Would a woman who is as learned in Torah as a male Rosh Yeshiva or talmud scholar accorded the same honors such as standing up for them or, in the case of an outstanding scholar reciting the blessing of 'that he apportioned from his wisdom on those who fear him'?


R. Yehuda Aiash (Shut Beit Yehuda YD 28) rules that in general any honour which one must accord a male (such as standing up for an older man), one must accord an equivalent female as well:

פשוט דכל מיני כבוד שחייבין לעשות לאיש הה"נ לאשה

Similarly, R. Yitshak Attiya writes (Zera Yitshak: Pilpelet Kol Shehu p. 88, cited in Yalkut Yosef 627 p. 173) cites the author of P'ri Hadash who was uncertain about this, but himself asserts that it is obvious that there is no difference between the honour that one must accord a male Torah scholar and a female Torah scholar, in spite of the fact that women are not obligated to study Torah.

Similarly, R. Yitshak Yosef writes in Kitsur Yalkut Yosef (YD 242-244:20) that one must stand for a female Torah scholar, just as one must honour a male Torah scholar.

מצוה לקום מפני אשה חכמה בחכמת התורה...כשם שצריך לעשות כן מפני זקן או תלמיד חכם

As his source, he references his father's Yehave Daat (3:72). His father concludes that it is at least a safek d'orayta, a possible Biblical obligation, so one must be stringent.

Similarly, R. Yehuda Zerahya Mordekhai Leib Hayyim Halevi Segal writes in Shut Tsemah Yehuda (4:35) that one must honour a learned woman, just like a learned man:

אשה חכמה בתורה, בגדר "אשה גדולה" חייבים ג"כ לכבדה כדין כל חכם

Anecdotally, he recounts that R. Kook stood twice for his mother. Once for the fact that she was the wife of a Torah scholar, and once for the fact that she herself had learned from her father. (R. Kook did not want to perform the honour related mitsvot simultaneously, as per the rule ein ossin mitsvot havilot havilot)

However, the Minhat Hinukh (257) writes that a female scholar is not included in these rules, since she is not commanded to study Torah:

אינן מצווה נ"פ דאין להם דין חכם לכל הענינים שמוזהרים על כבוד חכמים ופשוט

Additionally, the Ben Ish Hai (Year 2 Parashat Ki Tetse 16) notes that one can infer from Sha'ar HaMitsvot (Parashat Kedoshim) of R. Hayyim Vital, that one need not stand for a female scholar.

R. David HaKohen Sicily cites both views of the Beit Yehuda, and of the Minhat Hinnukh, in Shut Kiryat Hanna David (YD 15).

Regarding the recitation of the blessing, Alei Tamar to Yerushalmi Berakhot (9:1) writes explicitly that it is obvious that one recites the blessing upon seeing a woman who is an expert in parts of the Torah, assuming she studied material permitted for her to study.

  • " assuming she studied material permitted for her to study." Example based on this - Should one stand up for the mikveh lady? She's usually very knowledgeable / learned about hilchot mikvah? – DanF Jun 6 '18 at 19:27
  • 1
    @Danf she's usually not that knowledge. More than average certainly but nothing particularly notable – Double AA Jun 6 '18 at 22:38

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