Are women obligated to recite 100 blessings a day?

Are women obligated to recite 100 blessings a day?

Background:[1]

Every Jew is obligated to recite one hundred blessings each day.[2] The inception and reason behind this obligation was as follows:[3] Dovid Hamelech instituted that one must say 100 blessings every day as a result of the sudden death of 100 Jews each day during his reign. At first Dovid did not know the reason for the sudden deaths until he saw with Ruach Hakodesh and instituted the one hundred blessings. This institution of reciting 100 blessings daily has Biblical support from the verse “What does Hashem ask of you but to fear Him“. The term “what” in Hebrew is “Mah” which can also be read as “Maeh” which means 100. Thus, the verse is saying “100 [blessings] G-d is asking from you.” The purpose of the blessings is to remind oneself of Hashem, and ones love and fear of Him.[4] The question is raised in regards to whether this obligation applies only to men, or extends also to women?

The law:

Some Poskim[5] rule that women are not obligated in the recital of the 100 blessings.[6] Other Poskim[7] rule that women are obligated in the 100 blessings, just like men.[8] Practically, women are to endeavor to recite 100 blessings a day, just like a man.[9] [Those women who do not Daven three times a day are to try to fulfill the 100 blessings through eating, drinking and smelling spices.[10]]

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[1] Admur 46:1

[2] Admur ibid; Michaber 46:3; Tur 46:3; Rebbe Meir in Menachos 43b

Definition of day: The day in this regard starts from one night until the next night. [Admur ibid]

[3] Admur ibid; Tur ibid; Rav Nutraiy Gaon

Kabalistic reason: The Ben Ish Chaiy [Balak] explains how the 100 blessings nullified the 400 evil Kelipos which caused the people to die. The Rokeiach explains that the 100 blessings recited nullify the 100 curses mentioned in Deuteronomy. [Kesher Gudal in name of Rokeaich brought in Ketzos Hashulchan 5 footnote 1]

Reason of Chassidus: The commands draw G-d’s radiance below in a concealed manner, in a way that it is not felt by the person. In order to internalize the radiance one is required to say a blessing prior to the command. It is for this reason that 100 blessings are required. As the number 100 in Kabala represents a level of G-dliness which is completely above the worlds, and it is this level which we want to reveal in our soul and thus unite with him. [Based on Sefer Hamamarim 5672 “Ayin Beis” volume 1 page 93]

[4] Thus through reciting the 100 blessings one comes to fulfill the simple meaning of the verse, which is to fear G-d.

[5] Shevet Halevi 5:23; Halichos Shlomo 22:25; Shevet Hakehasi 1:63; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:129; Rivivos Efraim 3:47; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 46:9 footnote 106; Vetzaruch Iyun if according to this approach the special leniencies given in Admur 215:5 and 249:11 due to Meiah Brachos would not apply to women

[6] The reason: As the Poskim write a list of the 100 blessings, and that list contains blessings not pertinent to women, such as Tallis and Tefillin, and all three prayers of Shemoneh Esrei. [Poskim ibid]

[7] Ruling of Rav Elyashiv, brought in Sefer Yashiv Moshe; Rav Ovadia Yosef in Halichos Olam Vayeishev Os Pei; See wording of Admur 46:1 “The 100 blessings that every person is obligated to recite each day.” Likewise, the Tur 46:3 writes “Certainly it is an obligation on each and every individual… and every person must be careful in them” [Vetzaruch Iyun if this wording is coming to include women, or simply to emphasize that it is an individual obligation rather than a communal obligation; From the Tur ibid, it is possible to learn that it is coming to teach us the latter, and not necessarily to be inclusive of women; See also Admur 489:1 who writes regarding Sefiras Haomer “It is a positive command for every Jew..” and then writes in 489:2 “Women are exempt”] See M”B 70:2 who discusses whether women are obligated in Birchas Hashachar, and depends it on whether it has a time limit until when it may be said. This implies that they obligated in the 100 blessings, as if they were exempt, then certainly they would be exempt from Birchas Hashachar which was instituted for the sake of accumulating 100 blesisngs. Vetzarcuh Iyun.

[8] The reason: As the Poskim do not explicitly exempt women from it, hence implying that they are equally obligated. Likewise, the Gemara and earlier Rishonim do not make any list of Mitzvos at all from which we can derive that women are excluded.

[9] This matter is inconclusive, and hence women are to endeavor to recite the blessings. See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid who concludes that they are certainly encouraged to do so as a Mitzvah, even if they are not obligated.

[10] See Admur ibid; Beis Yosef ibid

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