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Section: Questions   Category: Halacha
Halacha - Shaking hands with a woman
Submitted by Adi Salama  Answered by Rav Peretz Moncharsh
Question: Shalom, What should a man do if a woman puts her hand out to him to shake? Would the possibility of embarrassing her in public (or even in private) by refusing to shake her hand make a difference..? Is there any difference if it is a non-observant Jew or a non-Jew (or for that matter someone who the specific man knows will not cause him any hirhurim - say an elderly lady for example or a distant family member?) Or if it is a man putting his hand out to a woman instead? Thank-you!
Answer: While technically a professional handshake is not affectionate and should be permitted at least miDeoraisa, HaRav Moshe Feinstein zatzal writes that a man should not trust himself to control his passion completely as a single affectionate thought would render the handshake assur min HaTorah. An issur d'Oraisa is not pushed off for risk of public embarrassment, however in most situations a polite explanation of Halacha is sufficient to diffuse the problem. Logically an elderly woman should be less of an issue, but a distant relative is actually more strict in certain Halachos. as she is likely to be "libo gas ba" for Hilchos Yichud.
posted:2010-05-16 14:58:37

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