Monday, August 02, 2004

Nachem

The warlord Simcha points to a major story bubbling within Modern Orthodoxythat seems to be under the radar screen, with the exception of the list-servs.

Should we modify the Nachem prayer in Shemoneh Esreh to fit into modern reality? Now, when we talk of modification, there is the shev ve-al taaseh approach (i.e. skipping words) and the kum aseh approach (i.e. composing new sections of Nachem).

Rabbi Soloveitchik was extremely conservative about prayer and changing prayer, at least partly as a reaction to Conservative changes in the prayer service. However, he himself often changed prayers, to fit into his conceptions about the proper nature of the tefillah (presumably because he thought that the modications created a more appropriate nusach ha-tefillah.

I heard multiple reports that Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, shlita, favored the shev ve-al taaseh change. Presumably because Rav Aharon takes tefilla extremely seriously and does not utter a word to God that he does not believe to be true. I also received a report from Lakewood that Rabbi Yitzchak Abadi, shlita, reacted strongly, against any suggestion of changing the nusach of Nachem. But let's wait for confirmation from the website.

I am aware of the Halakhic literature on the question, but am looking for firsthand reports from the current debate. I know of at least one RCA Rabbi who blogs. Anyone have any more info?

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