Volume 18 Number 60
                       Produced: Sun Feb 26 11:14:03 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Berakha over Voluntary Mitzvot
         [Yitz Etshalom]
Kiddush (2)
         [Moshe Kahan, Zvi Weiss]
Lack of Sources
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Nikaiveh tisoveiv gever (Bride circling the Groom)
         [Chaim Steinmetz]
Parallel Bracha for Marriage
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Seven and the Chuppah
         [Josh Backon]
Women & Zimun
         [Aliza Grynberg]
Women as Morot Horo'a
         [Zvi Weiss]
Women's Mezuman
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Women's Mezumman
         [Aryeh Frimer]
Womens Zimmun
         [Ari Z. Zivotofsky]


From: Yitz Etshalom <rebyitz@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 06:33:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Berakha over Voluntary Mitzvot 

>From: <BARRYD@...>

]How do we resolve the difficulty relating to women being not 
]obligated in time-related mitzvoth, yet if they do voluntarily perform 
]one of these mitzvoth to which is attached a brachah,e.g. benching 
]lulav, this would not be considered a brachah levatalah?

This is a Machloket Rishonim (dispute among early post-Talmudic
authorities); whereas Rambam (Hilkhot Tzitzit 3:9) holds that women do
not make Berakhot prior to fulfilling Mitzvot for which they are not
obligated, Tosafot (Rosh haShana 33a s.v. Ha) maintain that women may
make such Berakhot.  Generally, Ashkenazi women follow this practice,
and women from the eastern communities (Edot haMizrach - erroneously
known as "Sefaradim") follow Rambam's decision and do not make Berakhot.
One explanation for the disagreement is found in R. Velvel Brisker's
Hiddushim on the Rambam - (I haven't seen it in a while, so I hope that
this is an accurate representation of his idea:) That according to
Rambam, since the individual is not obligated in this act, they can't
reasonably say "veTzivanu"; according to Tosafot, the act is still an
act of Mitzvah, which is properly preceded by a Berakha - and they are
not concerned that the individual be personally commanded, as long as
Bnei Yisrael are commanded and this person is a member of Bnei Yisrael
("kidshaNU").  R. Velvel uses this approach to explain a different
Machloket: Rambam maintains that we do not Berakhot over customs
(minhagim) - such as reciting Hallel on Rosh Chodesh; Tosafot maintain
that we do.

]I would also appreciate the reference in the Torah empowering the 
]chachamim to enact mitzvoth to which are attached brachoth e.g. 
]Chanukah, Hallel etc. thus removing the difficulty with brachah 
]levatalah in these instances.

See the discussion in Shabbat 23a - the gist is, since we are commanded
Mid'oraita (from the Torah) to follow the dictates of the Beit-Din, when
we light Nerot Hannuka, read Megilla etc., we are fulfilling Hashem's
direct command to obey the Beit-Din.


From: Moshe Kahan <kahan@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 15:24:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Kiddush

	The reason that women are obligated for kiddush is because of the 
limud that all those who are obligated in the "shamor' aspect of Shabbat, 
which include the prohibition of melacha [work] such as women are also 
included in the "zachor" side, which madates that we remember the Shabbat.
KIddush (and Havdalah for that matter according to the Ramabam) derives 
its authority from Zachor and therefore would include women in what 
would normally be a mitzvhat Aseh She hazman gerama (time dependent). 
However that would be only on a biblical level. I am not so sure if that 
extends to the De'rabannans of kiddush such as Kiddush on yayin. Now 
indeed if a women hasn't said maariv the point is moot, but if she has 
then she may have also be cleared tottaly from any obligation because of 
the kiddush (and havdalah according to the ramabam) in tefillah. then 
only a man would have any rabbinical obligation left.  

Moshe Kahan

From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 16:26:49 -0500
Subject: Kiddush

The issue of women making kiddush in public may be related to the matter of
"Kol Kevudah Bat Melech P'nima".  Does anyone have any specific citations in
this area?



