06. Must Women Recite the Shabbat Prayers?

As we learned (above, 2:2-5), le-khatĥila women should pray the Amida of Shaĥarit and Minĥa every day (including Shabbat, when they recite the Shabbat Amida). Even if they pray one Amida daily, they still fulfill their obligation, and it is best if the one prayer is Shaĥarit. In extenuating circumstances, they may rely on those who maintain that women fulfill their obligation with Birkhot Ha-shaĥar and Birkhot Ha-Torah. Women who are busy raising children may rely on this opinion le-khatĥila. However, it is proper that even those women who act leniently on weekdays by only saying Birkhot Ha-shaĥar and Birkhot Ha-Torah recite the Amida of Shaĥarit on Shabbat, because on Shabbat there is usually more free time. Many women even enhance the mitzva by walking to the synagogue to pray with the congregation on Friday night and Shabbat morning.

Regarding Torah reading, we learned above (2:10) that according to Magen Avraham (283:6) women must hear Torah reading on Shabbat morning because women too  must hear the whole Torah over the course of the year. However, according to the vast majority of poskim, women are exempt from hearing Torah reading on Shabbat because it is a time-bound mitzva. Halakha follows this opinion. Still, it is preferable for women who wish to enhance the mitzva to hear Torah reading on Shabbat since all agree that although women are exempt, if one does hear it she indeed fulfills a mitzva for which she receives credit (see above, ch. 2 n. 13; whether or not women must hear Parashat Zakhor is addressed below, 23:5).

Concerning Musaf, we learned (2:9) that some poskim maintain that women must pray Musaf (Magen Giborim) and some say they need not (Tzelaĥ). In practice, since it is a rabbinic mitzva, halakha follows the lenient opinion, and there is no obligation for women to pray Musaf, although those who do are credited for it.

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman