Friday, April 15, 2005

Women, Zimmun, and Minyan

Women, Zimmun, and Minyan

(the title of this posting almost rhymes: wimmin, zimmin, and minyin)

Yesterday, we saw a whole discussion in the סתם concerning whether or not two people (presumably men) may do זִמּוּן as a רְשׁוּת (non-obligatory action). One of the pieces of evidence adduced was the following בָּרַיְיתָא:

נשים מזמנות לעצמן ועבדים מזמנות לעצמן; נשים ועבדים וקטנים אם רצו לזמן אין מזמנין

The assumption is that this proves that a group of two men may perdorm זִמּוּן, because, as the Stam explains,

והא מאה נשי כתרי גברי דמיין
One hundred women are equivalent to two men.

What does this mean-- equivalent in what way? Surely, I would not say that in terms of intellectual potential, potential for חסד, potential earning power, or any other potential, any two men are as “good” as one hundred women.

Let’s look at Rishonic explanations. Rashi comments:

דאפילו מאה כתרי דמיין לענין חובה, דאין חייבות לזמן, ואם רצו מזמנין

Rashi explains this in terms of obligation. Women are not obligated to do זימון, and therefore, 100 women have the same level of obligation to do זימון as two men do. Nevertheless, just as 100 women may choose to do זימון, so may two men.

(Remember, this is all within the הוה אמינא. The Gemara rejects the idea that two men may choose to do זימון, because שאני התם דאיכא דעות, the case of three women is different from that of two men, because when three women are present, there are three different דֵּעוֹת, independent personalities.)

Yet Rashi seems to be ignoring (or perhaps rejecting) the סוגיא in Tractate ערכין, which says that women are מחוייבות בזימון. I have not actually seen this other סוגיא, but I have seen it alluded to in Tosafos, and I have heard friends talk about it. If, in fact, the two סוּגְיֵי are not mutually contradictory, what can the statement מאה כתרי דמיין in our סוגיא mean?

Tosofos write:
והא מאה נשי כתרי גברי דמיין לענין קבוץ תפילה ולענין כל דבר שבעשרה, ואפילו הכי חשבינן להו כשלשה , והוא הדין לשנים.
In other words, even 100 women count only as two men in terms of a מנין for prayer. (So, does that mean that if ten men can form a מנין, five hundred women can do so, as well? I'm not being tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps this is a real possibility.)

But whence do the Tosafists derive this idea that women can't count in a מנין? Does anyone know where in the Bavli the idea of דברים שבעשרה is discussed in depth? I seem to remember that there is something about it in Tractate מגילה, but I haven't looked at that tractate in many years.

How does this fit into lia’s (or was it mivami’s) idea of getting rid of מנהגים or הלכות that don’t fit with our current conceptions of what is right?

גּוּט שַׁבָּת לְכֻלְּכוֹן,
Mar Gavriel

5 Comments:

At Friday, 15 April, 2005, Anonymous fs said...

i was taken with tosfot's historical comment, נשים יכולות לזמן לעצמן וכן עשו בנות רבינו אברהם חמיו של רבינו יהודה על פי אביהם. so, of course, someone asked the maggid shiur how he felt about his daughters being mezamenet, and, being that he is very *traditional* said that his daughters weren't on that madrega because he wasn't on the madrega of ר' אברהם...

 
At Friday, 15 April, 2005, Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I find this whole idea of we can't do that mitzvah because we're not on high enough a מדרגה annoying and stupid. If מצוות lead us to higher מדרגות, then how are we supposed to get to a higher מדרגה if not by performing these מצוות? And if our מדרגה is defined by the מדרגה of our parents-- vey iz mir! By this argument, there is no room at all for self-perfection, because we (or at least women) are chained down to the level of our parents. I would respond to your maggid shi`ur: “If you are not on high enough a level for your daughters to be able to perform the מצוה (which you would call a רשות) of זימון, then you had better get to that מדרגה soon, so that they can get the opportunity. Or are you chained down by the מדרגה of your own parents?”

 
At Friday, 15 April, 2005, Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

This whole conversation reminds me of a few speeches/shpiels that some friends of mine make with regard to women and זימון.

Speech #1, from my friend in סְפָרָא אריכא (whom I shall be seeing tonight):
The Gemara in `Arakhin says that women are obligated in זימון. You can't get much clearer than that! And then Tosafot had to come in and mess everything up, and say ההוא חייבות לרשות קאמר. How much more ridiculous can they get?! That's a terrible פסק! And then you get some אחרון saying that it's forbidden for women to do זימון. Huh? What is he going to argue, ההוא חייבות לאיסורא קאמר?!

Needless to say, my friend who gives the above speech paskens that women have no choice, but are obligated to do זימון.

Shpiel #2, from another friend of mine. In order to understand this one, keep in mind that when the Rabbis did not like a certain action, even though it was nowhere prohibited by the Torah, often said that it was חייב מיתה. This is usually a sign that the action is permitted, because it they had wanted to prohibit it, they would have said אסור, rather than חייב מיתה. (Example: a תלמיד חכם who walks around with an oil-stain, a רְבָב, on his garment is חייב מיתה.) Without further ado, here's the shpiel:

The Gemara in `Arakhin says that women are חייבות to do זימון. That word חייבות means that they're חייב מיתה if they do it. But that means that it's actually מותר. And, being מותר, it's a רשות. But carrying in רשות הרבים is אסור דאורייתא. So it's אסור. But if you carry in רשות הרבים, then you're חייב מיתה. Which means that it's מותר. Which means that it's a רשות. But carrying in רשות הרבים is אסור דאורייתא, so it's אסור....

This just goes to show that if we torture texts enough, we can prove anything. Why don't we just take the סוגיא in ערכין at face value, and pasken that women are obligated to do זימון. This doesn't even contradict the סוגיא in ברכות, especially if we interpret תרי כמאה דמיין with Rashi, as referring to קבוץ תפילה.

Does anyone know of any other interpretations of תרי כמאה דמיין, either Rishonic, Acharonic, akademish, or your own חדושים?

 
At Friday, 15 April, 2005, Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I wrote:

Why don't we just take the סוגיא in ערכין at face value, and pasken that women are obligated to do זימון.

I'm sorry if I pushed the pshatty viewpoint too strongly, at the expense of the drushy viewpoint. I must remember that this is a pluralistic environment, even if I happen to be a more pshatty kind of person.

I wrote:

This doesn't even contradict the סוגיא in ברכות, especially if we interpret תרי כמאה דמיין with Rashi, as referring to קבוץ תפילה.

Correction: that was actually Tosofos's first explanation, not Rashi's.

 
At Friday, 15 April, 2005, Anonymous mivami said...

How does this fit into lia’s (or was it mivami’s) idea of getting rid
not me

 

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