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20

Different crowds use "I'm shomer negiah" to mean two very different things: A.) I follow the strictest reading of the law and avoid any touching whatsoever. B.) I keep the law and don't hug/kiss my unwed sweetheart, unlike many of my friends for whom that's too hard. Let's address the sources for both. The Torah starts off the list of prohibited ...


16

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!


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

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).


10

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, in Igros Moshe Even HaEzer 1:56 did not want to allow shaking hands, even when the other person offers their hand first, as it is likely considered an affectionate act. Hugging, whatever the reason, seems to be much more of an inherently affectionate act, and would be similarly discouraged. Even according to those who would permit ...


9

See Rambam Issurei Biah Chapter 21 and Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Chapter 20 who codify this as a Biblical prohibition. Rambam mentions Leviticus 18:6 and 18:30 as his sources. Rambam counts it as prohibition #353. Sefer HaChinuch counts it as #188. Semag counts it under prohibition #126.


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 ...


8

Tosfos in Sotah 19a (D'H V'kohen Maniach) quoting the Yerushalmi, asks how was it permissible for the Kohen to place his hands underneath the Sotah's hands while doing "tenufa" ie. waving the offering, when bringing the Minchas Sotah? One answer Tosfos suggests to justify this is because the Kohen placed a sheet or napkin between his hands and her hands. ...


7

This should fall into the same category as visiting a doctor of the opposite gender. Because just like the Shach Yoreh Deah 195:20 says that according to the Rambam, the only issur of negiah is when the negiah is with hana’a, or pleasure, but in medical care there is no pleasure involved so it would be muttar to treat a patient of the opposite gender. So too ...


6

R. Joseph Messas wrote the following responsum on the similar issue of touching between a nurse and patients. Otzar Hamichtavim Vol. III # 1,833 תשובה דבר פשוט אצל כל הפוסקים שאין אסור נגיעה בעריות אלא דרך תאוה וחבה שמביאה לידי הרגל עבירה אבל נגיעה של עבודה ושירות של שעבוד לאחרים לא אסרה תורה ולא אסרו חכמים עיי' מזה באגרות משה חאבה"ע סי' י"ד שהאריך ...


6

The issue of touching a woman when sexual intercourse is forbidden is addressed in Shulchan Aruch Yore Deah 195, sayf 17; Shach Sayf Katan 20; Gemara Shabbos 13; and the main discussion is in Sefer Hamitsvot of Rambam lavim 353 with the objections of the Ramban. All the prohibitions of non-sexual contact are bounded to a sexual risk. The Gemara Shabbat ...


5

RS quoted a fascinating Gemara above, however there are a lot of ways it's interpreted. Don't get started on trying to psychologically diagnose "sort of kind of pikuach nefesh", unless you're a trained professional or it's clear this person is a danger to themselves or others (at which point you need to call in the professionals). Let's try and break down ...


5

First let's clear up the "touch" vs. "hug" business. As has been discussed many times before, some say the prohibition is "any touch whatsoever"; others "only affectionate touch." In some circles I'm shomer negiah means "I follow the stricter opinion and won't even do non-affectionate touch (as opposed to those who do business handshakes)"; in other circles ...


5

There are many who will not shake hands because they are germaphobes. I suspect that most people have been in the sitation before where the other person does not want to shake hands, so I find that hanging back with a depricating smile generally (but not always) is a sufficient hint. Where it doesn't, short "I not comfortable shaking hands," again with a ...


5

As far as the main issue brought up in the question, "while the poor woman just stands there, not knowing what to do with her outstretched arm.”, before I say anything to the woman, I wave my hand in a downward motion towards their hand. This always accomplishes my main objective to have the woman retract her hand. This works without fail as any person will ...


4

Why hasn't anybody, here, consulted a non-Jewish friend - or a Jewish person with a different belief system, at least - about how he or she would like to have their handshake declined? I would prefer a quick, "I can't shake hands, but nice to meet you" accompanied by a friendly smile. Don't lie: "I'm sick." (Seriously? Why sin in order to observe a ...


