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Volume 28: Number 231

Sun, 13 Nov 2011

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2011 08:52:47 -0500
[Avodah] Special Issue - Hair Covering for Women



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Message: 2
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2011 14:00:42 +0200
[Avodah] cutting challah

I read recently that according to the Ari when the husband cuts challah on
shabbat he should not
eat his piece before he cuts a piece for his wife and she should get a
larger piece (the Ari lived before the days of diets -) )

According to SA all the pieces of challah should not be handed out but
rather put in a dish in the center of the table (OC 267:18)
Nevertheless, in almost all the homes that I have been the host indeed
hands out the challah. I believe that this also the practice of many rebbes
to give the hamotzi bread directly to the people at the table. This
includes the Rebbe from Lublin, , the Divrei Chaim of Sanz and his grandson
the rebbe from Bobov.

The MB says not to throw the pieces of challah, however the ktav sofer did
just that comparing it to animal parts on the altar

Eli Turkel
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Message: 3
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2011 08:57:29 -0500
[Avodah] Hilchos Yichud - The Laws of Seclusion: Rulings of

Hilchos Yichud - The Laws of Seclusion: Rulings of HaRav Moshe 
Feinstein zt"l by Rabbi D. Neustadt

The laws of yichud are complex and detailed and the opinions of the 
poskim are diverse and contradictory. This discussion will focus 
exclusively on the rulings of Harav Moshe Feinstein, one of the 
greatest halachic authorities of our generation. Dissenting opinions 
appear in the footnotes. A final ruling will depend on the specific 
circumstances of each situation and the individual rav's decision 
according to the facts presented to him.


Unless they are married, a man may not be alone with any woman, and a 
woman may not be alone with any man, with the following exceptions:

1. His mother and grandmother; her father and grandfather.
2. His daughter and granddaughter; her son and grandson.
3. His sister; her brother. Brother and sister may not live together 
in the same house for a period of time which exceeds the normal stay 
of a house guest. They should also not be left together unchaperoned 
when their parents are away for an extended period of time(1).
4. His father's sister and his mother's sister(2). They may not live 
together in the same house for a period of time which exceeds the 
normal stay of a house guest.
5. His adopted daughter; her adopted son. This is permitted only as 
long as both adoptive parents are alive and married to each other(3).
(Example: An adoptive father may not be secluded with his adopted 
daughter after his wife passes away, or if he divorces his wife.)

Yichud with a daughter-in-law or a mother-in law is strictly forbidden(4).


A male over thirteen is prohibited from being alone with a female 
over the age of three. Under extenuating circumstances, it is 
permitted to be alone with a female who is under the age of seven(5).

A female over twelve may not be alone with a male over nine.

In certain circumstances it is permitted for a woman to be alone with 
an old man who is bedridden(6). A rav must be consulted.


Under certain conditions, the prohibition of yichud may be 
circumvented. These conditions include: If one's husband [or wife] is 
in town; if the door is open; if more than one man is present; if 
more than two women are present; if a child or another chaperon is 
present. Each one of these conditions has its own sets of rules, so 
they must be explained individually.

An important note: The halachos described below apply to yichud with 
a G-d fearing, observant Jew. When the man with whom the yichud will 
occur is a non-Jew or a secular Jew [referred to in halachah by the 
Hebrew term parutz], some of the halachos change. A rav should be consulted.


"In town" means that he is able to come home at any time he chooses(7).

Even if he works on the other side of town, as long as he sets his 
own work hours [like a salesman does], it is considered as if he is 
"in town". If, however, he works fixed hours and cannot leave his 
workplace whenever he wants, it is considered as if he is "out of town"(8).

When the husband is "in town", the fear of his appearing suddenly is 
a deterrent to his wife's engaging in illicit behavior. But the wife 
fears her husband's sudden appearance only in a place where he is 
likely to find her (e.g., her home; her office). If, however, she 
secludes herself in a place where her husband will not easily find 
her, yichud is forbidden even if her husband is "in town"(9).

Her husband's presence "in town" does not override the prohibition of 
yichud if a close, long-standing friendship exists between the man 
and the woman(10).

Although a husband's presence "in town" alleviates the prohibition of 
yichud for his wife, the reverse is not true. The presence of a wife 
"in town" [but not in the house or in the immediate vicinity] does 
not mitigate her husband's yichud prohibition(11).


