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

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Assisting male relative

11 November, 2018

Question:

What are the laws of niddah when you must assist a male family member.

My father–in–law has had a stroke and requires 24/7 assistance. Sleep wise, my husband cannot both work and wake to tend to his father's needs every night. My father–in–law requires a urinal 3–4 times a night due to both diabetes and because of his weakened health after the stroke.

I have no problems answering his father's needs because I can catch up on sleep during the daytime because we have an aide that comes in. We are not able to have a nighttime nurses aide.

I should mention that it is humiliating for his father to receive assistance from me. When I assist his father, I do so without looking and I wear gloves. For me to use a "tool" would require me to look.

What is the bare minimum separation that I must maintain under these circumstances? Also, I would find it extremely embarrassing for his father to know I am Niddah. Is there a way I can handle this and keep my dignity?


Answer:

We are sorry to hear of your father in law's situation and wish him a refuah sheleimah.

Your niddah status is irrelevant to your assisting your father-in-law. There is no difference whether you are niddah or tehorah. Your niddah status only affects physical contact between you and your husband.

We give you a lot of credit for your dedication to your father-in-law's care. However, it may be preferable to find an alternative solution to assisting him in the bathroom overnight. Your father-in-law's humiliation at your handling him highlights this point. You may assist him in any other way necessary regardless of your niddah status. We understand that it is difficult for your husband to assist him at night, but perhaps he should resume this very personal type of care, or perhaps nighttime diapers can be worn.

Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions.

B'hatzlacha!


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