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Awkward shomer negiah moments

Everyone has a moment when they are not sure what the other persons views on touching of the opposite sex are, and these are what I would call awkward not sure if your shomer moments. The most famous one of these is the ever present handshake introduction, but there are many more.

Handshakes: I think the most argued about item amongst those that are or are not shomer negiah is the handshake. The introductory handshake is as old as time itself, and I am sure people were debating if it were halachically legal for centuries. The awkward not sure if your shomer handshake comes in many varieties. First there is the complete ignoring of the hand, the other party just stands there and tries to ignore the hand extended mid air, and waiting for your delayed or just not coming hand to meet midair. Usually the other party gets flustered and tries to do a 10 second explanation of how handshakes with the opposite sex lead to sex, which they never do, but still a Talmudic dissertation is always needed to explain weird Jewish practices.

Then you have those who are more confident, those who just come out and say that the only women they touch are their wives, seems kind of rude to me, but it seems to work much of the time. You have those that try to go as long as possible without handshaking, hoping that no hands get thrown their way and when they do, they give a yeshivish dead fish style handshake with no grip whatsoever in order that they should not receive any pleasure from the handshake. Is this because handshakes with the opposite sex are like chametz in that as long as you receive no pleasure from it, it is fine. What if one party says its a pleasure to meet you? Is that counted as pleasure?

Of course there are those that have shunned age old philosophy and paskined for themselves based on their armchair gadolisms that its ok for business or non-sexual nature to shake hands. These are usually the same people who do not wear yarmulkes to work and that play golf and can tell the difference between bourbon and whiskey.

Item Passing: I find myself trying not to touch the opposite sexes hands when they pass me an item, kind of like needa, but not purely because if I were OCD about needa I wouldnt pass items to anyone assuming they are all in a perpetual state of needa. I wonder if women realize I am doing this, its not really because I am super strict on shomer negiah, its more like the philosophy of if I am going to touch someone I might as well save it for the good stuff and so I would rather be strict and save up my shomer negiah brownie points, sounds dumb I know. I do think it a bit awkward when you do pass someone you someone and your hands brush, but I myself am that sensitive to touch from someone you are not allowed to.

Couches: I could always tell when a couple was not in a shomer negiah relationship by how they sit on a couch, if they are just too comfortable and dont mind when they are sliding into each other like most couches do, it would usually set off red flags in my head. But couches in general are that gray zone when it comes to awkward negiah moments. Sometimes a girl wont even sit on the same couch as a guy, I have sat down and had girls put a pillow to protect themselves in the same vain that little old ladies protect their bananas from touching your apples on the checkout line.

Back taps for attention: I find myself tapping women on the shoulder who are keeping a strict regimen of no touching. A lot of times, I myself am not thinking of negiah at the time and merely thinking of mowing these people down to get past them to the cholent, but back tapping seems like the best way to get someones attention. I can not count the times that I have seen someone casually tapped on the back to see them spin around and confront the person like they were about to rob them or something.

Movie Theaters: I get this from friends of mine on both sides of the fence when it comes to negiah. Dude we were at the movie theater and I swear to God she was letting her elbow touch mine and hence the awkward moment of trying the entire movie to figure out whether the so called shomer negiah person next to you is trying to get you to make a move. This is also done in situations when a bunch of people go to a movie together and no one keep negiah but no one can figure out if the person next to them wants you to put their arm around them remember when putting your arm around someone was a big deal? Like in high school, it would have been like getting some, actually if I could even talk to a girl in high school it would have been like getting some.

Shidduch Dates: The very concept of a shidduch date denotes some sort of unwritten rule of shomer negiah, but with a society of older singles and the proliferation of the shidduch crisis, the traditional shidduch date is out the window, tefillin dates evolved out of shidduch dates, although I feel like carrying around your tefillin is a bit awkward on a date, and where do you put your toiletries and change of underwear?

The awkward shomer negiah moments I am talking about on shidduch dates revolve around accidental touching. My buddy went out with a girl for 6 months and was shomer, one time during the whole period they touched and he said it was like fireworks, and it was one of those by accident hand brushings in the car or something does show you the power of keeping negiah though. I was on a date once and I wasnt paying attention and the girl grabbed hold of yours truly to get me back on the road I was heading right for the BQE wall, she was awfully embarrassed being a nice bais yaakov girl and all but I of course made a comment that I drove a stick so crazed shidduch dates couldnt jump me while I was driving.

