262.In his conversation with R. Baruch Lanner in the late 1970s regarding Simhat Torah hakafot for the National Council of Synagogue Youth, R. Soloveitchik recommended against their institution, despite their obvious educational benefit. Moreover, in discussions with R. Yosef Adler and R. Binyomin Walfish, the Rav expressly indicated that his opposition extended both to women’s participation in formal hakafot (“Ana Hashem hoshia na” etc.) and to their dancing—even behind the mehitsa—with a sefer Torah between hakafot. See also R. Moshe Meiselman, Jewish Woman in Jewish Law, supra, note 63, p. 146. R. Moshe Berger reports that in the early 1980s, the Rav also advised Orthodox women from Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel to refrain from having a special Torah reading on Simhat Torah, even without berakhot.
262*.Conversation with R. Yehuda Kelemer; see text at note 214, supra.
263.See, for example, R. Zvi Schachter, “MiPeninei Rabbeinu Zal,” Beit Yitshak 28 (5756), 9-34, at p. 23.
264.R. Moshe Meiselman, Jewish Woman in Jewish Law, supra, note 63, p. 146. See also: R. Zvi (Hershel) Schachter, miPeninei haRav supra, end of note 235, p.142; note 238; R. Daniel Greer, “Ma’aseh Rav – v’Dok,” The Commentator, January 22, 2007 – available online at . R. Shlomo Riskin, then rabbi at Lincoln Square Synagogue, had been among the first people to discuss the women’s services and hakafot issue with R. Soloveitchik, sometime in late 1971. Also present at that meeting was the Rav’s shamash during that period, R. Mordechai Feuerstein. The Rav gave R. Riskin the same halakhic guidelines he gave to R. Wachstock (see text and notes 249-251). Nonetheless, the Rav expressed his view that women’s services were “tokenism”—to which the Rav objected (see note 242, supra). Moreover, the Rav believed that it was not worth “the political price.” Despite all the above, R. Riskin maintains that the Rav conveyed to him a sense that he had confidence in R. Riskin’s judgment of his community’s needs. Accordingly, for Simhat Torah 5733 (October 1, 1972), R. Riskin arranged for a women’s service to meet in the synagogue’s beit midrash. In so doing, R. Riskin was among the first Orthodox rabbis in the United States to actually hold women’s hakafot and services in his synagogue.
R. Riskin has shared with us that a few short years after he instituted these practices at Lincoln Square Synagogue, he received word that the Rav was displeased. As a result, he went to ask the Rav whether or not he should “pull back on the whole thing.” R. Riskin reports that the Rav responded, “No.” In addition, R. Riskin went to consult as well with