ARCHIVES: HILCHOS YICHUD
BELOW ARE THE HALACHOS FROM THE DAILY EMAILS THAT WERE SENT OUT TO THE “HALACHA FOR TODAY” DAILY EMAIL LIST
HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, AUGUST 30 2009
With the help of Hashem we begin learning the important and often overlooked Halachos of “Yichud”, the Prohibition of men and women being improperly secluded with one another.
In preparation for learning these Halachos I have utilized a wonderful Sefer called “Gan Na’ul” written by Rabbi Yitzchak Tzvi Rubelow based on the Shiurim of Rav Yaakov Ephraim Forchheimer shlita, Rav and Dayan of Bais Medrash Govoha of Lakewood.
We will discuss the many details of who, what, when and where these Halachos apply and will attempt to give as many practical examples as they apply to offices, babysitters, children, groups, siblings, relatives etc. As always, if you have any questions feel free to email me any time at halachaForToday@Yahoo.com. Also, please remember that all Halachos in these emails and on my website are for learning purposes only, and a Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’ma’aseh.
1) According to most Rishonim and Poskim, the prohibition of Yichud is a biblical one. (Based on the Posuk in Devarim 13:7. See Gemara Avoda Zara 36b and the Rabeinu Chananel there. See also Rashi to Shabbos 13a Dibur Hamaschil Mah Eishes Re’ehu and Tosefos Dibur Hamaschil Mah. Also see Sefer HaChinuch Mitzvah 188. The Rambam Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 22:2 calls it “Divrei Kabala” which may mean he holds it is less than a D’Oraysa. See Gemara Kidushin 80b and Meiri there for more on this. See also Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:2, Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 61 and Vol. 4 Siman 65:12 and Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Siman 91)
The Yichud that is biblically prohibited is the seclusion of one man with one woman. One man who is secluded with two women is a rabbinical prohibition, according to many Poskim. (See Shu”t HaRashba Vol. 1 Siman 587 and Shu”t Chavos Yair Siman 73. However, see Yam Shel Shlomo Kidushin Siman 20 and Shu”t maHarsham Vol. 3 Siman 152 maintain that even with 2 women it is a biblical prohibition)
Furthermore, the Yichud that is biblically prohibited, is between a man and a woman who are considered “Arayos” to one another; which means that these 2 people are prohibited from marrying one another (e.g. they are close relatives) or in a situation where the woman is a Niddah, where she is considered an “Ervah” and biblically may not be secluded with any man. (See Tosefos Sotah 7a Dibur Hamaschil Niddah)
2) The prohibition for a man to be secluded with a woman is in force for all women (besides for the exceptions, which we will discuss in the coming days B’Ezras Hashem), young or old, attractive looking or otherwise, as the seclusion of a man and a woman may lead to impropriety Chas V’Shalom. (See Rambam Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 22:1, Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:1 and Yam Shel Shlomo end of Maseches Kidushin Siman 21)
HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, AUGUST 31 2009
1) It is forbidden for a man to be alone with a single female, even if she isn’t a Niddah. This prohibition was instituted by Dovid HaMelech and his court, due a story that transpired with Amnon and Tamar, as described in the Pesukim of Shmuel II Perek 13. (See Talmud Sanhedrin 21a-b and Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:2)
Today’s days, since single girls do not immerse in a Mikvah, every female above the age of 12 has the status of a Niddah, thus it is biblically prohibited for a man to be alone with her. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1Siman 26 and Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 61, Shu”t Riva”sh Siman 425, Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:1)
2) It is prohibited for a Jewish male to be alone with a non Jewish female, single or married, and according to some Poskim there are instances when this can be a Biblical transgression. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:2. See also Minchas Chinuch Mitzva 188:5, Be’er Heitev Even HaEzer Siman 16:2 and Pischei Teshuva Even HaEzer Siman 16:1)
Similarly, it is forbidden for a Jewish woman or girl to be alone with a non Jewish male, (even if the non Jew’s wife is present). (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:3 and Yoreh Deah 153:4)
If the Jewish woman is married, this is a biblical prohibition. (See Ram”a Even HaEzer Siman 115:4 and Biur HaGr”a there Sif Katan 19. See also Shu”t Chavos Yair Siman 73)
HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 2009
1) An adult male may be alone with a girl below the age of 3 years, and a woman may be alone with a boy below the age of 9 years.
However, once a girl is above 3 years old and a boy is older than 9 years old, all the Halachos of Yichud apply to them, as if they are adults. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:11)
There is some debate in the Poskim whether a boy under Bar Mitzvah (13) may be alone with a girl who is under Bas Mitzvah (12). Many Poskim are lenient, while others are stringent. A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh. (See Yam Shel Shlomo end of tractate Kidushin Siman 22, Bach Siman 22:7, Shu”t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:11 and Sefer Birur Halacha page 71 quoting Rav Noson Gestetner Shlita ,author of Shu”t L’Horos Noson who prohibits it)
2) If a man is [R"L] ill to the point that he is, according to his doctors, incapable of doing the things for which the prohibition of Yichud were instituted, according to many Poskim there is no prohibition for a woman caregiver (or otherwise) to be alone with him. (See Shu”t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:10 and Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol.6 Siman 40:22 See also Shu”t Zayis Ra’anan Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 1 who is stringent with this)
However, an older man or a weak man, who does not have the strength to engage in the activities for which Yichud was instituted, and has even separated from his wife due to this, but has not done this based on any medical reason or on the advice of a doctor, is still subject to the biblical prohibitions of Yichud, though he won’t be subject to the rabbinical prohibitions. (Igros Moshe ibid.)
HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 2009
1) It is permitted for a father to be alone with his daughter. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:1)
Likewise, it is permitted for a grandfather to be alone with his granddaughter (both his son’s daughter and his daughter’s daughter) (See Bach to Even HaEzer Siman 22 and Pischei Teshuva there S”K 2 what he quotes from the Zechor L’Avraham. See also Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda Mahadura Tinyana Even HaEzer Siman 18 Dibur HaMaschil V’Hinei, where he seems to prohibit a grandfather from being alone with his son’s daughter based on a story that transpired. See also Shu”t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 60)
A mother and a son may be alone.
Likewise, it is permitted for a grandmother (both paternal and maternal grandmothers) to be alone with her grandson.
The above is true for great grandchildren/great grandparents as well. (See Mishne L’Melech Hilchos Sotah Perek 1:3 Dibur Hamaschil Kina)
2) It is permitted for a man to be alone with his wife when she is a Niddah, provided they have already consummated their marriage. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:1 and Yoreh Deah Siman 195:1. See also Tosefos to Sotah 7a Dibur Hamaschil Niddah and Sanhedrin 37a Dibur HaMaschil HaTorah. See also Ram”a Yoreh Deah Siman 192:4 and the commentaries there)
HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 2009
1) There is much discussion amongst the Poskim if it is permitted for a man to be alone with his sister. (As the Rambam, Tur, Shulchan Aruch, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and many others do not specifically include a sister in the list of women with whom Yichud is permitted)
The consensus of most Poskim is that it is permitted for short periods of time (i.e. Temporarily) but it is prohibited to be alone with her for long stretches of time, or to settle under one roof [alone] for any extended period of time. (See Yam Shel Shlomo Perek 4 of Kidushin Siman 23, Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 64:3 and Siman 65:11. See also Sefer Dvar Halacha Siman 2:5 where he quotes the Chazon Ish Zatzal as saying that one need not be too stringent with Yichud with a sister. Furthermore, the leniencies of Yichud with a sister apply to a married sister as well. See Mishneh L’Melech Hilchos Sotah Perek 1:3 and Tzafnas PaNeach Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 21:4.)
2) What exactly is a “short period of time” is a much discussed topic in the Poskim as well.
Some Poskim maintain that up to 30 days is considered temporary living, and thus a man and his sister may live together [alone] in one house for up to 30 days. (Shu”t Imrei Yosher Vol. 2 Siman 43)
Other Poskim, however, disagree, and maintain that 30 days is too long to be considered a”short period of time” and they only allow a sister and brother to live together [alone] in a house for the amount of time that “guests” would spend in a home, which is a “few” nights, but not an entire month. (This is determined in each community what is considered for them a “normal” time for guests to stay, and isn’t a specific amount of nights universally. See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 64:3 and Sefer Emes L’Yaakov from Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky Zatzal Even HaEzer Siman 22 footnote 7)
the parents go away on vacation to a far place for more than a few days, and leave a brother and a sister alone in their home, it is not considered “temporary”, and the brother and sister may not sleep in the same home, unless a Shomer, a guardian, is put in place (we shall discuss the details of a Shomer and other deterrents in the coming days B’Ezras Hashem) (see Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Siman 64 Dibur HaMaschil V’Ach and Siman 65:11)
In a case when one either the brother or the sister is old, or ill, where there is even less of a reason to need the prohibition of Yichud, many Poskim allow then to live together even permanently (See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 end of Siman 64)
HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, SEPTEMBER 4 2009 (DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS KODESH)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) If the door of a home is “open” to the street, the prohibitions of Yichud to not apply to the inhabitants of that home. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:9)
What is considered “open”?
Some Poskim rule that the door must actually be open; a closed door even if it isn’t locked is not considered open. (See Shu”t Rav Akiva Eiger Siman 100 [written by the Bais Meir] and 101 [written by Rav Akiva Eiger].)
2) Some Poskim maintain that even if the door is closed, as long as it isn’t locked and people can freely enter without a key or combination code, it is considered open. (Shu”t Mabit Vol. 1 Siman287, Shu”t RadBaz Vol. 1 Siman 121, Shu”t Binyan Tzion Vol. 1 Siman 138. This was also the opinion of the Chazon Ish quoted in Kraina D’Igrasa Vol. 2 Siman 122 and others)
However, if nobody has permission to enter through the door, even according to these Poskim it isn’t considered open and the fact that it’s unlocked will not remove the prohibition of Yichud. (See Shu”t RadBaz and Shu”t Binyon Tzion ibid. )
HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH
Some Poskim say that it depends on the custom of each society and whether it is deemed normal to walk through a door without first knocking (in which case an unlocked door would be considered open) or if it is expected to knock on a door prior to entering, regardless if it is not locked (in which case all the prohibitions of Yichud would apply so long as the door is closed) (See Emes L’Yaakov Even HaEzer Siman 22 footnote 8. Where he says that for biblical Yichud it is best to be stringent and have the door open, while for rabbinical Yichud is enough with an unlocked door)
In a store or other place of business, where people come and go frequently, it is sufficient to have the door unlocked, and it isn’t necessary to actually keep it open. (Psak of Rav Yaakov Ephraim Forchheimer Shlita)
2) Very often, homes have screen or storm doors installed in front of the main door to the house, for the purpose of keeping out bugs, cold air etc.
