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

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
Menu

Disabilities

16 January, 2009

Question:

Is a woman who is physically disabled exempt from immersing in the mikveh? What happens if she cannot visit a mikveh that is handicapped accessible? Would she be still obligated to immerse, but with assistance from another woman? What happens if physical assistance from another person is not possible?

Any textual basis/support for your response would be much appreciated, too:

Thank you so much.


Answer:

There is no exemption from mikveh immersion for a physically disabled woman.

Some mikvaot have been designed to be accessible to women with disabilities, incorporating devices such as hydraulic lifts. If such a feature would be of use, please write again with the woman's location. We can track down the one closest to her.

Alternatively, a woman can arrange to have her mikveh attendant (or a friend) hold her during immersion. The attendant should dip her hands in the mikveh prior to her immersion and should hold the disabled woman loosely enough for water to penetrate her grasp.  It would also be possible for two women to hold her under these conditions.  (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'ah 198:28 and the commentators there.)

Another possibility would be for the disabled woman to hold on to an underwater handle or railing, again in such a way that water can penetrate her grasp, or even to sit on one of the mikveh's lower steps. (See Shiurei Shevet Halevi p. 347.)

If none of the above suggestions resolve the situation, we suggest writing back to us or contacting a local rabbi with more details.


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. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

For further questions or comments: 

The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site 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 benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.


Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.