Regarding the sugya of men and women shaking hands, I saw a few places who source the Nishmas Chaim who explains his shitta. They source it as Nishmas Chaim Siman 135 and some add (anaf) 6. However, I looked it up in all 4 sections (I assume it would be in Even Haezer) and did not find any mention of this concept.

Can someone please direct me to the correct tshuva?

  • 1
    I don't see the work on Hebrewbooks. You mean Nishmas Chaim of R Chaim Berlin son of the Netziv?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 16:32
  • they don't have it on Hebrewbooks, I looked it up in my shul.yes his son
    – sam
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 16:45
  • Did you find this now? I saw it reported in a manuscript of a new sefer and could write up what is there. It is the same reference 135:6
    – mbloch
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 7:32

1 Answer 1


See below for the explanation as to why you could not find it, but here is the text you are looking for:

ואשר שאל על דבר נתינת ידו לרשעים או לנכרית הנה ליתן יד לפושעים אין שום איסור בזה אם אין בזה הודאה וחיזוק להנהגותיהם בשרירות לבם ולתת יד לאשה לשון הש"ס הוא ברכות ס"א א' המרצה מעות לאשה מידו לידה כדי להסתכל בה מבואר דאם אינו מכוין לשום דבר וכש"כ שאינו עושה כדי להסתכל בה כמו מעלתו שכל מעשיו לשם שמים אין איסור בזה לרצות מעות מידו לידה ודאי אם יוכל להזהר בזה מה טוב אבל אם אי אפשר לו להנצל מזה כגון אם הנכרית הקדימה והושיט לו את ידה ואין דעתו לשום הרהור ח"ו אין להחמיר בזה ודרכיה דרכי נועם ואהבת את ה' אלקיך אמרו חכמים יומא פ"ו א' שיהא שם שמים מתאהב על ידך ולא יאמרו על יראי ה' שהם משוגעים ואינם בעלי דרך ארץ

As for your question on extending a hand to the wicked, or to a non-Jewish woman – there is no prohibition of extending a hand to sinners, unless doing so would be a form of recognition and reinforcement of their whatever-they-wish behavior; as for a woman, Talmud Brachos 61a discusses "placing coins into a woman's hand in order to gaze at her" – meaning that if he doesn't intend this, and certainly when not doing this in order to gaze, as a great person like yourself does everything for the sake of Heaven – there is no prohibition... certainly, if possible to avoid it, how great, but if impossible to be saved from it, such as if the non-Jewish woman initiated and extended her hand, and he doesn't intend anything lascivious God forbid, one should not be strict about this; the ways of the Torah are pleasant ones, and Talmud Yoma interprets "Love God" as "Cause God's reputation to be loved [by others] because of your actions"; let no one say that God-fearing people are crazy and lack civilization.

(Shalom's translation)

Explanation: You are looking it up in a different version from the one the citation is from.

There are two versions of the Nishmat Chaim. The first version published in Benei Brak in 2002 contains one volume. Siman 135 Anaf 6 in this volume is indeed the one about shaking hands with women.

The second version published in Jerusalem in 2008 contains four volumes – one each for Orach Chaim, Yoreh Deiah, Even HaEzer, and Choshen Mishpat. R. Chaim Belin wrote several responsa to a certain Shabtai Baruch. One of these contains the section you are looking for, but the respona, and their component parts, are arranged differently in the two versions. Below is a table that I have compiled showing the breakdown of the three responsa to Shabtai Baruch in the original version, and the corresponding locations of each section in the new version. As you can see, there are quite a few rearrangements in the new version. Some of these rearrangements required subtle changes in order to make them understandable (e.g. adding a couple of words of opening context that was obvious in the original version because of the section immediately preceding it that does not immediately preceed it in the new version). This apparently also led to some strange numbering arrangements in the new version, as for example Yoreh Deiah Siman 141 which begins with Anaf 11 with no indication as to what ten sections it is following.

Topic Benei Brak 2002 Jerusalem 2008
Minyan 1 7:1 Even HaEzer 3:4
Minyan 2 7:2 Yoreh Deiah 141:17/18
Bein Hashemashot 7:3 Yoreh Deiah 143:6
Work Agreement 7:4 Yoreh Deiah 143:7
Praying with Chasidim/Nusach 7:5 Yoreh Deiah 143:9
Moving to California 7:6 Yoreh Deiah 141:15
Singing 7:7 Yoreh Deiah 141:16
Mikvah 1 106:1 Yoreh Deiah 141:11/143:1
Mikvah 2 106:2 Yoreh Deiah 143:2
Gentile Believability 106:3 Yoreh Deiah 141:12/143:2
Oaths 106:4 Yoreh Deiah 141:13/143:4
Cursing Sinners 106:5 Yoreh Deiah 141:14
Sha'atnez 106:6 Even HaEzer 3:5
Wife and Kids 135:1 Even HaEzer 3:1
Mesader Kiddushin 135:2 Even HaEzer 3:2
Women's Believability 135:3 Even HaEzer 3:3
Women's Head Covering 135:4 Yoreh Deiah 143:5
Conversing with Women 135:5 Yoreh Deiah 143:8
Handshaking with Women 135:6 Yoreh Deiah 141:19
Shechitah N/A Even HaEzer 3:6
  • 3
    What a disaster. Why did they do this?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 12:30
  • @DoubleAA Not sure. It may have something to do with organization by topic, e.g. some of these topics do make more sense in Y.D. than in E.H. But some are still odd choices then — why put a question about praying with a minyan in E.H. and not O.C.? I suppose further research into other differences throughout the versions might shed more light on this. Also, without access to the underlying manuscripts it’s difficult to definitively prove who changed what, though at face value it seems pretty obvious.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 15:39
  • Did they at least note in an introduction that they made changes?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 16:18
  • @DoubleAA I’ll have to reread it in full, but I don’t recall them even mentioning that there was a previous publication. They did say something like “arranged by Shulchan Aruch section for the reader’s convenience”.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 16:22
  • Wow,this is wild,tx
    – sam
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 19:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .