Kol Deracheha

Rachel Leshaw

Welcome to Kol Deracheha, a podcast about women and mitzvot, from deracheha.org. Our name comes from the pasuk in Mishlei

which says “be-chol derachecha da’ehu.” “In all your ways, know God.” We’ve changed that to Kol Deracheha, which means “all her ways,” and also “the voice of Deracheha.” Our goal is that Kol Deracheha will inspire you wherever you walk on the pathways of Torah.

All Episodes

Why is it important for women to engage directly with halachic texts? In this introduction to Deracheha we'll discuss the different ways Jewish tradition can be transmitted, and the role Jewish women have played in that transmission throughout Jewish history.  To read the sources mentioned in this episode, click here https://www.deracheha.org/concepts-introduction/

May 2019

18 min 37 sec

Join us as we meet Laurie Novick, Deracheha's Site Director, and learn more about her goals for the site. We'll discuss everything from favorite holidays to the ways Deracheha is changing the conversation around the role women play in transmitting halacha. Trust us, you don't want to miss this conversation! Want to read more about women and halacha? Click here https://www.deracheha.org/concepts-introduction/

May 2019

19 min 42 sec

What is the mitzvah of learning Torah? Does it apply to women? In this episode we'll see that the definition of Talmud Torah is more broad than we might have thought, although women are exempt from studying Torah in a formal way.  To read the sources mentioned in this episode, click here https://www.deracheha.org/learning-torah/

May 2019

17 min 23 sec

What is a woman's obligation in Torah study? The Talmud teaches that women are exempt from the Torah-level obligation to learn or teach Torah. What does this mean women should actually do? In this episode we'll explore opinions that approve or disapprove of a father teaching Torah to his daughter, and discuss how this influences the obvious obligation for women to know basic halacha in order for them to practice as observant Jews. To read more about the sources mentioned in this episode, click here https://www.deracheha.org/learning-torah-2-obligation/

May 2019

21 min 21 sec

What early opportunities developed for women’s formal Torah study? On what halachic basis? To read the sources mentioned in this episode, click here https://www.deracheha.org/learning-torah-3-openings/

May 2019

21 min 38 sec

What areas of Torah may, and should, a woman study? And how? In this episode we'll discuss different modern approaches to women studying Oral Torah, from those who approve on a limited basis, to those who believe it's an absolute imperative at this stage in time. To read the sources mentioned in this episode, click here https://www.deracheha.org/learning-torah-4-what-to-study/

Jun 2019

22 min 54 sec

Join us as we speak to Shayna Goldberg, contributing editor at Deracheha, about how Torah influences her life and what she envisions for her students. 

Jun 2019

27 min 17 sec

Was gender hierarchy built into creation? Are men and women really created equal? All this, and more, in the first of our three-part series on women's status in Judaism

Jun 2019

22 min 42 sec

After establishing in our previous podcast than men and women are viewed as having equal sanctity in Judaism, we'll explore the halachic obligations of men and women - when are they the same and when are they different? We'll discuss rules of thumb for gender differences in halacha, and how we're meant to understand these differences. 

Jun 2019

12 min 52 sec

Why are women generally exempt from positive time-bound mitzvot? We'll discuss the rule, exceptions, and possible rationales, including whether these explanations are "just apologetics".

Jul 2019

27 min 44 sec

May a woman perform mitzvot voluntarily? The test case is Smicha or semikhah (Hebrew: .mw-parser-output .script-hebrew,.mw-parser-output .script-Hebr{font-size:1.15em;font-family:"Ezra SIL","Ezra SIL SR","Keter Aram Tsova","Taamey Ashkenaz","Taamey David CLM","Taamey Frank CLM","Frank Ruehl CLM","Keter YG","Shofar","David CLM","Hadasim CLM","Simple CLM","Nachlieli","SBL BibLit","SBL Hebrew",Cardo,Alef,"Noto Serif Hebrew","Noto Sans Hebrew","David Libre",David,"Times New Roman",Gisha,Arial,FreeSerif,FreeSans}סמיכה‬, "leaning [of the hands]"), also smichut (סמיכות‬, "ordination"), smicha lerabbanut (סמיכה לרבנות‬, "rabbinical ordination"), or smicha lehazzanut (סמיכה לחזנות‬, "cantorial ordination"), is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on" or "to be authorized". ">semicha, leaning on a sacrifice, a ritual from which women are exempt. We;ll also discuss the halachic meaning of voluntary performance, whether it can become like obligation, and whether voluntary mitzva performance is encouraged.  