Even according to the Poskim that require the main door to the home to be open, and not just unlocked, this screen/storm door need not be open and as long as it is unlocked it is sufficient, as it is the accepted custom for people who see the main door open to simply open the screen/storm door and walk in. (ibid.)
HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 2009
1) As we mentioned earlier, inhabitants in a house with a door that is open to the street (Reshus HaRabim), are permitted to be alone in the house.
This “street” need not be a real Reshus HaRabim, public thoroughfare, with all the criteria that we find by Hilchos Shabbos, nor does it need to even be a real street.
If the door is open to a courtyard, or to a hallway in an apartment building or to other similar areas where people come and go, it is considered a “street” for the purposes of being a deterrent to the inhabitants of the home being considered “safely alone” (where they do not fear someone walking in on them) and thus there is no problem of Yichud. (See Shu”t Binyan Tzion Vol. 1 Siman 138 and Chochmas Adam Klal 126:7 and in Binas Adam ibid Os 18)
2) The leniency of having a door that is open to the street only works during the daytime hours when people are around (or in some cases even during the nighttime in a place where people are around), but during the night time (or even in the daytime when people aren’t around) the open door to the empty street will not remove the prohibitions of Yichud. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:5, Shu”t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 96. See also Sefer Nidchei Yisroel from the Chofetz Chaim Perek 24:7)
HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 2009
1) One who in a room with a window that faces the street, and people from the street can see in to his/her room (i.e. There is no window shade or other means of obstructing the view), is not subject to the prohibitions of Yichud while in that room, as we consider it like a open door to the street. (see Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda Mahadura Kama Even HaEzer Siman 71 and Shu”t Or Sameach Vol. 1 Siman 4 Dibur Hamaschil Ata)
The above is true even if the door to the room is closed.
However, if there is any part of the room that cannot be seen from the street through the window, the prohibitions of Yichud will apply to those areas that cannot be seen.
Thus, if it is absolutely necessary for a man and a woman (e.g. patient and doctor) to meet [and thus be alone] in a building that does not have a door that opens to the street, they must meet in a room, where they will be clearly visible through the window to any passersby on the street.
2) Likewise, if one lives in a high-rise building and his/her window is opposite the window of a neighbor, as long as the windows are not obstructed and each neighbor can see into the others home, it is considered like a door that is open to the street and there would be no Yichud prohibitions [in the areas that can be seen in to] (Rav Yaakov Ephraim Forchheimer shlita quoting Sefer Dvar Halacha Siman 3:12)
HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 2009
1) It is permissible, in cases of necessity, for a man and a woman to be in a car [alone] together, since any passersby can see in through the windows and thus it is considered like a door open to the street. (Psak of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal quoted in Sefer Dvar Halacha page 185. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 5 Siman 202:1. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal does not allow this L’Chatchilah, and only B’dieved does he allow it in cases of great necessity)
However, if the windows of the car are tinted, or if they are driving at a time and in a place where no people are around (e.g. During the night in a quiet neighborhood where there are no people or other cars around, or even during the day while driving on a remote street) according to many Poskim the prohibition of Yichud applies to them and they may not be in the car [alone] together. (See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 2 Siman 82 and Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:3)
2) Even in cases when it is permitted for a man and a woman to be in the same car together, it is best if the passenger sits in the back seat. (ibid.)
HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 2009
1)All of the Halachos that we have learned so far were in regard to a man and a woman who have no close, personal relationship with one another, and thus as long as the guidelines set forth are abided by, the prohibitions of Yichud are avoided.
However, when the man and woman are close to one another and have a personal relationship (known in Halachic terms as “Libo Gas Ba”, e.g. they have feelings for each other, they are friends, they grew up together, they are related to one another, they lived in the same home for a long period of time, they work together or other similar situations) the Poskim debate whether having a door open to the street is a deterrent enough to allow them to be alone in a house together.
Many early Poskim maintain that in cases of Libo Gas Ba, an open door will not help (Opinion of Rabbeinu Yeruchom Vol. 1 Nesiv 23, Chelkas Mechokek Even HaEzer Siman 22:13, Bais Shmuel 22:13, Noda B’Yehuda Mahadura Tinyana Even HaEzer Siman 18, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:5 and other Poskim)
On the other hand, many other early Poskim maintain that an open door will always be a deterrent even in cases of Libo Gas Ba. (opinion of Taz Even HaEzer Siman 22:8, Chochmas Adam Klal 126, The Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Nidchei Yisroel Perek 24:7, Shu”t Or Sameach Vol. 1 Siman 4 and other Poskim)
2) So what’s the Halacha?
When the Yichud in question is of the biblical variety, most contemporary Poskim are stringent and do not allow them to utilize the leniency of an open door to the street.