Sometimes you are walking on a date and you brush or bump each other by accident, or a little accidental footsie at the pizza store, or maybe a tight spot to sit down at the coffee shop forces you two within the touching zone? All of these events are awkward are you shomer negiah moments and believe me I and all of my friends notice each and every one of them, although I always wonder if the girl notices.

Anyone have any moments to add to the list?

Other posts on shomer negiah:

Shomer negiah loopholes

What type of shomer negiah do you keep?

Do you keep fictional negiah?

Are you shomer but with it?

Documentary about shomer negiah

{ 103 comments… add one }
  • Tuvia March 24, 2009, 11:41 AM

    I had a teacher in HS who was Sh’N and she would flip out if a male student tap her shoulder to get her attention.

    I am also amazed at the number of people the shake hands when meeting me at an orthodox shul

  • Adena March 24, 2009, 11:42 AM

    Hesh- the laws of passing items to a woman who is a nida only applies between husband and wife.

  • abandoning eden March 24, 2009, 11:44 AM

    heh, definitely hear that elbow touching in a movie theater thing….that’s confusing for those of us who don’t keep any religion at all too 🙂 (Like; does he just put his arm anywhere, or is this the first step in a series of steps that will lead to hooking up? If i leave my arm and don’t move it away from his is that the secret bat signal for liking each other?)

  • Frum Satire March 24, 2009, 11:45 AM

    Adena – I know of this – that was the point of the joke

  • Smick X March 24, 2009, 11:46 AM

    haahahhaha lmao awesome post.

  • offthederech March 24, 2009, 11:46 AM

    This is gonna get some great comments

  • Miri March 24, 2009, 11:58 AM

    Trust me, the girls notice too.

    “Of course there are those that have shunned age old philosophy and paskined for themselves based on their armchair gadolisms that its ok for business or non-sexual nature to shake hands. These are usually the same people who do not wear yarmulkes to work and that play golf and can tell the difference between bourbon and whiskey.”

    You’re aware that that’s actually a halachically sound paskin from a rav right? Like, based in actual halacha? I know you’re being satirical, but I just wanted to make sure….

  • Frum Satire March 24, 2009, 11:58 AM

    You can always link me if you want

  • Hannah Heller March 24, 2009, 12:05 PM

    This is a very “touchy” subject! I think this issue, like many others, has gotten way out of control in the world of orthodox Judaism.

  • offthederech March 24, 2009, 12:11 PM

    Hey, I already link you;).
    I forgot to hit refresh before I commented, so I didn’t realize that six people commented before me.
    I hate that BT trick of sneezing in your hand or something, and pretending you can’t shake their hand bec you’re doing *them* a favor. Extremely lame, and very difficult to do right.

  • Esther K. March 24, 2009, 12:21 PM

    Very well thought-out post, but I do have to take issue with one of your analogies: clearly you have the fact about the old ladies at the supermarket backwards: they are trying to keep their apples away from your destructive banana. Which incidentally, may be the metaphorical biblical origin for shomer negiah as well.

    I could also get into a whole pilpul about the apples being Adam and Eve and the banana being – what else? – the snake. But I don’t do pilpul.

  • Serena March 24, 2009, 12:23 PM

    The girls notice too.

  • wasonceabeliever March 24, 2009, 1:10 PM

    Hesh great post (maga)
    However I would like to state that in all likelihood it is usually 1 out of the two people on the date who is really shomer and 1 who is really packing heat (tefillin) in his trunk this is the state of todays hypocritical shidduch scene and would like to read more about the experiences you know or have heard of bc i have heard a few remember dr.rochester??

  • DRosenbach March 24, 2009, 11:37 AM

    What if one party says its a pleasure to meet you? Is that counted as pleasure?

    Haha — brilliant!

