Chacham Ovadia: Condemn the Foolish Women With Talleisim

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rav-ovadiah-yosef“Fools with talleisim.” That was the way that Chacham Ovadiah Yosef, head of the Shas Party’s Moetzet Chachmei haTorah, described the Woman of the Wall (WOW), women wearing taleisim and come to the Kosel Hamaarovi to pray. Rav Yosef said that these women must be condemned. The comments were made during Rav Yosef’s weekly Motzoei Shabbos drasha.

These women are part of a group that comes to Kosel wearing tallis and tefillin. They do not do this l’sheim Shomayim, said Rav Yosef. They do it because they want so-called equality.

It should be noted, said Rav Yosef,  that in the past, these women have attacked the rov of the Kosel, Rav Shmuel Rabinowitz, before the Kosel ushers sent them away. 
After the women were prohibited from davening at the Kosel wearing tallis and tefillin, they appealed to the Bagatz (High Court), and a compromise was reached whereby they are allowed to pray near the Kosel, but outside the plaza, in the archaeological area, near the Robinson’s Arch.

Women first formed the Women of the Wall (WOW) 20 years ago.

Rav Yosef’s remarks came during a shiur on Kiddush. He said that women are obligated in Kiddush and can fulfill their obligation either by hearing a man or by reciting it themselves. On this subject he said, “Tefillin they must be careful not to wear. There are foolish women who come to the Kosel, put on a tallis, and pray.”

  {Yair Israel}


  1. Didn’t the Chazal hand down the tradition that Rabbis in every generations should make changes, if they deem it necessary for the long-term good of Klal Yisroel?

    Look at Pruzbal, Heter Iska, Not blowing Shofar, or not taking a Lulav on Shabos.
    Abolishing Yibum, Abolishing Dichunin every day,, Etc., Etc. ?

    Can we ignore that tradition?

  2. Rabbi Reisman once pointed out that it’s interesting that these women’s husbands threw away the tallis and tefillin a long time ago…

    No, there is no lshem shamayim there. Ruchie, if there were a reason for women to wear tallis and tefillin (on top of all their other responsibilities) you can be sure the gedolim would demand it. Until they do, just keep your exisiting mitzvos and responsibilities as best you can. If you do those well you will be the equal of and even greater than any man.

  3. I too think that every Jew should have the ability to become close to HaShem in any way they choose, so long as it’s not explicitly forbidden. And if it is, it should be reevaluated as to why.

    Women can sit in a sukkah or bench lulav or make kiddush. If they wish to also wear a tallis and tefillin, why not? Every aspect of worship is lashem shamayim. To withhold someone from their perception of how to get closer to hashem, because yours is different is cruel.

  4. ruchie – we’re not the sanhedrin. they also did not do things to simply go along with philosophies the goyim made up(like feminism).

    There’s a clear cut halacha against women wearing tefillin. Reb Moshe Feinstein writes in igros moshe that a woman gets a mitzvah for doing mitzvos she is not obligated to do, however if she does so due to feminism – she is an apikores, and it is worse than not being a mitzvah, it becomes a huge aveirah of denying our mesorah and our holy torah.

    Chazal were able to make changes based largely on the falling state(yeridas hadoros) of the generation. We lost the power to make derabanan’s 2000 years ago – you’ve got to be kidding me.

    PLus, these feminist ‘rabbis’ are not, lehavdil, hillel hazakein – judaism is NOT about doing whatever you feel brings you closer to g-d – it’s about doing what G-d says brings you closer to him.

    It’s very interesting that when it comes to real obligations, like hair covering, tznius, etc.., these same women are the types who find all sorts of crazy reasons not do so – but when it comes to showing how they’re no different than men, how the mitzvos are all non-gender-specific(heresy), or when they feel a need to ‘belong'(also heresy – it’s saying that g-d’s plan for you is not good enough) – suddenly, they’ll make up nonsense about how they have a ‘right’ to ‘express’ themselves(alien idea taken straight from goyim).

    Being close to hashem is through mitzvos. This is what the maggid memizritch says, and it’s a yesod – reform taught that you should do what you want – this is selfish, anti-mesorah thinking.

    Forget about yourself – I am nothing compared to hashem – you feminists, too, are nothing, and your desires are nothing(ever learn pshat in ain od milvado?) – stop making demands. All must be totally subjugated to complete and utter bittul – nullification of the self, my wants, my needs, it’s all gornisht and a mechitzah between hashem and man – men know their place – women must also know theirs.

    In all the time they spend doing this nonsense with their alien non-torah and anti-torah hashkafos, they could be doing some real mitzvos.

    The posek Hador Maran Horav Moshe feinstein Zt’l ruled these things are apikorsus and kefirah in our torah.

