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Women Writing A Sefer Torah

By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Posted on 09/13/18

We learn from the posuk in Devarim, Perek Lamed Aleph, posuk yud tes that one has a requirement to write a Sefer Torah. The posuk tells us, “Write this song and teach it to the Bnei Yisroel.”


The Avnei Nezer in Orach Chaim, siman taf kuf tes asks the following question on the Chinuch. The Chinuch in mitzvah taf resh daled says that every private person has a mitzvah of mechiyas Amalek. This would seem to apply to women as well since we find Yael killed Sisrah. However, the Chinuch says that the mitzvah of mechiyas Amalek applies only to males that go out to battle. Why is this so?


The Avnei Nezer answers that it is considered a mitzvah that is time-bound since we can’t kill on Shabbos as we find that Bais Din would not kill on Shabbos. During a time of war, fighting would be rendered pikuach nefesh, but women are not fighting in war, so they therefore are pattur from mechiyas Amalek.


The same rationale can be used regarding the reason why women are pattur from writing a sefer Torah. Since one may not write on Shabbos, it is therefore considered a time-bound mitzvah, which results in the exemption for women.


We see from the above that in order for a mitzvah to be considered time-bound it does not have to be a mitzvah only done at a certain time, but even if the mitzvahhas a restriction that it can’t be done at a certain time it renders it a mitzvah that the zman is gorem.


The Shaagas Aryeh argues regarding this point. The Shaagas Aryeh says that bris milah is not considered a mitzvah shehazman grama despite the fact that if the milah is done after eight days it is not docheh Shabbos. The mitzvah is really not time-bound; the fact that you can’t do it on Shabbos is because there is a secondary issur(of chilul Shabbos) that blocks the person from doing the mitzvah.


We could explain this machlokes with a kler. What is the reason one needs to write a sefer Torah? If the reason is a gezeiras hakasuv that one should write a sefer Torah, then the fact that one can’t write on Shabbos makes it a time-bound mitzvah and if you write it, it becomes a mitzvah haba be’aveirah. This exempts women from this mitzvah. If you say that the reason for writing a sefer Torah is to be able to learn, then even though one wrote the sefer on Shabbos be’issur, the Sefer Torah still serves its purpose of being able to be learned from and therefore would not be a time-bound mitzvah. With this reasoning, women would be able to write a Sefer Torah.


May we all be zocheh to be mekayem the mitzvah of ksivas and limud Sefer Torah.


Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com