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How high must a Mechitzah be?

by Rabbi Moshe Miller

  

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There are two schools of thought regarding the purpose of a Mechitzah: some maintain that its purpose is to prevent men from seeing women. Accordingly, the mechitzah must be high enough to completely block the entire women’s section, and must be made from an opaque material.
 
Others however maintain that is purpose is to prevent men and women from mingling or interacting. Accordingly, as long as the mechitzah is high enough to effectively block out any communication or interaction between the men’s and women’s sections, it is a Halachically valid mechitzah. The minimum height for such a mechitzah is shoulder-high, which Rabbi Moshe Feinstein rules to be 66 inches, and at the very least 60 inches.1
 
There are some who combine the leniency of Rabbi Feinstein with the stringency of the other position and make the first 60 inches of the mechitzah completely opaque, with a curtain or latticework forming the remainder of the mechitzah.
 
To a certain extent, the opinion one follows depends upon the community in which one lives. But one should not be any less strict than the majority of the Orthodox Jewish community in one’s city.
 
It would be best to consult a local orthodox rabbi for a more specific ruling.

Footnotes

  • 1. Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim V. 1:39

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Prayer » Synagogue

Halachically
According to Jewish law.
Mechitzah
The divider which separates between the men's and women's sections in the synagogue.