Women studying Chitas
- Question: [Wednesday, 19th Menachem Av, 5781]
Are women obligated in the Takana of the daily study of Chitas, and does it proceed the study of the daily Rambam, and is it more important than daily prayer for women?
Women are to endeavor to study the daily Chitas just like men. This applies even to women who have small children at home, and certainly towards women of younger and older age. Nonetheless, it does not take precedence over the halachic obligation of a woman to Daven Shacharis [at least in the abridged form obligated for women] or Mincha, and hence certainly if one does not have enough time, these prayers take precedence over learning the Chitas cycle. In my opinion, it takes precedence over the study of the daily Rambam, although this too is to be studied by women, as instituted by the Rebbe, and hence every woman should include in her schedule the prayers of Shacharis and Mincha, the study of Chitas, and one of the three alternative cycles of Rambam, in accordance to their time affordability.
Explanation: While we do not find that the Rebbe or Rebbe Rayatz explicitly stated that the daily learning of Chitas is relevant also to women, they also never differentiated between men and women when discussing the Takana, and explicitly stated that it is a cycle that is “relevant to all souls,” hence implying that it is relevant also to women. Likewise, we find a letter addressed to a woman in which the Rebbe encourages her to study the daily Chitas. Likewise, in a Chassidic discourse said in 1972 the Rebbe compared the daily study of Chitas to the study of practical Jewish law, which is an obligation upon both men and women, and is a study cycle that unites all the Jewish people and all the souls of Israel. This clearly implies that it is relevant for both men and women, and is in fact one of the reasons for why the Rebbe established the study of daily Rambam for women as well. Whatever the case, the established custom of women of Anash is to study the daily Chitas just like men, and so is emphasized in the Chabad institutions for women’s learning and girl schools. Now, regarding the subject of what receives precedence Chitas, Rambam or prayer, it is my belief that all three are possible to be done daily if one remains determined and utilizes their time properly. Nonetheless, if in truth one believes that he does not have the time for it all, then certainly the obligation of Davening Shacharis and Mincha comes first, and then the daily Chitas and then Rambam.
Sources: See Sefer Hamamrim 5732 p. 44; Likkutei Sichos 27 p. 233-235; 34 p. 285; Hiskashrus Vol. 472 and 609