For the week ending 16 April 2011 / 11 Nisan 5771

Menachot 37 - 43

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Source for putting tefillin on left arm
  • The halachic issues of a two-headed person
  • When one of the tzitzit is missing
  • The color and material of the tzitzit
  • The relationship between tzitzit and shatnez
  • Should one wear a four-cornered garment in order to fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzit
  • Rules regarding the garment and the tzitzit
  • Making a blessing on tzitzit, tefillin and other mitzvot
  • From whom to purchase religious articles
  • Women and tzitzit
  • The power of mitzvot to prevent sinning

Women and Their Mitzvot

  • Menachot 43a

Are women obligated in the mitzvah of tzitzit?

They are exempt, rules Rabbi Shimon, because the general rule is that women are not obligated in regard to positive commandments that are time-oriented, and the mitzvah of tzitzit does not apply at night.

The question arises as to why we do not consider tzitzit an exception to this rule as we do in regard to the mitzvot of kiddush on Shabbat and eating matza on Pesach, in which women are obligated despite the time orientation of those commandments.

In both of those cases we draw a parallel between the positive command and the prohibition that accompanies it. Zachor, ‘remember the Shabbat day’, which is the positive command to sanctify Shabbat with kiddush, was said at Sinai by G-d together with Shamor, ‘observe the Shabbat by refraining from creative labor’. Just as women are prohibited from performing such labor on Shabbat, as they are obligated in regard to all prohibitions, they are also obligated in the positive command of kiddush.

In regard to matza the Torah writes in one passage the prohibition against eating chametz on Pesach and the command to eat matza, which allows us to deduce that since women are prohibited from eating chametz they are obligated to eat matza despite the fact that this mitzvah is time-oriented.

When it comes to tzitzit we might also suggest drawing a parallel between the prohibition against wearing shatnez(Devarim22:11) and the mitzvah of tzitzit in the next passage, and conclude that just as women are forbidden to wear shatnez, they are obligated to wear tzitzit on their four-cornered garments.

Tosefot points out that this is not so because in this case the two commandments were not issued simultaneously nor do they appear in the very same passage.

What the Sages Say

"Beloved are Jews whom G-d surrounded with mitzvot: tefillin on their heads and arms, tzitzit on their garments and a mezuzah on their doorposts."

  • Beraita - Menachot 43b

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