01. Women’s Recitation of Korbanot: A Pious Custom
Thus far, we have studied laws that pertain to men and women alike, such as netilat yadayim, Birkhot Ha-shaĥar, Birkhot Ha-Torah, and the Amida. In the next chapters we will learn about prayers that were instituted for men as an obligation, and from which women are exempt, although women who wish to enhance the mitzva recite them.
Some poskim maintain that women, too, must recite the Tamid passage, because the prayers were established to correspond to the Tamid offerings, and just as women must pray Shaĥarit (according to the majority of poskim, as explained above, 2:2), it is also proper that they recite the Tamid passage. Others say that in addition to the Tamid passage, it is best that they recite all the Korbanot.
However, the widespread practice is that women do not recite the Tamid passage, and that is the opinion of most poskim. The reason is that the essence of the women’s obligation to pray is the request for mercy and not the association with korbanot. Furthermore, men are not obligated to recite the Korbanot passages either, and in principle they are not even obligated to recite the Tamid passage – it is a custom that became obligatory – so certainly there is no obligation for women to recite the Tamid passage and the Korbanot, although a woman who wishes to enhance the mitzva and recite the Tamid passage and the verses of the incense is praiseworthy. 1
- Agur states in Maharil’s name, as cited Beit Yosef §47 that women must recite Birkhot Ha-Torah because they must recite the Tamid passage. Maharil reasons that women are obligated to offer korbanot just as men are, so they must also recite the Korbanot passages. So states Tevu’ot Shor. However, SAH 47:10 states that women are only required to recite the Tamid passage (and even men are not required to recite all the Korbanot passages). Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham 47:14 states that only men have the obligation of korbanot, and Mor U-ketzi’a §47 and Tehilla Le-David 47:9 state similarly that women did not have to give maĥatzit ha-shekel to fund the korbanot and that their obligation to pray is only to request mercy. However, Ĥida (Yosef Ometz §67) writes that women are certainly obligated in all the korbanot, which atone for men and women alike. However, with the exception of a few individual pious women who recite the whole prayer including Korbanot, women do not recite the Korbanot passages in practice. See Maĥazeh Eliyahu §14, which offers several reasons for the exemption of women from the recitation of Korbanot.
Nevertheless, we can suggest that after Birkhot Ha-Torah, instead of reciting the verses of Birkat Kohanim and the beraita of “Elu devarim…,” women should recite the Tamid passage and the verse mentioning the Exodus from Egypt. There is no obligation to recite those specific verses and that exact beraita; rather, the entire goal is to learn some Torah after reciting Birkhot Ha-Torah, and if so, it is best to study verses that some say it is an obligation to recite. It is best to print this in women’s siddurim, thereby enabling everyone to fulfill their obligation to recite the Tamid passage and mention the Exodus from Egypt.
It is noteworthy that although the crux of the debate is the Tamid passage, the verses about the incense is a close second in importance. Both the Tamid and the incense were offered twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon. The Tamid was a material offering that was brought on the outside altar, whereas the incense was a spiritual offering that was burned on the inner altar. Peninei Halakha: Prayer 13:5-6 on the reason for the Tamid and incense. ↩