I am trying to find the logical basis for why women cannot be Rabbis in most Orthodox communities. Some people seem to pin it on "Tziut" but there doesn't seem to be a clear biblical basis for that concept. Others point to the general distinction between men and women in Gen 2, but that also doesn't explain anything. Can anyone help point me for places to start?

  • @msh210 Wasn't there a better set of answers to this involving the Rambam and "serarah" (the source Danny brings in his answer below) ; a shiur by Rav Soloveitchik etc.? May 12, 2019 at 17:02
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    Tsnius does have a biblical basis. Deuteronomy 23:15 and Semak (#57). It also has nothing to do with female Rabbis.
    – robev
    May 12, 2019 at 17:25
  • @DavidKenner, could be. D'you know where? (There's judaism.stackexchange.com/q/29084 but that's a very different question.)
    – msh210
    May 12, 2019 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


You could start with the Rambam (Hil. Melachim 1:5) which is based on a Mishna:

אֵין מַעֲמִידִין אִשָּׁה בְּמַלְכוּת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז טו) "עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ" וְלֹא מַלְכָּה. וְכֵן כָּל מְשִׂימוֹת שֶׁבְּיִשְׂרָאֵל אֵין מְמַנִּים בָּהֶם אֶלָּא אִישׁ:‏

A woman may not be appointed queen, as it says, “upon yourselves a king” (Deut. 17:15) - a “king” and not a “queen”. A woman may not be appointed to any Public Position in Israel. Only may a man.

You can find a lot of interesting source material in Hebrew at this link.
(No responsibility for the validity of the site or the material; the onus is on you to check the primary sources.)

  • Not exactly, a convert can be a rabbi but can't be of Malchus AFAIK.
    – Al Berko
    May 12, 2019 at 12:43
  • @AlBerko - where do you see mention of a convert in what I wrote? May 12, 2019 at 13:14
  • I'm trying to show that פסול למלכות does not mean פסול לרבנות because מלכות is about physical needs and רבנות about spiritual. Rabbi is not "Public position" (unlike in America you're probably used to), a Rabbi is a spiritual leader.
    – Al Berko
    May 12, 2019 at 13:21

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