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

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Modesty and assisting parents

25 April, 2012


My husband helped my father, who is ill, get dressed and undressed. Is there an issue with Tznuis? If my husband is not able to help my father, is there a problem if I help him?

My mother-in-law is also not well (she has an aide right now). Is her son (my husband) allowed to help her in any way with her personal needs if no one else is available?


There is no tzniut issue involved with your husband helping your father dress or undress, as needed.

If there is no readily available male alternative, you may help your father dress and undress.

You should make every effort not to look at or touch his genital area, when possible. Draping a cloth of some sort can help in these situations.

A similar answer applies regarding your mother-in-law. Your husband may help her dress and undress if no female alternative is available.  He, too, should make every effort, to the extent possible, to preserve tzniut in the process.

Both of you may consider contacting an occupational therapist for advice about techniques available to make your parents more independent and to facilitate your helping them comfortably.

We wish them both a refuah shleimah, and wish both of you the strength to navigate this time together.

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.

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