The authors wish to publicly thank (in alphabetical order) R. Shael I. Frimer, R. Dov Green, R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein, Dr. Joel B. Wolowelsky, and R. Ari Zivitofsky for reviewing the manuscript and for their many valuable and insightful comments. The authors bear sole responsibility for the final product. We would like to bring to the reader's attention that in the hope of making the paper more readable, we have deferred some of the more lengthy discussions to an "Addendum" section.
2. R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, "Redemption, Prayer, Talmud Torah," Tradition 17:2 (Spring 1978), p. 55.
3. For documentation of the various points raised in this paragraph, see Aryeh A. Frimer, "Women and Minyan," Tradition 23:4 (Summer 1988), pp. 54-77; Aryeh A. Frimer, "Ma'amad haIsha beHalakha-Nashim uMinyan," Or haMizrah 34:1, 2 (Tishrei 5746), pp. 69-86. Regarding women's exemption from tefilla be-tsibbur, see as well infra, note 85. For examples where women do count for a minyan, see text, infra, at note 128.
3*. Regarding the growth of Torah-learning opportunities for women in the recent period, see Shoshana Pantel Zolty, "And All Your Children Shall Be Learned: Women and the Study of Torah in Jewish Law and History" (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1993), pp. 301-309. Two sociological studies of women's tefilla groups have appeared recently. See Sylvia Barack Fishman, "A Breath of Life: Feminism in the American Jewish Community" (New York: Free Press/Division of Macmillan, 1993), pp. 158-170; Sylvia Barack Fishman, "Negotiating Both Sides of the Hyphen: Coalescence, Compartmentalization and American Jewish Values" (Cincinnati, OH: Judaic Studies Program, University of Cincinnati, 1996), pp. 21-27. Unfortunately, no comparable in-depth historical study of women's prayer groups has yet appeared in print. Much of the material in this section is based on our own discussions over the past 25 years with literally hundreds of women and many rabbis throughout the United States actively involved in or associated with Orthodox women's tefilla groups; see also note 235, infra. The collection, Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue, Susan Grossman and Rivka Haut, eds. (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, 1992), includes several articles and personal vignettes written by Orthodox women involved in tefilla groups which shed light on the question of motivation. See also Norma Baumel Joseph, "Reflections on Observing Rosh Chodesh with my Women's Tefilla Group," in "Celebrating the New Moon: A Rosh Chodesh Anthology," Susan Berrin, ed. (Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc., 1996), pp. 111-116. In a Letter to the Editor, Jerusalem Post, July 24, 1973, Sharon L. Haselkorn discusses the motivation of the women involved in one of the first women's services held at Harvard Hillel in the Spring of 1973. The published letter is abridged, and we thank Dr. Haselkorn for sharing with us the full text of her letter, dated June 28th, 1973. In addition, the reader is referred to the letter of Joseph and Sharon Kaplan, Sh'ma 7/122, November 26, 1976, regarding the beginnings of the Lincoln Square Synagogue's Women's Tefilla Group. For a recent critique of Orthodox Feminism and Prayer Groups, see R. Nisson Wolpin and Levi Reisman, "Orthodoxy and Feminism: How Promising a Shidduch," The Jewish Observer 30:3 (Nissan 5757, April 1977), pp. 8-15.
4. This paper has consciously avoided a discussion of the various additional halakhic and legal issues raised by the attempt of several women's groups to hold prayer services at the Western Wall. These issues, while germane to prayer services at the Kotel, are not necessarily relevant to women's prayer services in general, inasmuch as they result, in large part, from the specific language of the Israeli Statute under discussion, Rule 2(a)(1a) of the Regulations for the Preservation of Jewish Holy Places (Amendment), 5750-1989 (K.T.  no. 5237, pp. 190-191). The halakhic and legal aspects of "The Women of the Wall" (Neshot haKotel) issue have been reviewed at length by Israeli Supreme Court Deputy President, Justice R. Menahem Elon, in the High Court's recently published decision; see "Hoffman et al. vs. The Custodian of the Western Wall; Alter et al. vs. The Minister of Religious Affairs et al." (1994), 48 (ii) Piskei Din 265. See also Eliav Shochetman, "Minyanei Nashim baKotel," Tehumin 15 (5755), pp. 161-184; Shmuel Shiloh, "Tefillat Nashim beTsavta beRahavat haKotel," Tehumin 17 (5757), pp. 160-164; Rivkah Luvitch, "Al Tefillat Nashim," Tehumin 17 (5757), pp. 165-167; Eliav Shochetman, "Od liShe'eilat Minyanei Nashim," Tehumin 17 (5757), pp. 168-174. The articles of Professors Shiloh and Shochetman are based on the expert opinions they filed with the Israeli Supreme Court in the above-mentioned case on behalf of the plaintiffs and respondents, respectively. For a discussion of the events from the perspective of an Orthodox feminist, see, inter alia: Bonna Devorah Haberman, "Neshot HaKotel: Women in Jerusalem Celebrate Rosh Hodesh," in "Celebrating the New Moon: A Rosh Chodesh Anthology," Susan Berrin, ed. (Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc., 1996), pp. 66-77; Bonna Devorah Haberman, "Women Beyond the Wall: From Text to Praxis," Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 13:1 (Spring 1997), pp. 5-34.
5. R. Shlomo Goren, responsum to Prof. Aron Siegman, dated 11 Kislev 5735 (November 25, 1974). The unsigned letter was typed on the official stationary of the Chief Rabbi but carries the handwritten addition at the top of the first page: ushar, lo le-pirsum (approved, not for publication). A position similar to that of R. Goren was proposed more than a decade earlier by R. Shalom Rubin-Halberstam and rejected both by R. Menashe Klein, Resp. Mishne Halakhot IV, sec. 78, in a responsum dated 29 Heshvan 5723 (November 26, 1962), and by R. Isaac Jacob Weiss, Resp. Minhat Yitshak, IX, sec. 11, no. a, in a responsum dated 2 Tevet 5723 (December 31, 1962).
6. See Encyclopedia Talmudit, II, "Isha," pp. 244-246.
7. Our use of the terminology petura ve-osa (exempted, yet performs), rather than eina me-tsuva ve-osa (not commanded, yet performs), is based on Rabbeinu Tam's own formulation; see note 10, infra. The phraseology, "eina me-tsuva ve-osa" with regard to women was presumably introduced by Rabbeinu Nissim of Gerondi (Ran); see infra, note 24. For an analysis of the nature of women's exemption from time-bound commandments and the quality of their voluntary performance of such mitsvot, see note 23 infra and references cited therein.
8. Regarding bal tosif, see Eruvin 96a and commentaries ad loc.
9. Berakhot 33a; Maimonides, Mishne Torah (henceforth M.T.), Hilkhot Berakhot 1:15.
10. For leading references, see Tosafot, Rosh haShana 33a, s.v. "ha"; Rosh, Ran to Rif, and Rashba to Rosh haShana 33a; Tosafot, Eruvin 96a-b, s.v. "dilma"; Tosafot, Kiddushin 31a, s.v. "de-lo"; Ritva, Kiddushin 31a; R. Menahem Meiri, Beit haBehira (henceforth Meiri), Hagiga 17b.
11. This is provided that the benediction is recited as an expression of heavenly praise. If the recitation is totally for naught, then a biblical violation may be violated; see R. Moses Sofer, Hiddushei Hatam Sofer, Ketubot 24. Cf. Maimonides, Teshuvot haRambam (ed. Blau), sec. 164, who explicitly states that the prohibition of berakha she-eina tserikha is biblical. See at length R. Isaac Arieli, Einayyim laMishpat, Berakhot 14a (s.v. "de-hani") and 33a, no. 50; R. Nachum L. Rabinovitch, Yad Peshuta, Hilkhot Berakhot, 1:15.
12. Sifra, Parsheta 2; Hagiga 16b.
13. R. Menahem Mendel Schwimmer, Birkhot haMitsvot keTikunan, Kunteres 13, Kelalei Birkhot haMitsvot, Kelal 4, sec. 2c, p. 440, similarly suggests "nahat ru'ah" as the possible rationale for permitting women to recite benedictions when performing mitsvot asei she-ha-zeman geramman.
14. M.T., Hilkhot Berakhot 5:7.
15. M.T., Hilkhot Tsitsit 3:9. See also Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim (henceforth O.H.), sec. 589, no. 6.
15*. R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin (personal communication, June 5, 1997) has brought to our attention that the 13th century commentator, R. Meir haMe'ili of Narvonna, Sefer haMe'orot, Berakhot 45a (first answer), also links women's exclusion from zimmun beShem with their prohibition of reciting berakhot when performing time-dependent commandments. As demonstrated in the next paragraph, there is no evidence from this, however, that the converse would be true, as R. Goren suggests.
16. Compare, for example, R. Jacob Barukh Landau Ashkenazi, HaAgur, sec. 249, vs. sec. 910. Compare O.H., sec. 199, vs. sec. 589 in R. Jacob ben Asher, Tur; and R. Mordechai Jaffe, Levush Malkhut. Compare O.H., sec. 199 vs. secs. 17 and 589 in R. Moses Isserles (henceforth, Rama), Mapa; R. Shneur Zalman of Liozna-Lyadi, Shulhan Arukh haRav; R. Jehiel Michael haLevi Epstein, Arukh haShulhan; and R. Israel Meir haKohen Kagan, Mishna Berura.
17. Rama, gloss to O.H. sec. 589, no. 6.
18. Shulhan Arukh, supra, note 15.
19. R. Ovadiah Yosef, Resp. Yabia Omer, I, O.H. secs. 28 and 39-42; II, sec. 6; V, sec. 43; VIII, sec. 8 and sec. 23, no. 30; R. Isaac Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, She'eirit Yosef, part 1, p. 495, sec. 4; R. Ovadiah Yosef in his Letter of Approbation to R. David S. Cohen's Succat David.
20. For leading references, see R. David Auerbach, Halikhot Beita, Petakh haBayyit, sec 18; R. Jehiel Abraham Zilber, Birur Halakha, Tinyana, O.H. secs. 589 and 640; R. Eliezer Judah Waldenberg, Resp. Tsits Eliezer, IX, sec. 2 and XVII, sec. 64; R. Isaac Nissim, Resp. Yein haTov, 28; R. Moses Malka, Resp. Mikve haMayyim, III, sec. 16, IV, sec. 62, and V, secs. 28-29; R. Yosef Kafah in his commentary to M.T., Hilkhot Tsitsit 3:9, no. 28; R. David S. Cohen, Succat David, sec. 2, 8, p. 105. See also the Addendum section of this paper, Part 1a. In line with the view of R. Ovadiah Yosef (supra, note 19), former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu [in his unpublished responsum, dated 19 Kislev 5750 (Dec. 17, 1989), regarding women's prayer services at the Western Wall; cited by Eliav Shochetman (supra, note 4, addendum 2 thereto)] states explicitly that Sephardic women are prohibited from reciting benedictions on commandments from which they are exempted-even in cases where women have accepted upon themselves the obligation to perform these mitsvot regularly as do men. Cf., however, R. David Hayyim Chelouche, Resp. Hemda Genuza 12, who takes strong issue with this view and in particular with R. Yosef's ruling. Moreover, Jerusalem's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shalom Messas records that many Sephardic women in fact follow the practice of reciting blessings upon the performance of time-determined mitsvot, contrary to the view of R. Ovadiah Yosef and his own view. R. Messas rules that these women should not be reprimanded. See Resp. Shemesh uMagen, II, sec. 55, no. 4 and sec. 72, no. 3.
21. This very point is mentioned by R. Goren in his retraction/clarification cited in note 57 below. R. Abraham Abele haLevi Gombiner, Magen Avraham, O.H. sec. 296, no. 11, suggests that even according to Rabbeinu Tam, women are allowed to pronounce unnecessary berakhot which contain the word "ve-tsivanu" ("and has commanded us") only where the blessing accompanies the performance of an action commandment. On the other hand, where the very prayer itself is the fulfillment of the mitsvah, Rabbeinu Tam will concur with Maimonides that women are not permitted to voluntarily undertake to pronounce the Almighty's name where they are not so obliged. According to this view, Ashkenazic women, like their Sephardic sisters, could not rely upon Rabbeinu Tam's ruling (as understood by R. Goren) to recite public prayer texts in the absence of a minyan. Here, the mitsvah is purely the prayers themselves, which therefore do not fall within the ambit of Rabbeinu Tam's heter. The majority of authorities, however, disagree with Magen Avraham's distinction. See at length Resp. Yabia Omer, II, O.H. sec. 6 and sources cited therein.
Conversely, there is room to claim that even Sephardic women may rely on Rabbeinu Tam in our case, since none of the texts involved contain the problematic phrase "ve-tsivanu." See Rosh, Kiddushin, chapter 1, sec. 49; Magen Avraham, ibid.; R. Ezekiel Landau, Tsiyyun leNefesh Hayya, Berakhot 26a; R. Judah Leib Graubart, Resp. Havalim baNe'imim, III, O.H. sec. 8; Halikhot Beita, Petah haBayyit, no. 21 and sec. 5, n. 11; R. Jacob Bezalel Zolty, Sefer haZikaron leMaran haGriv Zolty, Mishnat Ya'aveits, Hilkhot Tsitsit 3:9, p. 58; R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, cited by R. Yehoshua Yeshayahu Neuwirth, Shemirat Shabbat keHilkhata, II, sec. 61, no. 24, note 69. It is most notable that this is the view of Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef (Jerusalem), R. Ben-Zion Abba Shaul, in "Hiyyuv Nashim biTfilla," Tsefunot 1:2 (Tevet 5749), p. 52, and in Resp. Or leTsiyyon, II, sec. 4, no. 1 and sec. 5, no. 3. R. Ben-Zion Abba Shaul also notes that his predecessor, R. Ezra Atiya, concurred. Cf., however, R. Ovadiah Yosef, Resp. Yabia Omer I, O.H., sec. 28, nos. 1-8; II, O.H., sec. 6, nos. 1, 7 and 8; VIII, O.H., sec. 8 and Yalkut Yosef, She'eirit Yosef, part 1, p. 486, who argues that this distinction of Rosh was not accepted.
21*. R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin (personal communication, June 5, 1997) maintains that this particular argument is not a strong challenge to R. Goren's position, since it is unlikely that Hazal would permit more to a woman than to an equivalent male. Besides, permitting fewer than ten women to recite public prayer rituals might mislead people into thinking that fewer than ten men could also constitute a minyan (dilma ati le-ahlufei; cf. Yevamot 52a and Gittin 16b). Nonetheless, this simply begs the question; for if R. Goren were correct-that a properly constituted minyan is not required, due to the patur ve-ose me-vareikh principal, then indeed, ten individuals should not be required, whether for women or for men, as indicated in the text following note 38, infra.
22. Supra, note 10.
23. Tosafot, Eruvin 96a-b, s.v. "dilma." In other words, when a woman performs a time-bound commandment although not obligated to do so, her action is considered a proper fulfillment of the mitsvah (kiyyum ha-mitsvah). Accordingly, she may also pronounce the attendant berakhot. See at length R. Israel Zev Gustman, Kuntresei Shiurim, Kiddushin, shiur 20. For additional analysis as to the nature of women's exemption from time-bound commandments, as well as the quality of their voluntary performance of such mitsvot, see R. Elhanan Bunim Wasserman, Kovets Shiurim, I, Kiddushin 31a-32a; R. Samuel E. Volk, Sha'arei Tohar, V, sec. 27, no. 2 and VI, sec. 46, no. 2 and sec. 47; R. Ya'akov Bezalel Zolty, Mishnat Ya'aveits in Sefer haZikkaron-Maran R. Ya'akov Bezalel Zolty, R. Joseph Buxbaum, ed. (Jerusalem: Moriah, 5747), Hilkhot Tsitsit 3:9, p. 58; R. Dov Tsvi Karellenstein, Ma'aglei Tseddek, O.H., sec. 2, s.v. "ve-ye-vu'ar ba-ze," R. Samuel haLevi Wosner, Resp. Sheivet HaLevi, VIII, sec. 1.
24. Kiddushin, 31a; Bava Kama, 38a, 87a; Avoda Zara, 3a. It would appear from the talmudic sources that the phrase "eino me-tsuve ve-ose" as originally used by the first generation amora, Rabbi Hanina, implied a gentile, who lacks kedushat Yisrael (see infra, text at note 26) but nevertheless performed a mitsvah. The third generation amora, Rav Yosef, by analogy, applied it to a blind Jew as well, presumably because Rav Yehuda maintained that the blind, too, were exempted from all mitsvot; for discussion, see R. Ovadiah Yosef, Me'or Yisrael, II, Eruvin 97b, s.v. "Td'h dilma." It was not until Ran (on Rif, Kiddushin 31a) in the 14th century that the phrase was first utilized with regard to women, once again by analogy: if a gentile who performs a mitsvah receives reward, certainly a woman who performs a (time determined) mitsvah should receive reward.
25. Hiddushei haRan, Rosh haShana 33a; Ran on Rif, Rosh haShana 33a; Ran on Rif, Kiddushin 31a. Cf. Tosafot Touques, Kiddushin 31a.
26. R. Ben-Tsiyyon Meir Hai Uziel, Resp. Mishpetei Uziel, III, H.M. sec. 3; R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, cited in R. Zvi Schachter, Erets haTsvi, sec. 12, no. 12, pp. 96-97, and in R. Menachem Genack, Gan Shoshanim, sec. 4, p. 10. For similar but somewhat different formulations, see R. Elhanan Bunim Wasserman, Kovets Shiurim, Kiddushin, secs. 142-144; R. Isaac Tuvia Weiss, cited in Birkhot haMitsvah keTikunan, p. 476.
27. See also R. Moses Feinstein, Resp. Igrot Moshe, O.H. IV, sec. 49.
28. See also R. Moses Solomon Kasher, Torat haRogatchover, pp. 50-52.
29. See also Sefer haZikkaron leMaran haGriv Zolty, supra, note 21; R. Aharon Lichtenstein, "Halakha veHalakhim keOshi'ut Musar: Hirhurim Mahshavtiyyim veHinukhiyyim," Arakhim beMivhan Milhama (Jerusalem: 1985), p. 19, note 16. Cf. R. Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, Resp. Seridei Eish, III, sec. 104. One can perhaps grasp the idea more fully by considering a military unit which has received its marching orders; one or two particular soldiers are granted exemptions for medical or other personal considerations. Obviously, the exempt soldiers have received the orders, and, as part of the unit, they too are subject to the command-this despite the fact that they are released from performance. Moreover, should the soldiers decide to fully participate in the march with the rest of the unit, the same instructions which are addressed to the rest of the unit would apply equally to them.
30. All this is in contradistinction to an onen (mourning relative prior to burial), who, though normally exempted from all positive commandments, may not opt to fulfill them (Shulhan Arukh, Y.D. sec. 341, no. 1; R. Jehiel Mikhel Tuketchinsky, Gesher haHayyim, sec. 18, no. 19). The guiding principle in this case, however, is kevod ha-met (honor to the deceased). For a review of the sources, see R. Barukh Pinhas Goldberg, Penei Barukh-Bikur Holim keHilkhato, sec. 9, no. 10, note 31, p. 124.
31. The consensus of the posekim is that according to R. Tam, just as the performance of mitsvot asei she-ha-zeman geramman is optional, so too is the recitation of the appropriate benediction. Thus, women may perform such time-determined mitsvot, yet opt not to precede the performance with a berakha. See Halikhot Beita, Petakh haBayyit, sec. 19; Birkhot haMitsvah keTikunan, p. 440, n. 1; R. Dov Tsvi Karellenstein, Ma'aglei Tseddek, O.H., sec. 2, s.v. "ve-ye-vu'ar ba-ze." Interestingly, Resp. Mishne Halakhot, Mahadura Tinyana, I, O.H., sec. 484, suggests that this option remains valid today despite the widespread custom of Ashkenazi women to recite such berakhot.
32. The explanation of R. Uziel and R. Soloveitchik-that "ve-tsivanu" refers to Kelal Yisrael and not to individuals-finds earlier expression in the writings of Ritva, Kiddushin 31a, end of s.v. "keivan"; R. Pinhas haLevi Horowitz, Sefer haMikna, Kiddushin 31a, s.v. "beTosafot d.h. de-lo"; R. Ezekiel Segel Landau, Resp. Noda biYhuda, Mahadura Tinyana, O.H. sec. 112. See also R. Meir Dan Palatski, Hemdat Yisrael, I, Kunteres Torah Or, sec. 14, s.v. "Amnam"; R. Ovadiah Yosef, MeShiurei Maran haRishon leTsiyyon, Rabbeinu Ovadiah Yosef Shelita, I, Gilyon 14, Ha'azinu 5756, sec. 6, p. 54; R. Yitschak Abraham Twersky, "Iyyun beShitat Rabbeinu Tam sheNashim meVarkhot al Mitsvot Asei she-haZeman Geramman," Beit Yitshak 27 (5745) pp. 419-427. This might well be the intention of Meiri, Kiddushin 31a, s.v. "Gadol," who writes: "Nevertheless, regarding mitsvot upon which one makes a benediction, if someone who is not obligated performs them, some say that he should make a benediction since he is a co-religionist as are women." Similarly, Meiri Berakhot 48b, s.v. "Kol mi," maintains that when reciting the second paragraph of birkat ha-mazon, women may say, "For Your covenant which You sealed in our flesh"-which refers to circumcision-because women "are part of Kelal Yisrael and they say these words referring to the nation of Israel." A similar comment is made by Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 187, no. 8 at the end.
