I have a mechitza problem

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  • #608333

    shuli
    Participant

    i’m a frum high school student, and today is purim. great.

    when i came to a little shul to hear the megillah this morning, it burst. my mechitza problem.

    it bothers me so much that a whole bunch of women are confined to a little stuffy mechitza-place thingy,and we all have to listen to a guy read a story. ya, i know some of you will say that there are some really beautiful shuls and i can listen somewhere more comforable. but that isnt my point. my point is that even though we should be tznius and all, isnt it degrading? i think it’s disgusting to have all this. like “let the women just sit here and listen while we have all the fun and drinks” why are they more privileged than us? why can’t a woman read the megillah herself? or parshas zachor for that matter? what made this man better than she? please dont tell me “because this is the shulchan aruch.”

    yes, i know women have to be tznius and it’s special and we build the home and lalalala…but it bothers me. i couldnt listen to the megillah reading. i walked out.

    i really dont want people to think im a ‘teen at risk’ or going off the derech, but i just want a few honest answers. thank you as a side point, im sure other woman have felt this way, at least at one point in their lives.

    #936784

    Sam2
    Participant

    I am not going to go into here why certain things have to/should be said by men and what the precise obligations are. I will say, however, that your Shul was wrong to not have a tolerable or even comfortable place for the women to sit on a day they are obligated to sit in Shul.

    #936785

    shuli, those are all very good questions. As a baal teshuva, I often wonder about the same things. I try to keep a few things in mind when I think about the size of our mechitza verses the size of the mens mechitza. I will just list them to make it easier.

    1. Mechitza size: One thing I have noticed in yeshivish circles is that unless it is parshas zachor, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkos, Simchas Torah, there is no real push for a woman to go to shul. Therefore, if most women do not come to shul on a weekly basis and the men have to come every day, multiple times a day, to daven at shul, it makes sense for them to have a bigger section of the mechitza. Just think about it like money. The shul pays the bills to run the electricity, ner tamid, someone donated a bunch of things like the bimah and stuff, and if the men use it more often, then it makes sense to give them a larger section, especially when there are more men.

    2. Women reading megillah: I just finished hearing women laining the entire megillah in Jerusalem. Its not really so common in Yeshivish, or lubavitch circles, but the modern orthoox crowd does it in order for there to be equality in a halachically permissible way. It is completely muttar for a woman to lain megilla, however, it is assur for her to lain in front of men because of Kol Isha.

    3. As a baal teshuva who had to lain for her bat mitzvah five aliyot of lech lecha, the haftorah, and the brachos before and after, I would like you to know that it took me A YEAR to prepare for that occasion, I spent half an hour a day practicing in my room with the door shut. Thousands of dollars spent on tutoring (even though I already knew the trope because I learned them when I was nine years old). The biggest relief for me as a religious woman is that I have no obligation to lain, or have any other honors during davening. I knew the aliyot I lained for my bat mitzvah perfectly, but even then, I literally cried hysterically while laining most of it and didn’t stop crying until I started reading the haftorah. I can guarentee you that you don’t want to do that- I am happy and eager to leave that task to the men.

    I hope this helps, if you have any other questions, don’t be shy to ask.

    #936786

    jewish source
    Participant

    so become a man what’s the big deal.

    just remember you will be getting up everyday to put on tefilin and learn gemoro a couple of hours a day.

    #936787

    flyer
    Participant

    Do you really want to get up and out three times a day to go to shul… in any weather, no matter what. I am very happy to be a lady even behind the mechitza.

    If you really have questions call ohr naava or something like that. I am sure you can find someone to talk to. There are plenty answers out there.

    #936788

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    shuli-

    idef understand how u feel.. its SO hard 2 be a girl esp during purim time and simchas torah when the guys r havin a blast and us grls arent.. so this yr i rly tried to hav fun and me and my frends went around to the nursing homes and cheered em up!! but i also wana get drunk and hav crazy purim seudos!! trust me ur not alone.. šŸ™‚

    #936789

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    shuli –

    There are two issues here which you have to be able to clearly differentiate in your mind. There are the things which halacha actually says are a man’s role and not a woman’s, and then there is everything else.

    Women and men are different. They play different roles in society. In halacha this plays out by the men having certain mitzvos that a woman does not. This does not mean that a woman is considered less of a human being than a man. If someone kills a woman they get the same penalty as someone who killed a man. If a woman is on trial she is entitled the same due process as a man. Women and men are equal as human beings, they just have different roles in society, and therefore different halachos.

