Construction: Closing up a door or window

Closing off the window or door of a room/home:[1]

One may not completely [and permanently[2]] close off a window or door, being that demons use openings to enter and exit and hence closing it off can lead to danger. Rather one must leave a small hole in the area. [The custom is to place a hollow tube, such as a tin can, that is open from both ends within an area of the window or door, and the remaining area may then be sealed.[3] So was the ruling of the Tzemach Tzedek.[4]

 Q&A How large of a circumference must the remaining hole contain? From the letter of the law, a hole of any size suffices.[5] However, the Rebbe Rayatz records that the custom is for the hole to have a circumference of 1.5 Tefach, which is 12 centemeters.[6]    May one cement, paint over the remaining hole [i.e. the open ends of the tube]?[7] Yes. The hole may be covered over by a plug, thin layer of cement, paint, and the like, so long as the hole remains hollow inside, and one is able to easily remove the covering, if he so wishes.   May one completely seal off a door or window if there is another exit adjacent to it?[8] No.[9]   May one close [not seal] a window or door if he plans to leave it closed for a very long time?[10] Yes.   May one seal a window or door if he leaves the window/door frames intact? Some[11]  write this is allowed.   May one demolish a building and then rebuild a new project with different areas of windows and doors? Sefer Chassidim[12] writes that his warning applies even in such a case, and hence one must be careful not to change the areas of the doors and windows, and to rebuild all the doors and windows that existed in the first building. Nevertheless, the custom is not to be stringent in such a case and rather the doors and windows are rebuilt in whatever manner one desires.[13]   May one install an air-conditioning unit into his window? Yes, as there remains some empty space that is not covered over.

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[1] Tzavah Yehuda Hachassid 20; Sefer Chassidim 461; 1146; Teshuvos Upesakim Chachmaei Ashkenaz Tzarfat 83; Brought in: Kneses Hagedola Y.D. 179:10; Beis David C.M. 2:95; Yosef Ometz 37; Ikarei Dinim 8:40; Zivcheiy Tzedek 116:78; Ben Ish Chaiy Pinchas 2:17; Kaf Hachaim 116:122; Shivim Temarim 23 p. 60; Mila Dechasidusa 461; Makor Chesed 461; Igros Kodesh Rebbe Rashab 1:159 and 174 [printed in Shut Toras Shalom Halacha 36-37]; Igros Kodesh 13:296; 15:346 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 4:27-29]; Shemiras Hanefesh p. 15; Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh p. 219; Shevet Halevi 6:111

[2] However, one may completely close off an opening for temporary basis, such as to close a window or door of a room, even if he plans to leave it closed for a very long time.

[3] Igros Kodesh Rebbe Rashab 1:159 [printed in Shut Toras Shalom Halacha 36]; Shivim Temarim 23 p. 60; Shemiras Hanefesh p. 15; Igros Kodesh 13:296; 15:346 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 4:27-29]; Shevet Halevi 6:111

[4] Igros Kodesh Rebbe Rashab 1:159 [printed in Shut Toras Shalom Halacha 36]; Shivim Temarim 23 p. 60; Igros Kodesh 13:296; 15:346 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 4:27-29]

[5] Tzava ibid “a small hole”; Yosef Ometz ibid “Any size hole”; Shivim Temarim 23 p. 60 in name of Yosef Ometz; Ben Ish Chaiy ibid “any size hole”; Mila Dechassidusa “By leaving some hollow area..”; Toras Yekusiel Kama 15; Shemiras Hanefesh p. 15; See Sefer Beis Chayeinu 770 p. 277 that the Rebbe directed to leave a hole the size of a needle

[6] Igros Kodesh Rayatz 9:385, brought in Igros Kodesh 13:296 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 4:27-29]

[7] Igros Kodesh Rebbe Rashab 1:159 [printed in Shut Toras Shalom Halacha 36] “May cover with cement”; Shivim Temarim 23 p. 60 “May cover with a plug”; Igros Kodesh Rayatz 9:385 “After it is plugged, it is painted over”; Igros Kodesh 13:296; 15:346 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 4:27-29]; Shevet Halevi 6:111

[8] Sefer Chassidim 461; 1146

[9] The reason: As angels and demons only have permission to use a specific exit. [See Shivim Temarim ibid]

[10] Shivim Temarim 23 p. 60

[11] Shivim Temarim ibid; Shemiras Hanefesh p. 15; Koveitz Mibeis Levi 7:44; However see Beis Chayeinu ibid

[12] Sefer Chassidim 461

[13] Mila Dechasidusa 461; Makor Chesed 461