33. This point is stated explicitly by R. Benjamin Ze'ev ben Mattathias of Arta, Resp. Binyamin Ze'ev, sec. 245.
34. Supra, note 24.
35. See Part 1 of the Addendum section of this paper for a collection of examples where Rabbeinu Tam's patur ve-ose me-vareikh principle has been applied to cases not specifically involving women.
36. In a personal written communication (to Dov I. Frimer, 19 Shevat 5744 [Jan. 23, 1984]), R. David Cohen (of Cong. Gevul Ya'avetz, Brooklyn, New York) formulates this argument as follows: Rabbeinu Tam's "patur ve-ose me-vareikh" principle is predicated upon the fact that despite the absence of obligation, there is nevertheless a fulfillment of the mitsvah, as evidenced by the receipt of heavenly reward. Hence, the benediction remains relevant and appropriate. (See also the related comments of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik in Reshimot Shiurim, R. Zvi Joseph Reichman, ed. [New York, 5749], Sukka 44b, pp. 230-231, s.v. "veYesh lahkor" and s.v. "Sham, bo"d, veRabbeinu Tam"; and R. Abraham Weinfeld, Resp. Lev Avraham, I, sec. 2). However, were a woman to make a benediction normally appropriate for a given mitsvah, yet not fulfill or improperly perform that mitsvah, she would undoubtedly be guilty of reciting a berakha le-vatala (a benediction for naught, thereby unnecessarily invoking God's name). Likewise, there are certain mitsvot whose fulfillment inherently requires the presence of community in the form of a minyan. The performance of these rituals absent a minyan could in no way be construed as the fulfillment of these mitsvot; consequently, reciting a benediction under such circumstances would constitute a berakha le-vatala. One example of a mitsvah for which an all-male minyan is an absolute prerequisite is tefilla be-tsibbur (communal prayer; see note 3, supra). When this prerequisite has been met, then certain benedictions and prayers may and must be said. However, should there be no minyan, as in the case of a women's prayer service, then the communal component of these prayers is missing; tefilla be-tsibbur cannot and is not fulfilled. Reciting the texts and benedictions reserved for communal prayer under such circumstances would be a clear violation of taking God's name for naught. A similar argument is presented in a responsum by the former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Abraham Kahana Shapira (to Mr. Y. Yudson, 30 Kislev 5750 [Dec. 28, 1989]), cited in full by Eliav Shochetman (supra, note 4, addendum 1), p. 181, at 182. This argument may not be valid, however, should one hold with the minority school of the Noda biYhuda, infra, note 52. The latter raises the possibility that there may be a fulfillment of communal mitsvot which require a minyan, if ex post facto (be-di-avad) they were performed without the presence of the necessary quorum.
37. See Encyclopedia Talmudit, IX, "Hallel," sec. 10.
38. R. Jacob ben Meir Tam, Sefer haYashar, sec. 441 (ed. Schlesinger, sec. 537); Tosafot, Berakhot, ibid.; Tosafot, Arakhin 10a, s.v. "Yud het yamim"; Haggahot Maimoniyyot, Hilkhot Hanuka 3:7, note 5. Cited also in R. Simha b. Samuel of Vitry's Mahzor Vitry (ed. Horowitz), p. 193. See as well R. Simeon ben Zemah Duran, Rashbats to Berakhot 14a.
39. Interestingly, Rabbeinu Tam himself, ibid., does not utilize this approach to justify his Hallel ruling, instead using other arguments. See R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, cited in R. Hayyim Dov Altuski's Hiddushei Batra, haMasbir, Berakhot 14a, secs. 134-135. See also R. Joseph Engel, Gilyonei haShas, Berakhot 14a; R. Isaac Ze'ev haLevi Soloveitchik, Hidushei Maran Riz haLevi, Hilkhot Berakhot 11:16. See also the Addendum section of this paper, Part 1, sections c and d.
40. This is the text as found both in Tosafot Berakhot and Haggahot Maimoniyyot, supra, note 38. However, in Tosafot Rabbeinu Perets, Berakhot 14a, the text reads: "Lulav and tefilla (prayer)." Cf. Haggahot haBah, Berakhot 14a, note b.
41.. Tosafot Berakhot, Tosafot Arakhin, and Haggahot Maimoniyyot, supra, note 38. See also R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai, Birkei Yosef, Y.D., sec. 333, end of note 1; R. Eleazar Flekeles, Resp. Teshuva meAhava, II, sec. 693. See also Resp. Hemda Genuza, sec. 12, nos. 8 and 19; R. Abraham Gurevitz, Or Avraham, M.T. Hilkhot Hanukka, 3:7, sec. 28; Hidushei Batra, Berakhot 14a, sec. 75.
42.. Mishna Megilla 1:1.
43.R. Jacob b. Asher, Tur O.H. sec. 690; R. Joseph Caro, Beit Yosef, ad loc. and Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 690, no. 1.
44.Mishna Berura O.H. sec. 690, note 61 and Sha'ar haTsiyyun ad loc. On whether Megilla reading on the fourteenth in walled cities (e.g., when the fifteenth falls on the Sabbath) is considered she-lo bi-zmano, see R. Ovadiah Yosef, Yehave Da'at, I, sec. 90, no. 2 and IV, sec. 40, and Yabia Omer VI, O.H., sec. 46. Rama, O.H. sec. 692, no. 1, maintains that a minyan is always required to recite the "HaRav et riveinu" blessing that follows the Megilla reading. For further discussion, see Birur Halakha, sec. 690, no. 18 and sec. 692, no. 1; R. Jacob Hayyim Sofer, Kaf haHayyim sec. 690, no. 124; Yehave Da'at, I, sec. 88 and sec. 90, no. 2; Yalkut Yosef, V, Hilkhot Mikra Megilla, no. 39, note 70, p. 300. There are, however, many dissenting opinions who permit the recitation of HaRav et riveinu even in the absence of a minyan; see, for example, Be'er Heitev, sec. 692, no. 4; Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 690, no. 25 and sec. 692, no. 5; R. Joseph Hayyim, Ben Ish Hai, Tetsave 13; R. Aaron Felder, Mo'adei Yeshurun, I, Laws of Purim, sec. 7, no. 9; R. Avraham David Horowitz, Resp. Kinyan Torah beHalakha, III, end of sec. 103. This is also the view of R. Moshe Feinstein, as quoted by R. Dovid Katz, "A Guide to Practical Halakha-Chanuka and Purim" (New York: Traditional Press, 1979), VIII, Laws of Purim, sec. 14, no. 15, p. 134, and former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, as quoted by R. Moses Harari, Mikra'ei Kodesh-Hilkhot Purim, sec. 9, no. 7, note 30. Although Arukh haShulhan, ibid., states that the common minhag is to recite HaRav et riveinu even in the absence of a minyan, apparently the Ashkenazic minhag in Israel is not so; see Lu'ah Dinim uMinhagim, Israeli Chief Rabbinate (5757), p. 60; Lu'ah Erets Yisrael, R. Jehiel Michel Tucazinsky (5757), p. 44. R. Isaac Ratsabi, Shulhan Arukh ha-meKutsar, III, sec. 122, nos. 9 and 11, indicates that according to Yemenite usage, HaRav et riveinu can be said privately.
45.R. David Ibn Abi Zimra, Resp. Radbaz, II, sec. 665. See Addendum, Parts 1c and 1d.
46.R. Jacob Israel Algazi, Kuntres Hug haArets, sec. 3. See also Yabia Omer O.H., I, sec. 40 no. 5.
47.See Resp. Mishne Halakhot, IV, sec. 78; R. Ovadiah Yosef, Me'or Yisrael, II, Megilla 23b.
48.Megilla 4:3 (23b). See also Soferim 10:7 and the commentaries ad loc.
48*. See R. Joseph Caro, Kesef Mishne, Hilkhot Tefilla 8:5, s.v. "veKatav" (end); R. Joseph Te'omim, Rosh Yosef, Megilla 23b. See also infra, notes 138-140.
49. While all authorities agree that the institutions of devarim she-bi-kdusha are rabbinic in origin, some maintain that their recitation in the presence of a bona fide minyan is a biblical obligation. See Einayyim laMishpat, Berakhot 21b, no. 3; Aryeh A. Frimer, Or haMizrah, supra, note 3, footnote 14 and sources cited therein. See also R. Solomon Gansfried, Penei Shelomo, Eruvin 100a; Resp. Igrot Moshe, O.H. II, sec. 98.
50. R. Moses ben Nahman, Milhamot Hashem, on Rif to Megilla, chap. 1, sec. 1067, 5a [page 3a in Vilna edition of Rif], s.v. "veOd amar Rav." For a discussion of the reason in each case, see R. Israel Lipschutz, Tiferet Yisrael, Megilla 4:3, no. 24; R. Pinhas Kehati, Megilla 4:3.
51. See Encyclopedia Talmudit, VI, "Davar she-bi-kdusha," and Aryeh A. Frimer, Or haMizrah, note 3, supra, footnote 2 therein, for a discussion of those rituals included in this category and its ramifications.
52. The noted halakhist, R. Ezekiel Segel Landau, Resp. Noda biYhuda, Mahadura Kama, Even haEzer [henceforth E.H.] 56, suggests that performing a ritual requiring a minyan-in the absence of such a quorum-may, nevertheless, be valid ex post facto. The actual question raised dealt with the seven nuptial blessings included in the list in the Mishna in Megilla (supra, note 48). Although R. Landau himself questions the compelling nature of his arguments (see ibid., s.v. "veDa she-haKesef"), his lenient position is cited by various aharonim: R. Abraham Zvi Hirsch Eisenstadt, Pit'hei Teshuva, H.M. sec. 62, no. 7; R. Abraham Danzig, Hokhmat Adam, sec. 129, no, 3; R. Abraham Adadi, Resp. VaYikra Avraham, sec. 11; R. Isaac Abulafia, Resp. Penei Yitshak, sec. 98; R. Isaac Joseph Zilberberg, Resp. Atsei Zayyit, II, sec. 37; Resp. Mishne Halakhot, Mahadura Tinyana, II, H.M. sec. 343; R. Isaac Zilbershtein, Neis le-hitNoses, Part 2, sec. 48; R. Gedalia Felder, Yesodei Yeshurun, II, p. 168.
Nevertheless, the majority of posekim reject this position: R. Eleazar Segel Landau (the grandson of Noda biYhuda), Yad haMelekh, Hilkhot Ishut 10:5; R. Joseph Saul Nathanson and R. Mordechai Zev Eitinge, Magen Gibborim, O.H. sec. 143, no. 1, Shiltei haGibborim note 2; R. Jacob Shalom Sofer, Torat Hayyim, O.H. sec. 143, no. 1; R. Israel Eisenstein, Resp. Amudei Eish, sec. 3, no. 3; Arukh haShulhan, E.H. sec. 62, no. 13-"This does not seem so from any of the codifiers"; R. Matsliah Mazuz, Resp. Ish Matsliah, I, O.H. sec. 13, no. 12, s.v. "veOd" (end) and Table of Contents, no. 41; Resp. Sheivet haLevi, IV, secs. 7 and 14; Resp. Yabia Omer, II, E.H., sec. 6, par. 7 and addendum; VII, O.H., sec. 20, par. 3; R. Ovadiah Yosef, Me'or Yisrael, I, Megilla 23b. See also Otsar haPosekim, E.H., sec. 62, no. 4, no. 18, subsection 3. See as well R. Aaron Milavsky, Helkat Aharon, sec. 2, regarding the view of R. Tam cited by Or Zaru'a, Hilkhot Nesi'at Kapayyim, sec. 411, that Birkat Kohanim can be recited with fewer than a minyan. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that Noda biYhuda's leniency is based on the ruling of the Jerusalem Talmud, Megilla 4:4 (75a), that if a ritual requiring a minyan begins with the minimum quorum, it may continue even though some have left. The codes which cite this ruling (e.g., Mishna Berura, O.H. sec. 55, no. 11 and sec. 143, no. 5; Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 55, no. 6) make it clear, though, that at least six must remain for the service to continue. Hence, even according to Noda biYhuda, a majority of a minyan must be present. Furthermore, Rav Pe'alim, O.H., I, sec. 5, maintains that it is forbidden to begin if it is known in advance that fewer than a minyan will remain for the entire service. Finally, no one entertains the possibility that one could ab initio (le-kha-tehila) recite the nuptial blessings in the absence of a minyan as a patur ve-ose; see the sources cited at the beginning of this paragraph, as well as Resp. Tsafnat Panei'ah (ed. R. Menachem Mendel Kasher, New York) sec. 83; saveinu moreinu z"l, R. Moses Zev Kahn, Resp. Tiferet Moshe, Part 1, sec. 46; Resp. Mishpetei Uziel, H.M., sec. 62, R. Aryeh Leib Grosness, Resp. Lev Arye, I, sec. 35; Resp. Minhat Yitshak, II, sec. 42; and R. Yehuda Gershuni, Hokhmat Gershon, p. 165, at p. 167.
53. Berakhot 21b.
54. Supra, note 48.
55. Consequently, we find a similar discussion regarding the necessity of a minyan for the recitation of the "thirteen attributes of God." For a summary of this discussion, see Einayyim laMishpat, supra, note 49; Resp. Yehave Da'at, I, sec. 47.
56. See references cited in Aryeh A. Frimer, note 3, supra; Resp. Minhat Yitshak, supra, note 5; Resp. Rivevot Efrayyim, VII, sec. 314 and addendum p. 446; Halikhot Beita, Petah haBayyit, sec. 24. Surprisingly, in his discussion of women's tefilla groups, R. Eliezer Berkovits, Jewish Women in Time and Torah (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1990), Chapter 4, pp. 82-83, proposes that the reason for the exclusion of women from the minyan of communal prayer rituals "can only be that the rabbis would not allow men and women to pray together." Based on this analysis, he suggests that for public prayer and devarim she-bi-kdusha "one might give serious consideration to the halakhic possibility of a female minyan." R. Berkovits errs, however, both in his analysis and his conclusion, for as the scores of rishonim and aharonim cited above in Aryeh A. Frimer, note 3, supra, make clear, unambiguous rules and rationale exist for the exclusion of women from the minyan of public prayer-and they are quite different from that deduced by R. Berkovits. Indeed, the codes and codifiers are unequivocal: public prayer rituals require a minyan of males. See Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 55, no. 1 and decisors ad loc.: Levush, no. 4; Shulhan Arukh haRav, no. 2; Mishna Berura, no. 3; and Arukh haShulhan, no. 6.
57. R. Shlomo Goren, responsum to R. Mordechai Eliyahu, 1 Tevet 5750 (Dec. 29, 1989). R. Goren's contention therein that he never intended for his 1974 responsum to be used halakha le-ma'ase is somewhat surprising for two reasons. First, Prof. Aron Siegman, who asked the original "shaila," has indicated (interviewed by Aryeh A. Frimer, January 1991) that to the best of his recollection, R. Goren was indeed aware that a "women's minyan" was functioning in the Baltimore area and that the question was being posed on their behalf. Furthermore, R. Avraham Weiss, Women at Prayer (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1990), p. 111, footnote 38, indicates that in a conversation he had with R. Goren in Spring 1989, the latter had reaffirmed his support for the 1974 responsum. Nevertheless, in light of our analysis above, his subsequent December 1989 retraction is well founded.
58. As a general rule, the member groups of the "Women's Tefilla Network" (WTN), which number to date approximately 60, do not rely on R. Goren's original ruling and do not say devarim she-bi-kdusha; see the comments of Bat Sheva Marcus, Chair of WTN, in "Walk Humbly with Your God," Sh'ma, 27/531 (April 4, 1997), pp. 5-7. Nevertheless, in a letter dated January 1996 to the members of the Flatbush women's tefilla group, Rivka Haut indicates that based on R. Goren's 1974 responsum, women may recite mourner's kaddish at the conclusion of the women's tefilla. See also Rivka Haut, "Women's Prayer Groups and the Orthodox Synagogue," in Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue, supra, note 3*, pp. 135-157, at p. 141, in which the view of R. Berkovits, supra, note 56, is also cited. In a recent communication to Aryeh A. Frimer, dated July 25, 1997, Ms. Haut confirms that this remains the policy of the Flatbush Tefilla group. In light of our discussion above, such a development is halakhically improper, unfounded and indefensible.
59. The responsum, dated 12 Kislev 5745 (November 25, 1985), was subsequently published in the halakhic journal of the R.C.A. See R. Nissan Alpert, R. Abba Bronspigel, R. Mordechai Willig, R. Yehuda Parnes and R. Zvi Schachter, "Teshuva beInyan Nashim beHakafot veKhu," HaDarom 54 (Sivan 5745), pp. 49-50. It should be emphasized that the R.C.A. at no time adopted the position of this responsum as the official halakhic policy of the organization. The minutes of the Executive Committee meeting of February 27, 1986, record the following: "The President stated categorically that he did not ask this question of the Rashei Yeshiva in the name of the R.C.A. He asked the question as an individual . . . The Executive declared that the opinion of the five Rashei Yeshiva was not the official position of the R.C.A. regarding this matter, that the R.C.A. has, to date, not taken any official position regarding the halakhic admissibility of women's tefillot (sic!)." For further clarification of the position of the R.C.A., vide infra, note 248.
60. R. Abba Bronspigel, "Minyanim meYuhadim leNashim," HaDarom, ibid., pp. 51-53. The responsum is dated "the eve of Hanukka 5745," i.e. 24 Kislev 5745-December 7, 1985.
61. R. Zvi (Hershel) Schachter, "Tse'i Lakh beIkvei haTson," ("Go Thy Way Forth by the Footsteps of the Flock" [Song of Songs 1:8]), Beit Yitshak 17 (5745), pp. 118-134, reprinted in R. Zvi Schachter, BeIkvei haTson (Jerusalem: Beit haMidrash deFlatbush, 5757), pp. 21-37. All citations in this article to R. Schachter's responsum are to its original publication in Beit Yitshak. For an English summary of R. Schachter's lengthy Hebrew responsum (as well as a review of some of the other halakhic literature on women's prayer groups), see R. Jonathan Sacks, L'Eyla 22 (Rosh haShana 5747, September 1986), p. 54.
62. R. Zvi Schachter, "BeInyanei Beit haKenesset uKdushato," Or haMizrah, 34:1, 2 (Tishrei 5746), 54, at pp. 64-67; reprinted in Erets haTsvi, sec. 12-see especially pp. 96-99.
63. R. Moshe Meiselman, Jewish Woman in Jewish Law (New York: Ktav Publishing House and Yeshiva University Press, 1978), pp. 144-146; see also ibid., p. 197, footnote 64. R. J. David Bleich, Sh'ma, 15/299 (Oct. 18, 1985), p. 146; reprinted in a slightly modified form in Contemporary Halakhic Problems, III (New York: Ktav Publishing House and Yeshiva University Press, 1989), pp. 115-121. To a great extent, R. Bleich has reworked R. Schachter's arguments (supra, note 61).
64. R. Menashe Klein, lengthy and yet unpublished responsum to Dov I. Frimer, 9 Shevat 5746 (January 19, 1986), on the subject of women's tefilla groups; a short selection from this teshuva appears in the article of E. Shochetman, supra, note 4, p. 173. The major arguments are that: women's services are a sharp departure from normative Jewish custom and practice over millennia; they contravene "kol kevuda bat melekh penima" and the rules of modesty; such innovations are clearly based on the Women's Lib movement and the motivation of those who initiated them is impure; the shekhina resides in the home of a righteous woman and it is from there that her prayers will be heard. On the subject of women's Megilla readings, see R. Menashe Klein, Resp. Mishne Halakhot, Mahadura Tinyana, I, O.H. sec. 550.
65. R. David Cohen, personal written communication to Aryeh A. Frimer, Feb. 3, 1990; on the grounds "that they are clearly based on the Women's Lib movement, which is [a violation of] be-hukoteihem lo telechu (see Tosafot, Avoda Zara 11a)."
66. R. David Feinstein, interviewed by Aryeh A. Frimer, March 26, 1991; on the grounds that it is a sharp departure from normative Jewish custom.
67. R. Shalom Messas, Resp. Shemesh uMagen, II, sec. 28. The major arguments are: first, that women's services are private worship, and, hence, inappropriate for the synagogue, which is dedicated to bona fide tefilla be-tsibbur; second, one loses the opportunity to fulfill tefilla be-tsibbur by praying in a women's service. The first objection is surprising in light of the ruling of Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 90, no. 9, that private prayer is preferable in a synagogue; the second objection will be discussed below.
68. R. Leib Baron, "BeInyan Im haNashim Rasha'ot le-hitPallel beTsibbur ve-liKrot baTorah u-biFrat Eitsel haKotel haMa'aravi," HaDarom 60 (Elul 5751), pp. 27-29. His major objections are that the motivation of those involved in women's services is impure ("ein levavan im haKadosh Barukh Hu"), that this practice is influenced by the Reform, and finally, that such an innovation might violate "bal tosif." Regarding the first two points, see the discussion below. Regarding bal tosif, see notes 91, 95, 227 and Addendum section of this paper, Part 5 infra.
69. In a one-page resolution dated 7 Shevat 5757 (January 14th 1997), the Va'ad HaRabonim of Queens charged that women's prayer groups, hakafot and Megilla readings were "poreits geder be-masoret Yisrael (breaching the boundaries of Jewish tradition)" and therefore prohibited. See also a subsequent article by R. Yitzchak A. Sladowsky, Executive Vice President of the Queens Va'ad, Sh'ma, 27/531 (April 4, 1997), pp. 3-4.
