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

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Embarrassed and frustrated by not passing

2 October, 2012

Question:

Hello. I am at the end of my rope with the "no–passing" halacha. Time after time I am presented with situations where there is some urgent need to pass something to my husband, and the constant obsessing necessary to ensure that the time of month is taken into consideration before doing so is taking over our lives. Taking a shopping bag from my husband so that he has enough hands with which to unlock the door, or passing him a hammer while he changes a lightbulb, is constantly interrupted by talk about periods that is embarrassing for me and annoying for him. My husband has a hard time thinking about two things at once and if he needs me to pass him something, he is unlikely to simply and gracefully get the point if it is not automatically in his hand. I am terrified that something that we must constantly be on guard about in private will eventually be talked about with people around. In addition, I find constant reference to unappetizing bodily functions to be an unromantic turn–off and completely degrading to the wife.

Is there any heter to be able to pass things?


Answer:

We are sorry to hear of the frustration you feel with this halacha. Keeping the laws of niddah can be quite challenging.  Unfortunately there is no heter to disregard the halacha of passing items while niddah, even if it is causing you significant frustration. 

The satisfaction that we get from doing mitzvot is not always a result of the emotional connection that we feel towards the mitzvah. It is possible to gain tremendous satisfaction from withstanding challenging situations to keep mitzvot that we find difficult and frustrating. We hope that you will find the strength within to overcome this challenge.

On a practical level, the difficulty with passing often gets better with time, practice and experience. If there are specific situations that keep coming up, it can be helpful to brainstorm ways of managing these situations gracefully and privately so you can prepare yourself for the next time they come up. For example, if you know in advance that passing will be necessary, you can try to do so at a time when there is a convenient table or chair on which the item can be placed.

We are concerned that you feel that niddah has to be a pervasive focus  and negative force in your relationship. Niddah does not need to be constantly discussed, and menstruation does not need to be explicitly mentioned when gently reminding him of your halachic status.  You may find it helpful to speak with your kallah teacher or a local rebbetzin to discuss your feelings about niddah. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss these issues with a yoetzet halacha in person, let us know where you live and we can see if there is one in your area.

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

We wish you much hatzlacha!


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