Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Conservative Vizhnitzer from Sighet
Rabbi David Weiss Halivni is a scholar of Talmud and a Holocaust survivor, originally of Sighet, Hungary. "He studied for a short while in the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin in New York. He is the author of Mekorot u'Mesorot, a projected ten volume commentary on the Talmud. He is also the author of the English language volumes Peshat and Derash, Revelation Restored, his memoirs The Book and the Sword and others. Rabbi Halivni also served as Littauer Professor of Talmud and Classical Rabbinics in the Department of Religion at Columbia University. He is the Head of the Metivta of the Union for Traditional Judaism.
A close student (or talmid-haver) of Rabbi Saul Lieberman, he studied with him for many years at the Jewish Theological Seminary of Conservative Judaism. Halivni left the Seminary in the 1980s after the controversy surrounding the training and ordination of women as rabbis. He felt that there may be halakhic methods for ordaining women as rabbis but that more time was needed before such could be legitimately instituted. His disagreement with the process by which JTS studied the ordination of women led to his break with the seminary and co-found the Union for Traditional Judaism." (Wikipedia)
Dr. Weiss-HaLivni is married to Dr. Zipporah Hager-Halivni, formerly of the Chemistry department in Columbia University, daughter of Reb Boruch of Vishiva, son of Reb Menachem Mendel of Vishiva, son of the Holy Reb Yisroel of Vizhnitz, the Ahavas Yisroel. What does that say about Vizhnitz? Absolutely nothing. The typical excuse, not that it's necessary, is that she was a Holocaust survivor, and thus devoid of a Chasidishe education. He has the same excuse for his "source-critical-analysis" of the Talmud, I guess. Let's see if the "how many Frum Schneersohns are there" crowd sees this as a condemnation of Vizhnitz and its great heritage.