Peres: Torah Does Not Ban Women Wearing Tallis at Western Wall, “We Are Not a Church”

41

peresThe Torah does not prohibit women from wearing a tallis, and they should be allowed to do so at the Kosel, President Shimon Peres pronounced in a meeting with 200 leaders of the New York UJA-Federation on Yom Ha’atzmaut.

“It is not written anywhere in the Torah that women cannot wear a tallis,” he said. “We are not a church or an organization. We are a religion and every one of us has a different way of speaking with God. All men and women are allowed to pray they choose.”

He also told the Jewish leaders what he would not have dared to say in Hebrew to Israelis: “Judaism has many faces, and it is anti-Jewish to choose only one of them.”

That statement is an outright rejection of the authority of learned rabbinom and is a blatant adoption of the attitude of the rebellious Korach in the Torah, who complained to Moshe that “all of us are holy” and therefore can be priests.

Peres’ remarkably shallow remarks relate to the Women of the Wall, who have successfully challenged the authority of orthodox Judaism by winning support from American Jewish organizations for their demand to allow women to have their own minyan at the Wall, wear a tallis – the prayer shawl traditionally worn by men – and read from Torah scroll.

A compromise solution has been accepted in principle, allowing women to pray as they wish at the Western Wall but in an area that is at the other end from the Western Wall Plaza.

With all due respect to the president, and as good a Jew as he is, he is far from a Torah scholar. For him to state that to Jewish leaders that “it is not written in the Torah that women cannot wear a tallis” is simply incredibly dumb.

Of course it does not prohibit it. It also is not written in the Torah that a woman cannot be the Chief Rabbi of Israel.

It also is not written in the Torah that 10 people are needed for a minyan. It is not written that there should even be a minyan. It is not even written that people should pray three times day. It does not even mention the tallis at all.

President Peres is not so ignorant that he does not know that the Torah relates to the building of the Mishkan – the Tabernacle in the desert – and the laws of the Mishkan more than anything else?

He cannot be so boorish not to know there is something called the Oral Law, without which Judaism would have been a dead religion centuries ago.

It is the Oral law, as expounded in the Talmud by rabbinic sages, that has been the lifeblood of the development of Jewish thought and law, without which the Written Torah would be a museum piece.

Only Peres can explain why he saw it necessary to be so banal and declare to some of New York’s most important Jewish leaders that Judaism allows all men and women to speak with God as they wish.

The Book of Prophets does not lack examples of women praying, and no rabbi – whether Haredi, Modern Orthodox, Reform, Conservative or Reconstructionist – has declared a monopoly on prayer.

Peres may have scored points with some of the Jewish leaders, but he also showed himself to be a fool to other delegates who know that using the Torah to put a spin on issues for one’s convenience is, to use his own unfortunate term, anti-Jewish.

Tzvi ben Gedalyahu-The Jewish Press

{Matzav.com Newscenter}

41 COMMENTS

  1. I wish everyone would stop paying attention to these meshugayim. I know from personal experience that the number of really “frum” feminists, who want to davka daven with tallis, etc. is very very few. HOWEVER, when the chance arises to make a tummel, they flock to an event in droves.
    STOP PAYING ATTENTION TO THEM, AND THEY WILL GO AWAY.

  2. You cannot refuse to say the mishebeirach for the medina AND pretend that Israel is currently a Torah society. You cannot legistlate with Normative halacha, mashiach is not here, we don’t have a sanhedrin. We happen to be in Israel now. Yuo are playing both sides of the coin and it’s unfair.

  3. Torah bans making a scene in public. Torah bans removing your hat of dignity for an ace of hardware. Torah most certainly bans the idea that any soul can deviate from human dignity to impress the L-rd with his or her faith by stepping on the corners of everyone elses mind. So if you ask me, even though perhaps Torah does not mandate these ladies be arrested and removed, Torah most certainly is against their display. Since when do we have to use the law to enforce Torah values? Can not a schlep eat a ham sandwich? But if you also ask me, we can have Kosher zones where you can not have ham. Make the Kotel Kosher enforced and Torah has its way.

  4. Reb Sholom Schwadron Z”L used to say, “Where does it say in Shulchon Oruch that one isn’t permitted to hold a black cat in his hands during the Brocho of Shema Koleinu”???

