Volume 18 Number 65
                       Produced: Thu Mar  2  1:45:41 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Danny Skaist]
Language of Women's Zimmun
         [Aryeh Frimer]
Women & Zimun
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Women and Kiddush
         [Eliezer Diamond]
Women and Kiddush, Zimun
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Women's Mezuman
         [Warren Burstein]
Women's Zimun
         [Mechy Frankel]


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 95 15:38 IST
Subject: Kiddush/Motzi

>From: "Leah S. Gordon"
>community, because of halakhic problems.  However, there is a growing
>movement among young Orthodox couples for the husband to say kiddush and
>the wife, motzi.

Naturally getting it backwards.  There is some small reason to prefer a
woman who has not been to shul to make kiddush.  Motzi is equal. If you want
to share the "mitzvot" then the woman should make kiddush (or go to shul)
and the man should make motzi.



From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 95 08:39 O
Subject: Language of Women's Zimmun

      Since men are not counted in towards a women's zimmun, which can
only be three or more women, there is no reason for the Leader to ask
permission from any of the males present. Whether the males present can
answer the zimmun (which I discussed in my previous post (vol. 18, #6))
is irrelevant. In fact, asking permission from the males might give the
erronious impression that the males do count, and hence the female
mezamenet needs their agreement to begin. At my table every Shabbat, my
daughters make a zimmun and they say only "Gevirotai Nevarech", "Yehi
Shem.." and then "bi-Reshut Imi Morati, Gevirotai, nevarech she-achalnu
me-shelo" (With permission from my mother my teacher, ladies, let us..."
Similarly, It is not clear to me that a son who leads Benching should
say "be-Reshut Imi Morati" since his mother does not count for the
quorum of a male zimmun. My children, however, have argued that it is
disrespectful not to acknowledge your parents even if they do not de
jure (by law) count towards the quorum. We reached the compromise to say
"be-reshut horai morai" (with the permission of my parents my teachers)
which is non-gender related per se.
      Feedback appreciated.


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 08:45:06 +0000
Subject: Women & Zimun

What is the correct opening (equivalent to men's "rabbotai nebharekh")?

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5658438 Fax:+972 3 5658205


From: <eldiamond@...> (Eliezer Diamond)
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 17:55:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Women and Kiddush

	Moshe Kahan is not sure whether or not women have a rabbinic
obligation of reciting Kiddush over wine. The view of Shulhan Arukh
(Orah Haim 271:2) is clearly that they are obligated in all aspects of
Kiddush.  Otherwise, how could he rule, as he does, that women may
recite Kiddush on the part of men. Moreover, if there is a problem with
the Biblical obligation of Kiddush being fulfilled through Ma'ariv, it
is the reverse of what Moshe Kahan suggests. R. Yehezkel Landau, author
of Responsa Nodah Be-Yehudah, in his notes to the Shulhan Arukh (Dagul
Me-Revavah) raises the possiblity that if a man has already davened
Ma'ariv, and thereby discharged his Biblical obligation of Kiddush, he
may not be able to recite Kiddush on behalf of a woman who has not
davened Ma'ariv and therefore still has a Biblical Kiddush
obligation. This view is rejected, however, by R. Akiva Eger and Mishnah
	Regarding Zvi Weiss's suggestion that women might not be able to
recite Kiddush on behalf of others because of "Kol kevodah shel bat
melekh penima": In fact, Eliyahu Rabbah and Derekh Ha-Hayyim discourage
women from reciting Kiddush on behalf of men who are not members of
their house household because "zila ba milta", which means, more or less
that it would be a base or common thing to do. They, in turn are simply
echoing Tosafot Sukkah 38a s.v. be-emet who explains the ruling of
Halkhot Gedolot that although women are obligated to read the Megillah
they may not read it on behalf of men by suggesting that it would be "a
base thing" for women to act as public readers.
	However, these explanations, it seems to me, beg the
question. Is it an absolute and eternal religious desideratum that the
religious roles of women be private, and private only? If so, one cannot
argue with the reasoning above. However, if one believes, as I do, that
the place of women in religious society is subject to modification based
on the cultural nuances of different times and places, then discouraging
women from reciting Kiddush publicly because it is an unseemly thing to
do, particularly when women are encouraged by society at large and by
the Jewish community in particular to be visible and participatory in so
many other aspects, seems to be a counterintuitive and and
counterproductive p'sak.

Eliezer Diamond


From: <gevaryah@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 1995 19:49:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Women and Kiddush, Zimun

Avi Feldblum writes (MJ18#55)

> I have  also heard that Shulchan Aruch HaRav paskens that if three 
> women eat together, they are obligated (not just permitted) to form
> a zimun. I do not have a copy of the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, anyone 
> with it who can check this up?

Well, I do have the Shulchan Aruch Ha'Rav,(written by Shneur Zalamn from
Ladi; first printed in Kopust, 1814) and it does not say as suggested.

Hilchot Birkat Ha'Mazon, 199,6 " Women who are eating with three men who
are obligated to make a zimun, are also obligated to make zimun with
them; and if they are three [women] who wanted to split and make their
own zimun are permitted to do so. But women who ate by themselves
[without men] are exempt from zimun, but if they wanted to make zimun
they are allowed..."

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

[Thanks for the source and correction. Avi]


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 22:50:40 GMT
Subject: Re: Women's Mezuman

Aliza Berger writes:

>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.

