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  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Women's Mitzva Observance

Women Wearing Tzitzit


Rabbi David Sperling

Tammuz 12, 5778
I read the answer to another question regarding women wearing tzitzit. My question is why women are not being considered as the children of Israel as stated in Torah. Thank you for your time.
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The reason women are not obligated in Tzitzit as men are is because it is a time bound positive command, which women are exempt from. The Rabbi's answer was adressing a further question of whether women may, even though they are exempt, none the less choose to wear tzitzit. He gave numerous reasons why this practice is not encouraged. Your question refers to the verse that commands the Mitzvah of Tzitzit to “the children of Israel”, and asks why this does not include the women. In fact, some Rabbis learn out from this verse that a women is disqualified from tying the Tzitzit strings to the garment (see Shulchan Aruch, Orech Haim, 14, 1, and the Mishna Brurah 2). That is, they understand the hebrew words “B'nie Yisrael”, which translate to “the children of Yisrael”, as meaning the more literal translation “the Sons of Yisrael”, as opposed to the daughters. Hebrew, being a gender specific language, calls the “children” by the masculine form. This sometimes is referring to the males only, and sometimes to the complete set of “children” - male and female. In this case, there is some debate as to the meaning – with some early Rabbis understanding it to mean only men – and forbidding women from tying the tzitzit strings, and others understanding it to mean all Jews, and allowing a women to tie the strings. In the question of wearing the tzitzit the simple meaning of the verse seems to be as you understood it, that both men and women are commanded – the Children of Yisrael. However, as with all understanding of the written Torah, we use the Rabbinic traditions of interpretation, found in the Oral Law, the Talmud. There, the rules of exempting women from time bound positive commands are explained, and applied to this law. I hope this is of some help - Blessings.
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