The Concept of “Pesach Posuach

41. During daylight hours, and during the early hours of the night when there are still passersby in the street,1 a door which is open to the public domain2 causes a Yichud situation to be permitted.3 This is called a “Pesach Posuach Lireshus Horabim.” The reason for this heter is that if the door is open, there is the possibility that the Yichud may be disturbed by an uninvited guest who may suddenly enter. This possibility acts as a deterrent to any improper conduct.

42. Late at night, or even during the day but in a place where there are no passersby, an open door does not serve to permit Yichud.4

Libo Gas Boh

43. It is disputed among the Poskim5 as to whether the heter of a Pesach Posuach applies in the case of a Libo Gas Boh, i.e. with an individual with whom there is a warm and cordial relationship.6 In practice, one may be lenient when necessary;7 however, the door should literally be left open.8

Parutz, Asoko Im Hanoshim, Non-Jew

44. A Pesach Posuach causes Yichud to be permitted even with a Parutz, Asoko Im Hanoshim9 or a non-Jew.10

Closed But Not Locked

45. A door which is closed but not locked allows Yichud to be permitted according to some Poskim,11 under the conditions mentioned in the previous points, as long as there exists the possibility that someone will enter uninvited. This will obviously depend on the circumstances. If a person lives in a place where neighbors or friends enter freely uninvited, then a closed, unlocked door is a Pesach Posuach. However, if it is rare that a person would enter if the door is closed, or if those inside are sure that no one would enter without knocking first, then a closed, unlocked door does not serve as a Pesach Posuach.12

46. Although one may rely on the opinion that a closed but unlocked door is considered a Pesach Posuach,13 in the first instance (lechatchilah) one should leave the door literally open.14 As previously mentioned, this is certainly the case with an individual who is classified as Libo Gas Boh.

47. If there is another factor mitigating the Yichud, such as Baaloh B’ir, or in the case of Yichud midrabonon i.e. the Yichud of more than two people, then one may lechatchilah rely on a closed but unlocked door.15

48. Some Poskim say that even if the door is locked but other people16 have the key (or the lock is a combination lock and others know the numbers), and they may enter suddenly without warning or without the prior knowledge of those inside, then the locked door is halachically considered to be like an open door, which permits Yichud.17

Giving the Key to a Neighbor

49. Giving a key to a neighbor does not create a Pesach Posuach unless the neighbor is asked specifically to come in at any time in order to prevent Yichud. Most people who give keys to a neighbor do so in order that if they ever get locked out of their own home, there is a spare key at the neighbor’s house. This does not create a Pesach Posuach situation. The only way to create a Pesach Posuach is to specifically ask the neighbor to come in unexpectedly from time to time in order to prevent Yichud.18

The Inner Room of a House

50. If a man and woman are in seclusion in an inner locked room of a house, then they are in Yichud even if the front door is open. Furthermore, if they are alone in an inner room which is unlocked but into which people generally don’t enter, e.g. a cellar, then it is Yichud, even if the front door is open.19 However, if the man and woman are in an inner unlocked room of the house and an intruder could possibly enter through the front door and then enter the inner room, then the situation is not considered Yichud.20

51. A man and woman may be alone in an unlocked room of a house if there are other people in the house whose halachic status would serve to permit the Yichud and if it is usual for the people in the house to enter that room without warning.21

An Apartment Building

52. The heter of a Pesach Posuach also applies in an apartment building whose main entrance is kept locked (or where there is a doorman who only allows residents or expected visitors to enter), since neighbors may also enter unexpectedly.22

53. There is no prohibition of Yichud on the stairways of an apartment building, for these stairways are considered public thoroughfares. This is true even if the main entrance to the building is locked.23

A Bay Window

54. We have established that the reason why an open door serves to permit Yichud is the fear of those in seclusion that they may be seen. Therefore, Yichud is permitted in a situation where the two are clearly visible through a bay window that can be looked into from the street, or where they are visible from a side window24 through which a neighbor may look.25 The windows must be unshuttered with no curtains.26