70. R. Juda haLevi Amihai, unpublished responsum to Beit Kenesset Mitspe Nevo, Ma'ale Adumim, dated 6 Kislev 5758 (on the stationery of Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau); see below, note 71.
71. R. Efrayyim Greenblatt, Resp. Rivevot Efrayyim, VII, sec. 235. Both R. Amihai (supra, note 70) and R. Greenblatt rule against women dancing with a sefer Torah based on a custom that menstruants (niddot) do not look at a sefer Torah (see Resp. Binyamin Ze'ev no. 153; Mishna Berura, O.H. sec. 88, no. 7), a fortiori to carry it. A discussion of this latter issue will be deferred to Part II of this paper. Suffice it to say that four internationally renowned posekim have indicated that menstruating women no longer have the custom of refraining from looking at the Torah scroll. See R. Moses Feinstein, responsum to R. Meir Fund, dated Sivan 14, 5743 (May 26, 1983), text appearing before note 218 infra; R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, infra, text near note 251 and note 258; former British Chief Rabbi, Lord Immanuel Jakobovits, in consultation with the London Beit Din, L'Eyla 28 (Rosh haShana 5750, September 1989), p. 21ff, reprinted in Dear Chief Rabbi, Jeffrey M. Cohen, ed. (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1996), p. 90; and the noted Israeli posek, R. Joseph Shalom Elyashiv, conversation with R. Shlomo H. Pick, 22 Iyyar 5752 [May 25, 1992]. In any case, it is not clear why this concern should prevent the vast majority of non-menstruants from dancing with the Torah, particularly since R. Amihai himself admits that this is a stringency not required by halakha.
72. Supra, note 20, on the grounds that it is a sharp departure from normative Jewish custom.
73. R. Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, "Tefillat Nashim beFarhesya," Tehumin 18 (5758, in press), on the grounds that it is an imitation of the ways of heretics (i.e., the Reform movement) and consequently violates U-be-hukoteihem lo telekhu. Our thanks to Dr. Itamar Warhaftig for providing us with an advance copy of R. Goldberg's article.
74. We note that both former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Abraham Shapiro, supra, end of note 36, and Shlomo Goren, supra, note 57, have also come out in opposition to women's services-but only those in which devarim she-bi-kedusha are recited. This was stated explicitly by R. Shapiro to R. Avraham Weiss; see R. Avraham Weiss, Women at Prayer, note 57 supra, p. 111. In their respective responsa, Rabbis Goren and Shapiro also opposed the actions of the "Women of the Wall," but here, too, special halakhic and legal considerations are at play, not relevant to regular prayer services.
75. Supra, note 59, at p. 49. See also R. Bronspigel, supra, note 60, at p. 51; R. Schachter, supra, note 61, at pp. 118-119.
76. Magen Avraham, O.H. sec. 282, no. 6; See also R. Masud Hai Rokei'ah, Ma'ase Rokei'ah, Hilkhot Tefilla 12:17; Mishna Berura, sec. 282, no. 12; Birkei Yosef, sec. 282, no. 7; R. Jacob Meshullam Ornstein, Yeshu'ot Ya'akov, sec. 282, no. 4; R. Zvi Hirsh Grodzinsky, Mikra'ei Kodesh, sec. 4, no. 1, Sha'arei Kedusha note 1; R. Hillel Posek, Resp. Hillel Omer, sec. 187.
77. R. Schachter, supra, note 61, at p. 118.
78. Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 690, no. 18 and Rama, ad loc.
79. Supra, note 44.
80. Supra, note 78.
81. Supra, note 61 at 118-119.
82. See R. Israel Isserlein, Resp. Terumat haDeshen, sec. 109; Magen Avraham, O.H. sec 685. Note also Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 146, no. 12.
83. R. David haLevi, Turei Zahav, O.H. sec 685, no. 2 (end), as understood by R. Joseph Te'omim, Peri Megadim, Mishbetsot Zahav ad. loc., and by R. Zvi Pesah Frank, Mikra'ei Kodesh, Purim, sec. 2. See also R. Hayyim David Halevy, Asei Lekha Rav, VII, sec. 41 and a more recent elaboration in Resp. Mayyim Hayyim, II, sec. 42.
84. R. Schachter, supra, note 61, at p. 119.
85. R. Jacob Reisha, Resp. Shevut Ya'akov, O.H. III, sec. 54; R. Abraham Hayyim Rodriguez, Resp. Orah laTsadik, sec. 3; Resp. Teshuva meAhava, II, sec. 229; Alim liTrufa (letter by the Gaon of Vilna which advises the women of his family not to attend the synagogue); R. Menahem Mendel Schneersohn of Lubavitch, Resp. Tsemah Tsedek, O.H., sec. 19, no. 2; R. Shneur Zalman of Lublin, Resp. Torat Hesed, O.H., sec. 4, no. 6; R. Isaac Herzog, Resp. Heikhal Yitshak, O.H., sec. 12, no. 5, par. 9-reprinted in Pesakim uKhtavim I, She'eilot uTshuvot beDinei Orah Hayyim, sec 24; Resp. Tiferet Moshe, part 1, sec. 29; Resp. Tsits Eliezer, IX, sec. 11; R. Isaac Liebes, Resp. Beit Avi, IV, sec. 3; Resp. Sha'arei Moshe II, sec. 3; R. Bezalel Stern, Resp. beTsel haHokhma, IV, sec. 19; R. Moses Sternbuch, Mo'adim uZmanim, I, sec. 9; R. Reuben Margaliot, Margaliyyot haYam, Sanhedrin 74b, sec. 27; R. Isaac Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, She'eirit Yosef, part 2, page 348, note 16; R. Yisrael Pesah Feinhandler, Avnei Yashfe-Hilkhot Tefilla, sec. 16, no. 6 and notes 12-13. See also R. Jacob Isaiah Bloy, Tsedaka uMishpat, sec. 12, no. 63 and R. Isaac J. Fuchs, haTefilla beTsibbur, addendum to sec. 3, no. 80. Interestingly, R. Ahron Soloveichik, in conversation with Dov I. Frimer, July 8, 1997, maintains that men and women share the same obligation (or lack thereof) in both tefilla be-tsibbur and keriat haTorah. However, even were women personally obligated, R. Ahron Soloveichik posits that they are, nonetheless, specifically excluded by Hazal from counting towards a minyan or serving as a hazzan or ba'alat keri'a because of kevod ha-tsibbur. Further discussion of this position is beyond the scope of this paper.
86. Torat Hesed, supra, note 85, and R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, cited in Avnei Yashfe, supra, note 85 and footnote 13 therein. Most other posekim seem to disagree, however; see, for example, R. Elijah Rogeler, Yad Eliyahu, part 1, sec. 7; R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Reshimot Shiurim, Sukka 38a, p. 183, s.v. "veNire"; R. Samuel haLevi Wozner, as cited in Avnei Yashfe, supra, note 85, footnote 12 therein; R. Joseph Shalom Elyashiv, cited in Avnei Yashfe, supra, note 85, footnote 12 therein, and in Adar uFurim, sec. 8, no. 5, par. 2:4 (see Aryeh A. Frimer, Tradition, note 3, supra, footnote 92, for clarification); Halikhot Beita, Petah haBayyit, sec. 24; R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, Resp. Benei Vanim, II, sec. 7. See also Meiri, Rosh haShana 28a, who states: "Our women, who pray in synagogue in a section unto themselves, do not fulfill tefilla be-tsibbur, since it requires ten." However, based upon the analysis of Resp. Benei Vanim, ibid., one may contend that Meiri is referring to a case where the mehitsa reaches the ceiling. See also the references cited in Aryeh A. Frimer, ibid., section G.
87. Tosafot, Rosh haShana 33a, s.v. "Ha"; Rosh, Kiddushin 31a; Meiri and Ran on Rif, Megilla 23a, s.v. "haKol Olim"; Sefer Avudraham, Sha'ar haShelishi, s.v. "Katav haRambam zal"; Sefer haBatim, Beit Tefilla, Sha'arei Keriat haTorah 2:6; Beit Yosef, O.H. sec. 28, s.v. "haKol" and Derisha ad loc.; Alim LiTrufa, supra, note 85; Resp. Orah laTsadik 3; R. Shalom Mordechai haKohen Shvadron, Resp. Maharsham, I, sec. 158; Resp. Mate Yehuda, sec. 282, no. 7; R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai, Kisei Rahamim (complete edition, Jerusalem: 1959), Masekhet Soferim 14:14 Tosafot s.v. "sheMitsvah" and 18:4, Tosafot s.v. "she-haNashim"; Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 282, no. 11; Resp. Yabia Omer, O.H. VIII, sec. 54, no. 7; Resp. Yehave Da'at, IV, sec. 23, note 1; Yalkut Yosef, II, Hiyyuv Keriat haTorah veTiltul haSefer Torah, sec. 9 and footnotes 6 and 11; R. Isaac Yosef, Kitsur Shulhan Arukh Yalkut Yosef, O.H. sec. 135, no. 9; R. Moses Stern (the Debriciner Rov), Resp. Be'er Moshe, VIII, sec. 85; R. Efrayyim Greenblatt, Resp. Rivevot Ephrayyim, VI, sec. 153, no. 21; R. Yisroel Taplin, Orah Yisrael, sec. 2, no. 8. See also R. Moses Mordechai Karp, note 89, infra, and Birkhot haMitsvot keTikunan, p. 184, n. 8. Regarding the view of R. Ahron Soloveichik, see note 85, supra.
88. Supra, note 76.
89. R. Bezalel Stern, supra, note 85. R. Moses Mordechai Karp, Hilkhot Hag beHag: Purim (Jerusalem: Oraysa, 5791) addendum to 7:3 note 7, p. 213, suggests that Magen Avraham also agrees that women are not inherently obligated in keriat haTorah. However, once keriat haTorah begins, an obligation devolves upon them along with the men, since they are part of the tsibbur (community) present in shul. This would then be analogous to the laws of zimmun, which is optional for women, but in the presence of three men becomes obligatory for the women as well (Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 199, no. 7). According to R. Karp's novel approach, the "exodus" of the women, mentioned by Magen Avraham, occurred before the reading of the Torah commenced. A similar interpretation is suggested by R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin in "Mahu Kevod haTsibbur," HaDarom 55 (Elul 5746), p. 33 (see p. 39) and Resp. Benei Vanim II, no. 10 (see p. 42).
90. R. Elijah of Vilna, Alim liTrufa. Jerusalem's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shalom Messas, supra, note 20, records that most Moroccan Jewish women never attended synagogue even on Yom Kippur. As a result, few synagogues even had women's sections. Those women who did come to the synagogue rarely participated in the prayer service. R. Messas attributes this primarily to the women's illiteracy and lack of education.
91. Deut. 13:1 (see also Deut. 4:2). This verse contains two prohibitions, commonly referred to as "bal tosif" and "bal tigra," which are in most respects halakhic mirror images of each other. See Encyclopedia Talmudit III, "Bal Tigra"; ibid., "Bal Tosif."
92. See text at note 6, supra.
93. See text at note 24, supra.
94. Sifrei, Re'ei, Chap. 13, sec. 82 (ed. Finkelstein, 148); R. David Samuel haLevi, Taz, O.H. sec. 651, no. 17; Mishna Berura, Be'ur Halakha, O.H. sec. 651, s.v. "Aval"; R. Judah Leib Graubart, Resp. Havalim baNe'imim II, sec. 7, no. 3. Cf. R. Aryeh Leib Gunzberg, Turei Even, Avnei Millu'im, Rosh haShana 28b.
95. The following authorities maintain that women cannot be culpable for bal tosif (and, hence, bal tigra-see note 91, supra) in mitsvot from which they are exempted: R. Isaiah di Trani (The Younger), Piskei Ri'az, Rosh haShana 4:2, no. 3; R. Joshua Boaz Baruch, Shiltei haGibborim, Rosh haShana 33a, no. 3; R. David Fraenkel, Korban haEida to Yerushalmi Eruvin 10:1 (26a), s.v. "Ma'an de-amar"; R. Ezekiel Kahila (reputed to be a pseudonym for R. Joseph Hayyim alHakam of Baghdad), Resp. Torah liShma, secs. 173 and 425; R. Joseph Babad, Minhat Hinukh, Commandment 454 (end); R. Solomon Avigdor Rabinowitz, Binyan Shelomo, sec. 14, no. 5; Hemdat Yisrael, part 2, Kunteres Derekh haHayyim, sec. 5, no. 1; R. Jacob Segal Prager, She'eilat Ya'akov, sec. 18; R. Gedalia Felder, Yesodei Yeshurun I, sec. 93; R. Isaac Jacob Fuchs, Halikhot Bat Yisrael, Chapter 20, sec. 1, note 1. Several scholars maintain that bal tosif (and bal tigra) applies only to a mitsvah which is obligatory (hiyyuvit), but not to one which is optional (kiyyumit or reshut). See R. Prager, ibid.; R. Simcha Elberg, "Im Mutar leKayyeim Mitsvat Se'udot Shabbat beMatsa beShabbat shel Erev Pesah," HaPardes 32:5 (Shevat 5718), p. 20; see also comments to the article by R. B. Z. Rosenthal, infra; and R. Uri Langer, "Im Shayyah Bal Tosif biSfirat haOmer," HaMa'or 17:5 (Iyyar 5726), p. 3. This is, of course, the essence of a mitsvat asei she-ha-zeman gerama: obligatory for men, optional for women.
Others maintain that women can be culpable for bal tosif even in mitsvot from which they are exempted; see R. Isaac Tayeb, Erekh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 17, no. 2; R. Joseph Saul Nathanson and R. Mordechai Zev Eitinge, Magen Gibborim, O.H. sec. 17, no. 2, Elef haMagen, note 4; R. Hayyim Judah Leib Litvin Sosnitser, Sha'arei Dei'a, 12; Kaf haHayyim, O.H. sec. 17, no. 2, no. 8; R. Yisroel Taplin, Orah Yisrael, sec. 26, nos. 14 and 15; R. Leib Baron, supra, note 68. R. Ben Zion Rosenthal maintains that bal tosif also applies to mitsvot which are optional (kiyyumiyyot); see R. Ben Zion Rosenthal, "Bal Tosif beMitsvah sheEina Hiyyuvit," HaPardes 33:2 (Heshvan 5719), p. 17; R. Ben Zion Rosenthal, "Bal Tosif beVirkhat Kohanim," HaPardes 33:11 (Av 5719), p. 16-reprinted in R. Ben Zion Rosenthal, Tenuvat Tsiyyon, secs. 42 and 43. Cf. Birkei Yosef, O.H. sec. 17, no. 2, who leaves the issue of bal tosif by women unresolved.
Finally, there is also some discussion as to whether there is a prohibition of bal tosif on one who adds to a rabbinic enactment. The consensus is that there is not; see Resp. Ketav Sofer, sec. 120; Sefer haMikna, kelal 51; Resp. Mishne Halakhot, Mahadura Tinyana II, H.M. sec. 478.
96. Those halakhic authorities who disagree with this ruling argue that a woman who voluntarily prays impliedly accepts all the requirements imposed upon one who is obligated to pray, i.e., a man; see note 97, infra. (For a discussion of the related view of Behag, see Resp. Benei Vanim, II, sec. 19, p. 72.) This contention has no logical parallel to women's prayer groups. The latter clearly have no intention to constitute a minyan and could not halakhically constitute a minyan for public prayer even if they so intended. The voluntary assumption of obligation is not the same as legally imposed obligation; see Gidon Rothstein, "The Roth Responsum on the Ordination of Women," Tradition 24:1 (Fall 1988), pp. 104-115; Sha'arei Tohar, I, supra, note 23. Minyan requires legally imposed obligation; see Aryeh A. Frimer, supra, note 3. An analogous argument can be found in R. Isaiah di Trani (The Elder), Piskei Rid, Rosh haShana 33a and again in Sefer haMakhria, sec. 78.
97. For a summary of the halakhic literature on the subject of me-ein ha-me'ora for women, see Resp. Yabia Omer, VI, O.H. sec 18; R. David Auerbach, Halikhot Beita, sec. 6, no. 9; Halikhot Bat Yisrael, sec. 2, no. 19. In addition, see R. Israel Abraham Alter Landau, Resp. Beit Yisrael, I, O.H. sec. 10; R. Shraga Feivish Schneebalg, Resp Shraga haMeir, V, sec. 114; R. Pesah Elijah Falk, Resp. Mahaze Eliyahu, sec. 24; Resp. Rivevot Ephrayyim, III, sec. 67 and IV, secs. 44, 79 and 81; R. Abraham David Horowitz, Resp. Kinyan Torah beHalakha, VII, O.H. sec. 10; R. Benjamin Joshua Zilber, Resp. Az Nidberu, XI, sec. 48 (67); R. Zalman Druk, Sha'arei Tefilla, sec. 20; R. Baruch Finkelstein, Davar beIto, sec. 1, no. 19; R. Joel Schwartz, Avodat haLev, Laws of Prayer for Women, sec. 1, no. 3; R. Ovadiah Yosef, MiShiurei Maran haRishon leTsiyyon Rabbeinu Ovadiah Yosef Shelita, I, Gilyon 16, Bereshit 5756, sec. 10, p. 63; R. Isaac Yosef, Otsar haDinim laIsha ve-laBat, sec. 3, no. 12 and par. 13; R. Isaac Yosef, Kitsur Shulhan Arukh Yalkut Yosef, O.H. sec. 106, no. 5; R. Jekuthiel Judah Halberstam, Resp. Divrei Yatsiv, O.H. I, sec. 62.
98. See infra, note 102.
99. Among contemporary sources, see R. Ovadiah Hadaya, Resp. Yaskil Avdi, VII, Kunteres Aharon, O.H. sec. 2; R. Moses Feinstein, Resp. Igrot Moshe, O.H. III, sec. 7. While some of the halakhic consequences of kavvana are muted in our day (see, e.g., O.H. sec. 98, no. 2 and sec. 101, no. 1), we are required to do all we can to maintain an optimal level (see Mishna Berura, sec. 98, no. 7). In any case, R. Moses Sternbuch, Mo'adim uZmanim, I, sec. 9, and Resp. Teshuvot veHanhagot, I, sec. 74 and III, sec. 36, maintains that kavvana plays an even more critical role in women's prayers than it does in those of men.
100. Resp. Radbaz, III, sec. 472 (910); R. Joshua Falk, Perisha, O.H. sec. 101, end of no. 7-cited approvingly by Peri Megadim, Mishbetsot Zahav, O.H. sec. 101, end of no. 1 and Mishna Berura, O.H. sec. 101, Bi'ur Halakha, s.v. "deAti"; Shulhan Arukh haRav, O.H. sec. 101, sec. 3; R. David Ortinberg, Tehilla leDavid, O.H. sec. 101, sec. 2; R. Shalom Mordechai haKohen Shvadron, Da'at Torah, O.H. sec. 90, no. 9; R. Jacob Saul Kassin, Ketsinei Erets, sec 6; R. Ben-Zion Aba Shaul, Resp. Or leTsiyyon, II, sec. 7, no. 20.
101. Meiri, Berakhot 27a (ed. R. S. Dickman, p. 99); R. Hayyim Mordechai Margaliot, Sha'arei Teshuva, O.H. sec. 52, sec. 1; R. Joseph Mashash, Otsar haMikhtavim, I, sec. 316, no. 5; R. Moses Sternbuch, Resp. Teshuvot veHanhagot, II, sec. 62.
102. Resp. Igrot Moshe, supra, note 99; see also II, sec. 27. There are, however, posekim who argue that tefilla be-tsibbur has priority over kavvana, not because public prayer is obligatory, but rather because it is a more preferable form of hiddur mitsvah. See, for example, R. Bahyei ben Asher Ibn Halawe, Pirkei Avot II:5, s.v. "Hillel omer al tifrosh min ha-tsibbur" (we thank R. Aharon Lichtenstein for bringing this reference to our attention); R. David Zvi Zehman, Resp. Kav Zahav, I, sec. 1; Resp. Yaskil Avdi, supra, note 99. See also infra, note 244, regarding the view of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik in this regard.
