Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why Shouldn't YC Keep Halakha?

Gil Student, over at wonderful Hirhurim, posted the following:

This is not an issue that will ever be under my discretion, but let me state anyway that I agree 100%. The courses taught at YU should be guided by and conform entirely with halakhah. However, and this is a big however, Jewish law must be implemented in a very broad-minded and inclusive way... Yeshiva College is not the place for being overly strict on these issues but nor should it be the place for ignoring them. YC should offer a top-notch secular education but that can and must be done within the confines of halakhah. It is not the latter that must be sacrificed for the former but, rather, vice versa.

I have to admit, I kind of like the fact that YC doesn't keep halakha. That said, from a conceptual viewpoint, I have no idea why this is the case.

Practically, I can imagine a few big issues:
1) The fear of an imam-like fundamentalist posek banishing Shakespeare and Evolution (and - why not? - Bible) from the curriculum.
2) The dangers of not being able to hire talented non-Orthodox or non-Jewish professors who do not want such restrictions.
3) The fact that many big decision makers at YU are not Orthodox, so they don't really care.

That said, I cannot think of a good justification for why YC and Stern do not, on an institutional level, conform entirely to even the loosest understandings of halakha. Can you?

I am going to email this post to Rabbi Lamm and President Richard Joel. I hope that they will reply. If you think there is anyone else who might be able to respond properly, please either send them the post yourself or let me know and I will.

In any case, my understanding is that there are perhaps more urgent derekh eretz issues that need to be tackled by HR before halakha should be even considered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what does YC do that doesn't conform to Halakha?