Women Wearing a Tallit!

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Is it permissible for a woman to wear a Tallit? Many Orthodox authorities rule it out because they claim that it is a positive commandment at a fixed time16. and women do not have to observe such commandments. But by saying that they do not have to observe the practice, it does not mean that they are forbidden to do so. It is the custom for women to wave the Lulav at Sukkot and eat matsot on the eve of Passover and say the appropriate blessings, although these are also positive commandments limited by time. The Talmud records the fact that at least two Rabbis (Rav Judah and Amram the Chasid) thought it right that the women in their households should wear tsitsit.17. Isserles in the Shulchan Aruch states that women are permitted to wear fringed garments and say the blessing over them.18.

A second objection is that a Tallit is a male garment, and the Bible forbids a man to wear women's clothes and a woman from wearing men's garments.19. This is clearly intended to prevent any "immorality" by transvestites. The development of the Tallit from a plain over garment to a specialised garment used for prayer is mentioned above. The development for males alone seems to be of relatively recent date. Any suggestion that immorality might occur as a result of a female wearing a Tallit in synagogue is totally ludicrous.

(16.) Kid 33b, Men 43a, etc. (17.) Men. 43a and Sukkah 11a. (18.) SA, Orach Chayim, 17, 2. (19.) Deut. 22, 5.

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