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

12 03, 2024

Mechitza Construction with Bima in Between the Men’s and Women’s Sections

March 12th, 2024|Keriat HaTorah, Mechitza, Minyan, Orach Chayim, Synagogue, Tefillah, Women|

QUESTION

Washington, DC

Question regarding the construction of a new mechitza:

We have a chapel that seats 115 people. It opens from the back, straight into the middle aisle. The seats are distributed equally on both sides of the aisle, and the bimah is at the front of the room in the center. Our old mechitza for the space was 3 panels; two down the middle aisle, and a third to angle around the bimah so that there was a physical separation between the shaliach

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,

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,

28 01, 2024

Jewish Single Woman Considering Embryo Adoption: Halakhic Clarification on Child’s Jewish Status

January 28th, 2024|Birth, Even HaEzer, Family, Geirut and Geirim, Lifecycles, Non-Jews and Other Religions, Shulchan Arukh, Status, Women|

QUESTION


Washington, DC

A Jewish single woman considering embryo adoption wants to know if she needs to look for Jewish embryos, or if it will be sufficient for her to be the gestational mother to have the child be considered Jewish. My understanding is that there are differing opinions, and because so much is at stake I would like to be crystal clear on the halakha. Thank you so much.

ANSWER

This is such a major debate

31 05, 2023

Conversion Certificate for a Child Born Through Surrogacy

May 31st, 2023|Clothing and Appearance, Even HaEzer, Family, Fertility, Geirut and Geirim, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Providence, RI

A couple who could not have children naturally had kids by means of a surrogate (not sure whose sperm or egg or if that’s relevant). They’re having a giyur (conversion) for the kid and have requested to use their names, and not Avraham/Sara on the teudat giyur (conversion certificate). Do you have thoughts/an opinion about this? Thank you in advance!

ANSWER

If it were both the husband’s sperm and the wife’s egg then you definitely can, because many authorities say that maternity is defined by whose egg it was (for example, Rabbi Shlomo Goren (Torat HaRefuah, pg. 176-177), Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

5 05, 2023

Understanding One’s Personality through Zodiac Signs

May 5th, 2023|Non-Jews and Other Religions, Yoreh De'ah|

https://pixabay.com/photos/astrology-star-sign-horoscope-2792352/

QUESTION

New York

I was informed by someone that there are ways to understand one’s personality based on the zodiac signs. This involves looking at not only the astrological sign, but also the time and location of birth, as well as the position of the moon, stars, and planets. I don’t actually believe in this, but I am curious to explore it with my student who does very much believe in this.

I’m concerned about any kind of divination issurim. From my understanding, you could stop before you get to predicting the

23 04, 2023

Designing Text for a Catholic Shrine

April 23rd, 2023|Non-Jews and Other Religions, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

A member of our community works in the museum industry. Her firm was hired by a local Catholic shrine to design the accompanying text that will be placed on the railings in the Shrine of St. Jude (a chapel/room in a larger church containing a statue of St. Jude and a relic of St. Jude (a piece of his arm).

The text she would be asked to write would not be about the history of the artwork or the architecture

28 03, 2023

Hosting an Intermarried Converting Couple for Yom Tov: Managing Bishul Akum and Kashrut

March 28th, 2023|Bishul Akum, Geirut and Geirim, Kashrut, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Minneapolis, MN

I’m working with two couples for giyur (conversion).

The first couple (couple #1) is close to finishing—they eat only kosher but have not yet kashered the house.

The second couple (couple #2) is intermarried (she is already Jewish and expecting a baby. The husband is patrilineal and committed to Orthodox giyur in the future.) They do not yet eat fully kosher. They also live very far from shul.

Couple #2 asked couple #1 to host them for Rosh HaShanah. Couple #1 asked me confidentially

15 02, 2023

Chatan with Non-Jewish Father and Other Descriptors in the Ketubah

February 15th, 2023|Even HaEzer, Geirut and Geirim, Kiddushin and Ketubah, Marriage and Family|

QUESTION

New York

I have a few questions regarding how to fill in the ketubah in an unusual situation.

1. The couple in question is already married with children. The bride is converting, so her name will be written in the ketubah as “Hadassah (her chosen name) bat Avraham V’Sara“. The groom is the son of a Jewish woman and non-Jewish man, in which case the RCA madrich

15 01, 2023

Refusing Delivery to Allow Delivery Driver to Keep Non-Kosher Wine

January 15th, 2023|Kashrut, Non-Jews and Other Religions, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION
NEW YORK, NY

Bottles of non-kosher wine are on their way to me as a holiday present. In the past, we have accepted them, dumped the contents and recycled the bottles since I understand that I can’t give them away. Assuming that’s correct, do we have any ability to not accept the shipment and allow the UPS driver to keep it? Is it too late if it is left on our doorstep?

As clarification, assume that I’m sefardi or following the Rema’s “tov l’hachmir” (good to be strict) position, as this was an unexpected gift from a business I use.

Thank you for