    Instead of merely voicing your complaints, you need to educate yourself, because you need to know how to distinguish between the things halacha actually says are the man’s role, and the stuff people just make up and force down your throat because they are able to. In doing so, you will find what is worth taking a stand for and what is not.

    #936790

    Hashem yerachhem on you and all Yidjishe. kinder.

    #936791

    Sam2
    Participant

    Snowbunny: It’s not Kol Isha for a woman to Lein Megillah for a man. We don’t do it for a different reason.

    #936792

    trop isn’t zemer?

    #936793

    Sam2
    Participant

    DY: Nope. Can’t be. If it was, the Poskim would have said so. They don’t.

    #936794

    Where don’t they that they should have?

    #936795

    Sam2
    Participant

    Where the Gemara and Shulchan Aruch says that women can read Megillah for men.

    #936796

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    It’s purim and popa doesn’t care. If you don’t like it, then go off the derech.

    lol at the mod who is reading this.

    #936797

    charliehall
    Participant

    “why can’t a woman read the megillah herself?”

    It is pretty universally accepted that a woman can read the megillah for herself (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 689:1 — Magen Avraham objects but Mishnah Berurah supports the Shulchan Aruch) or for another woman. The machloket is whether a woman can read the megillah for a man.

    “Where the Gemara and Shulchan Aruch says that women can read Megillah for men.”

    Mishnah Megillah 3a, Gemara Arachin 19b. Rashi and Rambam hold that way. Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 689:7 brings a yesh omrim that a woman can’t read for a man (I think it is the BeHaG), implying that the accepted halachah is that she can. Mishnah Berurah sides with the yeah omrim. Rema says that she recites a different bracha than a man. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef paskens that a woman can read for a man. There are two rabbis in my own neighborhood who pasken on opposite sides of this one. CYLOR. (This is not Purim Torah but the real thing.)

    #936798

    yytz
    Participant

    I agree that women should get to get their own fun party and not be shut off in an uncomfortable or poorly-located women’s section. But I have a few things to add on why men’s and women’s roles are the way they are.

    Besides their traditional all-important roles in the family, women can halachically do a lot of important things traditionally associated with men: study Torah, teach Torah (whether to children or adults), write articles and books, do kiruv, start or lead organizations, have careers, etc. As snowbunny points out, in some circles women can even read the megillah to other women.

    There’s a pretty small number of things only men can do, like lain or serve as shliach tzibur or get semicha or count in a minyan. It’s not because men are better. It’s because mitzvos are given to men and women in ways that complement their inner natures.

    At some primal level, men need something special to do with other men that only they can do. If men don’t get that from shul they’ll look for it elsewhere, outside of Yiddishkeit. What the experience of the heterodox Jewish movements has shown is that when you say women can do everything to, then the men withdraw and want nothing to do with it, and you end up with a congregation that is mainly female.

    So although it offends some people because there’s some superficial inequality, it needs to be this way to keep men involved. Men have a stronger yetzer hara (at least when it comes to things like violence, crime, addiction, gambling and oppressing other people). They need the strong pull of special mitzvos for men, especially those associated with shul, to keep them on the true path.

    #936799

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    yytz-

    your basically saying that jewish women are supposed 2 be introverted and quite and shy.. and that makes u tznius. but lets say not all women and girls have that nature and are more extraverted and like to have fun?

    #936800

    Sam2
    Participant

    Charlie: I wasn’t asking for a source. I was answering DY’s question as to where the Poskim should have mentioned Kol Isha if it was an issue in this case.

    #936801

    yytz
    Participant

    ThePurpleOne: Apologies for the misunderstanding. I didn’t mean to imply that. Certainly, some women are outgoing and funloving, and they can have lots of friends, have Purim parties, enter the caring professions or other jobs that involve a lot of social interaction, get involved in organizations, chesed, etc.

    My point was that only men have the special need to have certain public roles in shul unique to them, for them to feel fulfilled and thus keep them away from sin.

    Some women may also feel drawn to public roles, and they can do that too. But women in general don’t feel that need — so their own personal relationship with Hashem (through personal prayer and the many mitzvos that apply to women), and their bonds with their spouse and children and other family and close friends, is enough for them to feel happy, stay away from sin, and advance in their avodas Hashem.

