Rabbi Aryeh A. Frimer
Rabbi Aryeh A. Frimer is the Ethel and David Resnick Professor of Active Oxygen Chemistry and Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at Bar Ilan University.
Tradition, 23:4, 54-77 (Summer 1988).

Over the past 15 years, a plethora of books, papers and articles have dealt with the status of women and Halacha from a variety of perspectives. One of the central issues raised is the inclusion of women in a "minyan" - the minimum quorum of ten individuals necessary for many religious rituals.1 In this paper2, we shall review the major halachic positions on this question in the hope of eliminating the confusion and misunderstandings which have continued to plague this issue. We trust as well that the reader will be convinced that "Women" and "Minyan" are not necessarily mutually exclusive terms.

A. The Necessity for a Minyan.
The Mishna in Megilla3, which lists those rituals requiring a quorum of ten participants, reads as follows:
"When less than ten are present: we do not repeat the shema and its attendant blessings in an abbreviated form; nor appoint a hazan (to say kaddish, barchu or repeat the shemoneh esrei with kedusha); nor do the priests bless the congregation; nor do we read the Torah in public; nor read the haftara from the Prophets; nor practice the funeral halts; nor pronounce the mourner's benediction, or the mourner's consolation (after burial), or the nuptial blessings; nor say zimmun b'shem (i.e. introduce the blessings after meals using the name of God)..."
Although the necessity for a quorum of ten is common to all the rituals enumerated above, the basis for this requirement in each instance is not uniform. The Talmud (Megilla 23b) explains that the first few cases4 listed in the Mishna fall under the category of dvarim shebikdusha - acts or declarations of sanctification of the Holy One. Such acts require the presence of ten in accordance with the verse "I shall be sanctified in the midst of the children of Israel".5 This verse is further linked to the term edah (community) which in the Scripture is applied to the ten sinful spies (Deuteronomy 14, 27); hence a community or congregation is established by ten participants. The Jerusalem Talmud6, on the other hand, draws a parallel to the ten brothers of Joseph who came to Egypt in search of food.

The Talmud gives a different rationale for the requirement of ten as a prerequisite for funeral halts and zimmun b'shem, namely, accepted protocol.7, 8 Some of the other cases have particular Scriptural sources. The groom's blessings, for example, is derived9 either from the verse "He took ten men from the local elders"10 or the verse "In congregations bless God".11

In addition to the rituals mentioned in the Mishna, the Sages required a minyan in the following three instances:

  1. The recitation of the haGomel blessing12 - based upon the verse "Let them exalt Him in the congregation of the people";13
  2. The reading of Megillat Esther on a day other than the fourteenth of Adar (or the fifteenth in walled cities) - in order to publicize the miracle of Purim;14 and -
  3. Public martyrdom - which the Talmud15 bases on the verse "I shall be sanctified in the midst of the children of Israel".5
The compilers of the various lists of the 613 commandments16 understand the application of this last verse to public martyrdom as a bona fide derivation (drasha). Consequently, the requirement of ten by this mitzva is a biblical obligation. Most commentators17 contend, however, that the derivations cited in the other rituals - all of them blessings and prayers - are not true drashot but rather "asmachtot" (mnemonic devices for rabbinic obligations).18 As noted by Rabbenu Nissim Gerondi,17 this logically follows from the fact that blessings and prayers are themselves only of rabbinic origin.

The question of women and minyan stems from the unanimous ruling that the quorum for those rituals designated as a dvarim shebikdusha,4 must consist of ten male adult freemen - to the exclusion of women, children and slaves.19, 20 Several different reasons have been offered for this ruling. One suggestion is that since the Talmud Bavli6 derives the number ten from the number of sinful spies reporting to Moses,5 the individuals constituting a minyan for a davar shebikdusha must be of the same status as the spies - male adult freemen.20 A similar conclusion can be drawn regarding the Talmud Yerushalmi's derivation6 from the brothers of Joseph, who were all male.21 Others have pointed out that the source text for dvarim shebikdusha uses the words "bnai yisrael"5, which is loosely taken to mean "children of Israel" but is more literally translated as "sons of Israel". Hence it is not surprising that this verse is understood halakhically to require males.22

These drashot, however, relate exclusively to those rituals which have been considered dvarim shebikdusha. It is still necessary to determine whether or not women may constitute the minyan quorum for those cases cited in the Mishna3 but not so categorized. Furthermore, we have seen that the abovementioned derivations, even as they related to dvarim shebikdusha, are only asmachtot and the resulting laws rabbinic. It is important, therefore, to determine the logical reason for these rabbinic rules.

An examination of the many sources concerning the participation of women in a minyan reveals fundamentally three schools of thought. The first contends that women may participate in a minyan whenever their obligation is equal to that of men. The second contends that under no conditions may women constitute part of a minyan. The third school distinguishes between a minyan that is a precondition for "fulfilling" an obligation, from which women are excluded, and one that is necessary for "publicizing" a miracle or the fulfillment of a ritual obligation in which women may participate.

B. The First School.
The first school of scholars defines minyan as ten individuals of equal maximal obligation. Accordingly, women cannot constitute a minyan, whether together with men or wholly on their own, for those rituals where they are either not obligated or lack the maximal obligation of men. On the other hand, they may indeed participate in a minyan for the performance of those mitzvot, whether of biblical or rabbinic authority, where they share an equal obligation with men. In the words of the Meiri23: "In matters that require ten, there are those who claim that since the obligation of women is equal to that of men, they may constitute the quorum". Many rishonim24 and acharonim25 share this view and for the sake of clarity and convenience, I shall list them by topic.

1. Public prayer - Although women are obligated to pray, they are not obligated to participate in public prayer.26-29 By the reasoning presented above, they are accordingly ineligible to constitute a minyan for any obligation that is part of the public prayer service, such as kaddish, kedusha, barchu, the repetition of the shmoneh esrei and the priests' blessing.29 Thus, R. Reuven Margoliot writes,29 "...Public martyrdom (in whose quorum women may be counted30) is not comparable to public prayer; a woman may not participate in the minyan for public prayer because she is not obligated in the latter".

The status of women according to this explanation, is similar to that of an onen (the mourner in the hours between death and burial) who does not participate in the constitution of a minyan because he is exempt from all positive obligations, including public prayer.31 Interestingly, there is a discussion among the acharonim whether an onen may recite kaddish; those who permit it, also allow his inclusion in the minyan for the recital of the kaddish.32 This further demonstrates the interrelationship between obligation and minyan eligibility.

2. Reading of the Torah - The rishonim and acharonim disagree as to whether the public reading of the Torah has the status of a davar shebikdusha.4 In any event, the majority opinion is that women are exempt from this obligation.33 The noted posek, R. Joseph Teomim, utilizes this fact to explain why women do not constitute a minyan for this purpose: "Women are not obligated in the reading of the Torah, so how could they constitute (the quorum)?" A similar statement is found in Responsa Orach LeTzadik33. In reaction to a colleague's suggestion he queries: "Who told you that (a woman) can be included in a minyan for the reading of the Torah in the same way that she can for the reading of the megilla? The cases are not comparable, for women are obligated in the reading of the megilla, but not in the reading of the Torah." Again we find minyan and obligation linked.

3. Parshat Zakhor - Parshat Zakhor (Deuteronomy 25, 17-19) is read from the Torah with a minyan on the Shabbat before Purim.35 There is a well-known dispute among halachic authorities on whether women are included in this obligation,36 though the majority opinion seems to be that they are not.37 Interestingly, several authorities38 support the exemption of women from this mitzvah based on an incident recorded in Berachot 47b where the noted Tanna R. Eliezer freed his non-Jewish slave so that he could be included in a minyan. The Rosh ad locum suggests the possibility (which he quickly rejects) that the slave was freed for the purpose of reading parshat zakhor. These scholars,38 in the spirit of the "first school", argue that were women and likewise slaves39 obligated to hear the zakhor reading, the slave could have joined the minyan without being freed.

On the other hand, the Chatam Sofer36, like his mentor R. Natan Adler, maintains that women are indeed obligated to hear Parshat Zakhor. Nonetheless, he too acknowledges the interdependence between obligation and minyan. In his extensive discussion of the case of R. Eliezer, he notes that according to the conclusion of the Rosh the slave was freed for the purpose of a regular public Torah reading in which women and slaves are not obligated and therefore do not constitute a minyan for this purpose. Consequently, for Parshat Zakhor, he rules that women can be counted for the quorum since they are obligated like men. Clearly, the Chatam Sofer too views eligibility for constituting a minyan as a natural corollary of obligation.40-43

4. Megilla - There is a controversy as to whether women's obligation to read Megillat Esther is equivalent to that of men. The Halachot Gedolot maintains that it is not. A woman's obligation is to hear the megilla, not to read it; therefore, she cannot read the megilla for a man, who has a greater obligation. The Rama (OH 689, 2) follows this opinion. The Tur and Beit Yosef (ad locum) on the other hand, cite other authorities who maintain that there is no distinction between the obligation of men and women and, therefore women may discharge the obligation for men.

