In the second Gate, we discussed some of the following parameters of the Yichud restriction, how severe the prohibition for a man and a woman to be secluded if they are not married or very close relatives. The Rambam (Hilchot Issurei Bia 22:1) explains that the reason for this prohibition is that Yichud often leads to promiscuity or sexual misconduct which is considered a form of Chillul Hashem. We will also see the incidents when this is not a relevant concern the prohibition does not apply. We shall explore the parameters of the exceptions to the rules of Yichud, when Chazal feel that there is not a concern for promiscuity.


1  The Yichud restriction is so severe that some authorities believe that it would be better for someone to even sacrifice his life rather than violate the Yichud prohibition, because it could lead to some kind of Chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s Name). 
2  It would be a whole lot better if someone sanctifies the Name instead with their own life than remaining alive while as a consequence of such a desecration of the Name.  

3  The phrase Kiddush Hashem, sanctification of the Name of G-d; although does not appear exactly as such in the Tanakh; its instruction however is clearly mentioned. "To Sanctify His Name" is the positive of the very negative one which states: "And you shall not profane My holy name" (Lev. 22:32) which is frequently mentioned. Therefore any action by a Jew that brings honour, respect, and glory to G-d is considered to be Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of His Name), 

4  whereas any behaviour or action, chas ve-shalom that disgraces, harms or shames the Name of G-d and His Torah is regarded as a chillul Hashem (desecration of the Name). 

5  The ultimate act of Kiddush Hashem for any Jew is when he or she is ready to sacrifice his life rather than transgress any of G-d’s cardinal laws, such as Avodah Zarah (serving idols or foreign worship), committing certain sexual acts like incest or adultery, or committing murder.

6  Rav Ron Chaya from Leava mentioned in one of his many teachings that it would be better or less damaging for anyone if he was forced to eat pork than to transgress this prohibition of yichud and ending by committing Chillul Hashem. 

7  According to the Talmud Bavli Berachot 20a and Midrash Tehillim, all the Jews who died as a result of the Hadrianic persecution are called Kedoshim (holy ones) for their martyrdom, as they have sanctified the Name of Hakadosh, Baruch Hu, with their life. Also the Jews who were either executed or exiled from Spain and Portugal by the Spanish or Portuguese Inquisition because they did not renounce their religion are called holy ones because they are regarded as having fulfilled the commandment of not turning to idolatry and thereby sanctifying G-d's Name as well.

8  To understand why the prohibition of Yichud is so severe, we must first understand that, generally speaking, it is permitted for a Jew to basically violate any biblically mandated, and certainly rabbinically mandated laws in order to preserve human life. This principle is known as Ya'avor v'al ye'hareg ("transgress and not be killed") and it applies to virtually all of Jewish ritual law, including the best known laws of Shabbat and kashrut, and even to the severest prohibitions, such as those relating to Brit Mila (circumcision), chametz on Passover, and fasting on Yom Kippur. Thus, the Torah generally asserts that pikuach nefesh (פיקוח נפש, "the preservation of human life") is paramount, and in most situations even the preservation of a limb is equated with the basic principle.

9  But the above - mentioned three areas of prohibition may not be transgressed under any circumstances, even to save a human life. While these three areas of Jewish law are often informally referred to as the "three cardinal sins," they actually encompass many more than a mere three prohibitions. They all involve murder, sexual misconduct and foreign worship. The governing principle here is called Ye'hareg v'al ya'avor ("be killed but do not transgress"). So to avoid coming close to violating sexual misconduct, one must obey the restrictions of yichud.

1  Baala Ba-ir (husband in town) means he is able to come home at any time he chooses, that is also why a husband that is not free to come at ease at any time cannot be considered Baala Ba-ir, such as one that has no authority to leave work to go home at any time or someone who is in jail. On the other hand Baala Ba-ir applies even in a case where he works on the other side of town, as long as he makes his own hours, like a salesman does, then it is considered as if he is "in town". If, however, he works fixed hours and cannot leave his workplace whenever he wants, it is considered as if he is "out of town".

