Questions about or that apply specifically to women.

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11
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
755 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 ...
22
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 ...
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
1answer
267 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?
23
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
217 views

Can Moshiach be a woman?

Is there any statement by chazal or the poskim which precludes Moshiach from being a woman?
9
votes
1answer
499 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
339 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
590 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?
10
votes
6answers
962 views

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?

Is it forbidden for a woman to learn Gemara?
5
votes
3answers
435 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
3answers
989 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
532 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 ...
16
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
670 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
5answers
704 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
1answer
172 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
360 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?
-4
votes
3answers
782 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?
6
votes
2answers
225 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
552 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
307 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 ...
13
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
292 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
807 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?
22
votes
3answers
332 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
517 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
450 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
332 views

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name?

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name? Our shul received a paper with questions on Simhat Torah, with this question being one of the harder ones. Is there a midrash on her name?
5
votes
4answers
493 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?
11
votes
2answers
649 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
404 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
3answers
292 views

Why are women invalid as Halachic witnesses?

Why are women Pasul leEidus ? Does this still apply?
8
votes
1answer
324 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
731 views

Can a woman ever wear a prayer shawl?

I've seen prayer shawls for girls available on the internet e.g. for Bat Mitzvah. I'm not sure what to think of it or if I'm comfortable with it. Can a woman wear a prayer shawl, and if so under ...
7
votes
2answers
397 views

Mikvah and illness

My understanding is that, as a general rule, a healthy woman may not delay going to the Mikvah for her own (or even her husband's) convenience. But I'm wondering if there are sources discussing ...
7
votes
1answer
206 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
327 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
180 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
209 views

Kriyah at the Kosel for Women

Do women tear Kriyah at the kosel?
3
votes
1answer
304 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
2answers
193 views

Halacha of married women covering their hair

Does a married woman have to cover her hair based on a biblical commandment or a rabinnic decree?
2
votes
5answers
131 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
295 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
550 views

What Does Halacha Say About Women Wearing Veils?

I read here about certain Jewish sects prescribing face veil. Is there, in fact, a rule requiring or encouraging covering the faces of women in presence of unrelated men? If so, what is the source for ...
13
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
870 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?
11
votes
3answers
874 views

Can a female be a Shochet? (slaughter animals)

Can a female slaughter animals according to Halacha? (sources)
10
votes
1answer
424 views

How were men allowed to watch an execution?

It says in Maseches Sota (8a) that that if a woman would be punished by stoning, she would be stoned virtually unclothed, and men would be allowed to attend. The Gemara says that there is no concern ...