Whether, in fact, tefilla be-tsibbur is obligatory for men or merely a hiddur mitsvah is a subject of some debate. See the sources cited by R. Isaac Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, She'eirit Yosef, Part II, sec. 70, p. 330ff and R. Isaac Jacob Fuchs, Tefilla beTsibbur (Jerusalem: n.p., 1978), Introduction, sec. 4 (some of the sources cited are clearly not conclusive and are open to other interpretations). As indicated, R. Feinstein, supra, note 99, maintains that communal prayer for men is a rabbinic obligation. This view also appears in Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 90, nos. 20-21; Resp. Tiferet Moshe, supra, note 85; Avnei Yashfe-Hilkhot Tefilla, sec. 6, no. 11, note 16; and Resp. Mishne Halakhot, Mahadura Tinyana, I, O.H. sec. 66 and 67. See as well the comments of Rabbis Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, Joseph Shalom Elyashiv and David Kornglass as reported by R. Aryeh Zev Ginzberg in Resp. Divrei Hakhamim, O.H. sec. 6, no. 96. Many other leading authorities, however, differ, maintaining that tefilla be-tsibbur is merely a hiddur mitsvah. See references cited supra in previous paragraph of this note; R. Israel Moses Hazzan, Kerakh Shel Romi, sec. 6 and 7; commentary of R. Shalom Moses Hai Gagin, Yeri'ot haOhel to R. Samuel Yarondi's Ohel Moed, Sha'ar Keriat Shema, Derekh Shelishi, Netiv Dalet, no. 4, s.v. "VaAni haPa'ut" and Sha'ar Tefilla, Derekh Revi'i, Netiv Alef, no. 23 at end; R. Joseph Elijah Henkin, Lev Ivra, pp. 158-159; R. Aryeh Pomeronchik, Eimek Berakha, Birkhot Keriat Shema, no. 1, pp. 7-8; R. Menahem Mendel Kasher, Torah Sheleima, XV, Yitro, addenda, sec. 5, reprinted in Resp. Divrei Menahem, I, sec. 29; R. Benjamin Joshua Zilber, Resp. Az Nidberu, XIV, secs. 37-38; R. Moses Malka, Resp. Mikve haMayyim, V, E.H. sec. 3, no. 4; R. Fuchs, ibid. pp. 33-34. R. Ahron Soloveichik, in a conversation with Dov I. Frimer, July 8, 1997, indicated that this was also the view of his grandfather, R. Hayyim Soloveitchik of Brisk. R. Aharon Lichtenstein stated to the authors that this position of R. Hayyim Soloveitchik was often cited approvingly by R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik as well. (Interestingly, R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik also records that his father, R. Moses Soloveichik, maintained that tefilla be-tsibbur is not merely a better mode of private prayer, but an inherently different prayer form; see Reshimot Shiurim, Sukka 38a, p. 184, s.v. "Dimyon." This does not, of course, preclude the possibility, that tefilla be-tsibbur is optional). R. Joseph Elijah Henkin, Lev Ivra, ibid., emphasizes, though, that even according to this school, tefilla be-tsibbur is a communal obligation, i.e., the men of the community are obligated to ensure that a minyan is available for public prayer; only when such has been secured does actually praying within a minyan become a hiddur mitsvah. A similar analysis has been proffered by R. Joseph Rosen ("The Rogatchover"), Tsafnat Panei'ah, M.T., Hilkhot Tefilla, 12:5, with regard to keriat haTorah. See also R. Abraham Aaron Price, Mishnat Avraham, I, to Sefer Hasidim, sec. 410, pp. 410-411.
Even according to those authorities cited above who maintain that public prayer for men is merely a hiddur mitsvah, there is room to distinguish between the Sabbath and Holidays, where communal prayer is obligatory, and weekdays, where it is not. See Nahmanides, Lev. 23:2; Peri Megadim, Mishbetsot Zahav, O.H. sec. 490. no. 2 (end); R. Simeon Greenfeld, Resp. Maharshag, II, sec. 82. Cf., though, R. Jacob haLevi Moellin, Minhagei Maharil, Hilkhot Eruvei Hatseirot.
103. One can, therefore, take issue with R. Bleich's position (supra, note 63) that "the fulfillment of a mitsvah [e.g., prayer] in an optimal manner [i.e., via tefilla be-tsibbur], albeit without extraordinary kavvana, is to be favored over less optimal fulfillment accompanied by fervent religious experience." While such a statement may be true with regard to men, it may not necessarily be so for women.
104. Magen Avraham, in his gloss to the statement of Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 689, no. 1, that "women, too, are obligated to hear the Megilla," writes, "'Women'-Therefore one must read the Megilla at home for the unmarried women." To this, Be'er Heitev and Mishna Berura add: "In some places, the unmarried women go to the women's section of the synagogue to hear the Megilla." R. Menashe Klein, supra, note 64, understands from the above citations that it was not the obligation nor the wont of the unmarried women, and certainly of the married women, to hear a public reading of the Megilla. (See, however, Halikhot Beita, Petah haBayyit, no. 25, who suggest an alternate understanding of Magen Avraham). R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, Tsibbur Nashim biKri'at haMegilla, Keshot, 4 (Adar II/Nisan 5755), sec 14, pp. 8-10, reprinted in Resp. Benei Vanim, III, sec. 7, suggests that this is the meaning of the cryptic suggestion of Behag, Halakhot Gedolot, Hilkhot Megilla, s.v. "haKol hayyavin"; cited in Rama, O.H. sec. 689, no. 2, that women are obligated in hearing the Megilla [in private] and not in reading it [in public]. R. Mordechai Jacob Breisch, Resp. Helkat Yaakov, III, sec. 144, argues that women are obligated in neither be-rov am hadrat melekh ("In the multitude of people is the King's glory," Proverbs 14:28; vide infra, sec. B.6 for a discussion of this term) nor in pirsumei nisa (publicizing the miracle). A similar position is maintained by R. Moses Sternbuch, Mo'adim uZmanim, II, sec. 173, and R. David Auerbach, Halikhot Beita, Petah haBayyit, sec. 25.
105. R. Israel David Harfeness, Resp. VaYvarekh David, I, O.H. sec. 82, and R. Gavriel Zinner, Nitei Gavriel-Dinei uMinhagei Purim, sec. 13, no. 3, note 6, dissent, however, maintaining that women are obligated in be-rov am. At first blush, this would also seem to be the view of Hayyei Adam, kelal 155, no. 7, who writes, ". . . Even if one can gather a minyan in his home, it is still highly preferable (mitsvah min ha-mu-vhar) to go to the synagogue-he, his wife and his children-to hear the Megilla." Similar language is found in Bah, O.H., end of sec. 687 and Ateret Zekenim. Nevertheless, one could well argue that Hayyei Adam, Bah and Ateret Zekenim maintain that children and certainly women contribute by their presence to the be-rov am hadrat melekh of others, though they themselves are not obligated therein. See R. Joshua M.M. Ehrenberg, Resp. Devar Yehoshua, I, sec. 96. Alternatively, these posekim may consider the presence of women and minors preferable because of pirsumei nisa (even in the absence of be-rov am). This is in fact the implication of Or Zaru'a, Hilkhot Megilla sec. 368, who states that one should be accompanied to the reading of the Megilla by his wife and children because of pirsumei nisa.
106. R. Mas'ud Raphael Alfasi, Resp. Mash'ha deRabvata, addenda at end of II, sec. 689; R. Joseph Hayyim, Resp. Rav Pe'alim, O.H. II, sec. 62; R. Moses Hayyim Lits Rosenbaum, Sha'arei Emet, Hilkhot Megilla, sec. 4, Hemdat Arye, sec. 4, no. 5; Hug haArets, sec. 3; R. Joseph Hayyim Sonnenfeld, Resp. Salmat Hayyim, I, sec. 101; R. Tsvi Pesah Frank, Mikra'ei Kodesh, Purim, sec. 35 and 50, note 3; R. Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz, Hazon Ish, O.H. sec. 155, no. 2; R. Isaac Halberstadt, Shenei Sarei haKodesh, p. 16; Purim Meshulash, sec. 2, nos. 8 and 9 and addendum thereto; R. Hanoch Zundel Grossberg, Iggeret haPurim, first edition, sec. 7, no. 2, second edition, sec. 8, no. 3; Resp. Yabia Omer, VIII, O.H. sec. 23, no. 27 and sec. 56, end of no. 4; R. Ovadiah Yosef, Likkutei Kol Sinai, sec. 23, p. 47; Yalkut Yosef, V, Hilkhot Mikra Megilla, sec. 7, p. 284; Kitsur Shulhan Arukh Yalkut Yosef, O.H. sec. 692, nos. 4 and 10; Resp. Tsits Eliezer XIII, sec. 73; R. Joseph Shalom Elyashiv (personal written communication to Aryeh A. Frimer, 27 Adar 5754, March 10, 1994); Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, cited in Lu'ah Dinim uMinhagim, Israeli Chief Rabbinate (5757), p. 122; R. Joel Schwartz, Adar uFurim, sec. 8, no. 5, par. 2 and 3 and note 11; Halikhot Beita, sec. 24, nos. 17-21 and notes 33, 34, 44 and 48; Hilkhot Hag beHag: Purim, sec. 8, no. 13 and 14, note 32 and addendum to sec. 8, no. 13, note 31, p. 218; Chief Rabbis of Ma'ale Adumim Joshua Katz and Mordechai Nagari, Ma'alot, no. 185, Parshat Tetsave 5756, Halakha Sedura, sec. B, no. 5 and conversation with Dov I. Frimer (March 23, 1996); R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, supra, note 104. Other posekim dissent; see R. Shlomo Kluger, Hokhmat Shelomo, O.H. sec. 689, no. 5; Kaf haHayyim, O.H. sec. 690, no. 120; Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 690, no. 25; Resp. Mishne Halakhot, Mahadura Tinyana, I, O.H. sec. 550; and R. Moshe Feinstein as quoted by R. Dovid Katz, supra, note 44. Note, however, that both Arukh haShulhan and R. Feinstein, like many other leading posekim, maintain that the HaRav et riveinu benediction can be said even in the absence of a minyan; see infra, note 44.
107. For a discussion of the rationale, see supra, note 3.
108. Resp. Rav Pe'alim, Mikra'ei Kodesh, Resp. Tsits Eliezer, Adar uFurim and Purim Meshulash (all supra, note 106) suggest that Rama, O.H. sec. 690, no. 18 (see text near note 80), was hesitant to count women into a minyan together with men due to modesty considerations. Rama, however, would have no such reservations regarding a minyan for Megilla made up exclusively of women.
109. R. Sraya Devlitsky, Purim Meshulash, sec. 2, note 20, for example, refers to these second Megilla readings for women as the "takana gedola" (important innovation) of Bnei Brak.
110. Surveys of the different opinions can be found in the following works: Encyclopedia Talmudit, XII, "Zekhirat Ma'ase Amalek," sec. 3 (p.222); Resp. Yabia Omer, VIII, sec. 54; Resp. Yehave Da'at I, sec. 84; Halikhot Beita, sec. 9, no. 5, note 8; Halikhot Bat Yisrael, sec. 22, no. 1, notes 1-4; Hilkhot Hag beHag: Purim, sec. 3, no. 3 note 8 and end of addendum to sec. 3, no. 2 note 7, p. 214; Nitei Gavriel-Dinei uMinhagei Purim, sec. 4, no. 4, notes 5-8, and no. 10, note 14; responsa of R. Isaac Goldberger printed at the very end of the 5744 edition of Nitei Gavriel-Hilkhot Purim [the responsum does not appear in the later, 5752, edition]. For additions, see Aryeh A. Frimer, Tradition, supra, note 3 and footnotes 36-38 therein. To those who obligate women, add R. Baruch HaLevy Epstein, Torah Temima, Deut. 25:19, note 206; Minhat Yitshak, IX, sec. 68, no. a; Teshuvot veHanhagot, III, sec. 223. To those who exempt women, add R. Hayyim Halberstam, Resp. Divrei Hayyim, O.H. II, sec. 14; Resp. Divrei Yatsiv, O.H., II, sec. 288; Rivevot Ephrayyim, O.H. IV, sec. 43, p. 81; Resp. Kinyan Torah beHalakha, V, sec. 80; R. Sha'ul Yisraeli and former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, cited in Mikra'ei Kodesh-Hilkhot Purim, sec. 1, no. 19, note 45; R. Yisroel Taplin, Orah Yisrael, sec. 2, end of no. 8; Resp. Degel Re'uvein, sec. 6. These latter posekim indicate that the lenient position is the view of the vast majority of codifiers and common practice. R. Moses Portman (Poniveze Yeshiva, Bnei Brak; conversation with R. Shlomo H. Pick and recorded in personal communication to Aryeh A. Frimer, April 1992) indicated that it was not the practice of religious women in Telshe, Lithuania to make a special effort to hear Parshat Zakhor; R. David Zvi Hillman (editor, Encyclopedia Talmudit and Frankel edition of M.T.; conversation with R. Shlomo H. Pick, ibid.) indicated that this was generally true for much of Eastern Europe. In addition, we note that both Rabbis Hanokh Henikh Agus, Marheshet, sec 22, no. 2, and Meir Simha haKohen of Dvinsk, Or Same'ah, Megilla 1:1, discuss the cryptic ruling of Halakhot Gedolot, Hilkhot Megilla, s.v. "haKol Hayyavin" and note 93 supra, that women are obligated in hearing the Megilla and not in reading it. They both posit that this view, which suggests that women have a lesser Megilla obligation than men, is essentially the same as that of Hinukh, who argues that women are exempt from the obligation of reciting Parshat Zakhor. Since the view of Behag is normative halakha for Ashkenazic Jewry (see Shulhan Arukh and Rama, O.H. sec. 689, no. 2), Hinukh should be as well. R. Isaac Ratsabi, Shulhan Arukh ha-meKutsar, III, sec. 121, no. 4, indicates that according to Yemenite practice, women are exempt from Parshat Zakhor. See also R. Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, Resp. Binyan Av, III, sec. 30; R. Isaac Yosef, Kitsur Shulhan Arukh Yalkut Yosef, O.H. sec. 135, no. 9, sec. 143, no. 6 and sec. 685, no. 10.
111. R. Joseph Babad, Minhat Hinukh, commandment 603; R. Tsvi Benjamin Auerbach, Nahal Eshkol, Hilkhot Hanuka uFurim, sec. 10, no. 1; R. Solomon haKohen (of Vilna), Resp. Binyan Shelomo, sec. 54, s.v. "Mihu ani"; Mishna Berura, O.H. sec. 685, no. 16, Sha'ar haTsiyyun, no. 5; Kaf haHayyim sec. 685, no. 30; R. Ben-Tsiyon Lichtman, No'am 7 (5724), 361 and Benei Tsiyyon, II, O.H. sec. 55, no. 1-2; Mo'adim uZmanim, I, sec. 166, She'arim haMetsuyyanim beHalakha, Kunteres Aharon, sec. 140, no. 1; Yalkut Yosef, V, Keriat Parshat Zakhor, sec. 8, note 12, pp. 259-260; responsa of R. Isaac Goldberger printed at the end of Nitei Gavriel-Hilkhot Purim [5744 edition]. See also R. Tsvi Pesah Frank, Mikra'ei Kodesh, Purim, sec. 5, pp. 82-83 and the comments of R. Joseph Cohen, ad. loc., nos. 8-9. R. Lichtman, ibid., and R. Jehiel Abraham Zilber, Birur Halakha, O.H. sec. 146, no. 2, demonstrate that the contrary view of Resp. Terumat haDeshen is predicated on a misprint (of one letter!) in the standard editions of Piskei haRosh, with the proper reading being "be-asei mi-deOraita" rather than "be-asara mi-deOraita"-as found explicitly in the Oxford-Bodley manuscript of Piskei haRosh, as well as in Tosafot haRosh and Tosafot Rabbeinu Yehuda heHasid, Berakhot 47b, s.v. "Mitsvah."
112. Yalkut Yosef, supra, note 111; R. Moses Feinstein, as cited in Mo'adei Yeshurun, I, Laws of Purim, 1: 6(a) and note 12 ad loc. (p. 64); R. Sha'ul Yisraeli and R. Avigdor Neventsal, as cited by R. Moses Harari, Mikra'ei Kodesh-Hilkhot Purim, sec. 1, no. 20, end of note 49 (end); Resp. Sheivet haLevi, IV, sec. 71, no. 1; R. Sraya Devlitsky, Purim Meshulash, sec. 2, note 20; Adar uFurim, sec. 3, no. 4(b)(2). Cf., however, R. Haim David HaLevy, Resp Asei Lekha Rav, VII, sec. 41; R. Yehiel Abraham Zilber, supra, note 111; and Halikhot Bat Yisrael, sec. 22, no. 3.
As R. Schachter himself comments, supra, note 61 at p. 119, even if a minyan for Parshat Zakhor were biblically required, it is not at all clear that the failure to recite the attendant berakhot would, in fact, impinge upon the fulfillment of the mitsvah. First, the benedictions over the public reading of Parshat Zakhor may be of only rabbinic origin. (See the discussion found in the following sources: Peri Megadim, supra, note 83; Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 47, nos. 3-4; R. Joseph Cohen, Harerei Kodesh, no. 6 on Mikra'ei Kodesh, supra, note 83; Resp. Yabia Omer, III, O.H. sec. 27, no. 11; Resp. Yehave Da'at, I, sec. 85, p. 244). Second, even if the benedictions themselves are biblically mandated, it does not necessarily follow that failure to recite them would prevent one from fulfilling a Parshat Zakhor obligation. See at length R. Abraham Dov-Ber Kahane Schapira, Resp. Devar Avraham, I, sec. 16; R. Tsvi Pesah Frank, Kunteres Mili deBrakhot, Resp. Har Zevi, O.H. II, sec. 1 (printed originally as a preface to Toledot Ze'ev, authored by his brother Ze'ev Wolf Frank); R. Isaac Arieli, Einayyim laMishpat, Berakhot 15a, s.v. "ve-lo bi-vrakha."
113. Resp. Torat Hesed, O.H. sec. 37; R. Hayyim Eleazar Shapira, Resp. Minhat Elazar, II, sec. 1, no. 4 ff.; R. Joshua Heschel Michel Shapira, Tsits haKodesh, sec. 52, no. 3; R. Dov Ber Karasik, Pit'hei Olam uMatamei haShulhan, O.H. sec. 685, no. 7, note 14; Resp. BeTsel haHokhma, VI, sec. 49, no, 7 and at the end of the responsum; R. Meir Zev Goldberger, Resp. Imrei haMezeg, no. 22; Mo'adim uZmanim, II, sec. 167; Resp. Yabia Omer and Kinyan Torah beHalakha, supra, note 110; Mo'adei Yeshurun, Laws of Purim 1:3, note 9 in the name of R. Moses Feinstein; Nitei Gavriel-Dinei uMinhagei Purim, sec. 4, no. 10 and note 14; Orah Yisrael, sec. 2, end of no. 8, note 36; R. Mordechai Eliyahu in Shabbat beShabbato, VIII, no. 24 , 8 Adar II 5792 [March 13, 1992], Meishiv keHalakha, Shulhan Arukh ha-meKutsar, supra, note 110. See also Resp. Rivevot Ephrayyim O.H. IV, sec. 43. R. Aharon Lichtenstein (conversation with Dov I. Frimer) has also ruled that women can fulfill their Parshat Zakhor obligation, even if biblical in nature, by reading the requisite portion from a printed Humash in private.
114. Resp. Yabia Omer, VIII, addendum to O.H. sec. 54, reports to seeing this custom in Har Nof, Jerusalem; Purim Meshulash, sec. 2, no. 8, note 20, records that this is the custom in Bnei Brak; Resp. Minhat Yitshak, supra, note 110, lists "Ashkenaz" and many other communities. We have also witnessed this practice in the United States in Boston, Boro Park (Brooklyn), Cleveland, and Washington Heights (Manhattan), as well as in Israel in Rehovot and Ma'ale Adumim. R. Aharon Felder, LeTorah veHora'a: Memorial Volume to R. Moses Feinstein (5749), p. 216, cites "one of the greatest rabbis" to the effect that this custom is by no means new and has been in practice for many generations. In a subsequent conversation with Aryeh A. Frimer, Jan. 6, 1991, R. Felder identified the great rabbi as R. Shimon Schwab. R. Moses Stern, cited by R. Dovid Katz, supra, note 44, sec. 1, no. 22, page 84, and by R. Joel Schwartz, Adar uFurim , sec. 3, no. 3 (1), Yalkut Yosef II, Keriat haTorah beAsara, sec. 5 and note 7, and R. Isaac Goldberger (responsum printed at the end of Nitei Gavriel-Hilkhot Purim [5744 edition]) also permit such a practice. R. Isaac Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, O.H. sec. 143, no. 5 and Kitsur Shulhan Arukh Yalkut Yosef, O.H. sec. 143, no. 6, permits the practice only if women find it near impossible to attend the regular keri'a of Parshat Zakhor.
On the other hand, other posekim do not approve of this practice. See Resp. Torat Hesed, supra, note 113; R. Moshe Feinstein, cited by R. Aharon Felder, Mo'adei Yeshurun, I, Laws of Purim, sec. 1 no. 3 and note 9 ad loc., pp. 63-64, and by R. Dovid Katz, ibid., sec. 14, no. 2, p. 133; Resp. Rivevot Ephrayyim, O.H. IV, sec. 43, p. 82; R. Menashe Klein, cited by R. Dovid Katz, ibid., and by R. Joel Schwartz, ibid.; R. Aharon Felder, LeTorah veHora'a, ibid. For a discussion of this prohibitive position and its rationale, see infra, note 139.
115. Mo'adim uZmanim, VIII, addendum to II, sec. 167.
116. R. Abraham David Horowitz, Resp. Kinyan Torah beHalakha, V, sec. 80, no. 4. See also Resp. Minhat Yitshak, supra, note 110, who also raises this possibility.
117. R. Moses Sofer, Derashot Hatam Sofer, III, Derush leBar Mitsvah, p. 72. Cf., however, Resp. Torat Hesed, O.H. sec. 37, and R. Joseph Cohen, Harerei Kodesh on R. Tsvi Pesah Frank's Mikra'ei Kodesh, Purim, sec. 6, p. 86, who contend that even if women are obligated to read Parshat Zakhor, they cannot constitute a minyan for the reading. This debate is, in reality, predicated on the larger question of women and minyan. See at length Aryeh A. Frimer, supra, note 3. Rabbis Sofer and Horowitz clearly belong to the "First School," while Rabbis Schneur Zalman and Cohen align themselves with the "Second School," as defined in that article.
