Separate Rooms

118. A man and woman may not share an apartment and its facilities even if they sleep in separate rooms,1 and even if they both lock their rooms at night.2

119. A question arises concerning the case of a man and woman who find themselves in a house alone, as to whether Yichud would be permitted if they were to lock their rooms. Some Poskim say that if the woman locked her room, then Yichud would be permitted.3 Other Poskim disagree.4 In practice one should be stringent.5

120. The prohibition of Yichud exists even if a man and woman are in separate rooms in the same house. As long as there is a door through which a person may pass from one room to the other, there is Yichud. This is true even if the woman is on the top floor of the house and the man in the basement — as long as the two have free access to each other, there is Yichud.6

121. A man may sleep in one room of a house and a woman in another, as long as there are other people in the house who serve to prevent Yichud.7

122. Let us look at a case where there are two rooms in a house, with men in one room and women in another, and it would be highly unusual for a man to enter the women’s room or vice versa. If a man were then to come into the women’s room or a woman into the men’s room in such a way that they would be in Yichud — e.g. if the men were prutzim, or if one man were secluded with two women — then this would constitute Yichud. The reason is that there would be no shomrim in the room, in addition to the fact that the people in the Yichud situation would not be afraid that people might enter from the other room.8

123. If these rooms were to consist of an inner and outer room (i.e., the entrance to one room is through the other), and the men would stay in one room and the women in the other, then there is a dispute among the Poskim as to whether this case would constitute Yichud, and in practice one should be stringent.9 If the women locked the room from their side, some Poskim are lenient and others are stringent.10

124. If both the inner and outer room have a separate entrance, there is no Yichud.11 However, a window or a balcony from which one can jump to the ground is not considered a separate entrance if nobody usually exits in such a way.12

125. A woman is permitted to be in an outer room and a man in an inner room (and vice versa) if the outer room has a Pesach Posuach Lirshus Horabim, an entrance to a public thoroughfare.13

126. There is no prohibition against men and women staying in different rooms in a hotel.14 This is true even if they are on the upper floors of the hotel, since all the hallways and corridors are public domains.15

Separate Apartments

127. Two apartments in one house which have separate entrances, but which are connected by a closed but unlocked door, are considered like one apartment. Thus, if a man is in one apartment and a woman in the other, they are in Yichud.16

128. If the connecting door is locked even from one side, whether from the side of the man or of the woman, they are considered as two separate apartments and there is no Yichud even if each has the key to the door.17

129. Two self-contained apartments in one house, if they share a common hallway and have a common closed entrance, pose a serious problem of Yichud. If a man is in one apartment and a woman in the other, then this may constitute Yichud even if the door to their respective apartments is locked.18

130. Therefore, two-family homes comprised of two apartments that share a common front entrance which is usually locked may pose a serious question of Yichud. This is true even if the respective apartments are locked.19 If a case of Yichud arises, the front entrance should be left open, creating a Pesach Posuach to the hall area, and the private residence should be locked.20

131. Let us discuss the case of two separate apartments, one contained within the other. If a person can only exit one apartment by passing through the other, this would create a Yichud situation. It would be Yichud for one man to be in one apartment and a woman in the other even if the connecting door were locked.21

An Apartment Building

132. It is permitted for a man and a woman to live in separate apartments in an apartment building, even if they are on the same floor and even if they leave the doors open.22

133. If, on the upper floor of an apartment building, there are only two apartments, and one is occupied by a single man and the other by a single woman, then a Rav should be consulted as to the question of Yichud.23

134. In general, an unmarried man should not live in an apartment which is next to or close to an apartment of an unmarried woman if they share the same entrance, even if there are other apartments in the building. It would certainly be unbefitting for a Talmid Chacham to do so. In any case, a Rav should be consulted.24

135. Apartment buildings that have laundry facilities in the basement may present a problem of Yichud if a man and woman wish to do their laundry late at night down in the basement. If closed circuit TV is in place, this might mitigate the problem.25

136. Two adjacent apartments that have separate entrances but are connected by a locked door are considered as separate domains and there is no question of Yichud.26

Renting a Room or Apartment

137. A person who wishes to rent a room should take into consideration the question of Yichud and its permissibility.

138. A Rav should be consulted if a man wishes to rent the basement of a house in which there lives a single woman.

Guests

139. A man and woman may stay in separate guest rooms in a home where the presence of family members precludes a Yichud situation.27

140. If there is a male guest in the home of a married couple, then he may not stay in the house when the man of the house leaves to go to another town or to his place of work28 unless there are other shomrim in the house. The man of the house is halachically obligated to wake the male guest so that they exit the house together.29 Similarly, the man of the house may not be in the house alone with a female guest if his wife has gone out to work.

141. A married couple may have either a woman or man stay in the house as a guest as long as they are fully aware of the Yichud issue and take the necessary precautions that prevent Yichud. It is best that a home have a special guest room where possible so that the guest is afforded the utmost privacy.30

Out-of-Town Boarders

142. It is common that boys and girls are sent away to live with other families in order that they may attend a Jewish school, Yeshivah or Seminary. Such a boarder must be made aware of all the issues of Yichud. It is strongly advisable that a person in such a situation seek guidance from a Rav as to how to avoid Yichud.31

143. According to halachah, shomrim in the home serve to permit Yichud. Nevertheless, it is highly inadvisable to send a boy to board in a home where there are girls of a similar age (and vice-versa) for tznius considerations. If there is no other option, a Rav should be consulted.32

Elevators

144. Some Poskim prohibit Yichud in an elevator.33 However, the opinion of most Poskim34 is that it is permitted as long as the elevator may be stopped on any floor by those wishing to enter. This would apply in office and apartment buildings and other public buildings during the day and early hours of the night. However, late at night or very early in the morning, one should be stringent.35 It is certainly a middas chassidus to avoid Yichud in an elevator wherever possible.

Visiting the Sick

145. It is permitted for a woman to visit a sick man,36 or to comfort a mourner,37 as long as she takes precautions that she will not be in a Yichud situation. When a man is going to comfort a female mourner, it is best that his wife or others accompany him. Alternatively, he should visit her immediately after prayers in the presence of others.

146. It is permitted for a woman to assist a sick man, e.g. to help him sit or stand up, provided she does so in a tznius manner.38

Visiting a Cemetery

147. It is forbidden for a man and a woman to be alone in a deserted cemetery.39

148. Care should be taken when visiting gravesites of Tzaddikim that a Yichud situation should not arise within the Ohel of the Tzaddik.