2  It is believed that when the husband is "in town,'' the fear of his appearing suddenly is a deterrent to engaging in an illicit behaviour. But the wife only fears her husband's sudden appearance in a place where he is likely to find her (e.g., her home; her office). If, however, she secludes herself in a place where her husband will not easily find her, yichud is forbidden even if her husband is "in town". It should be also noted that husband "in town" only serves as a deterrent when the wife is meeting the man without the husband's knowledge. If, however, they are meeting with his permission, either in the couple's home or in the house of visitor, then the wife will not be as deterred by her husband being in town (Binas Adam 126:27 for an elaborate explanation).

3  Her husband's presence "in town" does not set aside the prohibition of yichud if a close, long-standing friendship exists between the man and the woman.

4  Although a husband's presence "in town" alleviates the prohibition of yichud for his wife, the reverse is not true. A wife "in town" does not mitigate her husband's yichud prohibition, except if she is in the house or in the immediate vicinity.

There is another limitation on the rule of Baala Ba-ir, namely if the other man or the other woman’s heart is “fat with the person they are in yichud with”, example: if they feel comfortable together, then Yichud is prohibited even if the husband is in town. Like in a case in which a man and a woman grew up together or are related (such as cousins) or if they have been longtime friends or just happen to be very friendly together like in the case of a friendly door to door vendor (milkman /delivery boy) or seller; or if they have dated before. Also if they have been co-worker or business partner.

1  Yichud is permitted if we keep the door open. However, some are more lenient and accept the Yichud with the door closed, but not locked, or with the door locked but with a reasonable possibility that people may knock on the door anytime or ring the bell and expect to be answered. They also permit the yichud if the door is locked but there is a window with shades or drapes open and there is a clear view into the room, in such conditions yichud is permitted.

2  The open door rule applies only when people can be reasonably expected to enter the house or see the place where the man and woman are located. It does not normally apply during the early hours of the morning.

3  It is proper to be stringent and not rely on the "open door" leniency if a close, long-standing friendship exists between the man and the woman.

1  It is permissible for a man to enter an elevator with a woman alone because the travelling time is usually very short. Some say that it is permitted if the elevator has a travel time of less than 3 minutes. 

2  A man and woman may not drive together in a car alone on a road that is not Under extenuating circumstances, one should consult a Rabbi. This is applicable at any time, whether the driver be Jewish or not.  

3  While travelling on the bus, as long as there is at least three men and three women on the bus, it is permissible. 

4  But, if some of the men and women leave and one woman is alone on the bus with male driver the woman must get off the bus unless there is a danger to get off. However, if there's a car on that road every 3 minutes it is permissible for her to remain on board. A man and woman should never travel alone in a vehicle.

5  A female seller or a company rep should not be driving alone with a male in a car. A male seller or company rep who meet clients in their home should not meet a female client alone in her house.

6  A teacher should not be in Yichud with a female student in class, neither should they be left alone while on a field trip or camp, etc. In the field or camp the leader or teacher should not sleep in the same tent with a female student and he should not isolate himself with female from the rest of the group causing a yichud situation in the woods or field.

7  It often occurs that a tzedakah collector comes to the door and only a girl is at home, with no other shomrim present. If the collector wants to wait inside to see the girl's father, then she should either ask the man to return a while later (when other shomrim will be present), or else she should leave the door open (if it is an effective Petach Patuach). However, collectors should not go from door to door during hours when only the women are at home because of the potential for Yichud. Furthermore, women are not obligated to open the door to such collectors.

1  It is forbidden for a man and woman to seclude themselves together in any close place or office, even if there's a camera or webcam that makes everything in that close space visible to onlookers in another location. If someone is monitoring the camera, one may be lenient.

Women should be made aware of the issue of Yichud when seeing a doctor. They must know the halachot of Yichud before the visit so that they may avert the serious prohibition of Yichud. A visit to a doctor's office may present a problem of Yichud and is only permitted under the following conditions:

3  The meeting takes place in a public office or clinic during office hours when there are people in the waiting room and members of staff (e.g. nurses and secretaries) at work, and the door to the doctor's office is open slightly or closed but not locked, and other members of staff may enter at any time. Therefore, when making an appointment with the doctor, she should schedule it at a time when other members of staff will be present in the office.