Women making a mezuman in the presense of one or two males is not
uncommon around these parts (sociologically speaking, not
geographically), it's always in feminine - "chaverotai nevarech" and
"birshut chaverotai".  I believe that "birshut chaverai" instead of
"maranan varabanan v'rabotai" began on Kibbutz Hadati, I often hear
that around these parts when men make a mezuman.

 |warren@         an Anglo-Saxon." -- Stuart Schoffman
/ nysernet.org


From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 15:15:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Women's Zimun

Concerning the propriety of one or two males being present at a women's
zimun, I would like to add some real as well as anecdotal "data" and
float a possible sociological rationale for the apparent status quo.

1. The moderator, in his post seeking sources pertaining to the practice,
speculated that the assertions which assumed the 1-2 males must absent
themselves during a women's zimun might be some halachic urban myth. It is
interesting that it seems to be such a commonly known one.  

2. A while ago the subject came up in our family when a fine young
talmid chacham/rebbe in our local yeshiva instructed my daughter that
women should make a zimun, but not if males were present. After I
disagreed with him we both embarked on a week long effort to find
sources yey or nay. What I found striking (after admittedly a very
cursory search, i do have other work to do) was the almost complete lack
of attention to this particular case in many of the standard sources.

3. One negative source which i did find then was R. Ellenson's "Haeasha
Vehamitzvos". I was relieved however to note (since i hate to lose
arguments) that he simply cited this as practice without providing any
sources himself.  This left me enough wriggle room until i luckily
happened across the same positive reference now cited by a number of
posters, that of R. David Auerbach in Halichos Baisoh (p. 94) who
asserts simply that the 1 or two men present at the zimun should answer
to the women's zimun. In a footnote he cites the oral concurrence of his
(now) late uncle R. Shlomo Zalman z"l who concurs. This is pretty heavy
halachic firepower and would seem to more than offset the negative and
non-sourced comment of R. Ellenson.

4. About this time, my wife, who attends a Sunday morning parsha with
one of the local rabbonim whom I respect a lot, a Ner Yisroel graduate
who is an outstanding talmid chacham and legal scholar, as well as being
a pretty smart guy, put the same question to him. He responded that it
was OK if the male(s) were immediate family members, but otherwise it
was better for the women not to make a zimun. When pressed for
explanations, he was somewhat uncertain, and called on various ancillary
(and endlessly arguable) issues such as tsnius.  Clearly however, he too
"knew" that the men ought not be present.

5. As chance would have it, I spent shabbos two weeks ago in Israel with
relatives in Moshav Mattityahu, an american/charedi/leaning kind of
place. The same zimun subject came up at the dinner table and the next
morning my cousin put the question to their rav, a respectable talmid
chochom. He too responded negatively to the notion of a male presence
during women's zimun calling, when asked why not, on the notion of
"hitzdarfus" or the presumably self-evident unseemly social joining of
males and females which such practice might seem to represent.  When i
suggested that, after all, halacha actually mandated hitzdarfus of women
to a men's zimun, he suggested that there was more "hischabrus" this
way, apparently a more objectionable verb form. The squishyness of all
this hardly bears emphasis.  I don't c"v mean to cast the slightest
negative light on this rav whom I also respect, just to point out that
here again someone seemed to "know" something which must be true but
whose "source" appeared to be a moving target.

6.  Of course, the basic counter to the notion that women should not
make zimun under such circumstances is the simple and overwhelming
consensus of poskim through the generations that women must indeed
bentsch and make zimun, with about the only controversy centering about
status of the obligation, whether a de'oraysa (torah) or "only"
rabbinic.  Thus to direct them not to make a zimun under a particular
circimstance surely requires some well known and authoritative legal
makor (source) which does not, on the other hand, seem to exist (and
thus R. Dovid and Shlomo Zalman's z"l simple pesak to make a zimun and
for the one or two men to participte by answering). So the question
remains, where does this common knowledge of practice to the contrary,
subscribed to as well even by many talmidei chachamiml, arise from?

7.  I propose that the answer is basically sociological (I am well off
my turf here) and goes something like this. There was rarely, if ever, a
period in jewish history where the jewish education of women was as
blighted as it was in 19th century eastern europe. Hence Sarah
Schnerir/Bais Yaakov reform movement of its time. With such a widespread
lack of female education came the withering away of even well accepted
practices, such as women's zimun - even with the no males present. Those
of us from eastern european origins will testify that it was extremely
rare to find an example of such a practice in our parent's generation
(with isolated exceptions).  I am suggesting that, since over a long
period of time woman were not observed to make zimun with men (or
without men either), the social reality became fixed that it was not
proper to do so, with natural conservatism cementing the minhag. While
the necessary corrective was instituted in modern times, whereby most
girls in whatever flavor frum schools now learn as a matter of course
the ancient halacha that "hanashim mizamnos liatzman", no such specific
corrective was generally promulgated to take note of the sub-case of a
sub-quorum of males present during the women's zimun.  Misleading as
well, is the use of the term "liatzman" in the basic halacha. So in this
case, social conservatism is still generally decisive.

8. Validating this interpretation is the otherwise curious pesak of the
Chafetz Chayim in Mishna Berurah that women today do not have to make a
zimun - despite the practically unanimous source material to the
contrary - because, as he articulates in his pesak, of a social reality
at the time his writing. Namely, that in practice most of the women
don't know how to make zimun, and it would create embarassing

9. As a post-script, following my return from Israel, at her Sunday
parsha shiur, Sheila showed the same local rov-talmid chacham the source
mandating men's participation in the women's zimun from R. Shlomo Zalman
z"l. This rov expressed his amazement, aknowledged on the spot that here
was a source that one could be somaich (depend) on, but suggested that I
get it xeroxed and always carry it around with me if we wanted to avoid

Mechy Frankel                                      W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>                                H: (301) 593-3949


End of Volume 18 Issue 65