118. It should be noted that being exempted from a mitsvah is not always a valid reason for not performing it. For example, one is required to put tsitsit on the corners of one's garments when one wears a four-cornered garment-but there is no obligation to wear such a garment! Nevertheless, R. Joseph Dov Soloveitchik, Beit haLevi, part 2, Derush 11, demonstrates that even in a case of a non-obligatory mitsvah such as tsitsit, if the general custom is to obligate oneself (e.g., by wearing a four-cornered garment) and one refrains from doing so, he is liable for heavenly punishment. (See also Tosafot, Pesahim 113b, s.v. "Ve-ein lo banim.") This is because his inaction, in light of the general custom, suggests that he despises mitsvot, and he is therefore considered a sinner. This, however, is not at all relevant to a woman's choice to forego tefilla be-tsibbur in order to attend a women's service. First, it is certainly not the universal custom of women to come to shul. Attendance is undoubtedly greater on Shabbat or Yom Tov mornings, but there are many communities in which most women simply stay home, as the Gaon of Vilna, supra, note 85, advised the women of his family to do. Second, and more fundamentally, even if a woman should choose to attend shul, she would not-and could not-thereby bring herself to a state of obligation in tefilla be-tsibbur.
119. See supra, note 104.
120. Supra, note 61 at p. 51.
121. R. Mordechai Banet, Hiddushei Maharam Banet, Berakhot 18a, s.v. "Ben Azzai Omer"; Resp. Sheivet haLevi, IV, sec. 11, no. 1; R. Meyer Isaacson, Resp. MeVaser Tov, II, sec. 13; R. Moses Shternbuch, Resp. Teshuvot veHanhagot, II, sec. 57.
122. Note that R. Shternbuch, Resp. Teshuvot veHanhagot, ibid., cites the verse from Psalms 34:4: "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together," as the source text for the first form of public worship which does not require a minyan. This is the very same verse which the Talmud, Berakhot 45a-45b, utilizes as the basis for the birkat ha-zimmun recited by three adults-three men or three women-who eat bread together. See text at note 14, supra. Rashi, Berakhot 45b, s.v. "deIka," clearly underscores that women as well are included within "the fulfillment of "O magnify the Lord with me."
123. R. Solomon Luria, Yam Shel Shelomo, Bava Kama, chap. 4, sec. 9 (Bava Kama 38a). The Talmudic passage under discussion by Maharshal deals with a particular law in torts in which Jews are given preferential treatment over non-Jews. The Talmud recounts that upon learning of this ruling, two non-Jewish emissaries/spies of the Roman Empire queried the rabbis as to the details of this law. Maharshal notes that the rabbis were accurate in their presentation despite possible serious repercussions, including the loss of life. Maharshal adduces this as proof that one must choose martyrdom over misrepresenting halakha. The view of Maharshal is cited in R. Isaiah Horowitz, Shenei Luhot haBerit, Part 1, Tractate Shavuot, end of Perek Ner Mitsvah, s.v. "Kevod haTorah"; R. Elijah Rogeler, Resp. Yad Eliyahu, sec. 48; R. Moses Shternbuch, Ta'am vaDa'at, Shemini, s.v. "ve-et ha-arnevet." For additional discussion of the view of Maharshal (and Rabbeinu Jonah Gerondi, discussed below in the Addendum section of this paper, Part 2 and Part 3p), see Igrot Moshe, O.H. II, sec. 51; R. David Cohen, Birkhat Ya'aveits, pp. 52-54; R. Abraham Drori, Resp. Aderet Tiferet, sec. 31; R. Judah David Bleich, Contemporary Halakhic Problems, II (New York: Ktav Publishing House and Yeshiva University Press, 1983), pp. 134-138, and in his "Siddur Hupa leKohen veSafek Gerusha Kedei leMa'et beIssurin," Tehumin 9 (5749), pp. 41-49. See also the exchange of letters by Rabbis A. Gurewitz, N. Helfgott and D. Cohen, The Journal of Halakha and Contemporary Society 20 (Succot 5751, Fall 1990), pp. 131-136, and references cited in the Addendum section of this paper, Part 2. Justice Elon, supra, note 4, p. 322, correctly notes that the terminology "ziyyuf haTorah" appears nowhere in Maharshal or subsequent codifiers, but rather "shinui divrei Torah" (changing the words of the Torah). R. Isaac haLevi Herzog, "Tehuka leYisrael al Pi haTorah," III (Jerusalem: Mossad haRav Kook, 1989), p. 278, uses the term "siluf haTorah."
124. For a general halakhic discussion of the prohibition of lying and possible exceptions, see the Addendum section of this paper, Part 6.
125. Supra, note 63.
126. M.T., Hilkhot Melakhim 10:9.
127. This is an assumption which R. Schachter states more explicitly in his article, "BeInyanei Beit haKenesset uKdushato," supra, note 62.
128. Supra, note 3.
129. R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, responsum to Aryeh Leib Lewis, dated Tammuz 8, 5745 (June 27, 1985); published under the title "Mahu Kevod haTsibbur," HaDarom 55 (Elul 5746), p. 33; expanded and revised in Resp. Benei Vanim, II, sec. 10. R. Henkin suggests several possible grounds for refuting Maharshal's proofs. See also R. Joseph Elijah Henkin, Kitvei haGri Henkin, II, Teshuvot Ivra, sec. 95, no. 2.
130. R. Isaac Herzog, supra, note 123 (end).
131. Igrot Moshe, supra, note 123. Rav Feinstein points out that Maharshal's position that ziyyuf haTorah requires martyrdom is seemingly contradicted by two Talmudic passages. In Gittin 14b (see Rashi, ad loc., s.v. "tav ramu lei") the Talmud recounts how R. Dustai, for fear of bodily harm, encouraged ruffians in their thrashing of his fellow, R. Yose, despite the fact that it was the latter's halakhically correct position which precipitated the ruffians' actions. Although R. Dustai consciously misrepresented halakha to save himself, the Talmud concludes this account with R. Ahi's approval of R. Dustai's behavior, which, as explicitly stated by several rishonim (Meiri, Gittin, 14a, s.v. "Kevar ramaznu"; Tosafot Hakhmei Anglia, Gittin 14b, s.v. "Arda ve-arta") refers to his words of encouragement as well. A similar story is recounted in Nedarim 22a (see Ran and Rosh ad loc., s.v. "uFra"): the well-traveled amora, Ula, found himself witnessing the murder of one of his traveling companions. Fearing for his own life, Ula not only expressed his approval of the murderous action, but even encouraged the murderer to finish the job! Furthermore, the Talmud records R. Yohanan's approval of Ula's action in light of the potential danger to Ula's own life, despite the fact that Ula clearly misrepresented Jewish law in implying that this heinous crime is permissible. Indeed, Tosafot, Sota 41b, s.v. "Kol ha-ma-hanif," and other posekim, cited in Part 2 of the Addendum section of this paper, refer to the story of Ula as evidence that one may misrepresent Jewish law in times of danger. (See also Tiferet Yisrael, Pe'a 1:1, Boaz note a.) All this presumably contravenes the view of Maharshal that martyrdom is called for where ziyyuf haTorah may result. As noted in the text, R. Feinstein limits the prohibition to explicit-not implicit-changes in Jewish law.
132. It is significant that R. Feinstein's distinction between explicit and implicit misrepresentation finds precedent in a related law of martyrdom. Jews are bidden to martyr themselves rather than deny their Jewishness or declare themselves idolaters, for this is equivalent to denying God (ke-kofer beElokei Yisrael). Nevertheless, double entendres are permitted. Thus, the Talmud (Nedarim 62b) permits one to declare that he is a "fire worshipper" since God is referred to as "a consuming fire" (Deut. 9:3). This is permissible even if the only purpose is to save oneself from a discriminatory tax. See Y.D. sec. 157, no. 2 and Kenesset haGedola, s.v. "Assur le-adam"; Beit Lehem Yehuda, s.v. "Lashon de-mi-shtamei'a"; and Pit'hei Teshuva (n.18) ad loc. It is noteworthy, however, that misrepresentation, even by implication, which involves flattering or encouraging the halakhically forbidden action of a wicked individual (as in the cases of Ula, R. Dustai or Agrippas, mentioned in note 131 and Addendum section of this paper, Part 2) is still forbidden because of hanufa (as discussed in Addendum, Part 2); however, this does not require martyrdom. See, though, R. Judah David Bleich, supra, note 123 and Addendum, Part 3o.
133. R. David Cohen, "HeAkov leMishor" (Jerusalem: Morasha leHanhil Press, 5753) p. 33, s.v. "ve-nizkarti" (and in personal communication to Aryeh A. Frimer, Dec. 27, 1990). Rabbi Zelig Epstein, in conversation with Aryeh A. Frimer and Noach Dear, March 8, 1996, argued, however, that such a ziyyuf haTorah may have been permitted only because it enabled the spiritual salvation of Kelal Yisrael. This would be analogous to the position of R. Joseph Colon, Resp. Maharik, sec. 167 (see also Encyclopedia Talmudit, XXII, "Ye-hareg veAl Ya'avor," at pp. 64-65), who justifies the actions of Yael and Queen Esther on the grounds that it resulted in the salvation of Kelal Yisrael.
134. Supra, note 123.
135. Supra, note 129 and R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, "Issur Harigat Goy veTov she-baGoyyim Harog," Keshot no. 4 (Adar II/Nissan 5755), pp. 12-14, reprinted in Resp. Benei Vanim, III, sec. 40.
136. See the Addendum section of this paper, Part 3, for an extensive list of views and cases which apparently demonstrate that misrepresenting halakha is merely another-albeit, perhaps, a more serious-form of lying, which may be permitted under certain conditions and is by no means grounds for martyrdom.
137. Supra, text at note 125.
137*. See, for example, Rivka Haut, "Women's Prayer Groups and the Orthodox Synagogue," in Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue, supra, note 3*, pp. 135-157, at p. 141.
138. For a review of some of the relevant responsa, see R. Ovadiah Yosef, Haggada Hazon Ovadiah, II, Hilkhot Hodesh Nissan, sec. 1, no. 6 and Resp. Yabia Omer, VIII, addendum to O.H. sec. 54. The question of using and transporting a sefer Torah for a women's Torah reading, as well as the complicated issue of berakhot, will be discussed and documented in detail in Part 2 of this paper, which deals with the "Practical Issues" of halakhic women's prayer groups. We simply note at this juncture that, regarding a women's Torah reading, R. Mordechai Tendler writes in the name of his grandfather, R. Moshe Feinstein (infra, text following note 217), "They may also read from the Torah, though they should be careful not to do so in such a manner as to create the erroneous impression that this constitutes keriat haTorah." (See, however, an apparently contradictory ruling by R. Moshe Feinstein, cited by R. Aharon Felder, supra, note 114.) In a letter to Ms. Nili Arad, dated 22 Adar 5750 (March 19, 1990), concerning "The Women of the Wall" controversy, R. Meir Yehudah Getz, then Rabbi of the Kotel, indicated that the women's use of the sefer Torah, though not customary, did not contravene halakha. Finally, the following posekim indicate that their objection is to a women's Torah reading performed with benedictions: R. Ovadiah Yosef, Yom haShishi, 14 Shevat 5750 (Feb. 9, 1990), p. 30; R. Isaac Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, II, sec. 143, Keriat haTorah beAsara, no. 4 and note 6, p. 135; R. Isaac Yosef, Kitsur Shulhan Arukh Yalkut Yosef, O.H. sec. 143, no. 5; R. Joseph Kappah, HaIsha veHinukha (Amana, Kefar Saba, 5740), p. 35, nos. 9 and 10; and R. Efraim Greenblatt, Rivevot Ephrayyim, VI, sec. 153, no. 12.
139. Perisha, Y.D. sec. 270, no. 8, and Siftei Kohen, Y.D. sec. 270, no. 5, prohibit reading from a Torah scroll when not halakhically required, even without the attendant benedictions, maintaining that such a practice shows disrespect for the Torah. The rationale behind this is that printed Humashim are readily available and the Torah should not be handled unnecessarily. This stringent position is rejected by R. Ovadiah Yosef, Haggada Hazon Ovadiah, supra, note 138; Resp. Yabia Omer, VIII, addendum to O.H. sec. 54, and many other posekim to be cited in Part 2 of this paper.
140. Resp. Radbaz, III, sec. 529  and V, sec. 157 ) regarding shenayyim mikra ve-ehad targum. Radbaz's position is cited on O.H. sec. 285, no. 1 by Magen Avraham, no. 1; Kenesset haGedola; Mahzik Berakha, no. 2; Mishna Berura, no. 2; Arukh haShulhan, no. 7; Shulhan Arukh haRav, no. 4; Kaf haHayyim, no. 7; and Birur Halakha, no. 20, who offers additional citations. See also R. Chaim Elazar Shapira, Nimukei Orah Hayyim, O.H. sec. 669, end of no. 2; Resp. Torah liShma, O.H. sec. 58; and Yalkut Yosef, IV, part 1, sec. 285, no. 14. R. Yosef reiterates that the keriat haTorah benedictions may not be recited.
141. M.T., Hilkhot Melakhim 10:9.
142. See Radbaz to M.T., Hilkhot Melakhim 10:10; R. Gershon Arieli, Torat haMelekh, ad loc.
143. Proverbs 14:28.
144. Encyclopedia Talmudit, IV, "BeRov Am Hadrat Melekh," p. 195.
145. R. Abraham Samuel Benjamin Sofer, Resp. Ketav Sofer, Hoshen Mishpat (henceforth H.M.) 39; Resp. Meishiv Davar, I, sec. 46; R. Solomon Chaim haKohen Aviner, MiKedem leBeit El, O.H. sec. 5; R. Jacob Ariel, "LeAhduta shel haKehilla beNusah haTefilla," Tehumin 9, pp. 196-202. (See, however, the comments of R. Yair Dreyfus, ad loc.).
146. It should be noted that R. Schachter not long ago authored an extensive article on various aspects related to the synagogue (supra, note 62). Despite the appropriate opportunity, R. Schachter did not use that forum to attack the opening of shtiblach throughout Boro Park, Williamsburg, Bnai Brak and Jerusalem-not to mention junior, teen-age, young couples, hashkama ("early"), yeshivishe, "happy" (R. Shlomo Carlebach devotees), and assorted other breakaway minyanim. The arguments used by R. Schachter against women's prayer groups, while questionable in their application with regard to women-as noted below-are certainly relevant to these male groups, yet R. Schachter fails to criticize them.
147. Supra, note 143; Encyclopedia Talmudit, XII, "Zerizin Makdimin leMitsvot," pp. 409, 419.
148. On the question of whether ke-vatikin takes precedence over davening with a minyan, see Resp. Ish Matsliah, I, O.H. sec. 15, s.v. "veNahzor," p. 49ff; Birur Halakha, Tinyana, O.H. sec. 58, p. 151 ff, Birur Halakha, Telita'a, O.H. sec. 58, pp. 58-59, and Teshuvot veHanhagot, III, secs. 27, 32 and 33.
149. Resp. Radbaz, III, sec. 510 (472); R. Samuel de Medina, Resp. Maharshdam, O.H. sec. 36; R. Judah Greenwald, Resp. Zikhron Yehuda, O.H. sec. 67; R. Eliezer David Greenwald, Resp. Keren leDavid, O.H. sec. 41; R. Isaac Judah Jehiel of Komarno, Shulhan haTahor, O.H. sec. 150, no. 1; Hidushei Batra-Haga beMishna Berura, O.H. sec. 90, no. 28.
150. Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 90, no. 15; Mishna Berura, sec. 90, no. 28; Hayyei Adam, kelal 17, no. 5.
151. Supra, note 149.
152. Supra, note 149.
153. Supra, note 149.
154. Peri Megadim, O.H. sec. 689, Eishel Avraham, no. 1; Mishna Berura, sec. 689, no. 1.
155. For a similar reason, i.e., lack of any obligation, there should also be no problem of "lo tit-godedu"; see Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 651, no. 22.
156. Supra, note 76.
157. Resp. BeTsel haHokhma, V, sec. 30. Cf., however, Resp. Devar Yehoshua, supra, note 105.
158. R. Abraham Hayyim Na'eh, Ketsot haShulhan, sec. 45, no. 2, Badei haShulhan no. 5.
159. Ketsot haShulhan, sec. 45, no. 9. Mishna Berura, sec. 199, no. 18, Sha'ar haTsiyyun, no. 9 cites this source and comments: "The [three women] will definitely not lose anything by breaking off [from the three men making the zimmun]."
160. See text near note 104.
161. Supra, note 104.
162. See also Resp. Heikhal Yitshak, O.H. sec. 63, no. 5-reprinted in Pesakim uKhtavim, II, She'eilot uTeshuvot beDinei Orah Hayyim, sec 106, no. 5.
163. For a discussion of the importance of minhag beit ha-kenesset, see R. Zvi Hirsch Chajes, Darkei Hora'a, secs. 6 and 7; R. Abraham Isaac haKohen Kook, Resp. Orah Mishpat, end of secs. 35 and 36; and Justice Menachem Elon, supra, note 4, p. 317ff. See also Judith Bleich, "Rabbinic Responses to Nonobservance in the Modern Era," in Jewish Tradition and the Non-Traditional Jew, Jacob J. Schacter, ed. (Northvale, N.J.: Aronson Inc., 1992), pp. 37-115 at p. 66ff and text at notes 233-5, infra.
164. Supra, note 129. This observation is confirmed by the comments of R. Avraham Weiss, supra, note 57, p. 118.
165. R. Eliezer Berkovits, Jewish Women in Time and Torah (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1990), Chapter 4, pp. 77-81, discusses lo ra'inu eino ra'aya (vide infra). He posits that in all cases "which are quoted to show that lo ra'inu is a ra'aya (proof), there are always two opinions, one for the practice, the other against it. In all these cases, the non-practice is a rejection of an opposing ruling. Where, however, there is no opposing ruling, the non-practice of an activity does not establish it as a minhag that must not be changed."
166. Justice Menachem Elon, in his "The Women of the Wall" decision (supra, note 4, pp. 313-317), distinguishes between a custom not to do something (hesder shelili), and no custom to do something (lacuna). For a related suggestion, see Yehave Da'at, I, end of no. 24.
167. See, for example, R. Abraham Butchatch, Eishel Avraham, O.H. sec. 692: "It is not prevalent (she-ein matsui) that any woman should read to be motsi others." See also Divrei Yatsiv, O.H. II, sec. 294.
168. Ben Ish Hai, Re'ei, sec. 17; Resp. Seridei Eish, III, sec. 93; R. Isaac Nissim, Yein haTov, II, sec. 6; Resp. Yaskil Avdi, V, O.H. sec. 28 and VI, addenda at end (p. 336), no. 1; R. Hanokh Zundel Grossberg, HaMa'ayan, Tevet 5733; Resp. Yabia Omer, VI, O.H. sec. 29, and again in Yehave Da'at, II, sec. 29; Yalkut Yosef, III, sec. 225, Berakhot Peratiyyot, no. 20.; R. Joseph Bar Shalom, Resp. Netsah Yisrael, I, sec. 4 (at end); Rivevot Ephrayyim, I, sec. 158; R. Mordechai Eliyahu, Shabbat beShabbato, 11 Tevet 5748, 12 (160); R. Sha'ul Yisraeli, Resp. beMare haBazak, sec. 7-3, p. 13; Asei leKha Rav, VI, sec. 12 and VII, sec. 9; R. David Feinstein, personal oral communications to Noach Dear; R. David Cohen, personal oral communications to Noach Dear and Dov I. Frimer; R. Mordechai Willig, Am Mordekhai, sec. 29, no. 4. For a review, see R. Alfred S. Cohen, "Celebration of the Bat Mitzvah," Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society XII (Fall 1986), pp. 5-16.
169. Noteworthy in this regard are the comments of R. Benjamin Joshua Zilber, Resp. Az Nidberu, VI, addendum (hashmatot) to sec. 67-68, end, regarding the issue of girls' lighting Shabbat candles in addition to their mothers: "And as to R. Blumenfeld's citation in this regard of 'he-hadash assur min haTorah (that which is new is forbidden)'-perish the thought that one would use this principle with respect to any case where the innovation was instituted in order to strengthen religion. The Hatam Sofer (R. Moses Sofer) zt"l never intended to refer to such an instance."
170. R. Jacob Landau, HaAgur, Hilkhot Shehita, sec. 1062 (ed. Hershler, pp. 171); R. Shabbetai haKohen, Siftei Kohen, Y.D. sec. 1, no. 1 and H.M. sec. 37, no. 38; R. Aaron Perahya haKohen, Resp. Parah Mate Aharon, I, secs. 63 and 68; R. Judah Ayash, Resp. Beit Yehuda, E.H. sec. 5, s.v. "uKemo she-katavti;" Arukh haShulhan, Y.D. sec. 1, no. 37; R. Joel Teitelbaum, Resp. Divrei Yoel, I, O.H. sec. 10, no. 7 and Y.D. sec. 99, no. 3. This also seems to be the view of R. Elijah Mizrachi, Resp. R. Elijah Mizrahi, sec. 16. See also Resp. Hatam Sofer, E.H. sec. 41, s.v. "He'erakhnu ba-zeh."