  • s(b.) March 24, 2009, 1:54 PM

    I always like your posts about SN. I’m kind of amazed sometimes by how conservative I’ve become, over the past couple of years. Damn you, Frum Satire, making touching sound so romantic! 😆

  • Yo March 24, 2009, 2:02 PM

    i think ill share my own “shomer” experience, although its not much.
    i am a shomer, guy. once, for business, i met with non jewish guy. we met in a parking lot, he was standing with a partner of his, behind his jeep. i came over, and shook both their hands, and introduced myself.
    as we start talking, another partner, a girl, came around from the front of the car… what did i come up with?
    it was a casual business meeting, so as she was coming over, i put both my hands in my pocket, casually, and smiled, said hello etc.
    they didnt notice that i was avoiding the hand. (i got away from it, before it was offered)

  • Phil March 24, 2009, 2:04 PM

    I’m guilty of the handshake heter I paskened for myself, although doesn’t happen very often as I deal with people by phone, fax and email. BTW, I wear a yarmulka at all times, don’t golf, but I do know the difference between Whiskey and Bourbon.

    Many Niddah laws aren’t applicable to unmarried couples, such as putting things down on the table instead of passing them, as they are safeguards against people that are already intimate with each other.

    Forgive me I’m an old geezer, but what’s the tefillin date? Is that in case he spends the night?

    Here is one you missed. Beating. What if the girl is getting on the guy’s nerves to the point of getting decked with a right hook? Does it count if kicks him in the nuts while wearing shoes?

  • Frum Satire March 24, 2009, 2:22 PM

    Phil do I have to write about tefillin dates now? I think I will…

  • Phil March 24, 2009, 2:28 PM

    I think you might have mentioned them sometime in the past, are they what I’m assuming they are, or am I totally off?

  • Yochanan March 24, 2009, 2:50 PM

    “I hate that BT trick of sneezing in your hand or something, and pretending you cant shake their hand bec youre doing *them* a favor. Extremely lame, and very difficult to do right.”

    Off The Derech,

    That reminds me of a friend I had in 4-6 grade who would advise me to “cough” on my sandwich so no one would want a piece of it.

  • Frum Satire March 24, 2009, 2:56 PM

    That’s why I pee on the seat, so no one else will sit on it…wait did I just say that

  • Yochanan March 24, 2009, 2:57 PM

    Is there anyone else like me who admits they are not shomer negi’ah?

    Oh, I’m shomer, except on Tuesdays.

    I’m shomer, unless she’s hot.

    Give me a break.

  • Chutznikit March 24, 2009, 3:02 PM

    Don’t forget sports – I held on for dear life to a guys hand the first time I went ice skating

  • Chutznikit March 24, 2009, 3:07 PM

    Ps. We were wearing gloves so I assumed it didnt count.

    Hmmm I wonder what the rules are of touching through clothing. a lot of kinky possibilites come to mind.

  • Phil March 24, 2009, 3:10 PM


    Do condoms count?

  • chutznikit March 24, 2009, 4:04 PM

    that’s a good question phil!
    but probably not, coz the rest of u is still touching.I was thinking more a makeout session with clothes on.

  • s(b.) March 24, 2009, 4:05 PM

    “Thats why I pee on the seat, so no one else will sit on itwait did I just say that”

    awesome! (you can go out back, if you ever visit)

  • Frum Satire March 24, 2009, 4:10 PM

    SB I actually prefer to pee outside, at gas stations I usually go out back.

  • Rachel March 24, 2009, 4:22 PM

    One of my first dates with my now husband we went ice skating. I warned him in advance I did not know how to ice skate. I ended up giving some total stranger a huge bear as I ran into him rather than grabbing the (much closer) sleeve of my date as I was not sure if he was “shomer” or not. Took almost 5 months to figure out neither one of us were.

    Now we look back and laugh- at the unsuspecting old guy who got a huge hug from a random teenager.

  • Double M March 24, 2009, 4:32 PM

    Some people avoid this whole car issue completely but putting the young lady in the back seat. If he is borrowing his parents car it could be right next to the baby seat. Think of the message that sends rofl

    I remember ice skating with a young lady she said she loves to skate but was wobbling all over the ice and running into walls. Looked for sure she was about to fall a few times. One of those times I offered my arm to hold on to, to steady her until she could reach the side. She didnt take it and almost wiped out in front of a group of people. If you have ever gone down and been struck by someone elses skate blade you know how much that can hurt.

    I just wish that when they teach this law they also add more stress that you do not need to risk bodily harm to avoid touching. Kind of similar to those lectures in faith given to people where there is the disclaimer with a person walking across a major highway thinking that if G-d doesnt want to kill you he wont is not a working argument.

