I am thinking of mitzvot like

  • Counting the omer
  • Lulav and esrog

...which are not technically required of women--but women are allowed to do them--and which are preceded by brachos of the form "... v'tzivanu..." ("...and Who has commanded us regarding...")

Should/may a woman make this bracha on her optional mitzvah?

  • Raavad, Rabenu Tam, Rambam, Remo. lulav, sfirat haomer, tefilin... – kouty May 4 '16 at 4:30

This is a big Machloket Rishonim. The Rambam (Tzitzit 3:9), among others, rules that women may not say blessings on Mitzvot they are not obligated in, while Rabbeinu Tam and the Rashba (RH 33a), among others, rule they may. In OC 589:6, the Shulchan Arukh rules like the former group while the Rama notes the custom is like the latter group (though in his Darkei Moshe there he isn't so excited by this and seems to think that Safek Berakhot leHakel would be better (cf. Bach OC 17)). (In OC 296:8 the Taz argues that the Rama only allowed this for blessings on biblical Mitzvot, but this is not generally accepted.) Modern practices vary.

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  • +1 may be interesting to add some argumentation for RT and Raavad – kouty May 4 '16 at 6:03
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    In a discussion with my LOR about this in the past, my understanding is that (based on exactly these sources) that Ashkenazim say that she would say a bracha, and Sefardim say not. – Ask613 May 4 '16 at 17:33
  • @Ask613 That's an oversimplification, of course. – Double AA May 25 '16 at 23:49

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