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Which mitzvahs are women obligated to fulfill?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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A woman is required to fulfill all negative commandments (the "do not"s), but only those positive commandments ("do"s) which do not carry a time contingency.1 In other words, a woman is obligated to affix a Mezuzah to her door but is exempt from sitting in the Sukkah on Sukkot2 (but may do so, and is fulfilling a Mitzvah, if she so wishes).3

[There are several exceptions to this rule (for example, a woman is obligated to have a Passover Seder).]

See also "Why are women exempt from time-related Mitzvahs?"

Footnotes

  • 1. Talmud Kiddushin 34a.
  • 2. There are certain time-specific mitzvot which women have traditionally accepted upon themselves to observe, such as hearing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah.
  • 3. There are several time-contingent mitzvot, such as tefillin and tallit, which women are discouraged from observing. (See "Why doesn't a woman wear a tallit?" http://www.askmoses.com/article.html?h=150&o=2396.) (http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/411,2512/Which-mitzvahs-are-women-obligated-to-fulfill.html)

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COMMENTS

Women's mitzvot

Posted by: Anonymous on Jun 04, 2006

If women are not required to follow positive mitzvot that only apply to a certain time span, then does that mean that women do not have to observe shabbat? Sorry if I misunderstood...

Editor's Comment

As mentioned in the article, there are exceptions to every rule--and Shabbat is one of them. The Talmud derives this from drawing an analogy between "Zachor" (the positive commandments of Shabbat, such as kiddush) and "Shamor" (the prohibitions associated with Shabbat) -- which women are certainly obliged to observe.

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.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Sukkah
The temporary structure in which we are required to dwell for the duration of the holiday of Sukkot. The Sukkah must have at least three walls and its roof consists of unsecured branches, twigs or wooden slats.
Mezuzah
A rolled up scroll containing certain verses from the Torah which is affixed to the right-hand doorpost of doorways in a Jewish home.