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

1 02, 2024

Traveling by Electric Scooter on Shabbat

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



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

1 05, 2023

Visiting a Hospital on Shabbat

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


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

1 06, 2021

COVID Vaccine for a Child on Shabbat

June 1st, 2021|Choleh, Orach Chayim|


New York, NY

May we get a child vaccinated for  COVID on Shabbat? We would not have to drive, only walk up to the vaccination site and answer questions. Drawing blood is a concern, as is uvda dechol. It also may be possible, although less convenient, to get the vaccine within a few days at a different site


I see no problem with it. Refuah is permissible in cases of choleh kol haguf. If one considers that a person who needs preventative medicine is not a choleh, then this also isn’t refuah (see Mishnah Berurah 328:130 who cites a machloket haposkim whether something done for health when the

8 05, 2021

Ordering Fresh Food On Shabbat for Someone with an Eating Disorder

May 8th, 2021|Choleh, Orach Chayim|


Chicago, IL

Someone in our community is engaged in a long-term treatment program for eating disorders. She lives with a group of other women who are patients at the hospital in an apartment down the street from the center where she will spend most of her days. She will be discharged back to her own apartment on Shabbat afternoon, but with no capacity to prepare food. She could eat sandwiches etc., but she raised the possibility of ordering something hot and fresh on GrubHub or a similar app.

I’m thinking that within the parameters of the general pesak that is given for

23 04, 2021

Taking an Ill Baby to the Doctor on Shabbat

April 23rd, 2021|Amirah LeGoy, Choleh, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions|


Chicago, IL

There is a 12 month old baby in our shul who has had a fever for several days. (He tested negative for COVID and his parents are both fully vaccinated.) His pediatrician asked his parents to bring the child in for an examination on Shabbat if his fever has not broken by then. They asked my guidance on how to bring their child to the doctor.

I assume that a child in a stable condition with a persistent fever is a חולה שאין בו סכנה and that derabanan violations can be undertaken for his medical care. In this case they

2 04, 2021

Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine on Shabbat

April 2nd, 2021|Choleh, Geirut and Geirim, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions|


Northwest, USA

If Shabbat is the earliest an immunocompromised congregant can receive their first dose, should I encourage them to sign up, or keep looking for an appointment not on Shabbat? They don’t drive and can arrange transportation beforehand.


In the case of someone immunocompromised, and assuming that they don’t have to sign anything, they can arrange for it on Shabbat, provided that they make sure that there are no דאורייתא concerns. Specifically, the internal light of the cab has to be taken care of and payment needs to be arranged before hand. They also shouldn’t carry anything if possible. If they

25 02, 2021

COVID Vaccine on Shabbat

February 25th, 2021|Choleh, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Technology|


Washington, D.C.

What should the approach be for a vaccination appointment on Shabbat, assuming that is the only appointment available? I just saw someone on Facebook who was able to book one but saw it was on Shabbat and canceled it before any of us could tell her she should go! So upsetting. Is there any guidance being provided on this?


I’ve been struggling over this – how much is preventative medicine like a choleh with the same heteirim?  In this case, where the need is so great, I would say it can be categorized as such, but only after looking at options.  Will

12 02, 2021

Speaking Machine on Shabbat for Person Who Lost Ability to Speak

February 12th, 2021|Choleh, Orach Chayim, Technology|


Maryland, USA

Someone with a serious illness in my shul recently lost the ability to speak. He now has a machine that he can type his words and it speaks it for him. May he use the machine on Shabbat? Without the machine he’d be unable to communicate.


Yes. It is clearly a case of mitztaer that would permit derabanans. I should note that some people might say, “If he can do that, then why can’t I…” (I think more than they would say this in a case of, say, an electric wheelchair). So you should just be aware of that, and

25 01, 2021

Checking Email on Shabbat to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

January 25th, 2021|Choleh, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions|


New York, NY

Shabbat and getting vaccine question:

A person who works in a healthcare setting and thus has high vaccine status and is at somewhat heightened risk themselves, will get an email at some point telling them that the vaccine is available and to sign up immediately, first come first serve, before it runs out. They have already missed one such opportunity because the last email happened to come on Shabbat.

  1. Can they check their phone on Shabbat, for such emails, which may or may not
24 11, 2020

Planning for Going into Labor on Shabbat

November 24th, 2020|Birth, Choleh, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions|


Midwest, USA

Curious about a woman who goes into labor on Shabbat. Clearly we allow her husband to drive to the hospital with her. Would we allow him to do this if he was driving separately? What about other support people who are part of her “birth plan” (like a mother or sister)? What about someone like a doula, who is not part of the medical team, but is a trained support person who the woman is expecting to be there? (Let’s assume everyone is Jewish.)