A man is not allowed to walk between two women. Does this apply where one of them is his mother (or sister)?

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    "A man is not allowed to walk between two women." Source for this please? Is it an absolute, or dependent on cultural context (like walking behind a woman, which the Terumas HaDeshen allowed 600 years ago and R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach 30 years ago). – Shalom Jun 21 '10 at 12:34
  • Even if some think it is Aggadic, The Gemora says that if it happens, one should say Posukim which begin and end with Hashem’s name ק-ל or which begin and end with the word לא. The example of the former is 23:22-23: ק-ל מוציאם ממצרים כתועפת ראם לו כי לא נחש ביעקב ולא קסם בישראל כעת יאמר ליעקב ולישראל מה פעל ק-ל, and the example of the latter is 23:19: לא איש ק-ל ויכזב ובן אדם ויתנחם ההוא אמר ולא יעשה ודבר ולא יקימנה – SimchasTorah Jun 23 '10 at 22:13

The source is Pesochim 111a and Horayos 13b where it says that it's koshoh leshikchoh (harms one's memory). Regarding relatives, Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vehanefesh page 333 brings from one sefer that it is mutar (allowed) (because the reason it is koshoh leshikchoh (harms one's memory) is because one diverts his attention from Torah to an Ervah, (so it doesn't apply to relatives).

However, all the other seforim don't make this distinction, so it appears that they disagree.

  • koshoh leshikchoh - causes one to forget his Torah. – user146 Jun 23 '10 at 22:21
  • See רבבות אפרים ח"ג סי' תקכ"ה – chortkov2 Mar 13 at 22:39

"A man is not allowed to walk between two women."

This whole notion appears in an aggadic, somewhat spooky-things-that-go-bump-in-the-night portion of the Talmud. It does not appear in Rambam's code of law, nor Shulchan Aruch.

Some Jews (like the one asking this question, and the latter-day compendia cited in other answers here) still feel this is binding and are worried about it.

Others feel that the Talmud may have been conveying a deeper message or the like in passages like these, however, as for practical action, if you're not spooked, it won't spook you, so no need to worry about it.

So take that as you will.

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    Its part of the zugos ("pairs") customs, which the rishonim already observe are no longer kept. – Ariel K Jun 2 '11 at 14:19
  • This halacha is mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch Harav – ertert3terte Apr 23 '12 at 1:47

The Shulchan Aruch Harav says that the reason one is prohibited (and it says that the prohibition is in force nowadays) is because of the "evil spirit" there (and not because of Tznius).

Therefore, at first glace, there should be no difference whether the two women are related to him or not.


The laws of Ervah do not apply to Mothers, sisters most do not except you can not live with your sister in an apartment together for a long period of time.

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    Who says it has to do with Erva? – ertert3terte May 16 '12 at 22:00

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