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Reasons why Jewish feminism may not be a good idea

I know that some of you are going to call me a sexist for saying some of the following, but I think it has to be said. Avi Weiss and the new school maskilim have infiltrated our tranquil male centric orthodox community that has been this way for thousands of years and has flipped it upside down like Soddom and Gomora. He has brought these heretical ideas in a slick package of feminism claiming that women are now ready to handle the rigors of the religious practices given to men. He even let one of his subjects lead a Kabalas Shabbos service a few weeks ago and there is no telling what’s next. Soon they may demand to marry cows.

Why some may opposed to the idea of women participating in ritual and tradition devoted to men:

Shofar Blowing: It is well known that feminism deem the idea of blowing to be below them, but when it comes down to it they simply don’t have the strength to blow the shofar and stay quiet during the whole 100 blows. Can you imagine a woman staying quiet for that long, a frum one at that – wait a second, these women aren’t really frum.

Lulav Shaking: Where on earth are the women going to do hoshanos? There is no bimah in the ezras nashim to walk around and a woman holding a wobbly lulav is downright untznius, not to mention the fact it will cost a whole lot more if each girl in the family has to have their own arbah minim. Do you think women would be able to clop hoshanos and get any of the leaves to come off?

Lecha Dodi: I spoke about this already, but women know far fewer tunes than men since they only started coming to shul in the last 5 years in order to find a mate during the shidduch crisis sweeping the nation. What if they sing an obscure tune and no one sings along? That’s straight up kol isha and it may turn on a man or woman in shul and may lead to mixed dancing.

ErevShabbos Toilet Paper Ripping: If the women are out in the streets feminizing, who will cut the toilet paper for Shabbos?

Havdalah: Haven’t you heard that if the woman drinks the havdalah wine she will grow a beard? I understand that many feminists like keeping their legs hairy but I can’t imagine they’d be cool with the whole messy Chabad look. By holding the candle they could choose how tall their husband will be.

Hagabah: Do they have the strength to do it? Women are weak and don’t have the muscle strength of men – if they do begin to do hagabah, will they do it on their side of the mechitza? Will the pesicha folks also have to be women because of the Torah pass off? Seems too complicated to let women do hagabah.

Afikomen: Again, it takes a lot of strength to break a matzo in half, especially shatzer matzo. I doubt women could handle the matzo.

Hakafos: I have heard of some shuls that allow women to dance with the torahs – totally assur – they aren’t even Jewish. But let’s say women do have their own hakafos, which they shouldn’t because even though they received the torah, they aren’t chayiv in half of it and therefore hakafos would be hiddur mitzvah, but hiddur mitzvah doesn’t apply to women because they are on a higher spiritual level so we would doubt they would need to added levels of hakafos. But let’s say they did it anyway. This would definitely lead to mixed dancing as most shuls with two bimahs don’t have enough room for two simultaneous circles – but if we split up the dancing with a mechitza it would be separate but equal and that’s not fair.

Talis: It may be tzniustic in theory, but when women put on the talis they are likely to cause their shirts to lift up causing all types of tznius issues. Talis Katan wouldn’t be a problem.

Tefilin: Some may argue that since tefillin are black it wouldn’t create tznius issues, but this would mean women would have to show their elbows – clearly assur because they never showed their elbows in the shtetl and the muffin tops created on the arm would remind many men of untznius women who wear skinny jeans and that’s clearly assur. Besides, wearing tefillin while changing diapers is not allowed.

Things that Jewish women may in fact do better than the men:

Challah Cutting: Here in the Bay Area many of the women say hamotzi and they are darned good at it, their hand eye coordination seems to be superb and they can take the challah cutting skill to a new level, who would have thought they could transition so smoothly into one of the toughest mitzvahs incumbent on males – they are also very good at distribution of the pieces as well.

Havdalah Candle Extinguishing: While I expressed my doubts about having women do havdalah above, I do think that they would be pretty good at putting out the candle, they hold the thing anyway, so why not have them put it out as well – I am sure we may even be able to slip that male dominated tradition past the ultra orthodox fear monger censors and get them to say that havdala candle extinguishing is not a mitzvah b’zman grama and allow a heter for them to do it.