  • ipitythefoo March 24, 2009, 4:48 PM

    I had this Rabbi who would throw an arm around our shoulders and things of that nature. He said that we were wearing clothes and he was wearing clothes blah blah. I think he was a perv.

  • Talmudist March 24, 2009, 4:54 PM

    The parameters for a heter for touching depends on whether or not the ‘touch’ is derech chibbah; which helps for a ‘business handshake’, but not for much else.

  • SF2K1 March 24, 2009, 5:20 PM

    Having been shomer through college, it was tough sometimes, but honestly worth it in the end. I’m not saying I never ever ever touched anyone (who’s perfect?), but even if I did, it didn’t get very far (keeping me out of trouble) because everyone knew me as the shomer guy, so my reputation proceeded me, and people respect that.

    Best tactic I’ve learned is that, alot of the times, if you just wave at someone, they’ll stop trying to shake your hand and just wave back (even if you’re standing right in front of them). It doesn’t even need an explanation, it just works.

    Funny situations include:

    I once was shaking a bunch of guys hands. Only afterward did I notice that one of them was a girl. To be fair, she wasn’t ugly, it was just dark outside.

    One time this girl tried to shake my hand, and when I explained I couldn’t shake girls hands, she started bowing a few times like in Japan and asked if that was ok. She was blonde.

    This one friend’s girlfriend tried to shake my hand, and I explained that I couldn’t. She later told me that she was angry all night cause she thought I couldn’t shake her hand since she wasn’t Jewish (she didn’t mind the gender part, but that would be a very interesting version of being shomer).

  • Rentsy March 24, 2009, 7:25 PM

    I would like to reaffirm that passing objects between two unmarried members of the opposite sex is okay.

    Oddly enough, it isn’t for married.

    I say oddly because married couples are allowed to be together when one of them is tumah on the assumption “They’ve had sex already, their passions aren’t as strong.”

    (Note: this is why chuppat niddah is a problem… because they haven’t had sex yet!)

    Whereas with the unmarried crowd, yichud is not okay because of the assumption that the two will emulate rabbits.

    (Can I get a girl with my knowledge of hilchot yichud?)

  • Michal bas Avraham March 24, 2009, 8:44 PM

    I’ve tried the wave. It doesn’t work for me. Guys always comment. So, I just tell them, “I’m religious and I don’t touch men-at all.” Then that’s it.

    Yes, a tefillin date is when the guy brings because he figures he’ll need it. Although, I’m shomer. I heard about this from another Heshy fan.

  • Phil March 24, 2009, 9:18 PM

    Sounds like a conservadox / m.o kind of thing. I guess when it’s all done, it’s better that the guy is still putting tefillin. Reminds me of those unmarried women going to mikvah.

    In the long run, these issues pale in comparison to the craigslist crap Hesh posted the other day.

  • i-Blog March 24, 2009, 9:31 PM

    Sweet! Tznius is hot and you want to “save” the touching…

    P.S. Is the picture on the top from Post Secret?

  • FrumFeminist March 24, 2009, 9:34 PM

    I always apologize and say that I don’t shake hands with men for religious reasons. Most guys will respect that, at least outwardly.

    At a recent party my shomer negiah status kept a guy from trying to get serious with me. He was like, “Well if you’re shomer then there’s really no point.”

    What a gentleman.

    That was after I already informed him that I would only give him my phone number if he grew a beard and became ultra-orthodox.

  • Mikeinmidwood March 24, 2009, 10:04 PM

    great post.

  • yeshiva dude March 24, 2009, 10:10 PM


    You may as well ask “is there anyone else here who is not shomer shabbos aside from me?” Brilliant, I must say!!!! Do you realize that every time you touch a girl who is a nidda (which you have no way of knowing) that you are cha’iv kares!!!!!!!!!!! That means that not only are you cut off on this world (meaning that you will die before your predestined time) but you are also cut off from Jews in the next world for all eternity! So the next time you think of shaking that girls hand, you ought to think twice!

    On a different note, is there an inyan of shomer negia with gay men? I think they should definately be banned from mikva use because the last thing I want to see in a mikva……… Oh, and once were on this topic- if the president is gay, does that mean that his spouse would be referred to as the “first man”?