The presence of a minyan is preferred, though not absolutely required, whenever the megilla is read, provided it is done so on its designated date, i.e. the fourteenth of Adar generally and the fifteenth of Adar for walled cities. However, it is a necessary condition for reading the megilla with its attendant blessings at other times.44 In addition the concluding benediction "Harav et Riveinu" requires a minyan at all times.14b The Ran45 writes: "There is an opinion that although (women) may discharge the obligation(for men), they may not constitute the minyan of ten... I, however, (disagree, for)... how could it be that they can discharge the obligation of men but not join them in the constitution of the minyan. They definitely can constitute the quorum". Similarly, the Meiri (Berachot 47b) states: "For the reading of the megilla, (women) can constitute the quorum and discharge the obligation of the community, since their obligation in this matter is equal". This opinion is also quoted in the Sefer HaMichtam (Berachot 45a) as the position of "several authorities" and cited by later codifiers as well.46 Interestingly, several rishonim47 recommend against counting women in a minyan for megilla because of "immodesty",58 implying that they are technically eligible since they are obligated. We will have more to say about this shortly (section B.7).

It should be emphasized that all of these opinions agree that women can constitute a minyan - not because the eligibility requirements regarding megilla are less rigorous than elsewhere (which is indeed the conclusion reached by the third school discussed below). On the contrary, they are eligible because their obligation is equal to that of men for this purpose. This in contradistinction to other cases where they are ineligible for the minyan because their obligation is inferior to that of men or because they are exempt altogether.

5. Zimmun B'shem - Three or more men who eat a bread meal are obligated to recite the blessing after the meal (bircat hamazon) together, prefacing this recitation with the zimmun introduction. In the presence of ten men there is an additional obligation of zimmun b'shem, namely to invoke the name of God by adding "Elokenu" to the zimmun text. It is clear from the Talmud Berachot (45b) that three women who eat together may also constitute a zimmun quorum, although the Tosafot and the Rosh (ad locum) disagree as to whether a women's zimmun is optional or obligatory.48 The consensus49 is that a women's zimmun is optional, although the Vilna Gaon in his Gloss49 nevertheless favors the Rosh's stance that women too are obligated in zimmun. The Talmud does not, however, discuss the status of ten women who eat together. Maimonides seems to be the first to raise the question and rules that women may not in fact do zimmun b'shem.50 Despite some dissenting opinions among the rishonim (vide infra), the view of the Rambam is unanimously cited by all the later codifiers.

Maimonides gives no clear source for his ruling. Some argue that invoking God's name transforms the zimmun into a davar shebikdush from which women are excluded.51 Others have suggested that the obligation of adding God's name to the zimmun in the presence of a minyan derives from the verse "In congregations bless God", and women do not have the status of a "congregation"52. We have, however, argued above (and will cite further evidence in Section 6) that such derivations are merely "asmachtot", but not true rationales for the exclusion of women from these rabbinic rituals. A more fundamental reason given in the Sefer HaMeort, Sefer HaMenucha and Aruch HaShulchan is that women are not obligated in zimmun and hence cannot constitute a minyan for zimmun b'shem.53 It is clear that these codifiers belong to the first school and base the ineligibilty of women on their exemption from obligation.

We have noted above that despite the unanimity among acharonim, there are rishonim who disagree with the Rambam as to the status of ten women who ate together. Thus the Meiri, Sefer HaMeorot and the Shiltei HaGibborim cite opinions allowing ten women to say zimmun b'shem.54 Interestingly, the Shiltei HaGibborim quotes this opinion in the name of the Rosh which would be in line with the Rosh's view (cited above) that women are indeed obligated in zimmun.

It should be obvious then that those opinions which obligate women in zimmun yet rule against their doing so b'shem must necessarily subscribe to the views held by one of the other schools of thought discussed below concerning women's minyan eligibility. This is true, for example, for the Gaon of Vilna who as we will shortly see belongs to the second school.63

6. Martyrdom - The Talmud (Sanhedrin 74a) discusses the laws of kiddush hashem, i.e. the sanctification of God's name through martyrdom. It concludes that, with the exception of murder, idolatry and forbidden sexual relations, one may under threat of death transgress in private even biblical commandments. However, in periods of religious persecution and forced conversions or when the transgression will be performed in public, one is obligated to martyr oneself rather than transgress even a minor commandment. The Talmud further clarifies that "Less than ten (Jews) is not considered to be in public... as is written5, 'I shall be sanctified in the midst of the children of Israel'." We have noted previously that in the case of martyrdom this derivation is bona fide16 (not an asmachta), refering specifically to martyrdom in public.55

Women clearly share this obligation equally with men. Numerous authorities,56 therefore, conclude that women may be included in the minyan for this purpose. R. Yaacov Emden, for example, writes56:

'It remains to be determined if the presence of ten women is considered to be in public. It is clear that, even though the term "children of Israel" is used concerning this mitzva, women are definitely commanded to sanctify the name of God equally with men, and, hence, regarding this mitzva, they are not excluded from the class of "men". Therefore, it is 'in public' before them as well.'

R. Emden, as well as many others56, rejects the very possibility that women might be obligated in this mitzva but not included in the audience necessary to give it its public quality. It is clear to them that quorum eligibility follows naturally and inexorably from obligation.57 This is despite the fact that there is no greater act of sanctification - no greater davar shebikdusha - than martyrdom. We must perforce conclude that, in the view of the first school, the unanimous exclusion of women from the quorum of dvarim shebikdusha19,20 is limited to those rituals incorporated in the public prayer service - from which women are exempted.

The situation is now rather paradoxical. After all, the necessity for a minyan to sanctify God's name either through kiddush hashem (martyrdom) or via the davar shebikdusha public prayers or rituals is derived from the same verse5 "I shall be sanctified (venikdashti) in the midst of the children of Israel". Nonetheless, while many authorities include women in the quorum for public martyrdom, they are ineligible with regard to public prayer! In reality though, as we stated at the outset, the verse is actually referring only to martyrdom; it is taken to refer to rabbinic davar shebikdusha prayers and rituals only in a secondary sense, as an asmachta. Such a mnemonic device cannot itself serve as the basis for deciding the eligibility of women. The scholars of the first school accept equality of obligation as the only appropriate criterion.

7. Modesty Considerations - Finally, we should perhaps include in the first school all those scholars who recommend against counting women for a minyan together with men for a particular mitzva, merely out of fear that such a practice might encourage immodesty.58 I have already cited the opinion of the Sefer HaIttur47 concerning megilla that "just as women can form a zimmun, but do not join men in constituting this quorum (because of immodesty), so too their inclusion in a minyan (for megilla) is not recommended." Similarly, R. Simcha HaLevi Bamberger59 writes: "Women are disqualified rabbinically from inclusion in a minyan even for those mitzvot in which they are obligated because association with them is improper". R. Yitzchak Palache60 cites the ruling of the Sefer Kol Bo that "women may discharge the obligation (of megilla) for men. Nonetheless, it is not proper to include them in the minyan; for, wherever ten are required, the intention is to ten men". R. Palache explains that "he is concerned lest their inclusion lead (the men) to be in seclusion (yichud) with them".

According to this approach, were it not for the possible violation of the rules of modesty , women could indeed be included in any minyan together with men provided their obligation is equal to that of the men. One could further argue that their inclusion in a minyan is valid after the fact (bedi'avad), since women are technically eligible to constitute the quorum. Similarly, it is possible that ten women might be able to constitute a minyan on their own, since there is then no violation of the rules of modesty, as we have already seen by zimmun. We will pursue these very points futher in section F.

C. The Second School
The second school rejects categorically the inclusion of women in any minyan quorum whatsoever. The basis for this opinion is the Talmud's statement (Berachot 45b) regarding a zimmun of three women that "A hundred women are like two men". Rashi ad locum understands the Talmud to be exploring the possiblity of an optional two man zimmun. In this regard, the Talmud points out that even a hundred women are no more obligated in zimmun than are two men. Yet three women can form an optional zimmun and perhaps the same is true for two men. Accordingly, the Talmud's statement has no implications regarding other mitzvot that require a quorum Indeed, it is Rashi's interpretation which is presumably adopted by the first school.61

The Tosafot and other rishonim62 prefer to generalize the Talmud's statement, arguing that it means to preclude women from the minyan of public prayer "and everything that requires ten". Numerous acharonim63 maintain the position of the Tosafot and apply it to various ceremonies. For example, the Responsa Binyan Tzion63, explicitly rejecting the first school, excludes women from the minyan of parshat zakhor: "Even though [women] are obligated in the reading [of parshat zakhor] they are not eligible to complete the minyan. This is not dependant on obligation."

