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

1 02, 2024

Traveling by Electric Scooter on Shabbat

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

QUESTION

Maryland

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|

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

Drilling Holes Through Verses Etched on a Mechitza

January 28th, 2024|Mechitza, Synagogue, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION


Skokie, IL

We are creating new glass mechitza panels with the text of Kabalat Shabbat etched into them. The engineers want to drill holes in a few panels to install handrails. Some of those proposed holes will be drilled through Shem Hashem (God’s name). Would this be a problem?

ANSWER

Yes, this would be a problem. There is an

5 11, 2023

Reciting Shehechiyanu on Joyous Occasions Not Mentioned in Shulchan Aruch

November 5th, 2023|Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Berakhot, Kiddushin and Ketubah, Lifecycles, Orach Chayim, Sheva Berachot|

QUESTION

Toronto, Canada

What are your thoughts about saying shehechiyanu for occasions not mentioned in Shulchan Aruch? For example, can it be recited by parents at shul for the 3rd birthday of a child whose wimpel will be used for gelilah. What about other lifecycle events such as benei mitzvah, or weddings?

There’s certainly simchat ha’lev, which SA OH 223:4 says is the underlying basis for making the berakhah, but on the other hand, are we makpidim (particular) not to extend the berakhah into other experiences?

ANSWER

The first big question here is weddings. Why is

12 06, 2023

Early Ma’ariv on Motzei Yom Tov When it Will be Difficult to Get a Minyan at a Later Time

June 12th, 2023|Minyan, Orach Chayim, Shacharit, Mincha and Ma'ariv, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei, Tefillah|

QUESTION

Boston, MA

I daven in a backyard minyan that typically only meets on Friday nights. We also gather for Yom Tov Mincha-Ma’ariv. Often on motzei yom tov we cannot keep a minyan for Ma’ariv as some men don’t want to wait and end up leaving after Mincha.

Would it be permissible to daven Ma’ariv early betzibur? (The Beit Yosef OC 293 says it’s ok for a yachid when there’s tzorekh, but I believe it is clear that this would apply for a tzibur. As well, I wonder if whether or not losing a

2 05, 2023

Splitting a Berakha

May 2nd, 2023|Berakhot, Family, Marriage and Family, Tefillah|

https://pixabay.com/photos/head-brain-thoughts-human-body-1965669/

QUESTION

Rhode Island

A couple would like two different people to be involved in saying the Hebrew words of the final Sheva Berakhot, for family / political / musical reasons. Is it permissible that one begins the berakha and one ends, OR (more likely I imagine) that both say it together?

ANSWER

This is addressed by a teshuva of Rebbe Akiva Eiger. In שו”ת רבי עקיבא איגר מהדורא קמא ס’ ז’ he deals with the question of how a woman who does not understand Hebrew (which was common) can fulfill the mitzvah of Kiddush through שומע

23 04, 2023

Aveil Serving as Shaliach Tzibur on Shabbat, Yom Tov or Yamim Noraim When No Other is As Qualified

April 23rd, 2023|Aveilut, Orach Chayim, Tefillah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Houston, TX

We have a small congregation and there are not a lot of congregants who can serve as shaliach tzibur on Shabbat. We want shlichei tzibur who can uplift the kehillah with singing and proper nusach. Under these circumstances, is it permissible for an aveil (mourning) to serve shaliach tzibur? This question is even more acute for the Yamim Noraim.

ANSWER

Yes, it is permitted.

Even the Rema (YD 376:4) who rules that an aveil should not be a shaliach tzibur on Shabbat and Yom

23 04, 2023

Counting a Security Person in Another Room as the Tenth for a Minyan

April 23rd, 2023|Minyan, Orach Chayim, Synagogue, Tefillah|

QUESTION

Houston, TX

We pray out of the JCC and are required to have a security person at the door when the building is otherwise closed, which includes Shabbat. For financial reasons, we use rotating volunteers, but sometimes, like for Mincha, we have ten men, and only ten men. Other times, there are ten men, as well as women, but the optics of making it be a woman are rough. The security person can just barely see into the shul room from

3 04, 2023

Reciting Sheva Brachot at a Meal More than a Week after the Wedding

April 3rd, 2023|Birkat HaMazon/Zimun, Even HaEzer, Kiddushin and Ketubah, Sheva Berachot|

QUESTION

Brooklyn NY

A beloved couple in my Shul is eloping and having a bare minimum halakhic wedding on a hill in Colorado. They’ll be returning to New York after a week but within thirty days of the wedding. They would very much like to do an official, sheva berakhot style meal with the community. This will effectively be their wedding celebration for most of their friends and even family. They know about the berakhot of sheva berakhot and actively want to do them. I know that saying “shehasimha bimono” (and