  5. The author writes “He cannot be so boorish not to know there is something called the Oral Law, without which Judaism would have been a dead religion centuries ago.” First, to use a word like “boor” to describe President Peres shows a complete lack of disrespect and therefore makes the author lose any credibility he may have had. It shows he is simply ranting about Halachot he himself may be unfamiliar with just to score political points, and he could have avoided all that by using a lighter term like “ignorant” or “unlearned.”
    Second, Peres is correct both according to the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. It is true that tzitzis (which is the mitzvah being performed while wearing a tallis) is a mitzvas asei shehazman gerama, as it is listed in the Gemara Kiddushin 32b. That Gemara also lists sukka, lulav, and shofar. If we are to take the logic that the mitzvos women are exempt from means they are forbidden to perform them, then we must also extend that to say women may not eat in a sukka, shake arba minim, or listen to shofar. Most of you would say that is absurd, as it in fact is. Exempt (peturos) does not mean forbidden.
    In fact the Rambam in Hilchos Tzitzis 3:9 says that while women are exempt from tzitzis, if a woman wants to wear tzitis she may do so without a bracha. The Rema in O”C 17:2 goes a step further and says she may even make a bracha just like all other mitzvos asei shehazman gerama (that’s a difference between ashkenazi and sefardi women- ashkenazi women make brachos on mitzvos they are exempt from while sefardi women do not).
    So why is there such an uproar? Because of the next da’as yachid the Rema quotes, the Agur, who says women should not do so even though they are allowed to because michzi kiyuhara.
    Thus, Peres was absolutely correct when he said it is not written in the Torah that women cannot wear a tallis. I am certainly not in favor of women trying to create a political uproar by flaunting a rejection of tradition, so in sentiment I lean toward the view of the author, but I get very upset when writers spew forth positions they call fact when in reality those positions are simply untrue. It is extremely poor journalism.
    (I also think it is ironic that the Israeli law in this situation is more machmir than the Torah, because it calls for the arrest of women who wear a tallis at the Kotel.)

  6. I once heard Rabbi Yisroel Reisman say that it’s interesting that the husbands of these ‘frum’ women stopped wearing tallis and tefillin a long time ago…

  7. Actually, from the point of view of technical halachah, Peres is right. There is no prohibition for women to wear tzitzit, and a talit that does not look like a man’s talit would be halachically mutar.

  8. The problem is not whether a women wear a Talis or not. The problem is failing to understand different roles in the same society.
    I suggest for the sake of humor , ilustration , and instill ridicule that we men should wear tichels and sheitelech (chas v sholom) , instead of singing eshes chayil…let us sing Ish Chayil.

    Let us change…that women should do all the mitsvos that we do day today as men and that men should stay home and bake cookies!
    let women go to yeshivas and become Rabbis..and we men will go shopping, strolling our carriages,go to maternity lessons, get into the fashion of the times wearing the latest on the market. Let women sing and us be quiet, they should lead all services and droshas, they should blow the shofar and make us cry from a monderful shabbes shuva drosha….off course we will be upstairs in the “menner shul”.

    we will not wear a women garment so…no more tsitsis or talesim of tefilin for us.

    so far so good…the only part I still have no solition is …how can we carry
    a baby for 9 months with all its internal components. LOL

    Hashem wants men to be men and women to be women any disruption of that is a catastrophe!

  9. To: “Let’s look at the Oral Law”

    Yes you quote the Rambam and you quote the Rema, but you dont quote any of the gedolim in OUR generation. We have a chiyuv to listen to the chachamim in OUR generation. I am pretty confident if you asked R’ Kanievsky, R’ Elyashiv, R’ shteinman etc…you know they would say women should absolutely not wear talleisim at the Kotel.

  10. 1) # 3 you shouldn’t curse anyone!
    2) Peres is more right then the author of the article. Even in the ‘oral law’ there is no prohibition for a woman to wear a tallis or tfilin for that matter. We ‘haredi’ have to stop being so closed minded and really think of real arguments (if any) against these women – if not we are bound to lose this battle.

  11. And yet after all is said and done, and all the vitriol about emunas chachomim etc, it is still not assur for them to wear these talitot and we should learn to look away from it, even if we do not approve. Do you have to krich arein in yenner’s kishkes every chance you get? luz up already. Let them breathe maybe you will be mekarev them instead of inflaming them against the rest of us normal jews.

