Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein Says Women Should Not Drive As It ‘Compromises Tzniyus’


zilbAs we prepare to mark the shloshim for the victims of the Egged 402 bus accident that claimed six lives, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Rav of the Ramat Elchanan neighborhood of Bnei Brak speaks to the tzibur. The accident hit the chareidi tzibur particularly hard.

During a talk in beis medrash, Rav Zilberstein explained he has been approached by many people seeking an explanation that resulted in such tragedy for so many families.

Rabbi Zilberstein quotes the kuntres Rachmei HaRav from HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Halevy Wosner ZT”L, in which Rav Wosner writes women should not get a drivers license. He explains that while this is somewhat commonplace today, it is not advised for the actual process of obtaining the license results in compromising her modesty as does actual driving of a vehicle by a woman for this exposes her to sites in the streets and marketplace.

“וליבי אומר לי שהוא אחד הגורמים של האסונות הגדולים שנעשים בדרכים בארץ ישראל המפילים כל כך חללים והרגו כבר טובים וצדיקים וזה מצורף לכל העבירות הנעשים בדרכים שמולידים המחבלים שמסכנים הדרכים”.

The kuntres adds “My heart tells me this is one of the causes of major catastrophes on the roadways of Eretz Yisrael that claim so many lives including many fine people, tzaddikim, and this coupled with the many [traffic] aveiros that made the roadways so dangerous”.

Rabbi Zilberstein adds as Posek Hador, Rav Wosner is giving piskei halacha from Shomayim and this is one of the causes that so many good people are killed.

He adds Rav Wosner in some exceptional cases permitted women to drive, for example a sick child in one’s home and a child with special needs that requires transportation to and from an institution but these exceptions were rare.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. I respectfully inquire into what is untznius about a woman driving. Do tell! Because it will “expose her to sites”? What” sites” exactly? What does she see on the road that she does not see elsewhere? And the things she may see on the road, she also sews in a bus! If anything the men should be guarding their eyes. Women are stronger in this way. On a separate note, how can one make cheshbonos for Hashem? We simply do not understand His ways! We cannot say why He chose to take lives! Why would Hashem remove his protection for something that is such sensitivity, not even Halacha? (that was a rhetorical question, there is no answer as we do not understand His ways! When Moshiach comes we will until then, we do our best in our future actions and not explain those that already occurred.)

  2. I’m trying very hard NOT to sound antagonistic but, YWN what is the point of this story? You know, well I presume you know, that he’s talking to HIS k’hilla. You should also know that the you know what will hit the fan AGAIN throughout the blogosphere by every Chaim, Moshe, and Shmeril who thinks he’s a bigger person than this person, whomever he may be, is.

    So what is the point? Are you listening? Your wife probably drives here in the USA, are you going to stop her after this?

  3. without G-d forbid contradicting the Rav, I would like to express a thought that having traveled on Jerusalem buses for over 30+ years here, I think the sneas problems on the buses for the general tzibor are far worse than sneas problems in a closed car and do much much more damage. The Rav was addressing a problem for women in actually driving a vehicle and I am addressing a different problem for men using public bus transportation.

  4. Bemichilas kvodo harama (and I sincerely mean that, I have learned and love his seforim), with regard to Rav Wosner’s zt”l pesakim from shamayim, I thought when it comes to a pesak halacha – lo bashamayim hee? It seems Rav Zibershteyn is not certain that the lack of tznius caused by women driving actually led to the terrible traffic accident. Then why say it, especially if we are enjoined not to attribute specific cause and effect to particular aveiros?
    Also, a woman cannot drive in an emergency situation if she has no license, or no real experience driving prior to the emergency. Driving is a skill that is learned…

  5. Notice how the accident was caused by a male driver. Maybe let all the woman get their licenses drive buses and taxis and let men really learn how to drive. I for one have no intention of giving up my CDL. and yes I am a bus driver too.

  6. I agree. The Charedi should fund raise so each Jewish woman can be driven around in a limo-tinted windows of course. Has to be a limo to fit the kids.

  7. And it compromises safety too!

    But that’s it, he’s going to persona non-grata from now on! His stories will cease to inspire crowds cuz he’s a hot head! Naturei Karta!!
    What else will they say about him!!!
    I hope I’m wrong!

  8. I never really understood the tznius problem for women driving.

    “as does actual driving of a vehicle by a woman for this exposes her to sites in the streets and marketplace.” Does riding a bus or walking not expose her to the same danger? Does being in the marketplace not expose her to the same danger? So why is driving different?

    And in my humble opinion, being exposed to the disgusting sites in the street and marketplace are probably worse for a man to see than a woman. Why should a man be allowed to drive and be exposed to all of this?

