obligated, R. Ahron Soloveichik posits that they are, nonetheless, specifically excluded by Hazal from counting towards a minyan or serving as a hazzan or ba’alat keri’a because of kevod ha-tsibbur. Further discussion of this position is beyond the scope of this paper.
85*. Bezalel Landoi in his classic work on R. Elijah (the Gaon) of Vilna, "ha-Gaon he-Hasid me-Vilna" (Usha: Jerusalem, 1968), discusses Alim liTrufa or Iggeret haGra (letter by the Gaon to his son) on pp. 325-326 and notes 16 and 16* and p. 346 note 19. He indicates that there are two basic editions of the Alim liTerufa: the Minsk 5596 (1826) edition and the Aram Tsova (Syria) 5626 (1856) edition. Several more recent publications of the Alim liTerufa bring both editions: “Mesillat Yesharim”, Shulsinger: New York, 5702, p. 125ff; “Heshbono shel Olam" (Bnai Brak, 5723) - Aram tsova is on p. 34; “Iggeret haGra,” (ed. Nehemia Pfeffer) Jerusalem, 5760 - Aram Tsova is on p. 42. The editor of the book "Heshbono shel Olam", in his notes Bo'u Heshbon, on p. 35, s.v. ve-Al telekh, argues that the Aram Tsova edition is the more authoritative, and Bezalel Landoi seems to concur. There are several fundamental differences between the two editions, one which relates to the topic at hand, namely, women’s obligation in public prayer. The Minsk Edition of Alim liTerufa reads as follows (translation by Noam Zohar):
"The basic definition of [the virtue of] solitude is that you should not, God forbid, go forth from the door of your home. Even in the synagogue, be very brief and leave. It is better to pray at home; for in the synagogue it is impossible to avoid [incurring] jealousy or hearing worthless talk and lashon ha-ra (gossip). This carries liability, as [the Rabbis] said, "Anyone who hears and remains silent" etc. (Shabbat 33). Even more [is it] so on Shabbat and festivals, when [people] gather in order to talk - it would be better not to pray at all!...Your daughter too, it is better that she not go to the synagogue, since there she sees nice garments and becomes jealous; she [then] reports at home and this brings them to [commit] lashon ha-ra and other offences."
In the Minsk edition, there seems to be no distinction between son and granddaughter regarding the duty of attending the synagogue. Both are advised to refrain from attending the synagogue - “It is better to pray at home” - because of worthless talk, lashon ha-ra, and/or jealousy. This, however, is extremely problematic. Ma'asei Rav (Ma'asei Rav ha-Shalem, Merkaz haSefarim: Jerusalem, 5747) reiterates twice (in secs. 25 and 33) that the Gaon was insistent that one pray in a minyan with the community. By contrast, Maasei