  12. It is remarkable that President Peres who learnt Torah for a short in his grandfather’s home is harfly qualified to render any type of P’sak . It is reugnant to allow such comments to go unchallenged. I hope venerable leaders like Chacham Ovdiah could respectfully rebuke the President’s remarks.
    According to a BBC interview it is clear the goal is not gender equality or any goal that is Lma’an Hashem but rather to undermine the Rabbinate’s authority.
    Then again does this mean these women and their movements recognize the holiness of the place meaning they accept this where the Beit HaMikdash stood and will be rebuilt and there will be a Mashach and redemption.OR . . . .

  13. #3, Thank you!
    I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard! Good for you!
    #11, I love Rabbi Reisman’s cute BUT SAD TRUTHFUL comment too!

  14. The Sridey Eish quotes the Deah of the RAAVAD, that Mitzvas Asey She HaZMan Gromoh means. In reality all men and women have a chiyuv for all of the mitzvos. Women however have a PTUR if they choose to exercise it. That is why a woman who performs a mitzvas asey …. makes a Brochoh of Asher Kidshanu. This deah is totally different from Tosefos. In reality The RAAvad is the most understanable.

  15. To #2 Don’t Do that: A 4 cornered garment has nothing to do with mens’ or womens’ clothing.
    To #3, 6 and 8: You are just obnoxious and immature and can not deal with an intelligent discussion
    To #4XTELSHE- These women have emunas Chachomim to back them up.
    To #11 ChaimZ; Your comment is not relevant.
    To #15 and 19MIESQ. Not only are you both wrong but you are ignorant of the facts.
    To Rabbi Avrohom Goldstein: With regard to your first remark; your hatred and heinous comments about the Zionists is what dismantles the Traditions. Part of Our Tradition is to Ask the Question Why Not?
    With regard to your second comment; Your hypothesis is reality within the Chareidi community. As long as men learn in Kollel and women are the breadwinners, then it is your community that has done the major work of Role reversal.
    Rabbi Goldstein it is a shame that you can not or will not argue the facts of this discussion. You just are preoccupied with your hatred of Zionists and anything novel that you become irrational. You need to ask yourself why you have these problems and tendencies.

  16. To Sheldon: What do you mean that I am ignorant of the facts? Please elaborate without just making general comments such as “you are ignorant of the facts”

  17. Shledon, the anwser to the question “why not” was already anwsered by our sages, the real question that is being ask now is “why listen to the sages?”

    I hate zionism as any Jew that loves Judasim should.
    Shimon Peres tell us what the Torah does not say…..but what about what the Torah does say?
    Is he loyal to what is written in it? what is the use of citing the Torah if you really do not believe in it?

    What is being done here is much of the same of what is being done in other religions.

    People want G-d to adapt to them! Adapt to their ignorance and low self esteem. In that path they will want us to put a new face to Judaism. As a Torah Jew and loyal to our sages…I believe Judaism is perfect! I believe that our mothers wife’s and daughters have live up to their portion of holiness and mission that was given to them. It is from there that the Jewish people was built! I find it offensive and ludicrous to suddenly abandon that proud and beautiful legacy and replace it with people that want us to change our values because they have such an ignorant view of the role of Jewish women in Judaism. I think that There is only one Judaism but there are many Jews..and sadly many of those Jews are in par with the assimilated society they live in more than the true teachings of Judaism. Every Jew should be a cheredi, every Jew should tremble before G-d. Men learn, pray, or make a living…women build a home! Im proud of my wife because she has chosen to build a home…more than look like a men at the kotel!

    That movement is just a facade nothing more…..

  18. #22, Sheldon! You rile with hatred so your comments are equally irrelevant! While Golstein may have gone too far, don’t you think you did too!

  19. Shledon, the anwser to the question “why not” was already anwsered by our sages, the real question that is being ask now is “why listen to the sages?”

    I am against zionism as any Jew that loves Judasim should.
    Shimon Peres tell us what the Torah does not say…..but what about what the Torah does say?
    Is he loyal to what is written in it? what is the use of citing the Torah if you really do not believe in it?

    What is being done here is much of the same of what is being done in other religions.

    People want G-d to adapt to them! Adapt to their ignorance and low self esteem. In that path they will want us to put a new face to Judaism. As a Torah Jew and loyal to our sages…I believe Judaism is perfect! I believe that our mothers wife’s and daughters have live up to their portion of holiness and mission that was given to them. It is from there that the Jewish people was built! I find it offensive and ludicrous to suddenly abandon that proud and beautiful legacy and replace it with people that want us to change our values because they have such an ignorant view of the role of Jewish women in Judaism. I think that There is only one Judaism but there are many Jews..and sadly many of those Jews are in par with the assimilated society they live in more than the true teachings of Judaism. Every Jew should be a cheredi, every Jew should tremble before G-d. Men learn, pray, or make a living…women build a home! Im proud of my wife because she has chosen to build a home…more than look like a men at the kotel!