  9. So driving “exposes her to sites in the streets and marketplace”. She is probably exposed to more terrible sites in her home looking at the Internet. Rabbi Zilberstein adds as Posek Hador, “Rav Wosner is giving piskei halacha from Shomayim” How does HaGaon HaRav Zilberstein receive the piskei halocha from the late gadol Rav Wosner zt”l since he moved to shomayim?

  10. I love how this psak comes right before Purim…when most of the drunk drivers are…men…and when most of the drunk pedestrians are Yeshiva boys and…young men. I can’t think of a more dangerous situation than requiring men to drive on Purim, especially in an area like Ramat Beit Shemesh. And, basing this on a psak from Shamayaim…that really is Purim Torah!

  11. I believe this was said to his circles. Not sure the benefit of posting every psak from every circle… Is it to enlighten, to push upon others, or chas v’shalom to mock?

    In many circles, chassidishe in particular, women do not drive. In many other areas, many Litvishe circles, the men do not drive. Their wives drive them wherever they need to go!

    Shivim panim la’Torah. We don’t necessarily pick and choose which psak we like from which rav, but rather everyone should be following their own rabbanim.

  12. you really opened up a can of worms with a story like this, didn’t you? even though i don’t know him personally, i have in the past met and spoken to him on my previous trips to bnei brak. he is one geshmake yid, and i say that sincerely. rather than debate this issue via YWN, it would be better to look him up on the next trip to israel. he lives in bnei brak in the ramat elchonon neighborhood (walking distance to the coca cola factory). it’s very possible that he is either being misquoted or possibly being quoted out of context.

  13. Look in Oz Nidberi from Hagoan Rav Silber zt”l tractate יג תשובה פ, he contradicts this pesak and according to him woman should rather drive than men

  14. Does every psak that the rabbonim in Eretz Yisroel give need to be posted online, giving the anonymous ‘experts’ in cyberspace more reason to talk loshon horah against Talmidei Chachomim?
    This psak was given by Rav Zilberstien shlita for HIS KEHILLAH ONLY!

    In chutz La’aretz, we have our own Rabbonim to lead us.

  15. 12. rav wsner ztl wasn’t chassidish. someone whos a posek hador aka accepted by all shomrei torah umitzvos. his psak is mishomayim for all shomrei torah . hagoen hatzaddik ovadye Yosef psak is accepted by all

    15, 16 . you don’t know of te concept of ‘hatzleh porta’
    where we can fix we do. asking women not to go on streets is ‘ain hatzibbur youchol lamod bo’ so with the rest of the mockers

  16. dont you love the ppl who always say shiva panim latorah.. so there is no such thing as something ossur because you can always find someone in 70 who will be matir so you can be oker the whole torah.

  17. moden guy now that you are not frum you can watch wahtever you like on the internet and its all ok. becuae the frum guys have it all wrong. and only you and the modox are right. so lets look to bash the frum guys to justify not being frum and do whatever your heart may desire.

  18. #13 yaapchik beacuse he says a psak that your not comfortable with means he cant inspire anybody. he becomes a hot head because he holds that women should not prance around town as much as men makes him netuirei karta.

    is the rambam also neturei karta because hes not premiscuous and says that women should not go out that often and their husbands should make sure of that.

    because someone steeped in torah is machmir on the hanhaga of women makes him a hot head. really??

  19. Before any of the above amaratzim continue being mevaze a talmid chochom, and suffer the known result of such folks, let them reach the dust under the toenails HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Zilberstein shlit”a in even knowing one daf of Gemora or Halacha or his father in law HaGaon HaRav Shalom Yosef Eliashiv zt’l.

  20. tzoorba #12: This isn’t a “Chasidishe chumra”. In Eretz Yisroel the Litvish Yeshivishe Chareidishe oilem also do not drive. The non-Chasidish women, that is.

  21. zionflag #14: There are many kehilos in America and other parts of chutz l’aaretz that also do not permit women to drive. Including in NYC.

  22. The issue with women driving, according to the shittos that forbid it, is that a licensed driver has the ability and will usually travel more frequently and more than absolutely minimally necessary, since its much easier to simply hop in the car and go shopping by the mall, visiting people, touring, go for a fun drive, etc.

    And since the Shulchan Aruch paskens l’halacha I(as does the Rambam) that women should stay indoors most of the time and stay away from the public as much as possible, being a licensed driver induces the opposite effect of that.

  23. YWN Editors,

    Please explain what exactly was the point of posting this. To get more comments? Drive (pun intended) traffic to the site? It was obviously meant for the people of his specific community.