My understanding of Shomer Negia

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  • #610161

    I was discussing travel tips with one of my close friends whose daughter had already spent a year in israel. My friend did not fail to inform me that while her daughter was traveling with large suitcases and duffel bags, she at one point fell and was stuck beneath her heavy luggage. Since this incident had occurred in the middle of a group of yeshiva bachurim, nobody helped her up, or even helped move some of her bags…

    I am fully aware of what Shomer Negia is, but in my opinion, not helping a girl who has never been in israel before and weighs less than all her bags together, is not a mitzvah… please inform me if i am wrong but i would like to know what your take on the matter is.

    #968579

    They should have moved her bags, making space for her to get up on her own.

    #968580

    musser zoger
    Participant

    Correct. According to what you say anyone seeing this and not helping because of negiya would be in classification of chosid shoteh…a pious fool.

    #968581

    PBT
    Member

    It was definitely an obligation to help her in some way, which could easily have been done without touching the girl herself (unless she was injured, in which case someone who knew how to treat the injury had the obligation to see to that). I (a man) once rolled my ankle while walking down a street, and it took 5 minutes before I could walk again. A lady stopped and asked if I needed help. “Shomer negia” is never an excuse to help someone who’s having a problem.

    #968582

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    1. I don’t like when people ask leading questions that:

    2. Basically tell us how you want us to judge these boys (negatively),

    3. Based on a second hand, one-sided story, which

    4. Leaves us with no way to judge whether you are leaving out important information.

    And if you really don’t know what shomer negia is, google it, and come back to us.

    #968583

    DerechErets
    Member

    Shomer negia can be overridden for pekuach nefesh or a serious medical problem.

    #968584

    gotucvd
    Member

    I agree with PBT. If a girl really needs help. you should ask permission to touch so that “Shomer negia” is never an excuse not to help someone who’s having a problem.

    #968585

    Chaimy
    Participant

    It really doesn’t sound like Pikuach Nefesh here. But there are ways to help someone without actually making physical contact. I would think that a bocher’s first thought is that he should avoid associating with a girl in ANY way, and you saying that there were a bunch of boys there, I would think that they felt their friends would make jokes about helping a girl, that should actually be able to get up by herself.

    #968586

    rebdoniel
    Member

    The guy in the OP who didn’t help that poor girl is a Hasid Shoteh, or maybe just a rasha (hard to tell the difference between the two sometimes). A complete lack of regard for a human life or awkwardness should never be justified through the laws of negiah, which were intended to protect us from lewdness and arousal, not normative, day-to-day interactions with people. In such cases, these people make the Torah into a mockery and a laughing stock, r”l.

    #968587

    The Frumguy
    Participant

    What finally happened to the girl – Is she still on the floor or was she able to get up by herself?

    #968588

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I agree with Torah. I’d agree with Torah 613 times on this one.

    #968589

    “It really doesn’t sound like Pikuach Nefesh here. But there are ways to help someone without actually making physical contact. I would think that a bocher’s first thought is that he should avoid associating with a girl in ANY way, and you saying that there were a bunch of boys there, I would think that they felt their friends would make jokes about helping a girl, that should actually be able to get up by herself.”

    No, it doesn’t sound like pikuach nefesh, but it does sound like the girl was genuinely in need of help and seriously embarrassed when no one offered to help her. The Gemara says that someone who embarrasses another person is as if he killed him. Public embarrassment is a serious matter. It sounds like you are saying that the boys were embarrassed to help this girl because they feared their friends would make fun of them. I think somebody needed to take a stand and help her. Better they be embarrassed in front of their friends who know them well and really are just kidding around than for her to be embarrassed in front of a bunch of strangers. Plus, who says they would have made fun of him? Her embarrassment is a known quantity; his is hypothetical. I am sure she was physically CAPABLE of getting up by herself and found some way to do it, but she was struggling and helping her would have been the right thing to do. No shomer negiah violation was even necessary.

    #968590

    golfer
    Participant

    Me too.

    Agree with Torah 613, that is.

    Can’t help always feeling a little suspicious of these type of threads.

    And have had the honor & pleasure of coming across more than a few yeshiva bachurim who did not behave like morons.

    #968591

    Toi
    Participant

    kick’em while theyre down, i always say.

    #968592

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Also:

    I wasn’t there, and don’t know the exact circumstances, but I think that in most situations like that, the boys should not offer to help and the girl probably would not want the boys to offer to help.

