Chapter: Chapter 23: Some Laws Concerning the Holidays and Festivals

01. Rosh Ĥodesh and Birkat Ha-levana

These laws are numerous; hence, we shall mention but a few that pertain to women. It is a mitzva to have an expansive Rosh Ĥodesh meal (SA 419:1). One may perform any type of labor on Rosh Ĥodesh; however, women … Continue reading

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02. Shofar and Musaf on the Days of Awe

Women are exempt from the mitzva of shofar since it is a positive time-bound mitzva, though women who wish to fulfill it earn reward. It is customary for Jewish women to fulfill the mitzva of shofar. If a man who … Continue reading

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03. Sukkot

There are two time-bound positive mitzvot performed on Sukkot, the mitzva to sit in the sukka and the mitzva to take the lulav, and women are exempt from both. If they wish to perform them, they earn reward. According to … Continue reading

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04. “They too Participated in that Miracle” – Pesaĥ, Purim, and Ĥanuka

Yehoshua b. Levi said: Women must drink four cups of wine on the night of the Seder (Pesaĥim 108b), read the megilla (Megilla 4a), and light Ĥanuka candles (Shabbat 23a) “for they too participated in that miracle.” There are two … Continue reading

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5. Ĥanuka

As we have learned, women are obligated to light Ĥanuka candles, for they too participated in that miracle. A married woman fulfills her obligation through her husband’s lighting, and a daughter by her father’s. However, if the husbands or fathers … Continue reading

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06. Parashat Zakhor

The poskim disagree about whether women must hear Parashat Zakhor. According to most poskim, women are exempt because the mitzva to remember what Amalek did is linked to the mitzva to eradicate Amalek, and since women are not commanded to … Continue reading

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07. Purim

Women are obligated in all four mitzvot of Purim – reading the megilla, mishlo’aĥ manot (sending gifts of food to a friend), matanot le-evyonim (gifts to the poor), and a festive meal. Mishlo’aĥ manot is fulfilled by giving two portions … Continue reading

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08. Women and Megilla Reading

According to Rashi and Rambam, women and men are equally obligated in the mitzva to read the megilla, and a woman may read the megilla for her husband. In contrast, Behag and Rabbeinu Ĥananel maintain that women’s obligation differs from … Continue reading

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09. Seder Night

Women are obligated to perform all the mitzvot of the Seder night – retelling the Exodus from Egypt, eating matza and maror, drinking four cups of wine, and reciting Hallel – for they too participated in that miracle (Pesaĥim 108b; … Continue reading

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10. Counting the Omer

Women are exempt from the mitzva of counting the omer, for it is a positive time-bound mitzva. If a woman wishes to fulfill this mitzva, it is a credit to her. As we have learned (above 2:8), according to Sephardic … Continue reading

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11. Birkat Ha-ilanot – The Blessing on the Trees

One who goes outside during Nisan and sees fruit trees blossoming recites Birkat Ha-ilanot, a berakha that expresses gratitude to God “Who let nothing lack in His world and Who created in it good creatures and good trees to bring … Continue reading

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