A Guide to the Complex is, therefore, such a helpful model for what Modern Orthodox halakhah can be. The book’s placement of Modern Orthodox and Haredi poskim in conversation with each other is a model for how Modern Orthodoxy can occupy a place of our own within a broader Orthodox community. Furthermore, placing these poskim in conversation with each other in a manner that increases mutual understanding and avoids polemics or demagoguery, can remind the Modern Orthodox community that being true to our mission requires both the cultivation of Modern Orthodox poskim of the highest caliber, and also remaining part of a broader conversation that includes decent Orthodox Jews who reject some of our values.
There is an additional element of Modern Orthodox halakhah on display in this book. Rabbi Brody’s scholarship extends beyond the walls of the beit midrash into the secular academy. Indeed, I first met Rabbi Brody when he was an upperclassmen at Harvard University and an important personal role model for how the world of the academy can invigorate a life of Yirat Shamayim and Limmud Ha-Torah. The summaries of halakhic topics in A Guide to the Complex are enhanced by references to academics. Professor Shaul Stampfer, Professor Daniel Sperber, Professor Isidore Twersky, and Professor Benjamin Shmueli, take their places alongside decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court and Knesset legislation in Rabbi Brody’s presentation of the halakhic debates.
Rabbi David Wolkenfeld, “The Complexity of Modern Orthodox Halakhah: Review of ‘A Guide to the Complex’ by Rabbi Shlomo M. Brody” (29 December 2014), 2 [https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1xGwp0vdYtgcTlZaGhPOHZqR0E]