Rabbi Ariel Takes Stand Against Women’s Minyanim For Reading Megillas Esther


rabbi-yaakov-arielRamat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel has taken a stand against exclusive women’s minyanim for the reading of Megillas Esther, stating that “forming a women’s minyan is against halacha,” and accused participating women of withdrawing from society on the basis of “social and feminist considerations.”

Rabbi Ariel, who is one of the leaders of Religious Zionism and posek, warned against the phenomenon Thursday during an interview with Arutz Sheva and claimed the it is “not right” and “forbidden.”According to Rabbi Ariel, “it’s good that women want to be involved, but if a woman wants to be more god-fearing and pray with a minyan – she should do so in a men’s minyan. The Torah did not command women to pray in a minyan,” he added.

Rabbi Ariel said, however, that “if the husband was in the shul and the woman was looking after the children, she can go to a second minyan to listen to the reading of Meggilas Esther, and if there are no man present, she may read it herself.”

Religious women’s organization Kolech criticized Rabbi Ariel’s ruling. A spokeswoman for the organization told Ynet: “The halacha states that a woman may fulfill the duty of prayer for another woman. The same ruling was also stated in the Shulchan Aruch, by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and others.

“In accordance with these rulings, women public reading of Megillas Esther became popular and widespread in many national- religious communities and most women who take part in them do not consider themselves feminist,” she added.

Rabbi Ariel has gained popular support from the religious public that is often credited to his choice not to deal with or express his opinion on political issues.

Rav Ovadia Yosef was quoted as saying last year that a woman can fulfill the duty of praying for a man as well as a woman. He explained his ruling by saying that both genders are equally obliged in the mitzvah of tefillah.

{Ynet/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}