    Women are more grounded in their social relationships and are naturally more nurturing and compassionate, while men often have a tendency toward anger and harshness and arrogance and impulsivity, which needs to be restrained through extra mitzvos (such as more time spent on Torah study and at shul). Everyone has their own needs and challenges, and the halachic differences between men and women reflect that.

    Anyway, these are just my own ideas about why things are the way they are!

    #936802

    charliehall
    Participant

    Sam2,

    Sorry, I interpreted your last response as a question. Hopefully someone benefited from the torah.

    #936803

    You are yotzei without trop, so it’s not a rayah.

    #936804

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    thanx 4 clarifying yytz..

    #936805

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    Shuli: Me too. I also have a mechitza problem. It’s horrible being in shuls where you can totally see the men and they see you, and you feel like they’re checking you out during davening. Also, then you have to stand during krias haTorah, and your feet get really tired, I don’t know how the men do it.

    (Just kidding!!)

    #936806

    shuli:

    I also have a problem. It’s called a zman kriyas shema problem.

    This morning, I was really, really not in the mood of getting up. But I had to, to make zman kriyas shema.

    Why do I have to get up everyday of my life at 8 when women can sleep till 11 on their days off? Why do I have to go to shul and daven with a minyan every day of my life when the women can just daven in any old corner, if they decide to daven at all? Why do guys have yeshiva from 7-11, 5 days a week, for about 9 years while girls are home by 4 and get sundays off? Why do I have to worry about supporting a family, not my wife?

    Its not fair!

    -?!-

    Life isn’t fair. (And the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.)

    Well said!

    -That mod was obviously a male šŸ™‚

    #936807

    WIY
    Member

    The Kanoi Next Door

    + 1. When I was a younger I was always so jealous of my sister who used to sleep until 11 am or so on Shabbos morning. I would come home from shul and thunder at her “YOU JUST WOKE UP?!” Lol.

    #936808

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    oh wow i honestly never thought abt this!!! plus davening w a minyan.. those boys always mess up our fam vacations when they gotta go to a random town for minyan…

    #936809

    ari-free
    Participant

    This may come as a shock to some people, like when a teenage girl realizes that the supposedly nice guy who told her that he really really loves her and wants to be her friend really doesn’t love and care about her but just wants something else…

    If there is no mechitza and other gedarim, this is what will happen: the guys will check out the girls and flirt with them. If she is seen to be ‘under the influence’ and partying, she will be seen as an ‘opportunity.’ I know because I’ve seen what it is like in coed MO schools.

    Do not think that just because a guy has a hat and jacket (or even big beard!) that he is any different than any other guy inside. Yosef was a great tzadik and this was still a big nisayon for him. It may seem horrible and not very nice but this is the way things are so that a couple, that does things the right way, will have a happier marriage together.

    #936810

    rebdoniel
    Member

    Hakham Ovadia Yosef and many others permit women’s megillah readings. The Gemara in Erchin itself says a woman is hayav in hearing Megillat Ester.

    Most rishonim hold that women are obligated to read Megillat Ester and, therefore, should also be empowered to read it for others.

    An all-women’s megillah reading would also alleviate a lot of the concerns with kalut rosh.

    #936811

    TehillaKayla
    Member

    Go to a bigger shul

    #936812

    noitallmr
    Participant

    So hilarious this post!!!! Lol I feel were bringing back the 40’s- VOTES FOR WOMEN!!! But in fairness you have a point if they put the women somewhere really uncomfortable but if its just not as spacious as the mens you have to understand that its an hour a year!!!

    #936813

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I feel were bringing back the 40’s- VOTES FOR WOMEN!!!

    If you’re in the US, you have to go back further than that. The 19th amendment to the US Constitution (which prohibited discrimination in voting on the basis of sex) was ratified on Aug 18, 1920.

    The Wol

    #936814

    mofr
    Member

    He’s in the U.K.

    #936815

    noitallmr
    Participant

    mofr- well observed!!!

    #936816

    shuli
    Participant

    Thank you all for replying to my post. I really enjoyed reading alot of the replies. I have to say that a few people really did a good job at explaining stuff. So thank you, and have a great pesach.

    And what is our naava?

    #936817

    I don’t know if the mods will let me post a link, but they do have a website, http://www.ohrnaava.net. If there’s no link in the comment, you can just google ohr naava.

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