[Avodah] partnership minyanim

Chana Luntz Chana at kolsassoon.org.uk
Tue Feb 26 15:11:58 PST 2013

RAE writes:

>Pesukei D'zimrah is not part of Tefilla BeTzibur. That starts either at
Yishtabach, or just after.

That is what Rabbi Barry Freundel disputes in the articles cited in the post
to which I responded, and uses this as his argument that partnership
minyanim are assur (partnership minyanim apparently have women leading
psukei d'zimra and kabbalat Shabbat).  As mentioned, in the process he
therefore has to assur common Sephardi minhagim relating to psukei d'zimra.

RMB then responds to RAE:

>I am not sure I get this "either"... The berakhah after Pesuqei deZimra
can't be more part of Tefillah beTzibbur than PdZ itself.

It's not, but see the Beis Yosef there in Orech Chaim siman 53 - bringing
those who say there needs not to be a hefsek between Yishtabach and the
kaddish afterwards and hence the Shach needs to get into position and say
Yishtabach to avoid any hefsek.

> Getting back to the original conversation... I assume those supporting
Partnership Minyanim would fully agree. They aren't talking about trying to
>change halakhah, but to put women at the amud for those parts of the siddur
that don't need a real chazan. In that sense, PdZ is less problematic than
>Maariv -- Maariv was minhag Yisrael and thus effectively not really a
reshus even before chasimas haShas.

>Which then makes me wonder if and why this structure really satisfies
anyone's religious needs. To be told: Yes, you can participate, but only if
we can >prove your participation is in something that doesn't count?

It depends how seriously you are prepared to take the gemora's concept of
nachas ruach d'nashim.  Today's tendency is to trivialise and discount it -
but I don't think that is the gemora's approach or that of many rishonim.

But let’s start from the very beginning.

The gemora in Chagiga 16b is discussing the question whether [a man] when
doing smicha on a korban [as a man is clearly obligated to do] must do this
smicha with all his strength, or whether he should not.  And in the course
of that discussion a ma'aseh rav is brought where there was a korban to be
offered, and it was brought to the women's courtyard so the women could do
smicha on it ...

לא מפני שסמיכה בנשים - אלא כדי לעשות נחת רוח לנשים. ואי סלקא דעתך סמיכה בכל
כחו בעינן - משום נחת רוח דנשים עבדינן עבודה בקדשים? אלא לאו שמע מינה: לא
בעינן בכל כחו. - לעולם אימא לך בעינן בכל כחו. דאמר להו: אקפו ידייכו. - אי
הכי לא מפני שסמיכה בנשים? תיפוק ליה דאינה לסמיכה כלל! אמר רבי אמי: חדא ועוד
קאמר; חדא - דליתא לסמיכה כלל, ועוד: כדי לעשות נחת רוח לנשים.

"not because leaning is obligatory for women but in order to give “nachas
ruach” to the women. And if you would think that one needs leaning with all
one’s strength because of nachas ruach for the women would we [allow them to
do] work with kodshim [working with kodshim being a prohibition from the
Torah]?  Rather, derive from this that we do not [in the case of a man] need
with all one’s strength – no, I can say to that we do need with all one’s
strength, and they said to them float your hands [ie they told the women not
to do leaning with all their strength, even though that is what the men were
doing]  - if so, [it was not necessary to explain that] it was not because
of leaning for women.  Let him [Rabbi Abba Elazar], explain that they did
not do leaning at all.  Rav Ami said, one and another thing, one, that they
did not do leaning at all and further, it was done to give nachas ruach to

