Women’s Dancing on Simchas Torah

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  • #1018116

    haifagirl
    Member

    squeak: Thanks. I thought it was

    I – I

    F – Feel

    Y – Your

    P – Pain

    mybat: Not even looking at a sefer Torah? Seemed a little extreme to me. So I asked my LOR. He said that is brought down. Oh well!

    #1018117

    squeak
    Participant

    I feel your pain? Not bad. Possibly it is a variation, but I have only seen it as I defined. Have you seen it your way? If not, IFYP 😉

    #1018118

    mybat
    Member

    Haifa: what’s LOR?

    #1018119

    Jax
    Member

    It

    Feels like a

    Yerushalayim

    Peseach

    this holiday is Peseach, right! pass some Shmurah Matzah this way please!

    #1018120

    Jax
    Member

    LOR= Local Orthodox Rabbi (& by that we don’t mean Joseph)

    #1018121

    haifagirl
    Member

    mybat:

    L – Local

    O – Orthodox

    R – Rabbit

    #1018122

    Joseph
    Participant

    Jax – That could only because I transcend locality.

    #1018123

    oomis
    Participant

    So is a woman permitted to kiss a mezuzah on the doorpost (after all, she is touching the klaf, even if it is in a case, just as a sefer Torah is encased in a cover?

    #1018124

    My take on the whole thing – it depends why you’re dancing. If you’re jealous of the men, go get a life and realize that there are just some things in life that you won’t get because you are a female. If it’s because you’re filled with an overwhelming love for Hashem and the Torah, then go ahead, dance away, as long as the mechitza really is a proper mechitza and the men can’t see you.

    But I think the whole thing is pathetic anyway. In my aunt and uncle’s shul (EDITED), they put up a mechitza so the women can dance, but the mechitza is iffy (latice-work on the top) and it doesn’t go from wall to wall, so any man can come watch if they want.

    I say just be satisfied with watching the men. It’s worked for many, many years, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t anymore.

    #1018125

    mybat
    Member

    Okay here’s why you can touch a mezuza and not a sefer torah:

    1 the sefer torah is holier than a mezuza or tefilin 2 the mezuza has a cover, one cover is enough for the mezuza. The cover of the sefer torah recieves a high degree of kedusha, its too holy to touch. Probably if the sefer would have additional coverings a woman would be able to touch it.

    The atzei chaim, the sticks that you hold it with receive a very high degree of kedushah as written in the shulchan aruch, or hachaim 141.

    #1018126

    YW Moderator-42
    Moderator

    squeak, care to explain?

    #1018127

    Jothar
    Member

    There is a kedusha from seeing the letters of the Torah.

    #1018128

    oomis
    Participant

    So, are we saying that though ALL JEWS are tamei because there is no Beis Hamikdash, that men, who don’t even go al pi halacha to the mikveh l’shem mitzvah, unlike married women who at least do so at specific times, have more kedusha to touch a S”T than women? I am NOT saying this in order to start an argument with anyone – I really do not understand why this is so. What kedusha is inherent in males that is not inherent also in women? And why are women not on a higher madreiga in kedusha by virtue of the fact that they go to the mikvah because they have a mitzvah to do so, which men do not (so the men’s tumah cannot be removed even a little bit, as compared to the women)?

    And btw, I have never davened in a shul where the Sifrei Torah were not brought over to the Ezras Nashim on Simchas Torah, so the women could touch them. So again, I am asking, is all that has been quoted from various sources, halacha l’maiseh, or the opinion of a rov that this is a “better not to do” situation? There is a real difference between saying something is assur, to saying that it’s preferred not to do it. It’s better for me not to eat too much red meat, but until my doc says it’s assur for me, I am making a roast for Shemini Atzeres! And is every thing that has been mentioned here, accepted by ALL rabbonim (or a majority)? Are minority opinions also written in the Mishneh Berurah and other sources?

    Whoever responds to my questions, please respond with the idea in mind that I am asking because I do not know the answers to these questions – I am not making fun of Daas Torah.

    #1018129

    squeak
    Participant

    42, it’s not important. I added a comma to make a point.

    #1018130

    Jothar
    Member

    In Slabodka they would bring the Sefer Torah to the women’s side so they could kiss it. Ooomis, I direct you to the above Ramban at the end of Vayeitzei which is permissible for women to look at according to most poskim today. Women have the same kedusha as men, if not higher. But the tumah of niddah, when a man and his wife must be separated, is very strong. We are no longer noheig like this as in the past. Anyone who ignores his wife when she’s a nida is a shoteh. As the Chasam sofer says, either nishtaneh hateva or shomer pesa’im. Either way the minhag today is different for many halachos regarding nida.