4  As long as there are members of staff who may disturb the Yichud situation, then a woman may enter the doctor's office alone. Therefore in a doctor's office in which the doctor, a nurse and a secretary work, and the nurse or secretary may enter the doctor's examining room or private office at any moment, a woman may go into the room alone with the doctor as long as the door remains unlocked.

5  If nobody usually enters, even a nurse, without permission, then a woman may not be alone with the doctor. She should request from the doctor that the door be left slightly open (if the door opens to a waiting room where other people are waiting or other staff members are present).[344] If another female nurse is present in the room, the door may be closed but not locked.

6  If the door to the doctor's office is locked and nobody has permission to enter, then even if there are people in the waiting room, it is Yichud unless the door is left slightly open. However if there is a member of staff who has a key to the office and who has permission to enter at any time, then the seclusion may be permitted.[346] Furthermore, if the woman's husband has accompanied her to the office and is sitting in the waiting room, then there is no issue of Yichud.

7  In the above situations, the Poskim discuss at length the permissibility of a woman entering a locked doctor's office in the event of Baalah Ba-ir. Some Poskim are stringent. Other Poskim are more lenient. In practice, when necessary one may rely on the heter of Baalah Ba-ir in this case. However, she should request from the doctor that the door be left slightly open, or closed but unlocked. Because there is a question among the Poskim in this case, it is certainly best that the woman be accompanied to the doctor's either by her husband, another shomer, or another woman friend.

8  A woman should not be ashamed to raise the issue of Yichud with the doctor. She should make sure that:

9  the door will be left open, or closed but not locked; and the staff members have permission to enter the doctor's office unannounced. If staff members do not usually come in, she may request that a member of staff be with her in the office, or at least come in from time to time. All that has been said above about the question of Yichud when visiting a doctor applies just as well to a man who visits a female doctor. Therefore, he should only visit the doctor during office hours, and the door should be unlocked and staff be able to enter at any time.


In general, a man should try to visit a male doctor, and a woman, a female doctor. However, if no doctor of the same gender is available, it is permitted to be treated by a doctor of the opposite gender.

If the visit is to a private office, e.g. seeing a consultant in his private rooms or at the doctor's home, and nobody else is home, or there is only one nurse or secretary sitting outside the office, then there is a serious question of Yichud.

3  In such a case a married woman should preferably be accompanied to the doctor's appointment by her husband. If this is not possible, then she may rely on the heter of Baalah Ba-ir and she should request that the door be left unlocked. However, it would be preferable that she take with her other shomrim such as:

a a child aged five to nine;
b her father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother or son,
c her mother-in-law, or
d her step-daughter.

4  Alternatively, she may be accompanied by another woman friend, and they should request that the door be left unlocked.

5  If the woman is not married and no nurse is in attendance, and the doctor is in his private rooms or at home, then there is definitely a question of Yichud. It would also be questionable if the doctor were to leave the door of the home open, since even in that situation, no one would enter his private examination room unannounced for fear that they might disturb an examination in progress. In such a case, she should definitely be accompanied by a shomer or, alternatively, be accompanied by another woman who has the status of Baalah Ba-ir.

6  In the above case, if there is a single nurse or secretary present at the doctor's home or private rooms, then it would be permitted for a woman to take with her another woman friend (even unmarried). The Yichud situation would be allowed for this would constitute the permissible status of one man with three women.

7  If the visit is to a private office in the doctor's home, and the doctor is a Jew, and his wife is at home, then there is no question of Yichud, as long as the doctor's wife could enter at any moment. If the doctor is not Jewish, seclusion is prohibited even if his wife is at home.

8  Some Poskim write that if members of the doctor's household are home and could enter at any time, or even if they are not at home but have a key to the home and they could enter whenever they wish — including entry into the doctor's office at home — then this would constitute a Petach Patuach which would serve to permit Yichud. This would not help, however if the door were locked from the inside with a latch, for then no one could enter without the door being opened from the inside.

If a doctor or other man in the medical profession makes a home visit to a woman in her home, then the door should be left open. If the door is shut, the visit is still permitted if her husband is in the city or if other family members have a key and they may enter at any time.