171. R. Joshua Boaz, Shiltei haGibborim, Bava Metsia, chap. 7, sec. 495, no. 2; Beit Yosef, Y.D. sec. 1, s.v. "Um"sh nashim;" R. Ephraim haKohen, Resp. Sha'ar Efrayyim, E.H. sec. 112, s.v. "Omnam ra'iti" and ff.; R. Yair Bacharach, Resp. Havvot Ya'ir, sec. 42, s.v. "Od katavti" and sec. 78; R. Jonathan Eybeschutz, Kereiti uFleiti, Y.D. sec. 1, Kereiti, no. 4 and Urim veTummim, H.M. sec. 37, Tumim, no. 24; R. Samuel Ashkenazi, Mekom Shmuel, II, Y.D. sec. 1; R. Hayyim Broda, Torah Or veDerekh Hayyim, I, Y.D. sec. 1, Derekh Hayyim, no. 1; R. Jacob Hayyim Sofer, Kaf haHayyim, Y.D. sec. 1, no. 10; R. Halfon Moses haKohen, Resp. Sho'el veNishal, V, O.H. sec. 82, s.v. "Gam m"sh" (cf. ibid., sec. 1, s.v. "Akh nire"); R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Mesora 13 (Adar 5757), p. 25. This also seems to be the view of R. Alexander Sender Schor, Simla Hadasha, sec 1, Tevu'ot Shor, no. 14 (end). See also R. Joseph Ibn Ezra, Massa Melekh, Ne'ilat She'arim, Minhagei Mammon, root 7, pp. 63c-64a.
R. Nissim Hayyim Moses Mizrahi, Resp. Admat Kodesh, I, E.H. sec. 31, and his brother, R. Israel Meir Mizrahi, Resp. Peri haArets, II, sec. 2, both distinguish between two cases: (1) where the action is fundamentally permitted according to halakha, yet the posek is asked now to forbid it due to a claim of minhag resulting from passive behavior of the community; (2) where an activity has already been declared prohibited in previous generations due to minhag and the posek is now asked to rule that the old custom is no longer in force due to the community's passive behavior. These two rabbinic brothers maintain that a proper formulation of the halakhic rule is that a community's passive behavior is incapable of changing the halakhic status quo. Consequently, in case 1, the communal passive behavior will not support the conclusion that a prohibitive minhag has developed contrary to the established halakha; thus the activity will remain permissible. In the latter situation (case 2), the passive behavior of the community will not void the existing prohibitive custom; thus the activity will remain forbidden. The issue of women's tefillot obviously falls into the former category.
The view of R. Moses Isserles is unclear and appears to be self-contradictory. See Darkei Moshe haArokh, Y.D. sec. 1, no. 2; Mappa, Y.D. sec. 1, no. 1; and H.M. sec. 37, no. 22. For one attempt at reconciling and unifying R. Isserles' position, see R. Johanan Kremnitzer, Orah Mishor, Y.D. sec. 1, both mahadura kama and mahadura batra. See also R. Abraham Isaac haKohen Kook, Mitsvot Re'iya, Y.D. sec. 1, no. 1.
172. R. Simeon Greenfeld, Resp. Maharshag, II, sec. 19; Resp. Igrot Moshe, Y.D. I, sec. 13.
173. See R. Israel Schepansky, "Torat haMinhagot," Or haMizrah 40:1 (144) (Tishrei 5752), p. 38, at pp. 49-51, and sources cited therein. See also R. David Friedmann (Karliner), Resp. She'eilat David, I, Kunteres haMinhagim, note 2; Igrot Moshe, supra, note 172 and O.H. III, sec. 64, and O.H. V, sec. 38, no. 4.
174. Infra, note 182*.
175. Exodus 15:21.
176. Cited in R. Menahem Mendel Kasher, Torah Sheleima, Exodus 15:21, note 239.
177. Supra, note 175.
178. The numerical value of the letters in the words "ga'o ga'a"-"highly exalted" equals 18, the number of benedictions in the shemone esrei.
179. Supra, note 176.
180. See Israel Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, (London: E. Goldston, 1932), p. 26; Shlomo Ashkenazi, HaIsha beAspaklaryat haYahadut, I (Tel Aviv: Zion Press, second edition, 1979), p. 138; Shlomo Ashkenazi, "Dor Dor uManhigav" (Tel Aviv: Don Press, 1977), pp. 209-210; Emily Taitz, "Women's Voices, Women's Prayers: Women in the European Synagogues of the Middle Ages," in Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue, supra, note 3*, pp. 59-71; Shoshana Gelerenter-Leibowitz, "Growing Up Lubavitch," in Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue, supra, note 3*, pp. 238-242; Shoshana Pantel Zolty, supra, note 3*, pp. 173-176. These volumes cite the Epitaphs of Urania of Worms (d. 6 Adar 5025 [1275 C.E.],) who "with sweet tunefulness officiated before the female worshipers to whom she sang hymnal portions"; Rechenza of Nurenberg (d. August 1, 1298), Guta bat Natan (d. 1308), and Dulce of Worms (d. 1238, wife of R. Elazar of Worms, author of the Ma'ase Rokei'ah).
180*. R. Joseph Messas, Nahalat Avot, V, part 2, pp. 268-269. The citation is from the Master's degree thesis research of David Biton, Department of Jewish History, Hebrew University. We thank David Biton and Leah Shakdiel for bringing this source to our attention.
181. Resp. Mishne Halakhot, IV, sec. 78; R. Avraham Weiss, supra, note 57, p. 56, footnote 47.
182. See discussion at note 109, supra.
182*. As to Sephardic kehillot, see Resp. Shemesh uMagen, II, sec. 72, no. 3 and supra, note 90. Regarding Ashkenazic communities, see Mo'adim uZmanim, I, sec. 9. R. Shternbuch adds that in light of their high educational level, contemporary Jewish women should no longer be lenient with daily prayer-despite the lack of practice in the past.
183. See notes 219 and 220, infra.
183*. This suggestion is confirmed by the comments of R. Avraham Weiss, supra, note 57, p. 56, footnote 48. See also the comments of R. Yitzchak A. Sladowsky, supra, note 69, where he writes: "Our primary objection concerns the reading from a sefer Torah."
184. R. Schachter, supra, note 61 at pp. 131-132, and R. David Cohen, supra, note 65; and R. Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, supra, note 73.
185. Leviticus 18:3. See also Leviticus 20:23.
186. See sources cited in Encyclopedia Talmudit, XVII, "Hukot haGoy," p. 305.
187. Supra, note 129.
188. Cf. R. Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, supra, note 73. R. Goldberg cites a responsum of R. David Zevi Hoffman, Resp. MeLamed leHo'il, I, sec. 16, which discusses the use of an organ in the synagogue. R. Hoffman contends that the prohibition of u-be-hukoteihem applies also to actions and modes of behavior which imitate the practices of Jewish heretics (e.g., Reform Jews). R. Hoffman finds support for his argument in Mishna Hullin 2:9, which forbids slaughtering an animal in the marketplace and allowing the blood to drain into a hole. The mishna explains that such behavior is not allowed since it appears "to imitate the ways of the minim." Rashi, Hullin 41b, s.v. "Ye-hake," comments that through imitation "one will strengthen their hand in their ways." The Talmud, ibid., proceeds to quote a beraita which explicitly bases this prohibition upon the biblical text of u-be-hukoteihem. See Encyclopedia Talmudit, supra, note 186, at 316-317. R. Goldberg accordingly argues that inasmuch as women's participation in the prayer service finds its source in Reform practice, following suit would transgress u-be-hukoteihem.
With all due respect, however, R. Goldberg's reliance upon R. Hoffman's responsum is quite problematic. As noted by the various commentaries, the activities of the minim prohibited by the above Mishna Hullin are idolatry-related practices. See, for example, Rabbeinu Gershom, ad loc.; Rashi, Hullin 41a, s.v. "Aval." In fact, R. Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, Resp. Seridei Eish, III, sec. 93 (end), underscores this very point in his discussion of R. Hoffman's responsum. R. Weinberg therefore takes pains to note that the use of the organ in the synagogue was initially instituted by the Reform movement with the clear design of imitating Christian religious services. Under such circumstances, adopting Reform practice would in essence constitute an adoption of Christian practice and thus violate u-be-hukoteihem.
No such parallel can be drawn with women's tefilla groups. All-female prayer groups do not imitate either established Christian religious practice or Jewish heretical practice rooted in non-Jewish religious behavior. Interestingly, in discussing a women's Torah reading accompanied by keriat haTorah benedictions, R. Ovadiah Yosef strengthens his prohibitive ruling by arguing that one must guard against the ways of the Reform movement. Nevertheless, he refrains from suggesting that such a practice is a violation of u-be-hukoteihem. See R. Ovadiah Yosef, Yom haShishi, 14 Shevat 5750 (Feb. 9, 1990), p. 30; R. Isaac Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, II, sec. 143, Keriat haTorah baAsara, no. 4 and note 6; Kitsur Shulhan Arukh Yalkut Yosef, O.H. sec. 143, no. 5.
In closing, it should be emphasized that R. Weinberg concurs, as does R. Ovadiah Yosef, that those specific practices and innovations which would strengthen the convictions of Jewish heretics are clearly to be avoided, despite the fact that they do not technically violate u-be-hukoteihem. However, such considerations are within the realm of public policy, a subject which we will discuss more fully later in this paper.
189. Cf. M.T., Hilkhot Avoda Zara, 11:1. The terms "mada'o" and "dei'otav," however, are to be properly understood and translated as "theology" (or "articles of faith") and "ethical behavior," respectively, and not "ideas" and "opinions." See the commentaries of both R. Joseph Kafah and R. Nachum L. Rabinovitch, Yad Peshuta, ad loc. Of course, a particular idea or view may be prohibited on other grounds.
190. Leviticus 18:3.
191. Torat Kohanim, Aharei Mot, Parsheta 9:8. See also Chap. 13:9.
192. For a summary of the authorities and views on this issue, see Resp. Yabia Omer, III, Y.D. sec. 25, nos. 8-9; Encyclopedia Talmudit, supra, note 186, at 306-307.
193. Resp. Seridei Eish, III, sec. 93.
194. Resp. Yabia Omer, VI, O.H. sec. 29; Resp. Yehave Da'at, II, sec. 29; Yalkut Yosef, III, sec. 225, no. 20.
195. R. Aaron Walkin, Resp. Zekan Aharon, I, sec. 6.
196. Resp. Yehave Da'at, supra, note 194, pp. 296-297.
197. Resp. Yehave Da'at, supra, note 194 at p. 111. Cf. R. Isaac Herzog, "Proposed Enactments in the Laws of Inheritance," in Constitution and Law in the Jewish State according to the Halacha (Jerusalem: Mossad HaRav Kook-Yad HaRav Herzog, 1989), pp. 2-4, regarding rabbinic concern with charges of discrimination against women in inheritance matters. Excerpts of R. Herzog's proposal have been translated into English and annotated by R. Ben Zion Greenberg in "Rabbi Herzog's Proposal for Takkanot in Matters of Inheritance," Jewish Law Association Studies, V: The Halakhic Thought of R. Isaac Herzog (1991), p. 50, at 58-64.
197*. See various articles in Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue, note 3* supra.
198. Supra, note 62.
199. R. Menashe Klein, unpublished responsum, supra, note 64.
200. Psalms 45:14.
201. For an extensive review of "Kol kevuda bat melekh penima," see the series of articles by Meir Shoresh, Shema'atin 17:60 (Tevet, 5741), p. 57; 18:64 (Kislev, 5741), p. 57; 18:65-66 (Nisan, 5741), p. 106; 19:67-68 (Tishrei-Kislev, 5742), p. 75.
202. M.T., Hilkhot Ishut, 13:11; Tur and Rama, H.M. sec. 72, no. 1.
203. Shavuot 30a; Tur and Shulhan Arukh, H.M. secs. 96 and 124.
204. Resp. Benei Vanim, I, sec. 40. See also ibid., Ma'amar 6.
205. Supra, note 202.
206. Surprisingly, R. Schachter (supra, note 62) suggests that kol kevuda is the rationale behind the exclusion of women from a minyan quorum. We have previously (supra, note 3) demonstrated that according to many, if not most, posekim, there are a variety of instances where women may indeed count together with men, and certainly alone with other women, towards a minyan quorum; see text at note 24, supra. Although public prayer is not one of these instances, the reason has nothing to do with kol kevuda. It would seem clear that kol kevuda is not relevant to the fulfillment of religious rituals in general and prayer services in particular.
207. Nitei Gavriel-Dinei uMinhagei Purim, sec. 13, no. 3, end of note 6. R. Shlomo Chaim Aviner, Hesed Ne'urayyikh (Jerusalem, 1991), p. 68ff-see especially p. 72.
208. R. Sha'ul Yisraeli, editor's note 4, p. 226, to R. Moses Dov Wilner, HaTorah ve-haMedina 4 (Elul 5712), p. 221-reprinted in BeTsomet haTorah ve-haMedina (Jerusalem: Tsomet, 1991), III, p. 230, note 7, p. 235; R. Issacher haLevi Levin, HaTorah ve-haMedina 5-6 (5713-5714), p. 55, section 12, p. 61-reprinted in BeTsomet haTorah ve-haMedina, III, p. 236, sec. 8, p. 242; R. Aryeh Binosovsky (Bina), HaTorah ve-haMedina 5-6 (5713-5714), p. 62, section 14, p. 70-reprinted in BeTsomet haTorah ve-haMedina, III, p. 221, sec. 6, p. 228; Mikvei haMayyim, III, Y.D. sec. 21; Resp. Benei Vanim, supra, note 204; R. Asher Eliach, cited in Resp. Rivevot Ephrayyim VI, sec. 68. Surprisingly, even R. Menashe Klein seems to agree that there is a relative element to kol kevuda; see Resp. Mishne Halakhot, IV, sec. 125. To this list should be added all those posekim who allow women to assume community leadership roles (elected or otherwise). See R. Chayim Hirschensohn, Resp. Malki baKodesh, II, as well as assorted letters of concurring scholars in volumes III and VI; R. Jacob Levinson, HaTorah ve-haMada (New York: 5692), pp. 22-54; Resp. Mishpetei Uziel, H.M. III, sec. 6; R. Samuel E. Turk, HaDarom 41 (Nisan, 5735), p. 63 and Resp. Peri Malka, secs. 67-71; R. Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, Torah she-be-al Pe 20 (5739), p. 66 and Resp. Binyan Av, I, sec. 65; R. Joseph Kafah, HaIsha veHinukha (Kefar Saba: Amana, 5740), p. 37; R. Shlomo Goren, interview in Ma'ariv, April 1, 1988, second section, p. 3; R. Hayyim David HaLevi, "Zekhut Isha liVhor u-le-hi-Baheir," Tehumin 10 (5749), p. 118 and Resp. Mayyim Hayyim, I, sec. 70. See also R. Simon Federbush, Mishpat haMelukha beYisrael, ed. Ben-Tzion Rosenfeld (Jerusalem: Mossad haRav Kook, 1973) p. 69; Aryeh A. Frimer, "Nashim beMo'eitsot Datiyyot: HaHalakha Davka Be'ad," HaTsofe, Nov. 3, 1986, p. 3.
209. Supra, note 208.
210. G. Kranzler, "The Women of Williamsburg: A Contemporary American Hasidic Community," Tradition 28:1 (Fall 1993), pp. 82-93; T. El-Or, "Maskilot uVurot" (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1993); J. Rotem, "Ahot Rehoka" (Tel Aviv: Steimatzky, 1993).
211. This point is discussed above at length in Section A. See also note 74, supra.
212. R. Feinstein is cited in the text below-see, however, note 224, infra. R. Shapiro discussed his position in a taped conversation with Dov I. Frimer, R. Elisha Aviner and Dr. Joel Wolowelsky, July 25, 1997. See also R. Avraham Weiss, Women at Prayer (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1990), p. 111, and note 74, supra. The position of R. Jakobovits and the London Bet Din, appears infra, note 222, while that of R. Shlomo Goren is noted, supra, note 57. See also R. Jonathan Sacks, infra, note 222; R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, supra, note 129; and R. Eliezer Berkovits, Jewish Women in Time and Torah (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1990) Chapter 4; R. Eliezer Berkovits, Letter to The Jerusalem Post, September 20, 1985, p. 15). This position was also advocated by R. Avraham Weiss in his book, Women at Prayer, ibid.; R. Elyakim Getzel Ellinson (1987), in an as-yet unpublished supplement to the English translation of HaIsha ve-haMitsvot; as well as by R. Saul Berman, in a taped public lecture at Lincoln Square Synagogue, December 10, 1986, and again in a conversation with Aryeh A. Frimer, July 1987.
213. R. Nachum L. Rabinovitch ruled leniently both regarding a women's tefilla, in a conversation with Dov I. Frimer, Sept. 26, 1994 and July 3, 1997, as well as women's hakafot on Simhat Torah, interviewed by Dov I. Frimer and Ben Tzion Greenberger, Sept. 26, 1994, and Dov I. Frimer, June 28, 1997. R. Aharon Lichtenstein, interviewed by Dov I. Frimer, Sept. 26, 1994, also maintained that women dancing with the Sefer Torah on Simhat Torah was halakhically permitted; however, the discussion with R. Lichtenstein was merely a theoretical one and not a pesak halakha le-ma'ase (ruling in practice). Both scholars indicated that the women's hakafot should not be carried out in the men's section, but rather behind the mehitsa or in a separate room.
214. Conversation with Aryeh A. Frimer, June 17, 1996.
215. See Section E below.
215*. See also R. Shlomo Riskin's conversation with R. Feinstein, infra, note 264.
216. Resp. Igrot Moshe, O.H. IV, sec. 49.
217. This was confirmed by R. Tendler in a conversation with Dov I. Frimer on September 16, 1997. R. Tendler noted that his discussions with his grandfather were conducted in Yiddish. The subsequent responsum, written by R. Tendler in Hebrew to R. Meir Fund of Brooklyn, New York and dated 14 Sivan 5743 (May 26, 1983), was based upon R. Feinstein's formulations and phraseology. On this latter point, see the exchange of letters by R. Bertram Leff and R. Alfred Cohen, The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 34 (Fall 1997), pp. 115-118.
217*. R. Mordechai Tendler, conversation with Dov I. Frimer, ibid. See also the related comments of R. Avraham Shapiro in the text, infra, following note 225*. R. Ovadiah Yosef, Yom haShishi, 16 Iyyar 5757 (May 23, 1997), p. 26, has indicated that one should not rely on the halakhic rulings of a rabbi who, despite his recognized general scholarship, is known not to be an expert in halakha. Should one rely on such a halakhic ruling, if the rabbi's pesak later proves to be in error, the questioner is held fully culpable (ne-hshav ki-meizid) for his/her misdeeds. See also Resp. Rashba, I, sec. 98 (end).
218. Except for the words in italics which appear in the original letter in Hebrew.
219. R. Chaim Spring, personal written communication to Aryeh A. Frimer (November 1985): "I have no objection to this reading in the synagogue library. Why are you asking the question? There are some things you don't ask, because once you ask them they become political questions with all the accompanying pressures. You have to know when to ask a she'ela."
220. Ma'ale Adumim Chief Rabbis Joshua Katz and Mordechai Nagari, Ma'alot, no. 185, Parshat Tetsave 5756, Halakha Sedura, sec. B, no. 5 and conversation with Dov I. Frimer, March 23, 1996-this ruling was reprinted the following year as well in Ma'alot, Parshat VaYikra 5757, Halakha Sedura; R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, "Mahu Kevod haTsibbur," HaDarom 55 (Elul 5746), pp. 33-41 (see especially top of page 37)-expanded and revised in Resp. Benei Vanim, II, no. 10; R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, Tsibbur Nashim biKri'at haMegilla, Keshot, 4 (Adar II/Nisan 5755), sec. 14, pp. 8-10-reprinted in Resp. Benei Vanim, III, sec. 7; R. Gedaliah Felder, cited by R. Henkin in HaDarom, ibid. In a conversation with Aryeh A. Frimer, April 29, 1992, R. Henkin reaffirmed the accuracy of this citation, despite its omission in the revised Benei Vanim presentation of this responsum. Similar opinions have been orally expressed by (in alphabetical order): R. David Cohen, conversation with R. Shael I. Frimer, March 1979, and to Aryeh A. Frimer, March 1980; R. David Feinstein, conversation with Aryeh A. Frimer and Noach Dear, March 26, 1991, and to Aryeh A. Frimer, Dov I. Frimer and Noach Dear, March 19, 1995; and R. Levi Yitzchak haLevi Horowitz, The Bostoner Rebbi, conversation with Mr. Noach Dear, March 1990-however, on April 13th, 1997, the Rebbi's gabbai, Nesanel Peterman, wrote the following: "Since the Rebbi considered this issue in the early 1990's, the whole question of women's 'rights' has become more complex and the Rebbi would like to consider the wider issues further." R. Aharon Lichtenstein, conversation with R. Chaim Brovender, March 1992 and February 1994, and to Dov I. Frimer, October 21, 1992 and February 19, 1994, also permits a women's Megilla reading. Nevertheless, R. Lichtenstein does advise Jerusalemite women not to hold such a reading when the fifteenth of Adar falls on Shabbat (known as Purim me-shulash). In such an instance, Jerusalemites read on the fourteenth, and, as noted previously (see discussion at note 42, supra), many posekim maintain that since this reading is not on its normally designated date, a minyan is an absolute requirement. (In all other years, a minyan is advisable but not a prerequisite to fulfillment.) While most authorities agree that ten women do constitute a minyan for mikra Megilla even on Purim me-shulash, a minority dissent (see supra, note 106 and discussion in Aryeh A. Frimer, Tradition, supra, note 3). R. Lichtenstein maintains, therefore, that it is best to be stringent so as to be sure that one's obligation has been fulfilled. Cf. the view of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, text infra, near notes 265-267. R. Ahron Soloveichik, in a taped conversation with Dov I. Frimer, July 8, 1997, ruled that in those communities, such as in Israel, where there is already an established custom to have a second Megilla reading for women, it is irrelevant whether the reader is male or female. Elsewhere, where such a minhag is not so common, a special women's Megilla reading should not be permitted (for hashkafa and public policy reasons; vide infra, Section E). Should the local rabbi be afraid, however, that a rift in the community might result, he should refrain from taking any position whatsoever on the matter.
Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, Yabia Omer, VIII, O.H. sec. 56, end of no. 4, writes: ". . . Resp. Mishne Halakhot (Mahadura Tinyana, I, O.H. sec. 550) challenges the custom of women who make a minyan by themselves for mikra Megilla . . . On the contrary, the aforementioned custom should be encouraged." The cited Resp. Mishne Halakhot deals with a custom for one woman to read the Megilla for all the women present. R. Yosef's teshuva seems to imply that he approves of this custom in its entirety. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out for accuracy that this responsum deals with the question of women's counting for a minyan for mikra Megilla, not with the question of whether women can read for other women. Indeed, R. Ovadiah Yosef never tackles this latter question head-on in any of his writings, though neither does he rule it out, despite his many opportunities to do so. This is presumably because he maintains that by law (mi-tsad ha-din), women can read even for men, though he permits it in practice only if there are no other viable options (bi-she'at ha-dehak). See Yehave Da'at, V, sec. 34, note 2, p. 162; MeShiurei Maran haRishon leTsiyyon Rabbeinu Ovadiah Yosef Shelita, I, Gilyon 19, VaYera 5756, sec. 2; Me'or Yisrael, I, Megilla 4a, s.v. "Tosafot d"h nashim"; Yalkut Yosef, V, Dinei Keriat haMegilla, sec. 12, p. 287; Kitsur Shulhan Arukh Yalkut Yosef, sec. 689, no. 7.
The above posekim who permit a women's Megilla reading reject two often-quoted rulings: The first is that of Magen Avraham, O.H. sec. 689, no. 6, who, based on Midrash Ne'elam Rut, indicates that it is preferable for women to hear the Megilla from men. Although R. Israel Meir haKohen cites Magen Avraham in Mishna Berura, O.H. sec. 689, no. 8, he takes serious issue with him in Sha'ar haTsiyyun no. 16, ad loc. Midrash Ne'elam is not accepted as normative halakha by the following: Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 689, no. 5; former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, cited by R. Moses Harari, Mikra'ei Kodesh-Hilkhot Purim, 6:8, note 29; several other posekim cited by R. Nahman Kahana, Orhot Hayyim, O.H. sec. 689, no. 2, note 6.
The second ruling is that of R. Nethanel Weil, Korban Netanel, gloss to Rosh, Megilla, chap. 1, sec. 4, note 40, who, based upon Tosafot Sukka 38a, s.v. "beEmet amru," indicates that it is a breach of propriety (zila milta) for a woman to read Megilla for a group of women. The view of Korban Netanel is cited approvingly by Mishna Berura, ibid., Sha'ar haTsiyyun no. 15 and Kaf haHayyim, O.H. ibid., no. 17. Nevertheless, the posekim cited above, as well as many others cited infra in the next paragraph of this note, would argue that Korban Netanel misunderstood the ba'alei haTosafot, who were in fact discussing the impropriety of a woman's reading of the Megilla for men. This understanding of Tosafot is maintained by Magen Avraham, O.H. sec. 271, no. 2 (as noted by Korban Netanel himself) and has been confirmed by the text in Tosafot haRosh, ad loc., which explicitly refers to men. According to this approach, Tosafot's "zila milta" is only a different formulation of the Kevod haTsibbur concept applied to keriat haTorah (Megilla 23a; Shulhan Arukh O.H. sec. 282, no. 3), though the two may not be identical. See also the comments of R. Chaim Zalman Dimitrovsky to Rashba, Megilla 4a, s.v. "veAmar R. Yehoshua," note 431; the related comments of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik in Reshimot Shiurim, R. Zvi Joseph Reichman, ed. [New York: 4749], Sukka 38a, p. 184, s.v. "Beram le-fi haTosafot"; Otsar Mefarshei haTalmud, Sukka, II, 38a, s.v. "I nami mishum."
As pointed out above, several posekim-in addition to those cited in the first three paragraph of this note-have taken issue with Korban Netanel. Hence, R. Jacob Zev Kahana, Resp. Toledot Ya'akov, sec. 5; R. Jehiel Michel Tucazinsky, Lu'ah Erets Yisrael, Purim dePrazim; and R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, cited in Halikhot Beita, Petah haBayyit, sec. 25-all maintain that one woman may make berakhot for many others. We note, however, that R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, as recorded in a personal written communication from his nephew, R. Yitshak Mordechai Rubin, to R. Asher Viner (Kislev 5794), was nevertheless unwilling to permit a women's Megilla reading, though he does not state why. The following posekim also set aside the view of Korban Netanel: R. Gavriel Zinner, Nitei Gavriel-Dinei uMinhagei Purim, sec. 13, no. 9, note 14; R. Zvi Kohen, Purim veHodesh Adar, sec. 10, no. 17; R. Haim David Halevi, Mekor Hayyim liBnot Yisrael, sec. 34, nos. 6 and 7; and R. Moses Mordechai Karp, Zer Aharon-Inyanei Purim (Jerusalem: Oraysa, 5749), sec. 21, no. 7, who writes: "All the posekim have stated simply that a woman can read for other women, and it would seem so even for many women." See also R. Karp's Hilkhot Hag beHag: Purim, sec. 7, no. 3, note 7, p. 60, where he states: "See the Sha'ar haTsiyyun, who writes in the name of Korban Netanel that a woman should not read for many women because of zila milta. This does not seem to be the view of other posekim." These four authors indicate, however, that because of Midrash Ne'elam, a women's Megilla reading is not preferred; it is, nevertheless, permitted if necessary. See also Arukh HaShulhan, O.H. sec. 271, no. 5, and R. Ben-Tsiyon Lichtman, Benei Tsiyyon, IV, O.H. sec. 271, no. 3, s.v. "veRa'iti," who also disagree with Korban Netanel's understanding of Tosafot, though their stance on a women's Megilla reading is unknown.
Both of the past Chief Rabbis of Israel have published opinions against women's Megilla readings: former Sephardic Chief Rabbi R. Mordechai Eliyahu is quoted by R. Moses Harari, Mikra'ei Kodesh-Hilkhot Purim, sec. 6, no. 8, note 30; while former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Abraham Kahana Shapira is quoted by his assistant, R. Zalman Koitner, in a letter distributed by a group called "Women of Efrat for the Achdut of Halakha" and published in the newspaper Yom haShishi, 15 Adar 5791 (March 1, 1991), p. 8. R. Shapira's letter indicates that although ". . . halakhically, a woman can read for other women," "one should not change the prevalent custom" which has followed the more stringent ruling of Mishna Berura (Korban Netanel). As noted above, R. Menashe Klein, Mishne Halakhot, Mahadura Tinyana, ibid., also dissents.
221. For example, R. David Cohen and R. David Feinstein, supra, notes 65 and 66. In the words of R. David Feinstein: "You can't forbid women from doing that in which they're obligated." See also MiShiurei Maran haRishon leTsiyyon Rabbeinu Ovadiah Yosef Shelita, I, Gilyon 19, VaYera 5756, sec. 2, where R. Ovadiah Yosef permits a woman to read Megilla for a man (when necessary and only according to Sephardic usage), concluding: "And this is not, perish the thought, a Reform innovation, since this is the law and the halakha."
222. R. Immanuel Jakobovits, L'Eyla 28 (Rosh haShana 5750, September 1989) pp. 21-22, reprinted in Dear Chief Rabbi, Jeffrey M. Cohen, ed., (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1996), pp. 90-91. In February 1993, his successor, R. Jonathan Sacks, published a similar lenient ruling on the propriety of women's prayer groups, provided these services were held outside the synagogue premises. In addition, a sefer Torah could not used for this purpose. See Jewish Chronicle, February 18, 1994, pp. 1, 6 and 18.
223. The issue of berakhot at a women's keriat haTorah will be discussed at length in Part II of this paper. Suffice it to say that the following leading posekim explicitly forbid the recitation of birkhot keriat haTorah at a women's Torah reading: R. Ovadiah Yosef, Yom haShishi, 14 Shevat 5750 (Feb. 9, 1990), p. 30; R. Isaac Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, II, sec. 143, Keriat haTorah baAsara, no. 4 and note 6; Kitsur Shulhan Arukh Yalkut Yosef, O.H. sec. 143, no. 5; R. Joseph Kafah, HaIsha veHinukha (Kefar Saba: Amana, 5740) p. 35, nos. 9 and 10; R. Efraim Greenblatt, Rivevot Ephrayyim, VI, sec. 153, no. 12; Minhat Yitshak, supra, note 5; R. Feinstein, infra, text following note 217; R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, infra, text at note 251; British Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits and the London Bet Din, supra, text at note 222; R Mordechai Eliyahu, supra, note 20; R. Abraham Shapira, supra, end of note 36; R. Shlomo Goren, supra, notes 57, and R. Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Tradition 26:3 (Spring 1992), pp. 97-99. We note in addition R. Feinstein's insistence that no Torah benedictions-not even the birkhot limud haTorah appearing in the birkhot ha-shahar-be recited, lest it create the erroneous impression that the women's Torah reading constitutes keriat haTorah; R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, infra, text at note 251, concurs. R. Jakobovits suggests the use of a Humash for Torah readings rather than a sefer Torah, although he does not explicitly forbid its use. His successor, R. Sacks, does, however; see supra, end of note 222.
224. In light of R. Feinstein's clear skepticism, it might well be argued that he should be grouped together with the Rav and Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik (see infra, section E of text) as one who opposes women's tefilla groups on hashkafic and public policy grounds (personal communication from Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein, May 29, 1997 and Rabbi Shael I. Frimer, June 12, 1997). Nevertheless, because of the apparent leeway he gave ba'alei hora'a to determine the matter on a case-by-case basis, we believe it more correct to include R. Feinstein in this middle school. See also the exchange of letters by R. Bertram Leff and R. Alfred Cohen, note 217, supra, as well as note 225**.
225. Supra, note 4, at p. 308. See also p. 323. The syntax of the original Hebrew is quite complex and has been somewhat simplified in our English translation.
225*. Similar comments were independently expressed by R. Aharon Lichtenstein with regards to women's hakafot; see note 213, supra.
225**. R. Shapiro explained that this was the basis of the halakha of arketa de-misana; see Sanhedrin 74a-b. For a similar understanding of the Sanhedrin text, see R. Abraham Borenstein of Sochaczew, Resp. Avnei Nezer, Likutei She'eilot uTeshuvot, sec. 149; Cf. R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, as cited by R. Zvi (Hershel) Schachter, supra, note 61, p. 133, who gives a similar explanation. It should be pointed out that R. Shapiro pushes the middle approach quite close to that of the Rav and Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik (vide infra, Section E). Yet there is a clear distinction between the two approaches: R. Shapiro allows for a case-by-case determination of the "policy" issues, while the Rav and Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik view these issues on a broad base, as inherently related to the nature and essence of women's prayer groups. See also note 224.
226. See, inter alia, Encyclopedia Talmudit, IX, "Halakha veEin Morin Kein," p. 339; R. Solomon ben Aderet, Resp. Rashba, I, end of sec. 98; R. Isaac bar Sheshet Perfet, Resp. Rivash, sec. 394, s.v. "Od re'itikha"; R. Zvi Hirsch Chajes, Darkei Hora'a, Heilek Sheni, s.v. "veKhen ha de-amru." For a list of examples, see the Addendum section of this paper, Part 4.
227. We have discussed above the prohibition of bal tosif-adding to the Torah; see supra, text and note 91. Based on bal tosif, Maimonides forbids one to claim that something is biblically forbidden when it is actually rabbinic in origin. In M.T., Hilkhot Mamrim 2:9, he writes: "If the [court] forbids fowl [seethed in milk], claiming that it is included in "goat" and is forbidden biblically, this is an addition. However, if it said that goat flesh is biblically permitted, but we forbid it and we notify the people that it is a [rabbinic] edict . . . this is not an addition. . . ." Ra'avad, ad loc., dissents, arguing that biblical verses are often cited in the Talmud as source-texts for rabbinic prohibitions. See Kesef Mishne and Lehem Mishne. For further discussion, see the Addendum section of this paper, Part 5.
228. See the Addendum section of this paper, Part 6, for a discussion of various aspects of lying. As discussed therein, many leading posekim maintain that it is forbidden to knowingly misrepresent halakha or the rationale behind a given ruling even if the purpose is to prevent possible future violations; others dissent.
229. See Igrot Moshe and Resp. Aderet Tiferet, supra, note 123; Mishne Halakhot, IX, sec. 262; R. Solomon Sobel, Salma Hadasha, Mahadura Tinyana, Haftarat Toledot (cited in R. Jacob Yehizkiya Fisch, Titein Emet leYa'akov, sec. 5, no. 36); R. David Cohen, conversation with Aryeh A. Frimer and Dov I. Frimer, March 20, 1995; Rabbi Zelig Epstein, conversation with Aryeh A. Frimer and Noach Dear, March 8, 1996.
230. In discussing the prohibition to forbid that which is permitted (see infra, note 232), R. Shabtai haKohen, Siftei Kohen, Y.D., end of sec. 242, Kitsur beHanhagat Hora'ot Issur veHeter, no. 9, writes: "Therefore, if [a posek] must prohibit because he is in doubt or because of a stringency in a matter which is not clear as the sun, he must notify [the questioner] that the prohibition is not clear-cut, but that we must nevertheless be stringent." Sedei Hemed, Aleph, kelal 214, "Asur la-asor et haMutar," citing Shakh, states that the same is true if the prohibition is based on a "humra be-alma" (non-obligatory stringency), because otherwise the stringency may well lead to future error. See also R. Joseph Elijah Henkin, Teshuvot Ivra, sec. 52, no. 3 (in Kitvei haGri Henkin, II) and the discussion of R. Ephraim Meir Lasman, cited in Resp. Seridei Eish, I, sec. 6, subsect. a, s.v. "Kedei le-kayyeim."
231. R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, Resp. Benei Vanim, I, sec. 37, no. 12, strongly advises against upgrading a prohibition, since such misrepresentation most often results in gossip, hate, unlawful leniencies in other areas, hillul Hashem, and a total loss of trust in rabbinic authority should the truth become known. (This despite the fact that, as mentioned in the Addendum section of this paper, Parts 4 and 5, R. Y.H. Henkin maintains that when a posek upgrades a prohibition for just cause, there is no prohibition of either bal Tosif or lying). Similar views are expressed by Resp. Torah liShma, sec. 371; R. Moses Jehiel Weiss, Beit Yehezkel, p. 77; R. Abraham Isaac haKohen Kook, infra, note 232; R. Joseph Elijah Henkin, supra, note 230; R. Haim David HaLevy, unpublished responsum to Aryeh A. Frimer, dated 7 Shevat 5756; and R. David Feinstein, conversation with Aryeh A. Frimer and Dov I. Frimer, March 19, 1995. See also the commentary of Radbaz to M.T., Melakhim 6:3, where even normally permitted lying is forbidden lest it result in hillul Hashem should the truth be discovered. Similarly, in discussing Sanhedrin 29a and the cause of Adam and Eve's sin (see the Addendum section of this paper, Part 5), R. Hanokh Zundel, Eits Yosef, ad loc., s.v. "Ma," comments that one must be particularly careful how a stringency and its rationale are formulated, for if no distinction is drawn between a stringency and the original ordinance, any error found in the stringency may lead the masses to believe that there is an error in the original ordinance itself.
232. For example, according to several sources, included in the prayer of R. Nehunya ben haKana (Berakhot 28b) is the phrase, ". . . And that we should not permit the forbidden and forbid the permitted;" see Yerushalmi, Berakhot 4:2; Maimonides, Commentary to Mishna Berakhot 4:2 and M.T., Berakhot 10:23; Rif and Rosh, Berakhot 28b. In addition, the Mishna in Avot V:8 states, "A sword comes to the world . . . because of those who teach Torah not according to the halakha." Rabbeinu Jonah of Gerondi, R. Ovadiah of Bartenura, Tosefot Yom Tov, Tiferet Yisrael, and R. Pinhas Kehati all understand this to include both he who prohibits the permitted and he who permits the forbidden. R. Shabtai haKohen, supra, note 230, states: "Just as it is forbidden to permit the forbidden, so it is prohibited to forbid the permitted . . . because [a stringency in one place] will lead to a leniency elsewhere." Resp. Teshuva meAhava, I, sec. 181, at the end, states, "The punishment for one who is improperly stringent in his ruling is greater than that of one who is improperly lenient." Resp. Divrei Hayyim, I, Y.D. sec. 2 (based on Maimonides' Sefer haMitsvot, Lo Ta'ase 273) argues that one who forbids the permitted violates the biblical prohibition of "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment . . ." (Leviticus 19:15). Resp. Igrot Moshe, Y.D. II, sec. 45, states: "It is also clear that one is obligated to clarify the law, even if there is reason to fear that as a result there may be some wrongdoers and fools who will err. . . . And the clarification of the law, even to be lenient, is an obligation even greater than teaching Torah. . . ." Particularly noteworthy are the comments of R. Samuel Eliezer Edels, Hidushei Aggadot to Hullin 44b, s.v. "haRo'e," who indicates that one who is stringent in case of doubt gets a share in the world to come, but that one who labors to find grounds for leniency not only gets a share in the world to come, but enjoys this world as well! See also Encyclopedia Talmudit, VIII, "Hora'a," p. 489, and references cited in footnotes 48-50 therein; Sedei Hemed, Aleph, kelal 214, "Asur la-asor et haMutar" and Pe'at haShulhan, Ma'arekhet haAleph, kelal 75; Resp. Maharashdam, Y.D. sec. 91; Resp. Ya'aveits, I, sec. 5, s.v. "veKhi teima"; R. Joseph Engel, Beit haOtsar, Aleph, no. 136, s.v. veAyyin od beSifra," p. 204; R. Baruch HaLevy Epstein, Mekor Barukh, III, sec. 17; R. Abraham Isaac haKohen Kook, Orah Mishpat, no. 111 (pp. 117-120) and 112 (pp. 120-129); R. Ephraim Meir Lasman (cited in Resp. Seridei Eish, I, sec. 6, subsection a, s.v. "Kedei le-kayyeim"; R. Aaron Levin, Birkat Aharon, no. 233; Resp. Devar Yehoshua, I, sec. 19 and the addendum thereto; Resp. Az Nidberu, VI, p. 156 at end; Mishne Halakhot, IV, sec. 105; V, sec. 104; IX, sec. 262; R. Gedalia Felder, Nahalat Tsevi, II, pp. 22-24; Sefer Beit Aharon, VII, kelal "Ein laAsor haMutar," pp. 565-605. For a popular presentation of the subject, see R. Moshe Weinberger, "Keeping up with the Katz's," Jewish Action 48:3 (Rosh haShana 5749) (1988), pp. 10-19 and references cited therein; see especially p. 15ff and footnote 62 ad loc.
233. For similar statements, see Tashbeits, III, sec. 281; Resp. Radbaz I, sec. 129 at end; Pit'hei Teshuva, Y.D. sec. 184, no. 5.
234. R. Abraham Isaac haKohen Kook, supra, note 232, p. 123, column b, and p. 126, column a. The correspondence deals with R. Kook's Passover certification of kitniyyot (legume) oils prepared by an innovative process.
234*. See the comments of Justice Elon, supra, note 4, at pp. 322-323.
235. Names in alphabetical order (date of interview): R. Yosef Adler (3/10/96), R. Moshe Berger (7/23/97), R. Jeffrey Bienenfeld (4/12/97), R. Kenneth Brander (2/12/96), R. Mordechai Feuerstein (2/5/96), Mrs. Sabina Frimer (4/5/96), R. Shmuel Goldin (7/29/97), R. David Gorelik (3/7/96 and 9/7/96), R. Carmi Horowitz (2/16/96 and 2/21/96), R. Yehuda Kelemer (2/16/96 and 6/17/96), R. Baruch Lanner (5/4/97), Mr. Nathan Lewin (7/24/97), R. Aharon Lichtenstein (9/25/94, 2/1/96 and 1/8/97)), Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein (2/1/96), R. Haskel Lookstein (2/1/96 and 3/13/96), Dr. Caroline Peyser (5/9/97), R. Shlomo Riskin (1/31/96, 5/27/96 and 1/1/97), R. Bernard Rosensweig (8/5/97), R. Jacob J. Schacter (2/1/96), R. Haym Soloveitchik (2/5/96), Dr. Atarah Twersky (2/1/96), R. Mayer Twersky (7/28/97), R. Oscar Wachstock (R. Abraham Etzion; 1/31/96, 2/1/96 and notes dated Emor 1972), R. Binyomin Walfish (3/10/96), R. Charles Weinberg (2/1/96 and 2/21/96). We express our deepest thanks to all of these people for sharing with us the details of their conversations with the Rav and for allowing us to publish their remarks. In addition, we wish to thank R. Saul Berman (7/87, 1/31/96 and a taped public lecture at Lincoln Square Synagogue, 12/10/1986) for his assistance and valuable source material, and Mrs. Nancy Forse Shloush (2/18/96, 2/23/96 and 5/6/96) for her detailed recollections regarding the background to the Brandeis women's service. See also R. Moshe Meiselman, note 63, supra; R. Mayer Twersky, "Torah Perspectives on Women's Issues," Jewish Action 57:4 (Summer 5757/1997), pp. 24-29.
