Is it Permissible for Women to Vote?
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- This topic has 27 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 13 years ago by Ben Levi.
March 18, 2010 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm #591424whatelseisleftMember
i was just wondering……
women cant share their option so can they vote?March 19, 2010 2:31 am at 2:31 am #682182goody613Member
huh?March 19, 2010 3:26 am at 3:26 am #682183
This was discussed almost a century ago and resulted in a big public machloket between Rav Kook z’tz’l, then chief rabbi of Jerusalem, and Rav Uziel z’tz’l, then chief rabbi of Jaffa. Rav Kook was stridently opposed, but Rav Uziel supported, and the rabbinate pretty much accepted Rav Uziel’s position. Religious women have even served in the Knesset.
BTW in many Torah communities it is totally acceptable for women to share their opinions on Torah and secular matters if they are learned.March 19, 2010 3:27 am at 3:27 am #682184March 19, 2010 3:51 am at 3:51 am #682185
The actual tshuvot of Rav Kook and Rav Uziel were recently translated into English and published in the Edah Journal. You can find them online with an internet search. (I’d post the link but I want to respect YWN’s policy against outside links.) Rav Uziel shows that women can vote, be elected to public office, be appointed to positions of authority (serarah), and even serve as a judge. Rav Uziel concludes by saying,
“1) A woman has an absolute right of participation in elections
so that she be bound by the collective obligation
to obey the elected officials who govern the nation.
2) A woman may also be elected to public office by the
consent and ordinance of the community.”
Rav Uziel’s opinion, and not that of Rav Kook, is now accepted within Israel.March 19, 2010 3:52 am at 3:52 am #682186
And since women have bina yeseira, it is not possible that THEIR opinions might just be the right ones? Did not Hashem tell Avraham Avinu to listen to all that his wife says (and do so)?
It was the inability to legally vote that caused domestic disharmony in families. The days of women being afraid to express their seicheldik ideas, have long since passed. Most women today in the frum world are far better-educated and knowledgeable about those voting issues, than their husbands.March 19, 2010 3:59 am at 3:59 am #682187JotharMember
Volvie, I didn’t know you were a talmid of Rav Kook ZT”L. For the rest of us, something is muttar until you know it’s assur, and Rav kook ZT”L had a svara not a sourced halacha. when the Gedolim issue proclamations to vote, they don’t write “men only”. Therefore, I have to assume that most gedolim hold it’s ok.March 19, 2010 1:41 pm at 1:41 pm #682190
In any case this is a moot point. Women legally HAVE the right to vote, so yes, in the USA it is permissible The original question posed did not specify halacha).March 19, 2010 1:54 pm at 1:54 pm #682191JotharMember
Rav Kook ZT”L didn’t seem to halachically pasken they couldn’t. He just felt it would be destructive to family life. He would agree that in today’s society, where it’s not, women have full suffrage rights. This is why quoting old teshuvos based on a completely different social structure is dangerous. This is also why you need a rav instead of paskening out of a sefer.March 19, 2010 2:17 pm at 2:17 pm #682192
I’ve never seen a poisek officially pasken that it IS permissible for them to vote (perhaps it exists though), whereas here you see Rav Kook officially paskened it is not. Furthermore, even where a Rov will tell you of course women should vote today, it is clearly a b’dieved. Since general society already allows it, if we refused it we would lose half our influence. Therefore, absolutely women today should vote since it is legally available and the secular, irreligious etc. will outvote them if we shield half our eligible voters.
Nevertheless, IF given the possibility to discontinue (or better not allow in the first place) woman’s suffrage across the board, I highly doubt any Godol would disagree with Rav Kook on this issue. I challenge anyone to find any Godol on the record who ever stated that we are better off with this suffrage. It simply does not exist.
Whether the reason for this is black and white halacha, societal, detrimental to families, etc. is almost secondary. Most situations are not black and white. That’s why we have Gedolim and poiskem to help us sort out these things. Even if we disagree with them, using our own krum logic (which we stupidly think is impeccable logic), we follow our religious leaders.
We are all, unfortunately, living today in a world of b’dieved’dik matzif’s.March 19, 2010 4:33 pm at 4:33 pm #682195
“I’ve never seen a poisek officially pasken that it IS permissible for them to vote (perhaps it exists though)”
I just posted that one exists, said who wrote it, and told you how to find it.
“Furthermore, even where a Rov will tell you of course women should vote today, it is clearly a b’dieved.”
Not according to Rav Uziel z’tz’l, whose tshuvah you didn’t bother to read.
“I challenge anyone to find any Godol on the record who ever stated that we are better off with this suffrage. It simply does not exist.”
It does exist, and I pointed it out to you.
“I highly doubt any Godol would disagree with Rav Kook on this issue.”
