Questions about or that apply specifically to women.

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20
votes
16answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
541 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
839 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
220 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 women's requirement to say Bircat Hamazon with a Zimun of men?
10
votes
4answers
433 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?
4
votes
4answers
585 views

Matrilineal Descent

I have heard that matrilineal descent (i.e. having Judaism passed down through the mother) comes from the Roman period when women were raped by Roman soldiers and the babies were then said to be ...
13
votes
5answers
997 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
248 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
657 views

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?
1
vote
2answers
286 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?
16
votes
4answers
473 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
277 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
1answer
429 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
303 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
324 views

Should women eat in the Sukkah?

Is there any inyan for a woman to eat in the sukkah. I know they're not required (after all, it's a mitzvas asei shehazeman grama [מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא]), but I still know many women who do. Is this ...
5
votes
3answers
354 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
598 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?
5
votes
3answers
439 views

Hair Covering Before Marriage?

Are there any communities in America or Israel where women cover their hair before marriage? Do Satmar women cover their hair before marriage?
14
votes
3answers
767 views

The laws behind the separation of men and women

In Israel there is a hot debate because of instances on some communities where extra steps are taken to separate men and women in every day life. For example in some bus lines women seat in the back ...
11
votes
2answers
549 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
180 views

Criteria for the list of Nashim Kesheiros (Medrash Breishis Rabsi)

The Medrash Breishis Rabsi Parshas Chaya Sara 23:1 lists 22* Nashim Kesheiros. כ"ב נשים כשרות היו בעולם ואלו הן שרה, רבקה, רחל, לאה, סרח בת אשר, יוכבד, מרים, בתיה בת פרעה, דבורה, צללפונית אשת מנוח, ...
5
votes
2answers
256 views

What was so good about Naamah the Ammonite?

In Bava Kamma 38b we are told that one reason God spared Lot was because of the two good birds who would issue from his daughters. Rus from Moav and Naamah from Ammon. Rus is well known, the only ...
5
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
200 views

Kriyah at the Kosel for Women

Do women tear Kriyah at the kosel?
4
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
467 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 resent 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
274 views

Are women exempt from Tachanun and discouraged from saying it?

My brother heard from someone that she heard that women are exempt from saying Tachanun and therefore discouraged from saying it. Is this so? If so, why? Do you know sources for this? UPDATE: I ...
2
votes
5answers
119 views

Why aren't some the daily brachot made only once in a lifetime?

some of the daily blessings such as thanking God for not making me a non-Jew or (in my case) a woman seem to be things which one would only make a blessing for once in a lifetime. Why are they made ...
2
votes
1answer
228 views

Is the child of a convert, conceived after she converted, Jewish?

If a woman converted before she conceived any children are they considered Jewish? Even with a non-Jewish father? I understand that non-Jewish mothers with Jewish husbands do not have Jewish children ...
-4
votes
2answers
451 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?
12
votes
1answer
973 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
718 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?
13
votes
2answers
442 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
499 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a problem with women wearing red clothing?

I've heard that red clothing is forbidden for women to wear because it's immodest. Some recent psych research confirmed that men are more attracted to women in red. So that means it's prohibited, ...
6
votes
2answers
404 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
222 views

Should a woman wear a gartel?

My understanding of the halachic need for a gartel is very limited; is there any reason a woman should or should not wear one during prayer?
15
votes
1answer
681 views

What was daily life like for Jewish women living in al-Andalus in the 10th/11th centuries?

The emir of Al-Andalus (approximately the Iberian peninsula) declared himself a new caliph, breaking off from the caliphate in the east, circa 950 CE. I have read that the next couple hundred years ...
12
votes
2answers
477 views

Do Shaving Restrictions Apply to Bearded Women?

For example, if a woman were to have a beard, would she be permitted to shave it off with a razor or otherwise destroy it, or do these restrictions apply to both men and women?
11
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
210 views

Why was there a distinction made for women captives?

In Numbers 31, God tells the Israelites to wipe out the Midianites (and incidentally, Balaam) by killing every male. But they spared certain women (v17-18): Now therefore kill every male among the ...
9
votes
3answers
186 views

Is there value in gender-adapted names?

There are various Hebrew names in use that are feminizations of pre-existing masculine names. (The opposite case may exist as well, but I can't think of any examples.) Examples: Yaakova Rafaella ...
9
votes
2answers
302 views

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

This source says that women are not obliged to daven maariv but may do if they wish. Although the Shulchan Aruch (108:7) allows one to recite a Tefilat Nedava in a certain case, Halacha Berura (22nd ...
9
votes
4answers
271 views

Uman for Rosh Hashanah?

Why do people leave Eretz Yisroel to go to Uman for Rosh Hashanah? (It seems to me like leaving America for July Fourth.) In general what is the reason people go: is it Just a festival in the ...
9
votes
1answer
182 views

Chamisha Asar B'Av - when did the Minhag stop?

The Gemara Taanis 31. says אמר רבן שמעון בן גמליאל לא היו ימים טובים לישראל כחמשה עשר באב וכיוה"כ שבהן בנות ירושלים יוצאות ... וחולות בכרמים ומה היו אומרות בחור שא נא עיניך וראה מה אתה בורר לך אל תתן ...
9
votes
1answer
338 views

May a lady take a pregnancy test on Shabbos?

Are there any issues with taking a pregnancy test (non-electronic) on Shabbos?
8
votes
2answers
659 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
186 views

Can a woman drink the Kos Shel Bracha?

After saying Birkat HaMazon with a cup of wine, the Shulchan Aruch rules in OC 190:3, that at least a cheekful of wine must be drunk. If this was at a zimmun and the leader of the zimmun does not want ...