This position is also maintained by the Responsa Torat Chesed63 regarding parshat zakhor, by the Sefer HaRokeach62, Tzafnat Pa'aneiach63 and the Minchat Chinuch63 regarding the laws of martyrdom, and by R. Shlomo Zalman of Liady63 regarding zimmun b'shem.

A variety of explanation have been offered as to why the sages chose not to allow women to constitute a minyan. The Sefer HaMasbir63 suggests that chazal simply followed the Torah's lead which refrained from counting women in any of the various censuses. R. Yosef Engel63 maintains that the concept of community is dependant on inheritance and possession of the Land of Israel, for land is what ultimately binds individuals together into a community. Since women did not participate in the inheritance of the Land, they do not constitute a community. R. Gedalya Felder63 suggests that in order to be part of the commu nity, one must be totally available at any moment for service to the community. Women, however, generally have prior obligations to their husbands and families; the principle of uniformity ("lo plug") rules out the inclusion of unmarried women. R. Moshe Meiselman1d discusses minyan in light of role playing in the Jewish life. He offers the opinion that men have been delegated the more public role, necessary for the constitution of a minyan; whereas, women have been delegated more private roles. This is the intention of the verse (Psalms 45,14) "All the honor of the king's daugther is within".

D. The Third School
The last school of scholars contends that it is necessary to differentiate between two types of minyanim. Normally, the sages required ten male adults as a prerequisite for the performance of particular rituals, generally communal in nature. However, in certain cases, the minyan is not intrinsic to the perform ance of the mitzva, for the obligation is essentially the individual's. Rather the minyan is needed only to give "publicity" to the performance. In such a case, women are counted even if their obligation is not equivalent to that of men. (This, of course, is in sharp contrast to the first school).

The reading of the megilla is apparently the first case to which this distinction was applied.64 The Ramban,64 contending that the purpose of the minyan in this case is solely to publicize the miracle of Purim, concludes that the requirements for the constitution of this minyan are less stringent than in other cases. The Ran in this regard writes:

'The Ramban has written... that all the cases listed (in Megilla 23b) are obligations of the community, and are therefore not performed unless ten, or at least a majority (of the ten) are obligated therein, e.g., if they have not yet heard barchu or kaddish. However, for megilla, the need for ten is only in order to publicize the miracle. Therefore, we read it in the presence of ten for the sake of a single individual even though the others have already fulfilled their obligation.'

The Ra'a64 uses this same reasoning to allow an additional leniency, namely the inclusion of women in the minyan. Despite the Rama's hesitancy65 to follow the Ra'a's lead, a great many prominent authorities,66 citing the view of the third school, do indeed permit the inclusion of women in the minyan for the reading of the megilla and recitation of the blessing "harav et riveinu" that follows it14b. Similarly the Sefer HaBrit67 states that since the minyan recommended for circumcision is in order to publicize the mila, women are included. The Rav Pa'alim68a and R. Ovadia Yosef68b allow the inclusion of women in the minyan for the special lighting of the Menorah in the synagogue, which was instituted to further publicize the miracle of Chanuka. Women are also counted in the audi ence of ten necessary for the status of the public desecration of Shabbat.68a

E. The Minyan Eligibility of Women for the HaGomel Blessing
Having discussed the various approaches to the question of women and minyan, we can turn now to analyze an issue not explicitly discussed by the rishonim or the early acharonim, namely the inclusion of women in the minyan quorum of bircat hagomel (The HaGomel Blessing). This benediction acknowledges the hand of God in natural miracles and is recited by one who has survived a life threatening experience be it a dangerous illness, operation, childbirth, or serious accident. Since the purpose of the minyan is to publicize the miracle of salvation, some codifiers maintain that the presence of a minyan in this case is only recommended (lechatchila).69 Nevertheless, the consensus of poskim is that a minyan here too is obligatory and a necessary prerequisite.70

Women too, despite the widespread impression to the contrary, are obligated by the majority of poskim to recite this blessing in presence of a minyan.71 The question, therefore, arises whether they can constitute the minyan for this purpose. The second school quoted above, which never allows the inclusion of women in a minyan, would obviously reply in the negative in this case as well. However, according to the first school, since their obligation is equal to that of men, it follows that they should be elegible for the minyan. They should likewise be eligible according to the third school, since the purpose of the ten in the case of this blessing is to publicize the natural miracl of salvation.

As noted above, the Rishonim and early Acharomin do not explicitly discuss women's minyan eligibility in this regard. The Knesset HaGedola (OH 219) however, states: "The need for ten is only recommended... A woman, who cannot recite the blessing in the presence of men may recite it without ten, but before at least one man or (several) women. If she recited it in private, she has discharged her obligation." The Knesset HaGedola is of the minority opinion which main tains that a minyan is optional for bircat hagomel. More importantly for our purposes, he consider reciting this blessing before other women to be equivalent to reciting it before one man,72 suggesting that women do not constitute a minyan here.

Nevertheless, many contemporary authors have concluded that, in this instance, ten women or nine women and one man do indeed constitute a valid minyan.73 They derive this from the fact that the Mishna Berura and others74 cite the ruling of the Knesset HaGedola, not as "before women or one man", but as "before women and one man". While some have found such a halachic position problematic,73b we believe it to be in accord with either the first or third schools as explained above.

F. Inclusion of Men and Women Together.
Now that we have clearly established that there are a variety of instances where according to the first and third schools women may constitute a minyan, the question arises whether they may be counted together with men or only in a separate women's minyan. The answer to this question depends on the various explanations of the mishna (Berachot 7, 2) which states: "Women, slaves and children are not counted for the purpose of the zimmun quorum". A minority opinion75 maintains that this mishna only prohibits the formation of a quorum of three for zimmun via the combination of women with slaves or children, but there is no reason why women and men cannot join together for this purpose. Accordingly, in cases where women are eligible for the quorum of ten, they will be able to join men in constituting that minyan.

Most rishonim, however, maintain that the intention of the mishna is to invalidate a zimmun formed by combining men and women. Four reasons are offered for this prohibition. Firstly, some rishonim suggest that a woman's obligation to recite the blessing after meals may not be biblical in origin; hence women cannot form a zimmun with men because they do not share a common level of obligation.76 Others argue that the text of the bircat hamazon in which woman are obligated differs from that of men because women need not mention the covenant of circumcision or the obligation to learn Torah.77 A third group of rishonim posit that men and women cannot join together in one zimmun unit because the dining of women together with men is not considered to have an established and permanent nature.78 Note, however, that these three reasons are specific to the blessing after meals; accordingly, in other cases where these reasons are not relevant, women may well be able to join men in constituting a quorum.

The fourth reason offered by commentators for this prohibition is that it might lead to "immodesty". However, there is some disagreement concerning the understanding of this problem. The Tashbetz and other authorities79 state that mealtime is especially problematical because it is a time of drunkenness, levity and frivolity. This would again lead us to conclude that the prohibition is not general and would not apply to other obligation not performed in the same atmosphere.

The Ran and the Ritva80 contend that the halacha is only concerned about immodesty when the presence of the women results in a noticeable change in the text of the ritual, e.g. an additional zimmun blessing is recited in the bircat hamazon. Therefore, concludes the Ran, if there are already three men present establishing a zimmun, women may join the zimmun since no noticeable change arises by their inclusion. Similarly, he maintains that women may join with men to complete the minyan for the reading of the megilla (according to the opinion that their obligation is equal to that of men) since the blessing made by an individual or a community is the same and, hence, nothing draws attention to the inclusion of the women.81

Other authorities,47 however, contend that any combination of men and women is immodest.11 The Tur, quoting the Sefer HaIttur, specifically mentions megilla in this respect. "It is logical to conclude that just as women form a zimmun but do not join men in costituting this quorum (because of immodesty), so too their includion in a minyan (for megilla) is not recommended."47, 82 It should be noted, that the Sefer HaIttur used the wording "their inclusion in a minyan is not recommended", i.e. their exclusion is only preferred (lechatchilla). R. Yaakov Emden and R. Sraya Devlitzky83 understand this to mean that the Sefer HaIttur would concede that counting women together with men is valid post facto (bediavad), since women are technically eligible to constitute the quorum (when approved by the first or third schools). In any event, the Sefer HaIttur should certainly agree that ten women are not barred from forming a minyan on their own, since in such a case there is no fear of violating the laws of modesty.66b Indeed, this is the opinion of many great authorities who permit the reading of the megilla by or for a minyan of ten women with the recitation of the "Harav et Riveinu" blessing at its conclusion.66

From the above discussion we may conclude that most rishonim75-80,84 agree that whenever women are eligible for inclusion in a minyan (according to the first and third schools above), they may join together with men to do so. Although the Tur (OH 689) cites the opinion of the Sefer HaIttur47 who rules against joint constitution of a minyan, we have just seen that disqualification is only recommended (lechatchilla). Furthermore, the Bach and R. Joseph Karo in the Beit Yosef (ad. loc.) both cite the opposing opinion of the Ran. R. Karo subsequently omits altogether from his Shulchan Aruch the opinion of the Sefer HaIttur thereby, clearly indicating that the Ittur's view is not definitive halacha. The consensus of the later acharonim also seems to run counter to the view of the Sefer HaIttur.85 Thus, we saw in Section E above that several contemporary authorities accept a minyan of nine women and one man for the purpose of reciting bircat hagomel.73 Similarly the Chazon Ish66, Sha'arei Emet46, R. Zundel Grossberg66 and others66 permit women to join with men in constituting the minyan necessary to read the megilla not at the usual time. R. Ovadia Yosef permitted their inclusion together with men in the minyan present at Hannuka candle lighting in the Synagogue,68b while the Or Chadash, Ura Shachar and others count women together with men in the minyan of public martyrdom.56 Hence, with the exception of zimmun men and women may join together to form a minyan when suitable.

