I could not agree more. However, is there not also a responsibility to seek out the advice of Rabbanim and talmidei chachami before taking the initial action that would constitute at the least a breach of community norms, if not halacha? The girls in SAR did not ask Rabbi Harcsztark what to do before deciding to put on tefillin. The issue apparently came up after the fact, when their inclusiveness in the minyan became an issue. If am not debating which is the greater wrong, but one surely cannot criticize others for vigilante halachic “justice” while at the same time condoning or sanctioning halachic vigilantism within one’s own community.
A number of years ago there was some controversy over something an Orthodox Rabbi did in his capacity as a representative of the community in an interfaith setting. Rav Asher Weiss has a shiur on the issues involved, which was printed up, and I distinctly recall the opening, where he opined that whatever the result of the halachic analysis – whether that Rabbi was right or wrong in what he did – he should have certainly asked someone greater than himself first before taking action.
Kal v’chomer: if this is true of that Rabbi in question, someone with many years of experience as a community leader and a Rav, is it not also true of teens who barely know right from left in avodas Hashem? Is it not also true of other laypeople?
And one comment on what another Rabbi has written (link) about this issue. Quote: "In other words, what are the stakes here? And why are they being presented as so great? What is going to happen if a few women wear tefillin? What’s the dire consequence that we must avoid at all costs?"
The issue here is about more than doing or not doing a particular mitzvah. B’mechilas kvodo, framing the issue that way strikes me as sheer obtrusiveness. The reason this is a controversy is because condoning women wearing tefillin amounts to condoning a philosophical worldview that acknowledges egalitarianism as a virtue that supersedes minhag, community norms, even halacha itself. “Where there’s a Rabbinic will, there’s a halachic way,” as one well known advocate of this philosophy sums it up, means that halacha is maidservant to the values that we dictate, rather than the other way around. Whether those putting on tefillin intend it or not or whether those who sanction their actions intend it or not – that’s the impression being created.
In his discussion of R’ Soloveitchik’s view of women’s prayer groups, Rav Meyer Twersky (link) quotes the Shu”T Melamed l’Ho’il regarding tnei b’kiddushin:
I will say one more thing which to my mind is exceedingly important . . . if we who are zealous for the word of God will imitate the heretics to negate the institution of gittin and halitsa by means of conditional kidushin, even if we would say that it is being accomplished in a permissible fashion, nevertheless what will the reformist rabbis say: behold those Orthodox [rabbis] have conceded that their laws are no good and the temper of the times cannot tolerate them . . . and they have thereby conceded that the temper of the times is mightier than antiquated laws. And what can we possibly say in response? Is there, God forbid, a greater desecration of God's name? Consequently in my opinion conditional kidushin should not be instituted under any circumstances.
I don’t worry about what the reformers will say – I worry about what impressionable teenagers will say.