≡ Menu

Orthodox shul is going to allow women to lead kabalas shabbos

So Avi Weiss can’t get the go ahead to ordain women as Rabbis (would he call them Rabbits to be that much more Zionist?), but apparently they are cool with him letting them lead kabalas shabbos and I’m down with that. I’m all for letting the girls out of the kitchen to rock the lecha dodi if they want to, the problem is, who will take care of the butter churn and the brood while they are gone?

Hey isn’t kabalas shabbos just a bunch of psalms and not mandatory anyway? Every time I would show up at shul late and start to daven kabalas shabbos while the minyan was already in maariv, someone would go through an entire davanese-constipated face explanation of why I should skip kabalas shabbos and just do maariv with a minyan, my father would be heard yelling “nu hefsik” in the back round as someone tried in vain to explain that kabalas shabbos was just some random thing we did to welcome BT’s into shul with our lame ass round the bimah shlumpy carlebach dances. I like to call it “dances with kiruv rabbis”.

So if kabalas shabbos isn’t mandatory for anyone, I guess women could do it, right? I am sure they could get around the whole kol isha thing because everyone else is singing along, unless they pick one of those obscure camp sternberg cheer songs that no one in the shul knows.

But what’s next? Once we allow them to daven kabalas shabbos they may want to do other things. Like leave the kitchen and home more often to learn torah, say morning tefilos at shul and maybe even learn gemara – gasp! They may end up davening and learning so often that taking care of things like going to the mikvah, taking challah and teaching their children to look both ways when crossing the street. (wait, how do they teach them to cross the street from the kitchen? That picture must be sent in to fail blog now)

Dov Bear has a serious post on the subject that destroys all arguments against letting a woman lead kabalas shabbos – strangely he doesn’t mention the fact that a talis would actually make a modern orthodox woman appear to be dressed tznius, she would be covering her hair and her thong would never poke out of her skirt.

Issues that may arise and the proof that they won’t:

What if her sheitle falls off during the bowing portion of lecha dodi? Left wing modern orthodox people are opposed to sheitles and their hair coverings tend to be only half covers for the psycological satisfaction of covering their hair without actually abiding by the law.

What if she sings an obscure tune that no one knows? This will be considered kol isha, but traditionally left wing modern orthodoxy thinks of such things as archaic. I mean, who on earth has the guts to run up to the bimah in the middle of lecha dodi, tell the woman that her voice turned him on so much, rip off the woman’s clothes and do her on the bimah, I sure as hell wouldn’t do it.

What if she wants to continue to maariv, like is traditionally done by other shuls? I would propose a trapped door under the bimah of the same vain that Mr. Burns of Simpsons fame used to do, that way, we wouldn’t have to violatre the laws of negiah by pyshically removing the chazzanit from the bimah before anyone could violate “real” halacha and say kaddesh with her still up there.

What should families who cannot afford a third world country maid to watch over the children do while both the husband and wife are at shul? We have proposed that kabalas shabbos daycare be set up in order to combat the issue of kids in shul.

Who will light candles in the home if the man traditionally drives to shul? If the man drives every week, it’s a chazakah and could create damaging issues, we would suggest that he drives while the wife walks – she doesn’t have to be there for mincha, only for kabalas shabbos.

Should the woman wear a talis? Yes and No, if her is uncovered, which it most likely will be – she should wear a talis to provide some sort of sanctity in the shul. If her is covered she should wear a talis anyway, because it probably won’t be covered the right way. If her hair is fully covered, she is probably a heretic, in which case you should call her up to the bimah anyway, I mean what would a frum woman be doing in riverdale – besides to pick her kid up from yeshiva – but Riverdale Yeshiva is all the way down the hill a pretty far walk from HIR.

What will happen if they decide to dance around the bimah after lecha dodi? The women can do it or the men can do it, but once you allow mixed dancing all hell can break loose – the RCA may be down with women leading kabalas shabbos, but mixed carlebach bimah circles are a big no-no, Carlebach may have kissed girls but he was off the derech. Practically every halacha ever made is so mixed dancing doesn’t occur and mixed dancing not only could, but will lead to sex and illicit sex, leads to mamzerim and that leads to people trying to explain what a mamzer is to folks without using the curse word of bastard.

So nu, what do you think of women leading kabalas shabbos services in the basement of Hebrew Institute of Riverdale?

I personally think it could lead to dry cholent and mixed dancing…

{ 40 comments… add one }
  • smb August 4, 2010, 3:19 AM


  • Mitch45 August 4, 2010, 7:52 AM

    It would be interesting to post this article on Vos Iz Neis and see the reactions you get. There will be a geshrei like you wouldn’t believe.

