R. Moshe Feinstein on the matter. R. Feinstein inquired whether, in R. Riskin’s judgment, women would leave Lincoln Square Synagogue and go to the Conservative synagogues if the women’s services and hakafot were halted. R. Riskin responded in the affirmative, “Most definitely.” Upon hearing R. Riskin’s evaluation, R. Feinstein told him that had he (R. Riskin) approached him (R. Feinstein) prior to initiating the women’s hakafot and services, R. Feinstein would have opposed their institution. However, inasmuch as R. Riskin had already introduced these practices, and since their cessation would cause women to leave for the Conservative movement, R. Riskin could allow them to continue.
265.See discussion supra, text and note 44 and notes 78 and 79.
266.See supra, note 106 and discussion in Aryeh A. Frimer, supra, note 3.
267.Conversations with R. David Gorelik, R. Jacob J. Schacter and R. Binyomin Walfish; see also: R. Jacob J. Schacter, “Facing the Truths of History,” The Torah U-Madda Journal, 8 (1998-1999), note 97, pp. 260-261. Both R. Schacter and R. Walfish noted, however, that the Rav indicated that if necessary, there was room to be lenient. Consequently, R. Soloveitchik advised R. Walfish that where the women of a particular congregation insist on having their own Megilla reading, the rabbi should not object. Similarly, in a telephone conversation with R. Bertram Leff, R. Shmuel Goldin and Mr. Nathan Lewin (in 1980 or 1981), the Rav permitted a women’s Megilla reading by Mr. Lewin’s daughter, Alyza, for those women who were unable to attend the regular congregational, early morning, Purim minyan. R. Soloveitchik emphasized, however, that the women’s reading should not be held in shul, that the ba’alat keria could read only for women, and that this reading was not meant to replace the more preferred regular reading with a male minyan. See also: R. Bertram Leff, Tradition 33:1 (Fall 1998), pp. 135-136.
Apropos, R. Adler recalls that the Rav often commented on his difficulty in accepting the view of Behag, Halakhot Gedolot, Hilkhot Megilla, s.v. “haKol hayyavin.” Behag maintains that women are obligated in a lesser obligation of merely hearing the Megilla, while men are obligated in the maximal obligation of reading. Nonetheless, the Rav acknowledged that since Rama, O.H. sec. 689, no. 2, cites Halakhot Gedolot’s ruling approvingly, it has become normative halakha. Consequently, women could not read Megilla for Ashkenazic men. Interestingly, though, in the Winter of 1977, our sister-in-law, Mrs. Sabina Frimer, asked the Rav whether she could read the Megilla for her grandmother and home-bound grandfather. The Rav responded that it would be