Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Child prodigy

The Jerusalem Post reports that a 14-year-old was sitting for the Rabbinate exams, but his results would not be tallied or graded - IOW, they would not allow a potentially qualified minor to actually attain Smicha.

Where does this fear of a young rabbi come from? Well, I wonder. Who else in recent history was ordained young-ish? R' Moshe Cordovero, contemporary of the Ari, at 16 was given R' Yaakov Beirav's revived Mosaic Semicha. Rav Goren, at 16. yblcht"a R' David Weiss-Halivni, at 15 in Sighet before the War. That's all I can find/think of on a quick scan, and both are/were religio-politically, um, offbeat.

Although, being a prodigy is not the worst thing in the world. Take my late Dad, for one. He was admitted to Juilliard (the music conservatory) at age 15 in 1936, he went through the regular and graduate programs in 3 years (they didn't have the Pre-college Program yet), and became, at 19, the 20th century's youngest principal trumpet in a major orchestra. He also married twice, happily, raised children and grandchildren, had a long musical career, and died two months ago at 88, content with his life.

So the Rabbinate should have given this boy his chance to attain ordination at 14, and help him to grow while remaining on the straight and narrow.