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Yichud- Is It Permissible For A Man To Be Secluded With A Classroom of Women

*** This Halacha deals with topic of Yichud. Yichud is the concept that a man may not be secluded with a forbidden woman. Please read all the Halachot on this topic as there are conditions and exclusions that must be fully understood before accepting Lema’ase. ***

The Mishna in Kidushin, on the topic of Yichud, says that a man is not allowed to seclude himself with two women [listen to the audio clip for the exact quote]. When the Mishna said two women it meant even more than two women, meaning one man would not be allowed to be secluded with even 100 women. It’s prohibited for it might lead to transgression and sin. That is the way Rambam learns, and that is the way Rav Chida learns. And that is also the opinion of the Ben Ish Chai. So, this restriction prohibiting one man from being secluded with 2 or more women is a restriction DeRabannan (from the Rabbinate.)

So then the question is asked about a male teacher in a girl’s school. Seemingly, based on the above restriction, there would be a problem for a male teacher to teach an all girls class. Is there a way to get around this ruling on Yichud?

The Chachamim give a variety of conditions as follows, whereby following any one of them would then permit a male teacher to be in such a classroom.

1) If the door to the classroom is ajar or fully open, it is then permissible for a male teacher to be alone among a classroom of girls based on the fact that that people can walk in and out as they wish. Under such a condition, we wouldn’t be suspect of any improprieties.

2) If the door to the classroom is not locked, it also then permissible for the male teacher to be among the room of girls. For that matter, the condition also permits seclusion if there is no lock on the door at all. Here too, we would not be suspicious of any inappropriate activity that might lead to sin.

3) If the teacher’s wife is in the classroom, the Gemara then says that his wife’s presence protects him against transgression, and he would be able to be alone with the girls in the class with the door closed and locked.

Now, we said above in condition #3, that a wife’s presence protects her husband from transgression, and he may then be in the classroom of girls. So the question was asked if his mother’s presence would protect him as well. On this, there is a great Machloket amongst the Acharonim. Rav Chayim Palachi says this principal also applies to the mother, but Rav Chida says it does not. So what is the Halacha? According to Rav Moshe Feinstein, since the rule of prohibiting man from being secluded with 2 or more women is DeRabannan, we are therefore lenient and apply this condition to the mother as well. The mother’s presence in the room does protect the son, and he may then be alone in a classroom among girls.

To review. Based on a rule from the Torah, a man is not allowed to be secluded with one lady. Based on the Rabbinate, for Sephardim, a man may not even be secluded with 2 ladies or more, even as much as one hundred ladies. (Ashkenazim should ask their Rabbis as their laws vary.) If a man is giving a class to ladies, he has some methods and conditions whereby he can be alone with the them and not violate the laws of Yichud. He is OK if the door to the room does not have a lock. He is OK if he leaves the door open, or unlocked. And he is OK if either his wife or mother is in the room.