G. Does the Mechitza Interfere with Joint Constitution
We must now determine whether a minyan can be constituted jointly by men and women where they are separated by a mechitza. After all, the Shulchan Aruch (OH, 55, 13) rules that the participants in a minyan must be together "in one place", and the mechitza would seem to have the effect of dividing the room into two distinct locations.

The resolution of this question according to the third school is quite straight forward. The very "publicity" consideration which allowed women to be counted also removes any problems that might result from the existence of a physical barrier between members of the minyan. The Ritva has already ruled that since the minyan of megilla is merely to publicize the miracle of Purim, we may count towards a minyan even those who are outside the synagogue, and this opinion is cited by several contemporary authorities.86

Even according to the first school - which maintains that the eligibility of women to join a minyan results from the fact that their obligation is equal to that of men - it appears that the mechitza does not bar joint constitution for several reasons. First of all, the mechitza often consists of no more than a curtain. R. Y. Castro has ruled that a mere curtain hung for the sake of modesty does not interfere with the constitution of the minyan.87

Secondly, even in the case of a solid structure, the Sha'arei Tshuva and the Mishna Berura accept the inclusion of people in two different rooms, provided there is visual contact between them.88 Therefore, if the mechitza is not higher than shoulder level (in accordance with the opinion of R. Moshe Feinstein and R. Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg,89) or if the women are in a balcony with a low mechitza, there is no bar to their inclusion.

Even if the mechitza is above the heads of the women, it does not normally reach the ceiling, in which case the room is not considered to be divided. Precedent for this ruling is found in the various responsa dealing with public prayer on a train, where there are high backs to the seats forming partitions between the benches. If there is a space of eleven inches (three tefachim) under the ceiling, the passengers can be joined in a minyan.90 In this manner, R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin88 explains the ruling of his grandfather, R. Eliyahu Henkin,91 who permitted a daughter to recite the kaddish from the women's side of the mechitza even though kaddish requires the presence of ten males. This also explains the ruling of the Knesset HaGedola (OH 219) and later poskim71 that a woman may recite bircat hagomel from the women's section, and be heard by a minyan of ten men. If the mechitza does not reach the ceiling, she is considered to be reciting the kaddish or the hagomel blessing in the presence of the men.

Recently, R.Y.H. Henkin87 has argued that even a mechitza which reaches the ceiling may not interfere with the inclusion of people from both sides in the same minyan. Since the purpose of the women's section is to serve as a place where women can hear and participate in the service together with the men, the two sections have a common single function; therefore the women's section is considered an adjuct to the men's section. The Responsa Minchat Yitzchak92 offers this same reasoning in the case of a study hall that was extended into a neighbouring room. Since the two rooms have a common function, he concludes, they are considered to be a single room.

In summary then, a mechitza does not prevent men and women from joining together to form a minyan quorum, when appropriate according to either the first or third schools.

H. Women as Adjunct Members of a Minyan
Our discussion until now has assumed only one type of membership in a minyan, namely full constituting membership. Thus, ten fully qualified members constitute a minyan - with the various schools disagreeing as to whether and when women are to be considered fully qualified. In truth, however, there are codifiers who in the absence of a fully qualified member, permit the completion of the minyan through the participation of one normally disqualified.93 We will refer to these two different types of membership in a minyan as primary membership ("ikar") and adjunct membership ("snif").

For instance, the primary members of a minyan for the purpose of public prayer (kaddish, kedusha, barchu, and the repetition of the shemoneh esrei) must be male free adults and according to most opinions, the same is true regarding zimmun b'shem. Rabbenu Tam is perhaps the most prominent authority who permits a minor or a slave to complete the minyan for these purposes. R. Simcha94 and others75 maintain that a woman may also be included as an adjunct member in order to complete the quorum for public prayer and zimmun b'shem.

As R. Joseph Caro explains,95 this opinion maintains that the criterion of "in the midst of the children of Israel",5 from which the sages derive that the presence of God rests on any group of ten, applies equally to all members of the Sinaitic covenant - adults or minors, freemen or slaves.96 Rabbenu Simcha clearly maintains that the same is true for women. However, a valid minyan requires the presence of at least nine ikarim (free males); more than one snif (woman, minor or slave) would render the minyan invalid, for this would be inconsistent with the honor of heaven.97

Interestingly, R. Caro concludes his discussion of this issue in the Beit Yosef,95 by ruling that "since Rabbenu Tam himself refused to implement this practice of including a woman, who will dare to do so. The accepted prac tice is not to include a woman at all."98 This is also the definitive halacha as codified in R. Caro's Shulchan Aruch (OH 55, 4) regarding public prayer and in the acharonim regarding zimmun.99

Thus, there is an overwhelming and nearly unanimous consensus regarding the non-inclusion of women in the minyan for public prayer - neither as a primary (ikar) nor even as an adjunct (snif) member. Nevertheless, over a decade ago, the Conservative movement adopted a position permitting the inclusion of women in all instances (including public prayer) where the necessary minyan quorum of ten is required. This action has been rationalized as being in consonance with the position maintained by the school of Rabbenu Simcha.75 As is eminently clear from the above analysis, this understanding of Rabbenu Simcha is erroneous. Rabbenu Simcha was prepared to count a single woman toward the minyan of public prayer and only as an adjunct ("snif"). He never entertained the possi bility of assigning full status to women as an "ikar" for the minyan of public prayer from whose obligation women are free.26 Moreover, as we have pointed out, the overwhelming majority of halachic decisors have ruled contrary to Rabbenu Simcha's approach. (See also references 1a and b). For these reasons, many within the Conservative Movement itself have attacked this decade old decision as being a serious break with Halachah.100

I. Conclusion
In the present paper we have explored the rules and rationales of minyan eligibility, in particular as it applies to women. We have reaffirmed that women cannot constitiute a minyan - either alone or together with men - for the purpose of public prayer which includes kaddish, kedusha, barchu, repetition of the shemoneh esrei or the reading of the Torah and the Haftorah.101 However, this does not mean that women are excluded from all minyanim. Indeed the majority of poskim posit that women may constitute a minyan, according to one school, if their obligation in a given ritual is identical to that of men or, according to another school, when the purpose of the minyan is to "publicize" a miracle or the performance of a mitzva. Thus, there are a variety of halachic ally relavent cases where rabbinic authorities permit, both in theory and practice, the inclusion of women in a minyan. These include: 1)megilla and the "harav et riveinu" benediction that follows it four rishonim45,64 and some fifteen acharonim46,66 2)public martyrdom [eleven acharonim56; 3)the hagomel blessing seven acharonim73; 4)circumcision two acharonim67; 5)Hanuka lighting in synagogue two acharonim.68

The implications of this paper to the workings of "women's services"101 should be obvious, though this innovation itself deserves long and considered evaluation and will be treated by this writer in a subsequent piece. It has long been our conviction that the spiritual needs expressed and the questions raised by modern religious women concerning their standing in Jewish law should and can be tackled seriously, respectfully and sensitively. However, it is only from a postion of scholarship and earnestness that we can be sure that our queries are valid and confident that our creativity will not violate the rubric and guidelines of Halacha.

