What are the rules of negia as it relates to stepsons or stepdaughters?

For instance, may a Jewish (not Orthodox) stepmother hug her son (Orthodox) at his weddding?

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    What does Orthodox have to do with anything? – Double AA Jul 18 '17 at 22:18
  • @DoubleAA the theory would be the same regardless; in this particular case, it sounds like the stepmother is trying to respect her stepson's religious boundaries, even if she herself doesn't always understand them. – Shalom Jul 18 '17 at 23:32
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    @Shalom That doesn't seem relevant to this post – Double AA Jul 18 '17 at 23:34
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    @Shalom But this site isn't paskining anything... 97K rep points and you don't get that yet? – Double AA Jul 18 '17 at 23:55

the Lubavicher Rebbe (who does not (at least usually) decide halacha question) seems to hint that it is obviously it is forbidden


...by prefacing that the laws regarding an adopted child are different from those regarding one’s natural child, for which reason embracing, kissing and yichud, which are permitted between a [natural] father and daughter and a [natural] mother and son, are prohibited in the case of [an older] adopted child...
(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXIV, p. 130 and text version)

...Yet I have observed that many such couples have not noted that all restrictions — such as embracing and kissing, and likewise yichud — apply in full to adopted children...
(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXIII, p. 310 and text version)

...This leads to the prohibitions of hugging and kissing [an older child by the parent of the opposite sex] (something that is only permitted to the actual birth parents and not to the adoptive parents)...
(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXIII, p. 24 and text version)

it might be possible that hugging in public is not as forbidden as in privet http://www.sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh,_Even_HaEzer.21.5?lang=bi

  • Is advice regarding an adopted child necessarily controlling for a step-child? I can see reasons why and why not. – Ze'ev Felsen Jul 19 '17 at 2:19
  • @Ze'evFelsen is not a step-child by definition adopted? – hazoriz Jul 19 '17 at 3:01
  • @Ze'evFelsen please tell me any reason it should be less of a problem, (to me it seems more of a problem , the problem of hugging and kissing is that it might lead to relations, it is much worse (ervah) to have relations with a step-child, then an adopted child (if the female in the relationship is not married and went to the mikvah)(no ervah) – hazoriz Jul 19 '17 at 3:06


Here is an audio lecture from Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb on whether negia applies to adoptive parents; some rabbis say yes and some rabbis say no. Assuming you entered your stepson's life when he was young, the same theory should apply. So for your specific question: it probably depends on which approach your stepson's rabbi follows.

If you entered his life much later ... it would be harder to allow it, as "hugging and kissing" are the classical examples of prohibited negia in Maimonides' Code. Maimonides does write, however, that hugging an adult sister or aunt is "gross, but not prohibited in the same way"; and contemporary responsa have therefore found room to be lenient for a non-Orthodox woman who wants to hug her Orthodox brother at his wedding. (Otzar HaPoskim, if I recall correctly.) One could argue the same applies here, but it's more of a stretch.

Regardless, Mazal tov; I hope the wedding goes smoothly; and thank you for being there for your stepson.

  • 4
    There's no 'you' entering anyone's life here – Double AA Jul 18 '17 at 23:56
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    Who are you saying mazel tov too? – Double AA Jul 18 '17 at 23:57
  • the minute of the audio regarding this question is 40:30 – hazoriz Jul 19 '17 at 0:48
  • and he seems to say that the consensus is that it is forbidden, (if i remember correctly the reason Lubavichers would go to Boston was not to get permission to hug and kiss but to to get permission to adopt) – hazoriz Jul 19 '17 at 0:57

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