When the Yichud is of the rabbinical variety, and there is great necessity for them to be alone in the home, many contemporary Poskim allow them to utilize the open door leniency. (See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:12 and Emes L’Yaakov Even HaEzer Siman 22 footnote
HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 2009
1) Another way in which a man and a woman in the same home together can avoid the problems of Yichud, without having to keep the door open, is by having a Shomer, a guardian, present in the house with them, which will ensure that nothing inappropriate will transpire between them Chas V’Shalom.
There are various different acceptable Shomrim, and we will try and discuss all of them and some of their practical applications.
Children, both boys and girls, are acceptable Shomrim. (We will discuss age in tomorrow’s B’Ezras Hashem) (Even though from the Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:10 it seems that only a female child works, the majority of Poskim maintain that male children work as well. See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 192:4, Shach ibid S”K 14 as well as the Bais Shmuel ibid. S”K 9 and Taz S”K 9. See also Chochmas Adam Klal 127:5 and 9. This was also the Psak of the Chofetz Chaim in Nidchei Yisroel 24:9 and the Chazon Ish, quoted in Dvar Halacha Siman 4:2)
2) There is no difference if it is the man’s child. The woman’s child or if the child is not related at all, they are all adequate Shomrim. (See Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 6 Siman 40; Perek 16:5)
In the event that 2 Shomrim are necessary (as we will discuss in the near future) it doesn’t matter if the 2 children are both males, both females, or one male and one female. (Psak of Rav Yaakov Ephraim Forchheimer Shlita)
HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, SEPTEMBER 11 2009 (DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOSKODESH)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) As we discussed in yesterday’s Halachos, a child in the home together with the man and the woman can be a suitable Shomer to prevent the prohibition of Yichud.
The Poskim debate from what age a child becomes eligible to serve as a Shomer (i.e. from what age will the child understand if something inappropriate takes place and tell people about it, thus be able to serve as a deterrent to ensure it doesn’t happen in the first place. See Rashi to Kidushin 81b)
The Chazon Ish ruled that any male child between the age of 6 and 9 can be a Shomer.
Once the boy turns 9 he may no longer serve as a shomer as he himself is now subject to the prohibition of Yichud.
Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal ruled that a boy had to be 7 years old in order to be an adequate Shomer. (Chazon Ish quoted in Sefer Dvar Halacha Siman 4:3. See also Chochmas Adam Klal 115:9 and Shu”t Poras Yoseph Vol. 1 Siman27:3. See also Shu”t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 96. See Sefer Children in Halacha from Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen shlita page 47 footnote 37)
2) A female child can be a Shomeres from the age of 5 until the age of 9. (See Chochmas Adam ibid. and Shu”t Or Sameach Vol. 1 Siman 4)
Some Poskim allow children to be shomrim until they reach Bar/Bas Mitzvah, and many contemporary Poskim rule that in cases of great necessity this leniency may be relied upon. (See Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 6 Siman 40; Perek 16:2. See also see Sefer Hamakneh to Kidushin 81b Dibur Hamaschil B’Gemara Mai Tama. See also Children in Halacha page 46 footnote 34)
HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH
1) During the daytime hours, one shomer is adequate. Therefore, during the day, a man may be alone with a woman and her child.
During the nighttime, however, two Shomrim are required.
Nighttime does not begin at sunset or Tzeis HaKochavim, rather at the time when children usually go to sleep, as from that time we are worried that one of the children may fall asleep and not be able to be a Shomer anymore.
However with two children, as long as the door to the room is open, even if both children fall asleep there is always the fear that one of them will awaken. (See Shu”t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 96, Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:6, Shu”t Panim MeIros Vol. 2 Siman 131.Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen shlita quotes Rav Yechezkael Roth shlita that the door to the room needs to be open)
2) When an adequate Shomer is present, Yichud is permitted even when it is “Libo Gas Ba” , when the man and woman are close to one another and have a personal relationship, as we detailed in this past Wednesday’s Halachos. (See Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 148:2)
HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 2009
1) A man may not be alone with two women. (See Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:5 and Taz S”K 4)
The Poskim debate whether a man may be alone with 3 adult women, and some allow it if it is during the daytime/early evening hours. This leniency should only be relied upon in cases of great necessity, and after speaking to a Rav for guidance. (See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Siman 22:5. See also Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:14 and 20 where Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal rules stringently in this matter)
2) However, according to all, a man may be alone with three girls ages 5 until 9.
Regarding one man being alone with two girls, ages 5 until 9, it isn’t clear from the Poskim if this is better than 2 adult women or if it is the same problem, and it is best to be stringent. (See Sefer Dvar Halacha Siman10:5)
HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 2009
1) A man may be alone with a woman if his mother, daughter or sister is also present. (see Shu”t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 15 end of Dibur Hamaschil V’Hinay Af and end of Dibur Hamaschil V’Hinay Matzasi, and Vol. 4 Siman 65:8. This was also the Psak of the Chazon Ish. Other Poskim including the Chida, Hafla’ah and Z’Chor L’Avraham were more stringent and did not allow this.)
Their presence eliminates the problems of Yichud even if the woman in question is “Libo Gas Ba” (Rav Yaakov Forchheimer shlita)
However, the above is only during the daytime hours, as during the night time an additional Shomer would be required besides his mother/daughter/sister. (See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:5 and Chazon Ish Hilchos Ishus Siman 34:3)
2) Likewise, a woman may be alone with a man (even Libo Gas Ba) during the daytime hours if her father, son or brother is also present.
