תורה ברשת
Women Writing Megillat Esther
הרב דוד ספרלינג
השיעור הועבר ע"י הרב דוד ספרלינג
שיעורים נוספים של המרצה ניתן למצוא כאן

The megillah itself tells us that "Queen Esther, daughter of Avichayil, and Mordechai the Jew, wrote about the enormity of all the miracles, to establish the holiday with this second Purim letter" (9,29). But can we learn from this that a woman may actually write a kosher Megillat Esther?

There are those that forbid using a megillah that a woman wrote. They compare the laws of writing a megillah to those of writing other holy scribal works, like tefillin, Torah scrolls and mezzuzot. The law is quite clear that the latter three must be written by men. As the Gemara (Gittin 45b) states "Torah, tefillin and mezuzot written by … a woman, a minor …  and an irreligious Jew are disqualified, since it says 'And you shall bind them [u'keshartam]… and you shall write them [u'katavtam]', which indicates that those who are subject to 'bind' (tefillin) may 'write', but those who do not 'bind' may not 'write'". From here we see that even though women are obligated in putting up a mezzuzah, they are disqualified from writing one. So too, even though they must read or hear the megillah, they are not allowed to write it. These opinions explain that the verse quoted above does not mean that Esther herself did the physical writing – just that she authored the text.

 

On the other hand, we see that the Gemara needed a special learning from the verses to exempt a woman from writing those texts that include the wording of Shema. Megillat Esther obviously doesn’t include the wording of Shema – and so it is difficult to say that the rule 'just as a woman isn’t obligated to "bind" those words upon her, so too she isn’t qualified to "write" them' applies to the megillah also. In fact, all the early codifiers (Rambam etc) disqualify a non-Jew or a child from writing the megillah, but are notably silent with relation to women. Apparently the woman's obligation in hearing and reading the megillah makes her permitted to write it also.

This may depend on the argument of how far to apply the concept of "only those who are obligated to bind tefillin may write them". The opinion of Rabbeinu Tam is that this is a general principle – and that women may only prepare ritual objects that they themselves are obligated in – just as only those obligated in tefillin may write them. This forbids them from tying tzitzit for example. Tosafot though rejects this idea, and limits the rule only to tefillin, Torah scrolls and mezzuzot – which are all learnt out from the verse mentioned in Shema (Tosafot Gittin ibid, "Kol Sheyeshno"). However, other ritual objects, such as tzitzit, may be prepared by women in accordance with this reasoning.

At first glance it appears that both Rabbeinu Tam and the Tosafot would hold that because women are obligated in the megillah, they could write one. On the other hand, when we see that the Gemara forbids women from writing a mezuzah, even though they are obligated in that mitzvah – we could say that the explanation of the words "and you shall write them [u'katavtam]" comes to limit women from preparing all texts that involve writing. On the other hand, the megillah may be more lenient as it is considered to be only a "letter", and many laws that apply to other sacred texts are more lenient a propos the megillah.

The various opinions can be found in the Birkay Yosef 691,6; Pri Megadim, Mishbetzet Zahav, 691,2; Rabbi Akiva Eiger on the Shulchan Aruch ibid; the Aruch HaShulchan (691,3); the Sha'aray Tshuvah 691,2. 

שיעורים נוספים ניתן למצוא בקטגוריות הבאות: הלכה
תאריך העלאה:ז׳ באדר ב׳ ה׳תשע״ו
17/03/16
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