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Women Keeping Shabbos

By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Posted on 02/25/19

Parshas HaShavua Divrei Torah sponsored by
Dr. Shapsy Tajerstein, DPM - Podiatry Care.
(410) 788-6633

In Shemos, Perek Lamed Heh, psukim alef and bais, the Torah tells us that Moshe gathered all of the Yidden to tell them the following: six days a week they can do work, but the seventh day should be a holy day. The Ramban writes that when the posuk says Moshe gathered all the Yiddin, it included women as well. The women also donated to the Mishkon; therefore they had to be told about Shabbos so it should not be desecrated even for the building of the Mishkan and/or the Bais Hamikdosh.


The Panim Yafos explains that the reason the women needed to be told about Shabbos was because one might think that since women don’t have the mitzvas asseh of Shabbos since it is a zman grama, (they only have the lo saaseh) we might think that the mitzvas asseh of building the Mikdash should be docheh the lo saaseh of Shabbos. Moshe therefore had to warn them that it is not docheh Shabbos.


We find this concept in a Tosfos in Kiddushin, daf lamed daled, amud alef that discusses the asseh of Yom Tov does not apply to women. Tosfos held that a woman may burn teruma temeah on Yom Tov since the mitzvah of burning teruma temeiah is docheh the lo saaseh of Yom Tov and there is no asseh for a woman because it is zman grama.


There are many rishonim that disagree with Tosfos and say that a woman is mechuyav in the asseh and lo saaseh of Yom Tov and therefore we can’t say that the asseh of binyan hamikdash is docheh Shabbos. We could say that this concept that a woman is obligated with both the lav and asseh is understood from the gathering of all the Yidden by Moshe. He gathered everyone, including women, and told them that they have a mitzvahof keeping the seventh day of the week holy.


There are some rishonim who would say that women have a mitzvas asseh on Shabbos since we know that women have a chiyuv of Kiddush, and whoever has the mitzvas lo saaseh to keep Shabbos has the asseh of keeping Shabbos. In contrast, we don’t have this rule on Yom Tov and women would not be chayev Kiddush on Yom Tov. The Minchas Chinuch explains that since there is a chiyuv of koreis on Shabbos, women have the assehof Shabbos; whereas chiyuv koreis is not applicable on Yom Tov and women would not have the mitzvas asseh.


Properly observing and respecting Shabbos Kodesh is incumbent upon all of us whether it is a mitzvas asseh or mitzvas lo saaseh. May we zocheh to keep Shabbos properly and herald Moshiach soon!


  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