From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 02:09:35 -0800
Subject: Lack of Sources

Mr. Eliezer Diamond comments that my sources provided for my earlier
comments about halakha and chauvinism were "slipshod," and incomplete.
I agree with him entirely.  As a scientist, I am aware of the extreme
importance of reliable and copious data.  I am therefore now in the
process of garnering more and better source material.

I felt, however, at the time of my post, that it was imperative for me
to answer the suggestions of "heresy" as soon as possible, even if that
meant it was an incomplete work from a scholarly point of view.  I hoped
to get a few issues out onto the table.  I deeply regret that I do not
have much of a Judaica library here at Caltech.  My sources cited were
from memory and a few scant notes.

Please consider my earlier list of cases of perceived halakhic roles of
women as an outline, to spur discussion while I complete my analysis.

Leah S. Gordon


From: <CSTEINMETZ@...> (Chaim Steinmetz)
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 1995 19:21:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Nikaiveh tisoveiv gever (Bride circling the Groom)

There is an interesting comment by Rav Tzadok (tzidkat hatzaddik 46)
that "nikaivah tisoveiv gever" implies the women achieving equality,
which to him is a sign of the times of Moshiach because it is the
dismantling of entrenched hierarchies.



From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 09:41:50 -0500
Subject: Parallel Bracha for Marriage

aliza berger asks why there is no parallel bracha to the bircat erusin,
which states that betrothed women are prohibitted and one's married to
us are permitted.

the reason is quite simple: a betrothed man is permitted, as far as the
tora is concerned, to another woman, so the statement with the woman as
the subject makes no sense.

to make a bracha 'who prohibitted us to men while betrothed...' while
being halachikly correct seems redundant if said at the same time as the
man's bracha.

finally, there is a question as to whether marriage is a mitzva at all (
see taz at beginning of yoreh de'ah [ i think ] who claims that this
bracha is a bircat ha'shvach, a blessing of praise to G-D ).  if
marriage is a mitzva, one must analyze whose mitzva it is.  if the
obligation is only the man's then making a bracha with the man as
subject makes the most sense.  if there is an equal obligation on women,
then aliza's question seems a good one ( aside from moderator's previous
question as to ability to add new brachot ).

( i also did not understand the pasuk cited. it shows the woman as
object & not subject [ the subject is the understood 'you' - meaning man
].  likewise i did not understand the part about mechitza - is the
objection to separation at all, or to the relative location of women to
men.  this latter point might better be discussed with the architect who
designed the shul, for i am sure that esthetics is often a factor in the
placement of mechitzot. ).

eliyahu teitz


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Tue,  21 Feb 95 13:12 +0200
Subject: Re: Seven and the Chuppah

David Charlop recently mentioned that "seven is considered the 'natural'
number of this world".You might be interested to note that this also has
an interesting biological correlate: the circaseptan rhythm (which is an
approximate 7 day cycle). There have been a number of papers on this
topic in medical and biological journals.



From: grinber%<bimacs@...> (Aliza Grynberg)
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 95 12:08:42 +0200
Subject: Women & Zimun

	A few comments on the issue:

		1)Leah Gordon cites the Mishna Brura as her source that
women are obligated in zimun.  Actually, in the Mishna Brura, the
Chafetz Chaim does not deviate from the psak (Halachic ruling) of the
Shulchan Aruch (siman 199, se'ifim 6&7) that it is r'shut (permissable,
but not required), and he even brings reasons why women were purposely
not obligated in this mitzva (in Mishna Brura, siman katan 16 + in his
Sha'ar HaTzion,siman 6). In his Bi'ur Halacha, he notes that the G"RA
holds (according to the Ro"Sh and Tosfot Rabbeinu Yitzchak) that women
are obligated in zimun,however, he comments that this has not been
accepted as the Halacha.

