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|


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

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|


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.


This is such a major debate

13 02, 2021

Men and Women Counting for Minyan for HaRav et Riveinu

February 13th, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Purim, Women|



Can women and men be counted together for a minyan for megillah reading for the purposes of saying הרב את ריבנו?


You mean would it be different than Rema (Shulchan Arukh OC 690:18) regarding the preferences for 10 where he writes – הגה: ויש להסתפק אם נשים מצטרפות לעשרה? Or are you asking whether we rule that way? I would say that the halakhot of berakhot and preference for 10 in general should definitely be the same. As to do we rule that way – one could argue ספק ברכות להקל, but also see Biur Halakha 692 ד״ה אלא בציבור who quotes shitot that you can make the berakhah even ביחיד. Given the

27 09, 2020

A Woman Holding the Sefer Torah During Kol Nidrei

September 27th, 2020|Orach Chayim, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, Sefer Torah, Tefillah, Women|


Brooklyn, NY

May a women hold one of the two sifrei Torah during Kol Nidrei? Neither person is on the bimah and they will be 8 or so feet away from the bimah, for Covid-19 reasons.


Should be fine, but I would make sure that there is a third man standing in front or whatever, and it’s clear that the three men are the beit din.

4 01, 2018

May a Woman Be a Mohelet?

January 4th, 2018|Milah, Women, Yoreh De'ah|

May a woman be a mohelet?

Although women are not circumcised, they are members of the covenant that the Jewish people, have with God:

“You stand this day all of you before the Lord your God.. all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the stranger that is in your camp… that you enter into covenant with the Lord your God…” (Deut. 29:10-12).

Men, women, children; Jews by birth and Jews by choice, are all part of the brit. In other words, we must distinguish between the brit and the milah.  Women do not have a milah; they are most definitely part of the

6 03, 2017

May a Woman Recite Birkat Eirusin?

March 6th, 2017|Kiddushin and Ketubah, Lifecycles, Marriage and Family, Women|


I am a woman serving as a member of the clergy in an Orthodox synagogue. I have been asked to officiate at a wedding. I would like to say Birkat Eirusin, the blessing before the giving of the ring. Although I could be the mesaderet and not say this b’rakhah, neither I nor the couple like the message that would be implied, were I to step aside for someone else to recite the b’rakhah. It signals that I am not truly the one officiating at the wedding. Is it permissible for me as a woman to recite the Birkat Eirusin?



10 10, 2016

Women Leading Selichot: A Response to Rabbi Ysoscher Katz

October 10th, 2016|Orach Chayim, Tefillah, Women|

This teshuva is part of a series. To read Rabbi Linzer’s original teshuva on this subject, click here. To read Rabbi Katz’s original teshuva in Hebrew, click here. To read Rabbi Katz’s original teshuva in English, click here. To read Rabbi Katz’s response to this response, click here.

I was pleased to read the teshuva by Rabbi Ysoscher Katzshlita, on the issue of women leading selichot, a topic that I addressed in a teshuva last year.  Rabbi Katz’s halakhic argument appears in the third and final section of his teshuva.  The first section of his teshuva is devoted to laying out a methodological approach to halakhic rulings on this and similar

15 08, 2016

Tzniut, Halakha, and the Male Gaze

August 15th, 2016|Tzeniut, Women|

This essay was written in the context of this op ed in the New York Times. This accompanying source sheet provides a closer look at the sources. 

Tova Hartman, in her chapter “Modesty and the Religious Male Gaze,” in Feminism Encounters Traditional Judaism, discusses the topic of the male gaze, and how the culture around tzniut reinforces this – accepts it as a given – and the status of women as sex objects. The only difference between this approach and that of Western culture is whether the response

10 08, 2016

Tzniut, Halakha and the Male Gaze: Lecture and Sources

August 10th, 2016|Tzeniut, Women|

This lecture was composed in the context of this op-ed in the New York Times. These sources also accompany the Season 2 Episode 7 episode of the Joy of Text podcast.


There is a general sense in the frum community that tzniut is a concept that applies almost exclusively to women and to how they dress.  In some more Haredi communities, young girls are taught that tzniut is there special mitzvah – that they must dress modestly at all times so that men will not look at them and

26 07, 2016

May a Woman Lead Selichot?

July 26th, 2016|Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, Tefillah, Women|


לגרסה העברית לחצו כאן /Read this teshuva in Hebrew This teshuva is part of a series. To read Rabbi Ysoscher Katz’s response to this teshuva in Hebrew, click here. To read Rabbi Katz’s response in English, click here. To read Rabbi Linzer’s response to Rabbi Katz, click here. To read Rabbi Katz’s response to Rabbi Linzer’s response, click here.

May a woman lead selichot if she does so with a minyan of men present, and from her side of the mechitza?



For the purposes of this teshuva, I will bracket the larger discussion of partnership minyanim. I will also bracket any discussion of kol isha, as there is