Questions about or that apply specifically to women.

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30
votes
20answers
5k views

How to tactfully circumvent opposite-gender handshake

Say you're a man in a professional setting, and a woman who isn't used to dealing with observant Jews stretches out her hand to greet you -- but your practice is to avoid shaking hands even in ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Bootstrapping problem: havdalah ends shabbat (for one who didn't daven ma'ariv) but lighting the candle is melacha?

This answer to a question about melacha before havdalah notes that in that situation one should say "baruch hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol" first. Does that apply to lighting the havdalah candle? I ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Why do men or boys have to cover their hair, but not unmarried women?

Whatever the reasons for covering hair (e.g. fear of heaven), they seem to equally apply to men and women. So why don't unmarried women have to cover their hair?
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Is a mechitza required for dancing at Jewish weddings? Why?

If the men and women aren't dancing together, is it strictly required that there also be a mechitza between them? If so, why? What guidelines would this mechitza have to meet? Or is it simply a smart ...
21
votes
3answers
611 views

What is a woman's obligation when it comes to T'fillah?

In Orthodox practice it is commonly thought that women are not obligated in T'fillah (parts of it anyway) due to its time-bound nature. However, what is a woman's obligation? Which prayers must she ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?
26
votes
3answers
3k views

What are the sources for women to wear/ not wear pants?

I have heard that the argument is beged ish / kli gever, and I have heard people say that even if that was once a real reason for it it doesn't apply today for various reasons. I understand that the ...
-1
votes
4answers
110 views

Why prefer the father to the mother?

"A father can protest that his son not say Kaddish for his mother, because the father's honor comes first (Darchei Moshe 376)." http://dafyomi.co.il/erchin/halachah/er-hl-025.htm "Question (an ...
11
votes
1answer
683 views

Married woman covering hair

Is it strictly necessary for a married woman to keep her hair covered in the following situations? If not, how important is it? 1) When alone in the house 2) When alone (or with husband) in the ...
7
votes
3answers
430 views

What is the status of the psak of a Maharat?

If an orthodox male Rabbi bestows semicha on a woman (dubbed Maharat), what is the status of her halachic decisions? This question is irrespective of whether or not the male Rabbi should confer ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Why don't Israeli women fast?

More than one Israeli has told me that women in Israel don't fast. More specifically, that a large percentage of otherwise observant (healthy, non-pregnant, non-nursing) Jewish women in Israel do not ...
3
votes
1answer
424 views

Can Moshiach be a woman?

Is there any statement by chazal or the poskim which precludes Moshiach from being a woman?
-5
votes
3answers
2k views

When did the switch to matrilineal descent occur?

Does anyone know when the switch the matrilineal descent took place? I've seen other information about the potential impetus, but when did it become so? Was there even a switch?
5
votes
1answer
217 views

How is lack of tznius lifnei eiver?

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, zt’l in Yechaveh Da’as III #67 indicates that a woman who dresses immodestly violates lifnei eiver. How/why does a woman dressing immodestly transgress the prohibition of lifnei ...
5
votes
3answers
556 views

Does a married woman have to cover her hair to make a bracha?

When making a bracha with shem u'malchut, one should not have erva (nakedness) exposed. For married women, their hair is considered to be erva. So does a woman who is married have to cover her hair ...
5
votes
3answers
596 views

Food cooked by woman during Niddah?

If according to my Bible translation - please correct me if it is wrong - anything a woman in niddah or a state of tumah, or 'impurity', touches or sits on becomes 'impure', can food cooked by her be ...
14
votes
1answer
348 views

Woman and Zimun: What is the requirement?

What is a woman's requirement to say Bircat Hamazon with a Zimun of women? What is a woman's requirement to say Bircat Hamazon with a Zimun of men?
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do divorced or widowed women still need to cover their hair?

I was recently reading the latest edition of Halachically Speaking. It says: A woman who is a widow r”l or divorcee still has an obligation to cover her hair. But why is this so? Why should they ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Are Jewish women permitted to use birth control that stops menstruation?

Is there any reason that a Jewish woman who has permission from her Rabbi to use birth control could not choose a pill that stops her from menstruating? Although certain birth control pills are ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Rashi's Daughters wearing Tefillin

There is a commonly held "tradition" that Rashi's daughters wore Tefillin. One highly educated rabbi/professor has publicly stated that he's spent 35 years searching for a source but to no avail. ...
4
votes
2answers
799 views

Are girls allowed to touch themselves?

I heard the guys aren't allowed to touch themselves because its wasted seed but what about girls. Would that be okay?
4
votes
2answers
339 views

Hair coverings for unmarried women

Shulchan arch even Ezra 21 paragraph 2 states "Jewish women may not go out in the market place with uncovered head whether married or not" why is this law not followed today
8
votes
2answers
442 views

Is there an actual mitzvah for women to dress tzanua in and of itself?

Is there an actual mitzvah for women to dress tzanua in and of itself? Or is it simply helping out a man's mitzvah of not looking at ervah when learning/saying brachas, and not being led to forbidden ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the original halachic source for a woman covering her collarbones out of modesty (tznius)?

Many contemporary instructions on women's modesty (tznius) say that necklines have to be high enough to cover the collarbones. I can certainly accept that if this is the communal standard, it should ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Mixed swimming in a pool?

What are the issues with mixed swimming, from a tzniut point of view? Does it make a difference if the swimmers are or aren't Jewish? For example, are there issues with me swimming with my wife and a ...
14
votes
2answers
683 views

Why is hair sometimes considered *erva* (nakedness) but sometimes not?

