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Yichud in an elevator

Category: Jewish Law // By Rabbi:  // Answer date: 07.06.2020

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My parents in a high riser. Every time I go to visit there is long elevator ride up to their floor. Sometimes when go up in the elevator  a woman gets on with me. Is there a problem of Yichud? Do I need to get off?


Since it is a long elevator ride it is better to get out of the elevator maybe at Even HaEzer next floor so as not insult her. If yo can’t then you will not transgress  Yichud since it can stop at any time to let other people on .


Is there a minimum time for the Issur of Yichud?

The Maharil Diskin writes that there is no minimum time for Yichud. Even if we say the is a minimum time, we say that Chatzi shiur (part of the set amount) ,even a fraction of the time is forbidden. Also every second adds up to the whole amount.  We are concerned they will stay the forbidden amount of time. T

The Chelkat Yoav writes that we don’t find a minimum amount, in the poskim so everything is forbidden.

The Imrei Esh writes that there are amounts of times to Arayot. He writes that even by Yichud it is only forbidden when there is an amount of time for Yichud. Not like the Maharil Diskin.

R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach  writes that if they seclude themselves in a place where they can stay for the amount of  time of ‘Tumaah’ that intimacy can occur then every second there is an Issur of Yichud. Even  if they came to before it hit the time of Tumaah they already transgressed an prohibition from the Torah. Yichud is forbidden if it is seclusion, even if they did not wait a certain amount of time. Especially if the seclusion ends if only other people happen to come inside.

This idea is also said by a wife who acts in a licentious manner where the husband has the right to divorce her, The Bet Shmuel says even if she has Yichud with someone o n purpose when is called transgressing the Torah. Even if they had Yichud in place where they could stay there uninterrupted for a long time, she is considered as acting inappropriately and the husband can demand divorce, even if they didn’t stay for the time of Yichud.

It comes out that the Imrei Esh and R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach are of the opinion that there is minimum time of ‘Tumaah’ which beforehand there is no prohibition of Yichud. (RSZ”A forbids the yichud if they could stay longer, only if they will only be together for a short time does he permit it.) the Maharil Diskin and the Chelkat Yoav say there is no time and they are forbidden even for a second.

What is the time of Tumaah?

The Gemara on 4a explains: The Baraita clarifies: And what is the measure of seclusion, Yichud?  It is equivalent to the time needed for defilement, which is equivalent to the time needed to perform intercourse, which is equivalent to the time needed to perform the initial stage of intercourse.

The Baraita explains:. This is equivalent to the time needed for circling a palm tree; this is the statement of Rabbi Yishmael. Rabbi Eliezer says: This is equivalent to the time needed for mixing a cup of wine with water. Rabbi Yehoshua says: This is equivalent to the time needed to drink that cup of wine.  Ben Azzai says: This is equivalent to the time needed to roast an egg. Rabbi Akiva says: This is equivalent to the time needed to swallow it. Rabbi Yehuda ben Beteira says: This is equivalent to the time needed to swallow three eggs one after another. Rabbi Elazar ben Yirmeya says: This is equivalent to the time needed for a weaver [gardi] to tie a string [nima].

?anin ben Pine?as says: This is equivalent to the time that a woman may need to extend her hand into her mouth to remove a wood chip from between her teeth. The Sage Peleimu says: This is equivalent to the time that she may need to extend her hand into a basket in order to take a loaf of bread. He adds: Although there is no explicit proof from a verse for the matter, there is an allusion to the matter from the verse: “For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a loaf of bread” (Proverbs 6:26)… Rabbi Akiva says: This is equivalent to the time needed to swallow an egg. Here, in the second Baraita, he says: This is equivalent to the time needed to roast an egg. The Gemara answers: Say that he requires both.

The Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 178:4 rules: What is considered seclusion? When she is secluded in front of witnesses with the same man about whom the profession of jealousy was made, and she stayed there long enough to be defiled, which is long enough to roast an egg and quaff it.

Tosfot in Sotah 4a quotes the Yerushalmi Sotah 1:4: They explains that the clock starts after undoing her clothing. That is women used to wear a Sinar ,an apron, around her body, so the time of Tumaah, of roasting an egg an swallow it only

starts after her clothing is off.

The Korban Haeidah there asked why don’t the poskim discuss this extra time? The Aruch Hashulchan (178) does quote the Yerushalmi as halacha. The Minchat Yitzchak explain this time as five minutes. R’  Vosner in Shevet Halevi (96) understood it as two minutes.

R’ Moshe Feinstein writes in Igrot Moshe that that time we are talking about in Even HaEzer Siman 178 is only by two people who are trying to do an aveirah however by regular yichud the time is longer because there has to be time for him to convince her into do an Aveirah.

By elevators if it is a long ride there is a worry about yichud. Even to go to a few floors up, according to R’ Shlomo Zalman there might be a problem of Yichud.

However there are those who permit elevators since the elevator might stop at any time it is not true Yichud, it is like Petach Patuach. Therefore it is better not to go in the elevator with woman by yourself. If there is nothing else to do you may stay in the elevator.

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