wording to decline a hand shake?
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- This topic has 83 replies, 38 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 6 months ago by anIsraeliYid.
August 14, 2012 1:33 am at 1:33 am #604547
I’ve got an interview tomorrow morning and even though a woman will be interviewing me, there is always that possibility of meeting other people.
I used to have a very good statement for declining a hand shake but I forgot it. It was short and concise and worked. But not gonna help if i can’t remember it…
what line(s)/phrase do you use?
Thanks!August 14, 2012 1:41 am at 1:41 am #893954PeerimsameachParticipant
Girl…YOU ARE UGGGLY..I only shake pretty girls hands…. jk uhm why dont u use the classic, I just sneezed sorry…
or be normal and sai ” I dont shake hands..sorry.August 14, 2012 1:57 am at 1:57 am #893955
“I’m very sorry, but Orthodox Jews don’t touch members of the opposite sex” usually works.August 14, 2012 2:06 am at 2:06 am #893956more_2Member
I’m sorry but I don’t shake men’s hands for religious reasons. If my husband was here he’d shake your hand twice.August 14, 2012 2:14 am at 2:14 am #893957JaneDoe18Participant
“For religious reasons,
I don’t shake hands with members of the opposite sex.”August 14, 2012 2:20 am at 2:20 am #893958August 14, 2012 2:37 am at 2:37 am #893959
thanks e/o! these are exactly what I was looking for.
shlishi, thanks for the linkAugust 14, 2012 4:42 am at 4:42 am #893960mom12Participant
My husband had a workmate who always used to say..
‘We are sociable, but untouchable’August 14, 2012 8:34 am at 8:34 am #893961CuriosityParticipant
I use, “don’t take it personally, I’m allergic to cooties.”August 14, 2012 2:02 pm at 2:02 pm #893962TheGoqParticipant
YY Hatzlachah on the interview let us know what happened.August 14, 2012 2:36 pm at 2:36 pm #893963mommamia22Participant
Are you going for a nursing position?
It might sound odd to say that you don’t touch men when you may very likely come in contact with male patients unless you are working ob/gyn or pediatrics.
You might have to put your standards in a little bit more of a delicate way.
I think you should ask health. He’s in the field and has probably encountered this issue with fair regularity. He might know the accepted lingo for this issue in that environment.August 14, 2012 2:43 pm at 2:43 pm #893964walton157Member
@yentingyenta: Ask your Rav, if you have one.August 14, 2012 4:47 pm at 4:47 pm #8939652scentsParticipant
That’s why it is appropriate to say “we do not SHAKE hands with the opposite gender”.August 14, 2012 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #893966
theGoq, Thanks. B”H the interview went very well but the job requires Saturday’s. she was a little disappointed when I told her that but I can’t change the facts.
mom12 and curiosity, lol
mommomia, yes correct its a nursing position but as 2scents mentioned, I would use the word ‘shake’ to specify. but peds goes up to age 18 or 21. the only female only area of nursing is OB-Gyn but that is really not my calling in life.August 15, 2012 1:03 am at 1:03 am #893967more_2Member
Hatzlocha!! Hope everything goes well:-)August 15, 2012 1:38 am at 1:38 am #893968
Ask your rav if you can shake hands in this situation. There are poskim who are meikal. If you say it is against Orthodox Judaism you will have a problem if the next guy is an Orthodox Jew who relies on the heterim.August 15, 2012 2:58 am at 2:58 am #893969
Avi: You can’t dilute Judaism and then go find some rabbi who is “meikel” or because you are afraid someone else who isn’t stringent will make you look bad to goyim.
