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Rav Ovadiah: Women can read the Megillah for men (sometimes)

Rav Ovadiah Yosef drops another one of his bombshells and this time it isn’t some ridiculous comment about Arabs or secular Jews, but rather that women can read Megillat Esther for men. Read about it here, here, and here. (hat tip) It will be interesting to see how different communities within orthodoxy react. See some reactions here for some discussion at Hyde Park. One can find here a good discussion of the sources and a summary of poskim here.

8 Responses to “Rav Ovadiah: Women can read the Megillah for men (sometimes)”

  1. 1
    Moish:

    Why is no one reporting that this psak is only IF NO MEN ARE AVAILABLE to read it

  2. 2
    Michael P.:

    The article in Haaretz says exactly that:

    “Yosef said women should not read for men if there are men capable of doing the reading. But in a “small community” where there are no men capable of chanting the text properly, it is permissible to bring a woman to read, he ruled. “

  3. 3
    Soferet Avielah Barclay:

    Indeed, women have been writing Megillot for the community for some time, so why not also have us chant, since we are equally obligated?

  4. 4
    Lion of Zion:

    menachem mendel:

    apparently this is nothing new and he wrote as much back in yalkut yosef (?). also according to my obiter dicta, this is not at all relevant to ashkenazim.

  5. 5
    Michael P.:

    L of Z,

    Rav Ovadiah has written before about this question in a number of places. In Yalkut Yosef his son (not him) wrote that although the “ikar” is like the opinion that a woman can read the megillah for men, one should take into consideration the opinion that prohibits “אלא אם כן בשעת הדחק”. See Yalkut Yosef, Moadim, pp. 287-289. AFAIK he has never spoke about this possibility in any le’maaseh manner. To say that it is not relevant for Ashkenazim might be true according to some opinions, but it is also an easy way out.

  6. 6
    Lion of Zion:

    michael,

    “AFAIK he has never spoke about this possibility in any le’maaseh manner.”

    you mean he never mentioned it at all before למעשה, or he spefically never spoke about it verbally למעשה?

    “To say that it is not relevant for Ashkenazim might be true according to some opinions, but it is also an easy way out.”

    is it (halakhically) relevant for ashkenazim? (i have no idea, as my only information on this is from obiter dicta, who feels otherwise)

    לילה טוב

  7. 7
    jdub:

    The issue is that ROY holds that all Jews (at least in E”Y) should be following the Mechaber. Obviously, Ashkenazim generally disagree, and tend to follow the R”MA where he differs from Rav Yosef Karo. There is a distinction between the two opinions in the Shulkhan Arukh as to women reading for men, with R”MA thinking more negatively on it.

    That said, this is less of a minhag issue, where one would/should be bound by minhag avot (e.g., kitniyot) and more what I would call a jurisidictional juridical dispute. They are arguing over halakha, not minhag, so one could, if one chose, I suppose, use ROY as precedential support for one’s position, even if one were Ashkenazi.

    Given that ROY specifically said “limit this to situations where there are no qualified men” I don’t think this is a terribly radical decision. What I find interesting is his willingness to state right out that chanting of texts is davka not kol isha, a position with which my MO rav agrees.

  8. 8
    Michael P.:

    He has talked about the Kol Isha issue before. See my new post.

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