References and Footnotes
1. See for example: a) S.F. Berman, Tradition 14(2), 5 (Fall 1973); b) J.D. Bleich, Tradition 14(2), 113 (Fall 1973); c)M. Meiselman, Jewish Women in Jewish Law tav, N.Y. 1978, ch. 20.
2. A portion of this paper appeared previously in Hebrew {A.A. Frimer, Or HaMizrach, 34 (1,2), 69 (Tishrei 5746)}.
3. Megilla 4, 3. Note that some of the rituals listed have fallen into disuse.
4. a) See Encyclopedia Talmudit v.6, davar shebikdusha. Most opinions include kaddish, kedusha, barchu, and the repetition of the shemoneh esrei in the category of davar shebikdusha. There is some controversy regarding the status of the reading of the Torah and the Haftorah, the recitation of the thirteen attributes of God, the priest's blessing and zimmun b'shem. The category into which these latter items fall is of halachic relevance, since as we shall shortly see women cannot count towards the minyan of a davar shebikdusha.19,20 If, however, a ritual requires a quorum of ten for reasons other than davar shebikdusha, women may perhaps be counted, this depending on the conditions and school of thought (vide infra).
b) Rabbenu Yona (Berachot 21a, s.v. "venikdashti") notes that not all rituals which sanctify the Almighty's name are classified as "dvarim shebikdusha". Thus, the acceptance of the heavenly yoke in the recitation of the "Shema" does not require a minyan. As a result, R. Yona suggests that dvarim shebikdusha should be defined as those rituals for which the Rabbis saw fit to require the presence of ten because of the sanctification element. These cannot be kperformed in the absence of the minyan quorum. However, since Chazal never required a minyan for Shema it may be read in private despite its central importance.
5. Leviticus 22, 32. See Torah Sheleima (R.M.M. Kasher) Genesis 42, 5 note 30 for a discussion of this and other derivations.
6. Yerushalmi Berachot 7, 3 and Megilla 4, 4.
7. Megilla 23b; Berachot 45b.
8. R. Yaakov Emden (Lechem Shamayim, Megilla 23b) applies this reason to the mourners' blessing and the consolation of the mourner as well.
9. Ketubot 7b.
10. Ruth 4, 2.
11. Psalms 68, 27. "Congregation" (Kahal) is assumed to be equivalent to "edah" and, therefore, requires ten participants; see Rashi, Ketubot 7b, s.v. "Bemakheilot".
12. Berachot 54b; See Gilyon HaShas (ad locum) and footnote 11.
13. Psalms 107, 32.
14. a) Megilla 5a and Rashi and other commentators, ad loc.; b) The Rama (OH 692,1) also requires a minyan to recite the "harav et riveinu" blessing that follows the megilla reading. See Birur Halacha (Zilber) ad locum and Kaf HaChaim OH 690, 124.
15. Sanhedrin 74a.
16. Maimonides, Sefer HaMitzvot 9; Sefer Hachinuch 268; Yerei'im 403; Smak 44; Metzudat David Ta'amei Hamitzvot (Radvaz) 6; Smag pos. 5; Migdal David (HaKochavi) Sefer Mitzvot pos. 11.
17. For an extensive list see reference 2 (footnotes 14 and 15 therein). The first to take this position is the Ran, Megilla 23b, s.v. "Ve'ein Nosim".
18. For a discussion of asmachtot see: a)M. Elon "HaMishpat HaIvri" Magnes Press, Jerusalem, 5733, vol. II, p. 256; b) Encyclopedia Talmudit, vol. 2, asmachta.
19. Shulchan Aruch OH 55, 1 and commentaries ad locum: L'vush 1; Magen Avraham 1; Mishnah B'rura 2; Aruch HaShulchan 6.
20. Shulchan Aruch HaRav OH 55, 2.
21. Ra'avan 185.
22. L'vush OH 55, 4; See Malbim, HaTorah VeHaMitzvah, Leviticus chap. 1, sec. 7 and 8, and ch. 4, sec. 191. See also Magen Avraham OH 14, subsection 2 and Pri Megadim ad locum.
23. Meiri, Beit HaBechira, Megilla 5a.
24. The period of the rishonim (the "early" scholars) begins from the middle of the 11th century (the time of R. Isaac Alfasi) until the 16th century (just prior to the time of R. Joseph Karo and R. Moses Isserles).
25. The period of acharonim (the "late" scholars) starts from the time of R. Joseph Karo and R. Moses Isserles and continues down to the modern period. The 19th and 20th century scholars are often referred to as the acharoni Ha'achronim.
26. Responsa Shvut Yaacov OH 3, 54; Resp. Tshuva Mei'ahava 2, 229; see the letter of the Gaon of Vilna (Alim Letrufa) where he advises the women of his family not to attend the synagogue; Resp. Torat Chesed OH 4, 6; Resp. Heichal Yitzchak OH, 12, 5, 9; Resp. Tiferet Moshe (by Mori Zekeini R. Moshe Zev Kahn z"l) 1, 29; Resp. Tzemach Tzedek OH 19,2; Resp. Tzitz Eliezer 9, 11; Resp. Beit Avi 4, 3; Resp. Sha'arei Moshe 2, 3; Resp. BeTzel Chochma 4, 19, 9; Moadim Uzemanim 1, 9.
27. For a discussion of the rationale, see reference 2, note 43.
28. An unusual position is found in the Yad Eliyahu (Regolar) v.1, psakim, 7, who maintains that even though women are not included in the minyan, they are counted, if there are ten men present, in order to meet the requirement that the congregation include ten persons who have not yet prayed so that the prayers obtain the special status of tefila b'tzibur (public prayers).
29. Margaliot HaYam Sanhedrin 74b, sec. 27; Resp. Orach LeTzadik, 3; This also seems to be the view of the L'vush OH 55, 4 (see reference 2 section 3, 1).
30. Vide infra, section B, 6.
31. Shyarei Kenesset HaGedola OH 55, commentary to the Beit Yosef, n. 4. His position is accepted by the Olat Tamid and the Be'er Heiteiv ad. loc.; The Pitchei Teshuva YD 341, 14; Responsa Maharam Shik YD 342; Mishna Berura 55, 24.
32. Kol Bo al Aveilut v.1, ch. 2, 4, 9, and v.2, ch. 1, 4, 5, 5 prohibits, while Gesher HaChayim 18, 2, 3 and Ramat Rachel (Waldenberg) 47 permit.
33. Tosafot, Rosh HaShana 33a s.v. "Ha"; Meiri, Megilla 23a; Ran, Megilla 23a s.v. "Hakol olim"; Sefer HaBatim, beit tefilla, shaar 2; Beit Yosef 28 s.v. "Hakol" and Derisha ad. loc.; Responsa Orach LeTzadik 3; Resp. Maharsham, v.1, 158; Resp. Mateh Yehuda 282, 7; Kisei Rachamim (Chida) on Masechet Sofrim chap. 8, 4, Tosafot s.v. "Shehanashim"; Aruch HaShulchan OH 282, 11. This is obviously the opinion of the Gra, as is apparent from his letter to his wife (above, n. 26). This is also the ruling of the Yechave Daat, 4, 23, n.1.
On the other hand, the Magen Avraham (OH 282, 6) - although he mentions that women customarily leave the synagogue during the reading of the Torah - believes it likely that they are obligated, based on the passage in Masechet Soferim; see Mishna Berura 282, 12.; Birkei Yosef 282, 7; Yeshuot Yaacov, 282, 4. See also Mikraei Kodesh (R. Zvi Hirsh Grodzinsky) Shaarei Kedusha, 4 and Resp. Hillel Omer (R. Hillel Posek) 187 discussed in reference 2, section 3.2.
34. Rosh Yosef (Teomim), Megilla 23a, s.v. "Leima".
35. Shulchan Aruch OH 685, 7.
36. A survey of the different opinions can be found in Responsa Yechave Daat 1, 84; Encyclopedia Talmudit v. 12, "Zechirat Maasei Amalek", sec. 3 (p. 222); Halichot Beita, 9, 5, n.8; Halichot Bat Yisrael, 22, 1, n.1-4. To the list of those who favor exemption should be added: Responsa Zecher Simcha (Bamberger) 75 (printed in Responsa Yad HaLevi [R. Y.D. Bamberger] v.2); R. Y.D. Bamberger (HaMa'ayan Tevet 5739 [19, 2] p. 33); Sha'arei Emet 3, Chemdat Arye (R. Moshe L. Litsch-Rosenberg) ch. 5, 5; Responsa Torah Lishma 187; Moadim Uzemanim 2, 187, addenda in v.8; Pitchei Olam Umatamei HaShulchan (Karasik) OH 685, 7. To those who obligate should be added Responsa Minchat Yitzchak 9, 68; R. Y.Y. Neuwirth, Madrich Hilchat Le'achayot Bebatei Cholim, (Yerushalayim 5736) p. 56, no. 1.; Drashot Chatam Sofer, v.3 Drush LeBar Mitzva p. 72.
37. Yechave Daat and Moadim Uzemanim (ibid.36). The Moadei Yeshurun (Felder) hilchot Purim 1, 3, n. 9 quotes R. Moshe Feinstein that the opinion of R. Natan Adler is not accepted and women may fulfill the obligation with a printed chumash. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that the Minchat Yitzchak (ibid.36) states that the majority opinion maintains full obligation.
38. R. Moshe L. Bamberger and R. Simcha Bamberger in Responsa Zecher Simcha op. cit.36; Responsa Binyan Tzion HaChadashot 8; Shaarei Emet op. cit.36