And second of all, why are you r”l trying to convince a Yirei Shamayim (the OP) who specifically said she won’t violate this, to actually violate what she already indicated she will not. Kudos to her.August 15, 2012 4:18 am at 4:18 am #893970
Shlishi: He said to ask her Rov. If her Rov would say to shake hands then who are you (or Avi) to tell her not to?August 15, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am #893971August 15, 2012 1:25 pm at 1:25 pm #893972TheGoqParticipant
YY sorry it did not work out better luck next time 🙂August 15, 2012 1:57 pm at 1:57 pm #893973on the ballParticipant
Which Poskim are Meikel?August 15, 2012 1:57 pm at 1:57 pm #893974
Shlishi: I don’t disagree that most Poskim seem to Asser it. But the job of a Rov is to look at the situation and think about things. Perhaps the Rabbi will think about something that she (or you) didn’t? What if the man she meets is black and the next Orthodox Jewish woman that comes by was given a P’sak that it’s okay for work to shake hands, then he (and everyone else) might think that she really avoided him because he was black and it might C”V create a Chillul Hashem because they will think that all (or many) Orthodox Jews are racist? That’s why everything requires thought and deliberation by a Rav who knows the situation. I do agree, though, that handshakes should be avoided if at all possible (I have quoted R’ Schachter on this here several times before, I think).August 15, 2012 2:10 pm at 2:10 pm #893975sbephParticipant
Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman says to say “In our religion we only touch our own spouses (wife/husband)”August 15, 2012 2:27 pm at 2:27 pm #893976yehudayonaParticipant
My wife is a baalas tshuva. Her parents are not frum. One of our wedding guests was a chashuva rav associated with the Agudah. My mother-in-law was very impressed when he shook her hand — it was a big kiddush Hashem because it helped her be more accepting of her daughter’s and new son-in-law’s frumkeit.August 15, 2012 3:41 pm at 3:41 pm #893978TheMusicManParticipant
How about “I never shake hands for reasons of sterility. Notice the four-gallon bottle of Purell in my sagging purse. I am also coated in a 2-millimeter layer of polymerized antibacterial wax, wear a gas mask while in the street, and sleep in a sterile plastic bubble, breathing shmura air. I never lie either.”August 15, 2012 3:45 pm at 3:45 pm #893979ToiParticipant
watch out for a hug.August 15, 2012 4:27 pm at 4:27 pm #893980
on the ball, Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky and Rav Hershel Shachter are meikal, at least in the situation under consideration. Rav Fuch (Halichot Bat Yisrael) seems to think that it is only a chumra. Rav Moshe also mentions that some are meikal as they hold that there is no affection involved. Against that, one must weigh the dangers of causing embarassment, anger, and/or hatred as well as the mitzva of parnassa, especially if one has a family.August 15, 2012 4:33 pm at 4:33 pm #893981
theGoq, thank you
shlishi, thank you for standing up for me.
to everyone else, chill out. I learned the Halachos of shaking hands too. just don’t ask me to quote mekoros. Obviously I know its Assur L’chatchila which is why I asked for wording to deflect a hand-shake without insulting anyone. If I had a specific shaila in a particular situation, YES i would call the family Rav.
sbeth, I like that wording but I’m a nurse and telling a future employer I cannot touch males is not a good thing to doAugust 15, 2012 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #893982
Yentingyenta, according to Rabbi J. David Cohen Rav Aharon Soloveichik allowed it lechatchilla if it is only for a brief period. As for the wording, this would depend on the poerson and you would need a great deal of siata d’Shemaya to say the right thing to the right person.August 15, 2012 5:57 pm at 5:57 pm #893983WolfishMusingsParticipant
“In our religion we only touch our own spouses (wife/husband)”
Which explains why, when my wife handed me my infant daughter, I jumped back and allowed her to drop the baby. 🙂
The WolfAugust 15, 2012 8:17 pm at 8:17 pm #893984
Concerning Rav Moshe’s shita on shaking hands with the opposite gender, there are obviously exceptions; read the following excerpt from a personal direct experience with Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT”L:
[unobservant] like me has a yeshiva bochur [student]
Rav Moshe finally looked at me. I was mortified. My aunt was addressing him irreverently. She was joking with him. She had called me Ikey, not Yitzchok, or even Isaac.