Now Tosphos's understanding of this is that while we posken like Rabbi
Yosi/Rabbi Shimon in the machlokus between them and Rabbi Meir/Rabbi Yehuda
whether or not women are permitted to do postive mitzvos dependent upon
time, this is only if allowing women to so do such mitzvos only involves (at
most) a breach of a d'rabbanan - as it does in the case of shofar, but not
if it involves a breach of a d'orisa - as it does in the case of doing
smicha on a korban.  Hence, while when it comes to shofar, a man will blow
solely for women (or allow women to blow solely for themselves) if they
haven't heard shofar on Rosh Hashana even if the man has himself fulfilled
the mitzvah and likewise he will carry a shofar to wherever a woman is so
she can hear it, even if he has heard it already  - even though all of these
actions involve breaching an issur d'rabbanan - all (according to Tosphos)
based on the concept of nachas ruach d'nashim - when it comes to something
that will involve a breach of a d'orisa, such as doing smicha with full
strength on a korban, then nachas ruach d'nashim does not go so far - but
what it does require/allow is for women to do something that approximates
the mitzvah, such as floating their hands on it, even though this is by no
means the mitzvah itself.

Now the Ra'avid at the beginning of Toras Kohanim has a different
understanding of this gemora.  While he ultimately poskens like Rabbi
Meir/Rabbi Yehuda that women *may not* do positive mitzvos dependent upon
time (ie clearly not the way we posken) based on other gemoras he explains
that this gemora indeed supports Rabbi Yosi/Rabbi Shimon ie:  According to
Rabbi Yosi/Rabbi Shimon who permit women to do smicha - that means full
smicha just like the men, and that has nothing to do with the concept of
nachas ruach d'nashim.  The second case in the gemora in Chagiga, where the
women were told to float their hands on the korban, was a case where it was
not their korban at all, it was their husband's korban, so that they really
had no shaychas to the korban, and no entitlement to get involved in it.
But because they felt connected to the korban, and felt it was kind of like
their korban, because of nachas ruach d'nashim it was important enough to
cause the Chachamim to bring the korban to the woman's courtyard (if the
korban had really been the woman's then she would have gone into the ezras
yisrael to to the smicha, so the bringing it out to the woman's courtyard is
another clue) and to have the women to float their hands on it.  

Ie  both Tosphos' and the Ra'avid's understanding of nachas ruach d'nashim
involves, as RMB puts it: "Yes, you can participate, but only if we can
prove your participation is in something that doesn't count?" - by floating
the hands in the women's courtyard, rather than by doing smicha in the ezras
Yisrael - and yet the Chachamim (possibly only, according to the Ra'avid,
Rabbi Yosi/Rabbis Shimon, whom we posken like, but perhaps even according to
everybody) clearly appear to believe that "this structure really satisfies
anyone's religious needs" - ie genuinely gave women something classified as
nachas ruach d'nashim and this was significant enough to disrupt the natural
course of the avodah.  Ie is only the circumstances in which this needs to
be invoked that changes.  According to Tosphos, if you only violate a
d'rabbanan by doing the "real thing" then that is what you do, and that is
the best form of nachas ruach d'nashim - while you only do these pseudo
rituals where otherwise you will trip over a d'orisa.  According to the
Ra'avid, nachas ruach d'nashim is where women have no shayches to the
mitzvah, and only then it is legitimate and appropriate to make up some sort
of pseudo ritual that will keep them happy.  The Ra'avid is concerned, given
that he poskens like Rabbi Meir/Rabbi Yehuda, to make sure there is no
zilzul or kilkul in the mitzvah - but even he holds that in circumstances
where there is no possibility of such zilzul or kilkul (the two cases he
brings are lulav and sukkah, without brochos) - even though such actions are
meaningless imitations of what the men do (since if you posken like Rabbi
Yehuda/Rabbi Meir there is no intrinsic value at all in any of these
actions), then there is no problem allowing these.

But both acknowledge, as would seem pretty straightforward from the gemora
(certainly if you do posken like Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Shimon), that nachas
ruach d'nashim is a legitimate and genuine concept and that just because RMB
cannot understand how this "really satisfies anyone's religious needs" (as
yes, I understand a true Brisker would seem to struggle, but maybe this
shows some of the weaknesses of Brisk - that the fullest expression of the
Brisk position cannot in fact be reconciled with the gemora).  Ie the fact
that there might be more in heaven and earth than would appear to be dreamed
of in Brisk philosophy does not necessarily mean that such concepts do not
exist, but maybe rather points to some inherent errors in that philosophy.

>Tir'u baTov!



More information about the Avodah mailing list