Getting it straight on ‘Torah values’

Getting it straight on ‘Torah values’

Re: “Must women die before truth will out?” (May 28).

Rabbi Englemayer may be correct in his assertions that there are no “unambiguous sources” forbidding women to touch a sefer Torah, receive aliyot, don tefillin, or sing in synagogue – but all this misses the point.

Even if there were such “unambiguous sources” prohibiting women from doing these ritual activities, the texts would not give anyone halachic permission to publicly embarrass women, attack them physically, cause them bodily injury, or even put their lives in danger. The Torah is clear about the nature of the hostile reactions of these “religious” extremists. The halacha deems them to be cardinal sins, and according to many rabbinic authorities one should die rather perpetrate them on others.

Let’s get straight what Torah values are essential, which take priority over other values in instances of conflict, and what actions are categorically forbidden – even toward putative sinners.