Spiritual experiences may represent our yearning for the “infinite”, but this yearning can only find expression in seeking to improve ourselves to the best of our ability and seeking to relate with love to the people and the world around us, while at the same time coming to an acceptance of our finiteness and separateness, overcoming the grief and outrage we feel at not being everything. Yearning for the infinite is really a way of learning how to be finite.
Several recent events—the Olympic Games and the proposal to work on the railway line construction on Shabbat—are excellent opportunities to start a conversation on the role of halacha in the Jewish State. The question is: what form should the conversation take? It should not, I believe, primarily take the form of a formal halachic argument.
There is a limit to how far we should accommodate Hareidi norms in the public space. A normative system doesn’t simply respond to reality; it actively shapes and influences people’s perceptions of reality. The rules followed by the Hareidi world actively encourage a perception of women as little more than dangerously arousing sexual objects. They do not encourage a perception of women as responsible members of society fully the equal of men in all matters of intelligence and competence. Hence these norms should not be indulged in the public sphere.