Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shomer Negiah;To Be Or Not To Be

At this point in my blogs existence I'm convinced I spend most of my time talking to myself.Nevertheless I would like to throw a question out there and maybe by some freak occurrence Ill get a few responses.Let me preface it by clarifying, its more of a moral dilemma than a question.What do normal people do when meeting members of the opposite sex?The reason I ask is because as people who occasionally read my blog should know I'm presently in Boston undergoing radiation, that being the case I meet doctors,nurses,technicians, social workers,receptionists, and random people, who as luck would have it are all female.I am not going to begin confessing all past, present, and future sins but suffice it to say I have in the past had physical contact with the opposite sex.For some reason probably having to do with hormones and desire overpowering 'Jewish guilt' you don't tend to put a lot of thought into the fact that you're having illegal contact.In a case such as mine where the contact is not sexual strangely enough I feel more guilty shaking hands every time I meet people. To not shake their hands is weird having to start explaining your whole religious philosophy and doesn't make sense because I have contact with them soon anyways when they help me into the frame and onto the table and (not literally) screw me onto the table. I also have a strange philosophy of trying to avoid making a chillul Hashem, I don't know if a chassidac family seeing me shake a woman's hand in the waiting room (as happened last week)is better or worse than my other seemingly conflicting philosophy of trying to show people that not all religious Jews are stuck up morons (I'm pretty sure that's only a justification in my warped mind) Between my constant fatigue, headaches, and the Vicodin, I am having trouble working this out so if anybody has any input about what I should do or what they normally do, share.


frum single female said...

this is certainly an interesting take on shomer negiah.

Honestly Frum said...

Although different, in business I always shake hands. From what I understand the rule is that if the woman puts her hand out first it is OK to shake it. In YU the legend is that the Rav said that you should simply extend your hand but not close it if a female's hand is extended (the dead handshake).

FrumJewInYU said...

Totally mutar to shake hands if offered. It's not derech chibbah.

In terms of Yu rabbanim, I've heard tell (I don't want to say exactly from who, in case it's not true) that you don't even have to do the "dead fish" - you can do a real handshake. That's what I do at work, or anytime a woman offers to shake.