Why do people say that the hair of a married woman is considered as nakedness, but not the hair of a single woman? Isn't hair just hair? What if a man grew his hair long - would it also be ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Can a female be a Shochet? (slaughter animals)

Can a female slaughter animals according to Halacha? (sources)
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Woman's hair covering in the home or in private

Trying to sort out my question, I came across this one, which is closely related, but it is not an exact duplicate. According to those who say a woman must cover her hair, not just her head (those ...
10
votes
2answers
362 views

Do the Nine Measures Apply to the Woman?

Nedarim 20b discusses nine mannerisms which a man should avoid whilst being intimate with his wife. The Talmud says that practicing these nine mannerisms can lead to having obstinate, rebellious ...
8
votes
4answers
590 views

Moshe's divorcing Tzipora

Moshe refrained from marital relations with Tzipora for almost forty years, so as to be able to receive prophecy at any moment (Shabas 87:1). 1. Did he divorce her? 2. If not, why not?
1
vote
1answer
418 views

Which communities do not allow women to drive cars?

Which communities do not allow women to drive cars? I know the Belzer hassidim do not allow this, but I do not know about any other communities.
13
votes
3answers
415 views

The practice of (not) printing pictures of women in magazines and newspapers under religious auspices

I was reading a My Encounter the other week (not available online) which had an interview with the editor of The Moshiach Times. In it he described how the practice of other religious magazines at the ...
12
votes
3answers
658 views

If women are not obliged to daven maariv, should they daven if they wish to?

This source said that women are not obliged to daven maariv but may do if they wish. He since revised his view - see the source quoted by @Double AA's comment 25 Mar 16. This question was posed on ...
10
votes
2answers
309 views

Were there more than seven prophetesses?

The Bavli, M'gila 14 amud 1, quotes: Forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses prophesied for the Jews…. Further along on the page, it questions this: Were there no more? But it ...
9
votes
1answer
276 views

Teffilin and women

Rashi's daughters are popularly described as having worn Teffilin, but apparently there is no such source, just a popular urban legend in Jewish circles. Are there any women described in Rabbinic ...
8
votes
2answers
608 views

May a non-Jew have an abortion?

Are non-Jews permitted to have abortions? (Consider the gemara in Sanhedrin 57b where "a baraita brings in the name of Rabbi Yishmael that a Ben Noach gets capital punishment if he intentionally ...
6
votes
1answer
225 views

Women and Tefillah - per the Rav

I remember a long time ago hearing that the Rav (Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903–1993)) held that women should pray three times a day. Can anyone verify this, and what is the reason/source ...
6
votes
3answers
687 views

Do the Gemara and the Rema prohibit, or encourage, women putting on talit and/or tefillin?

An article in Ynet Judaism (in Hebrew) addresses the recent controversy regarding the prayer of Women of the Wall at the western wall. And claims the following claims: אף אחד גם לא הקריא להן את ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

How do different communities practice regarding women's saying a b'racha on s'firas haomer?

Mishna B'rura 489:3 says women do not say a b'racha on s'firas haomer; Aruch Hashulchan 489:4 says they do. What is the practice of various Ashk'nazi communities (for example, chassidic (various sects)...
2
votes
2answers
444 views

What is the source for a woman's voice as ervah?

What is the source that a woman's (singing) voice is considered ervah?
18
votes
7answers
2k views

Why are women exempt from (many) time-bound mitzvot?

I have heard two reasons for women being exempt from time-bound mitzvot and both seem problematic, so either there are additional explanations or I am not properly understanding these two: Women ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Can you see your wife unclothed?

I think someone in another question here (or on another site?) said he was told by his "chassan teacher" not to look at his wife unclothed. It seems like this is not the real halacha to me, or at ...
18
votes
4answers
704 views

How does an outsider know how to dress for a particular Orthodox community?

Standards of dress (at least for women) aren't nearly as consistent within Orthodoxy as we might wish. Wearing exactly the same halachically-correct clothing I have been under-dressed in some places ...
14
votes
3answers
353 views

Halachic Source for Women-Only Mikvaoth?

Some (actually many) Mikvaoth are designated for women's use only, generally for reasons of cleanliness. Is there Halachic literature supporting (or urging) this? (This question is not asking for ...
8
votes
2answers
847 views

May a woman look at a man for pleasure?

It's ossur for a man to look at a woman for pleasure. Even to look at her small finger with the intention of having pleasure from it (See EH"E Siman 21 Sif 1.) Is there any prohibition for a woman to ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

How assur is mixed dancing?

What is the level of the issur on mixed dancing? Minhag? D'Rabanan, D'oraita, etc.? What about separate dancing but without a mehitza?
6
votes
1answer
147 views

Which rishon allows women to appear without hair covering in front of less than three men in her own home?

I remember reading of an opinion that allows married women not to cover their hair when they are in their own home in the presence of three men or less. I cannot remember the source though and would ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Heter for not Covering Hair

Is there any Shut sefer or other that permits a women not covering her hair NOT the Aruch Hashulchan saying it is not Ervah but allowing a women to go out in modern times with their Hair uncovered?
27
votes
4answers
459 views

Female praying in masculine language

When women daven (pray), even by ourselves, it is convention to daven with male-gendered words ("modeh" vs "moda" as one of many examples). Why is this; are there sources that say we should be doing ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why don't brides (always) cover their hair for their weddings?

Why don't brides (always) cover their hair for their weddings? I understand that in some ultra-religious groups they do, but there seem to be many groups within Orthodoxy where they do not cover their ...