commandments, and many of them follow the shabbos and kashrus rule as they interpret and understand those laws. So it isn't true at all that the WOW, in the main, are not interested in Jewish law.

But lets play with this for a moment. 

Opponents of WOW say that this (alleged) selective interest in performing mitzvos disqualifies their attempt to perform one particular mitzvah, namely the mitzvah of wearing a talis, a mitzvah which is recognized by Rishonim and Achronim such as Rav Moshe as a Mitzvas Reshus for women requiring a brocha. They say this (alleged) selective interest demonstrates that the WOW are operating from impure motives; moreover WOW opponents claim that this selective interest is supporting evidence for the contention that all WOW really and truly wants to do is undermine Orthodox law, embarrass Haredim and so forth.

Fine. But let's look at the behavior of some of their more violent opponents, the men who answer singing women with flying chairs. Are these men only interested in defending the sanctity of a holy spot? Do they react with anger and violence simply because they can not abide even a hint of desecration? This is what some supporters of the violent opponents want you to believe. Unfortunately, the rule of selective interest undermines this contention.

As the great Mark SoFla has pointed out the kotel is desecrated every day by the prayers of Christians, many of whom loudly invoke Jesus. The Pope has visited the Kotel wearing a cross. Other pray at the Kotel using Reform and Conservative sidurim. As a rule, no one objects, and certainly not with violence. The anti-social behavior is reserved for women, and women alone. 

If the law of selective interest means the WOW are simply anti-Judaism, doesn't the law of selective interest reveal that their opponents are simply misogynists?

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