Jul 2019

31 min 6 sec

In our last podcast we discussed the general value of voluntary mitzva performance. This week we're discussing whether it's appropriate to make a beracha when voluntarily performing a mitzva. We'll discuss the purpose of a birkat hamitzva, the possible concerns with reciting one in this case, and the differences in practical halacha for Ashkenazim and Sefardim. Read the full article here: https://www.deracheha.org/beracha-on-voluntary-performance/    

Jul 2019

23 min 17 sec

Challa, candle-lighting and nidda are three mitzvot in which women's performance takes precedence over men's. Taken together, what do they teach us about women and halacha?

Jul 2019

30 min 42 sec

In this podcast, the first of our series on women's prayer, we'll identify prayer as "rachamei", seeking divine mercy. We'll discuss the various opinions about whether the obligation to pray daily is Biblical or Rabbinic, and how that relates to women's obligation in prayer.  To see all the sources referenced in this episode, check out the article on our site here: https://www.deracheha.org/prayer-1-obligation/

Jul 2019

21 min 13 sec

Last week we spoke about women's obligation in prayer in general. This week we'll focus on shemoneh esrei specifically. Do women have an obligation to recite Shemoneh Esrei? How many times a day? Are there justifications for women who recite fewer than two shemoneh esreis a day? We'll discuss all the different halachic approaches to this question, taking into account the different lived experiences of women at different periods in their lives.  To see all the sources referenced in today's podcast, check out the full article on our site here: https://www.deracheha.org/prayer-2-shemoneh-esrei/

Aug 2019

28 min 10 sec

This episode continues our eight part series on prayer. We’ve already discussed the general obligation of women in prayer, including shemoneh esrei, and now we’re going to start from the beginning, discussing the prayers we say immediately upon waking up. In this episode we will discuss why we start our day the way we do, and the specific question of whether women are obligated in the birchot hatorah.   To see all the sources referenced in today's podcast, check out the full article on our site here: https://www.deracheha.org/prayer-3-upon-arising/ 

Aug 2019

22 min 6 sec

This week is the fourth installment in our series on prayer. We’ve already discussed the general obligation of women in prayer, including shemoneh esrei, and the prayers we say immediately upon waking up. In this week’s podcast we are going to talk about what follows the initial berachot, namely, the recitation of bikot hashachar.   To see all the sources referenced in today's podcast, check out the full article on our site here: https://www.deracheha.org/prayer-4-birchot-ha-shachar/ 

Aug 2019

17 min 23 sec

Today we’re going to continue our series on prayer. We’ve already discussed the general obligation of women in prayer, including shemoneh esrei, the prayers we say immediately upon waking up, and birkot hashachar. In this week’s podcast we’re going to zoom in and take a closer look at the first 3 brachot of birkot hashachar.    To see all the sources referenced in today's podcast, check out the full article on our site here: https://www.deracheha.org/prayer-5-she-lo-asani-isha-she-asani-kirtzono/

Aug 2019

27 min 24 sec

This week is the fifth installment in our series on prayer. We’ve already discussed the general obligation of women in prayer, including shemoneh esrei, the prayers we say immediately upon waking up, and birkot hashachar.  Today we’re going to continue our series on prayer and talk about korbanot and psukei dezimra.    To see all the sources referenced in today's podcast, check out the full article on our site here:https://www.deracheha.org/prayer-6-pesukei-de-zimra/

