Women and Prayer

Women in Jewish religious life

Autoplay Next

Women and Prayer: Women in Jewish religious life

Why are men and women separated by a mechitzah in the synagogue? Why aren’t women counted for a minyan? Do women wear tallis and tefillin?
Women and Prayer  
Listen to Audio | Download this MP3
Women, Femininity & Feminism, Mechitzah, Prayer

Join the Discussion

Sort By:
Uri Hirsch January 12, 2018

I always have davened in a shul with a mechitza but just to play devil's advocate let me pursue this line of thinking. You mention that during intimacy a man should not think of another woman and you use that idea to show the importance of a mechitza to prevent men from seeing/thinking of women while he is davening to Hashem. Just as a man is able to think of another woman during intimacy (but shouldn't) so a man might be thinking of a woman while he is davening to Hashem. Therefore the mechitza is not necessarily preventing the incorrect thoughts in a shul. Reply

Chinyere Racheal January 12, 2018

Wonderful teaching... Here in Nigeria we can find your splendid teaching Reply

Rabbi A. Raskin bklyn hts NY January 8, 2017

Rashi's Daughters In response to Rashi's daughters, there is no hard evidence that they wore teffillin.
However, we do have evidence that Michal daughter Shaul wore tefillin. And according to the Talmud on Eruvin 96a the Rabbis did not protest.
In a talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe dated Shavuot 5745 the Rebbe adds that she probably wore them all day. Yet the Rebbe concludes that she possessed the quality of Moach shalit al Halev (a masculine faculty). In contrast to most women whom G-d endowed with a greater level of sensitivity and compassion. Reply

S. Weingarten Michigan January 5, 2017

Terrific lesson!!!! Very well organized and thoughtout, informative yet very clear. Sensitive and inspiring!!
I have a burning question after learning all this. How is it justified that Rashi's daughter put on Teffilin? Reply

Myriam Obadia Israel July 10, 2013

Isha isn't the "other side" she's the mother of your sons I'm not a Rabbi, but my own -admittedly limited- knowledge and life experience have taught me that the man who doesn't educate his daughter in Talmud-Torah has denied his own grandsons an education in Talmud-Torah.
Fathers aren't eternal, nor are they in control of the events which will shape their daughters' lives.
In the real world, women often have to be the only referent adult in their children's youth. How are they to educate their sons in Talmud-Torah, when they are kept in ignorance of it?
Don't tell me the Rabbi will do it because Rabbis are not available everywhere in the world and they usually do it for more money than most divorced or widowed women can afford.
I don't know when the Mashiach will come, but it's already too late to give my sons the Jewish education they would have received had I been but taught some 40 years ago. This means that, when my grand-sons are born, unless their mothers are learned Jewish women, they will not receive a Jewish education either. Reply

Marilia July 8, 2013

That's really beautiful! I watched the other videos and it's inspiring. Specially "what's wrong with being a woman?" it's touching and deep, and allows to open our hearts and minds to interprete things in a beautiful . As Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin said in the same, each one has its own obligations and objectives. So we must follow them. Through history , the old story of sexism, messed up some concepts and brought a feeling of discomfort.Many time I thought myself '' why I have to do it and my brother does not?why can he can do it, you mean I'm not capable?" The answer was "he's a man and you're a woman". It bothered me. As a known fact, there are differences of treatment, regardless to culture, bwtween man and woman, so I thought I was only made to take care of others, but I wanted to be recognized as an intelectual individual, independently of my gender. I thank you, for your words that brought enlightment, more, a beautiful explanation over the importance of my own objective,my holiness Reply

Anonymous Florida April 24, 2013

A great 38 minutes.....Thank you Rabbi. Reply

Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin Brooklyn heights April 22, 2013

anonymous Dear Anonymous,

I agree with you that women are smart. The talmud clearly states a greater level of understanding was given to the woman.
And no doubt that we both know of smart men and smart women.

