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If someone touches something while wearing gloves (i.e. waterproof rubber gloves), does that halachically count as touching? Practical examples include:

  • Touching a neveilah, whether or not you become contaminated.

  • Touching a niddah b'derech chibba.

  • A non-Jew touching wine.

  • And more.

Do these constitute "touching" to the extent that a violator would get malkus?

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Perhaps see hilchos lulav about taking the lulav while wearing a glove? – Curiouser May 21 '12 at 16:50
I don't think you're going to get a one-size-fits-all answer here. – Double AA May 21 '12 at 17:17
No pun intended. – Double AA May 21 '12 at 17:30
I think that there are several separate questions there. One basic question is - Does plastic accept tumah? But that doesn't touch on (ha!) the wine question, which I believe is about possession, not touch. – Charles Koppelman May 21 '12 at 17:40
@SAH there is no Issur to touch Muktzeh, only to move it, which would then apply even with gloves. – Yehuda Feb 17 at 7:52

2 Answers 2

Regarding neveilah (See Bechoros 23), there would be no distinction to be made if you were wearing a glove or you sat on a dead animal (though sitting on a pillow on TOP of the animal would be different). The conveyance of Tumas maga happens irrespective of your clothes, which are considered batel to your body.

The issue regarding yayn nesech is its use for sacrament. How would gloves interfere in any way with the non-Jews ability to use this wine? It doesn't. Which would mean that the wine is just as assur as if he touched it with his hands directly. After all, he's only indirectly handling the wine anyhow as it's in a bottle already...

I'm going to refrain from talking about niddah and using a derech chibbah glove ... :)

Never mind ... A person isn't even allowed to hand objects to their wife while she is in niddah (it's one of the harchakos) or sleeping in the same bed even if they aren't touching. Even more so is actually touching each other "through" an object not allowed.

If you're asking on a de'oraysa level with niddah, then answer this - can you touch her through her clothes while she's wearing them "derech chibbah?" Pretty sure that's a straight "no." A glove wouldn't be any different - it's just adding another layer to feeling each other. The Rambam makes clear that touching ANY niddah woman in a pleasurable manner is a d'oraysa violation, and one that may make you subject to malkus (machlokes on whether it's all women or only certain ones). (Issurei Bi'ah 21:1)

For muktzeh, we see that you are not allowed to lean up against a small tree since you are moving the branches by doing so. This is despite any clothes you may be wearing. That implies that the clothes aren't chotzetz - the issue is moving an object using a direct koach gavra, and gloves wouldn't solve that problem. We get around this issue on shabbos by moving with a shinui or indirectly by moving a permitted object, but we DON'T permit you to wrap your hand in a napkin and move the object normally.

Gloves in a mikvah WOULD constitute a chatzitzah because the standard we apply to tevilah is far and away more chamur than any other instance. Even though loose clothing would technically be permitted in a mikvah, the accepted practice is that even that is avoided. In general, the balance of halachic literature would seem to treat gloves, clothes, etc. as a default negiah lechumra but NOT lehakel (like in mikvah).

If anyone can think of a case where a gloved hand would be any different than either a) your hand touching a clothed body or b) your clothed body touching a bare object, please leave me a comment.

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Re Niddah: the Issurim you mention only apply to a Wife who is a Niddah. The question applies to Niddahs where there are no Harchakos, an unmarried girl over 12 for example. – Yehuda Feb 17 at 7:50
Why would that be better in any sense? If hugging through clothes is assur, what is the glove adding? The only case that might be better is shaking hands, which is already on shaky ground vis a via derech chibbah. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 17 at 12:40
@Isaac kotlicky see beg. Of 3rd perek in sotah.the second Tosfos d'h Vekohen.. and what he qoutes from the yerushalmi that the kohen placed a hankerfcheif between his hands and the woman's hands – Mefaresh Feb 17 at 14:09
Haven't had a chance to look inside, but there may be a distinction to be made between an interposing object (the cloth, a sheet, etc.) and an actual article of clothing you are wearing (the glove), which is batel to your body for every halachic question I can think of. The only exception is that your clothes have a different "timeline" than your body when contracting tumah in a bayis hamenugah. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 17 at 15:00
@Nafkamina Oddly enough, I had a bookmark set to the previous daf?! Here's the yirushalmi Tosafos references - look at the both the korban ha'edah and the pinei moshe there. We are bending over backwards to minimize a bad situation the Torah forcing us into. The question isn't whether the mapah is chotzetz when touching the woman (it isn't really, but it's not as bad as touchign her directly), but whether it's chotzetz when moving the kli shares. Sof davar we accept that we have to touch her to do this anyhow. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 17 at 17:10

Per Sefer Chassidim 1090, a man should not shake a womans hand even even if the both parties are wearing gloves.

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The Sefer Chassidim only talks about Jews with Non-Jews, he refers even to same gender handshakes, and it is not the issur deorayta of negia that he refers to, so the more interesting question still remains open. – Double AA May 22 '12 at 1:41

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