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Why Can’t I put on Tefillin at night?
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If women are important why can't they do the same things men do?

by Rabbi Shlomie Chein

  

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Question

Was not Devorah a prophetess and judge in the time of the Shoftim?! Was not Miriam the sister of Aaron and Moses a prophetess as well?! Does this not tell you that women can be important as well? Then why don’t women read from the Torah, don Tefillin, and wear Tzitzit

Answer:

The premise of your question is that specific Mitzvahs make you important, and if you don't get to do those Mitzvahs you are no longer important.

On that premise you are right. But the premise is inaccurate.

As a matter of fact quite the opposite is true. A Mitzvah fills a certain gap; if someone is not obligated to do a specific Mitzvah it is because she doesn't have the gap to begin with.

A case in point is circumcision: why don't we perform a form of circumcision on women (as they did/do in other cultures)?

The Talmud1 explains that girls are born with the accomplishments of circumcision and therefore don't need to go through a circumcising procedure. So whilst men need to perform an act in order to "enter the Covenant of Abraham", women are automatically born into it.

Naturally then we find many great Jewish women in History. Devorah and Miriam are just two of myriads. But their greatness had nothing to do with putting on Tefillin or wearing Tzitzit.

Footnotes

  • 1. Talmud, Tractate Avoda Zara 27A

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Women & Judaism » Women's Mitzvot
Women & Judaism » Women's Mitzvot » Obligations/ Exemptions

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Tefillin
Black leather boxes containing small scrolls with passages of the Bible written on them. Every day, aside for Sabbath and Jewish holidays, the adult Jewish male is required to wrap the Tefillin--by means of black leather straps--around the weaker arm and atop the forehead.
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Abraham
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Aaron
Brother of Moses. First High Priest of Israel and progenitor of all Kohanim (priests) until this very day. Died in the year 1272 b.c.e.
Miriam
Older sister of Moses and Aaron, and a prophetess in her own right.
Tzitzit
Literally: the fringes which are attached to four cornered garments, as Biblically mandated. Normally this word refers to a t-shirt sized four cornered garment which contains such fringes, and is usually worn beneath the shirt.