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Responsa

Torah Reading by Women

Q: : Is it permissible for women to read from the Torah or dance with the Torah in a minyan for women only?

 


A: It is forbidden to deviate from Jewish custom, and to have women read from the Torah, dance with the Torah, or any other activity of that nature!

A positive and proper way for women to express their spirituality is in the form of a hitva’adut Chassidit (Chassidic get-together) exclusively for women. This hitva’adut can include song, dance and heartfelt joy. It should certainly include words of Torah and Chassidut, as well of stories of tzaddikim (righteous individuals), which can be prepared in advance by the women. Another option is to recite Psalms in unison for the benefit of an individual or for the entire community or nation.

It is important to remember that if a woman is not commanded to perform a given mitzvah, it is because she does not need that mitzvah in her spiritual service of G-d. On the contrary, performance of that act may have a negative impact upon her.

The woman is the secret of Shabbat. Just as on Shabbat there are actions and mitzvot that are not performed because the inner, essential pleasure of Shabbat supersedes performance of these actions, so the essence of the woman – Shabbat – supersedes these actions as well. These mitzvot and actions already exist in her soul.

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