  • Milton Pincus August 4, 2010, 8:49 AM

    What if she sings an obscure tune that no one knows? How is she any different from the schmuck who davened last Friday and kept me waiting for dinner?

    • Mahla August 4, 2010, 9:10 AM

      Okay, this question reflects my profound ignorance of a Jewish service, but it’s sincere …. Why does it matter if an obscure tune is sung? Is everyone supposed to sing along, so people are disappointed if they don’t know it by heart?

      • B August 4, 2010, 9:47 AM

        Mahla, I believe the answer to your question is rather subjective.
        Friday night services can go usually either of two ways (at least in most Orthodox shuls) either it is Karlebach style, where many verses are sung out loud usually with the specific tunes or there is “regular” where usually only Lecha Dodi is sung out loud and the chazan, the person leading the prayers, chooses the tune. Now for the subjective aspect. Some people really enjoy singing and dancing on friday night to “usher in the shabbat.” Others want to just pray without the majority of the singing. And others just want to get through it as fast as they can. There is always a middle ground, but these are generalizations. When a chazan selects a “different” tune some people get annoyed because they like the regular tunes that they are used to or people can get annoyed because the tune might extend the service. Of course some people like changing it up a little, but I believe the majority of people enjoy singing and when a tune is selected that they don’t know, it can be a little frustrating. With that being said it also could be that a bad tune was selected, the chazan likes hearing his own voice and tends to drag things on like a cantor, or a number of other things.

  • FrumGer August 4, 2010, 9:55 AM

    Mahla, the problem is if its obscure and then everyone cant sing along, the women would be the only one singing- in the laws of tznuis a man cant hear a women’s singing voice, some say live only some say recorded as well. either way a womens voice can enticing- singing lecha dodi probably not for me, but if she was singing by herself because no one knew the tune it would be assur.

    the Bima comment was uber pervy Hesh get a wife..

    but while im at it… you shouldn’t have made that comment about Reb Shlomo Carlebach even if it was just a joke. whether he was OTD or not is not your business, he was an elder to you num 1 and he is dead number 2. and he did a lot of great things for Yiddishkeit. so show some respect… dont be a punk.

    • Heshy Fried August 4, 2010, 10:35 AM

      I love how whenever I get into sexual topics people tell me to get a wife – what on earth does that have to do with my sense of humor. Will getting a wife justify my sick sense of humor? Because it’s not going to anywhere…although if it does justify it then maybe I’ll look into wasting the best years of my life by spending innumerable amounts of time back east dating people I have no interest in talking to.

      • Anonymous August 5, 2010, 4:05 AM

        i hope your wife will let you keep your blog, you’re funny 🙂

    • orthonador August 6, 2010, 11:08 AM


      Are you Jewish? That was a strange comment you made about the woman’s voice being enticing. Get up to date!

    • orthonador August 6, 2010, 11:17 AM


      if the sound of woman’s voice would entice you, then let me ask…do you live in a cellar alone? Have you walked outside? Do you watch movies? How frum are you?

      • Milton Pincus August 8, 2010, 7:46 AM

        Okay, kinder. Note that the name of this website is “FrumSatire”. Satire, so that much of what is posted here should be tongue-in-cheek. Frum, so that “it’s a Jewish thing, you wouldn’t understand” is the prevailing attitude. If you’ve never been to Kabbalat Shabbat where the chazan sings an obscure tune, leaving the congregants struggling to sing along, then you won’t get the satire when we mock it in a posting! Ghey, guzunterheit!

  • Guest August 4, 2010, 11:01 AM

    Dovbear’s arguments don’t demolish anything. Argument #1 is the only one that really carries any water, since there is not halachic basis to object to women davening. The question is what are the halachic parameters of a woman’s contributing to a prayer service, comprised of both men and women?

    I know Dovbear is not unlearned, so I’m surprised that he didn’t deal with the more substantive halachic (potential issues) of kol isha, and tnius issues of a woman davening in front of the men’s section (men don’t “have to” stare, but I’m not aware of any woman’s section in a shul that places the women in front of the mechitzah, and the men behind).

    These concerns can certainly be responded to (by the peanut gallery), but what I’m looking for is a substantive halachic response, since that’s primarily what matters when we’re talking about Jewish observance.

    • JT August 5, 2010, 11:45 AM

      Unless she davens from her side of the mechitzah…then the issue is just whether God’s holy tehillim give you a stiffy.

  • Anonymous August 4, 2010, 11:09 AM

    who cares, we have all encountered kids who look for attention. so Avi weiss is a grownup who like attention he isn’t the only one.

  • the other shim August 4, 2010, 11:48 AM

    Hmmm. Reminds me of when I got an “aliya” on Simchat Torah at the Carlebach shul. I mistakenly thought I was a levi so I got the second aliya! Turns out I’m not a bat levi just a plain old yisroel.