    • Gregaaron April 25, 2010, 1:46 AM

      Well if Hilary Clinton would have become president, Bill would’ve been the First Gentleman – ironically, not the first time he’s tried turning the White House into a gentleman’s club…

  • former baltimorean March 24, 2009, 10:20 PM

    hey yeshivah dude, get off your high horse and take a chill pill, tell me that you have never touched any of your teenage sisters, and if you did, are you chayav kareis twice, once because she is a nidah, and once because she is your sister, cut the crap, the torah only says that you are chayav kareis if you slip in the salami!!!

  • former baltimorean March 24, 2009, 10:24 PM

    I do sport my yarmulkah at work, in addition to my curly peyos and beard, I can not tell the difference between scotch or burbon, i like em both on the rocks, I can not play golf, I hold the club like a baseball bat, not conducive to playing a game under par, but I do shake womens hands for business purposes, first of all, its just to complex explaining the concept of shomer on the fly,second of all, seriously, there is nothing even remotely sexual about a handshake, especially with all the incidences of sexual harassment lawsuits, checking out the chicks at work is alot more sexual than an indroductory, or formal handshake!!!
    And btw, if you do get a rise out of a formal hadshake, youv’e got some serious problems!!
    Finally Hesh, here is another shomer category to consider, shomer until college!!

  • justajew March 24, 2009, 11:12 PM

    so if touching the opposite gender means chaiv kares, whats up with all those chareidim in israel on the busses?
    chas v’shalom they should touch the woman standing next to them.

  • Dale Rosenbach March 24, 2009, 11:12 PM

    In the car on the BQE on the way home on my 2nd date with the first girl I ever dated, we began to discuss possible places to go on the next date — I brought up ice skating.

    “Nah, I don’t ice skate,” she replied.

    “You don’t ice skate! So does that mean we’re never going ice skating for the rest of our lives?” I retorted.

    Yeah — things sorta fell silent after that line.

    N.B. — Our 5 year anniversary is coming up soon!

  • chevramaidel March 24, 2009, 11:22 PM

    If I think a handshake might come up, I look for something to hold. Oops, my hands are full- nice to meet you!

  • chevramaidel March 24, 2009, 11:32 PM

    Women- you ever notice that on the subway, a frum man is likely to sit next to a gentile woman (non-tznius clothes and all) than next to you? Which Shulchan Aruch is that from?

  • Yochanan March 25, 2009, 12:07 AM

    Yeshiva dude,

    I’ve never been to a strip club, but I bet if I go to one in the New York metro area, I’ll find you’re ilk there.

  • s(b.) March 25, 2009, 12:31 AM

    Threats re: dying sooner or who what where in the next world destroy everything that’s good about Judaism by employing it as a tool to control people’s behavior. My Judaism farts rainbows and helps people carry themselves through storms in the here and now, and doesn’t focus on saving up in the bank of olam haba. I do the right thing because I should do the right thing, not so I can hang out with cool people when I’m dead. And when it’s my time to die, that’ll be my time. Your spiritual mileage may vary, and I can agree to disagree with you on this topic.

  • HannaH March 25, 2009, 1:48 AM

    if your going to go skating on a date, it would probably be less hazardous to go roller skating than ice skating
    this way, if you fall and get run over it wont be as painful.

  • hubscubs March 25, 2009, 4:34 AM

    never even thought of asking a ‘shaila’ on this one:

    the whole issur of negiah is due to a perpetual status of niddah, unless the woman went to mikveh. putting aside the girls who, against rabbinic advice and decree, go to mikveh in order to go hook up, a bride on her wedding day goes to mikveh “b’heter”.

    could i give the bride a kiss on the cheek or a hug? she’s not a nidda as of this morning!

    any thoughts, rabbi?

  • Zvi March 25, 2009, 5:31 AM

    Whenever a Rabbi I know is offered handshake by a woman, he says:

    “Careful. The last woman to shake my hand has 12 of my kids now.”

    He says it always works for him.

    I’m a Shomer guy, and I have a real uncomfortable story to share.

    I was in an amusement park waiting in line for a water ride. My buddies and I were discussing about how sometimes when you go skating, girls “fall” into you…

    Anyway, these two girls in front of me were barely dressed, and suddenly one of them fell backwards into my arms.

