In the clash of opinions and approaches regarding this important, complex and sensitive topic, arguments have not been limited solely to clarifying the law. Attention has also been focused on the values of the world of Halakha—which are also part of the law in its broader sense—and the manner in which these values should be applied to the issue at hand. There has been particular concern with both the “is” and the “ought,” with the formulation of proper judicial-halakhic policy based on the foundations of the past, in light of the reality of the present, and in view of the aspirations of the future. These are accepted and legitimate considerations in the world of Halakha in general, and they hold an especially critical position in a sensitive issue such as that before us. . . .” 278
While the purely legal component—based upon objective and reasoned halakhic analysis—will remain more or less constant, the public-policy element calls for continuous review and reexamination by the Torah giants of each generation. After all, needs, sensitivities and public-policy concerns change with time and location.279 What may have been a valid concern in 1970 may no longer be substantive as we approach the year 2000; and what may not have been of concern three decades ago, may today be critical.
Perhaps there is no better example of the fluxional nature of hashkafa and public policy than the question of women mourners saying kaddish. While the general tendency of scholars for many centuries has been to dissuade women from saying kaddish, the modern period has heard a substantially different tone.280 Thus, in his discussion of this topic, R. Ahron Soloveichik argues:
Nowadays, when there are Jews fighting for equality for men and women in matters such as aliyyot, if Orthodox rabbis prevent women from saying kaddish when there is a possibility for allowing it, it will strengthen the influence of Reform and Conservative rabbis. It is therefore forbidden to prevent women from saying kaddish.281
In a similar spirit, R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin writes in connection with the lenient ruling of his grandfather, the outstanding American posek, R. Joseph Elijah Henkin:282
We are left where we started; at issue is essentially a question of policy and not issur ve-heter. In this context, my grandfather’s words are worth repeating: “It is known that were it not for kaddish, many would refrain from teaching prayer to their sons and