I'm male. Imagine I arrive at a youth hostel where I'm the only Jew. It's a big house on a quiet residential street; the house has been converted into a youth hostel. There's a male-only dorm room. And, across the hallway, there's also a female-only dorm room. Assume that the doors to all the dorm rooms are unlocked.

If I recall correctly, Jewish law normally assumes that non-Jews are not "shomer negiah". And so, if I would stay the night, I think Jewish law would consider me to be the only shomer-negiah individual staying in the entire building. I'm not sure whether or not this would pose any halachic problem.

Chabad rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov briefly discusses the matter of yichud (seclusion) together with a large group of non-Jewish men and women. For example, he writes:

A woman may not ride a bus on a deserted country road even though there are many non-Jewish men and women on the bus.

Do the laws of yichud allow me to sleep in the male-only dorm room?

  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/16023/759
    – Double AA
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 23:22
  • I don't understand why you wouldn't be able to.
    – Scimonster
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 8:51
  • @Scimonster: Fair point. I've edited the question. Now I hope you see why it might be forbidden. If not, please ping me. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 13:58
  • What is the worry? That a woman will go into the male dorm?
    – Scimonster
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 14:05

2 Answers 2


Chabad rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov[1] cites the Minchas Ish and says that the hallways of a hotel are public domains. So perhaps the hallways of a youth hostel are also public domains.

But perhaps I'm wrong, or perhaps there may be other halachic problems with sleeping in a non-Jewish youth hostel. I'm not a rabbi. Ask your rabbi.

[1] In chapter 6 note 235 of the free online version of The Laws of Yichud.

  • This question and answer were originally just a comment on another question. After I originally posted the comment, Menachem replied: "That's the hallways, but what about the rooms where the beds are located?" Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 22:02
  • @Menachem: I'm in a dorm room that contains only men. There's a public domain just outside the room. This seems analogous to being in a house full of men which opens onto a public domain. So you haven't convinced me that there's any problem with staying in a male-only dorm room in a youth hostel. Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 22:30

The problem is only for a WOMAN to be with many non-Jews, because of rape. There is no [halachic] problem for a man. Unless, of course if they are known to be very anti-Semitic, then it might be pikuach nefesh. According to the opinion that 3 men and 3 women are forbidden if they are prutzim (brought in the SIE article, number 28), it might be a problem. But the halachah is clearly not like that. Since all the poskim mention specifically only a woman [and not a man] with many non-Jews.

Also, there is probably a maximum to the amount of non-Jews for there to be a problem. See this source.

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