The Origins of Non-Egalitarian Judaism

(א) מִי שֶׁמֵּתוֹ מוּטָל לְפָנָיו, פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע, מִן הַתְּפִלָּה וּמִן הַתְּפִלִּין.

(1) One whose dead lies before him is exempt from the recital of the Shema and from the tefillah (prayer) and from tefillin.

(ג) נָשִׁים וַעֲבָדִים וּקְטַנִּים פְּטוּרִין מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּמִן הַתְּפִלִּין, וְחַיָּבִין בִּתְפִלָּה וּבִמְזוּזָה, וּבְבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן:

(3) Women, slaves and minors are exempt from reciting the Shema and putting on tefillin, but are obligated for tefillah, mezuzah, and Birkat Hamazon (the blessing after meals).

גְּמָ׳ קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע: פְּשִׁיטָא! מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁהַזְּמַן גְּרָמָא הוּא, וְכׇל מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁהַזְּמַן גְּרָמָא נָשִׁים פְּטוּרוֹת?

מַהוּ דְתֵימָא: הוֹאִיל וְאִית בַּהּ מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם, קָמַשְׁמַע לַן.

GEMARA: The recitation of Shema is obvious! For it is time-bound, positive mitzva, and Women are exempt from any time-bound, positive mitzva

But you might say: Shema includes acceptance of the kingdom of Heaven [women are obligated]! So this comes to teach us [otherwise.]

וְכָל מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁהַזְּמָן גְּרָמָהּ, אֲנָשִׁים חַיָּבִין וְנָשִׁים פְּטוּרוֹת. וְכָל מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁלֹּא הַזְּמָן גְּרָמָהּ, אֶחָד אֲנָשִׁים וְאֶחָד נָשִׁים חַיָּבִין. וְכָל מִצְוַת לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה, בֵּין שֶׁהַזְּמָן גְּרָמָהּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא הַזְּמָן גְּרָמָהּ, אֶחָד אֲנָשִׁים וְאֶחָד נָשִׁים חַיָּבִין, חוּץ מִבַּל תַּשְׁחִית וּבַל תַּקִּיף וּבַל תִּטַּמָּא לְמֵתִים:

For all positive, time-bound commandments, men are obligated and women are exempt. But all positive non-time-bound commandments both men and women are obligated. And all negative commandments, whether time-bound or not time-bound, both men and women are obligated, except for, the prohibition against rounding [the corners of the head], and the prohibition against marring [the corner of the beard], and the prohibition [for a priest] to become impure through contact with the dead.

The Status of Women in Halakhic Judaism, Saul J. Berman, Tradition, Vol. 14:2 (1973)

There is a critical distinction between a mandated role and a preferred role. Jewish law, as we have seen, specifically refrained from mandating for women the exclusive role of wife-mother-homemaker. It may very well be the case that throughout most of human history there were no alternatives practically available. But are we to assume that the Torah did not foresee the current developments and therefore simply failed to make adequate provisions to further eliminate such choices when they would become possible? On the contrary, it would seem to me that we would be compelled to conclude the exact opposite, that the Torah specifically intended to keep alternative options open in expectation of a time when they might become possible.

“On the Ordination of Women as Rabbis,” Rabbi Joel Roth, 1984

Women may be counted in a minyan or serve as the prayer leader only when they have accepted upon themselves the voluntary obligation to pray as required by the law, and at the times required by law, and only when they recognize and affirm that failure to comply with the obligation is a sin. Then they may be counted in the quorum and serve as the agents for others. This is the position which I would recommend to the Faculty for adoption.

Blu Greenberg, On Women and Judaism: A View From Tradition (1981)

Where there was a rabbinic will, there was a halachic way.