The door does not need to be actually open to permit yichud. Even if 
the door is closed but not locked, or even if it is locked but there 
is a reasonable possibility that people may knock on the door [or 
ring the bell] and expect to be answered, yichud is permitted(12).

Even if the door is locked, if the window shades or drapes are open 
and there is a clear view into the room, yichud is permitted(13).

When driving on an open highway, one should not be alone with a woman 
in a car. Under extenuating circumstances, one may be lenient, even 
at night and even with a non-Jewish driver(14).

It is proper to be stringent and not rely on the "open door" leniency 
if a close, long-standing friendship exists between the man and the woman(15).


Yichud is permitted with two or more men during the day-time and 
evening hours, and with three or more men during nighttime sleeping hours(16).


The rishonim argue whether(17) yichud is permitted when more than two 
women are present. Rashi, quoted by Rama, holds that when three(18) 
women are present, yichud is permitted(19). Rambam, quoted by the 
Shulchan Aruch, holds that the presence of a greater number of women 
does not alleviate the prohibition of yichud. The basic halachah 
follows the view of the Rambam(20). Consequently, a man may not be 
alone even with a hundred women(21).


During daytime and evening hours, yichud is permitted if a child is 
also present. During nighttime sleeping hours, two children are 
required. There are conflicting opinions(22) as to the minimum and 
maximum ages for the child as regards this halachah. Harav Feinstein 
is quoted(23) as ruling that either a boy or a girl chaperon must be 
at least seven years old. Once they become bar/bas mitzvah, they are 
no longer considered children(24).


A man is permitted(25) to be secluded with a woman in the presence of 
his grandmother, mother, daughter, granddaughter, or sister(26) [of 
any age over seven]. During nighttime sleeping hours, an additional 
chaperon is required.

Two sisters cannot serve as chaperons for each other(27). Thus yichud 
with two sisters is forbidden.

A man and a woman may remain alone in a home where the parents of one 
of them are sleeping(28).

During regular office hours, a woman may be alone with her doctor. 
After regular office hours, her husband or a child must accompany her(29).

Yichud is prohibited even for a very short time, as long as the 
possibility exists that it may last for a longer time(30). Being 
together in an elevator, though, is not forbidden because of yichud (31).

Yichud is prohibited even if the man and the woman are in two 
separate rooms in the same house and each one can lock his/her door 
from the inside(32).

