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

2 06, 2024

Taking Tums on Shabbat

June 2nd, 2024|Choleh, Orach Chayim, Shabbat, Shulchan Arukh|

QUESTION


NY, New York

May one with mild heartburn/acid reflux take Tums on Shabbat? Are tums considered ma’akhal beri’im or refuah on Shabbat?

ANSWER

By way of introduction, Chazal established a prohibition (gazeirah) against taking medication on Shabbat because of the concern that people might grind their own medication, which was a common preparation method at the time (Shabbat 53b, Rashi s.v. gazerah). This led to the general

12 03, 2024

Having a Non-Jew Help Clean Up After a Communal Shabbat Meal

March 12th, 2024|Amirah LeGoy, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat|

QUESTION

France

Is it okay to have a non-Jew come at the end of a communal Shabbat meal to do any of the following?

  1. Unplug the hot plates
  2. Turn off the lights
  3. Take the trash out (in a yard that belongs to the whole building)

If the answer to any of the above is yes, which of the following is the best way to relay the message to the non-Jew?

a) Ask directly (though we don’t actually need to)

1 02, 2024

Traveling by Electric Scooter on Shabbat

February 1st, 2024|Choleh, Prohibitions, Shabbat, Synagogue, Technology, Tefillah|

QUESTION

Maryland

I have a congregant who can no longer walk to shul. I have discussed the option of using the Grama scooters approved by Zomet and the Star K, but they cost more than $4000. She is able to purchase a “regular” used scooter for only $400. Would the financial savings justify using a regular scooter on Shabbat (perhaps with using a shinuy)?

Do you have any advice for

28 01, 2024

Conversion Candidate Using Public Transportation to Get to Preferred Shul

January 28th, 2024|Amirah LeGoy, Geirut and Geirim, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat, Shulchan Arukh, Synagogue, Tefillah|

QUESTION


Chicago, IL

A woman who converted to Judaism under Reform auspices and is married to a Jewish husband is interested in relocating to our neighborhood and will eventually undergo another giyur (conversion) under Orthodox auspices. She does not currently live in our neighborhood and knows that she will not be able to complete her conversion until she moves to the neighborhood. For various financial reasons, it could be as long as three years before she is able to relocate.

Until she relocates and converts,

1 12, 2023

Using “Water Wow!” Toy on Shabbat

December 1st, 2023|Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat, Shulchan Arukh, Technology|

QUESTION

Canada

Would it be permissible to use the Water Wow! toy on Shabbat? Assuming that it is, at the very least, uvda d’chol, what are other issues are there?

Here’s a description of how it works:

The basic concept is that each page is “laminated” with a very thin sheet of paper – almost like tissue paper, but more durable. When the paper is moistened by the water in the pen, it becomes see-through and reveals the picture underneath. There’s no chemical reaction involved.

ANSWER

Had it been that the water was interacting with some chemical to create the color, it obviously would be

29 10, 2023

Food Brought by Car or Without an Eruv on Shabbat

October 29th, 2023|Eiruv, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat|

QUESTION

Israel

There is someone who meets her elderly parents for Shabbat together with her two siblings, who are not religious. Everyone shares the food preparation, and my friend wonders whether she is allowed to eat the food they bring. The food that is being brought is kosher and not cooked on Shabbat, but will be brought in a car on Shabbat or carried through an area without an eruv.

ANSWER

The short answer is, yes, the food may be eaten. In this case, we are dealing with the issue of ma’aseh shabbat when the food was carried without an eruv (or driven), but

2 05, 2023

Hotel Rooms: Reshut Hayachid

May 2nd, 2023|Shabbat|

https://pixabay.com/photos/bedroom-interior-design-bed-room-5664221/

QUESTION

Nashville

Many hotels have changed their policies in recent years due to unfortunate recent events and require that someone come in and do a security check of every room every day even if the do not disturb sign is up. Does that change the calculus of whether the rooms are reshuyot hayachid?

ANSWER

Totally not. רשות היחיד is about מחיצות, not ownership and property. And if your question was about requiring an עירוב חצירות, then this only makes it better since it just underscores the reality that you

2 05, 2023

Ovulation Tests on Shabbat

May 2nd, 2023|Shabbat|

https://pixabay.com/photos/lab-medical-diagnostics-blood-313864/

QUESTION

New York

Are ovulation tests permitted on Shabbat? (You pee on them and lines appear, like a pregnancy test). What about for someone just tracking her ovulation but not planning to conceive this cycle? (preparing for IUI/etc) Color appears almost immediately but you wait around 5 mins for the final results.

ANSWER

If this is to serve the goal of conceiving then it is definitely ok. This is a large צורך מצוה. *Definitely mutar.* Although it possibly does not have a grama dimension, it is still, in my opinion, תרי דרבנן (disposable;

1 05, 2023

Visiting a Hospital on Shabbat

May 1st, 2023|Choleh, Electricity, Prohibitions, Shabbat|

https://pixabay.com/photos/hospital-bed-doctor-surgery-1802679/

QUESTION
Maryland

I work at a nursing home. Like many institutions, during covid we checked temps and asked visitors (and staff) to use an iPad to answer symptom checks as they come in, even on Shabbat. When I come on Shabbat, I have been allowing staff to check my temp with an electronic thermometer and a non-Jewish receptionist ask me the iPad question while s/he enters them in for me. I am trying to make an official policy. Considering the ongoing pikuach nefesh, it would seem unnecessary to require a non-Jew to use