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Are there any mitzvahs exclusively for women?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

Library » Mitzvot » What are they? | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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In addition to the general obligation to perform Mitzvahs, women are given three exclusive Mitzvahs that fan the feminine essence:

1. Turning ordinary food into soul food

The laws of Kosher food preparation, highlighted by the laws of Separating Challah, are primarily the woman's privilege. The woman is given the task and responsibility of insuring that her family is nurtured both physically and spiritually, and she accomplishes this through maintaining a (well stocked, tasty and nutritious) kosher home.

2. Turning darkness into light

Perhaps the most central woman's Mitzvah is lighting candles for Shabbat and the Holidays. The candles are several things, but above all, they are symbols of inner light, symbols of harmony, of peace, of domestic tranquility. That's why there's one candle per family member. The woman is the axis around which the family world turns, and on Shabbat, the Jewish woman, the life force of the home, ushers all those things in.

3. Turning corporal passions into sacred intimacy

It is the married woman's privilege to preserve the sanctity of the marriage through immersing monthly in the purifying waters of the Mikvah, known as the laws of Family Purity. The woman is the conduit through which purity is channeled to the entire household.

[Although separating Challah and lighting Shabbat candles are primarily a woman's mitzvah, in the absence of a woman a man must fulfill these commandments].


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COMMENTS

mitzvot for men and women

Posted by: Shara on Jun 13, 2006

You stated in the absence of a woman, men are required to fulfill the mitvot of lighting shabbat candles, and separating the challah portion. In the absense of a man then, should a woman perform the kiddush blessing? Also, If a woman wanted to wear kippot, tzizit, or tefillin, is this allowed?

Editor's Comment

1) A woman must make kiddush if no man is present.

2) It is not customary for women to wear kippot. See "May a woman wear a Kippah?"

3) Women do not wear tzitzit or tefillin. The reasons for this are discussed in their respective sections of our knowledgebase ( "Why can't women wear Tefillin?" and "Why doesn't a woman wear a Tallit?" ).

RELATED CATEGORIES

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.
Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Mikvah
A ritual bath where one immerses to become spiritually pure. After her menstrual cycle, a woman must immerse in the Mikvah before resuming marital relations.
Challah
A loaf of bread. Usually refers to: 1) The section of dough separated and given to the priest (today that section is burnt). 2) The sweetened, soft bread customarily consumed at the Sabbath meals.