Rav Uziel did just that.March 19, 2010 4:46 pm at 4:46 pm #682196
charlie: Nesei Sefer Venechzei. Bring a Sefer and let’s see what’s there.March 19, 2010 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #682198
Furthermore, even where a Rov will tell you of course women should vote today, it is clearly a b’dieved.
Forgive the ignorance here, but if a rav is telling you to do something (before you’ve done it), how can it possibly be a b’dieved?
Or are you using the word “b’dieved” to mean “not ideal” as opposed to what it truly means?
The WolfMarch 19, 2010 6:37 pm at 6:37 pm #682199
The latter meaning.March 19, 2010 6:52 pm at 6:52 pm #682200
I’m confused. The way my question was set up is not ideal for a former/latter answer.
Are you saying that you’re using b’dieved according to it’s true meaning?
If so, then please explain how a posek can tell you to do something which is only b’dieved?
The WolfMarch 19, 2010 6:59 pm at 6:59 pm #682201
Your latter definition was “not ideal.” That was what I was indicating.March 19, 2010 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #682202
Thanks for the clarification. I just wanted to ask because the situation you are describing is impossible based on the true meaning of the word.
Have a good Shabbos.
The WolfMarch 23, 2010 8:27 pm at 8:27 pm #682203dvorakMember
Interesting piece of US history: The Western states (such as Wyoming and Utah) were among the first to grant women’s suffrage, nearly 60 years before it became federal law. Among the reasons at the time were that the female vote was the only way to tame the rampant immoral behavior going on in the wild west, the assumption being that the women, who were the paragons of home and family values, were needed to vote for politicians who would be tough on bad behavior. It turned out to be true- in states where women were given the vote, tough laws against vices were passed and strictly enforced while lawlessness and chaos continued in those that did not.
I don’t know where halacha fits into all this, nor can I say that the logic of the 1860’s would apply today (if anything, it seems that today’s women would be more likely to vote for abortion rights than for morality), but it is certainly an interesting point to ponder.March 23, 2010 9:37 pm at 9:37 pm #682204HIEParticipant
Chillul hashem nit to voteMarch 23, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm #682205
Chillul hashem nit to vote
I’m assuming you meant “not to vote.”
My question to you is this — assuming the person doesn’t take out a billboard in Times Square or otherwise advertise the fact that they didn’t vote, how is it a Chillul HaShem?
The WolfMarch 23, 2010 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm #682206
I think the chillul Hashem could be in allowing politicians and/or legislation to get in because you (not you, Wolf, the “royal” YOU) did not vote. Each vote counts, and if someone doesn’t use the inalienable right that was granted to the citizens of this country, and as a result some immoral law is passed because it was not legally fought within the voting system, then a C”H can occur.March 24, 2010 3:28 am at 3:28 am #682207
A major reason Wyoming and Utah gave women the right to vote early (1869 and 1871, respectively) was that at that time the large Mormon population practiced “plural marriage”, i.e. polygyny. Allowing all of a man’s wives to vote greatly increased the Mormon turnout compared to the monogamous Christians.March 24, 2010 3:46 pm at 3:46 pm #682208mosheemes2Member
Off-topic but I don’t understand the idea there. Regardless of who they married, there should have been the same number of men and women voters. Is the idea that the men who couldn’t find wives in Wyoming and Utah moved away? That the men who couldn’t find wives because of plural marriage would vote against the faith? Something else?March 24, 2010 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #682209anuranParticipant
mesheemes2, the polygamist Mormon communities solve the mismatch very simply. They throw out most of the boys in their mid to late teens for imagined sins.March 24, 2010 5:44 pm at 5:44 pm #682210mosheemes2Member
I’ve heard that too. But I’d also imagine that would have been much more difficult to do in nineteenth century Utah, where I’d think able bodied Mormon men were probably at a premium regardless of their marital status.
I realized as I was typing this, that some of the answer could be that in the 1870’s a significant percentage of Mormons were probably converted from somethign else seeing as how the religion itself isn’t much older than that, which would explain the gender disparity.March 24, 2010 9:58 pm at 9:58 pm #682211dvorakMember
Charlie- you’re right, but that was all part of the larger “morality issue” because regular Xtians viewed polygamy as immoral, right up there with gambling and drinking which were the other behaviors that many people wanted to eradicate.March 26, 2010 3:48 am at 3:48 am #682212
The “morality issue” was indeed there; one reason why many Western States allowed women to vote even before 1920 was the hope that more women would migrate to those states and help to civilize the men.March 26, 2010 2:14 pm at 2:14 pm #682213Ben LeviParticipant
CharlieHall, the hop was not that the women would civilize the men in the way implied. Rather there was a tremendous lack of women for Men to marry in the Western States (in the way of thousands of men per women) which resulted in obvious problems.
There was many things done to try and attract women for the men to marry, voting was one of them “mail order wives” was another (I kid you not).
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