		2)On the subject of three or more women eating in the
company of one or two men, Eric Jaron Steiglitz mentions that he was
told that the women needed his permission before having a mezuman in his
presence. Someone questioned this, requesting a source. I am sorry, I am
unable to provide the source, but I have heard that the reason this used
to apply was that men had more knowledge of Torah than women and it
would not be proper for her to engage in such an act without asking his
permission (as a sign of respect for the Torah knowledge he
posessed). Thus, it would not be applicable today, as that is no longer
neccessarily the case. Furthermore, Rav Dovid Auerbach in his sefer
"Halichot Beita", addresses the question and states (siman 12, se'ifim
7&8) that the women should have their mezuman (he makes no mention of
any need or custom for them to ask the man's permission). and he adds in
the name of his uncle, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Zecher Tzaddik
L'vracha) that the man/men may certainly ("vadai rashai") answer to
their zimun.  (The beginning of the book contains a letter of haskama
written by Rav Shlomo Zalman - ZaTza"L endorsing everything that his
nephew brings as Halacha in his name.)

		BeTzipia L'Yeshua,
		Aliza Grynberg :)


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 15:33:39 -0500
Subject: Women as Morot Horo'a

Re Rabbi E. Teitz's posting: I did NOT mean to imply that there was an
absolute prohibition on women as "Morot Horo'a".  Rather, I simply
pointed out the distinctions between Rabbi in terms of "academic" usage
and "authority" usage.  I -- also -- am not sure that a woman could
"never" give "Hora'a" and, I believe, that historically, there have been
women who did act in some sort of "authority" position.
 BTW, I would add, that I have seen in the Netziv (I do not remember
where) in Chumash that the Semikha is NOT only "permission" to pasken.
When one receives such "permission", there is also the "gift" of
Siya'ata D'shmaya (Divine Aid) in reaching the correct P'sak.  Without
such permission, one is NOT assured of such "Aid".



From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 10:16:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Women's Mezuman

This is 2nd-hand, but in the name of Rabbi Hershel Schacter of Yeshiva
University, 1 or 2 men should, far from leaving the room or telling the
women not to do it, rather should answer "yehi shem" and so on.

I had an interesting discussion with female friends as to what the
wording of women's mezuman should be when men are present. Should we use
feminine or masculine gender language? There were arguments both ways.

In favor of female language: That way observers (where are all those
hypothetical observers in halakha, anyway? hiding under the table?)
would definitely know it's not a coed mezuman. Also, after all, it is a
women's mezuman, so we should use feminine gender.  Also, people should
get used to the idea of changing grammar so that the feminine can
include the masculine when women are in charge of something. (Think
about how sexist it is that the way grammar is now, if there are 100
women and one man, to use "proper" grammer one should use masculine.)

In favor of masculine language: In Hebrew, the masculine includes the
feminine.  Also, that way the men won't feel left out (after all they
are answering as well). Also, people should be used enough to women's
mezuman that they will know automatically what it is, and not think it's

aliza berger


From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 95 17:24 O
Subject: Re: Women's Mezumman

Re' a women's mezumman: Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Zatsa'l is cited by
his nephew in "Halikhot Beitah" to the effect that three women can make
a zimmun even in the presence of men, and the men can answer. Rav
Soloveitchik zatsal in his Shiurim to Sukkah, indicates that the men
cannot answer; though he says nothing against the men being present when
the Zimmun is said. Many year's back I spoke to Rav Dovid Cohen (G'vul
Ya'avets in Brooklyn) and he agreed to the latter view; though he was
willing to consider the possibility that the men answer "borukh
u'mevorakh shmo tamid le'olam va'ed" as one who hasn't eaten. He too had
nothing against the men being present whiile the women make their zimmun


From: <azz@...> (Ari Z. Zivotofsky)
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 14:00:13 -0500
Subject: Womens Zimmun

Since there has been some talk and some speculation regarding women and
zimmun I just want to let people know of (what I think is an )excellent
discussion of the topic in Judaism magazine, Fall 1993, vol42:4
pp453-464. It is by my wife and me.


End of Volume 18 Issue 60