Jerusalem - Rabbi Metzger: Women Allowed To Lead Passover Seder
Jerusalem - Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger publicly declared that women are allowed, according to Halachah (Jewish law), to lead the Passover Seder, and it is even obligatory to allow women to read parts of the Haggadah,
Metzger addressed the issue during his sermon over the weekend at the Great Shabbat (Shabbat Hagadol) celebration at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. The Great Shabbat celebration, observed on the Shabbat before Passover, includes a special Haftarah reading (a portion from either the Prophets or the Writings read on Shabbat, which usually correlates with the week’s Torah portion) and a lengthy sermon to the community on Saturday afternoon.
Metzger delivered his sermon to hundreds of people, explaining that in the event that a woman’s husband is not at home – serving in reserves duty or traveling outside the country for example - the woman is allowed to lead the Seder herself. Metzger noted that many religious people are unfamiliar with this Halachah, which was recently reiterated in a book by the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, citing the rulings of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
Metzger added that even if the husband is at home on the night of the Seder, the family should rotate reading sections of the Haggadah and the wives and daughters should read as well. He says that it is forbidden that the women only hear the Haggadah, they must also be part of telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt.
“People think that in deference to modesty, they should forbid women from reading aloud. Many religious people do not know it, but there is actually a law [against this],” Metzger told Israel Hayom on Saturday night.
“A negative impression regarding the exclusion of women has become prevalent,” he added. “Women aren’t excluded from everything. When it comes to such an important mitzvah (commandment), which only happens once a year and tells the entire exodus from Egypt, women are a key part of the event.”
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