    Seriously: She was able to get up, no? It didn’t take her more than 30 seconds to wriggle out from under, did it? There were other females in the area who could have helped if she really needed it, no? And most seminary girls would be much more mortified if the group of guys had come over to help her up, no?

    Gimme a break.

    On the other hand, I was driving a couple weeks ago and saw an elderly lady trip on a curb when a fire engine came by, and I stopped my car in the middle of the street and ran out and helped her up. Because that was a situation where I should help and where she’d want me to.

    #968593

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    hmmm… OP joining right before the post is a signature of a real post, no? Either way, I can’t see how a girl can possibly weigh less than her luggage. Most airlines allow one 50lb suitcase. Add in a 20lb carry on, and you get 70lb total. You’re telling me a normal seminary girl weighed less than 70lb? I don’t buy that. Even if she paid for a second suitcase, that’s a total of 120lb. Most girls should be able to extricate themselves out of under 120lb of luggage and go get a luggage cart on their own within two minutes without help.

    #968594

    Oh Shreck!
    Participant

    rd and others:

    As others have wrote before a chosid shothe is one who sees a woman drowning and does not help her. A case of real pikuach nefesh, not as this case here where there was apparently no danger, she could get up by herself (maybe with a DROP more effort, it’s her fault, why would the young woman in question pack more than her weight?)

    And no, we don’t rationalize with HaShem’s mitzvhos. He says not to touch, we don’t; not this way not that way. ?? ??? ??????, when we keep HaShem’s commandments to the tee, others will admire us, not mock us.

    And besides we don’t give a hoot to what others care or think about us, while carrying out HaShem’s will. ?? ?? ???? ?????. Furthermore we should be too preoccupied to even notice.

    #968595

    notsuchalamdan16
    Participant

    lets get to the bigger problem here… why is it that every girl needs to bring a house and a half with them to seminary?

    #968596

    golfer
    Participant

    notsucha16, the answer is simple.

    It puts them in the right frame of mind for their years and years of Kollel life following their year of seminary.

    #968597

    Yussel
    Participant

    If this girl was really under her luggage, maybe the yeshiva boys did not see her and thought it was just a pile of luggage?

    #968598

    “Seriously: She was able to get up, no? It didn’t take her more than 30 seconds to wriggle out from under, did it? There were other females in the area who could have helped if she really needed it, no? And most seminary girls would be much more mortified if the group of guys had come over to help her up, no?”

    None of us were there. But based on what the OP wrote, it sounds like it took her a while to get up by herself and there weren’t other females around. Rather than speculating as to what she would or wouldn’t want, they should have just ASKED her if she needed help.

    Also, as far as bringing too much stuff, it is very hard to find good quality clothing in Israel for a reasonable price, so you can’t just fall back on that if you don’t bring enough. We’re talking about almost an entire year. Think about what you use in a year. In addition to clothes and shoes, girls also use makeup, jewelry, skin and body and hair care products, etc. And yeshiva guys are fortunate that all their clothing automatically matches, but since girls wear colors, we need to bring a variety of colors of shoes and accessories to match. We also need to bring English books and magazines (that’s where a lot of the weight comes from) since you can’t just rely on libraries the way you can in the States, and that teddy bear we’ve had for years, and our favorite American snack foods that you can’t get in Israel. It adds up pretty fast, even though we try to pare it down and tell ourselves we are going to pack light.

    The OP mentioned that this girl is petite. It could be that she brought a normal amount of stuff and it was just hard to manage because of her size. And it certainly isn’t right to refuse to help her because “oh, it’s her own fault that she brought too much”.

    #968599

    notsuchalamdan16
    Participant

    i didn’t mean that because she brought to much they shouldn’t help her i for one would have definitely helped her and since when does grabbing a suitcase violate shomer negia? theres nothing worse than ppl being too religious that they totally disregard others irrationally like the guy who prays for fifteen minutes when theres ten ppl in a minyan and were waiting to start chazara or when that fifteen minutes guy doesn’t let me finish praying because he’s standing behind me

    #968600

    notsuchalamdan16
    Participant

    and i thought the whole greatness of sem is that girls could rough it and don’t have to worry about looking perfect bec its only friends around them not every outfit needs its own shoe and makeup doesn’t need to be reapplied every seven min.

    #968601

    TheGoq
    Participant

    “Either way, I can’t see how a girl can possibly weigh less than her luggage.”

