"The Courage to Serve" and The Courage to Disagree with Some "Rishonim"
Just read about a young Hareidi woman who insisted on serving in the IDF. She apparently impressed others with the courage of her convictions, and was a role model for others, some of whom became interested in being more observant. And to top that off--read the article--someone said about this girl that she should have died instead. What is Judaism coming to??! Sharia law, that's what. We must nip it in the bud.
Have researched the issue of "Kol Isha" (the voice of a woman), and here is something interesting relating to this so-called 'halacha.' The opinions have moved very far to the right from even when I was growing up. I totally disagree with the machmir (stringent) view, as you can well imagine. The 'rabbanim' have sexualized everything about women--everything, to the point where we must wonder why G-d created us at all?
I have copied some of this New Analysis here (and linking it a second time as well). In my opinion, this entire subject is being taken to ridiculous proportions. What do you think? (Do you have the guts to tell me?)
What manner of a woman's voice is considered erva?
The poskim that hold that it is forbidden to hear the voice of a woman in general, and not just during the recitation of the Shema and the core parts of prayer, are divided as to what type of voice is prohibited - is it forbidden only to hear a singing voice, or is listening to common speech proscribed as well? And what about a singing voice that people are already used to? Is every type of singing voice prohibited? Let us begin this discussion with a disagreement between the Rashba and the Raavad described by the Rashba himself:
And the fact that Rav Yitzhak said that a handbreadth of a woman is erva, and that we hold that this applies to his wife during the recitation of Shema, the Raavad of blessed memory explained that it is possible that this refers to a normally covered part of her body, and Rabbenu Hananel commented on this, saying that the shin of a woman is a normally covered and sexually provocative part of the body, even to her husband, and even though it is not normally covered on men, but her face and hands and feet and the non-singing voice of her speech, and her hair that comes out of her braid that is not covered, one need not worry about these as he is used to them and not disturbed. And with regard to another woman, it is forbidden to look at anything, even her little finger and hair, and it is forbidden even to hear her speak, as we say we say in Masekhet Kiddushin: "'let your honor send a salutation to Yalta [Rabbi Nahman's wife]!' He said to him: ‘thus said Shemuel: "the voice of a woman is erva."'" And nevertheless it seems to me that this refers specifically to the voice of a salutation, because there is intimacy in it.
It is important to pay attention to the fact that even the Rashba did not prohibit hearing all speech of a woman, rather only speech that has "intimacy."
In any event, his position is not ruled as halakha by the Shulhan Arukh: "one must guard against hearing the voice of a woman singing." Even though this is said specifically in reference to the recitation of the Shema, the Magen Avraham applies it to general rules of modesty as well: "'The singing voice of a woman' - Even an unmarried woman, and see the Even HaEzer 21, which states that the singing voice of a married woman is always forbidden to hear, but the voice of her speech is permitted."