    #1018131

    mybat
    Member

    Oomis the reason that a woman when niddah has more tumah is because when a woman is tehorah she is so kadosh that when she becomes niddah she leaves a very large void.

    #1018132

    onlyemes
    Member

    There as been some misrepesentation of the halacha here. I hope to clear up a few things.

    1. The minhag mentioned by and rejected by the Rema regarding women going to shul, seeing the sefer torah, and by the way, saying shem hashem (including all forms of davening, bentching also included)applies only to women while they are “ro’ot dam” and not when they are in shiva ne’ki’im or after. Therefore, this entire discussion has nothing to do with tum’as nidah or going to the mikveh. Married (mikveh going)and unmarried ( non-mikveh going)women are equal. To repeat, the Rema rejects this stringent opinion and permits women to daven, come to shul, see the sefer Torah, etc… at all times.

    2. The Mishna Brurah quotes the Chayei Adam (and agrees with him) only regarding looking at the words of the Sefer Torah while it is lifted up in hagbah. This would also apply ONLY to women who are actively ro’ot dam.

    3. Women who want to touch, kiss, or dance with the Sefer Torah do not see the letters , since the Sefer is always totally rolled and covered, and therefore, any alleged prohibition is misplaced.

    4. Rabbonim who are not in favor of women dancing with the Torah do not do so because of nidah, as we have shown here. It is because of concerns relating to the women’s true intent, feminism, reform, etc… This of course is debatable, but has nothing to do with nidah.

    5.The Mishnah Brurah mentions the minhag of a yoledet refraining from going to the cemetery until she is toveles. This also has nothing to do with tumah (the cemetery by definition is full of tumas ha’mes). Rather it is connected to kabbalistic ideas regarding mazikin and sheidim.

    The bottom line is that issues of nidah for women dancing with the Sefer Torah are irrelevant.

    #1018133

    mazca
    Member

    the torah was given to men, women and children alike so we have to all be happy in simcha torah, we do not need to dance , we just have to be happy that we have the torah. so men, women and children have to respect the tora the same way. Weather we touch it or not we all have to love it.

    #1018134

    oomis
    Participant

    Thank you, onlyemes, for that really interesting and comprehensive post.

    #1018135

    rabbiofberlin
    Participant

    I did not have a chance in commenting on this matter. BTW, Joseph-i asked the question rethorically, so as to stimulate discussion on this matter, which it did.

    “onlyemes” wrote very accurately and completely about this issue. The “remo” that joseph quotes (orach chaim 88) actually brings down the minhag mentioned from the “hagohs maimaoni” them dismisses it ,relying upon rashi and then says (for himself), “aval haminhag bemedinos eilu kesvoro rishono (to prohibit this). “

    On this ,the mishneh berurah counters and says ” ubemedinosainu nuhago hetter”. In other words, in the remo’s place, they tended to prohibit women from doing this in their days of ‘niddah” and in the mishneh berurah’s place, they allowed it.

    There are other opinions that you wil lfind in the mishne berurah and other commentaires on the shulchan aruch- but what is absolutely clear is that it is NOT an issur-only a minhag. the halocho is clear “Kol hatemeim -afilu niddos- mutorim le’echoz besefer torah velikro bo” (joreh deah 282), just like “oomis’ said.

    All this is based on the gemoro brochos “ein divrei torah mekablim tumah”, the rambam paskens the same way and, obviously, the “mechaber’ who paskens like the rsmbam. The Remo does not comment on that “mechaber” (joreh deah 282) at all, because the din is clear: women can hold a sefer torah at any time, even when the are “niddos’ (emphasis by the bais josef himself).

    Whether to dance with the sefer torah would depend upon the minhag hamokom, the custom of the place.

    I have difficulty accepting that Rav Soloveichink paskened as intimated. One, becausze many of hsi talmidim do differently and two, because to say -as indicated- that it is a minhag that should not be changed- well, it seems that there were many different minhagim on this for many centuries. So, it is werroneous to say that there was a singular minhag on this.

    As far as the dancing goes, ‘onlyemes’ is absoluteyl right- it has nothing to do with “issur niddah’ and everything to do with the reluctance of present -day rabbonim (especially chareidi ones) to give women more of a voice and role in the shul. There surely is no issur on this.