While the obligations of women and non-Jewish slaves are similar in many instances, the rationale is radically different. A slave is obligated in fewer mitzvot because he lacks the sanctity of the Jew. Not so with Jewish women who are of equal sanctity, yet are freed of many mitzvot in order to allow them to manage their time in accordance with family obligations. See: R.S. Kasher, Torat HaRogachovi - Rabbenu Yosef Rosen (Jerusalem; 5726, Machon Tzafnat Pa'aneach) p. 50; Dibrot Moshe (Feinstein), Kiddusin, v.1, 46; Resp. Igrot Moshe OH v.4, 49; R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik as quoted by R. Hershel Schachter, Or HaMizrach, 34 (1, 2), 54 (See especially p. 64); See also sources in footnote 1.
40. It should be noted that even if women are biblically obligated to read Parshat Zakhor, nevertheless many leading poskim41 maintain that they need not do so in a minyan or with the appropriate benedictions. These requirements are part of the general rabbinic Torah reading obligations from which women are exempted. Formulated somewhat differently, even if women are biblically obligated to read Parshat Zakhor, unlike men they may not be rabbinically obligated to do so publically. Indeed, many communities have an annual special reading of Parshat Zakhor for women without the presence of a minyan and without the customary blessings.42 Furthermore, many authorities maintain that a woman fulfills her biblical obligation even by reading the portion from a printed chumash or by reciting it by heart.43 Hence, it could well be argued that even according to the first school, a woman's obligation in Parshat Zakhor does not necessarily lead to here eligibility for inclusion in the Parshat Zakhor minyan.
41. Kaf HaChayim 685, 30; Mishna Berura 685, 16 (Sha'ar HaTziun 5); Shaarim HaMetzuyanim BeHalacha 140, 1 citing the Responsa Binyan Shlomo; R. Ben-Tzion Lichtman in Noam 7 (5724) p. 361 and B'nai Tzion v.2, siman 55, 1, 2. See however, the discussion in Birur Halacha (Zilber) 146, 2 and Asei Lecha Rav (R. C.D. HaLevi) 7, 41.
42. Purim Meshulash 2, 8, n.20, that this is the custom in Bnei Brak. I have also witnessed this custom in Borough Park and Rechovot. Indeed the Pri Megadim in Rosh Yosef (Megilla 23b) sees no prohibition in reading from a Torah scroll without its attendant blessings in the absence of a minyan. This position is also maintained by R. Y.Y. Halberstam, Moriah 14 (1, 2) Adar 5745, 34; See especially p. 46. The Moadei Yeshurin op. cit.37, however, quotes R. M. Feinstein to the effect that such behavior shows disrespect to the Torah. This is quite surprising since R. M. Tendler in a well publicized responsum on the subject of women's services dated 4 Sivan 5743 cites his grandfather (R. M. Feinstein) to the effect that women can read from the Torah without a minyan or blessings. Nevertheless, see Halichot Bat Yisrael 22, n.3, who quotes R. S. Eliashiv that Parshat Zakhor requires the presence of ten men. See also Adar VePurim (Schwartz) 3, 3,1 who cites R. Moshe Stern as permitting the gathering of a minyan of men to read parshat zakhor for women without the Torah blessings. R. Menashe Klein is quoted as disagreeing with this institution of a new custom.
43. Moadim Uzemanim op. cit.36; Moadei Yeshurun op. cit.37 in the name of R. Moshe Feinstein; Responsa Minchat Elazar 2, 1, 4ff; Resp. Torat Chesed OH, 37; Pitchei Olam Umatamei HaShulchan op. cit.36 Rev Aharon Lichtenstien Shlita has also ruled that women can fulfill their zakhor obligation, even if biblical in nature, by reading the requisite portion from a printed chumash in private.
44. OH 690, 18; Mishna Berura 690, 61 and Shaar HaTziyun ad. loc. Concerning the possibility of reading on the fourteenth in a walled city, see Yechave Daat 1, 4, n.1, and Yabia Omer 6, 46.
45. Ran to the Rif, Megilla 19b, s.v. "Hakol Kesheirin"; Meiri, Berachot 47b; Sefer HaMechtam, Berachot 45a.
46. Rama OH 690, 18 as understood by the Chayei Adam 155, 12; See Elia Rabba ad. loc. (There are several explanations for the uncertainty of the Rama; See reference 2, n. 78); Sha'arei Emet 3, Chemdat Aryeh 4, 5.
47. The Sefer HaIttur, hilchot Megilla is quoted with the qualification "lechatchilla" (i.e., not preferred or not recommended) by the Chidushei Haran (actually Chidushei Talmidei HaRamban) Megilla 4a, and by the later poskim beginning with the Tur OH 689 and the Bach and the Beit Yosef ad. loc. However, some rishonim quote the ruling of the Sefer HaIttur without the qualification "lechatchila": see Meiri Megilla 4a ("the scholars of Provence") and 5a, s.v. "Kol"; Meorot and Michtam, Megilla 5a; Shiltei HaGibborim, Megilla 4a; Ran to the Rif.45 It should also be noted that the Sefer HaIttur itself does not cite immodesty as the reason, but the Ran (to the Rif), Meiri, Meorot, and the Bach do. See also Mor Uktzia 199 s.v. "Debedin".
48. Other authorities are cited by the Encyclopedia Talmudit v.12, "Zimmun" sec. 8.
49. Shulchan Aruch,OH 199, 6ff; the Vilna Gaon (ad. locum) dissents.
50. Rambam, Hilchot Berachot 5, 7.
51. Meiri, Berachot 47b; Kesef Mishne, hilchot berachot 5, 7; Beit Yosef OH 199, s.v. "Uma shekatav"; Kiryat Sefer ad. loc.; Kehilat Yaacov (Karlin) Berachot 45b; Mishne Berura 199, 15. This explanation is problematic, however, since the Talmud explicitly states7 that the exclusion of women is due to "accepted protocol". R. Yaacov Sofer (Torat Chesed OH 199, 1) suggests that the intention of the Beit Yosef is not to offer a reason for the exclusion, but only to indicate that the quorum requirements of zimmun b'shem are equivalent to that of the d'varim shebikdusha listed in the mishna, which require ten adult free males. A similar approach is found in the Noda BeYehuda v.1, 56 and the Aruch HaShulchan EH 62, 13.
52. Meiri, Berachot 47b; Sefer HaMenucha, hilchot berachot 5, 7. Bnei Tzion (R. Ben-Tzion Lichtman) 3, 199, 6, 6, argues that this is also the opinion of the Rambam, contrary to the view of the Kesef Mishna, above n. 51. See also n. 62.
53. Meorot, Berachot ch. 7; Sefer HaMenucha ibid.; Aruch HaShulchan OH 199, 2. It should be noted that although the Shulchan Aruch (OH 199, 7) maintains that ten women who dined with three men are indeed obligated in zimmun, they still cannot recite the zimmun introduction b'shem for two reasons: firstly, a change in the text because of the presence of the women is considered a breach of modesty (vide infra section F); secondly, the women's obligation is only by extension from the men and not an intrinsic one (see L'vush OH 199, 7). Hence, they lack the maximal obligation which according to the first school is a prerequisite for minyan eligibility.
54. Meiri, Berachot 47a; Meorot, Berachot 45b; Shiltei HaGibborim, Berachot 7, 2 citing the Rosh. See reference 2 note 25. Bnei Tzion (op. cit.)52 explains this opinion at length, stating: "The reason is that barchu which preceeds the reading of the Shma, is intended as a blessing of God's name and sanctity, and therefore, is considered a davar shebikdusha; whereas, the barchu or nevarech in the zimmun is a blessing for the enjoyment of what was eaten, as though he said explicitly '(bless God) for what we have eaten'. Therefore, it is not a davar shebikdusha... Nevertheless, when he says "to our God" in the plural, there must be ten people present".
55. This is the opinion of the S'mak (44); the Lechem Mishne and Kiryat Sefer (hilchot yesodei hatorah, 5, 4); the Pri Chadash (YD 157), the Minchat Chinuch (296), and the Shla (shaar haotiot, 1). The Merkevet HaMishne (Rambam, ibid.) and the Chamra VeChaye, quoting the Meiri, (Sanhedrin 74b) contend that there exists a biblical obligation to sanctify the name of God in private as well.
56. R. Yaacov Emden, Migdal Oz (even bochen, 1, 69); R. Yosef Engel, Gilyonei Hashas (Sanhedrin 74b); Margaliot HaYam (Sanhedrin 74b, notes 6 and 27); Einayim Lemishpat (Sanhedrin 74b); R. Meir Blumenfeld, Or Chadash 8, 12; Yesodei Yeshurun, v.1, p. 189; R. M. Leiter, Beshulei HaGilyon (Sanhedrin 74b), quoting Responsa Mahari Ashkenazi, YD 13 (it should read YD 16); R. Yerucham Perlman, Or Gdol 1; R. Natan Neta Segal Landau, Ura Shachar, Kedushah, 6; R. Avraham Stern Melitzei Esh, 3 Elul, 163 and Mesader Chilukim VeShitot, Yud 396f. The Pitchei Teshuva and the Gilyon Maharasha on YD 157 leave the question unresolved.
57. Interestingly the Ran (Sanhedrin 75a) as well as several later commentators (Melo Haroim, Gur Aryeh and Yad David ad. locum) go so far as to entertain the possibility that even non-Jews - were they obligated in this mitzva of martyrdom (which they are not) - would be eligible to form a minyan.
58. See sec. F below for a discussion of this term.
59. Resp. Zecher Simcha (Bamberger) 75. The phrase "association with them is improper" (She'ein Chiburtan Naeh) appears first in Rabbenu Yona (Berachot 45a) in regard to the inclusion of women and men together in a zimmun of three. See, however, footnote 82.
60. Yefei Lev OH 690, 17 and 689, 2; Sefer Kol Bo, hilchot megilla, 45.
61. See Ura Shachar op. cit.56
Tosafot, Tosafot HaRosh, Tosfot Chachmei Anglia, Tosfot Rabbenu Peretz, and Tosfot Rabbenu Yehuda Sirleon to Berachot 45b; Or Zarua 184; Responsa Maharam Ruttenberg (Mossad HaRav Kook 5717) 1, 65; Sefer HaMeorot, Sefer HaMichtam, and Chidushei HaRan, Megilla 5a; Orchot Chayim, hilchot megilla 2; Kol Bo 45. See also Tosafot Yeshanim, Yevamot 46b s.v. "Berabi Yehoshua" who states that "women are not considered to be 'a nation'"; Sefer HaMenucha, hilchot berachot 5, 7, who states that women "are not considered to be a congregation at all". A similar statement appears in the Ritva, Ketubot 7b, and the Meiri, Berachot 47b. The use of "congregation" (Kahal) to exclude women is problematic, however: See reference 2 footnote 99. See also Sefer HaRokeach HaGadol Hilchot Seudah, 334 according to Gilyonei HaShas (R. Joseph Engel) Sanhedrin 74b.
63. Gra OH 199, 6; Shulchan Aruch HaRav OH 199, 6 and 7 and OH 263, 22; Kuntres Acharon 7; Minchat Chinuch 296; Or Sameach, hilchot berachot 5, 3; Resp. Torat Chesed OH 37; Tzafnat Pa'aneiach on Rambam Haflaah deletions to Megilla 1, 3 and Mahadura Tanyana, hilchot yesodei hatorah 5, 5; Resp. Maharash (Engel) 3, 88; Gilyonei HaShas (R. Yosef Engel), Berachot 45b; Resp. Binyan Tzion v.2, 8; Kehilot Yaacov (Karlin), Berachot 45a; Or Olam (Blumenfeld) p. 72; Pri Yeshurun to Tanya Rabati v.1,Kriyat Shema, p. 368; She'erit Yosef, v.1, 37; Mishne Halachot, v.4, 78; Chidushei Batra on Sefer HaMasbir, Berachot 45b, 334.
64. Nachmanidies, Milchamot Hashem, Megilla 5a; Ran ad. loc.; Ra'a cited by Ritva Megilla 4a.
65. Darkei Moshe OH 690, 6 citing Or Zarua 370; Mapah OH 690, 18. Several explanations have been offered for the doubt expressed by the Rama; See note 66 and reference 2 note 78.
66. a) Mashcha Deravevata (R. Masood Refael Alfasi) v.2, addenda at the end of the volume, sec. 689; Chazon Ish OH 155, 2; Igeret HaPurim (Grosberg) 1st edition 7:2, second edition 8:3; Salmat Chaim (Sonnenfeld) v.1, 101; Purim Meshulash (Devlitsky) 2, 8, 9 and addendum thereto; Mikraei Kodesh (Frank): Purim, 35, and 50, n.3.; See Tzitz Eliezer 3, 73; Rav Pa'alim OH 2, 62; Chug HaAretz (R. Y. Algazi); Yalkut Yosef p. 90; LiKutei Kol Sinai (R. Ovadia Yosef) p. 47, sec. 23; Halichot Beita 24, 17-21 and notes 33, 34, 44 and 48; Adar VePurim (Schwartz) 8, 5, 3. However, the Kaf HaChaim 690, 120 and Aruch HaShulchan 690, 25 disagree.
b) See Mikraei Kodesh, Tzitz Eliezer, Rav Pa'alim, Adar VePurim, and Purim Meshulash (cited above66a) who state that the doubt expressed by the Rama regarding the inclusion of women in a minyan for megilla concerns only their joining together with men for this purpose, because of modesty considerations. The Rama would, however, have no reservations regarding a minyan for megilla made up solely of women.
67. Sefer HaBrit YD 265, 6, 79-80. The Koret HaBrit (Posek), YD 265, 47, states that women are included because they are considered to be circumcised, which appears to be in accord with the first opinion.
68. a) Responsa Rav Pealim, OH 2, 62; b) R. Ovadia Yosef (Yalkut Yosef, 2nd ed. Hilchot chanuka 17) rules that four women may join six men for this purpose.
69. See Shulchan Aruch, OH 219, 3 and Encyclopedia Talmudit 4, 318.
70. Biur Halacha, Machatzit HaShekel, Kaf HaChaim and Birur Halacha to OH 219, 3; Shaarei Ephraim 4, 27; Yechave Daat 4, 15.
71. Birkei Yosef, OH 219, 3; Elya Rabba ibid., 12; Seder Bircat HaNehenin 13, 3; R. Yaacov Emden, Siddur Shaarei Shamayim, bircat hagomel, 2; Shaarei Ephraim 4, Pitchei Shaarim 28; Ben Ish Chai Ekev, 5; Chayei Adam 65, 2; Resp. Tziz Eliezer 13, 17; P'nei Baruch (Goldberg) bikur cholim kehilchato 2, 33 - See also comments of R. Y.Y. Fisher therein who notes that the custom nowadays is that women do make the hagomel blessing; Zechor LeAvraham (Alkalai) 2, OH Bet, 12; Siddur Beit Oveid (R. Y.S. Ashkenazi) bircat hagomel laws 22; Meiam Loeiz, Vayera p. 348; Derech Yeshara 2, 12.
72. So understand the Kaf HaChaim 219, 3; P'nei Baruch op. cit.71 note 80; Chidushei Batra - Haga BaMishna Berura 219, 3.
73. a) Encyclopedia Talmudit 4- birchot hodaa p. 318; Halichot Beita (R. David Auyerbach), 13, 7, 13 and 24, 17, 34 and petah habayit 24; Halichot Beit Yisrael (R. Yitzchak Yaacov Fuchs) 14, 41; Derech Yeshara (R. David Avraham) 2, 12, n. 38 and 39; A Guide for the Jewish Woman and Girl (R. Dov Eisenberg) p. 38; Chidushei Batra op. cit.72; HaIsha VeHamitzvot - Bein HaIsha LeYozra (R. Elyakim Getzel Ellinson) 12, 3, n. 11 and 12. Halichot Beita, Chidushei Batra and R. Yechiel Avraham Zilber (personal communication, 1981) explain this leniency in terms of "publicizing" the miracle, along the lines of the third school.
b) The Bircat HaBayit (27, 24) and Yechave Daat (4, 15, second note) also understand the Mishna Berura and Knesset HaGedola as permitting the inclusion of women but disagree with this position. The Aruch HaShulchan (OH 219, 6) and R. Shlomo Zalman Auyerbach (quoted in Halichot Beita 13, 7, 13) also exclude women from the minyan of the hagomel blessing. See also reference 2 footnote 96 and 99.
74. OH 213 Mishna Berura 3, Be'er Hetev 1, Birkei Yosef 2; Darkei Chaim, Bircat HaGomel 3, 8; Birchot Yisrael II, 13, 3,684.
75. Mordecai, Berachot 7, 158, cites Rabbenu Simcha. Shiltei HaGibborim, Berachot 7, 2, cites Rabbenu Simcha, Rabbenu Tam, and the Rosh. Responsa Maharam Rottenberg (Kahana Ed.) vol. 1, 65; Sefer HaAgur 240; Beit Yosef OH 55 s.v. "Vekatuv" and OH 199 s.v. "Umashekatav"; and Bach ad. loc. all cite R. Simcha and Ri HaKohen. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 55, 5, cites Rav Hai Gaon, Rabbenu Tam, and the Baal Hamaor. See also R. Yosef Kapach Mishne Torah, hilchot berachot 5,7, n. 16, that the Maharit and the Mabit formed a zimmun by including their wives. A similar tradition regarding other scholars is recorded in Malbushei Yom Tov (Lipman) 197, 2 and 199, 5 and Shaarei Teshuva 199, 3, citing the Gan HaMelech.
76. Meiri, Berachot 47b; the Rambam according to Rav Kapach (above n. 75).
77. Rashi, Arachin 3a s.v. "Mezamnot".
78. Meiri, Berachot 47b; Raavad, Temim Deim 1.
79. Tashbetz, Meorot and Michtam to Berachot 45a; Meiri, and Nemukei Yosef, (citing the Ra'avad) to Megilla 5a.
80. Ran (to the Rif), Megilla 19b; Ritva, Megilla 4a. See Tosafot YomTov, Pesachim 8, 7, who cites a "conclusive proof" to this position; Pri Chadash 690, rejects this proof; See also Kehilat Yaacov (Karlin) Berachot 45b.
