Are women obligated in shaking Lulav?

Are women obligated in shaking Lulav?

Women are exempt from the Mitzvah of shaking Lulav.[1] Nevertheless, if they desire to shake Lulav, they may do so.[2] Practically, women have accepted upon themselves the Mitzvah shaking of Lulav as an obligation.[3] [Accordingly, women are to be particular to shake Lulav each day of Sukkos, due to the accepted custom. It is likewise customary to educate girls to shake Lulav.[4]]

The blessing:[5] A woman [of Ashkenazi origin[6]] who shakes Lulav, may choose to recite a blessing prior to doing so, just as a man recites prior to performing the Mitzvah.[7] [On the first day, or by her first time, she may likewise recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu.[8]] If, however, a woman does not know how to say the blessing, a man may not say the blessing on her behalf.[9] [A blessing may only be recited if the Lulav set is Kosher according to Halacha, and therefore, it is imperative for women who are shaking with a blessing to be aware of the laws involved that can invalidate a Lulav set. On the first day of Sukkos, if a woman is shaking another’s Lulav, it is to be given to her as a Matana Al Menas Lehachzir, just as is the rule by a man.]



Although women are exempt from the Mitzvah of shakling Luilav, nonetheless, they have accepted it upon themselves as an obligation, and are hence to be particular to do so each day of Sukkos. A blessing may be recited by the woman, prior to shaking.


Are women to shake the Lulav in all the six directions, as is done by men?

Some Poskim[10] write that according to Kabala women are not to shake the Lulav in all the directions, but are simply to shake it one time, and it suffices.

May a man give a woman Daled Minim to shake?

Yes. Some[11] however write one is to avoid doing so to reasons of Tzenius. See next regarding a married woman.


May one give a married woman Daled Minim to shake on the first day(s) of Sukkos?

Some Poskim[12] rule that one may not give a married woman Daled Minim to shake on the first day(s) of Sukkos unless he explicitly states that it is a Matana Al Menas Lehachzir, and the husband has no portion in it, and he is giving it to her specifically to fulfill the Mitzvah.[13] Accordingly, on the first day of Sukkos, a married woman should be particular to shake her husband’s Lulav.

May women eat prior to shaking Lulav?

It is customary for women not to eat at all until they shake Lulav.[14] From the letter of the law women are allowed to eat up to 55 grams of Mezonos, unlimited amount of fruit and vegetables, and unlimited amount of beverages.[15] This certainly applies to a woman who is pregnant, nursing or feels weak.[16] However, she should not eat a full meal or over 55 grams of Mezonos until she shakes Lulav.[17] If, however, they feel that they require this amount of food to eat then it is completely allowed.[18]


[1] Admur 17:3; Rama 658:9 “Women are exempt from giving the Esrog tax as they are not obligated in the Mitzvah”; Rambam Lulav 7:19 [Vetzaruch Iyun why this was not recorded explicitly in Shulchan Aruch]; M”B 655:1

[2] Admur 17:3; 589:2; Michaber 589:6; R”H 33a as rules Rebbe Yossi and Rebbe Shimon; Rabbeinu Tam; Ran; Rosh there; Beis Yosef 589; See Kaf Hachaim 589/22

[3] Admur 17/3; Taz 658:6

[4] Nitei Gavriel 41:4

[5] Admur 17:3; 589:2; Rama 589:6; Taz 658:9; M”A 658:11; M”B 655:1; Rabbeinu Tam R”H 33a; Ran; Rosh in name of Mahritz Geios; Tur 589; Ritva Sukkah 2; Rashba 123; Maggid Mishneh Shofar 2 in name of Rashba; Shut Min Hashamayim 1; Birkeiy Yosef 654:2; Yosef Ometz 82; See Kaf Hachaim 17:4; 589:23; Darkei Chaim Vehsalom 778

Other Opinions-Sefaradim: Some Poskim rule that women may never recite a blessing over any Mitzvah that they are not obligated in. [Michaber 589/6; Beis Yosef 589; Rambam Hilchos Tzitzis; Igur in name of Reb Yeshaya; Rashi, brought in Hagahos on Rambam; Chacham Tzevi] The Michaber ibid rules that they cannot say a blessing as Safek Brachos Lihakel. [Beis Yosef 589] The Birkeiy Yosef ibid states that after seeing the answer from heaven in Shut Min Hashamayim he retracted from ruling like the Michaber and would tell women to recite a blessing. He concludes that if the Michaber would have seen the Shut Min Hashamayim certainly he too would have retracted his ruling.