During the night time hours an additional Shomer is necessary.
The exception to the above is a woman who is alone with a man and her son is present in the home, where according to many Poskim no additional Shomer is required even at night, as her son’s presence alone is an adequate deterrent. (See Pischei Teshuva Siman 22:2. See also Shu”t Ein Yitzchak Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 77:6)
HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 2009
1) A man may be alone with any woman if his wife is also present in the home, as his wife is his ideal Shomeres. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:3)
A man’s wife is an adequate Shomeres even during the night time hours. (See Mishna Kidushin 80b and Tosefos Dibur Hamaschil R’ Shimon and Pnei Yehoshua’s commentary on that Tosefos)
2) According to many Poskim, the above is true only if his wife is actually with him in the same house or at least in the same courtyard, and simply having the wife in the city does not work [unlike in the reverse, where a woman's husband being in the city can be an adequate shmira, details of which we will B'Ezras Hashem discuss in the near future] (See Shulchan Aruch ibid.. See also Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:6, Prisha Yoreh Deah Siman 245:20. See Bais Shmuel on Shulchan Aruch ibid. S”K 22 who seems to rule that if the wife is in the city it does indeed help. See also Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:15 and Sh’arim Metzuyanim B’Halacha in his commentary to Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:7 where he differentiates depending on where she went and for how long. See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer vol. 4 Siman 71 Dibur Hamaschil U’Bidvar, where Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal seems to concur with this view)
A person’s wife is an adequate Shomeres even if the other woman is Libo Gas Ba. (See Shu”t Sha’ar Yosef from the Chida Siman 3 Dibur Hamaschil V’Hinay Ra’isi)
HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 2009
1)There is a debate amongst the Poskim whether a man whose line of work brings him in contact with mostly women (such as a women’s doctor, a women’s clothing store owner or similar occupation where most of the work day is spent around women) may be alone with a woman when his wife is with him, or if an additional deterrent is necessary (such as an open door etc.)
According to many Poskim, having his wife with him will not suffice for such a man (ruling of Tosefos Kidushin 82a Dibur Hamaschil Lo, Yam Shel Shlomo end of Kidushin Siman 28, Taz Siman 22:6, and the Gaon of Vilna in his commentary to Kidushin 80b), while other Poskim maintain that having his wife there with him helps even for such a man. (Ruling of Rambam Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 22:8, Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:7, Shu”t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:14 and others)
2) A Jewish woman may not be alone with a non Jewish man even if the non Jew’s wife is present, as a non Jewish woman is not an acceptable Shomeres. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:7)
HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 2009
1)A man may be alone with a woman whose husband is “in the city” (referred to in Halacha as Ba’alah B’Ir. we will B’Ezras Hashem discuss more details of what is called “in the city” in the near future), as the fear of her husband coming home is enough of a deterrent to prevent anything inappropriate from happening. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:8, Shu”t Radvaz Vol. 3 Siman 481, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:4 and Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Nidchei Yisroel Perek 24:6. Although a minority of Poskim, including the Bach, disagree with this leniency based on Rashi Kidushin 80a Dibur Hamaschil Ba’alah, most Poskim rule like the Shulchan Aruch and allow Yichud in such a case)
Likewise, a man may be alone with 2 women if the husband of either one of the women is in the city. (See Chochmas Adam Klal 126 and Binas Adam there Os 17)
However, if the woman is not in her own home, and the husband does not know where she is, or even if her husband allowed her to go to a different man’s home, and knows where she is, the Poskim debate if the fact that her husband is in the city still helps.
The Chochmas Adam (Klal 26:6) rules that in the above cases the heter of Ba’alah B’Ir no longer applies.
Other Poskim (including the Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Nidchei Yisroel 24:6, Chazon Ish, Chida and others) maintain that the leniency still applies. (If the husband knows where she is, even more Poskim agree that there is no Yichud problems if Ba’alah B’Ir. See Radvaz ibid.)
Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:21) rules stringently, unless in cases of dire necessity where he allows it.
2) If the woman goes with the man to a deserted place, where she doesn’t suspect that her husband would ever show up and find her, most Poskim agree that the leniency of Ba’alah B’Ir no longer applies. (See Sefer Nesivos L’Shabbos from the Hafla’ah Even HaEzer Siman 22:5 and Sefer Nidrei Zerizin from Rav Shlomo Kluger Zatzal Vol. 2 in the Teshuva at the end of the Sefer page76b)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos/Erev Rosh Hashana, September 18 2009 (SPECIAL TRIPLE EDITION L’KAVOD SHABBOS KODESH/ROSH HASHANA 5770)
HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, EREV ROSH HASHANA 5770
1)If a couple lives in a large city (e.g New York, Chicago, Jerusalem or similar), and although the husband is in the city, the wife knows that he is at the other end of the city (e.g. in his office or at work and it would take him a while to return home) it is debatable if the Heter of Ba’alah B’Ir still helps.
Many Poskim maintain that if he went to work and he cannot return home during work hours (as he is a salaried employee etc.) then the prohibition of Yichud is in effect even if the husband is “in the city”.
However, if he is self employed or in a job where he may come home at will at any time, even if he seldom does that, the heter of Ba’alah B’Ir still applies. (See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:7 and 21)
2) Other Poskim are stringent, and consider it Yichud even if the husband is free to come home at any time, but seldom does during those hours.
