- Question: [Thursday, 16th Adar, 5783]
Are women obligated to hear Parshas Parah?
No. However, some are stringent to hear it.
Explanation: The Poskim who discuss whether women are obligated in hearing Parshas Zachar make no mention of Parshas Parah, hence implying that they are not obligated, and that it has the same status as any other Parsha, which women are not accustomed to be stringent in. Several reasons can be suggested for why women are exempt: 1) The making of the red heifer ash is a community obligation, and is not upon women. 2) It is a time-dependent command which applies before Passover. 3) It is read in order to atone for the sin of the golden calf, which women did not participate in and do not need atonement for. Nonetheless, some are accustomed to be stringent for women to hear Parshas Parah, as women are obligated in the Pesach sacrifice, and hence they too should need to hear this reading. Likewise, some imply from a Sicha of the Rebbe that even women are obligated.
Sources: See Piskeiy Teshuvos 685:6; Nitei Gavriel 22:4 footnote 6; Otzer Minhagei Chabad 240; Sichas Parah 1976; Shut Chayeh Asher 84