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MODERATOR Posted - 07 February 2008 19:12

There is a machlokes whether women who eat by themselves are obligated in zimun. Green decided to pasken like the GRA, who says they are obligated, but Rashi and Tosfos (Brachos 45b) and the Shulchan Aruch (OH 199) hold they are not. The Mishna Brura says that the prevalent custom is not like the GRA. The Mishna Brura explains that Chazal never included them in the obligation either because they often did not know how to make a zimun on their own, or because ideally it is a Mitzvah min Hamuvchar for people in a mezumen to use a cup of wine and it is inappropriate("genai") for women to drink.

In any case, in most places the Minhag was - and is - for women not to make a zimun, like those shitos that there is no obligation for them to do so. Absent an express and legitimate minhag avos for women to make a mezumen (Modern Orthodox innovations do not count), you should follow the mainstream custom and not do it. The minhag Avos is the only good reason - and it is a good one - for women not to make a zimun.

This is especially true nowadays that feminism is a motivator for women to make a zimun, it is a positive thing to specifically not do it.

Particularly if the woman's general disposition is not one of taking on chumras, and surely if she is accustomed to relying on lenient (even if legitimate) shitos in serious halachic matters such as wearing flesh-colored stockings, or ending shabbos before 72 minutes after shekiyah, for example, she ought to question why this particular stricture is more attractive to her than other, more halachicly important strictures.

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