Rav Binyomin Zilber: The Irony Of Homes In Chutz La’Aretz

unpainted wallThe Shulchan Aruch paskens that you must leave a space of an Amah by an Amah unpainted opposite your front door. The Mishna Brura and many recent Acharonim all try to justify the fact that most people do not keep this minhag today. All of these arguments are admittedly weak justifications and include fear of the goyim and a different kind of paint than what the gemara referred to.

Many gedolim always kept this minhag. In Eretz Yisroel most people keep this minhag. Rav Binyomin Zilber in his sefer Az Nidbiru notes that it is ironic how in Eretz Yisroel where we don’t need any reminders about the Churban since it is always before us, we keep this minhag. Yet in Chutz La’aretz where people build their lives and homes without giving thought to the possibility of Moshiach’s imminent arrival, they do not bother with this important minhag. Revach

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Where is it in shulchan aruch? I asked A godol poisek in Boro park about it and he sais he doesn’t know anyone in Europe who did this.

  2. I don’t have a wall opposite my front door. I have a staircase and above that there is a hall and a door to a room. So where do I leave an unpainted (or unplastered) wall?

  3. my Rov said to leave 12×12 opposite the front door so it’s very obvious. and its fine. (maybe the crown moldings and gold leaf distract from it???)

  4. We hired a hired a non-Jewish painter as soon as we moved in. He barely spoke English, but he managed to ask us without prompting whether iwe wanted “our square” 18×18 or 22×22, so I’m pretty certain that at least in Lakewood this minhag isn’t as neglected.

  5. That’s true #6. While I grew up in Boro Park, I never heard about this minhag (Halacha?), but here in Lakewood we do keep it. And our non-Jewish painter also knew all about the Temple that was destroyed so we are obviously not the only ones.

  6. It might also be worthwhile to remember why we lost the Bais Hamikdosh in the first place. That would be sinas chinam. Its a good idea to leave off some paint. It might be another good idea to have it remind u not to speak lashon harah…

  7. I think its very unfair to say that people dont keep this in chutz laretz… In Toronto almost all my friends houses had this and in Lakewood too.

  8. It doesn’t apply to a house that is bought from a non jew, so that accounts for a lot of the houses that many frum Jews live in. In Lakewood and other areas where many live in newly built houses, indeed you do see this “halacha” being upheld by most people.

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