- Question: [Sunday, 5th Adar 1, 5782]
I am a little confused regarding the subject of Zeman Tefila for women. On the one hand, I do not see it emphasized that women need to be careful in this and I see many of my friends who Daven Shacharis even after Chatzos. On the other hand, some have told me that it is an actual requirement, and that even women must Daven Sahcharis before Chatzos, and preferably before Sof Zeman Tefila, just like men. Which is the correct approach?
Women are required to pray within the times of Zeman Tefila, just as we rule regarding men. Thus, initially women are to finish Shemoneh Esrei prior to the fourth hour of the day [i.e. Sof Zeman Tefila], and if necessary may do so until midday/Chatzos. If it is already past midday than they should only Daven Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharis as Tashlumin of Mincha, just as we rule regarding a man. [This is with exception to those women who are Davening Beavoda, in which case, following the Chassidic tradition, they may extend their prayer past midday, if they start it at an early hour.]
Explanation: Although there are Poskim who are lenient to absolve women of the restriction of Zeman Tefila, and furthermore, some Poskim exempt them from the obligation of prayer [i.e. Shemoneh Esrei] altogether, practically, we rule [as does Admur] that women are rabbinically obligated in the prayer of Shemoneh Esrei just like men, and hence they are also restricted by all the laws that relate to prayer, including the laws of Zeman Tefila. Furthermore, one can argue that even according to the opinion which exempts women from Shemoneh Esrei, if they do decide to pray Shemoneh Esrei, they can only do so within the times set by the sages. The same way that although a woman is exempt from dwelling in a Sukkah on Sukkos, nonetheless, if she decides to do so with a blessing then the blessing must be justified according to Halacha, otherwise it is a blessing in vain, the same applies regarding prayer. This is just an additional argument to obligate women to Daven within Zeman Tefila, as in truth we rule that women are indeed obligated in Shemoneh Esrei, and hence the vast majority of Poskim [see sources below] explicitly rule that they must do so within Zeman Tefila, and there is no reason to differentiate between them and men in this matter. Now, regarding those Poskim [i.e. Ashel Avraham and Mishneh Halachos] who are lenient and rule that women are absolved from the regulations of Zeman Tefila, aside for the fact that even they must agree that it is preposterous to allow a woman to Daven Shacharis or Mincha at midnight, and Maariv during daytime, in truth, their arguments are completely negated by Admur. The Ashel Avraham is lenient on the basis that women are exempt from prayer. Admur explicitly negates this in three different places, and rules that women are obligated in prayer, and hence his allowance has no place for those who follow the rulings of Admur and all the other Poskim who rule that women are obligated in prayer just like men. Now, the Mishneh Halachos says that women are absolved from the restriction of Zeman Tefila because they are not obligated in the aspect of sacrifices in prayer. However, in truth Admur explicitly rules that they are obligated in reading the Parshas Hatamid, being that it corresponds to prayer, hence completely negating this assertion. Accordingly, there is no room according to the rulings of Admur to be lenient in this matter, aside for the fact that so is the ruling and understanding of the vast majority of the Poskim.
Sources: Poskim who rule women must pray within Zeman Tefila: Tehila Ledavid 58 that women may not say Birchas Shema after the 4th hour; Rav SZ”A in Halichos Shlomo 8:42; Sefer Yisrael Vihazmanim 1:88; Mishneh Halachos 11:75 in name of Igeres Hateshuvah of Rabbeinu Yonah 160; Maaseh Ish in name of Chazon Ish; Piskeiy Teshuvos 70:1; 106:1 footnotes 18-20; Chovas Hatefila p. 444; Rav Mordechai Ashkenazi z”l; Rav Yaakov Yosef Z”L; Lenient opinions: Ashel Avraham Butchach 70 [although he rules, unlike Admur, that women are exempt from prayer]; Mishneh Halachos 11:75 See regarding the general obligation of Zeman Tefila: Admur 89:1; Michaber 89:1; Rambam Tefila 3:1; Rebbe Yehuda in Mishneh Brachos 4:1; See regarding the obligation of women to Daven: Admur 106:2, 101:5, 47:10; M”A 106:2; M”B 106:4; Ramban in Hasagos Sefer Hamitzvos 5