165.R. Eliezer Berkovits, Jewish Women in Time and Torah (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1990), Chapter 4, pp. 77-81, discusses lo ra’inu eino ra’aya (vide infra). He posits that in all cases “which are quoted to show that lo ra’inu is a ra’aya (proof), there are always two opinions, one for the practice, the other against it. In all these cases, the non-practice is a rejection of an opposing ruling. Where, however, there is no opposing ruling, the non-practice of an activity does not establish it as a minhag that must not be changed.”
166.Justice Menachem Elon, in his “The Women of the Wall” decision (supra, note 4, pp. 313-317), distinguishes between a custom not to do something (hesder shelili), and no custom to do something (lacuna). For a related suggestion, see Yehave Da’at, I, end of no. 24.
167.See, for example, R. Abraham Butchatch, Eishel Avraham, O.H. sec. 692: “It is not prevalent (she-ein matsui) that any woman should read [the Megilla] to be motsi others.” See also Divrei Yatsiv, O.H. II, sec. 294.
168.Ben Ish Hai, Re’ei, sec. 17; Resp. Seridei Eish, III, sec. 93; R. Isaac Nissim, Yein haTov, II, sec. 6; Resp. Yaskil Avdi, V, O.H. sec. 28 and VI, addenda at end (p. 336), no. 1; R. Hanokh Zundel Grossberg, HaMa’ayan, Tevet 5733; Resp. Yabia Omer, VI, O.H. sec. 29, and again in Yehave Da’at, II, sec. 29; Yalkut Yosef, III, sec. 225, Berakhot Peratiyyot, no. 20.; R. Joseph Bar Shalom, Resp. Netsah Yisrael, I, sec. 4 (at end); Rivevot Ephrayyim, I, sec. 158; R. Mordechai Eliyahu, Shabbat beShabbato, 11 Tevet 5748, 12 (160); R. Sha’ul Yisraeli, Resp. beMar’e haBazak, I, sec. 7-3, p. 13; Asei leKha Rav, VI, sec. 12 and VII, sec. 9; R. David Feinstein, personal oral communications to Noach Dear; R. David Cohen, personal oral communications to Noach Dear and Dov I. Frimer; R. Mordechai Willig, Am Mordekhai, sec. 29, no. 4. For a review, see R. Alfred S. Cohen, “Celebration of the Bat Mitzvah,” Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society XII (Fall 1986), pp. 5-16.
169.Noteworthy in this regard are the comments of R. Benjamin Joshua Zilber, Resp. Az Nidberu, VI, addendum (hashmatot) to sec. 67-68, end, regarding the issue of girls’ lighting Shabbat candles in addition to their mothers: “And as to R. Blumenfeld’s citation in this regard of ‘he-hadash assur min haTorah (that which is new is forbidden)’—perish the thought that one would use this principle with respect to any case where the innovation was instituted in order to strengthen religion. The Hatam Sofer zt”l (R. Moses Sofer, Resp. Hatam Sofer, O.H., sec. 28) never intended to refer to such an instance.”