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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 16:16:40 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Should working women do Positive Time Bound Commandments I recently cited Rav Hirschs theory of which commandments women are exempt from: They are exempt from periodically recurring symbolic commandments whose purpose is to (symbolically) strengthen one against forces in the outside world which threaten to lead him astray (the idea being that women are not as involved in the outside world and don't need these reminders). Wendy Baker and Gitelle Rapoport asked (v28n86) "But what about today when many women are in the workforce?" I actually had a similar conversation with Rivkah Slonim who told me that she didn't prefer Rav Hirschs theory precisely because it is not relevant today with so many women in the workforce (Wendy's and Gitelle's question). However after thinking about it for a while I realized that if we accept Rav Hirsch's observations as accurately descriptive of those commandments that women are exempt from then indeed, we would encourage women who work in the workforth to e.g. go out of their way to these commandments which she is only optionally obligated to perform. As a simple example a primary reason for Tzitzith is to prevent sexual temptation (Nu 15:39). But if a woman is in the workplace and exposed to these sexual temptations then she needs these reminders also--hence she should wear them. Another point: Michah Berger pointed out my omitting explaining why this applies to PERIODICALLY RECURRING commandments. The answer is because these commandments are only SYMBOLIC strengtheners against outside influences --they are not actual acts (such as eg charity) that we do to prevent evil. But then its the nature of symbolic acts that they are done periodically. A final point: Josh Hoffman(v28n88) says "Look at all this confusion--why not go back and say that women are exempt from positive time bound commandments by Divine decree"--the answer is (As Rav Hirsch points out) that there are too many exceptions to the rule (A Divine decree couldn't have so many exceptions---rather, as I indicated, it is an attempt by Chazal to formulate a unified hypothesis (similar to their attempt to formulate a unified hypothesis to which birds are Kosher). Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu Moderator Rashi Is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/