    That movement is just a facade nothing more…..

  20. Dear Rabbi Goldstein,

    You are entitled to your opinion however erroneous and however much it goes against our Torah HaKidosha. Avraham was charged: HisHalech Lifonai. Go Before Me. Herald Me.
    The Torah did not command trembling. We are to be partners with the Ribbono Shel Olam. That is why we stand before him during the Amidoh. Your imagery is based upon falsehood just as much as your Hashkofoh is. You like the breitel to preach. Yet you lack substance. You have not made a single valid point based upon facts of Torah. Your value system is flawed so you see the world as flawed.

  21. To Look At the Oral Law.
    First of all you can not ask Rav Elyashiv anymore
    Second, upon asking the other Gedolim who you mentioned, you made a statement in their name.
    “YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO SAY”. How dare you speak in their name without consulting them. This is the ultimate chutzpah. Also before you ask if they should or should not do it. First ask if it is permissible for women to do so. Then and only then ask the second question.
    Until you have asked and received an answer you have no right to speak in their name with any authority or with any confidence. THIS IS WHAT MAKES YOU IGNORANT!!! SIYAG LECHOCHMAH SHTIKA. Especially if you do not know the facts.

  22. To Another Dependent.
    I do not rile with anger. I rile because of the ignorant hateful opinions presented here.
    My statement are indeed relevant and based upon Torah and Torah Values. BTW ZIONISM is a TORAH VALUE> THAT IS WHAT WE DAVEN EVERYDAY.

  23. Look who is the new posek? He knows better than the Torah itself, and all our holy sages.
    Better to ignore than to have to say more on such foolishness. Since creation, has there been a time with so much chaos – up is down, down is up, right is wrong and wrong is right? Of course, evil is good. And to Sheldon, #29, the Zionism of today’s State of Israel is not the same Zionism we daven for in our prayers. It is the corrupted version, just as the reform movement is the corrupted version of Judaism. But, this zionism has brought the Jewish people back home and we know that H’ works in mysterious ways, so obviously, this zionism’s purpose was for starting the return home. Eventually, the ‘State’ will revert to Eretz Yisroel and become the true Zion we all pray for. This is Hashem’s promise to the bnei Yisroel.

  24. To Sheldon,

    You of all people say “siyag lechachma shtika”?! You seem to be the only one ranting and raving at different people commenting. Feel free to agree or disagree with anyone here but please do so with some class and dignity. The name calling is really not necessary nor does it make your point more compelling. And while it seems you are nitpicking at my earlier comment, I obviously do not KNOW what the gedolim would say and so I used the words “I am pretty confident” as to what they would say. But getting back to the actual issue, I think deep down you are also pretty confident (granted, without knowing 100%) as to what the gedolim would say whether it should or shouldn’t be done.

    Have a great shabbos Sheldon.

  25. Let’s Look at the Oral Law,
    Shavuah Tov. Until you have a quote please refrain from speaking in anybody else’ name other than your own. Your mussar is quite out of place when you make statements in the name of dead people. It is more out of place when you speak in these Gedolim’s names when you don’t have any quote or cite verbatim. I have called noone any name. I have commented on each person’s post and relating to the the veracity of the comment. If you can not defend yourself based upon the facts of your statement then you really need to see how irresponsible your comments are. The truth does hurt but you need to look in a mirror.

  26. To Anonymous,
    First of all I am neither Rabbi, nor Posek, nor do I play one on TV. You misrepresent my words as I never said I know better than the Torah and the Sages. In fact. I have quoted several Sages who are highly reputable. So why do you demean me?
    With regard to Zionism, The Ribbono Shel Olam has sought to use the Zionist movement as His Shaliach to accomplish Kibbutz Galiyot. As such it deserves recognition and HaKOras HaTov. Yes we pray for something better. But by what authority do you call it corrupt? Have you accomplished what the Israeli government accomplished? How do you even dare to point a finger at others and judge? I don’t know to which god you pray to. I do know that HKB”H utilized this movement to accomplish his task. To them all of Klal Yisrael is indebted.

  27. people have to learn about consequent outcome of their actions. after the spectacle of women with Taleisim at the Kosel…..what will that do for us as Jews. As I said before…all those rebellious attitudes are nothing more than low self esteem,ignorance…or need of attention.

