Women are exempt from hearing shofar, but some hold they've accepted it upon themselves and are, for that reason, now required to hear it.

There is a dispute whether women are required to read/hear parashas Zachor, but the common practice nowadays is that they do so. I wonder whether anyone has argued that they have accepted it upon themselves and are for that reason now required to do so. Any authoritative source to that effect would be valuable, as would any authoritative source that specifically debunks the notion.

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    This is very new. R' Ezra Schwartz from YU said the Chazon Ish didn't think it was important for women in his own family to attend. Feb 23 '15 at 6:38
  • There is a question over whether Zachor is time-based. Although we fixed a time for reading it, that is only Rabbinic. Biblically the requirement of remembering Amalek has no fixed time.
    – CashCow
    Feb 26 '15 at 12:20
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    @Ze'evFelsen Brisker Rav included. ein darka shel isha laasos milchama Feb 27 '15 at 12:37
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/6408/…
    – SAH
    Jun 26 '16 at 8:27
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    Rav Ovadia Yosef when speaking about the requirement for women to hear parshas zachor raises an interesting point. He writes (more or less) that shofar is for sure NOT a chiyuv on women and there is no woman that wouldn't miss hearing shofar on Rosh HaShanah. However parshas zachor which is definitely a chiyuv, for some reason they are not careful with (even though at the end of the teshuva he comes out that l'maseh one should do their best to hear but if not, so be it...)
    – Yehoshua
    Jun 27 '16 at 0:38

I'm sorry this is not a very satisfying answer (least of all to me). But it's too much for a comment, so here goes.

"Latter-day authorities oblige women to listen to Parashat Zakhor, since the Torah does not specify any set time for the mitzvah. Some restrict this obligation to any reference to the story of Amalek; while others require women to listen to Parashat Zakhor at the time set by the Halakhah for public reading."

--Rabbi Getsel Ellison, Serving the Creator: A Guide to the Rabbinic Sources (Women and the Mitzvot vol. 1), 194

On pages 203 through 207, Ellinson details the entire extensive makhloikes about this issue, and comes to the conclusion--perhaps from doubt--that a woman's performance of this mitzvah is in fact required (that is, independent of whether it were the custom of women to perform it).

Re: customs...

According to Rav Ellinson in the same book, there is a "difference of opinion among the later authorities as to whether the custom of women performing Positive Precepts dependent upon a set time establishes for them an ongoing obligation, having the force of an unuttered vow to perform a mitzvah. As we pointed out [...], the matter depends upon the dispute between R. Yehuda and R. Yose. Since the Halakhah follows R. Yose, the performance of Positive Precepts dependent on a set time by women is in fact considered as fulfilment of a mitzvah, the customary observance of which transforms it into an obligation" (83-84, note 9) It seems, however--and despite the obfuscatory writing--that this refers only to women's individual "customs" to perform mitzvot (as does, apparently, everything in Ellinson's chapter "Does a Woman's Custom Render the Act Mandatory?," unto everything in the whole book.)

I'm sorry I could not answer your question better and hope you (and I) get a great answer.


According to this article, "The Nitei Gavriel (Purim p. 154) writes that the current minhag for women to go to shul to hear Parshas Zachor, while the Divrei Chaim 2:14 as well as Rav Moshe Feinstein (quoted in Kovietz Halachos, page 13) accept a minhag of women not going to shul to hear Parshas Zachor. Therefore, it seems to be a machlokes of what the custom is for women."

At least for the Sephardi community, Rav Eli Mansour seems to say women have taken upon themselves the stringency of hearing Parshas Zachor, in deference to the view that they are included in the obligation.


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    Hi NJM. None of this seems to answer the question. Recall the question wasn't "are women obligated to hear Zakhor" or "is the custom that they do go or don't go". It was 'has anyone argued for or against the claim that women's going when not obligated to generates an obligation to go in the future via voluntary acceptance of the obligation' which you don't address.
    – Double AA
    Jan 23 '17 at 5:17
  • @DoubleAA Thanks for pointing that out, I thought Rav Moshe and the Nitei Gavriel speaking of the custom to go or not was based on whether women accepted hearing zachor on themselves.
    – NJM
    Jan 23 '17 at 12:51
  • @NJM If that's the case then you should just edit to explain that. Your most recent edits on the other hand make this almost certainly not an answer.
    – Double AA
    Jan 23 '17 at 20:27
  • @DoubleAA Not sure why the new edits weren't an answer as it explains women did take this minhag upon themselves. Either way, I edited the answer again to clarify the issues. Please feel free to let me know what you think needs changing.
    – NJM
    Jan 23 '17 at 23:15

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