    #1018136

    rabbiofberlin
    Participant

    I neglected to quantify the “this’ ,which is eiter allowed or prohibited by the various Poskim. the remo says the following” “likones lebais hamedrash oh lehispallel oh lehazkir es hashemoh ligah besefer torah”. translation: ” women should not go the the shul, or pray or mention the name of hashem or touch the sefer torah”

    This is a very comprehensive prohibition. It is clear from many minhagim and today’s practice that there is NO widespread minhag to prohibit women from entering the shul or praying while they are “niddos” or saying Hashem’s name. if you accept that women can do this and are not subject to minhagim that prohibit this, there is also absolutely no reason to isolate the touching of a sefer torah and prohibit this while allowing the other practices, as it is pretty clear they issue from the same ruling.

    anyway- the actual halcha is clear (joreh deah 282)- there is no prohibition for women to refrain from touching a sefer torah during the days fo “niddah”.

    as far as dancing on simchas torah- allow the minhagin to develop for different groups.

    #1018137

    Joseph
    Participant

    “I have difficulty accepting that Rav Soloveichink paskened as intimated.”

    rob: Your “difficulty” notwithstanding, that is what Rabbi Soloveitchik clearly stated as testified by his talmidim, including his son-in-law who’s Sefer I directly quoted.

    “One, becausze many of hsi talmidim do differently”

    Many of his talmidim do many things he opposed. “Modern Orthodoxy” is short for do-it-as-you-like Judaism and call it Orthodox. But that is another topic completely. (Maybe I’ll create one in the CR for it.)

    In fact, as Jothar earlier stated on this thread, there are many things Rabbi Soloveitchik is grotesquely misquoted as allowing what he clearly opposed – women’s prayer groups being another very noted issue.

    But this is old news.

    #1018138

    mybat
    Member

    The mishnah berurah clearly says that what doesn’t apply is not entering a bet hakneset daven. It says clearly that even nowadays it is prohibited to look at the letters of the sefer torah.

    #1018139

    rabbiofberlin
    Participant

    to joseph—I’ll refrain from commenting on this becuase i don’t have R’Joshe be’er direct words. You quted one talmid, yet there are others who do differently, so, unless one has direct written sources, I’ll refrain from drawing any conclusions on that.

    to “mybat”: if you look through the mishneh berurah (fom se’if 5 onwards) and other “nos’ei keilim’, you will see that there is a number of different minhagim, so there is no obvious rule for all. Thye ALL agree,however, that this is ONLY a minhag and it is not the actual “halocho”. (see mishneh berurah se’if 6, be’er heitav also).

    The conclusion of all this is simple: halachacally, “divrei torah einom mekablim tumeh” , the words of torah are not subject to any tum’oh and hence, women, even niddos, can touch and read from the torah (joreh deah 282) and it only became a minhag in various european places to put certain restrictions on what a woman can do during her time as a “niddah”.

    minhagim clearly have their place and are important but halachacally, there is no issur in entering a shul ,davening, touching a sefer torah ,etc.for a woman anytime.

    #1018140

    mybat
    Member

    Rob: if you are saying that it isn’t applicable nowadays due to fact that it is “only” a minhag, I can assume that eating rice on pesach for ashkenazim would fall into the category of MINHAG and therefore it is permitted?? Certain minhagim are hundreds of years old……

    #1018141

    mazca
    Member

    thanks to all of you for all the information. I enjoy reading all about it

    #1018142

    mazca
    Member

    i grew up with the idea that a women being a niddah or single was no allow to touch the

    sefer torah or teffilin.

    what do you say to that?

    #1018143

    samjack
    Member

    mazca- what do you mean “you grew up”? what does the halacha say?

    #1018144

    mazca
    Member

    I grew up with that idea. I did not learn halacha I just learned what I saw like eating kosher, etc. keeping Pesach, etc. I didnt go to a yeshiva, that is how I grew up isnt the torah transmitted from mother to daughter, father to son.

    #1018145

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    The women in my shul dance with Sifrei Torah downstairs. Not that many do, more of the young crowd does. I am not a dancer so I don’t join in.

    Joseph, I resent your statement on modern orthodoxy. I think if you were honest with yourself, you would see that people across the entire spectrum of orthodoxy pick and choose what they keep – some are just more likely to hide it. But I recognize the source of who is saying this statement, so I’ll just chalk it up to another of your ridiculous comments.

