Women’s Obligation on Sukkot

Time Bound Positive Commandments

Women are not responsible for the time-bound positive commandments, including among others: dwelling in the sukkah, the four species, shofar, tefillin, and many more.

a) Women have, however, taken some of these commandments, such as shofar, upon themselves.

b) The Torah does not obligate people to perform mitzvot that they will not be able to fulfill on a consistent basis. Because of a woman’s role as child-bearer and initial nurturer, the Torah recognizes that a woman will often not be able to perform time-bound mitzvot at very specific times, and, therefore, exempted all women from these mitzvot. However, the halacha (Jewish law) allows women to fulfill these mitzvot on a voluntary basis.

c) When performing mitzvot for which one is not obligated, there is a disagreement whether the blessing over the mitzvah is recited.

According to Ashkenazic opinions, women may say the blessing when performing these mitzvot.

According to Sephardic opinion, women should not say the blessing when performing these mitzvot.

The Mitzvot of Sukkot and Women

a) Dwelling in the sukkah

Because dwelling in the sukkah is required only during the holiday of Sukkot, it is a positive time-bound mitzvah.

Many women try to eat in the sukkah whenever possible.

b) The Four Species

i) Because the mitzvah of lulav and etrog may only be performed during the day, thus making it a positive time-bound mitzvah, women are not obligated to perform the mitzvah of the four species. Many women, however, choose to perform this mitzvah.

c) Synagogue services

i) Women are not obligated to pray in a minyan (a quorum of 10 men) and are therefore not obligated to attend services at the synagogue, although attendance is strongly recommend for those who are in a position to do so.