Women Davening Mussaf


By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

In this week’s Parsha we learn about the korbanos that were brought on special occasions including Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh. In light of this, Chazal established the davening of Mussaf on those days.

The Tzlach in Meseches Brachos, Perek Daled writes that women are required to daven since they are “rachmim” asking Hashem to have rachamim on us. However, women are exempt from davening Mussaf since this tefillah is not for rachamim as we find in the Rabbeinu Yona that Mussaf can’t be made up if missed since it is not a tefillas rachamimMussaf is a mitzvas asseh shehazman grama; therefore women are exempt.

Reb Akiva Eiger in siman tes in the teshuvos gives a different reason why women are exempt from davening Mussaf. He says that since women were exempt from the mitzvah of machatzis hashekel which was used to buy all the korbanos tzibbur (including mussaf), they therefore did not have a part of Korban Mussaf so they need not daven Mussaf.

Shailos Ut’shuvos Be’er Yitzchok, Orach Chaim, siman chof asks the following question on the Reb Akiva Eiger mentioned above. According to the opinion of Ben Buchri in Shekalim, Perek Alef, mishna daled Kohanim and Leviim were exempt from machatzis hashekel as well. In addition, anyone under the age of twenty was also exempt from machatzis hashekel.  Would that mean that these people would be exempt from davening Mussaf?

The Chinuch in mitzvah resh tzaddik tes says that the main obligation of the mitzvah of bringing the korban mussaf lies on the Kohanim. If they forgot to bring the korban mussaf they are the ones who are oveir and the rest of Bnei Yisroel are not liable, since the avoda is beikkar on the Kohanim. We see from the Chinuch that despite the fact that the Kohanim may not have been obligated to bring machatzis hashekel; however, since they had shaychos in actually bringing the korban itself they therefore would be obligated to daven Mussaf. 

This answer clarifies the status of the Kohanim in this area. What about women and children under twenty? What about LeviimShailos Ut’shuvos Zera Avraham, siman daled, ois chof says that the Gemara in Shevuos, daf ches says that the goat that is brought on Yom Kippur is mechaper for a woman who gave birth and did not bring a korban of her own. She may still eat Kodshim without the korban. We see that the korban tzibbur is mechaper for women. We also see in Chulin, daf kuf lamed alef, amud bais that the goat that is brought on Yom Kippur is mechaper for slaves as well, despite the fact that they did not need to contribute to machatzis hashekel. 

The reason women and the avadim get a kappara despite not contributing to the machatzis hashekel may be explained the same way as the par of the Kohen Gadol which was paid for by him personally yet it is mechaper for the extended families of the Kohanim. The Gemara explains that the money of the Kohen Gadol used for the korban is considered “hefker” and the Kohanim at large are able to acquire ownership of the funds and are therefore able to get a kappara. Similarly, the money of the machatzis hashekel becomes hefker by any korban Mussaf and all segments of Klal Yisroel are zocheh to it, thereby enabling them to have a kappara.

Based on this premise women would definitely be able to and are encouraged to daven Mussaf.

Let us hope we will have the korbanos brought again in the Bais Hamikdosh even before this Tisha BAv.

Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or Berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com



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