Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Assisting ill husband

23 January, 2006

Question:

I have a question concerning physical contact during niddah. My husband suffers from chronic pain and has difficulties with some of the daily tasks, e.g. drying himself after the shower or dressing himself. We cannot afford to pay someone to help him with these things. Is it permitted for me to help him with these things during niddah? Right now, he will put on a robe or put on the pants and I only help him with drying feet/putting on socks or belt. If it's not permitted, do you have any suggestions on how to solve it?


Answer:

Many leniencies were instituted in the case of an ill husband. 

You may serve him food and drink and hand things to him directly.  You may help him stand, sit, lie down, walk, and even dress or lay tefillin, but only without direct physical contact, if possible.  All the harchakot are relaxed, with the exception of affectionate touch, preparing his bed in his presence, or washing him, unless there is no alternative. 

In general, you should make every effort to minimize direct physical contact.  Where that is not feasible, or could cause him undue pain, you may help him, but should wear gloves (but not gloves as thin as surgical gloves, again, if possible). 

You may wish to contact your husband's physician or an occupational therapist for ideas, techniques, or products that can facilitate your husband's being more independent.  We hope this helps and that your husband's health improves. 


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