Sep 2019

21 min 27 sec

This week is the seventh installment in our series on prayer.  Today we’re going to talk about Keri'at Shema.   To see all the sources referenced in today's podcast, check out the full article on our site here: https://www.deracheha.org/prayer-7-shema/

Sep 2019

16 min 59 sec

Today we’re going to continue our series on prayer and talk about Birchot kriat shema.   For Deracheha's full article on this topic: https://www.deracheha.org/prayer-8-birchot-shema/

Sep 2019

18 min 14 sec

Today we’re going to continue our series on prayer and talk about the last section of shacharit, after the shemoneh esrei.   For Deracheha's full article on this topic: https://www.deracheha.org/prayer-9-end-and-priorities/  

Sep 2019

13 min 28 sec

In this episode we discuss where head-covering is mentioned in the Torah, and in which contexts it is raised in the Mishnah and Gemara. We'll discuss sources which relate head-covering strongly to the concept of "dat yehudit", and secondarily to the concept of "erva". To read more about the sources mentioned in the podcast, click over to our full article here: https://www.deracheha.org/head-covering-1-halachic-basis/

Nov 2019

23 min 54 sec

In this episode we speak to Chana Jenny Weisberg of JewishMom.com about her personal approach to tefilla, and how she balances both traditional prayer from the siddur along with personal practices that connect her to herself and God. 

Nov 2019

25 min 23 sec

What explanations for the mitzva of head-covering emerge from the sources? What other meanings might a woman find in the mitzva?

Dec 2019

20 min 58 sec

In this shiur, Laurie Novick analyzes the type of Hallel said on Chanuka, as well as the unique relationship of women to Chanuka, in order to understand the special obligation of women to recite Hallel on Chanukah.

Dec 2019

48 min 20 sec

In this episode we discuss the source of the ruling that the obligation to cover the head takes effect only upon marriage, and how this affects divorced women and brides.

Jan 2020

26 min 9 sec

How much of her head or hair does a woman need to cover? Where do the variations in custom come from? To see the sources mentioned in the podcast, click here https://www.deracheha.org/head-covering-4-how/

Jan 2020

33 min 10 sec

In this episode we discuss the setting in which the obligation to cover the head applies, including the difference between public and private spaces, and whether there are others present.  To read more, click here https://www.deracheha.org/head-covering-5-where/

Jan 2020

23 min 36 sec

In this episode we'll discuss what the mitzva of tzitzit is, as well as why women have not customarily performed this mitzva. We'll also discuss whether a woman can perform the mitzva, and the potential halachic issue of keli gever (men's garb) that may apply in this case.  To read all the sources mentioned in this episode, check out our article here: https://www.deracheha.org/tzitzit-1-keli-gever/  

Jan 2020

20 min 26 sec

In this episode we discuss the concept of yuhara and its applicability to women voluntarily wearing tzitzit.  To read the sources discussed in context, check out the full article on our site at https://www.deracheha.org/tzitzit-2-yuhara/.

Feb 2020

26 min 15 sec

What is the mitzva of tefillin? Why are women exempt from it? Is there precedent for laying tefillin voluntarily? Read up on the sources here: https://www.deracheha.org/tefillin-1-exemption/

Feb 2020

16 min 50 sec

What is a guf naki? How is it connected to tefillin, and to women? To read all the sources, click here: https://www.deracheha.org/tefillin-2-guf-naki/

Feb 2020

17 min

In practice, may a woman choose to lay tefillin? What are the practical halachic rulings on this? To read the full article on our site, click here https://www.deracheha.org/tefillin-3-in-practice/

Mar 2020

21 min 59 sec

In this episode we discuss the nature of the mitzva of sefirat ha-omer and whether women are obligated in the mitzva. We also discuss the customs of the omer period and the way they apply to women. To read the full article, click the link below. https://www.deracheha.org/sefirat-ha-omer/