    There are a lot of girls who are pressured by society (their parents, Shadchanim, boys parents) to be very thin even to the point where many have an eating disorder, I’m sure if you think about you know women who have had many children and still look like a toothpick this is unhealthy, i thought we were supposed to be a society encouraging ruchnius what could be more gashmiusdik than needing a paper thin wife. End rant. End tangent.

    #968602

    Sam2
    Participant

    Everyone in this thread is dead wrong. Pikuach Nefesh does not override Sh’miras N’giah. N’giah is an Abizraihu of Arayos and is Yeihareg V’al Ya’avor. We are very Machmir on N’giah and never touch at all, even if the situation is not Derech Chibah whatsoever. However, in extreme situations, we ignore that Chumrah and treat it like the Ikkar Hadin, which is why you’re M’chuyav to save the drowning woman. (And if saving a drowning woman is Derech Chibah for you, it’s still not for her and there’s no reason for her to die because you’re a pig. If it would be Derech Chibah for her, she would be obligated to tell you that and to allow herself to drown before being touched Derech Chibah.)

    In this case, there is certainly no Derech Chibah even if any accidental contact was made and the story, as told, is about a group of Yeshivah guys who are very much in the wrong.

    To PBA and Torah: While I don’t disagree with you, there’s a story I once heard R’ Willig say on YUTorah. Someone once asked him a Shailah and he answered it. Then the person the Shailah was about came screaming to him about how unfair it was that he gave a P’sak without listening to everyone and completely understanding the story. R’ Willig responded that he wasn’t a Dayan here, he was a Rav answering a Shailah. He answered the specific Shailah he was asked and it is not his fault if the asker misrepresented the case. Assuming the case was as it was presented, he answered 100% correctly. So too here. Whether or not this precise story actually happened is irrelevant. In the story, as it was presented here, the Yeshivah guys are in the wrong.

    #968603

    “and i thought the whole greatness of sem is that girls could rough it and don’t have to worry about looking perfect bec its only friends around them not every outfit needs its own shoe and makeup doesn’t need to be reapplied every seven min.”

    You’re exaggerating. But more to the point, girls don’t just dress up for guys. They dress up for themselves and even for other girls. I have never heard of seminary being a place to “rough it”.

    #968604

    Toi
    Participant

    Sam2- “Everyone in this thread is dead wrong.”

    I disagree. kicking’em while theyre down is a sound strategy.

    #968605

    rabbiofberlin
    Participant

    Sam2: you write that “N’giah is avizraya d’aroyos and is jeihargeg ve-al jaavor”

    How do you explain the hetter (by prominent rabbonim, especially in Germany) taht allowed to shake a woman’s hand when meeting her?

    #968606

    WIY
    Member

    Sam2

    Are they obligated to help her if that would mean being oiver on negiah?

    What if there are other women there that can help?

    #968607

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    ROB,

    I wonder if it possible to translate “jeihargeg ve-al jaavor” into a language commonly spoken/written by those frequenting the YWCR, like english, loshon kodesh, yiddish or ivrit. Most of us do not speak mermish.

    #968608

    Toi
    Participant

    nisht- its ok, he’s a daas jochid.

    #968609

    Sam2
    Participant

    rob: They must be assuming that for most people shaking hands is never Derech Chibah. They would all agree that if it was for someone that that person should avoid it. Or, to quote Rav Schachter on handshakes, “if she’s ugly it’s Muttar Lechatchilah; if she’s pretty it’s Yeihareg V’al Ya’avor.”

    Nisht: Chill. Everyone understood what he meant. Just because he chooses to transilterate in a particular way doesn’t mean he’s speaking “mermish”. You’re just picking a fight.

    #968610

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    Sam,

    ” So too here. Whether or not this precise story actually happened is irrelevant.”.

    That may be true if the question was “should these boys have helped this girl”. However, that was not the question, or actually the statement by the OP.

    The OP started of by saying, effectively, that these were horrible bochurim, how can anyone dare argue with her take. Which can’t be answered because no one knows the circumstances, the story as written has too few details. (Nor did the OP clarify if the girl stumbled because she was ogling the Yeshiva guys)

    I will also say that there is a certain haskafah which tends to use the term “shomer negiah”, certainly when referred to as an optional practice akin to cholov yisroel. I have not heard that term used by bnei yeshiva or Beis Yaakov girls.