10  One must also be aware of the Yichud issue in a hospital. If a patient is in an open ward, then there is usually no problem of Yichud because staff members are present day and night. However, if a person is in a private room — and particularly in small private clinics — then a patient should always make sure that the door to his or her room is unlocked while being attended to by a nurse or doctor of the opposite gender.

11  Having a scan, if nobody else is present in the room apart from the patient and a member of staff, poses a question of Yichud. It may only be permitted when there are shomrim in a nearby room.

12  If a woman needs to travel to the hospital — either because she is sick or to give birth — it is preferable that she be accompanied by her husband or another shomer (such as a child shomer). However, if nobody is available she may go in the ambulance alone.

Pikuach Nefesh
13  The prohibition of Yichud is waived in the face of danger to life. Therefore a woman in mortal danger may be treated by a male doctor even if they are in a Yichud situation, and vice versa. If possible the door should be left open to create a Petach Patuach. Therefore, if a Jewish male member of one of the emergency services (Police, Fire Department, ambulance or Hatzalah) is called upon to take care of a single woman, he should leave the front door open upon entering the house.

14  A female doctor or midwife may travel with another man in an emergency situation, even if they are in Yichud. A social worker who is called out by a client of the opposite gender who is suicidal or who has taken an overdose may be in Yichud with the patient as long as the case poses a question of Pikuach Nefesh. If the social worker is called out for a problem which is at present not life-threatening but if not treated could become life-threatening, then Yichud is permitted. However, if the social worker is called out for a situation which is definitely not life-threatening (e.g. a mentally ill patient who is creating a disturbance in the middle of the night), then the social worker should be accompanied by a shomer.

The Sick
15  The prohibition of Yichud also applies to a patient who has been hospitalized, even if he or she is very sick. Only if it is a male patient who has been medically diagnosed as impotent may one be lenient. However, even in such a case one should be careful because of Maris Ayin. Yichud is prohibited with a woman who is in labor.

16  Jewish doctors, medical personnel and caregivers must be well aware of the Yichud issue. It is highly commendable that Jewish medical professionals have a Yichud policy in their practice. A male doctor may not be alone with a female nurse before the office opens or after hours unless precautions are taken to prevent Yichud. The same is true in a hospital setting, particularly late at night or in the early hours of the morning when the corridors of the hospital are very quiet, since in this case a closed but unlocked door of a room would not constitute a Petach Patuach. The problem may be exacerbated by the fact that a medical team working closely together would be considered Libo Gas Boh. Therefore, a doctor and a nurse should not be alone in a room in a hospital late at night or very early in the morning unless the door to the room is literally open and there is a chance that someone may come in.

17  A male surgeon may not perform an operation when only a female nurse and the patient are present if the patient is heavily anesthetized. Likewise, in the same situation a female surgeon may not perform surgery when only a male nurse is present. A Jewish nurse or medical secretary must be careful not to be locked in a room together with a doctor when other staff cannot enter. It is common that secretaries have much paperwork to do once patients have left the office. Secretaries must be careful not to remain in a situation where there could be Yichud.

18  It is best that a woman see a female therapist, and a man, a male therapist wherever possible. When there is no one else as qualified as a therapist of the opposite gender, then it is permitted to see that person as long as one of the aforementioned heterim of Yichud are in place. It should be noted that a woman who visits a therapist may not rely on the heter of Baalah Ba-ir, since she develops a close relationship with the therapist and he is considered a Libo Gas Boh. A male therapist or counselor whose profession involves speaking to women privately — or vice versa — must be aware of the Yichud issue. This is certainly the case where one gives a home consultation. Before any consultation, adequate arrangements must be made to prevent Yichud.

19  A single man who is disabled and needs a caregiver should take a man as a caregiver and not a woman, even if he is very old. A disabled woman who needs care should only employ a female caregiver.

20  A single woman who works as a night nurse should consult a Rav if she has to care for an elderly or sick man through the night.

21  Yichud is so serious that we are taught that it applies even to a man and a woman who are burying a baby in a cemetery.