    #1018146

    oomis
    Participant

    ROB, thank YOU for that erudite and thoughtful post (I always like it when someone backs up something that I have mentioned) 🙂

    #1018147

    mazca
    Member

    I give up nobody wants to use logic anymore, why should a woman dance? Women don’t get allyas. So what do you say to this?

    #1018148

    mepal
    Member

    So dont.

    #1018149

    mybat
    Member

    This is pathetic! Why aren’t women happy being women?

    #1018150

    mepal
    Member

    Men like knowing women are jealous of them. Thats all 😉

    #1018151

    truthsharer
    Member

    mazca, according to halacha, women are indeed allowed to get aliyos. We just don’t do it because it’s not kavod for the tzibbur, for whatever that means.

    mybat, what does women being happy being women mean with regards to their dancing?

    #1018152

    yoshi
    Member

    I can understand the younger girls wanting to dance, but aren’t the women exhausted from going on trips all week, cleaning, cooking, entertaining the kids who are home, and for some reason are constantly “bored?” Only to find out the kids are suddenly extremely “busy” when asked to help with some chores. LOL

    Seriously though, if the women have the energy to dance, go for it! The exercise wouldn’t hurt, especially when you take into consideration the amount of extra calories we tend to consume on the holidays. Sitting and watching other people dance will be sufficient enough for me, I’ll work on those “extra pounds” After the holiday…

    #1018153

    A600KiloBear
    Participant

    BS”D

    I think if you were honest with yourself, you would see that people across the entire spectrum of orthodoxy pick and choose what they keep – some are just more likely to hide it.


    There is a BIG difference between individuals giving into tayves and knowing they are wrong, or knowing they have to compromise because they are (far away from home, in a workplace situation, dealing with hefsed meruba, ill informed and don’t know they are wrong etc) and a whole movement having an image of being based on looking for the easy way out.

    And if you mean individuals who give into tayves and end up in the justice system with their names sprawled across the headlines, sorry, but they’re all across the spectrum. Such is life in golus where the yetzer is an equal opportunity offender.

    #1018154

    Jothar
    Member

    Women dancing with the torah can’t be better than women wearing tzitzis, where Reb Moshe says that while technically muttar, if it’s done for the wrong reasons (like he assumes most feminist innovations are, to say Orthiodix minhag is backward and chauvinist then it’s a big issur.)

    #1018155

    mybat
    Member

    If women want to dance out of happiness for the torah, I personally think that they can dance at home with other women and with their little kids. But women don’t have the mitzvah of tefilin, davening with a minyan, wearing a yarmulka, or doing HAKAFOT! Men are dancing because they have to do the hakafot of simchat torah, they dance because they are happy to be doing this mitzvah. Women are not commanded to do these mitzvot for a reason.

    #1018156

    truthsharer
    Member

    mybat, where is the commandment to have hakafos on Simchas Torah?

    #1018157

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Does anyone know of any mainstrean shul in Brooklyn where women dance on Simchas Torah; I don’t.

    #1018158

    Joseph
    Participant

    Baruch Hashem.

    #1018160

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Baruch Hashem.

    You’ll cherrybim didn’t say “with the Torah.”

    Why does it bother you if women dance behind the mechitza that it’s a big Baruch HaShem that they don’t?

    The Wolf

    #1018161

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I think there is dancing at Kingsway Jewish Center, but I don’t remember 100%.

    Mybat, if there are women who want to dance with the Torah in a tzanua fashion AND it is done for the right reasons (purely for the simcha of the Torah), why shouldn’t they? Especially since many rabbonim agree its not assur.

    Jothar, that’s what I’ve always heard too.

    I personally don’t like to dance so its a non-issue for me.

    #1018162

    Feif Un
    Participant

    cherrybim: Sorry, I don’t know of any. I’m not in the habit of looking into the ezras nashim.

    Joseph: Good for you, fulfilling what it says in the mishnah: k’shem shemivorchim al hatov, kach mivorchim al harah.

    #1018163

    oomis
    Participant

    Good one, Feif Un.

    #1018164

    mazca
    Member

    stop arguing everybody, its enough and lets enjoy simchas torah already, and if in some shuls women dance, fine, but me personally i do not know of anywhere in the world. Do you ? of course we are talking about orthodox shuls.

    #1018165

    mepal
    Member

    Well, maybe if you brought in a piano…

    #1018166

    mazca
    Member

    lol

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