1 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:64-3. While all poskim agree that one may not 
"live" with his sister, there are different opinions as to what 
"live" means. Some (Imrei Yosher 2:43) hold that less than thirty 
days is permitted, while others (Shevet ha-Levi 5:201-2) hold that no 
more than three days is permitted. According to Harav Feinstein's 
ruling quoted above, it all depends on the length of stay of a 
typical house guest. Thus a sister who is visiting from a distant 
city may stay longer than a sister visiting from a nearby area, just 
as a guest from afar stays longer than a guest from nearby.
2 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:64-1. Other poskim do not mention this leniency.
3 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:64-2. Almost all other poskim disagree and hold 
that yichud is not permitted with adopted children. See pg. 96-98 for 
4 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:63; 64-1. This is the basic halachah. A minority 
view (R'ashash, Kiddushin 81b; Salmas Yosef 34) allows yichud with 
these relatives. Generally, one should not rely on this leniency.
5 Oral ruling by Harav M. Feinstein (quoted in Children in Halachah, 
pg. 40) based on the rationale presented in Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-12, 
where, in the final analysis, Harav Feinstein is hesitant to permit 
this. He writes, however, that he would not object to those who are lenient.
6 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-10. See also Tzitz Eliezer 6:40-22.
7 A husband who is jailed is not considered "in town" - Igros Moshe 
E.H. 4:65-7.
8 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-7. Other poskim rule that as long as he is 
literally in the same town, even if he is presently unable to come, 
he is still considered to be "in town." See pg. 77-78 for elaboration.
9 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-21. In addition, some poskim hold that a 
husband "in town" only serves as a deterrent when the wife is meeting 
the man without the husband's knowledge. If, however, they are 
meeting with his permission [either in her home or in his] then the 
wife will not be as deterred by her husband's being in town (see 
Binas Adam 126:27 for an elaborate explanation). Other poskim (Chida, 
Chazon Ish) do not agree with this stringency. Igros Moshe rules that 
while it is appropriate to be stringent, under extenuating 
circumstances one can be lenient.
10 E.H. 22:8. See Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:35.
11 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-6. Other poskim are more lenient. See pg. 79-80.
12 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-4. Harav Feinstein's ruling here is 
extremely lenient and it goes against the view of all other poskim. 
While many poskim are of the opinion that an unlocked door is 
considered an "open door", or even that a locked door is considered 
an "open door" when someone with a key may come in at any time, no 
other poskim allow yichud behind locked doors just because someone 
who may knock on the door and expects to be acknowledged, may come. 
Ohalei Yeshurun, pg. 14 quotes Harav Feinstein as ruling orally that 
this leniency can be relied upon only under extenuating circumstances.
13 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-2.
14 Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:82; E.H. 4:65-3. Many other poskim are lenient 
about yichud in a car at all times, and especially if the highway is 
heavily traveled; see Devar Halachah 15:1 quoting Harav S.Z. 
Auerbach; Shevet ha-Levi 5:202-1. See Otzar ha-Poskim E.H. 22:35-8 
for more opinions.
15 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:60; 4:65-9, based on Beis Shmuel and Chelkas 
Mechokek E.H. 22:13, unlike the Taz 22:5 who is lenient.
16 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-15, based on Rama E.H. 22:5. Most poskim 
agree with this. [At night, yichud is not permitted even if two men 
and two women are present, ibid. If two men and three women are 
present, Chochmas Adam 126:3 is lenient.]
17 Rashi, Kiddushin 81b, quoted in Rama E.H. 22:5.
18 During nighttime sleeping hours, some poskim hold that Rashi 
permits yichud with a minimum of four women. Under extenuating 
circumstances, three women are sufficient [even according to Rashi's 
view], Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-20.
19 An exception to this leniency is when the man and women involved 
are business associates or the man's job is such that he must deal 
directly with these women, e.g., a salesman of women's clothing.
20 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-14. M'harsham 3:152 also rules like the 
Rambam. Divrei Malkiel 4:102 rules in accordance with Rashi's view. 
Shevet ha-Levi 3:183 is lenient only under extenuating circumstances.
21 Ramban and Ran, Niddah 5a.
22 See Devar Halachah, pg. 50-52 for all of the views. Some allow 
yichud in the presence of a girl over age three and a boy over age 
five or six.
23 Children in Halachah, pg. 46-47; Ohalei Yeshurun, pg. 17.
24 Other poskim maintain that once they reach the age of nine they 
are no longer considered children. See also Igros Moshe O.C. 1:26 
where he quotes, without dissent, the view of the Bach that nine is 
the maximum age for being a chaperon. It seems correct, therefore, 
that the maximum age of bar/bas mitzvah should be relied upon only 
under extenuating circumstances.
25 Some poskim do not agree with this leniency, but many others do.
26 Igros Moshe E.H. 2:15; 4:65-8. Possibly, his father's or mother's 
sister are also considered chaperons. [Igros Moshe E.H. 4:64-3 seems, 
without explanation, to permit yichud with a woman and her daughter 
or granddaughter. If this is truly Harav Feinstein's view (it may 
very well be that this is a printing error), it is contrary to the 
view of all other poskim and is against the basic principals of 
hilchos yichud. This ruling should not be relied upon without further 
27 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:64-3.
28 Oral ruling by Harav Feinstein quoted in Ohalei Yeshurun, pg. 7.
29 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-1. Many poskim agree with this, while others 
are more stringent.
30 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-16. See also Minchas Shelomo 91.
31 Igros Moshe E.H. 4:65-22. Most poskim agree with this leniency.
32 Ibid. 4:65:19. Other poskim are lenient in this case; see Chazon 
Ish 34:2 and Salmas Chayim 151.

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Message: 4
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2011 09:35:18 -0500
[Avodah] The Efficacy of Praying for Others

Below is part of the commentary of RSRH on Bereishis 20

7 Now, therefore, restore the wife of the man, because he is a 
prophet, so that he will pray for you and you will remain alive. But if you
will not restore her, know that you will surely die, you and all that 
are yours.

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