4

How about "For reasons of modesty I don't shake hands with the opposite gender- it's lovely to make your acquaintance / see you." It's the truth and it's to the point.


4

R' Doniel Neustadt writes that the negiah prohibition begins when my cousin turns three. To trace this statement back to an earlier source, follow his footnotes. An entry in the Torah.org Knowledge Base says that, technically, the negiah prohibition begins when my cousin turns three, but that certain kinds of touch are permissible even after that, such as ...


4

This question is tricky because it's not clear that Halachah recognizes such a phenomenon of one who is just asexual though technically physically capable of sexual intercourse. Similarly, it's not clear whether Halachah recognizes absolute homosexual orientation as one who not only is irrevocably attracted to men but also absolutely uninterested in women, ...


4

Similar to abochur's response, this article quoting Rabbi Shimon Taub writes, Drawing on Rambam’s position on the laws of negiah, Rabbi Taub explains that, under very limited circumstances, touching may be permitted where there is no intent for physical pleasure. However, Rabbi Taub stresses that when a deaf-blind individual seeks to hire an SSP (...


4

Even if there's no prohibition touching a penuya tehorah1 (single girl), these two cases have some sources which could indicate an issur. Arusa That very passage in masseches kalla states without sheva brachos a kallah is אסורה כנדה and this is quoted by Shu"t HaGeonim Shaarei Tzedek (4:4:24), Rashi Kesubos (7b) and many other sources. It is forbidden to ...


3

Saifer chasidim 1090 A Jewish man can not slap hands with a non Jewish woman And a Jewish woman can not slap hands with a non Jewish man Even when the hand is coverd with clothing (The commentaries explain that if they are both Jewish it is OK when the hand is covered with clothing (but only if it is not done for the man to be able to see the woman for a ...


3

For medical purposes this case should be no different to other cases whereby a man can receive treatment from a female doctor (and vice versa). Despite this, some choose (when possible) a doctor of the same gender in any case, if it makes no difference e.g. if it makes no difference for you, and is possible, to have a full medical examination by a doctor of ...


3

In my mind, I frame the issue as follows: There's a lot of bad information out there about why the Orthodox won't shake a woman's hand, e.g., they're "unclean", they're not good enough, etc. So the main 2 issues I try to address are, 1) Don't make the woman feel inferior, and 2) Don't make the woman become embarrassed. I have done things like have my hands ...


3

The main Charedi Rabbis forbade it, though others more MO Rabbis permitted it where necessary. From http://doseofhalacha.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Shomer%20Negiah The question of whether it is okay for a non related man and woman to shake hands largely depends on whether this contact is classified as a דרך תאוה וחיבה, a ‘way that is based on attraction’. ...


2

I don't have the sources, but I was told that the commentators say that someone for whom the physical appearance doesn't matter, may marry without seeing the woman. This was stated regarding someone on an exceptionally high spiritual level, but I don't see why it wouldn't apply to someone physiologically prevented from caring about looks. (Maybe there should ...


2

To add to the other great answers already: Usually when a woman extends her hand to shake hands I politely say to them, "I'm sorry, I don't shake." I have been told that this is the proper thing to say when you don't wish to shake hands. Whenever I have said this, the woman in question has said something like, "Oh, I'm sorry" and lowers her hand, and the ...


2

Adding to the other answers, here's a story and anecdote that might help. The Rabbi's Candy I recall a story, though I can't seem to find the source, that Rabbi Lazer Brody carries candy in his pockets when walking in public. If a woman goes to shake his hand, he quickly pulls out a piece of candy and gives it to her, replacing awkwardness with delighted ...


2

I have seen that holding your hands behind your back and bowing slightly in deference usually forestalls any attempt to shake your hand. Also saying you have a cold always helps. Oh, and being honest and proud of keeping halachos of tznius


2

Regarding neveilah (See Bechoros 23), there would be no distinction to be made if you were wearing a glove or you sat on a dead animal (though sitting on a pillow on TOP of the animal would be different). The conveyance of Tumas maga happens irrespective of your clothes, which are considered batel to your body. The issue regarding yayn nesech is its use for ...


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