236. R. Mordechai Feuerstein, who served as the Rav's shamash during the early 1970's, has indicated to us that he believes the first time the Rav addressed the issue of women's services was late in 1971 (shortly before the Rav's conversation with R. Shlomo Riskin; vide infra, note 264). The Rav shared with R. Feuerstein that a group of women studying at Brandeis University had approached him on the matter. The Rav was not in favor of the prayer group, but it was clear to the Rav that the women were not prepared to listen and would proceed under any circumstance. The Rav consequently gave them halakhic guidelines similar to the ones he later gave to R. Wachstock and R. Riskin; see text and notes 249-251. Our attempts at discovering who actually spoke to the Rav regarding the Brandeis women's prayer group have proven unsuccessful. The last to speak to the Rav on this issue was presumably Dr. Caroline Peyser, in early 1986.
237. See Nefesh haRav, pp. 24-26; conversation with R. Aharon Lichtenstein.
238. R. Moshe Meiselman, supra, note 63, p. 146. R. Aharon Lichtenstein emphasized that minhag beit ha-kenesset is not an independent category and does not appear as such in the halakhic literature. Rather, it is, as a rule, part of the general concept of custom and practice. Nonetheless, R. Soloveitchik has noted that minhag beit ha-kenesset can, under the proper circumstances, also be rooted in the concept of kedushat (kevod) beit ha-kenesset. See R. Meiselman, ibid. See also R. Zvi Schachter, supra, note 62.
239. See notes 162-163, supra. Apropos, Dov I. Frimer recalls that as National Educational Coordinator for Yavneh, the National Religious Jewish Students Association, he approached the Rav regarding the idea of reading from the Torah on Shabbat while facing the congregation rather than facing the Holy Ark. R. Soloveitchik responded that indeed, such a practice is mentioned by R. Joseph Caro in his Kesef Mishne, Hilkhot Tefilla 11:3. Nonetheless, inasmuch as the accepted custom is to read the Torah facing the Ark-as noted by R. Caro himself-one should not act otherwise. See also Nefesh haRav, p. 131, no. 3.
240. The Rav had expressed the concerns outlined in this paragraph to R. Yehuda Kelemer and R. Binyomin Walfish. The term "brinkmanship," however, was utilized by the Rav in his conversations with R. Kelemer.
241. See Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 17, no. 2.
242. This formulation is that of Dr. Atarah Twersky. See also R. Aharon Lichtenstein, "The Rav at Jubilee: An Appreciation," Tradition 30:4 (Summer 1996), p. 45, at p. 54, who writes: "He [i.e., R. Soloveitchik] was like the Rambam, persistently perturbed by religious vulgarization, practical or conceptual, and by shallow ritualization." See as well the relevant remarks of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik himself in his essays, "Ma Dodekh miDod," in Divrei Hagut veHa'arakha (Jerusalem: Department for Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora of the World Zionist Organization, 1981), p. 57, at p. 93; "Tefillatam shel haYhudim," Ma'ayanot, Tefilla (Jerusalem: Department for Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora of the World Zionist Organization, 1964), pp. 9-11. For an adapted translation of the latter by Shalom Carmy and Menachem Kasdan, see "Jews at Prayer," Shiurei haRav, Joseph Epstein, ed. (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1974), pp. 82-85.
243. Similar comments have been made by R. Immanuel Jakobovits, L'Eyla 29 (Pesah 5750, April 1991), pp. 26-27-reprinted in Dear Chief Rabbi, Jeffrey M. Cohen, ed. (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1996), pp. 86-88. See also Resp. Igrot Moshe, O.H. IV, sec. 49 and text near notes 214-216. Justice Menachem Elon's remarks supra, text at note 225, regarding R. Feinstein's motivational requirement, are equally relevant in relation to R. Soloveitchik's analysis.
244. Surprisingly, R. Soloveitchik does not entertain the possibility that women attending women's prayer groups are perhaps motivated by a sense of greater kavvana. See supra, notes 100 and 101, that a number of posekim maintain that greater kavvana supersedes tefilla be-tsibbur. R. Lichtenstein indicates that until approximately the time when the Rav's wife, Tonya, fell ill (ca. 1963), the Rav was of the opinion that other spiritual considerations (e.g., the study of Torah, enhanced personal kavvana) could be of greater importance than participating in communal prayer. Later, however, the Rav modified his position. Although he continued to maintain that communal prayer was not in and of itself a halakhic requirement, he now attributed much more significance to tefilla be-tsibbur than he had hitherto. As a result, the Rav believed that one should not sacrifice tefilla be-tsibbur merely for increased kavvana; one should rather strive to attain the highest level of kavvana which he can within the communal prayer setting. As previously mentioned, the conversations with the Rav, which serve as the basis for this article, took place during the 1970's and early 1980's, somewhat after his change of mind. Consequently, for the Rav, greater kavvana could not serve as a valid justification for women's prayer groups.
245. See discussion at the beginning of Section B at note 59.
246. Conversation with R. Kenneth Brander. R. Brander was the Rav's shamash at the time the responsum appeared (1985) and was personally present at those times when individuals tried repeatedly to convince the Rav to add his signature to the responsum. The Rav consistently refused to do so.
247. Conversation with R. Brander. For the sake of accuracy, Rabbi Brander emphasizes that due to health considerations, the Rav did not review the pesak, and therefore neither expressly accepted nor rejected its specific arguments.
248. It was for this reason that the Rabbinical Council of America, as well, refrained from adopting the responsum of the RIETS Rashei Yeshiva as official halakhic policy of the organization-despite the fact that the RIETS responsum was addressed to the then president of the R.C.A., R. Louis Bernstein. Approximately a year or so prior to the appearance of the responsum, during R. Gilbert Klaperman's tenure as R.C.A. President, R. Binyamin Walfish, in his capacity as Executive Director of the R.C.A., met with the Rav in order to receive guidance on a variety of issues relating to women and halakha. During this very important conversation, R. Soloveitchik indicated-as he had on numerous other occasions with other people-that there were few serious halakhic problems with women's prayer groups, provided they refrain from devarim she-bi-kdusha. Nonetheless, the Rav expressed to R. Walfish his strong feeling that such groups should be discouraged. The Rav emphasized, though, that his considerations were not strictly halakhic, but more in the realm of public policy. The Rabbinical Council of America believed that it could not adopt a halakhic view, such as that articulated in the RIETS responsum, which was clearly contrary to the Rav's own position. See supra, note 59.
248*. See R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, "Nos'ei haTsits ve-haHoshen," in Divrei Hagut veHa'arakha (Jerusalem: Department for Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora of the World Zionist Organization, 1981), pp. 187-194.
249. The initial conversation with the Rav regarding the Maimonides women's tefilla was held with R. Oscar Wachstock (R. Abraham Etzion). The essence of that conversation is found in R. Wachstock's notes dated Emor 1972, which corresponds to the week of 9 Iyyar 5732-April 23, 1972. (R. Wachstock does not recall, however, the precise date of his meeting with the Rav, though it occurred several months earlier-presumably at the very end of 1971.) R. Wachstock sent a copy of his notes to his close friend, R. Saul Berman. We are very grateful to R. Berman for providing us with a copy of these valuable notes. These notes-with certain critical deviations regarding birkhot haTorah prior to the pseudo keriat haTorah-provided the framework for the women's prayer group held by R. Berman while serving as rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan. R. Berman was apparently unaware that the Rav had distinguished-albeit on public policy grounds-between the educational setting and a communal one; see below at note 254. Moreover, as noted in the text, the Rav withdrew his support for the idea even within educational settings.
250. See, for example, Siddur haGra (before Aleinu), pp. 182-184; R. J. Emden, Siddur Beit Ya'akov (following Tahanun), p. 81; Otsar haTefillot (before Ashrei), I, pp. 418-420; Seder Avodat Yisrael (following Tahanun), pp. 120-121; Siddur Tefilla haShalem (before Ashrei), pp. 99-101; Siddur Beit Tefilla (after shaharit), pp. 149-151.
251. This is explicitly stated in the notes of R. Wachstock, supra, note 249. R. Soloveitchik gave the same instructions to Rabbis Riskin and Horowitz when they, respectively, discussed the matter with the Rav. See also R. Meiselman, supra, note 63, p. 197, note 64. R. Wachstock and R. Horowitz indicate that the Rav might have considered allowing birkhot limud haTorah "were it not for the Conservatives." (From R. Wachstock's notes. The Rav was concerned about the confusion the berakhot might generate in light of the general egalitarian movement within Conservative and Reform Jewry.) Cf. R. Meiselman, ibid., p. 145. We will defer further discussion of the issue of birkhot haTorah (limud or keri'a) before a pseudo keriat haTorah to Part II of this paper. Re: the issue of nidda and sefer Torah, see infra, note 258.
252. To R. Jeffrey Bienenfeld.
253. R. Soloveitchik also provided the same guidelines, outlined in this paragraph of the text, in situations where it was clear that the service could not be totally prevented-as was indeed the case in the Brandeis University women's service; vide supra, note 236. A similar case arose in 1978, when a rabbi who was about to assume a rabbinical position discovered that the synagogue had a regular women's tefilla group. Under the circumstances, there was no possible means for the new rabbi to halt the women's service entirely. The Rav advised the rabbi to make sure that no devarim she-bi-kdusha would be recited. R. Soloveitchik made it clear that he did not endorse women's services and that he was not at all happy with the direction they had taken; nonetheless, under the circumstances, this was the least detrimental alternative. On a separate occasion, he told Rabbi Kenneth Brander that in these type of be-di-avad situations, the services should preferably be held outside of the synagogue so that the differentiation between them and regular minyanim would be evident; see text after note 244, supra.
254. Our information regarding the initial attempts to start a women's tefilla at the Maimonides School in 1972 is based upon our conversations with R. Oscar Wachstock and R. Charles Weinberg, as well as R. Wachstock's above-mentioned notes (supra, note 249). R. Wachstock was a teacher at the Maimonides school during the relevant period, while R. Weinberg, a personal friend of the Rav, was a member of the Maimonides Board of Education. Our remarks regarding the 1974 attempt are based upon conversations with R. Carmi Horowitz and R. Weinberg. R. Horowitz taught at Maimonides at that time, while R. Weinberg then served as the school's Head of the Hebrew Department. As far as the Rav's fears that his halakhic ruling would be misunderstood and misapplied, it indeed seems that they were well justified; see supra, note 249.
255. Conversation with R. Aharon Lichtenstein.
256. Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 135, no. 14. For a detailed discussion of the issue of tiltul sefer Torah as regards various other practical aspects of women services, see Part 2 of this paper and supra, note 138.
257. R. Aharon Lichtenstein, conversation with Dov I. Frimer, 20 Tishrei 5755 (9/25/94).
258. While this was implicit in his remarks to many of the people with whom the Rav discussed this matter, R. Soloveitchik stated it explicitly in his conversations with R. Haskel Lookstein and R. Baruch Lanner. A further discussion of nidda and sefer Torah will be deferred to Part 2 of this paper, which deals with the "Practical Issues" of halakhic women's prayer groups. Apropos, the Rav indicated to R. Wachstock that niddut would similarly not prevent a woman from wearing tefillin. Cf., however, Arukh haShulhan, O.H. sec. 34, no. 6.
259. While the Rav expressed his opposition to hakafot in shul on many occasions, his opposition to hakafot extended, in reality, to other venues as well-even where tiltul sefer Torah was not involved.
260. See R. Zvi Schachter, "MiPeninei haRav Zal," Beit Yitshak 27 (5755), 1-20, at p. 5.
261. Conversation with R. Walfish.
262. In his conversation with R. Baruch Lanner in the late 1970s regarding Simhat Torah hakafot for the National Council of Synagogue Youth, R. Soloveitchik recommended against their institution, despite their obvious educational benefit. Moreover, in discussions with R. Yosef Adler and R. Binyomin Walfish, the Rav expressly indicated that his opposition extended both to women's participation in formal hakafot ("Ana Hashem hoshia na" etc.) and to their dancing-even behind the mehitsa-with a sefer Torah between hakafot. See also R. Moshe Meiselman, supra, note 63, p. 146. R. Moshe Berger reports that in the early 1980s, the Rav also advised Orthodox women from Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel to refrain from having a special Torah reading on Simhat Torah, even without berakhot.
262*. Conversation with R. Yehuda Kelemer; see text at note 214, supra.
263. See, for example, R. Zvi Schachter, "MiPeninei haRav Zal," Beit Yitshak 28 (5756), 9-34, at p. 23.
264. R. Moshe Meiselman, supra, note 63, p. 146. See also supra, note 238. R. Shlomo Riskin, then rabbi at Lincoln Square Synagogue, had been among the first people to discuss the women's services and hakafot issue with R. Soloveitchik, sometime in late 1971. Also present at that meeting was the Rav's shamash during that period, R. Mordechai Feuerstein. The Rav gave R. Riskin the same halakhic guidelines he gave to R. Wachstock (see text and notes 249-251). Nonetheless, the Rav expressed his view that women's services were "tokenism"-to which the Rav objected (see note 242, supra). Moreover, the Rav believed that it was not worth "the political price." Despite all the above, R. Riskin maintains that the Rav conveyed to him a sense that he had confidence in R. Riskin's judgment of his community's needs. Accordingly, for Simhat Torah 5733 (October 1, 1972), R. Riskin arranged for a women's service to meet in the synagogue's beit midrash. In so doing, R. Riskin was among the first Orthodox rabbis in the United States to actually hold women's hakafot and services in his synagogue.
R. Riskin has shared with us that a few short years after he instituted these practices at Lincoln Square Synagogue, he received word that the Rav was displeased. As a result, he went to ask the Rav whether or not he should "pull back on the whole thing." R. Riskin reports that the Rav responded, "No." In addition, R. Riskin went to consult as well with R. Moshe Feinstein on the matter. R. Feinstein inquired whether, in R. Riskin's judgment, women would leave Lincoln Square Synagogue and go to the Conservative synagogues if the women's services and hakafot were halted. R. Riskin responded in the affirmative, "Most definitely." Upon hearing R. Riskin's evaluation, R. Feinstein told him that had he (R. Riskin) approached him (R. Feinstein) prior to initiating the women's hakafot and services, R. Feinstein would have opposed their institution. However, inasmuch as R. Riskin had already introduced these practices, and since their cessation would cause women to leave for the Conservative movement, R. Riskin could allow them to continue.
265. See discussion supra, text and note 44 and notes 78 and 79.
266. See supra, note 106 and discussion in Aryeh A. Frimer, supra, note 3.
267. Conversations with R. David Gorelik, R. Jacob J. Schacter and R. Binyomin Walfish. Both R. Schacter and R. Walfish noted, however, that the Rav indicated that if necessary, there was room to be lenient. Consequently, R. Soloveitchik advised R. Walfish that where the women of a particular congregation insist on having their own Megilla reading, the rabbi should not object. Similarly, in a telephone conversation with R. Shmuel Goldin and Mr. Nathan Lewin (in 1980 or 1981), the Rav permitted a women's Megilla reading by Mr. Lewin's daughter, Alyza, for those women who were unable to attend the regular congregational, early morning, Purim minyan. R. Soloveitchik emphasized, however, that the women's reading should not be held in shul, that the ba'alat keria could read only for women, and that this reading was not meant to replace the more preferred regular reading with a male minyan.
Apropos, R. Adler recalls that the Rav often commented on his difficulty in accepting the view of Behag, Halakhot Gedolot, Hilkhot Megilla, s.v. "haKol hayyavin." Behag maintains that women are obligated in a lesser obligation of merely hearing the Megilla, while men are obligated in the maximal obligation of reading. Nonetheless, the Rav acknowledged that since Rama, O.H. sec. 689, no. 2, cites Halakhot Gedolot's ruling approvingly, it has become normative halakha. Consequently, women could not read Megilla for Ashkenazic men. Interestingly, though, in the Winter of 1977, our sister-in-law, Mrs. Sabina Frimer, asked the Rav whether she could read the Megilla for her grandmother and home-bound grandfather. The Rav responded that it would be preferable to find a male to read for them, but if she were not successful, she could read for them herself. The Rav also suggested that the grandfather should make the berakhot.
268. R. Ahron Soloveichik, taped conversation with Dov I. Frimer, July 8, 1997.
269. It is interesting to note that while R. Ahron Soloveichik casts doubt on the motivation of the overall majority of women's tefilla participants, the Rav (text, supra, following note 244) tended to acknowledge the legitimate motivation of many of the rank and file. See also R. Nisson Wolpin and Levi Reisman, note 3*, supra, for a critique of the public pronouncements of some of the prominent Orthodox feminist leadership.
270. For a summary of the parameters of this halakhic concept, see Encyclopedia Talmudit, VI, "Geneivat Da'at," pp. 225-231.
271. Regarding mimicry in women's prayer services, see Joel B. Wolowelsky, Women, Jewish Law and Modernity: New Opportunities in the Post-Feminist Age (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1997), pp. 105-110.
272. See Encyclopedia Talmudit, XV, Hillul Hashem, p. 340 at 347-351, s.v. "beAdam hashuv."
273. See above, note 220, first paragraph. R. Ahron Soloveichik also opposes a women's Torah reading in a school setting, irrespective of whether berakhot are recited.
274. R. Gedalia Dov Schwartz, supra, note 223; conversation with Dov I. Frimer, November 19, 1997.
275. Cf. note 139, supra.
276. R. Schwartz cites the responsum of R. Aryeh Leibush Balachover, Resp. Shem Aryeh, O.H. sec. 5, as precedent for the position that the possibility of fragmentation and divisiveness is a legitimate consideration in halakhic rulings.
277. Among all of those with whom we discussed this point, only one individual-who requested that his name not be used-indicated that the Rav, in conversation with him regarding hakafot, utilized the term assur. All others emphasized that the Rav clearly refrained from the use of this term, invoking instead the phrase "not recommended" or the like.
278. Supra, note 4, at p. 325.
279. See R. Joshua haKohen Falk, Derisha, H.M. sec. 1, no. 2.
280. For recent reviews, see Joel B. Wolowelsky, "Women and Kaddish," Judaism 44:3 (Summer 1995), pp. 282-290. Joel B. Wolowelsky, note 271, supra, pp. 84-94; R. Reuven Fink, "The Recital of Kaddish by Women," The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 31 (Spring 1996), pp. 23-37.
281. R. Ahron Soloveichik, Od Yisrael Yosef Beni Hai, end of sec. 32, p. 100.
282. R. Joseph Elijah Henkin, Kitvei haGri Henkin, II, Teshuvot Ibra, sec. 4, no. 1.
283. R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin, Letter to the Editor, The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 32 (Fall 1996), pp. 97-102.
284. Conversations with R. Avraham Shapiro, supra, note 212, R. Ahron Soloveichik, supra, note 268 and again on November 2, 1997, and R. Gedalia Dov Schwartz, supra, note 274.
285. Our many conversations with women across America active in women's prayer groups reveal that in many-though certainly not all-communities, the generation of the daughters (now in their late teens and twenties) are substantially less interested in such groups. These younger women do eagerly attend when some special occasion or event is celebrated, be it a Simhat Bat (or Zeved haBat), Bat Mitsvah, a Shabbat Kala, or a women's Megilla reading; nevertheless, they are only marginally involved in the tefilla group on a regular basis. While this trend is unquestionably worthy of further documentation and analysis, various interim interpretations of these facts have been put forward. One possibility is that it is a result of negative social pressure; the "daughters" fear that involvement in such groups would stigmatize them as "Women's Libbers," affecting possible future shiddukhim or employment possibilities. Another relates this phenomenon to the fact that this second generation-unlike many of the mothers-has benefited from extended periods of intensive higher Jewish learning (see note 3*, supra). On the one hand, these daughters are dissatisfied with what they view as the incompleteness and inauthenticity of the women's prayer service; on the other, they are substantially more attracted to advanced Torah scholarship, which they value as more permanent and genuine. Put simply, they aspire to being talmidot hakhamim rather than hazzaniyyot. We note in this regard that R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik verbalized on many occasions his belief that-public policy issues aside-the women's energies were being misdirected in their battle for prayer groups. These intellectual and spiritual energies could be more properly, profitably and permanently invested in Torah scholarship (conversations with R. Baruch Lanner, R. Binyomin Walfish and R. Charles Weinberg). Indeed, the Rav actively supported women's involvement in all areas of Torah study, and he himself inaugurated the Talmud program at Stern College for Women.
286. Resp. Seridei Eish, III, sec. 105-this responsum is dated 1951. See also ibid., II, sec. 52. The issue under discussion was the right of women to vote and be elected for government. On this topic, see at length, "Leah Shakdiel vs. The Minister of Religious Affairs et al," (1988), 42 (ii) Piskei Din 221, pp. 247-270. Regarding R. Weinberg's position, see p. 260.