Rosh Yeshiva Responds
Rabbi Linzer answers halakhic questions from rabbis and community members

25 02, 2024

Handling a Tanach Translated by a Heretic

February 25th, 2024|Non-Jews and Other Religions, Sefer Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Canada

I recently found a copy of a Hebrew-English Tanach translated by Christian David Ginsburg in a local beit midrash. How should this be handled? Should it be disposed of? If so, how so? If it were to be of historical importance to someone, could it be sold to them?

ANSWER

The starting point of this discussion is the Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 6:8) who writes that one may not burn a Torah,

5 04, 2023

Mezuzah on A Door Which Doesn’t Open or Is Blocked Off

April 5th, 2023|Mezuzah, Sefer Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Massachusetts, US

In a new apartment, a door between two rooms doesn’t open and will remain shut. Even if the door could be opened, the tenants are putting furniture on one side of the door and will not be opening it. To me this sounds like a halakhic wall not a doorway. Would this require a mezuzah or not?

ANSWER

Well, I assume at one time it was made to open,
29 08, 2022

Mezuzah on Permanently Closed Door

August 29th, 2022|Mezuzah, Sefer Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzah, Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Massachusetts

In a new apartment a door between two rooms doesn’t open and will remain shut. Even if the door could be opened, there will be furniture on one side of the door. Does the door need a mezuzah?

ANSWER

I assume at one time it was made to open and it still has the door frame. If that is the case, some say it does still require a mezuzah. The issue is how you distinguish between the case of Shulchan Arukh and the case of Rema in Shulchan Arukh YD 286:18

בית שיש לו פתחים הרבה, אף על פי שאינו רגיל

10 01, 2021

Staying in a Hotel Next to a Hospital

January 10th, 2021|Kashrut, Mezuzah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Los Angeles, CA

A woman, for a medical procedure, is temporarily staying at the hotel connected to the hospital.

A. They brought a mezuzah, but were told not to put it on the outside of the doorpost. Can they put it on the inside of the lintel, so that it’s not beyond the hotel door, but is still on the lintel?

B. There are pots and pans in their room that they’d like to use. Libun seems like it’s probably

27 12, 2020

Mezuzah on a Garage Door

December 27th, 2020|Mezuzah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Canada

Does one make a berakhah on a mezuzah put on a garage that does not have an entrance to the house?

ANSWER

Yes. Definitely.

As long as it is not a place with really bad smells, etc. Even if one does not live in the building, as long as it is a place this is of regular use to the person living in the house, it is biblically obligated in a mezuzah. This is the case in the Gemara and Shulchan Arukh regarding a structure for storing straw, etc.

See

1 12, 2020

Laying Tefillin for Chinukh

December 1st, 2020|Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Tefillin|

QUESTION

California, CA

For numerous reasons, I daven at home before going into school, but then I put on tefillin at school again for chinukh reasons. I should say a berakhah, right?

ANSWER

If there is hefseik of siluk hada’at or that you go into a place where you cannot be wearing your tefillin – i.e., the bathroom (although, whether that is really true with today’s bathrooms is a different question) – then you say another berakhah. If you were to take them off, go into the car, go

26 11, 2020

Mezuzah for Bedrooms off Hall

November 26th, 2020|Mezuzah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

Does this (see picture) require a mezuzah? I assume the doors off the hallway are bedrooms. Not sure the entrance to the hallway is itself a doorway or not.

ANSWER

There are two requirements to be obligated in a mezuzah: two doorposts AND a lintel (horizontal beam on the top of the doorway for the door, if it exists, to close on) (Rambam, hilkhot

12 10, 2020

Cloth Covering on the Shulchan During Keriat HaTorah

October 12th, 2020|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Sefer Torah|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

Does a shulchan require a cloth covering for when the Torah is being read? Or can the Torah be read directly on wood?

ANSWER

No, a cover is not strictly needed. The Gemara talks about it being put down directly on a chair or the like. See Megillah 26b, Shulchan Arukh YD 282:12 (and the Tur/Beit Yosef there).

To clarify, if it is read directly on the wood, then the bimah becomes a tashmish kedushah, not just a tashmish DeTashmish. This is a larger discussion if it was only used

9 10, 2020

Rolling Sefer Torah on Shabbat in Preparation for Yom Tov

October 9th, 2020|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Sefer Torah, Yom Tov|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

Is there an issue with rolling sifrei Torah on Shabbat in preparation for Yom Tov? Would the tircha detzibura override any hachanah or quasi-hachanah concerns?

ANSWER

Well, someone could always get to shul early on Yom Tov morning, so not really tircha detzibura. But if you read (not keriah, just read like from a chumash) from the section you rolled it to, then you are using it on Shabbat. You can even point out to someone some interesting feature, like how the days are each a separate paragraph.

7 10, 2020

Unrolling the Entire Sefer Torah on Simchat Torah

October 7th, 2020|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Sefer Torah|

QUESTION

Maryland, USA

I see a lot of non-Orthodox shuls have a practice of unrolling the Torah entirely on Simchat Torah (I think this started with the Renewal movement). Is this a kavod to the Torah or it a bizayon to the Torah? Are there any halakhic issues with this practice?

ANSWER

Regarding holding the entire Torah open – the first and primary concern that I would have is the issur to hold the klaf of the sefer Torah directly with your hands, based on Shabbat 14a, that a person cannot hold a sefer