22   Professionals such as veterinarians are permitted to mate animals since they are consumed by their work and will not be thinking sinful thoughts, but one must be watchful at all times.  It is forbidden to watch animals while mating lest it arouse inappropriate thoughts. 

1   A man and a woman who are dating must be extremely careful not to be in a Yichud situation. Therefore, they should not go to a secluded park or quiet country spot. This applies even more after they become engaged, for then there is a case of Libo Gas Boh. 

2  If a man and a woman meet in a private home, there must be a shomer in the home. If only the woman's mother is at home and has the status of Baalah Ba-ir, there is no Yichud. 

3  However if her husband is not in the city, then the front door should be left closed but not locked. 

4  If other family members are in the house, then the couple may be in a room alone even if the door is closed but not locked, although it is a midat chassidut to leave it slightly ajar. If the household members are sleeping, then they should leave the door open.

5  The Rama (E.H. 55:1) cites that an engaged couple should not sleep in the same house even if the parents of either the Chatan or Kallah are sleeping in the same house. Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik was particularly scrupulous about this Halacha. 

6  Rav Hershel Schachter (Nefesh Harav p.255) relates that when a young man was engaged to a young lady and would come to visit his Kallah’s family for Shabbat, the Rav would emphasize to the young man how importance it is for him not to stay over; letting him know very clearly that he should not sleep in the home of his future in-laws.


The Halachot of Yichud are readily implemented in daily life. However, one must be watchful and alert to this problem, as it arises often without one realizing it. One can formulate strategies with relative ease on how to avoid violating this vitally important Halacha, but situations can rapidly change. Example:

“There is the story of a young man who has started applying the laws of yichud in his life. He used to be a Chiloni (Secular Jew) because of his upbringing and later delved into non-Jewish belief where they don't understand the laws of Judaism. Eventually he made Teshuva and became a very observant Orthodox Jew. He was doing very well until he found himself a new apartment after one of his trips to Israel. He checked the apartment, he asked many questions to the administrator. However, despite all his inquiries found himself in a situation of yichud, there were two single women in the building that often would be in the common area of the building, such as a common kitchen. At first he tried to avoid being alone with them, but it was almost impossible, due to the fact that they had developed an interest in him and were looking all the means to connect with him. He told them that he was Jewish and very observant, but that didn't deter them. He knew that the only solution to this problem was moving out, although that would include a penalty for breaking the terms of lease. However, it was necessary to avoid this situation. Before he was able to move, the situation unfortunately degenerated very quickly, when the women found out from the administrator that he was moving one of them rushed over to him and hug him allegedly in a sign of appreciation for being a good neighbour and that they would miss him. After that undesirable situation, he contacted a Rabbi to ask for advice. Then He moved out of there.

So all this to show that we must be watchful and alert on changing environments, especially when we don't own our home. To apply the laws of yichud daily in our life requires us to be always alert; a woman should not go swimming where there is a male lifeguard, even if there is no question of Yichud. Parents must teach their children and watch to avoid yichud between brothers and Sisters in their house. It is preferable that a brother and sister who have reached the age of Chinuch (age six and above) should not sleep in the same room. When children invite their friends over, it is important that the boys do not fraternize with the girls. If the parents are not present, care must be taken that there is no question of Yichud, particularly if the friends are sleeping over. This can often become an issue at the time of a family simchah when many cousins are present and their parents are out at the simchah.

It should be noted that many of the heterim of Yichud mentioned in the previous chapters only serve to permit Yichud in a temporary situation. However, these heterim may not be used on a permanent basis. Therefore, the question of Yichud is magnified if the Yichud is in a permanent situation. In each case a Rav should be consulted.    


Yichud Rabbi Howard Jachter
Talmud -  Gemara, Kiddushin 81a; Avodah Zarah; Kiddushin 80b
Rabbi E J Mansour
Rabbi Zvi Miller : Window of the Soul
Rav Ron Chaya: Yeshivah Yosef; Leava
Mesilat Yesharim, by Rav Chaim Luzzatto (RAMCHAL)
The Shulchan Aruch (Even Haezer 22:8)
Chochmat Adam (126:6)

אסור להיות ביחוד
Copyright:  © 2015 ABA - EYBO


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