[Avodah] FW: partnership minyanim

Heather Luntz Heather at kolsassoon.org.uk
Sun Mar 10 14:53:43 PDT 2013

I wrote:

>>"Now Rav Freundel appears to be trying to suggest that there might be a
position which says that tephila is purely d'rabbanan, and yet while women

>>are obligated in it (since the gemora in Brochos 20b states this
explicitly) somehow the rabbis made up a different way of davening for men
and women,

>>without telling us what the differences are at any point.  However let us
think this through.  If we can say this about this, surely we can say this

>>about any rabbinic mitzvah under the sun.  Eg that the rabbis instituted
the mitzvah of the four cups, and they included women, but maybe they didn't

>>include women in the details, and the details and the times are completely
different for women - or pick whatever other rabbinic mitzvah you like in

>>which women are included."


And RM Bluke replied:


>In fact, this seems to be the shita of the Behag regarding women and
Megilla reading. The Gemara says explicitly that women are chayavos in
Megilla because of af hen hayu b'oso hanes, yet >the Behag claims that women
are only obligated in hearing the Megilla and not reading it and therefore
cannot be motzi men. In other words, according to the Behag, women and men
have >fundamentally different chiyuvim when it comes to Megilla, women have
a chiyuv to hear and men have a chiyuv to read even though we find no
explicit mention of this in the Gemara. 


Well not quite.  Firstly the Behag understands the situation with Megilla to
be modelled on that with Hakel as explained by Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah - an
exposition that is indeed in the gemora:  Chagiga 3a: hakel ea ha'am
ha'anashim, hanashim v'hataf [Devarim 31:12] if the men come to learn, and
the women come to listen what do the babies come to do? - in order to give
reward on those who bring them".  Ie the men come to do one thing, learn,
the women come to do a second and different thing, listen, and the babies
come to do yet a third thing.


Modelling the rabbinic mitzvah of reading the megilla in public on the torah
mitzvah of reading the Torah in public by Hakel is not anything like the
stretch that I refer to above (and of course the difference in obligation
regarding the Torah reading of Hakel can easily be understood to be derived
from the difference in obligation between men and women in relation to
talmud torah, a distinction everybody agrees to).


Secondly the Behag goes down this route because he is faced with what appear
to be a contradictions between the various sources.  Our Talmud, ie the
Talmud  Bavli (Megilla 4a) states, as you say, that women are obligated in
krias megilla because af hen b'oso hanes and again in Arechin 2b-3a which
states explicitly that women are kosher l'koreah es  hamegila  - again
citing af hen b'oso hanes.  However, the Talmud Yerushalmi says (perek 4
halacha 4)"Bar Kapara said: One must read the megilla before women and
before minors, for they, too, were involved in the risk [she-af otam hayu
ba-safek].  Rabbi Joshua ben Levi did so - he gathered his sons and the
members of his household and read before them".  This may be the same as the
Bavli, but may be supporting a weaker obligation of being read to, rather
than actually reading.  And then there is yet a third sources, the Tosephta,
which says (Tosephta Megilla perek 2 halacha  7s:

"All are obligated in the reading of the Megilla, kohanim, leviim and
Yisraelim, .... women, slaves and minors are exempt and do not exempt the


Now the most common approach is to say, well where a Tosephta disagrees
explicitly with the Bavli; even if the Yerushalmi might seem to suggest a
half way house of being read to, the Bavli trumps, and we posken like the
Bavli.   However the Behag's shita is, in these circumstances,
understandable - especially given the gemora regarding Hakel.  


I therefore don't think we can take the Behag's shita as a more general
licence to differentiate between men and women in terms of form of chiyuv in
the absence of (a) a Tosephta or similar  chazalic source that directly
contradicts our gemora with one saying chayav and the other saying patur;
and (b) a different but very closely related parallel (Torah) mitzvah in
which a distinction between men and women's obligations is explained in our
gemora on which the mitzvah could have been modelled and which makes clear
the nature of the distinctions.


And, one might add, the Behag is a rishon.   There is yet a further hurdle
to finding such distinctions when they were not even discovered by the
rishonim.   To argue that the existence of the Behag's shita  here gives a
general licence to us today to find fundamentally different chiyuvim between
men and women in any other mitzvah is a yet another large stretch.





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