Article: Zecher L’Churban (Remembering the Destruction of the Beis Hamikdash) when Renovating
We are doing renovations on our home. As far as leaving an area untouched as a Zecher L’Churban; what is the bare minimum that must be done in this regard? Size? Location? Can it be covered over or decorated in any way?
There is a halachah in Shulchan Aruch that there should be a zecher l’churban at every joyous occasion in one’s life.
One application of this halachah is that when one is building or renovating a house or apartment they should leave an unfinished area measuring an amah by an amah (approx. 1.5 ft x 1.5 ft) which can be seen right when one walks into the house; this area should not be newly plastered, painted, nor wallpapered.
There are some poskim who are lenient and say that the unplastered area may be covered, and others who say it may not. Some say that this should be done in every room of the house, but the consensus among poskim is that leaving an unfinished area near the entrance is sufficient.
If one buys a house or apartment from a non-Jew they need not do so—unless they are putting up new walls. Even if one buys from a Jew, but if the previous Jewish homeowner acquired it from a non-Jew, it does not need to be done either, since initially there was no obligation to do so. However, this is the case only if the residence was not gutted nor the walls replaced from the time that the first Jew bought it; this is one of the reasons many people are lenient regarding this halachah. However, if the Jewish owner is repainting the home or apartment they should leave an amah by an amah unpainted where it can be seen upon entering.
ראה שו״ע או״ח סתק״ס ס״א ובנו״כ שם. ועיי״ש במו״ק. וראה שו״ת אג״מ או״ח ח״ג ספ״ו.
וכן הצובע ביתו – ראה שו״ת ערוה״ב או״ח ח״ב סקע״ט. ובשו״ת התעוררות תשובה ח״א סקס״ד כ׳ באו״א. ואין דבריו מוכרחים. וראה בהנסמן בפסקי תשובות על אתר.
ולהעיר מהנהגת כ״ק אדמו״ר מוהרש״ב נ״ע – באג״ק שלו ח״ה ע׳ קסד.
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