chapter one of Pirkei Avot states “And do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said even regarding one's own wife--how much more so regarding the wife of another.” does this apply to females as well? Or are they allowed to engage in "excessive conversation" with males?

  • 2
    Oh, how nice an edited version of that would look in needlepoint font in a frame on the wall, suitable for pointing at to remind the wife or mother-in-law when the headache starts!
    – Gary
    Aug 4, 2017 at 0:36
  • @Gary aspirin and ear plugs are much cheaper and more effective.
    – DanF
    Aug 4, 2017 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


Avot Derav Natan 7:3 describes what this excessive conversation is about. You can read the source, there. In summary, it says that if one was embarrassed by his friend in the Bet Midrash, or he had a confrontation with his friend, there, he should not mention the details of it to his wife, because his wife will make fun of him, and he will lose his respect from his wife.

Since women are unlikely to study in the Bet Midrash, it would seem that the Mishna mentions this prohibition regarding men talking excessively with women.

However, if you were to follow a more general adage from Avot 1:17, Shimon ben Gamliel says that the best thing for the body is silence. That Mishnah is not specific to men but applies to everyone.

I'm going to follow his suggestion by stating, "Enough said."


From my understanding of the Torah, which is only a few years, there appears to be no clear admonishing for a woman, though it does seem in many places it is discouraged.

  1. The commentaries of the Chumash suggests that Dina was raped by the prince of Shechem because she was extroverted and spoke much in the city. There may be an issue of lifnei iver depending on the circumstances, e.g. if without her speaking certain words a man would not have wicked thoughts.

  2. The Maharal also explains that the reason for the passage in Avot is that women tend to be more practically and worldly-minded from men. Talking excessively with a woman would pull a man away from the eternal concerns of the Torah, which is more damaging than merely wasting time not learning Torah, as one may do with a man of comparable virtue.

  3. Minhag Yisroel, among Orthodox communities, which may have significant Halachic weight, is that women minimize conversation with men who are not their husbands. I believe this practice is to be followed.

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