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Nov 14, 2013

Should women be allowed to drive or not

I was not planning on mentioning anything about Rav Amnon Yitzchak's inane comments the other day that women are not allowed to drive. He said many rabbonim have prohibited it, and anybody who allows it is only a third or fourth tier rabbi just trying to look good in the eyes of the public. He said the car of today is like the wagon of yesteryear, and we never heard about women driving the wagon.

Perhaps it needs to be mentioned... Rav Yitzchak's reason for prohibiting women from driving is for tzniyus reasons, and not due to the stigma of them being bad drivers... :-)

I was not going to mention it - it is just another silly, extreme and radical statement form someone who makes them regularly. He is easily ignorable, and even many who used to respect him have stopped doing so after he ran in the national elections and Shas destroyed him because of it..

So why am I mentioning it now?

Because I want to commend the rabbis who spoke out against it.

According to Kikar, 2 rabbonim approached about the issue rejected his opinion.

Rav Yosef Sheinin, rav of Ashdod, said some say it is ok for women to drive and say it is not ok, but it seems there is not really a problem of tzniyus - a woman walking in the street is more noticeable and visible than a woman driving a car. Rav Sheinin says there is no problem, in his opinion, with a woman driving a car. He does not know why some rabbonim say it is a problem, and perhaps they should also prohibit women from walking in the streets.

Rav Mordechai Malka, rav of Elad, said that he paskens it is ok for women to drive. Women used to ride animals - we see in the parsha Rivka rode the camels, and in the gemara it talks about women riding the animals would sit more modestly then men. He also adds that today women must drive as part of the days reality of running a household - if the woman didnt drive to do shopping or carpool or other things, the husbands would have to and that would cause bittul torah - so it is a mitzva for women to drive. Amazing how he managed to be sexist at the same time as protecting womens rights to drive. Also, does that allowance only apply to women whose husbands are learning - if not though, then maybe the women aren't allowed to drive as they would not be taking the husband away from learning?

Anyways, Rav Malka concludes that women can drive, but should be careful about doing so modestly.

Kol hakavod to these rabbonim who reject the ridiculous statements and apply common sense and take current realities into account in their halachic approach.

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  1. As much as I agree with you, Rafi, I wouldn't categorize the statement as "ridiculous" as a great Posek and Ga'on Atzum Rav Wosner Shlit"a said the same thing. Take a look at comment #9 in the Kikar article you quoted, where he quotes 2 statements from Rav Wosner on the matter:

    Shevet Halevi vol. 4 1:2:

    בענין הצניעות מה שנשים לומדות ומרנילות עצמן
    לנהוג מכונית אוטא, הנה מן הנסיון למדתי
    שהוא דבר שראוי לאסרו איסור גמור, כי עצם הלמוד
    גרם כבר וגורם לפריצות והוא ההיפך הגמור מכל
    כבודה בת מלך פנימה, כמו שעצם הנהיגה הוא ממש
    להיפך כל כבודה וגוי, האשה חושפת עצמה בזה בשוקים
    ורחובות לעין כל ראה נכשלת ומכשלת את האחרים,
    ואין דרכה של אשה במרכב עיין פסחים ג׳, אע׳׳פ
    שהמציאות של רכיבה ע׳׳ג בהמה אינו דומה לגמרי
    להא דידן מכ״מ בעצם אין דרכה בכך דומה בכמה
    דברים שקשה לפרש בכתב.

    ולבי אומר לי שהוא אחד הסבות של האסונות הגדולות
    שנעשים בדרכים בא״י המפילים כל כך חללים
    והרגו כבר טובים וצדיקים, וזה מצורף להעבירות הנעשים
    בדרכים המולידים המלאכים המחבלים שמסכנים
    הדרכים כאשר בארתי כבר במק״א ע״פ גמ׳ דפסחים
    קי״ב ע״ב ע״ש עובדא דר׳ חנינא בר דוסא ודאביי.

    And in vol. 7 11:2:

    נהיגת הנשים אב״א שגורם מכשול רוחני להן ולאחרים,
    ואב״א כידוע שטבע הנשים שאינם שולטות על
    עצמן בעת צרה ודחק ומעורבים כ״פ בתאונות האלה.

    I will not translate it because people who look at halacha emotionally instead of cognitively will undoubtedly bash Rav Wosner for this statement in his Sefer. Whoever does so does so at his own risk.

    As I linked to on my own blog, the Az Nidberu completely allows women driving cars and says that Rav Wosner said what he said only as a Humra and not a real Issur, and he himself argues on the Humra.

  2. I do agree, however, that calling those who disagree 4th tier rabbis is ridiculous.


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