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

12 03, 2024

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

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



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|



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|


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|



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.


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|



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.


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

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

23 04, 2023

Using an Electronic Based Toilet Training System on Shabbat

April 23rd, 2023|Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat, Technology|


Baltimore, MD

There is a family who is using a nighttime toilet training program for their 9-year-old son. The program requires a magnetic sensor that triggers an alarm system. The alarm needs to be turned off and reset when it goes off. What options do they have to continue to use the system on Shabbat? They are concerned that stopping will break up the continuity of his toilet training.


I think it’s fine with a shinuy. I think bedwetting issues can be a source of a lot of psychic angst for

5 04, 2023

Drinking Wine Brought by Car on Yom Tov

April 5th, 2023|Moadim, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Yom Tov|


Baltimore, MD

A family that has some Shomer Shabbat members and some who are not, have friends coming to their second Seder in Baltimore from New Jersey, presumably driving on Yom Tov. Those friends will be bringing wine with them. Can they drink that wine at the Seder? Is tehum a concern at all in this case?



5 03, 2023

Pushing Someone in a Wheelchair to Shul on Shabbat without an Eruv

March 5th, 2023|Amirah LeGoy, Disabilities, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat|


Jerusalem, IL

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe OH 4:90) writes that in a place where there is no eruv, a person can only propel themselves or be pushed in a wheelchair by a non-Jew. We are dealing with a case of someone about whom it is not clear if they can walk on their own. Is there room for a Jew to push this person to shul?


If you can do it with a shinuy, or have two people pushing, then it’s shevut d’shevut be’makom mitzvah (a Rabbinic prohibition coupled with another Rabbinic prohibition which is permissible for the sake of a

21 02, 2023

Playing a Game with a Sand Timer on Shabbat

February 21st, 2023|Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat|


Chicago, IL

There is a fancy board game that makes use of a sand timer to limit the time in play (similar to how a chess clock measures the total time in play over the course of the game). Is it permissible to play this game on Shabbat? (What about chess clocks?) Nothing is being measured (30 seconds, 2 minutes), but the sand clock determines the duration of the game.


Although there is a general