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

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

16 01, 2023

Non-Jew Warming Fully Cooked, Dry food in an Oven on Shabbat For Kiddush

January 16th, 2023|Amirah LeGoy, Bishul, Kiddush, Seudah, Havdalah, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat|



Shalom Rav Linzer – what are your thoughts on a gentile putting dry food to warm in an oven for kiddush? I know it’s not usually done but it seems like a d’rabbanan l’tzorech rabim (rabbinic prohibition done for the sake of the community)? The venue my shul meets at (a conservative synagogue) feels that hot plates are a liability.


This is exactly the case dealt with in SA OH 253:5

1 06, 2021

Putting Uncooked Food in a Crockpot Before Shabbat That Will Turn On Via a Timer on Shabbat

June 1st, 2021|Orach Chayim, Prohibitions|


New York, NY

Is it permissible to put uncooked food in a crockpot before Shabbat that will turn on via a timer on Shabbat itself? The Tzitz Eliezar (2:6), referring to an electric stove, is opposed to doing so. He is concerned that if one is allowed to so, then the one might err and put uncooked food on such a stove on Shabbat itself, which is grama and an issur derabanan. However, Rav Shlomo Zalman (Minchat Shlomo 2:34) says that there is no need to make such a gezeirah. What are the Rosh Yeshiva’s thoughts on the matter. Thank you.


Regarding putting

18 05, 2021

Sunscreen on Shabbat and Yom Tov

May 18th, 2021|Orach Chayim, Prohibitions|


Riverdale, NY

What are the Rosh Yeshiva’s parameters for applying sunscreen on Shabbat/Yom Tov (and do different types/ingredients matter)?


I don’t think it’s refuah, I think it’s preventative. Even if it were refuah, sunburn is definitely choleh kol haguf, so it is mutar. As to memarei’ach, my general rule is that if something is roughly the viscosity of oil then it is definitely mutar, since sikhah is only assur on Yom Kippur, so clearly it’s not memarei’ach. My experience is that sunscreen is not more viscous than that, so it would be mutar.


Many sunscreens are more of a cream. They do not

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

7 04, 2021

Using Whitening Toothpaste on Shabbat

April 7th, 2021|Orach Chayim, Prohibitions|


Washington, D.C.

Rav Linzer, What are your thoughts about using “whitening toothpaste”on Shabbat? If whitening toothpaste is permitted what about a whitening gel that is not toothpaste but is applied for a few minutes and then washed off as part of a daily ongoing treatment to whiten teeth? What about general care of teeth like flossing? I am not asking about brushing teeth on Shabbat because I assume you follow those who permit it, but if I am wrong please correct me. Thank you.


Let’s bracket my own position re toothpaste. For those who use it on Shabbat, I don’t see a