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Kidushin, 81

KIDUSHIN 81 (7 Av) - has been dedicated to the memory of Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens N.Y., by his wife and daughters. G-dfearing and knowledgeable, Simcha was well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah. He will long be remembered.


OPINIONS: Rabah rules that when a woman's husband is present in the city, "we are not concerned for Yichud." The Gemara earlier says that in when a man and a woman seclude themselves, they not only transgress the Isur of Yichud, but they are also Chayav lashes mid'Rabanan (Makas Mardus). When Rabah says that "we are not concerned for Yichud" when the woman's husband is in town, does he mean that there is no Isur whatsoever, or does he mean that there is an Isur, but there is no punishment of lashes?
(a) RASHI (DH Ba'alah ba'Ir) says that no lashes are administered, implying that there *is* still an Isur of Yichud. He understands that the Isur of Yichud is not so severe when the woman's husband is in town, and thus it does not warrant Makas Mardus, but the Isur nevertheless remains.

(b) TOSFOS (DH Ba'alah ba'Ir) argues with Rashi and says that when the woman's husband is in town, there is no Isur of Yichud whatsoever.

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (EH 22:8) rules like Tosfos and says that it is permitted to be alone with a woman when her husband is in town.

The PISCHEI TESHUVAH mentions a number of cases in which the Heter of "Ba'alah ba'Ir" does not apply. One case is when the husband does not know where his wife is (i.e. she is not at home and she did not tell her husband where she was going). When the Yichud occurs in the husband's house, or in any other place where the husband knows that his wife is located, we may assume that the husband might enter at any moment, and thus the man and woman will be afraid to do anything inappropriate lest her husband enter, as Rashi says. If the husband does not know where she is, though, then this deterrent does not exist, and Yichud is Asur, even though the husband is in the city.

Another case in which "Ba'alah ba'Ir" does not permit Yichud to be done is when the woman goes to another man's home. Although a man might walk into his own home (or into a public place or office) unexpectedly, he will not walk into someone else's private home, and thus the Isur of Yichud applies.

OPINIONS: Rav Yosef rules that when an opening in the house is open to Reshus ha'Rabim ("Pesach Pasu'ach"), we are not concerned for the Isur of Yichud.

How open does the "Pesach Pasu'ach" need to be in order to permit a man and woman to be alone together in the house?

(a) REBBI AKIVA EIGER takes the words of the Gemara literally and explains that "Pesach Pasu'ach" means that the door of the house must be totally open. If the door is closed but unlocked, the Isur of Yichud still applies.

(b) The EZER MI'KODESH (the Butchatcher Rav) argues and says that the door does not need to be fully open. He explains that the reason why "Pesach Pasu'ach" permits Yichud is *not* because it will prevent the man and woman from acting with impropriety by making a situation such that everyone outside the house can see inside the house. If that were the case, then even when the door is fully open, we should still be afraid that the man will act inappropriately, and that he will be on the lookout for people nearing the house from far away and when he sees someone approaching he will separate from the woman. Rather, the reason why "Pesach Pasu'ach" works is because it creates a chance that -- if the man and woman do something wrong -- they will be caught. That is enough of a preventative measure to permit the Yichud. Since the same fear that one will be caught exists when the door is closed but unlocked, an unlocked-door also suffices to permit Yichud.

With regard to how one should act in practice, a competent rabbinical authority should be consulted.

QUESTION: The Gemara relates two incidents in which the Yetzer ha'Ra left Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Akiva alone because it was declared in Heaven, "Be careful with [the honor of] Rebbi Meir and his Torah... be careful with [the honor of] Rebbi Akiva and his Torah."

Chazal teach us that, "Whoever is greater than his friend, his Yetzer [ha'Ra] is greater than his [friend's]" (Sukah 52a). By telling the Yetzer ha'Ra that Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Akiva were Torah sages, the declaration in Heaven was pointing out their greatness. This should not have been a reason for the Yetzer ha'Ra to leave them, but rather to increase his battle with them!

ANSWER: The MAHARSHA explains that the proclamation was not to inform us of the greatness of these two Torah sages. Rather, the purpose of the proclamation was to declare the greatness of the Torah itself. Torah has a special quality to watch and guard those who study it (21a). While the Torah created two great Torah sages, it also has the power to watch over them in times of need


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