25

I have heard from my father that my great-grandfather zal, when (in the 1920s) he moved to the States and got a job as assistant rabbi in Canonsburg, Penna., was approached by the women in shul after t'fila Shabas morning with hands outstretched, and promptly acquired the custom of raising his hat.


23

In my and others' experience, the reaction to a refusal to shake hands varies depending on the person, from offense to awkwardness to amusement to respectfulness. Perhaps as tactful as you can get is to do the following: Apologize and explain: "I'm sorry, but religiously, I try to avoid unnecessary contact with women (other than my wife)." No need to go ...


20

I personally saw that my Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Azriel Chaim Goldfein ZT"L, a talmid muvhak (close student) of Rav Mordechai Gifter would shake the hand of any woman who extended her hand to him in greeting. I never had the guts to question him on this, but my presumption is that he weighed the prohibition on touching a woman, which is Rabbinic if not sensual ...


15

I am a white male, and I had this happen to me recently, where I met a woman in a business setting who politely told me, "I don't shake hands for religious reasons". I had never heard this before, but it did not faze me in the least. She was polite in every other way that she treated me. No Problem!


15

Aside from simply giving a short explanation as to why you wont shake hands (which itself can cause people to become offended no matter how polite you are about it), there is not much else you can do that isn't deceitful (claiming sickness) or just weird (bowing, accidentally missing). If you are going to follow the ruling that under no circumstances can you ...


15

From the Sefer Nishmas Avraham Siman 182 וכן שמעתי מהגרש״ז אויערבאך זצ״ל לגבי בחור שצמחו לו שערות בין שתי גבות עיניו שזה נקרא מום ומותר לו להסירם: Uni brow is called a blemish and it can be removed. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 182:1; unofficial translation available) holds like the Rambam (Avodas Kochavim 12:9; translation available) that one can ...


15

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was strongly opposed to a two-ring ceremony in which he says "harei at mekudeshet li" and she says "harei ata mekudash li", but in a later responsum -- EH4:32b (addressing R' Elyakim "Getzel" Ellinson, who was questioning men wearing bands and Rav Moshe defending the practice) he clarifies that for a man to simply wear a band is not ...


15

First things first, You're human. You can't help being attracted to women, Gd made you that way. Only the whens and wheres are your responsibility. Also remember that this area is a very difficult one to conquer, so don't get down on yourself if you fail to climb Everest the first few, or dozen, or hundred times. Getting a warning beforehand helps, so you ...


15

I always heard of people taking off their glasses. I had pretty good vision until recently, and just last week I was able to try that trick, and it actually (somewhat) worked! So for men who have impaired vision, that can be used to their advantage to some extent - blurry women are not as attractive. This isn't practical for all occupations. If you're a ...


14

The Shulchan Aruch in the beginning of YD 182 says: א.המעביר שער בית השחי ובית הערוה אפילו במספרים כעין תער היו מכין אותו מכת מרדות בד"א במקום שאין מעבירין אותו אלא נשים כדי שלא יתקן עצמו תיקון נשים אבל במקום שמעבירין אותו גם האנשים אם העביר אין מכין אותו: {הגה: ואפילו לכתחילה שרי (ר"ן פ"ב דעבודת כוכבים) רק החברים נמנעים בכ"מ (שם ובב"י בשם נ"י) My rough ...


14

The Zohar writes that the Patriarch Yitzchok had the soul of a female (Pikudei 257a). The Seder HaDoros (Elef HaRishon) says that it was the soul of Chava.


13

Per Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu it is not proper to give names such as Rephaela, Daniela, etc. כמו כן ראוי לא לקרוא לבת בשם הדומה בשורשו לשם של בן, כמו: רפאלה, דניאלה, שרונה, יוספה וכדומה. שזה עלול להפריע לילדה כשתגדל להיזכר תמיד על שם פלוני שעל שמו היא קרויה.‏


13

Although the real answer to your question would be found in the Double AA's answer, it's worth noting that there was at least one authority who did believe that pisuk raglayim was an issue for men as well, albeit not as big an issue as for women. The Chazon Ish felt that wearing a long jacket was proper for exactly this issue. In fact he would wear an extra ...


12

Of course, as the comment notes, consult your local Orthodox rabbi. But see here for a halacha sheet shown before and approved by Rav Shternbuch: If one’s wife is not home must the husband light the candles? Seeing that men are obligated to light Shabbos candles as much as women are, if the wife is not present it is up to the husband to light the ...


