If someone has a paranoia tick (for example they feel they must flip the light switch 3 times when turning it on or something bad will happen), what does Judaism say about this? Is anything like this mentioned anywhere, and if not what would be the Jewish response to such an issue? How would one fade it out?

  • 2
    Isn't that just OCD?
    – Kovy Jacob
    Sep 28, 2023 at 8:35
  • @KovyJacob not exactly Sep 28, 2023 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


An interesting question.

This can sadly be common when a person becomes obsessive about keeping Halacha. Even though there are many rules that not only permit but mean that there is no issue. Like Bittul Be'Shishim (drop of milk in large pot is kosher (ask LOR) etc...). We know if you don't trust Chazal this is tragic; however, this person is suffering a serious emotional issue.

That is in reality something that needs to be treated, especially if it is serious.

A usual approach for a basic emotional issue is based on ( בבא בתרא קסד ע''א) עולא אמר כדרב הונא דאמר רב הונא כיון שעבר אדם עבירה ושנה בה - הותרה לו that if the person experiences something it becomes emotionally less intense each time, like a sin that becomes permissible in his mind. And so as a person becomes "exposed" it becomes more natural. This imo is exposure therapy.

Not a doctor at all, but for example, they need to repeat "Shema" 20 times. Usually such a person has multiple issues, what can they handle feeling uncomfortable about? Saying it 19 or some other habit? These people are in pain. They need help. Some people can emotionally be damaged due to chemical imbalance or lack of sleep or food or some experience - obviously solving these issues might help alleviate or make it easier to deal with the OCD. It is hard to advise without knowing the person and their life.

Usually serious issues need a doctor, less serious issues could also use a doctor, but people sadly don't want to go. Those are some basic ideas, but in reality this is more of a mental health issue than a Jewish issue.

Rav Asher Weiss below is supportive that a person simply say a beracha once even if it is wrong so that they don't act in an OCD way to train themselves - even if it was done wrong. He is willing to trust the Doctor's medical approach here.

הרב אשר וייס שו"ת מנחת אשר קלד תלמיד חכם מופלג וירא שמים מרבים שסובל ממקרה קשה של אובססיביות (OCD) ולרוב אינו מסוגל להגות ברכה כהלכתה, או לקרוא את השמע כהלכת, ולפעמים נאבק הוא זמן רב ללא הועיל כדי להוציא שם השם כראוי, ויש לו עגמת נפש עצומה. לדעת הרופאים המומחים בתחום זה דרך הטיפול היא שלעולם לא יחזור פעמיים על דיבור או תפילה ואם לא הצליח בפעם ראשונה להגות את הברכה או התפלה כראוי אין לעשות כלל נסיון נוסף. בדרך זו מקווים רופאיו לחלצו מיצר ולהקל על מצוקתו. נראה בזה להלכה דראשית חובתו של איש זה לעשות את כל הנדרש על מנת למצוא מזור ומרפא למחלתו ולשם כך מותר לו אף לעבור על מצוות התורה.


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