To my friend, Rabbi Meir Fund Shlita,
My grandfather’s position, as published in Iggerot Moshe O.H., IV, sec. 49, is well known, and I cite it here for emphasis only: “However, since her intention is not such, but rather, she is motivated by her grievance with God and His Torah, her deed is not to be considered a mitsvah-action at all, but on the contrary, a forbidden action. For she is violating the prohibition of heresy—since she thinks that the laws of the Torah are subject to change—also in deed, which is serious.”
De facto, it is hard to find an instance where this fault will not be present, and, hence, it is difficult to say about any “women’s minyan” that there is no problem with them. Only theoretically speaking can one say that if there exists a group of pious women whose considerations are solely for the sake of Heaven and are without questioning of God’s Torah and Jewish custom—why should we prevent them from praying together?
They may also read from the Torah, though they should be careful not to do so in such a manner as to create the erroneous impression that this constitutes keriat haTorah. Thus, for example, they should not recite the Torah benedictions aloud, but should either rely on the benedictions recited earlier [in birkhot ha-shahar] or, in a case where they have not yet made these blessings, should recite them privately.
And, of course, there are other details about which one has to be wary, and all those responsible for halakhic decisions (ba’al hora’a) should act in this matter in accordance with this viewpoint.
Allow me to conclude with wishes that your rabbinate will be for the sake of Heaven and shed glory on God and his Torah.
In friendship, Mordechai Tendler
P.S. Nor is there any real prohibition for a menstruant to look at or touch the Torah, even though it is proper to be stringent; nevertheless, it has become widespread that women are lenient in this regard.
In a recent conversation, R. Tendler explained that his grandfather regularly utilized the term “ba’alei hora’a” to designate those rabbis who were of a stature to serve as posekim in