Featured Post

Free The Hostages! Bring Them Home!

(this is a featured post and will stay at the top for the foreseeable future.. scroll down for new posts) -------------------------------...

Sep 30, 2013

Female soldier gets called up to Torah on Simchat Torah and Hesder soldiers don't protest

On the holiday of Simchat Torah, a religious female soldier was called up to the Torah for an aliyah at a minyan on a naval base.

The minyan is made up of both soldiers from the base as well as residents from the surrounding area.

The gabbai, a local civilian resident asked the female soldier if she wanted to be called up for an aliyah, considering the minhag on Simchat Torah that every person gets an aliyah. The soldier agreed and was called up. Other religious soldiers present, hesder yeshiva soldiers, decided to not make a big deal out of it in order to not embarrass her and they did not walk out. The rationale was that she had already been called up, rather than it being a discussion of should they call her up, and being that it is not a regular aliyah but a customary aliyah of simchat torah that is not necessary anyway, they decided to not protest on the spot.

The rav of the base was not present at the time.

The army's response was that after the incident they clarified what happened and have sharpened the procedures of the base for the future...
(source: Kipa)

I am shocked by this. Both by the calling of a female soldier in a regular minyan, and by the soldiers who stayed in and did not register a protest. I have no problem with womens minyanim, and women at such minyanim get called up to the Torah, turning an Orthodox regular minyan into an egalitarian minyan is improper and should have demanded the protest. It is not like womens singing where the prohibition is not clear and disputed and there are ways to avoid the problem (not listen, sing along quietly, ignore, rely on various leniencies, etc). Turning an orthodox minyan into an egalitarian one, even if the aliyahs on simchat torah are just based on custom, is not something that should be let slide.

Reach thousands of readers with your ad by advertising on Life in Israel


  1. You mean, "women's prayer groups." There is no such thing as a women's "minyan." Egalitarian minyan? Why are you giving it even a drop of legitimacy by using this language?

    The IDF is not Jewish

  2. Rafi - if I'm not mistaken, a woman can technically receive an Aliya, though it is not commonly done due to Kavod HaTzibur. As such, there are grounds for not causing a Bizayon in a situation like the one descirbed.

  3. The soldiers, as all Jews, have a right to protect themselves from being caused to sin.

    Protesting a woman's being called to the Torah does not fall into that category.

  4. "אם קרא במקומות שקוראים בשם [של אדם מסוים כדי לעלות לקריאת התורה], וקראו בשמה של אשה שנמצאת בעזרת נשים, וידע הגבאי או החזן שהיא נמצאת בעזרת נשים, ואמרו "תעמוד גברת בינונית לקריאת התורה", והיא באה לעלות לבימה, ובא אחר ואומר לה "לא, תרדי כי את אשה" - זה פוגע בה! למה צריך להעליב אותה? יכולה לעלות. אפילו עכשיו בזמנינו יכולה לעלות."

    Rav Ovadya Yosef

    1. I would like to ask Rav Chaim Ovadia or his sons if they believe this halacha should be implented or if it is hypothetical.
      Rafi, I'm not sure if you did the army, but soldiers are naturally unlikely to protest much of anything and this varies depending on the unit and seniority of the soldiers. I wonder who the gabai is and why he did it. I don't really care for his name, just his motives.

    2. Dani - can you please give the source of this quote? I know that this is the Halacha, but would want to know the cite of Rav Ovadia's Psak. Thank you.

    3. Here is a lecture by R' Ovadya where he talks about many issues and deals at length with women being called up and even reading from the Torah (pickups up at around the 15 minute mark:

    4. Thank you, Dani - this is what I was looking for. The exact quote you brought above is at about the 23 minute mark.

      FYI - I've cited this in a response on another website, and inadvertently left out attribution. In posting the cite, I'll give credit. Sorry for missing it the first time.

  5. Rafi,

    Rafi, you shock easily. As the other commenters (other than the predictably anti-Semitic Esser Agaroth) point out, l'halacha women's aliyos are not assur (or at the very least not something to be mevaseh somebody over.) Anyway, my son who is one of the hesder guys who was there told me that the chayelet was very reluctant to get the aliya and only went up once the gabai called her up.

  6. clearly I stand corrected and did not know it was so acceptable to give an aliyah to women. Now I wonder why we dont do it more often...

  7. Q: Is it permissible for a woman to receive an Aliyah to the Torah?
    A: The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 282:3) rules that she may not.


Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...