Sunday, April 17, 2005

More on Women and Minyan

In a discussion which spills over from the bottom of yesterday's daf (47) onto today's (48), the Bavli deals with whether nine men + X can count in a minyan (either for זימון בשם, i.e. zimmun including God's name Eloheinu, or for תפילה). There are various suggested Xs: an ארון (presumably a synagogal ark containing Torah scrolls, not just any old closet), a slave, a child, and (strangest of all) the Sabbath. (Some of these are suggested in the context of minyan, and some in the context of a three-person zimmun.)

Interestingly, the idea that nine men + one woman could count as a minyan is not raised. I have three possible explanations for this:

1) Women are so unimportant in the eyes of the Sages that is is obvious that a woman can't count as the tenth in a minyan.
............1a) קושיא on this interpretation: See מנחות מג: - מד, where we find the statment that עבד זיל טפי, a slave is even lower than a woman.

2) Women do, in fact, count in the minyan לכתחילה, and therefore, there is no need to ask whether a woman can count as the tenth member of the minyan.

...........2a) קושיא on this interpretation: what, then, does מאה נשי כתרי דמיין mean? Didn’t the Tosofos on 45b explain it as being לענין קבוץ תפילה ולענין כל דבר שבעשרה?

.........................2c) תירוץ: The statement מאה נשי כתרי דמיין could be not a statment of halakha, but a statement of the social reality of the time of חז"ל: women don't have חשיבותא. (I heard this from my friend NG, who based in on the ריטב"א. Yet he still won't count women in zimmun or minyan!)

3) Theoretically, women could count in the minyan, but we don't allow them to, because of פריצותא.

.................3a) That's the stupidest thing that you have said so far! If this were the case, the Bavli would have brought up the הוה אמינא that a woman could be counted. We would have expected something like ואימא אתתא! שאני אתתא, דמשום פריצותא לא מצטרפא.

Ultimately, the answer is: I don't know. I currently do not count women in the minyan לכתחילה, but בשעת הדחק, I will davven at WLSS (Women's League Seminary Synagoge), and respond to דברים שבקדושה.

I should now like to open the floor to discussion . . . !

By the way, how did Fresh Samantha's community blog שיעור go yesterday?


At Sunday, 17 April, 2005, Blogger Bryan said...

Just one point - Perhaps the מאה נשי כתרי דמיין is not really meant to be used in this context but it is being misused. Remember, מאה נשי כתרי דמיין is primarily used as a reason women were not counted as witnesses. This might also play into 2c.

At Sunday, 17 April, 2005, Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I don't quite understand what you are saying. Are you trying to produce another תירוץ to my קושיא in 2a, and thereby to defend my interpretation #2 (i.e. that women do count in the minyan?

At Sunday, 17 April, 2005, Blogger PKD said...

Comrade Chairman! I must protest! The woman is an enemy of the state - and the daughter of an enemy to the state.


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