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Would a woman who is as learned in Torah as a male Rosh Yeshiva or talmud scholar be 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'?

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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.

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  • Rav Elyashiv and Rav BenTzion Aba Saul are quoted in sefer Birchas Naftali [1/7/6] as saying that the reason female students need to stand up for their female teachers is because of derech eretz, for they do not have a status of "Talmid[a] chochom[a]" even if they are learned. – פרי זהב May 17 at 23:42
  • I don't understand the Minchat Chinukh at all. I'd think we stand up for a scholar not out of respect for how much reward the scholar will receive but because of the Torah that is inside them that they have. Someone not commanded in a mitzva still effects the biblical statuses of that precept if they choose to fulfill it, even if they may not get as much credit for having done so. Women who learn Torah have a real piece of Torah inside them. How much credit they get for doing that doesn't really matter to me, or I'd think anyone in this world. – Double AA May 18 at 0:20
  • @DoubleAA - Your question is an excellent one, if you understand that we are standing up for the Torah knowledge. However, if we stand up for the person that accomplished this mitzvah [even if he doesn't have the knowledge anymore (Berachos 8a)], then we would not need to show respect for one who is not commanded to learn. – פרי זהב May 18 at 2:02
  • If it's for a person that has a lot of reward then we might not need to stand for someone not commanded @פרי though even that isn't muchrach at all since the eino metzuveh might still have sufficient reward. But that's not intuitive at all. The simple understanding is we stand for the Torah represented by people who have learned it. This is true whether or not they still remember it, since they will always represent it. The Kal vaChomer מפניה לא כל שכן doesn't make sense otherwise since scrolls have no reward, and we don't stand for people who have so much reward for other mitzvos. – Double AA May 18 at 2:05
  • @DoubleAA - Based on the simple understanding, would you show respect to a non-jew or a rasha that learns Torah? – פרי זהב May 18 at 2:16

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