81. Several commentators have pointed out that, when the megilla is read not in its proper time, a minyan is a prerequisite to the recitation of the attendant blessing. Hence, were the women not to be counted in the minyan, the blessing before the reading of the megilla would not be recited. How then can the Ran state that the inclusion of the women does not result in a noticeable change? (See Otzar HaShitot v.1, p. 77,Purim Meshalash 2, 16, notes). R. Eliyahu Lichtenstein (CHidushei HaRitva, Megilla 4a, n. 379) answers that apparently according to the Ran there must be a different version of a blessing in order for there to be a problem. This suggestion is indeed consistent with the declared position of the Ran that the zimmun introduction is not merely an addition to the bircat hamazon but rather "a change in the form of the blessing".80 We believe, however, that the Ran's position has been most accurately presented by the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (199, 7) who writes: "It appears to be immodest since the inclusion of women together with men is made noticeable when the leader says 'let us bless', indicating the inclusion of all [men and women]". In other words, in zimmun there is a change in the language that specifically emphasizes the inclusion of women, since they are being called upon to join in the common blessing. This is not the case in the reading of the megilla.
82. R. Simcha Bamberger59 equates the view of Sefer HaIttur with that of Rabbenu Yona (Berachot 45a) who prohibits men from forming a zimmun even with their wives "because association with them is not proper". However, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (OH 199, 7) and the Mishna Berura (OH 199, 17 and Sha'ar HaTziyun 7) both understand the view of R. Yonah to be equivalent to that of the Ran.80
Mor Uketzia 199; Purim Meshulash (Devlitzky) 2, 8, 18.
84. To these opinions one can add the Maharam of Rottenberg,75 cited in the Tur (OH 199) who disallowed a zimmun formed by men and women. Although the Bach (ad. loc.) claims that the ruling of the Maharam is based on modesty considerations, the Elya Raba (ad. loc.) disagrees, pointing out that the Maharam nowhere mentions the concept of immodesty.
85. Also to be included in the camp disagreeing with the Sefer HaIttur are the authorities who permit the inclusion of a woman to a minyan as an adjunct (see section H).75, 99b
86. Ritva, Megilla 5b and Rosh Hashana 27b; Halichot Beita 24, n.33-34.
87. Erech HaLechem (Castro) 55, 19 cited in Mishna Berura 55, 50. R. Menashe Klein in a comment published at the end of Responsa Bnei Banim (R. Yehuda Herzel Henkin) states explicitly that a mechitza which separates men and women in a synagogue is covered by R. Castro's ruling.
88. Mishna Berura (55, 52) and Sha'arei Teshuva (55, 16) ruling against the stricter position of the Sheyari Knesset HaGedola. The Kaf HaChaim (55, 78) and the Aruch HaShulchan (55, 20) accept the more stringent view. However, R. Y.H. Henkin has correctly noted that the Aruch HaShulchan is actually referring to an instance in which the women's section is in a separate building (R. Y.H. Henkin, personal communication 16 Shvat 5744; subsequently published with minor revisions in HaDarom (54), sivan 5745, p. 34).
89. Igrot Moshe OH 1, 39-43; 3, 23-24. A similar conclusion is reached by R. Y.Y. Weinberg, Seridei Eish, 1, 14; See also Responsa Bnei Banim, 2. In a personal horaah halacha lemaaseh (Cambridge, Mass. 1971) Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik shlita ruled that a mechitza need only be 50 inches high.
90. Hitorerut Teshuva, 3, 13, 2; Responsa Minchat Shai (Schor) 18; Responsa Chemdat Moshe (Beck) 13; based on Hagahot Smak 282, 5 who stated that the walls that surround the bima in the synagogue do not interfere with constitution of the minyan even if they are more than ten tefachim high since they do not reach the ceiling. See also Shulchan Aruch OH 370, 3.
91. R. Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, HaPardes, Adar 5723 (6), 5; R. Shalom Rubin-Halberstam disagreed in HaPardes, Tishrei 5724 (1), 14; as does the Minchat Yitzchak 4, 30.
92. Responsa Minchat Yitzchak 4, 9. Both this responsa and that of Rav Henkin88 are based primarily on Responsa Rashba 1, 91. See also Adar VePurim (8, 5, 4) who concludes as well that women in the women's section are considered to be praying in public i.e. in the presence of the men. This latter position is based on the author's discussion with Rav Y.S. Eliashiv, as clarified to this writer in a personal communication dated 17 Kislev 5744. See also Adar VePurim, (8, 5, 3 note 10) who cites R. Moshe Stern as permitting in the absence of 10 men the counting of men and women together for a minyan by megilla even though they are separated by a Mechitza
93. See Beit Yosef OH 55 s.v. "Ve'eilu Hayud" ff; Einayim Lemishpat, Berachot 48a, n. "a"; Encyclopedia Talmudit vol. 6, davar shebikdusha sec. 3; Hatefila Betzibbur (R. Yitzchak Yaakov Fuchs) chapter 5.
94. Concerning the identity of Rabbenu Simcha, see reference 2 n. 23. Examination of the Mordechai, the Shiltei HaGibborim and the Maharam75 reveals that the ruling of R. Simcha was made regarding zimmun b'shem. However, the Beit Yosef93 applies it to public prayer as well.
95. Beit Yosef OH 55, s.v. "Vekatuv BaMordechai"; Cf. Responsa Mahari Assad OH 26; Responsa Minchat Yitzchak 9, 11.
96. This opinion apparently maintains that the derivations quoted in the beginning of this article which exclude women, minors and slaves from the category of "children of Israel" are asmachtot and not of biblical authority. See Resp. Mahari Assad (Yehuda Ya'ale) OH 26.
97. Presumably, because women, minors and slaves are not obligated in public prayer or zimmun, incorporating more than one would be a blatant breach of propriety and a sign of disrespect. It ought to be noted, however, that there are isolated rishonim who permit the inclusion of two, three, or even four minors, provided the majority (i.e., at least six) of the minyan are adults. nevertheless, these rishonim discuss only minors; none explicitly permit women to serve as adjunct members. The distinction between women and male minors is that the latter will eventually become obligated in public prayer. One could conceivably construct a position allowing the inclusion of up to four women as adjuncts by hybridizing the view of Rabbenu Simha, who talks of only one woman adjunct, with the opinion of those permitting four minors as adjuncts. This would, however, create a position that is a minority view several times over. Firstly, the majority opinion is not to include adjuncts at all. Of those permitting adjuncts, only a minority are willing to include women, and many, if not most, of these do so only for zimmun b'shem and not for public prayer. Finally, all those who permit adjuncts, do so only in extreme need and certainly not as a normative situation. (For sources to all the above, see: Encyclopedia Talmudit, Vol. 6, davar shebikdushah, sec. 3). It is not surprising, therefore, that no rishon or acharon even hints to the possibility of allowing more than one women as an adjunct.
98. R. Yaacov Emden (Mor Ukzia, OH 55) and R. Avraham Chaim Rodriguez (Resp. Orach Latzadik, 2) suggest that the reason for the total exclusion of women as adjuncts is related to the "honor of the community". See reference 2 section b for a brief discussion of this point.
99. a)Elya Raba, OH 199, 3; Birkei Yosef, 199, 2, and the Machzik Beracha, 4; Shulchan Aruch HaRav 199, 7; Mor Ukzia 199; Kaf HaChaim 199, 15; Chazon Ish OH 30, 9; Mishna Berura 199, 15; Sha'arei Teshuva 199, 3; Ateret Zekeinim 199; Aruch HaShulchan 199, 2; Mishne Halachot 4, 78; b)In the case of zimmun b'shem (and in contradistinction to public prayer) some of the early acharonim accepted the opinion of R. Simcha75; See reference 2 section b.
100. See D.M. Feldman, Conservative Judaism, 26:4 (summer, 1972) pp. 35-36; Tomeikh KaHalachah (Responsa of the Panel of Halakhic Inquiry of the Union for Tradional Conservative Judaism) volume 1 (Iyar 5746, May 1986) Orach Hayim, Responsa no. 3 and 6. These articles cite only the "equality of obligation" approach to minyan.
101. Since ten women do not form a halachic minyan for public prayer, women who join together to pray form a women's service - not a women's minyan.

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