Lulav Tying: I am pretty certian that those ties used to hold the lulav in place could be made by women if given the chance, it would allow them to be part of the arbah minim process while keeping the actual arbah minim in the hands of the men – because the only long wobbly thing women belong holding should belong to their husbands and frequently the husband lends the lulav to the woman for the first day. I just wonder if those little sephardi boys in Flatbush succah stores would be willing to give their jobs to raging feminists.

Mezuzah Placement: I know that in many communities women are told not to kiss the mezuzah because it’s untznius, but what if they would be allowed to position the mezuzah on the doorpost? They were the one’s who smeared the blood on the doorpost in the first place, right? I’m just not sure about women and nails, do they have the power?

Candy Throwing: I am sure we could get shuls that don’t traditionally allow women to participate in any aspect of davening unless they are behind a barbed wire fence to allow them to throw candy over the Berlin Wall if their own son is celebrating a bar mitzvah — is that too much to ask? I understand that many people are opposed to this because it leads to men touching the candies that the women are throwing and that could lead to after shul improprieties.

{ 115 comments… add one }
  • Avraham August 18, 2010, 8:46 AM

    Why don’t women wear tefillin? Can you imagine a women walking into shul and another women is wearing the EXACT SAME pair of tefillin?

    • Anonymous August 18, 2010, 3:15 PM


  • Anon August 18, 2010, 9:34 AM

    Women should not wear teffilin because Charedi Rabbis would freak out seeing girls wrapped in tight black leather.

    • Anony August 18, 2010, 10:35 AM

      Here in Israel schoolgirls are not even allowed to wear sandals with straps over the ankle – I dread to think what will happen if they started wearing straps over their arms!

  • s August 18, 2010, 9:40 AM

    good to know i will soon be allowed to marry the cows i seem to be dating!

    • A. Nuran August 18, 2010, 11:14 AM

      Don’t worry. With that attitude you won’t be married long.

      • Michaltastik August 18, 2010, 3:51 PM

        NOT funny.

        • Sergeant J August 18, 2010, 3:57 PM

          Are you sure? Not even a glimmer of humour?

          • I hate A. Nuran August 20, 2010, 10:00 AM

            Nuran is a douche

        • A. Nuran August 18, 2010, 4:16 PM

          It wasn’t meant to be funny. If s really has that bad an attitude about the women he dates the one he marries won’t be happy with him.

          • eyekanspel August 18, 2010, 5:00 PM

            A Nuran, I think you misunderstood s. Heshy wrote “He even let one of his subjects lead a Kabalas Shabbos service a few weeks ago and there is no telling whats next. Soon they may demand to marry cows.” He is (obviously) referring to women, and the whole article is about WOMEN. S would then seem to be a WOMAN who is calling the men he is dating “cows” and jokingly remarking that she will soon be allowed to marry them (cows). Lighten up. I could be wrong, but even so, lighten up.

            • eyekanspel August 18, 2010, 5:01 PM

              That would be the men SHE is dating. Excuse the typo.

              • Sergeant J August 18, 2010, 5:07 PM

                See, it was ALL funny..

  • the other shim August 18, 2010, 12:51 PM

    Very funny Hesh. I like to think I’d look cute in a tallis:) Actually though, I did know a Carlebachy woman who wore pink striped tzitzis. I wasn’t sure if I thought it was cool or just trying too hard.

  • Anonymous August 18, 2010, 12:54 PM

    In regards to hagbah, I grew up Conservative, and I saw a woman do hagbah once ever. The women were always given gelilah, because of the strength issue I guess. It’s funny that they call themselves “egalitarian” but they still think women are too weak to lift even a really small torah.

    • Rob March 28, 2011, 3:36 PM

      If conservative movement is truly egalitarian then why do the stll have separate mens clubs and sisterhoods?

  • Anonymous August 18, 2010, 1:12 PM

    metzitza bipeh!

  • chasidah August 18, 2010, 1:13 PM

    metzitza b’peh

    • Mahla August 18, 2010, 1:39 PM


    • Julie August 18, 2010, 7:22 PM


  • Anonymous August 18, 2010, 1:15 PM

    if u were to tell a lakewooder that so and so is a maskil, he would be quite upset. in chabad its the ultimate compliment… go figure

  • WACKY MAC & CHOCOLATE PIZZA August 18, 2010, 2:42 PM

    Feminism in action:


    You can buy a positive pregnancy test for women to make your boyfriend marry you.