12

Yes. It is normal in our current Western society for men to do such things (certainly for a unibrow), and the rule of thumb for Lo Yilbash is if it's normal, it's not forbidden (Shulchan Aruch and Rema YD 182:1). R. Akiva Eiger (ad loc.) cites a Perisha who writes that we look at the non-Jewish society around us to determine what is normal.


11

Once meeting a potential client, the director (female) extended her hand to shake, I quickly pulled a business card from my pocket and gave it to her, it worked but when leaving she wanted to shake my hand again, I simply said I'm sorry and she quickly understood. maybe my black suit and black kipa helped (can't remember if I had my hat also). In any case ...


10

A related question was recently on The Workplace, and one of the answers there offered a phrasing I like. While dodging the physical interaction (more about that in a moment), you can say "I'm sorry, my religion allows me to shake hands only with my wife" (or husband, for women in this position). Or you could say "touch" instead of "shake hands with" if ...


10

I've heard that a certain prominent Rosh Yeshiva flashes a smile and says, "Oh, that's not necessary!" This won't work for all people and in all situations, however. Having a business card ready to hand over (as mentioned by Avraham and Ariel) is a more generally useful idea. Rav Lazer Brody reportedly uses halvah bars, as humorously recounted here.


10

Always assume the person is shomer nagiah until they give you a hand, or you see them touch another person who isn't their spouse. I do this even with non-Jews, because you never know if they don't like to be touched or don't like to touch people. http://isitnormal.com/story/i-dont-like-to-be-touched-29913/ From this summary of the research of touching: ...


10

While I appreciate the desire for sources, you must understand that the issur of lo yilbash is much more subjective than many or most other halachos. Most likely you're familiar with opinions which prohibit from looking in mirrors, but that isn't necessarily the practice today when it is common for males to pay attention to their appearance in the mirror. I ...


10

Yes, such classes exist, and are recommended for potential bridegrooms. Speak to the rabbi of any orthodox synagogue, and he should be able to direct you someone who can tutor you in this field. So, I suspect, can the head or mashgiach of any bes midrash. Covered topics are hilchos nida and v'sasos, k'vod ishto, and others, though the exact list varies from ...


10

Basically, we don't have the power to declare someone categorically exempt. Abudraham suggested one explanation, but our system of laws categorically says "all men are obligated", "all women are not." If a person is truly in a situation beyond their control, halacha recognize that. If it's five minutes before sunset and a single dad who hasn't yet prayed ...


10

The commandment to avoid negative reactions is on you, not your wife nor her friends. Of course they shouldn't be deliberately provocative, but if, for example, a normal conversation held in one part of your house bothers you in another part because of kol isha, or if the visitor is dressed appropriately and you are still distracted, this is largely a ...


10

The Ashel Avraham (Pri Migadim 23:2 ) writes that one should not wear tzitzs out next to a kever of a child because maybe his neshama is that of a gadol. He also mentions that in a case of a woman it seems that there is no concept of loeg lerash since a woman is not obligated in tzitzs in their life time. He adds by saying that we are not worried that a ...


10

Kaf Hachaim Orach Chaim 38:9 says that Michal bas Shaul had a male Neshama. Haichal Habracha - Bamidbar 27:7 says that the Bnos Tzelafchad had male Neshamos.


9

If you know that you would be in such a situation, inform the woman, who may be trying to shake hands with you, beforehand, to avoid problems. During my service in Israeli army I attended an order where I was supposed to shake hands with one female lieutenant colonel in presence of other high-rank commanders. I informed her about my problem beforehand, and ...


9

Practice your fake sneeze. If I'm with my wife and a man sticks out their hand to her, I say "I'll take that" and shake their hand (even if I've already shaken their hand).


9

For Question 2: Igros Moshe forbids swimming in mixed beaches. There is no practical halachic difference between cousins/aunts/uncles and non-relatives for Yichud, negiya, etc. (especially that a convert is considered a new-born child). Even by women, Igros Moshe says to be stringent and not swim with a male lifeguard (she is technically not doing anything ...


9

There are two opinions in the medrash cited in Aryeh's answer; R' Yehuda permits women gazing upon men. His opinion is accepted by Sh'muel in B'rachos 48b. Although R' Yochanan follows R' Yosi's interpretation of the pasuk there, the gemara does not record that he added the phrase אם כן עשית בנות ישראל כזונות. In fact, R' Yochanan himself allowed women to ...


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