Why are Some Women Sporting a Tallit?

Why are some women sporting a tallit?

Several folks are inquiring “Tallit for women! Why?” in just the Progressive motion and the Conservative motion currently. In a single sense this is a easy dilemma about women’s tallit in an additional sense it is particularly complicated.

People inquire “why?” for lots of distinctive factors: just for the reason that they are curious for the reason that they are bewildered for the reason that they are astonished for the reason that they are bemused for the reason that they are indignant …  This short article makes an attempt in some smaller way to respond to all these “why’s” – and the personal men and women inquiring them – by presenting the private accounts of some of the distinctive women who are now sporting a tallit.

The dilemma “what does custom have to say?” is each a lot more and significantly less complicated than the dilemma “why?”  Considerably less complicated, for the reason that it addresses the issue of the halachah governing the efficiency of Jewish ritual a lot more complicated, for the reason that for the ‘Progressive and Conservative’ Jews, the received halachah is not the only guideline for doing work out our modern day Jewish apply.

By documenting the ‘sources’, this short article ‘answers’ the queries of what ‘tradition’ has to say about women’s Tallit.  But how do Progressive and Conservative Jews respond to that custom?  Obviously, by taking the move of sporting a tallit for morning prayer on a common foundation, women are immediately confronting the issue of the efficiency of mitzvot on the portion of Progressive Jews.

Girls and the mitzva of sporting Tallit

By custom there are 613 mitzvot in the Torah, and these have been enumerated and elucidated by the rabbis of the Mishnah, Talmud and Codes.  The 613 have been divided into mitzvot aseh (favourable commandments) – commandments which say “You shall …” – and mitzvot lo aseh (damaging commandments) – commandments which say “You shall not …”  At first it was thought that all Jews were being obligated to have out all of the commandments.

However, by the time of the Mishnah, a custom was establishing which sought to restrict the obligations of women about the mitzvot.  In the Talmud, tractate Kiddushin (29a) we read through:

“All favourable mitzvot which are timebound (that is, which will need to be done in just selected time boundaries, no matter if of a working day, a 7 days or a time), men are obligated with regard to them but women are exempt.  However, all favourable commandments which are not timebound, each men and women are obligated to fulfil them.  All damaging mitzvot, no matter if or not timebound, each men and women are obligated to fulfil them.”

This is then debated by the rabbis (Kiddushin 34a):

“Our rabbis taught: which are the mitzvot which are favourable and confined by time?  Sukkah and lulav (dwelling in a sukkah and shaking the lulav), hearing the shofar, and (sporting) tzitzit and tefillin … But is this a kelal (standard principle)?  (Taking in) matzah, rejoicing (on the festivals) and assembling (for the Shalosh Regalim) are favourable, timebound mitzvot and women are obligated in them.  In addition, research of Torah, procreation and the redemption of the to start with-born are not favourable, timebound mitzvot but women are exempt from them …”

The rabbis were being obviously informed of the contradictions in their situation while they finally arrived at a suggests of preserving their standard principle (that is, that women are exempt from all timebound, favourable mitzvot).  Despite the exceptions to this rule, it is obvious that the position of women in ritual was originally a fluid a single.

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