Rabbi Joel Sirkis, Bayit Chadash, Even HaEzer 24:1
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כתב בית יוסף בשולחן ערוך ובדורות הללו שרבו הפריצים יש להתרחק מלהתייחד עם הזכר עד כאן לשונו וכתב כן לפי מדינתו ודורותיו ומשמע דיש להתרחק מדינא קאמר אבל במדינתינו דלא נשמע שפרצו בעבירה זו אין צורך להתרחק אלא דמכל מקום מי שנתרחק הרי זה משובח:
The Beit Yosef wrote in the Shulchan Aruch, “In these generations, now that there are many profligates, one aught avoid being alone with a man.” He wrote this according to his country at this time, and it implies that one is legally obligated to avoid [being alone.] However, in our country, where it not known that people transgress this prohibition, there is no need to avoid [being alone]. However one who does is praiseworthy. [Translation by Rabbi Steven Greenberg]
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Note: Remaining unchaperoned in a closed room with another person with whom one is prohibited to have sex is a rabbinically prohibited. This stricture could be strictly or loosely applied. Does this rule of "yichud," (prohibiting seclusion behind closed doors with another) have salience for you in the contemporary context? In what contexts might it and what contexts might it not?

2. The standards of caution regarding sexual liaisons between men was dictated by cultural mores. In France and Germany there was little cultural tolerance of same-sex relations so the law itself was lenient. In Sephardic and Arabic contexts, both in Spain and the later in Safed, there was more cultural tolerance of same-sex relations and so the rabbis of those communities often argued for more stringent barriers to prevent violation. What does this tell us about yichud in general?

3. What should the law look like today?" Should gay people be forbidden to seclude with a person of the opposite sex?

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Time Period: Medieval (Geonim through the 16th Century)