7 05, 2021

Tefilah and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

May 7th, 2021|Berakhot, Disabilities, Orach Chayim, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei|


Washington, D.C.

The following is a personal and complicated question, and I totally understand if you don’t have time to answer it, but I thought I’d give it a shot:

I have been diagnosed with OCD for a few years, and one of the ways that manifests itself for me is that, on a daily basis, I doubt whether I have said parts of davening correctly (especially Shema where wrong pronunciation prevents fulfilment of the mitzvah, as far as I know), and repeat myself several times, or at least have a really strong urge to repeat myself.

I’m wondering if you think that […]

31 07, 2017

Marriage for People with Down Syndrome

July 31st, 2017|Disabilities, Kiddushin and Ketubah, Marriage and Family|

This is a shiur that Rabbi Linzer gave at the Young Israel of Sharon, MA, on July 26, 2017. Click on the following audio link to listen to the shiur and follow along with the sources below:



1. This couple with Down’s syndrome are celebrating 22 years of marriageMetro UK

They were criticized 22 years ago for wanting to get married.

But now this Down’s Syndrome couple have proved their doubters wrong by showing just how happily married they are.

Maryanne, 45, and Tommy Pilling, 59, were thought to be the first Downs couple to tie the knot in […]

6 09, 2016

Halakhic Status of a Deaf Person Who Cannot Speak Intelligibly: Part 2 – Poskim

September 6th, 2016|Disabilities|

In the previous lecture we saw that there were opinions of Tanaaim and Amoraim in the Talmud that would have allowed for a reassessment of a deaf person’s status, but that halakha rejected these opinions and rules categorically that a deaf person is not a person of legal standing.  In this lecture, we will see how some poskim did reassess this status when it became clear that deaf people were fully intelligent and fully capable.

Some historical background:

  • It was commonly accepted that deaf people could not be educated; when […]
5 09, 2016

Halakhic Status of a Deaf Person who Cannot Speak: Part 1 – Gemara and Rishonim

September 5th, 2016|Disabilities|


Traditionally, halakha has ruled that a deaf person who could not speak – a cheresh –  is not considered to be a bar da’at – a person of sufficient intelligence and understanding to have standing as an agent or responsible party in halakha.  His status is the same as a minor and a shoteh, a person who has a confused understanding of reality (similar to a schizophrenic). Thus, a cheresh is not obligated in mitzvot, even […]

5 09, 2016

Can a Person Who Is Blind Receive an Aliyah?: A Teshuva of Maseit Binyamin

September 5th, 2016|Disabilities|

Can a person who is blind receive an aliyah?  The question, from a conceptual and analytic point of view, is how to understand the post-Talmudic practice of having one person (the one receiving the aliyah) making a brakha on the Torah, and having another person (the shaliach tzibbur) doing the actual reading from the scroll.  In Talmudic times, the person who would receive the aliyah would also read directly from the scroll, and thus it was obvious that a person who was blind could not read […]