May 2020

28 min 45 sec

What is the source of the custom to stay up late to learn Torah on Shavuot? Does it apply to women? Read the full article here: https://www.deracheha.org/tikkun-leil-shavuot/

May 2020

11 min 41 sec

In this episode we discuss different ways of thinking about tzniut, whether it is based on societal standards, and why tzniut is often linked specifically to women. To read the full article, click here https://www.deracheha.org/tzeniut/

May 2020

28 min 15 sec

After discussing tzniut as a concept in a previous podcast, in this episode we'll focus specifically on dress. What is the purpose of clothing? How does this relate to tzeniut? What does Halacha say about dress? Read all the sources in the podcast here: https://www.deracheha.org/dress-1-the-basics/

Jun 2020

34 min 43 sec

In this episode we'll discuss some of the details of women's dress - what was traditionally covered, what is the status of the zeroa (arm), and how communal standards play into the halacha. To read all the sources mentioned in the podcast, click here: https://www.deracheha.org/dress-2-the-details/

Jun 2020

13 min 18 sec

How do the laws of erva shift in interpersonal settings? How does this affect the laws of women’s clothing? And what are the halachot concerning skirts and pants? To read all the sources mentioned in the podcast, click here https://www.deracheha.org/dress-3-more-details/

Jun 2020

40 min 59 sec

In this episode we'll discuss Rosh Chodesh, what makes it a woman’s holiday, and this affect its observance. To read the full article, click here:  https://www.deracheha.org/rosh-chodesh/

Jun 2020

43 min 2 sec

In this special behind the scenes episode, Rachel speaks to Laurie about tzeniut, and the challenges of writing about tzeniut as its own concept, not as it relates to clothing. Plus some thoughts on coronavirus, trampolines and backyard weddings. To read the sources referenced, click here https://www.deracheha.org/tzeniut/

Jul 2020

14 min 15 sec

In this episode we'll discuss women's obligation in Tefillat Mussaf. We'll start by discussing the nature of the mussaf offering and how is it related to the mussaf prayer. From there we'll move on to how this impacts women's obligation in Tefillat Mussaf. To read the sources mentioned in this episode, click here https://www.deracheha.org/mussaf/

Jul 2020

22 min 24 sec

In this episode we discuss the mourning practices of the period leading up to Tisha B'av, and whether they have particular relevance for women. To read the whole article, click here https://www.deracheha.org/3-weeks-9-days/

Jul 2020

35 min 55 sec

What is Hallel? When is it recited and why? When do women have an obligation to recite Hallel? Read the full article here: https://www.deracheha.org/hallel/

Jul 2020

31 min 40 sec

In this episode we discuss the halachic basis for the concept of Kol Isha. How does Halacha view song in general? What is of specific concern with kol isha? When and to which type of voice does kol isha apply? To see the sources inside, click here https://www.deracheha.org/kol-isha-1-halachic-basis/

Aug 2020

32 min 42 sec

In this episode we discuss men’s and women’s responsibilities with respect to kol isha, and whether a woman may freely listen to men sing, or sing herself. To read the full article, click here: https://www.deracheha.org/kol-isha-2-mutual-responsibility/

Aug 2020

48 min 18 sec

In this episode we discuss how contextual factors can affect the application of kol isha, and whether the halacha is different in a religious context. To read the full article, click here https://www.deracheha.org/kol-isha-3-in-context/  

Aug 2020

1 hr 5 min

In this special bonus episode, we interview Elena Tal and Nina Tokayer about their careers and Kol Isha.  For more on Kol Isha (articles and podcasts) on Deracheha, click here https://www.deracheha.org/constants/#kol-isha Learn more about our guests: Elena Tal - https://www.elenatal.net/ Nina Tokayer (Yonina) - https://www.yoninamusic.com/

Aug 2020

46 min 58 sec

In this episode we discuss the reasons we blow shofar in Elul, and whether women should make an effort to hear the shofar blown. To read the full article on our site, click here: https://www.deracheha.org/shofar-in-elul/

Sep 2020

16 min 20 sec