are meticulous in following those traditions already enacted by our teachers and posekim.233 But regarding issues for which there are arguments on either side, certainly [the posek] who is inclined to be lenient, to be wise and beneficent, is to be praised—this provided that his decision is based firmly on halakha and sound logic. . . .
And I have already written you, honorable Torah scholars, that I know well the nature of our generation. For only if they see that all that which is permissible by law we [rabbis] permit, will they come to learn that that which we prohibit is indeed not permissible by true Torah law. . . .234
The take-home message would seem to be that a contemporary posek who feels that an action which is halakhically permissible would nevertheless be ill-advised, might be wise to convince his congregants of the wisdom of his position or use the weight of his person and his office to dissuade them from the proposed action. Prohibition should not be used loosely.
E. THE PUBLIC POLICY SCHOOL
In the light of this introduction, we would like to turn now to one final position espoused independently by several outstanding Torah personalities: R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, his brother, R. Ahron Soloveichik, R. Shaul Yisraeli,234* and R. Gedalia Dov Schwartz.234** Similar opinions have been expressed by R. Yaakov Ariel, R. Shlomo Aviner and R. Aharon Lichtenstein.234*** The opinion of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, reverentially known among his students and admirers as “the Rav,” has been the subject of much discussion and speculation;234**** hence, it requires special attention and elucidation. The following remarks are based upon numerous interviews and conversations with members of the Rav’s family and many of his closest friends and talmidim who had direct, personal discussions with the Rav235 over the years 1971-1986236 on these sensitive matters. The position which emerged from these interviews was extremely consistent, with only minor variations—usually in tenor and emphasis rather than substance.
R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, like R. Feinstein, was of the view that a women’s prayer service, if properly structured, could be conducted in accordance with halakha. Nonetheless, the Rav was most hesitant about women’s tefilla groups as a general practice and felt that they should not be encouraged. Consistently, he would recommend to his students not to hold