February 06, 2005

Follow-Up to "Doing It"

Regarding a previous post on the rabbinic response to premarital sex in the Orthodox community:

Question:
I've heard of a case in Baltimore where the rabbi of one shul gave a sermon that was directed (though I don't believe he mentioned names) toward a couple who weren't married. They, of course, were offended and left the shul; but the next shul they went to they sought to be married. This was a few years ago, and I heard about this third-hand or so, but I got the impression that the hard line stance that the first rabbi took encouraged them to tie the knot.

Answer:
You are absolutely right--there can be occasions when strictnness is required and, although I would not want to comment on specific cases, this one certainly appears to have warranted a tough line.

My position is not that one must never be strict! I think everyone needs a blend of both. But I believe that there need to be varieties, just as Hillel and Shammai (to give the obvious example) offered different approaches while still falling within the halachic system.

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