May a woman who is a Nidda recite blessings? See Darkei Teshuvah Y.D. 195:58; Shulchan Melachim Nida 4; Yalkut Hagershoni 658:5; Nitei Gavriel 41:3

[6] See previous footnote

[7] The reason it is allowed for women to say a blessing despite them not being obligated in the command: Women are accustomed to say a blessing on even those commands that they are exempt from due to it being a Mitzvas Aseh Shehazman Grama. Thus, in this case as well women may say the blessing before shaking Lulav. [Admur 589:2 regarding Shofar] Women may say a blessing of “Asher Kidishana … Vitzivanu..” on commands that they are exempt from fulfilling, being that the men are commanded in this Mitzvah. Furthermore, although they do not receive as much reward as a man who is commanded in the Mitzvah, they do receive some reward and thus they too may say a blessing just like a man. [Admur 17:3]

[8] Rabbeinu Manoach Lulav 4:19; See Yabia Omer 4:50; Piskeiy Teshuvos 655:3

[9] Admur 589:2; Rama 589:6; Darkei Moshe 589:2

The reason why a man may not say the blessing for women: Women are not obligated in the command of Lulav and hence are not commanded to say the blessing. Thus, a man has no obligation to recite the blessing for them to fulfill this optional Mitzvah. In such a case, if a man says the blessing for women it is considered a needless blessing and is hence defined as a blessing in vain. However, women themselves can choose to say the blessing for reasons explained in previous footnotes. [ibid] Vetzaruch Iyun as to how to understand this reason. Why can’t men say this optional blessing for women just like women can say it for themselves? In other words, if we permit an optional blessing for women why can’t we also permit it for men to say for the sake of women. Perhaps the reason is because since the blessing is optional and the man gains nothing for saying it [no even an exemption from Areivus], it is therefore considered an unnecessary blessing for him to say. However, women may say it being that she gains the fulfillment of the Mitzvah and hence it is not unnecessary. 

[10] Rav Poalim 1 Sod Yesharim 12 based on Kabala; Eitz Hasadeh 568:11; Meorei Or 3 p. 69; Nitei Gavriel

[11] See Orchos Chaim 657:5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 655:3 footnote 11

[12] Bikureiy Yaakov 657:5 brought in Kaf Hachaim; Piskeiy Teshuvos 654/3

[13] The reason: As whatever a wife acquires is acquired by her husband, and therefore, she cannot Halachically return the Lulav to the owner without his permission, which would sabotage the entire Kinyan to begin with. [Bikureiy Yaakov ibid]

[14] Ashel Avraham Butchach 589 regarding Shofar and Lulav; Mahadurah Tinyana 592; Alef Hamagen 651/25; Mishnes Yaakov 652/2; and so is implied from Kitzur SHU”A 129/19; Ateres Zikeinim 589 regarding Shofar and the same would apply regarding Lulav

The reason: Although women are not obligated to shake Lulav, nevertheless since they accepted it upon themselves as an obligation [see Admur 17/3], they are therefore also to follow the ruling of not eating prior to doing the Mitzvah. [Ashel Avraham ibid ]

[15] As according to some Poskim even a man is allowed from the letter of the law to eat these foods, and if he is weak according to all it is allowed. Thus certainly women who are not even obligated in the Mitzvah are allowed. [see Piskeiy Teshuvos 585/2 footnote 26 who uses this logic regarding even slightly weak women]

[16] Piskeiy Teshuvos 585/2 footnote 26

[17] This complies with the ruling of the previously mentioned Poskim that women do not eat prior to Lulav. Thus if one is able to satiate themselves with other foods which are allowed from the letter of the law, it is better to do so.

[18] Chayeh Adam 141/7; Kitzur SH”A ibid; Ashel Avraham ibid [They do not limit the amount of food that they may eat]; Piskeiy Teshuvos 585/2.

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