I hear that many people won't allow a woman to be a mashgiach. Why is this?


1 Answer 1


The question revolves around of whether or not a woman may be appointed to a positions of power or lordship, known as Serarah in Hebrew. This is based off the Rambam's opinion (Melachim 1:5)

אין מעמידין אשה במלכות שנאמר עליך מלך ולא מלכה. וכן כל משימות שבישראל אין ממנים בהם אלא איש

“So too all leadership appointments…we do not appoint them (woman) except from the men”.

This is the Rambam’s position (as well as the Ritva's in Shevuos 30a).

Rav Moshe Feinstien in Iggeros Moshe (Y.D., II, sec. 44) was asked this very question ie. If a woman could be a mashgicha, and after discussing the issue and the opinion of the Rambam at length. He goes on to note that the Rambam is not the only view, and demonstrates that there are a whole series of Rishonim who disagree with the Rambam and are lenient. He says that in a dire situation where we are dealing with a woman’s livelihood, certainly these other opinions could be relied on so that she could continue to be a mashgicha for kashrus. In other words, he maintains that the Rambam opinion is lechatchila, and we would generally prefer to be stringent and rule like the Rambam. However, since this shaas hadchak, and there are major authorities- including, Ramban, Rashba, Ran, and Rabbeinu Tam – who disagree with the Rambam, we can rely on these other sources to give us the flexibility to allow this woman to be a mashgichas kashrus.

Personally, my mother worked as a mashgicha for the Star-k under Rav Moshe Heinemann for many years. Seemingly he held there was no issue. And to the best of my knowledge we were not in a dire situation (maybe my mom never told us :)

However, none of this can be taken as a halachic psak for any personal circumstance.

For further reading see here: http://text.rcarabbis.org/women-in-communal-leadership-positions-shul-presidents-by-aryeh-frimer/

  • 1
    Since there are those who are not generally in favor of appointing women in such positions, this doesn't so much answer the question as it does indicate that R' Heinemann appears to hold this is not a problem. As such, maybe it's better as a useful comment rather than an answer?
    – Fred
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 17:15
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    One (or more) of my grandfather's female relatives worked as mashgichot in Germany before the war. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 17:18
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    My mother is the mashgicha in her kitchen at home.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 18:06
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    I don't see how this answers the question, which seeks justification for those who don't allow for female mashgichos.
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 23:48
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    @ClintEastwood could be. But Nidda is different. The gemara says Nidda was given over to woman see ksuvos 72a Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 13:44

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