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Tzitzit for women


Rabbi Jonathan Blass

23 Tishrei 5763
Are women commanded to wear Tzitzit? Is it ok if a woman wears the Tzitzit even if she is not commanded. How about a Talit? Is it ok for women to wrap themselves in Talitot?
Women are not commanded to wear Tzitzit (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim article 17). Even though in:re to most Mitzvot that don't obligate women, it is permitted and even laudable for a woman to perform the Mitzvah- for example: sitting in the Sukka or taking the Lulav- this is not the case regarding Talit and Tzitzit. A woman's wearing a Talit is seen by the R'ma as hubris. Other Poskim see it as a violation of the ban on a woman wearing men's clothing (L'vush; see also Tirgum Yonatan). Still others comment that based on Kabbbala there is no place for a woman to wear a Talit and tzitzit (Kaf HaChayim). One cannot remove the question of a woman's wearing a Talit from the present social context. Since the source of this "custom"'s popularity is its acceptance among Reform and Conservative Jews who are advocating a homogenizing egalitarianism foreign to Halacha and to Jewish thought- there is an additional reason for forbidding its practice: the injunction against adopting foreign customs that according to some poskim includes the customs of the non-Orthodox movements (Shu"t Melamed L'Hoil I 16; Shyu"t Sridei Aish I 9). A woman seeking to reach a greater spiritual connection to G-d through the Torah can and should do so by studying Torah, praying with devotion, keeping Mitzvot and devoting her life (just like a man should) to the good of Am Yisrael.
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