However, I believe we can both agree that in general women are more emotional then men, and this quality is viewed in Torah as a positive thing since mitzvahs are to be done with emotion and not robotic. This concept I explained on the video 'women and candle lighting'. It is for the above reason that women, and women alone are those who determine the the identity of a Jewish child.
For example, if the Father is as great as Moses and the mother isn't Jewish, the child isn't Jewish.
In contrast, a Jewish girl married to the pope would still have a Jewish child.
With blessing for success, Reply

Anonymous April 21, 2013

...are you kidding me? Are you implying that men are smarter than women and that women are more caring than men...That's messed up sexist. Reply

Anonymous April 16, 2013

Women and Prayer This is very good. There is so much in your teaching on this, and much that affirms. I was told women don't read the Talmud, mockingly, But I do read it from time to time. I love the Talmud, and sometimes try not to read it because I get so into it, and the time passes. There are other sefer's that I do study along with Torah. What you said about being in the Temple and behavior was just right on. There's much chatter, and distraction that sometimes I stay home so I can pray. Told to go help set the table all kinds of things. Again, I think it is women don't need to pray, or pray in a time bound way. When really our lives are so stressed that this is something that is so natural for women, and for our well being and everyone that is near us. It should be a priority and encouraged. Even though we are on the other side that energy permeates and it is beneficial. Reply

Ana Angel South Florida April 13, 2013

I love to see all the parallels and congruencies between Judaism and Christianity. Although I'm nott "jewish" I consider you bothers and sisters and love, LOVE listening to your wisdom, knowledge and insight of the bible, our relation with God, and the Hebrew language! There are many congruencies in the teachings despite the language barrier. For example "knowing God = having an intimate relationship with God", until now, I thought that was a Christian teaching. I'm very happy of the work that chabad is doing in educating and raisingn awareness of this truths.... It is a light, even unto us Gentiles! Praise God!

I hope we all (all of humanity) continue to draw close to God as we gain understanding of these truths :) Reply

Michelle Andre Fl April 12, 2013

Men with Men Ok, what about men perusing men? So many distractions! Either you focus on G-d in your heart or you're a pervert! Example: once when I was a teen I was across the street at the second floor apartment innocently visiting my friend John no romance! Then when I went down stairs outside his front door johns uncle willy standing on his porch a minister said to me " what where you doing upstairs alone with John that doesn't look good?" When I went home I told my mom what Willy said to me and my Mother said "that was Willy's sick mind!" Amen to my Mother! I am still a chaste women to this day and proud of my parents faith and upbringing! Reply

Uri Israel April 12, 2013

Tfilin Re: women wearing Tfilin. It has been told that Rashi's daughter's wore Tfilin. If they did that then it must be allowed.

Also your stated reason that women should not wear Tfilin is because of immodesty issues then why couldn't they wear the Tfilin in an only-women's prayer group? Reply

Uri Israel April 12, 2013

Talit You make a good case for a woman to wear a Talit in shul and cover herself with it so that she won't talk to her neighbor. Reply

Anonymous NM April 11, 2013

Women who study Torah Rebbe, Aaron Raskin, How would you weight in kindness this consideration: 1.that women seek education of the torah in the desert alone. 2. it is said that: The one who educates Isha, educates the other side. 3. Meshiach will be the increase of understanding that is to occur upon his arrival. 4. If for woman the task of purifying text does not occur; then for which spiritual purpose, if not for own, is she seeking out this information? 5. We live in the time of the female rabbi of abiding and sincere service. Reply

Myriam Obadia Kohav Yaacov April 10, 2013

Even though I was born Jewish, I didn't receive a Jewish education. As a result, I am quite ignorant of many aspects of the Halacha and have had to rely on just reading -and trying to understand- Torah on my own (Let's say that my understanding is quite limited due to the lack of teacher). I have appreciated your lessons and have been amazed how often you offer solid basis as well as confirmation to what I felt was true, but without being able to formulate it properly. Thank you very much. Reply

Fruma Malka Florida April 4, 2013

Women and Prayer Dear Rabbi, In light of our phone conversation, after listening to this I don't know if you are reading my mind or if I am reading yours or maybe I am just listening to you speak as I hold on to the coat tails. Blessings on you and the family. Reply

philippa and london March 22, 2013

women and prayer Thank you Rabbi,

I am not a Jewish, but when I compare this to the bible and the background of pentcostal religion, i really now understand well, I enjoy your teaching, God bless you. Reply

mattie pil san francisco March 21, 2013

women and parayer You put this lesson in a very clear prospective!!!!! Reply

Rochel Chana Jenkins March 20, 2013

Thank you so much Rabbi Raskin. This lesson was very informative and uplifting. It inspired me with the confidence and courage to continue my responsabilities at home.
Thanks again, Rochel Reply