    My chavrusah told me a maysoh about reb yoshe ber soloveitchik – a lady came to him wanting to wear tzitzis – he told he rto first wear the beged(garment) without the strings, to start out with.
    (he was testing her – it’s a grave sin for a man to wear a 4-cornered garment without tzitzis, of course for a woman it’s permitted, as they are not commanded in this mitzvah). She came back saying how uplifted she was and so on, to which rabbi soloveitchik replied ‘you didn’t do anything! this would have been an averah if you were a man! this shows you’re just a feminist and not sincere in your avodas hashem.

    Avodas hashem is NOT about ME and what I want – this is gayvah.

    There’s something called emes – we wouldnt let someone eat treif even if it brought him closer to g-d, nor would we let anyone do anything hashkafically/halachaikcally wrong even if they felt good about doing it – that just makes it all the more worse.

    If a lady deos not accept the lot hashem has given her and desires to do things men do for the sake of equality, she is an apikores without a chelek in olam haba! The posek hador has spoken – be nichneh!

  5. Matis you should have a weekly column.

    The biggest problem is why the need to call ‘them’ names? What is the accomplishment? They are interested and now will reassess their foolishness !?@ like sure…. It just brings the media, the big mouths, writer and journalists some nonsense to write about and may even diminish the pleasantness of toras hashem..
    IOW, what is the purpose of the condemnation? Is anyone being mechunach – talmidim, their wifes and families – to beware of straying from the proper mesorah? Anyone have any suggestions?

  6. In a world where 95% of Yidden don’t know shabbos from shavuos, perhaps we should spend less time condemning women who come to daven and want to do something extra, whether we agree with them or not.

  7. ‘enough’ – read the first page of mesilas yeshorim(in the first perek) – then come back to me and tell me all this pseudo-conservative nonsense.

    Compromise is not in our vocabulary. Maybe for kiruv, as some(again, some!) poskim ruled(the seridei aish comes to mind), that one may have standards below the norm for kiruv(in his case it was having mixed events for a program called yeshurun in france), but this attitude only is to be applied when hashkafas hatorah says so.

    For example, vis a vis chumros and minhagim that klal yisroel does not keep, an argument can be made that we cannot take on such things, as we are a weak generation and so on, but as weak as we may be, we always strive to serve hashem the best way possible.

    Feminism is not just a chumrah or a minhag that we can afford to do without – it is kefirah according to the Posek HaDor.

    Apikorsus, chazal say, is a sin that makes incest look tiny.

    I guess we shouldn’t focus on giluy arayos either, since we have so many other problems – actually, in many communities, this anti-torah attitude has in fact developed, to the point where it is the norm to not be ‘shomer’ negiah.

    The Chazon ish once refused an audience with a bunch of askonim, and when asked why, since he routinely saw ‘beinonim’, he answered that these people are not just beinonim, they’re beinonim beshita – they believed in being average(or in most cases, below average); this he would not tolerate.

    It’s not an issue of condemning women who want to daven – if this was a tehillim group, or somnething else that’s normal, no one would have any complaints – it’s a hijacking of yiddishkeit that is not to be tolerated.

    Reform began with tiny changes too – those who thought like you said ‘oy, with all the pogroms and poverty, can’t you fargin a little – who cares if they want to change a bit?

    Same logic.

  8. As rav chaim brisker once famously said ‘when it hurts, you scream’.

    This is a fundamental inyon of torah hashkafa. We are supposed to hate what Hashem hates, otherwise, we are being ‘mesalsal bein shtei seifim’ as the navi says – we show a sort of silent approval, an attitude that you can wreak havoc on hashem’s honor, and we’ll just sit back – you do what you do, i do what i do, right?

    Even thoguh screaming when in pain does nothing for your own good, it still is a natural reaction to something that is, well, painful.

    This is painful – chacham ovadiah is telling us to feel it naturally, scream, and feel an iota of sensitivity for kovod shomayim that is being ridiculed right in front of the kodesh kadoshim – at the one place where the shechina never left!

    According to reb moshe, this is no different than menasheh bringing in an avodah zara into the beis hamikdash.

    But alas, why should we care what others do? didn’t you learn in hippie philosophy 101 that it doesn’t matter?

    To this, the medrash says that such a person who says he will sin and not bother anyone else, sinhce after all he’s an upstanding liberal, he wouldn’t do anything to hurt someone – he is in fact drilling a hole in his cabin of a boat with everyone else on it – once he hurts himself, everyone suffers.

    The shechina weeps; klal yisroel is suffering – and you want to just ignore it!?

  9. israel – that’s not quite up to me, it’s up to matzav :), but I’m learning everyday now(stopped working a few months ago) full time – I’m only home motzi shabbos, and when I’m sick(like yesterday and today) responds:

    R’ Matis, as we’ve told you, you are always welcome to start a regular column! There are few with the insight you possess.


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