Moreover, if the wife spoke to the husband on the phone and knows he is at work (i.e. she saw the caller ID and knows exactly where he is calling from), or somewhere else where it would take him a while to get home, the prohibitions of Yichud apply even though he is “in the city”. (See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 3 Siman 180 and Vol. 5 Siman 203 where Rav Wosner shlita is stringent with this)
HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH, FIRST DAY OF ROSH HASHANA 5770
1) A Jewish female may not be alone with a non Jewish male, even if her husband is “in the city” (See Chazon Ish Yoreh Deah Siman 66:2 that if other Jewish males are nearby, it may be ok.)
However, a Jewish male may be alone with a non Jewish woman, if her husband is present in the room. (See Hagahos Radal to Kidushin 81a Dibur Hamaschil Ba’ala B’Ir)
2) The leniency of Ba’alah B’Ir does not work if the woman is Libo Gas Ba. Thus, a man may not be alone with a woman that he grew up with, is related to, or otherwise is comfortable with or has a relationship with, even if her husband is “in the city” (unlike with an open door, where it may help even by Libo Gas ba, as there the open door removes it from being Yichud, whereas here it remains Yichud) (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:8 based on story of Rav Bibi in Gemara Kidushin 81a)
According to most Poskim, the heter of Ba’alah B’Ir works even for a man whose profession is around women. (See Shu”t Sha’ar Yosef from the Chida end of Siman 3 and Radal on Tosefos Kidushin 82a Dibur Hamaschil Lo)
HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, SECOND DAY OF ROSH HASHANA 5770
1) Most Poskim agree that a woman may be alone [in the city] with two [G-d fearing] Jewish men, as each of the men is assumed to be embarrassed to do anything inappropriate in the presence of the other man. (Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:5, Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda Mahadura Kama Even HaEzer Siman 69, Biur HaGra Even Haezer 22:11, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:3 and others. If it is outside of the city, it is only permitted if her husband is also present.)
Most Jewish men who keep Torah and Mitzvos and aren’t known as Prutzim (people who don’t take Mitzvah observance, especially in the realm of Tznius, seriously.) are assumed to be G-d fearing. (See Shu”t Rashba Vol. 1 Siman 587, Biur HaGra ibid. See also Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:17 where Rav Moshe Zatzal rules that even someone who is a kosher Jew that never sinned with a woman, but is not confident that he can control himself from sinning with a woman were the opportunity to arise, is also considered “Parutz” for matters of Yichud.)
However, if both the men are Prutzim, a woman may not be alone with them no matter how many men are present. (See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:10 where he says “10 men”. The Poskim however say that the Rama didn’t mean only up to 10, rather he meant with any amount of men. See also Talmud Yerushalmi Kidushin Perek 4 Halacha 11 where the Gemara says “even 100 men” present still remains Yichud)
2) If only one of the 2 men is a “Parutz”, or if one is a G-d fearing Jew and the other is a non Jew (who is always considered a “Parutz”), the Poskim debate if Yichud in this case is permitted. It is best to be stringent, unless in cases of dire necessity. (See Shu”t Shav Yaakov Siman 19, Sefer Hamakneh Kidushin 80b Dibur Hamaschil V’rabanan and Dibur Hamaschil Od Yesh Lomar and Shu”t Maharil Diskin Pesakim Siman 2)
A Jewish woman may not be alone with 2 non Jewish men.
HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 2009
1) Two G-d fearing males may be alone with a woman, even if she is non Jewish or even if she is a Prutzah, as we assume that each of the men will be too embarrassed to do anything inappropriate in front of the other man, regardless of the woman’s intentions. (See Shu”t MaHaril Diskin Psakim Siman 2 Dibur Hamaschil Rishona and Shu”t Shav Yaakov Siman 19)
The leniency of one woman allowed to be alone with 2 men is only during the day time hours. During the night time hours (starting from when it is usual for the men to go to sleep), three men will be required in order to eliminate the problem of Yichud. (See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:5, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:3, Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:8 and Chazon Ish Hilchos Ishus Siman 30:3 Dibur Hamaschil V’Nireh. Regarding if this applies to situations of Yichud D’Rabanan as well: see Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 61. See also Shu”t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 96)
The reason for this is that with only 2 men, we are afraid that one of them will fall asleep and thus she will end up alone with the remaining man. (See Ra’avad in sefer Ba’alei Hanefesh Sha’ar Haprisha Siman 1:23. See also Bais Shmuel on Shulchan Aruch Siman 22 S”K 9)
2) If the men are only visiting the woman in her home, and plan to return to their own homes to go to sleep, then even during the night time hours, 2 men are enough to remove any Yichud problems as we don’t worry about one of them falling asleep.
All of the above is even in cases where Libam Gas Ba, and even if their occupations are around women, as since they are G-d fearing Jews we assume that they will be too embarrassed to sin in front of each other.
HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 2009
1)When traveling with a woman in a remote area where there aren’t many people in the streets or on the roads, even during the day, three men are required to be present in order for there not to be a Yichud problem. (See Gemara Kidushin 80a and Rashi there that explains that if only two men are present, one of them may need to leave the group to use the restroom, and thus leave the woman and the remaining man alone, and thus it would be Yichud as no other people are around. See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:5)
Even though a woman may be alone with 2 men, it doesn’t work in the reverse and a man may not be alone with 2 women. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:5)
2) If three women are present, there is a debate in the Rishonim if that is an acceptable deterrent for the man. (Rashi Kidushin 82a Dibur Hamaschil Lo Yisyached allows it. See also Shu”t Divrei Malkiel Vol. 4 Siman 102 Dibur HaMaschil V’Hinay B’Ish. See also Shu”t Rashba Vol. 1 Siman 587. The Ram”a 22:5 brings this opinion as a “Yesh Matirim”. Tosefos ibid. and Rambam Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 22:8 prohibit it, and this is how the Shulchan Aruch 22:5 rules.)
According to most Poskim, it is best to be stringent and even when three women are present; one man should not be alone with them. In cases of great necessity, a Rav should be consulted. (See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:14)
HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 2009
1) Although, as we learned, a man may ordinarily not be alone with 2 women, there are 5 exceptions that are discussed in the Gemara (Yevamos 117a, referred to in Halacha as “Chamesh Nashim”) based on the fact that the 2 women in question will not succumb together to be inappropriate with the man, and will also let everyone know about any iniquities that may take place, due to the fact that these 2 women have an ingrained dislike for one another.
[It is important to note that although today's days many of these women have no ill feelings for one another, and at times are even best of friends, or have never displayed anything but love and admiration for one another, still in Halacha they have a status as women who intrinsically do not get along, and thus regardless of the facts, they are looked upon [Halachically] as not getting along. (See Shu”t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 49. See also Ezras Nashim from MaHaram Ben Chaviv quoted in Dvar Halacha Siman 5:22)]
2) I will list two of the more common combinations of “2 women” with whom Yichud is permitted:
It is permitted for a man to be alone with a woman and her mother in law. (As there exists a natural animosity between daughters in law and mothers in law, and thus each one will prevent something inappropriate from taking place while they are present, and thus are acceptable Shomer for one another)
The above is only if is her husband’s mother, and not if it is her father in law’s wife from a different marriage. (See Meiri to Yevamos 117a and Pischei Teshuva Even HaEzer Siman 17:26)
A man may be alone with a woman and her sister in law (husband’s sister), as they have a natural animosity towards each other, and thus are acceptable Shomros for one another) (See Rashi to Yevamos 117a Dibur Hamaschil V’Yevimtah)
HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 2009
1) The length of time that a man and a woman must be alone to be considered Yichud is the amount of time that would be necessary for inappropriate relations to take place between them.
However, the exact amount of time this takes according to Halacha, is a subject of debate amongst the contemporary Poskim.
Some Poskim say that for it to be Yichud, they have to be alone for 5 minutes. (Shu”t Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 4 Siman 94 -97, Shu”t L’Horos Nasan Vol. 1 Even HaEzer Siman 58 towards the end)
Others say as little as 2 minutes is sufficient to be considered Yichud. (Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita quoted in Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 4 Siman 94. See also Sefer Dvar Halacha in Hosafos Chadashos to Siman 15 that in as little as 35 seconds it can already be considered Yichud.)
2) Although an amount of time is given, it is prohibited for a man and a woman to be alone in a place where Yichud is prohibited [had they been there the given amount of time], even for a shorter amount of time than is prohibited. (The reason for this is that Chatzi Shiur Asur Min HaTorah. See Shu”t MaHaril Diskin Kunteres Achron Siman 206 and Shu”t Chelkas Yaakov Vol. 2 Siman 14. See also Rav Shlom Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal’s Haskama to Sefer Dvar Halacha, where he rules this way as well.)
However, if they are in a place alone, where they cannot be for the amount of time necessary to be Yichud (i.e. an elevator whose doors open at every floor, or where people can technically summon it to stop at each floor) then there is no Yichud problem at all with being alone for a short amount of time. (See Shu”t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:16)
If an elevator does not open at each floor, and it cannot be opened during its ascent/descent (as the elevators in some high rise buildings operate), and the trip takes the amount of time that Yichud is prohibited, it is indeed a problem of Yichud.
HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KOSDESH, SEPTEMBER 25 2009
(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1)We will now discuss some common practical situations where Yichud applies.
When parents go away from the home and hire a female babysitter to watch over the children there are a few problems that can arise.
If she is watching over a boy above the age of 9, there is a prohibition of Yichud, and thus a shomer would be necessary.
If it is during the day time hours, one additional child [boy between 6 and 9 or girl between 5 and 9 as we discussed a little while back] is sufficient.
If it is during the night time hours when the children are going to sleep, 2 additional children must be present as Shomrim.
2) If no other children are present to be Shomrim, and the babysitter is watching a boy above the age of 9, there are some other things that can be done to remove the Yichud problem:
1) The door to the home can be left open. This only works during the hours that people are still out and about, and won’t work late at night. (i.e. this won’t work if the parents will be gone overnight)
2) A key to the home (or the necessary combinations) can be given to a neighbor [one who is an acceptable shomer] and they be told that they can enter the home at any time. (i.e. even if they knock before entering, they will enter before waiting for a response to their knocking). Some Poskim even suggest that the neighbor actually enter the house once or twice, so the babysitter will see that it is a serious deterrent.
HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH
1) If the babysitter is a boy, and he is watching over a girl above the age of 3, there is a problem of Yichud.
Therefore, additional children will be required to be in the home in order to serve as Shomrim.
If no other children are present to be shomrim, the other methods we mentioned (door open to the street or key given to a neighbor with access to enter any time) must be utilized in order for it to be acceptable.
2) Another way to avoid Yichud is for the boy to bring along another boy (or another 2 boys for night time hours, when we worry that one of the boys will fall asleep) to watch the children along with him.
This is the preferred method, according to many Poksim.
HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, EREV YOM KIPPUR, SEPTEMBER 27 2009 (DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS SHABBASON)
Halachos for Erev Yom Kippur
1) Another common situation is being in a workplace together.
When one man is in an office alone with one or two women, it is a transgression of Yichud. (According to many Rishonim, even with 3 women, it can still be a problem of Yichud as we have discussed previously and it is best to be stringent.)
Although the husbands of the women are in the city, it may not be sufficient, as usually men and women who work in the same office are considered “Libo Gas Ba” and thus we cannot rely on the leniency of “Ba’alah B’ir”.
Likewise, since it’s Libo Gas Ba, the leniency of an open door may not work either.
In cases of necessity (e.g. they need to be in the office to meet a work related deadline etc.) other men must be in the building and told that the man and the women will be in that particular office, and asked to walk in without knocking from time to time.
2) In situations where no one else is in the building (e.g. late nights, Sundays, weekends etc.) there is no real way to allow one man to be alone with one or two women in an office. If there are 3 or more women, it can be better. In any case, a competent Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’ma’aseh, as these transgressions are very serious.
HALACHOS FOR YOM KIPPUR
1) When a man and a woman work together in an office or similar work environment, even though her husband is in the city, the door is left open and other precautions are put in place to prevent anything inappropriate from happening, unfortunately, even if “halachically” it isn’t Yichud, all too often many unfortunate things have been known to happen due to men and women getting “too close” to one another.
Therefore it is incumbent on each and every Jewish man and women to not get emotionally or otherwise connected, involved or fall into a “friendship” with members of the opposite gender that work in the same workplace, or anywhere.
2) A large part of the “Al Cheits” that we beg forgiveness from Hashem on Yom Kippur, also referred to as Yom HaKadosh, the holy day, revolve around iniquities relating to inappropriate seeing, talking, involvement etc. with members of the opposite sex and other sins related to not retaining our holiness.
In fact, the Torah reading on Yom Kippur is the portion that deals with the forbidden “Arayos- relations”. This just goes to show the gravity of being complacent in these areas and the importance of making sure we improve in these areas, which unfortunately we have become desensitized to in our world which thrives on immorality at every turn.
There is no question that the Nisayon, the heavenly test, of this generation are the Nisyonos of immorality. It is everywhere around us and it is all too easy to fall into the deepest depths of sin with the click of a button. The Yetzer Hara lurks everywhere.
The generation before Mashiach (which is the generation we are living in) will sink to a lower depth of Tumah than the generation that was redeemed from Mitzrayim (See Ohr HaChaim Parshas Shmos Perek 3:8).
If we aren’t actively working to protect ourselves, our spouses and our children we are all but certainly going to fail on one level or another; we must pass these tests in order to merit going with Mashiach when he arrives!
In the merit of strengthening ourselves in the areas of Kedushas HaAinayim, Kedushas HaBris, Kedushas HaPeh, Kedushas HaGuf and Kedushas HaBayis (Holiness of our eyes, covenant, tongue, body and home) may we all merit the speedy arrival of Mashiach Tzidkeinu and may we once again be worthy of being called the Am Kadosh, the holy nation and may we see the true fulfillment of “V’Haya Machanecha Kadosh”, May your camp be holy.
If anyone is struggling with any of these areas of Kedusha, or knows someone who is, I implore them to visit the wonderful website as if their lives depended on it, because it does!
I personally know many people-men and women- who have been helped in various areas of life thanks to the righteous people on that site.
May we all be forgiven for all our sins this Yom Kippur and may we live our lives forward as Hashem wants and expects of us; as a holy nation.
HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 2009
1) Another common situation is a repair or service man (plumber, electrician, gardener, exterminator etc.) being in a home alone with the Jewish housewife, which of course is a problem of Yichud.
If the woman’s husband is “in the city” it will be sufficient if the repairman is Jewish.
However, if the repairman is a non Jewish person, having her husband “in the city” will not suffice.
If the front door to the home is left open to the street where people are out and about, it is OK.
However, it is important to note that if the Yichud in question is of the biblical variety (one man, one married woman) then the door must actually be left ajar, and not simply unlocked.
If a child [who fits the criteria of an acceptable Shomer, as we discussed a while back] is also home with the woman, that too removes the Yichud problem.
2) If a man is home alone with a cleaning woman, the door must be kept open, or a child [or other shomer] must be in the home in order to prevent Yichud.
Very often a female babysitter or a cleaning women needs to be driven home after their job has been completed, and often a man is the one that drives.
As long as there are other people driving on the streets, and they can see into the car, it is not a problem of Yichud. Ideally, the doors to the car should not be locked and the passenger should sit in the back seat if possible.
If it is very late at night and no people are around, it can be a problem and a Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.