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I am a member of a Chabad shul here in an Asian capital city. Most members of our wonderfully diverse Jewish community are not Hasidic. This is so in my case. I now find myself in a local hospital run by the Roman Catholic Church. My room in the hospital has a crucifix affixed to the wall above my bed. I am unconcerned by it. But I am concerned for my Rabbi's sensibilities when he comes to pay a visit and helps me to lay tiffilin and recite the Shama.

The crucifix cannot be physically removed from its position on the wall and I am reluctant to cover it up on account of what happened 50 years ago when my parents were harshly reproved when they covered a crucifix in an RC hospital room in the UK. Would some kind person advise me of how, if at all, my situation today might make my Rabbi feel uncomfortable when he visits.

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    You have no choice if you are ill. The crucifix is not your and not linked to you, your Rabbi knows this – kouty Nov 10 '16 at 7:03
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    And ask the Rabbi directly – kouty Nov 10 '16 at 7:07
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    Refuah shelema bekarov – kouty Nov 10 '16 at 7:31
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    This site is generally designed for general advice; not for personalized guidance. The latter should be addressed to a rabbi, such as the one is question. However, realize that you have our heartfelt sympathy, and best wishes regarding your predicament. – mevaqesh Nov 10 '16 at 7:32
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    While your family was castigated, it was 50 years ago. I would ask the staff at the hospital to cover it and express it as respect for your rabbi and to allow you to pray. If they are decent people, they would cover it for you. – sabbahillel Nov 10 '16 at 14:47
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Of course, the situation depends entirely on how the two of you feel like handling it.

However, this may help:

One source for covering the cross is based upon the ruling of the Kaf HaChaim 113:27 who says it should especially be covered during prayer. You may want to ask the staff for private time with your Rabbi that will not clash with any scheduled visits by nurses for 15 minutes to put on tefillin and pray etc. Then you can close the door and cover the cross without conflict?

Shulchan Aruch HaRav which is the authoritative Halachic work authored by the first Chabad Rebbe (Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi; who also wrote Tanya) says in Orach Chaim 94:10 and 113:7, that if you cannot avoid praying in such a room with an idolatrous religious icon, you should pray in a private corner of the room instead and be sure not to bow in front of the icon.

Hope this helps, refuah sheleimah! :)

  • Many thanks for your suggestions which I'll take into account. – Peter Point Nov 11 '16 at 8:45
  • which is the authoritative Halachic work That is a bit misleading. Judaism has no single authoritative halakhic work (the only possible contender being the Talmud). The work you reference is almost certainly not even the most popular work. – mevaqesh Nov 13 '16 at 0:33
  • The phrase is used to mean that the book's decisions have heavy weight among those who adhere to that particular group, and even beyond; and/or it is the author's main opinion about law (as opposed to philosophy or a book on mere legal discussion). The word authoritative is obviously not used in an absolute sense when describing any Halachic work. – David Kenner Nov 13 '16 at 3:41
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    The OP obviously benefits from knowing what his Rabbi would appreciate as the opinion most accepted by his own group. I think anyone who reads the OP and the answer understands that. – David Kenner Nov 13 '16 at 3:42
  • @DavidKenner I think your latest observation is pertinent. Many thanks. – Peter Point Nov 13 '16 at 6:24

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