contemporary hypernomianism

Antinomianism used to be able to draw a crowd. Just look at the pile up of books in Jewish Studies devoted to the topic from Shaul Magid’s Hasidism on the Margin (2003) to Elliot Wolfson’s Venturing Beyond (2006) in the middle years of the oughts, ending approximately with Lazier’s God Interrupted and the advent of global economic crisis. Nowadays, there are new buzzwords to buzz about like Books (The Scandal of Kabbalah, Kabbalistic Manuscripts and Textual Theory) or, more importantly, Secularization (Hebrew Republic, Not in the Heavens) although curiously, not belatedness.

In any case, if antinomianism, hypernomianism and other relationships to nomos seem to be played out, no one told the Satmar Hasidim. They put a nice example of hypernomian conduct right on page 46 of the Mahzor Yom Kippur Divrei Yoel (2007) which is presumably still practiced today.

He [Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum] commanded the mikveh attendant that he should not close the mikveh on Yom Kippur, and to prepare a single mikveh for Yom Kippur so that he who had an occurrence of impurity [a seminal emission] God forbid, on the night of Yom Kippur, should be able to immerse in private.

The footnote gives the following justification:

Although according to the law as decided in Shulhan Arukh…it is forbidden to immerse on Yom Kippur for one’s emission, the Zaddikim have taught that one who is always accustomed to immerse for his emission should immerse even on Yom Kippur. See Responsa Mahar”i Mibarona 49…that since we have the custom to immerse on the eve of Yom Kippur to be as angels according to the Midrash, we have taken upon ourselves the mitzvah and therefore we immerse on Yom Kippur as a custom overrides a law etc. For if he doesn’t immerse his heart will be troubled and he will be unable to pray all day etc. Similarly, Zohar Hai in his introduction to the Zohar [states]that if an occurrence occurs, God forbid, on the night of Yom Kippur, to immerse according to the law. Although our teachers the Beit Yosef and Rama don’t decide like this, this is because in their days, the Sefardim were unaccustomed to the taste of immersion and what did they gain on Yom Kippur by immersing? And although the Ashkenazic custom is to immerse on the eve of Yom Kippur to pray in purity, in any case our teacher Rama didn’t see fit to allow it, since they pray all the time without immersing…And all this [preceding argument] is only for someone who is unaccustomed to immerse, but for someone accustomed not to utter any holy thing without immersion, it is obvious that it is allowed according to all the opinions, including Rama and Beit Yosef…that he is obligated to immerse immediately.

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