    Anyway, I don’t see the problem here though are guys seriously thinking about s*xy women in shul anyway? Do men honestly get turned on by women’s voices? I dated a guy once who told me it was true. Guys what do you say?

    • Guest August 4, 2010, 12:19 PM

      The “diva” phenomenon seen in popular music reveals the erotic potential of women’s singing, but that hardly applies to everyone. I’m not sure the halachas of kol isha recognize that or not.

      An idea I came across recently provides some food for thought, however, regarding the nature of synagogue services. Generally speaking the level of modesty involved in shul services is higher than what we encounter in normal (observant) Jewish life, as a shul is a place where we are supposed to be attempting to sanctify our thoughts over and above our day to day experience. This view has been articulated by R. Eliyahu David Rabinowitz-Teomim, R. Abraham Isaac Kook and R. Menachem Kasher (see this link for a long, but related article, where I got this reference: http://text.rcarabbis.org/?p=909.

      The mechitza is the primary example of this: in all but the most chareidi circles (where you might see men and women walking on opposite sides of the street) men and women do not take care to physically separate themselves from each other in such as unilateral fashion.

      I’ve seen plenty of Jews who don’t observe many of the laws of modesty in day to day life show up modestly dressed in shuls, so this seems to be a prevalent notion. In Christian communities (churches) this is also the case (if you haven’t been to a church, you’ll have to take my word for it, as I didn’t grow up Jewish), so it’s not even a uniquely Jewish concept.

      Kol isha outside of the shul is a known halachic prohibition that Jewish men are obligated to abide by. There are some leniencies, but the leniencies are not absolute–some say a recorded women’s voice is okay (even that may have qualifications), some say mixed singing is okay, due to difficulty discerning one voice from the next. A live female solo is problematic, all the more so in shul where standards of modesty are on average higher.

      On a personal note, I’ve never heard an orthodox Jewish woman sing, and felt turned on by it. I’m sure its possible, but it’s pretty damn difficult to make Shabbos zemiros sexy, and I’d like to meet the guy who gets hot over lecha dodi. I’m not saying this is a basis to suspend kol isha–I don’t know–maybe appointing ugly women to be the chazzan is the solution (joking). There are some beautiful women in my shul, so I do have to guard my eyes somewhat, but that doesn’t have much to do with their ability to sing, and since they’re dressed modestly, I view that as my problem and not theirs.

    • Anonymous August 4, 2010, 1:02 PM

      Its true only for straight guys. In any post Heshy writes about he mentions trying to sneak a peak through the mechitza, thats why its there.

      • Guest August 5, 2010, 3:11 PM

        That’s an interesting point. There is a story in the Gemara about a certain Rabbi, who watched women as they left the mikveh (I believe). When he was asked how he could do such a thing, he answered–“for me, it’s like counting doves”–i.e. he felt no erotic feelings during this, and so was not particularly concerned about “guarding his eyes.” In theory I wouldn’t see why a homosexual would have to be so careful in his interaction with the opposite gender, although to all observers he would be a guy flouting halachah, which could (potentially) be problematic. Not all social norms can be easily dispensed with, and women who may potentially be attracted to him would presumably still be cognizant of social norms of modesty, and want to abide by them.

        Regarding a homosexual davening with his own gender, I don’t think there’s much to say, except that halachah typically follows the common case (of heterosexuals) and not the exceptional case (of homosexuals). Otherwise, why not have him daven in the women’s section, which would seemingly make more sense? Perhaps there would be greater license to avoid a minyan if it was so difficult for such a person.

        All of this constitutes my idle musings, so probably isn’t worth much, but there are some interesting questions that can be asked.

        • the other shim August 5, 2010, 9:43 PM

          As far as I can recall according to the more meikil opinions, kol isha doesn’t count if you’re singing Torah or zemiros. So Rabbi Weiss is within the halacha according to those opinions.

    • Anonymous August 8, 2010, 7:47 AM

      Plain old Yisroel? Wasn’t he the guy caught fiddling the kita gimmel boys at Kinsloss?

  • Skver Hocker August 4, 2010, 12:21 PM

    A woman leading davening? I think I would immediately run to the bathroom and jack off.

    • Mahla August 4, 2010, 4:58 PM

      :^O I can only hope you’re joking, LOL! ;^D

    • the other shim August 5, 2010, 12:15 AM

      Thanks for that image, you gave me a good laugh!

  • Anonymous August 4, 2010, 12:37 PM

    “Getting a wife” doesn’t do away with pervy thoughts BTW.

    Mr. Burns’ trapdoor on the bimah – LOL!!!