    #968611

    ObstacleIllusion
    Participant

    I highly doubt this story actually happened, because there’s no way she was “in middle of a group of yeshiva bochurim.” There were bachurim within eyesight of her when she fell. I’m also confused as how she ended up under her luggage. I’ve traveled alone with 5 pieces of luggage, there was at least double my weight, and I can’t figure out how one ends up UNDER their luggage pinned to the floor. Was she holding it above her head when it dropped?

    Also why blame the yeshiva bochurim, Ben Gurion is packed with people, why decide they HAD to help her? There is also no wya to know that they didn’t help out because they were being shomer negia, can’t know that. They also had no way of knowing this was her first time in Israel, nor is it relevant.

    This is a normal everyday story given an anti-yeshiva bachurim slant contrived by someone with a chip on their shoulder?

    #968612

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    Sam,

    “Everyone understood what he meant. Just because he chooses to transilterate in a particular way doesn’t mean he’s speaking “mermish”.”

    To explain in legal terms, it speaks to frame of mind.

    It was difficult to unravel with the extra “geg” at the end on top of the strange transliteration.

    #968613

    yeshivaguy45
    Participant

    In my opinion, from the story that the OP said, this had nothing to do with Pikuach Nefesh, but i agree with jewishfeminist02 that the bochurim could have moved her bags, making it easier for her to get up.

    #968614

    2scents
    Participant

    What would be the din (yeah, I know that everyone should ask their LOR..) for a nurse, doctor or Paramedic to touch the opposite gender to feel the pulse.

    I see this happening all the time.

    #968615

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    Sam, your post is misleading.

    There is solid basis to say that negia is not d’oraisa when it is not “derech tayva v’chibas bi’ah.” This, by the way, is clearly not the same as simple affection.

    See the Shach 195:20 found here who says this straight out: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9146&st=&pgnum=316&hilite=

    Many contemporary poskim happen to agree with the Shach, including the noted machmir, the Badei Hashulchan.

    #968616

    Sam2
    Participant

    Nisht: Meh. It took me about 5 seconds to realize that all of rob’s “j”s should be read softly. The extra g was just a typo. Those happen.

    My point still stands, though. These Bochurim described in the story were quite bad. Now, they might not actually exist. But that issue is separate from the point that there was something wrong with the Bochurim described in the story.

    Honestly, though, the story doesn’t strike me as a vicious attack on Yeshivah guys. It strikes me as someone who feels offended on behalf of her friend’s daughter and is honestly complaining. Yes, some details seem exaggerated. So what? Something reminiscent of the story as told probably happened. There’s nothing wrong with a little venting. And when done in the privacy and anonymity of the CR, it’s probably the easiest way to vent without being Over on Lashon Hara.

    #968617

    rabbiofberlin
    Participant

    nisht: i must say I laughed at your comments! please forgive an old geezer for mistypes! BTW-Sam2 wrote the same way

    Sam2- my plain question was that ifit such an “issur chomur”, a different understanding could not be accepted. You are absolutely right in what you wrote about ‘derech chibah” but this was my point, that “negiah” per se is not “jeiharog ve’al jaavor”.it depends upon the circumstances.

    #968618

    Nechomah
    Participant

    nisht – he’s French, they use the J in their transliteration.

    I have one big question about this OP – everybody seems to be assuming that the girl was going to seminary, implying that she’s frum/BY or something like that. What frum/BY girl would be walking in the MIDDLE of a group of bochurim? I would usually get to the side and let them pass me by.

    #968619

    oomis
    Participant

    If they saw her fall, saw she could not get up without help, and did not try to help her based on “shomer negiyah,” they are ALL stupid fools who have learned NOTHING in Yeshivah. This is not negiyah. This is helping someone who has fallen. My husband’s ELDERLY aunt fell in the street in Boro Park about 40 years ago, and she was appalled that a whole bunch of yeshivah boys stood by and did nothing to help her. She sat there crying on the ground unable to get up by herself, until a non-Jewish neighbor saw her and helped her up. WHAT A CHILLUL HASHEM!!!!!! What is the difference if the girl was frum, not frum, or even Jewish. Someone falls and is unable to stand up, you help that person or at least GET HELP immediately. But when someone is injured, you have no chiyuv to find someone else to do what you can do yourself.

    Lots of times Hatzalah is called for non-pikuah-nefesh injuries of both males and females. Do they not touch the female victims in need of help? Is THAT negiyah?

