Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al
2017-03-14 03:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, R' Tucker's general approach is to segment The Set of Things For Which A Minyan is Required into smaller pieces and separately evaluate the halakhic tradition for each one, whereas more traditional authorities (I'm also reading side-by-side Rabbi Eliezer Melamed's Laws of Women's Prayer after seeing it recommended on Rabbi Slifkin's blog) just conclude that since there are some components of The Set of Things For Which A Minyan is Required where women are more unambiguously excluded, better they not be counted for any prayer quorum. So R' Tucker and R' Rosenberg distinguish between the much clearer texts supporting women participating in the quorum for Torah reading from the more discouraging texts around some of the other devarim shebikdushah.
Scanning through the book (I haven't gotten to study in the detail yet the section where they most fully analyze who counts for a minyan), it looks like the idea of counting 10 women for a minyan when there are no men around it something they don't really discuss much, only throwing it out as a potential compromise for people who have accepted one of several possible theoretical justifications for counting women generally as part of a mixed-gender minyan, but who aren't comfortable with mixed gender groups for other reasons. They cite the Ra'ah as cited in the Ritva on Megillah as distinguishing between the case of women joining with men to form a mixed gender zimmun and the case of women joining men to form the minyan one is ideally preferred to recite megillah with on this basis: With birkat hamazon, the introductory recitation of the zimmun can only be recited with three, so an observer watching sees that the only reason they are reciting the zimmun is because a mixed group has been formed, whereas the recitation of Megillah is identical with and without a minyan, so the observer would not see the apparent sexual impropriety of a mixed group having been formed.
They conclude the analysis of the Ra'ah by writing "Nonetheless, the Ra'ah's concerns may continue to be compelling for many contemporary communities. Those communities, even if following the pathways to a gender-equal minyan that we outlined above, might choose to avoid mixed quorums and allow for minyanim composed of ten men or ten women."
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