    Freaked, I jumped backwards. She landed on the floor, and only then did I realize she had actually fainted!!

    Later on I heard that the gemara somewhere says “who is an idiot? someone who doesn’t save a drowning woman.”

    Still makes my cheeks red…

  • not yeshivish March 25, 2009, 10:12 AM


    Goyim don’t have niddah on a dioraysa level. Thats why its much better to have a girlfriend who’s not jewish, but a wife who is.

  • tzip March 25, 2009, 10:41 AM

    negiah with a niddah (basically most unmarried jewish women) is NOT chayav karet – only s*x is. negiah derech chibah/ta’avah is chayav malkot (possibly yehareg v’al yaavor). non-chibah negiah is possibly mutar, though many say asur derabanan.

  • Give me back five minutes of my life March 25, 2009, 11:09 AM

    Too long, didn’t read.

  • Critic March 25, 2009, 11:11 AM

    if someone doesnt know the difference between bourbon and “whiskey” (do you mean scotch? rye? canadian?) doesnt know what good bourbon is. And just drinks it to be cool. That just means he doesnt drink it on a regular basis, like every shabbos.

    I found out that in Japan, they are very big on bourbon. Very interesting and wondering how it made it there so big.

    I HATE scotch. So all the 30 yr old McCallons and Glenfiduch and GlenMorange, or whatever means nothing to me.

    (oh, i do shake womens hands.)

    Give me one more shot!!!!!!

  • Katamon Single March 25, 2009, 12:57 PM

    a – i agree with all of the other girls who commented, we def notice it.

    b – maybe it’s because i’m jaded, but i don’t really believe that anyone is truly shomer negiah when they are past a certain age and in a serious relationship. Yet, these same people continue to make a big deal about shaking someones hands for business reasons, etc… Seems hypocritical.

    • Anon August 16, 2010, 2:27 AM

      Hard to believe but there are people who are shomer regardless of status.

  • Anonymous March 25, 2009, 4:22 PM

    There comes a point where you need to break your shomer-ness. ex: pikuach nefesh. Also, issues of embarressment come into some halochik questions. All the boyfriend / girlfriend crap and breaking shomer for that is just a load of narishkeit, but when someone on the street, or in busienss, simply does not know and they stretch out their hand, it is simply rude not to accept it. i can understand if you’re a chassidishe yid or something and have a beard down to your knees with a kapota, that could maybe qualify as a reason. but, dude, you have to remember…we’re not living in me’ah sha’arim and we have to function in the real world. if you’re around yids, dont break, but if you’re around goys, it may call for breaking at times.

  • SF2K1 March 25, 2009, 6:07 PM

    Goyim are far more understanding about Shomer Negiah than Jews, and Jews are far more offended than goyim. You don’t need to change yourself in America for the goyim, your customs are “quaint” to them. The lesser religious Jews will be pissed that you’re super frum, as if you did it just to offend them.

    • Anon August 16, 2010, 2:30 AM

      This is so true. Two non-Jews I met were so enchanted that I don’t touch men, and courted me accordingly. I was like an angel for them.

  • Yochanan March 26, 2009, 12:56 AM

    “My Judaism farts rainbows ”


    May your Judaism eat many bean burritos.

  • lubab March 26, 2009, 9:51 AM

    make that (colorful) jelly bean burritos

  • yeshiva dude March 26, 2009, 12:55 PM

    Former Baltimorean,

    First- I’m pretty sure that there is no issur erva when it comes to siblings. Second- If your whole claim agianst my statement is based on the fact that I touch my teenage sisters, than you’re pretty darn lame I must say!!!!


    Sorry but I’m not as horny and desperate as you; unlike your sorry/miserable…. (which I can tell based on many of your loser posts), I actually have girls who want me!!!!

  • former baltimorean March 26, 2009, 1:47 PM

    hey hey yeshivah dude, your counter argument makes no sense, you argued that the mere act of touching a nidah warants kareis, then how is my counter argument lame, being that all of our teenage sister’s are nidos, according to you, wouldn’t touching them warant kareis, even further, if that is the case, are you makpid on all the harchakos that apply to a nidah eveery time you go into a store with a jewish woman behind the counter (i.e. not accepting something directly from her hand etc.), of course not, because the issur of nidah with other women is only applicable in a sexual manner, and further, i never challenged your masculinity, but if are so insecure about it, that you need to challange others who are obviously more secure about theirs, i can’t help you!!

