Finding a rabbi
Hi. Thank you for your wonderful site.
I recently moved and I need to find a taharat hamishpacha rabbi that i am comfortable with. The rabbi we had been using until now is great and makes me feel very comfortable. He is however very hard to reach. Now that we have moved, it makes sense to try to get a new rabbi.
It's not so much a problem of just being new and not knowing who to ask. As embarrassing as it was, I made some calls and inquiries and know of four recommended rabbis.
The problem is, that for me taharat hamishpacha is such an emotional thing. I've never spoken to our old rabbi about how agonizingly hard i find taharat hamishpacha, about my bad experience at the mikva one time and the subsequent mikva issues i've had, about my tendency to lean towards being a little obsessive compulsive about mikva prep, bedikas, and especially about sha'alahs - and how i try to fight it. Nevertheless, even though these are not the kind of things i would normally feel comfortable talking about with a rabbi, and even though i haven't actually spoken to him about them, I FEEL LIKE I COULD IF I REALLY NEEDED TO.
I need to find a rabbi, not just for my husband to show things to, or for my husband to ask questions to, but to feel like i could ask questions to, to feel like i could talk to about all these things. I need to find someone who could understand that being an extra teeny bit more machmir could be bad for someone in my circumstance, and I need to feel like the rabbi is going to be halachically true and as maikel as possible within that. I need to find a rabbi that i will feel comfortable with. I need to feel that my rabbi is doing his best to make things as easy as possible for me, and to help me be with my husband again as soon as possible. I need to feel that he cares about those things for me.
How do I do this?
I would feel very shy and embarrassed to have a meeting with a rabbi, discuss all these personal things, and then decide if he's for me or not.
I really don't know what to do.
If you need me to tell you where I live and maybe you could suggest someone, that'd be great - how do i tell you that privately?
Thank you very much for your help and support.
Thank you for your question.
We could not agree more that it is of utmost importance to find a rabbi with whom you are comfortable discussing these matters. The completeness of your discussion with a rav can have a real impact on his halachic ruling.
How to proceed? If you live in the New York area, you could contact our yoetzet at the Riverdale Jewish Center, Bracha Rutner, for a recommendation. We also have yoatzot in Englewood and Toronto. We can send you contact information for any of them if you request it. If you are in Israel, call our hotline. Otherwise, we suggest you ask a few women whom you respect about which rabbis they turn to on these matters. Try out their recommendation with a less involved question to build confidence in the rabbi, and take it from there.
This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases.
If you have further questions or comments about this email, please click here to Ask the Yoetzet.
The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefitted from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.