I come from a Conservative Jewish background but after having read The Garden of Emuna and The Trail to Tranquility, I've been taking a more emuna approach to Judaism. I don't yet observe the Orthodox way, but I have started talking to Hashem every day and I love it. Thanks for turning me on to that. My question is about my wife. She's very much into messianic and egalitarian Judaism. She's a supporter of Women of the Wall and she even wears tzitzit. The truth is that I'm really embarrassed by that. Is she allowed to do so according to the Torah? Thanks so much, Marty from USA
Since tzitzit falls under the category of time-related positive mitzvot (mitzvat aseh shehazman grama), the Shulhan Aruch in Orach Chaim 17:2 rules that women are exempt. Yet, a woman wearing tzitzit is not violating Torah. Indeed, Maran states that a woman may wear a Tallit if she wants, but should not say a blessing, as is the Sepharadic tradition. On the other hand, the Rama adds that today it is considered arrogance for any woman to wear tzitzit and the Aruch Ha’shulhan (Rav Yechiel Michel Epstein of Novharduk, 1829-1908) agrees wholeheartedly that for a woman to go out of her way to get a four-cornered garment in order to put tzitzit on it is arrogant. In recent years, women wearing Tallitot and tzitzit have come to symbolize some form of "alternate" Judaism, such as egalitarian, messianic, reform or whatever. In light of all this, a Torah-observant woman who heeds the generation's Halachic authorities shouldn't wear tzitzis or a Tallit.
In your case, Marty, don't say a word to your wife against her or against her beliefs. Devote ten minutes a day of your personal prayer to asking Hashem to open her heart to real emuna. Follow the Garden of Peace to the letter and whatever you do, don't criticize her because that's even worse than her wearing tzitzit. I suggest that you learn one of the emuna books with her every day; she'll love the attention and you'll grow together. Be patient and you'll succeed.
Every blessing, LB