  • Mark March 26, 2009, 4:47 PM

    Whenever a Rabbi I know is offered handshake by a woman, he says:

    Careful. The last woman to shake my hand has 12 of my kids now.

    He says it always works for him.

    Of course, a clever woman would say –

    “A handshake is not how that happens!”

    and keep her hand out for the shake.

  • Mark March 26, 2009, 4:48 PM

    Sorry but Im not as horny and desperate as you; unlike your sorry/miserable. (which I can tell based on many of your loser posts), I actually have girls who want me!!!!

    How do you know they really want you?


  • yeshiva dude March 26, 2009, 5:01 PM


    Do you think I honestly care whether they want me or not!!?? The fact is that they are chasing after me and not that derranged fool! What their true motives or intentions are, I don’t know and I certainly do not care!!!!!!

  • Yochanan March 26, 2009, 5:23 PM

    yeshiva dude,

    I had a feeling you’d respond like that. Notice how I said “your ilk”. That was not saying that you in particular go to strip clubs, but that many times overly self-righteous finger waving folks often let themselves slide on things they wouldn’t allow others to.

  • Gila March 28, 2009, 6:48 PM

    My nonobservant friend went to his first NCSY Shabbaton and was introducing himself to a group of girls. The conversation went like this:

    “Hi, I’m Sam.” (extending his hand)

    “I’m shomer.” (keeping her arms folded)

    “Hi, Shomer, nice to meet you.” (hand still outstretched)

    “No, no, I’m Ilana, but I’m shomer.”


    Frustrated, Ilana walks away, leaving Sam to wonder what just happened.

    I was definitely ROFL when he told me that story.

  • fc March 30, 2009, 4:27 PM

    I am involved in the world of politics so it is hard not to shake hands. I asked a Rov and he said that if it is in a business setting it is fine.

    2 anecdotes

    I work with a 75 year old little lady and she tried giving me a hug around the holiday time, some of the other colleagues told her that I wasnt allowed. Now she just winks.

    Another time was when I was meeting with a number of people one of them is Jewish (but not frum) and understands the concept of shomer. On the way in I shook all of the mens hands but she did not offer hers. During the meeting we were joined by a second woman who was not aware of SN and at the end of the meeting during the good-byes she offered her hand and I shook. The 1st woman took it that it was OK for me to shake so I had to explain the hetter (not fun).

  • oy vey August 30, 2009, 12:41 AM

    oh yes, i agree, girls notice.

    my awkward shomer moments usually happen when passing stuff.

    ex: at my friends house for shabbos, attempting to pass an extremely hot, heavy(for me) bowl to her brothers friend, and trying really hard to move my hands enough for him to take it without the awkward touch. unfortunately the burning was too much so my hand slipped, and he went to grab the bowl, in turn trapping my other hand under his. and that freaked me out so i pulled my hand away so extremely awkwardly.
    and then my cheeks went bright red.

    if that doesn’t explain how much girls notice and evaluate things, i don’t know what does.

  • open minded yehiva guy ish September 17, 2009, 1:46 PM

    my favorite AWkward shomer negiya moment: Backseat of a car, two girls sitting next 2 me. one word : tushies. The girl next to me found a tennis racket on the floor and wedged it in between us while laughing hysterically. Classic

  • Chaya K. November 22, 2009, 1:14 AM

    Normally, in our community it often happens that I have to deal with people who are widely considered as being orthodox. Shomerim of everything.
    And then they pass things without paying attention, or are so much into “derech eretz” that touching is no problem for them… I mean, “eyn Tora bli derech eretz” and i have no problem with handshaking … the awkwardness comes when two of us shake hands and a second later realise that both are actually shomerim but didnt want to admit it to the vis-a-vis! This is really….. an odd thing.
    Yeah, and then I wonder…are they just being nice or where are the principles ?
    And how much shomer negia should one be?..

