[Avodah] Subject: Re: zoom minyan

Chana Luntz Chana at kolsassoon.org.uk
Tue Jul 21 12:08:22 PDT 2020

On Mon, Jul 20, 2020 at 10:59:57AM +0300 RDS wrote:

> In Hil. Tzitzis 3:9 the Rambam says that women don't make a brocho on a


> In [30] the Hag. Maimoniyos brings an interesting concept "in the name 

> of a Gadol": Those Mitzvos which can cause an Aveiro, women don't do.

> E.g. Tefillin could cause "Erva" issues with her exposed hair, Shofar 

> could cause carrying in a public domain.


And then RMB responded:


<<In general, the Rambam doesn't have women making berakhos on mitzvos that
they are einum metzuvos ve'osos. Which Sepharadim hold today. To the extent
that ROYosef's nusach doesn't have women saying sheim Hashem in birkhos
Qeri'as Shema!

So, I'm not sure why the HM needs to invoke the risk of an aveirah. Lo
zakhisi lehavin.

And more to our point, the lack of berakhah doesn't seem to me to prove the
mitzvah itself should be avoided because it means some risk exists.>>


We need to back up here.


There is a fundamental machlokus in the gemora between Rabbi Yehuda
(supported by Rabbi Meir), and Rabbi Yossi (supported by Rabbi Shimon) as to
whether women are permitted to perform mitzvos aseh she hzman grama - from
which they are exempt.  Rabbi Yossi says "reshus" - ie they are allowed.
Rabbi Yehuda says no, it is assur for women to perform mitzvos asseh
shehazman grama.


And there are two explanations given for Rabbi Yehuda forbidding women
performing mitzvos aseh shehazman grama.  The first (eg by Rashi) is of Bal
Tosif.  That is, if the Torah says women are exempt from performing certain
mitzvos, then for them to go ahead and perform them would violate the
principle of bal tosif.  However, most rishonim argue that bal tosif does
not make sense here, and therefore most rishonim, including those who posken
like Rabbi Yehuda, do so not under the principle of bal tosif, but under a
principle that can be called "halachic counter-pressure".  That is, even
Rabbi Yehuda did not forbid all women from doing acts that constitute
mitzvos (such as sitting in a sukkah on Sukkos, which, if you follow the bal
tosif principle would be ossur for a women to do), but only where there are
halachic counter-pressures, and the Haagahos Maimoniyos is quoting some of
the halachic counter-pressures that the rishonim discuss.


As we all know, we posken (both Sephardim (via the Shulchan Aruch) and
Ashkenazim (via the Rema)), like Rabbi Yossi, that women *may* perform
mitzvos aseh shehazman grama, and this Rambam is one of the bases for the
way the Shulchan Aruch poskens.  However:


a) there are a significant number of rishonim who posken like Rabbi Yehuda;

b)even within Rabbi Yossi, there are those who say that Rabbi Yossi only
permits where the halachic counter-pressure is something less than a Torah


If, like the Rambam, you holds that saying a bracha sheino tzricha is a
Torah violation, and you hold according to this view in Rabbi Yossi, you end
up with the Rambam's position.  If you follow Tosfos (Ri and Rabbanu Tam),
who holds that saying a bracha sheino tzricha is merely a rabbinic
prohibition, then following Rabbi Yossi t would be pushed aside in the
circumstance of a woman performing a mitzvah that is a reshus.  So holds the


For various talks I have given on this, I have drawn up the following
diagrams - I don't know if they will come out in the digest form, but I
think people find them useful to understand some of the complexity.  [RMB,
is there some way of embedding these in the digest?]  If you don't get them,
I am happy to email them separately.







Bottom line there are a lot of rishonim who did not hold like Rabbi Yossi,
and this is reflected in, inter alia, the discussion regarding tzitzis.
Because while the Tur, following his father the Rosh and the Rabbanu Tam/Ran
happily permit women to make blessings over shofar and lulav, he says in Tur
Orech Chaim Hilchot Tzitzit siman 17 ".And the Rambam writes that they may
wrap without a blessing, and he is going in his position that explains that
women are not able to bless on something from which they are exempt but
Rabbanu Tam writes that they are able to bless even though they are exempt
and it is better that they do not bless ..".  And the Bach, picking up on
this seeming contradiction says (Bach Orech Chaim Siman 17) On "And it is
better that they do not bless"; There is to ask from that which he writes in
siman 589 in connection with shofar that even though women are exempt they
are able to blow and to bless and one should not protest.  And it seems to
me that it seems from here that in connection with tzitzis that it is not
the custom for women to wear, and to bless, if so if a woman comes to ask ab
initio if it is permitted to dress in tzitzis and to bless he should say to
her that she should not bless because it is better that they should not
bless given the disagreement of our rabbis but with shofar where they are
already accustomed to blow and to bless they do not protest since they have
on whom to rely but if they come to ask ab initio also with shofar you
should say to them that they should not bless and we should rely on what was
written here regarding tzitzis and this is the law [also] regarding shofar."


But, it seems to me, to understand this portion, it is necessary to fully
understand the depth of rishonic opposition to women performing mitzvos aseh
shehazman grama.  The Hagahios Maymoniyos was one of  a number of Ashkenazi
rishonim who disagreed with Rabbanu Tam/Ri/Ran and held one should posken
like Rabbi Yehuda.






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