    It is not just a quiestion in Halacha! it is a question of attitudes and intentions!

  28. Dear Rabbi Goldstein,

    Why do you call what the Women of the Wall do rebellious? Since when is desiring to take on Mitzvot rebellious? In that same light every Chumrah is Rebellious!!!
    Since when are you the arbiter of people’s attitudes and intentions? Have you examined your own lately? Last I heard there was one BOCHEN CLAYOT. I did not know that that was you. Until such time as you becoming the Bochen Clayot maybe your judgmental attitude has no place in the scheme of a Torah Jew. I know it has no place in a Modern Orthodox Jew’s persona. The Mitzvah of Tochacha can only come from a place of VeOhavto LerAyacho CoMOCHO. Until such time you may have much Tshuva to perform and much mechilloh to ask for. I hope and pray that you achieve what the Rambam describes as “Tshuva Gemurah”.

  29. Dear Mr. Sheldon, the term “modern orthodox” sounds like “jewish- christian” to me, it sounds like “kosher- treif” it sounds like “smart- fool”
    “hot-cold” “educated -ignoramus” “married-single”
    “shabbes-weekday”

    simply if it is “modern” it cant be “orthodox”

    here are the definitions of both words
    Modern=Adjective
    Of or relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.
    Noun
    A person who advocates or practices a departure from traditional styles or values.
    Synonyms
    new – up-to-date – contemporary – latter-day – neoteric

    Orthodox= “Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional.”

    I think what is being done here is to use the excuse of hatred and passing judgement to those that defend Jewish tradition and have no tolerance for modern ideas that contradict our historical way of living. Judaism is not like man made religions…..those oxymorons are impossible in Judaism!
    DO I need to say more????

  30. Dear Rabbi Goldstein,
    Once again your perspectives only reflect your reality. Tou perspective unfortunately forgoes the vision of history. When Rav Shamshon Rafoel Hirsch coined the term Modern Orthodoxy, I don’t believe he felt that it was an Oxymoron. In fact he felt that Modern Orthodoxy was the ideal. Once again you are trying to judge why people feel the way they do. That is a talent which you do not have. Once again I suggest that you stick to the facts of the issue. This seems to be a problem which you can not do. I hope you realize that you are losing this debate. It is time to switch tactics if you can. How about dealing with the issue at hand. (If you can.)

  31. BTW-
    Rabbi Goldstein, ” Judaism is not like man made religions”.
    If you weigh the percentage of practiced Torah, Orthodox Judaism, about how much of it is MidRabbonon? Is that not man made? Do you keep Yom Tov Sheini because G-D said so or because the Rabbonon said so? Somehow, once again there is a problem of your faulty perspective.

  32. Sheldon, Rabbi Shamshon R. Hirsh had to deal with reform movement not with rebelious “Orthodox” Jews. HOWEVER ,Rabbi Hirsh grand children are my neighbors none of them have women wearing a talit they never heard such a thing from their grand father. I hate when people quote other people when in reality they would no agree to their point. Christians often quote our sages to prove a point that they themselves repudiated. Additionally I”m not interested in winning a debate I”m not running for president!
    I”m interested however in defending traditional Judaism.
    On your other comment: Until this point I was under the impression that I was exchanging views with an orthodox Jew. Your comment about our Rabbis are incredibly absurd if you are an educated Jew. As part of our basic principles inclusive in the 613 commandments is the right and necessity to follow our sages. It is illogical and is even impossible to deal with the times without instruction. A second day of Yom Tov was not an invention from our Rabbis, it is a command! a Command nesesary because of a calendar problem outside Eretz Yisroel. the more I read you the more I see who you are and what you believe. Judaism is not going to change for you…you will have to change for Judaism!

  33. Dear Rabbi Goldstein,
    If you are trying to defend traditional Judaism then you are doing a very poor job doing it. Your rantings do more harm then good. Quite frankly your rantings and self righteous judgements on issues you really know nothing about puts traditional Judaism in a very poor light.
    With regard to Yom Tov Sheni being a command. True But at the end of the day it is still an invention of the Rabbis. If you can not agree to that then you do not bellieve in the true process of HALOCHOH!!! What kind of traditional Judaism are you defending? Your own skewed heretical one?
    In Halochoh there are DiOraiisas, Dirabbonons, Minhogim….. I would think a person with real Smicha would know those categories.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here