23 November, 2006
I have a problem where water in my ear causes me to get ear infections and that has caused me to have an hysterical fear of water in my ears. A few years ago a Rabbi gave me a heter to wear earplugs. Unfortunately he never gave me the sources that allowed for this. I am in need of sources as I am having to do a gerus l'chumrah and the av beit din is asking for sources to support my heter. Are you aware of any sources that support ear plugs? If so, can you point me in the direction of those soures?
Thanks for any help you can give me.
There are sources that support immersion with a piece of cotton, coated with oil or Vaseline if necessary, inserted deep in the ear.
Since, however, the minimum requirement for tevilah is one momentary immersion underwater, and some ear problems can withstand that, and since the preference is not to have anything in the ear, these sources support use of cotton only when medically necessary. Ear plugs are less frequently permitted, when there is no other option.
See Shevet HaLevi 198:7:2 and Igrot Moshe Yoreh Deah I 98 (discussion continues 99-103).
You may wish to contact the Rabbi with whom you worked initially to see how he reached his decision. If it turns out that it is not a medical necessity, you could consider treating your phobia through behavioral therapy.
We hope this information helps.
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.