  • Anin November 22, 2009, 2:59 PM

    Awkward shomer moments

    Once I was at a wedding in a foreign country, in the middle of nowhere. A bus took all the guests back to the town where everyone was staying, but dropped us off in an unfamiliar place at about 2am. One of the guests offered to walk with me to my hotel. When it came to saying goodbye, I was trying to avoid the handshake by smiling a lot, thanking him profusely and doing the handclasp behind the back. He then lunged forward and kissed me on both cheeks.

    I have also had the experience when I didn’t shake hands with one man, and explained to him, and then in front of him felt obliged to shake hands with someone else who wouldn’t understand. That’s the worst: either the first person thinks you’re a hypocrite or that it’s personal.

    Helping blind men and others in need of assistance. If no-one else is helping I will do what needs to be done, but I have noticed that people stare (I know it’s their problem, but why are they staring?).

    Ironically, some non-Jewish men I have met think that it’s the coolest thing ever, and find it to be quite an attraction.

    blind men

  • Mark November 22, 2009, 4:16 PM

    Helping blind men and others in need of assistance. If no-one else is helping I will do what needs to be done, but I have noticed that people stare (I know its their problem, but why are they staring?).

    I once learned that a blind man when seeking a wife may touch her face to “see” her features. So I think we can learn from this that perhaps there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to the blind.

    Also, aren’t there general exceptions when it comes to 2 mitzvot conflicting with each other? Like “shomer negiah” and “chesed” in this case.

    • Phil November 22, 2009, 4:19 PM


      You bring up an interesting point. I wonder if the blind dude has the right to “assess” her boobs as well, I imagine if someone couldn’t see, that would be equally or perhaps even more important than the facial features 🙂

      • Mark November 24, 2009, 3:34 AM

        I’m not sure what the rule really is, but I doubt this would be included. Though, who knows?

        Of course, since breasts are usually covered while courting, he would have to wear boxing gloves while he feels them. 🙂

    • Heshy Fried November 22, 2009, 4:48 PM
  • Chill out May 10, 2010, 11:40 AM

    wow you are making mountains out of molehills. I am frum, I am shomer, and I don’t make a big deal out of it.

    In highschool I used to babysit a lot, and I remember 2 fathers, both of whom didn’t want to put the money into my hand.
    Father of family 1: kept loooking at the wall behind me and not at my face, made me feel objectified and I guess he was uncomfortable too, and said his wife would pay me when she was home (they lived next door)

    father of family 2: talked to me about how the kids had been and “just happened” to casually put the money he owed me down on the table, thus allowing him to put away his wallet with the same hand.

    Oh, and another story: once I was supposed to shake hands with a Jewish man. he was giving me a certificate. anyone who has graduated high school knows the classic picture-you take the diploma with your left hand and shake with your right. I took the certificate with both hands. because there were cameras there, he asked “am I allowed to shake your hand”? (i don’t think he was talking about halacha, either!) I simply said “no”. Nobody pressed the issue.

  • Michael August 16, 2010, 3:31 AM

    Ok Here’s my Negia story, although I’m not even in it.

    At my work, a non-Jewish female sales rep came up to me and said that at a recent trade show she offered her hand to a potential client who wore “one of those things ion his head like you do”, and he politely explained that he does not shake hands with women.

    Someone later (mistakenly) explained to her that Jewish Religious Single Men are very careful never to touch women.

    Her conclusion – he must be single, and was good looking, so she spent the rest of the conference trying to find him.
    (I told her not to bother, she probably wasn’t his type)

  • Anonymous January 7, 2011, 12:13 AM

    My story:
    I was once in the middle seat on a plane, stuck between two shtreimel-clad morbidly obese Hasidic men on a 10 hour flight to Israel. I myself am not Shomer Negiah (nor particularly religious for that matter), but the two men obviously were. It was not a pleasant experience
    I had to keep my arms crossed almost the entire flight, until the two men fell asleep, at which point I also attempted to fall asleep, and did, thanks to my motion sickness medication. I woke up finding his head sleeping on my shoulder. As I tried to move, he woke up horrified.
    When we saw the sunrise, the two men got up to daven somewhere else on the plane. They never came back.

  • HumanitiesGirl January 11, 2011, 8:25 AM

    Rentsy – I’ve done some reading on the Family Purity Laws. Up for e-mailing (if you’re still reading the blog)?

    Dale – what a cute story!! 😀 Congrats on the Anniversary!

    Gila – So funny, but a bit sad, too!

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