  • FrumGer August 4, 2010, 4:24 PM

    I love it how anytime someone says something you lead off with either “whats funny is”, or “I love it how”…

    no need for defense, bottom line men are a lot more pervy until they get married….I sure was… its just you mature a little once you get married and you tend not to write things like- ” make me want to rip her cloths off her and bang her on the bimah..” just happens man sorry.

    any wife worth her salt will get you in check enough to tone down even you. then when kinder comes oy thats a whole other level..

    • Heshy Fried August 5, 2010, 1:21 AM

      So I guess all of the dirty old men I know are single huh – you have to be married in order to get into the “dirty old man” club.

  • big stirah August 4, 2010, 4:51 PM

    the pasuk says kesser yitnu leCHA, which is male, implying that nashim datos kalim heim

  • Another Dave August 4, 2010, 7:07 PM

    Really Heshy, theres a woman bowing during lecha dodi and all you’re thinking about is her hair? 🙂

    • Heshy Fried August 5, 2010, 1:22 AM

      Actually I’m usually wondering whether the challah will be homemade or not.

  • Phil August 4, 2010, 8:36 PM

    According to Shulchan Aruch, nothing halachically wrong with a woman davening or even leining , but it also says it is not customary to do so out of respect.

  • FrumGer August 5, 2010, 9:06 AM

    Dirty old men club-
    a totally different story… something happens after people have been married for 30+ years… they just stop caring about somethings….or give up. after 30 years of marriage your so worn out from it all you just let stuff go. some men take advantage of this and become much more flippant. some men in the dirty old men club are widowers or divorcees’..

    but a 20 something women that is at all repectable is not going to want her husband that talks like that especially in public. but i mean if you want a crude trailer trash ho, that has no priciples that doesnt care about modesty at all…. then go for it..

    I know you think you know Heshy because all single people think they do, but you have NO idea how marriage really works until you get married, you dont even have a clue til after the first year.

    you will apologize for doing nothing wrong. and
    you will stop doing things you have always done for no apparent good reason other than- she wants it that way.

    and believe me you Blog is going to super change after you get married. if you ever do. this blog is a kind of “serious women” repellant im sure..

  • Skver Hocker August 5, 2010, 12:48 PM

    Davening is not the place for this kind of oneupsmanship and that’s all this really is. Women that have something to prove just bore me. You want the real bottom line? A woman who can learn and taich up a gemara and debate achronim – BORING. A woman who is classy, dignified – someone I am so proud of when we go out, yet in the bedroom is an voracious as I am – to me THAT’S A WOMAN. Reminds me of the old joke about the difference between eating jello and a frummie? At least jello shakes when you eat it. Women need to losen up, live! Anyone that thinks sex is there min hatorah just to procreate is a fool. Get busy with your man! If he ain’t wondering in the back of his mind where the hell’s she learn that move? then ladies, you are not making the grade. Bottom line, daven all you want, lein, learn gemara,I don’t care. If you aren’t your man’s slut in the bedroom and his princess everywhere else, you ain’t a woman.

    • Bob August 5, 2010, 3:49 PM

      Great coment. All of frum satire, and all of the comments ever written are worth it just for this.

  • Yserbius the Yekke August 6, 2010, 10:41 AM

    Am I the only one who is getting tired of all of these “Orthodox accept this and that break from tradition!!!!” only to see that it’s just another Avi Weiss troll attempts? I mean seriously. Even the MO Rabbis don’t consider his version of Yiddishkeit legitimately frum. All he does is find heterim for everything and anything just to get in the papers.

  • FrumGer August 6, 2010, 11:43 AM

    Orthonador- what the hell are you even talking about…? A man listening to a womens singing voice is assur by laws of tznius…. of course i’m a yid just like you.

    • orthonador August 6, 2010, 11:59 AM


      Yes, but how do you conduct the rest of your life to avoid this? So you do not watch movies? You do not listen to the radio? You do not walk outside? WHAT?

      • Yserbius the Yekke August 6, 2010, 12:09 PM

        Most movies don’t have women singing. Also, a womans voice alone may not be enough to be considered kol isha, some say that it’s only when you actually see the person singing.
        And yes. You can just not watch movies or listen to the radio. Just like you can’t eat at McDonalds. Believe it or not, life goes on.

  • FrumGer August 6, 2010, 5:39 PM

    Like I said and many other some hold that it is live female singing… some hold that it is even recorded music. Some even hold that you can listen to a women live- like say at an opera if there was no way you would ever meet her. I reconcile this with my life easily, yes i do watch movies- i would say my only real vice, i wish i could give them up actually, but im not there yet. I dont really watch tv, and Im not too worried about going into a store and hearing lady gaga in the background. I am Frum meaning I practice orthodox Judaism.. how frum, is relative … to some i am left wing to others i am right wing. so its hard to say.

Leave a Comment