I have read that "poskim" say that carrying an item will alleviate the problem of walking between two women. Does anyone know the names of these poskim or seforim that say this?

  • 2
    Note that Rambam, Tur and the Shulhan Arukh do not quote this superstition.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 8, 2018 at 23:25

2 Answers 2

  • Tiv Yehoshua 2:12
  • Beis Baruch vol. 1 page 402
  • Zichron Tov letter 29
  • Lev Eliyahu Bereishis introduction page 27

"Some maintain that if the man passing in the middle carries an article such as an umbrella or a sefer, he is not considered to be passing alone between the two women and the warning does not apply. [citations above.] This is, however, not unanimously held - Responsa Vay'varech Dovid 122 and Chazon Ish quoted in Shemiras Haguf V'Hanefesh page 334"

-R'Eliyohu Falk in Modesty, an Adornment for Life, p. 505

  • 1
    I'd humbly suggest editing in the original source for this superstition - Horayot 13b (or the cit. from mevaqesh's answer). Additionally, in a resp. from R. YC Sonnenfeld (Salmat Chaim 2:35) he posits that this only applies when the two women on either side are stationary, not when they are in motion.
    – Oliver
    Jan 9, 2018 at 4:23
  • @Oliver Do you mean the "superstition" of walking between members of the opposite sex? AFAIK it is an actual halacha. It is discussed in several gemaras including the one you mentioned, as well as the Shulchan Aruch. There is a lot to say about the halacha itself, but I don't think that's what the original poster was asking for. You are, of course, welcome to edit my answer to add anything you think would help
    – SAH
    Jan 9, 2018 at 5:11
  • 1
    I personally wouldn't classify it as a halacha even if it were mentioned in in SA (which, FTR, I don't think it is; please ref. it if you know where it is). It would essentially depend on how you define "halacha".
    – Oliver
    Jan 9, 2018 at 5:52
  • 1
    @vijay830 Thanks, but note that it's also codified in the Shulchan Aruch HaRav - neither of which are the Shulchan Aruch (by R. Yosef Karo).
    – Oliver
    Jan 9, 2018 at 13:27
  • 1
    They all got it from one another. What do you mean by "Choshen Mishpat"? FTR, the references you mentioned by name are acharonim. Did you mean he cites 11 additionally acharonim? Regardless, with due respect, showing that halachic books cite this practice does not prove its halachic nature. Are you aware of how many non-halachic books cite this practice too?
    – Oliver
    Jan 9, 2018 at 14:02

The source for this is no doubt an interpretation of P'sahim (111a); the source for not walking between women in the first place:

הני תרי נשי דיתבן בפרשת דרכים חדא בהאי גיסא דשבילא וחדא באידך גיסא ומכוונן אפייהו להדדי ודאי בכשפים עסיקן מאי תקנתיה אי איכא דירכא אחרינא ליזיל בה ואי ליכא דירכא אחרינא אי איכא איניש אחרינא בהדיה נינקטו לידייהו בהדי הדדי וניחלפו ואי ליכא איניש אחרינא נימא הכי אגרת אזלת אסיא בלוסיא מתקטלא בחיק קבל

These two women, who are sitting at a crossroads, one on this side of the road and the other on the other side, and they are facing each other, they are certainly engaging in witchcraft. What is the remedy for one who walks by? If there is another route, he should go by it. And if there is no other route, if there is another person with him, they should hold hands and switch places. And if there is no other person with him, he should say as follows: Iggeret, Azlat, Asiya, Belusiya are killed by arrows. [These are names of demons invoked by witches. Rashi] (Sefaria).

That is, if one is scared that women are witches plotting demonic mischief he can hold his friend's hand. Presumably this is then generalised to other cases. The idea that holding something alleviates the problem of walking between two women, is quoted by the Nitei Gavriel here. As is mentioned here.


You must log in to answer this question.