    #968620

    Sam2
    Participant

    Yitay: This is a famous Sugya. I believe that what I said would be agreed to by both the Beis Yosef and Shach. Pashut P’shat is that the Beis Yosef held that a man and his wife is always Derech Chibah but that they agree to the same basic principles. But even if you don’t say that, it’s really not tenable to say that the argument is as wide as some make it. It just doesn’t make sense. And everyone holds of the concept of “Derech Chibah”. The question is how to define it. And the Shittah of the Ezer MiKodesh and the B’nei Banim is quite a minority opinion.

    #968621

    yeshivaguy45
    Participant

    If you go to dinonline.org there’s a shailah on there about someone who wants to become a physical therapist and is he allowed to touch women for it. This was cut and pasted from there.

    A student of mine (22 y/o male) would like to become a physical therapist. However, this may entail touching women both during school and while practicing as one. Is this permitted?

    Answer:

    It is fine to become a physical therapist. There is a preference not to treat women, but where there is a need it is permitted.

    Sources:

    Based on the same principles, it would be permitted to practice medical techniques, including physical therapy (which is a recognized technique) on women. A further reason for leniency is that the Gemara (Avodah Zarah 20) teaches that a person at work does is not inclined to have forbidden thoughts, though some question the application of this principle to scenarios of directly touching women.

    Yet, there is a difference between physical therapy and taking a pulse, and there is more room for concern concerning prolonged treatments than for short checks. Therefore, although it is permitted, it is better to avoid the situation, where possible.

    #968622

    Scientists
    Member

    OMG! I cant believe I saw this post. I never post but I was actually there and saw the whole shebang! She wasn’t tzenua and all the guys were averting looking at her! They were turning away their eyes and heads from her even before she tumbled over… So most of the guys may have not even noticed. And if some did hear the fall they didn’t want to look at a non-tznius girl! And they are right!!

    Plus there were ladies there who were able to help the girl without needing the “guys” to get involved.

    #968623

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    Scientists: Thank you for joining and posting.

    #968624

    Sam2
    Participant

    Either an Israeli just made an account at 3 am, or Joseph just tried to slander someone he’s never met less than 10 minutes after creating a new account.

    #968625

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    Sam –

    Pashut P’shat is that the Beis Yosef held that a man and his wife is always Derech Chibah

    That’s pashut pshat?! Come on. Just because it’s more convenient not to have a shverre Beis Yosef doesn’t make it pashut pshat. And that would be shver in any case, because the Beis Yosef himself paskens like the Rambam that between a husband and wife histaklus can be for simple hana’ah and not tayva and therefore mutar when the woman is a Niddah – something he would not say by ordinary arayos – and now you are going to say that pashtus is all chibah of married people is chibas bi’ah, more so than unmarried people?

    My point was that implying that stam negiah is a d’oraisa without qualifying, especially in the context of this discussion, is misleading, and I still think so, despite the fact that there are people who are of that opinion.

    As for the question itself, certainly in this situation where the negiah is clearly not related to negiah of chibah, it would be permitted beyond any doubt. It is not any different than a doctor.

    #968626

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    Sam,

    A short while ago you said

    “Honestly, though, the story doesn’t strike me as a vicious attack on Yeshivah guys. It strikes me as someone who feels offended on behalf of her friend’s daughter and is honestly complaining. Yes, some details seem exaggerated. So what? Something reminiscent of the story as told probably happened. There’s nothing wrong with a little venting. And when done in the privacy and anonymity of the CR, it’s probably the easiest way to vent without being Over on Lashon Hara.”

    Suddenly your attitude has changed when someone says the story happened quite the opposite? It’s stil anonymous.

    #968627

    Sam2
    Participant

    Nisht: (I was actually waiting for you to ask this.) Anyone has a right to join and post what they want. And if I thought this was actually a guy who saw this (or a similar) story then I would take it at exactly the same face value that I took the OP. My only protest is based on my assumption (and I’m pretty sure I’m right; just waiting for Mod confirmation on it) that this was Joseph making a new screen name just to claim firsthand knowledge of something and therefore slandering the person. He was not telling a potentially new story or giving legitimate information about this girl (who may or may not exist) described in the OP, but rather slanderously invented a terrible thing to say about the girl mentioned in the OP.

    And I wasn’t saying that it was Lashon Hara. It was just deceitful, underhanded, and illegitimate.

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