  • Just Saying August 18, 2010, 2:45 PM

    C’mon people. Don’t invalidate our role in Judaism. There is more to us than getting married at 18 and popping out babies year after year 😉

    • A. Nuran August 18, 2010, 3:42 PM

      Oh? “Tznius is to women what Torah is to men.” “Any Jewish couple who has children three years apart is betraying Eretz Yisrael.” And so on.

      To this rather odd subculture a women’s honor and worth are between her legs.

      • Levy Bernstein August 18, 2010, 4:39 PM

        [citation needed]


      • Tali August 18, 2010, 11:43 PM

        Bullsh*% A.nuran. Where did you grow up? Many people I know get heterim for long stretches between kids. One girl had post-partum depression so bad after her first she got the ok not to have any more.
        Just because some crazy charedi rav in Israel says something or makes an interpretation of something doesn’t mean that it is standard throughout all Judaism.
        A few articles back you were defending the Cordoba centre by implying anyone who called all religious Muslims terrorists was xenophobic (and you were right) BUT you never apply this same consideration to religious Jews. To you we are all the same racist, homophobic, misogynistic entity.

  • Michaltastik August 18, 2010, 3:53 PM

    Hesh, you forgot pig.

    “I know that some of you are going to call me a sexist for ”

    We didn’t need this post. We knew.

  • sabros August 18, 2010, 6:27 PM

    I thought it was funny 🙂

    Re: hagbah, I’ve seen women do it a few times in my Conservative shul. I did it once, but I’m not gonna lie: it scared the crap out of me and I wouldn’t attempt it again before building up more wrist strength. Plus, doing that knee bend as you slide the sefer off the table in a skirt is pretty untznius for the bimah.

    I won’t even get into kol isha- does it count if you lead davening in a rich low voice like a man’s?

  • Future Druggie August 18, 2010, 6:28 PM

    You forgot Simchas Torah.

    “they simply dont have the strength to blow the shofar and stay quiet during the whole 100 blows”

    and Megillas Esther

  • FrumGer August 18, 2010, 7:19 PM

    Hagbah is bad enough for men on men, i have always noticed how the Torah shamedly reminds me of a fallace while Im sitting with it between my legs upright on the chair as some dude ties it off and skirts it… it would be much worse with a woman doing galeilah….

  • Wolfman August 18, 2010, 8:20 PM

    I know you’re joking, but since some readers might not, it would be good to clarify that I was makreh for a ba`alat toke`a who did the full 100 blasts without any problem and in my minyan several women regularly did hagbahah. At a prominent Jerusalem Orthodox synagogue, many women come to shul on Sukkot (both hag and hol hamo`ed) and a Torah is brought to the women’s side and hakafot are done in parallel.

  • Batsheva August 18, 2010, 11:36 PM

    I’ve done hagbah myself many times, no problem, back both when I was Conservative and when I was Reform, and when I was Reconstructionist and when I was Renewal. (Yes, I’ve run the gamut of every conceivable branch of Judaism. Except the UO in all it’s varied forms. Never, never going there. ) I also do a mean tekiah gedolah. Not in my current shul though, sadly. I do miss that. And hagbah too, a little.
    Funny piece, Hesh. You crack me up. 😀

  • LL Cool Jew August 22, 2010, 10:01 PM

    Dude. You’re a douche. Seriously.

  • B.BarNavi September 5, 2010, 3:43 PM

    “What if they sing an obscure tune and no one sings along?”

    Fallacy: Everyone knows this happens already when a Sephardi comes to town.

  • liberal seattle jew July 10, 2012, 6:57 PM

    This is libel. I can’t believe you wrote a post like this Heshy! I am disappointed you had Seattle and NYHS’ back why not the feminist? I am disappointed.

  • chevramaidel July 10, 2012, 10:29 PM

    Women could never be trusted with challah cutting. They might cut slices and pass them out on plates, chas v’sholem. Everybody knows the proper way is to mash it half flat, hack at it, and throw the chunks on the tablecloth.

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