[religious]August 15, 2012 9:14 pm at 9:14 pm #893985smartcookieMember
Lol, Wolf, we should all learn from your Ehrlichkeit.August 16, 2012 4:07 am at 4:07 am #893986greatestMember
Rav Moshe and the Chazon Ish are not the only poskim who say it is strictly forbidden and even yeherag v’al yaavor. All poskim of note do. Did you ever notice that not one of the alleged claims that some permit it can ever cite a maare makom? That is because none exist.
I challenge anyone to provide a maare makom for any posek of note that says it is permitted. I know none exist. The best you’ll find are the Avi Weiss types. Orthodox indeed.August 16, 2012 4:27 am at 4:27 am #893987
Charrybim: I read that story once years ago and tears spring to my eyes whenever I recall it. But I haven’t been able to find it again. Can you give me the source please? Thank you so much.August 16, 2012 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm #893988
Sam2 – with pleasure:August 16, 2012 4:45 pm at 4:45 pm #893989AnonymousInactive
sneeze in your handAugust 16, 2012 6:46 pm at 6:46 pm #8939902scentsParticipant
It is a nice story.
However, it does not indicate that Reb Moshe would L’chatchila shake a women’s hand.August 17, 2012 4:13 am at 4:13 am #893991
There’s nothing in that story relevant to this discussion. Some uneducated woman ambushed Rav Moshe and touched him somehow, before he had a chance to know what she was about to do.August 17, 2012 4:59 am at 4:59 am #893992
Greatest, Rav Aharon Soloveichik, Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, Rav Herschel Schachter and Rav Yitzchak Yaakov Fuchs are not poskim “of note”?August 17, 2012 6:13 am at 6:13 am #893993EnglishmanMember
Watcha talking about, Avi. Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, in Emes L’Ya’akov on the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, p.405 n. 4 says:
“Regarding returning a handshake to women when they extend their hand first in greeting, not in an affectionate manner, this is a very serious question and it is difficult to be lenient.”
That ain’t being “meikal” as you incorrectly described Rav Yaakov, above.August 17, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am #893994
Greatest: Is the Rama not good enough for you? I think R’ Yaakov’s wording is perfect. A blanket leniency is impossible. Being lenient in any particular situation is very difficult. But there are situations that might warrant or necessitate it.August 17, 2012 2:11 pm at 2:11 pm #893995
“But there are situations that might warrant or necessitate it.”
You mean like when Yaakov kissed Rochel upon meeting her for the first time?August 17, 2012 2:15 pm at 2:15 pm #893996EnglishmanMember
The Rama is not permissive.August 17, 2012 2:31 pm at 2:31 pm #893997
Englishman: Okay. Deny Mekoros if you want. But the Rama seems to permit a whole lot more than just a brisk business handshake if you actually read him.August 17, 2012 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm #893999WIYMember
Learning the old testament like a christian.
The Medrash Rabba writes that Yaakov cried because the people around suspected him of pritzus for kissing Rachel. The Seforno adds that this is the reason why Yaakov right away told Rachel that he was related to her so that she too wouldn’t suspect him. The Netziv says a similar pshat on his own, he says that Yaakov cried to show Rachel that the kiss was because she was his relative and was not for lustful purposes. Rabbenu B’Chaye offers 2 explanations, either Rachel was under 3 or that he kissed her hand or forehead and not her lips.August 17, 2012 2:51 pm at 2:51 pm #894000WIYMember
Where is this Rema located?August 17, 2012 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm #894001
Englishman, “difficult” is far from “yehareg uval yaavor” and is not even “assur”. It means that a rav must consider the situation very carefully before allowing it.However, he definitely opens the door.August 17, 2012 4:07 pm at 4:07 pm #894002
WIY: In the Siman of Negiyah. EH 21, if I recall correctly.August 17, 2012 9:29 pm at 9:29 pm #894003allieParticipant
I am in a profession that requires a lot of handshaking, and I always use the same line, and have had very few problems: I don’t shake hands for religious reasons,” and then I move on. Sometimes it’s awkward for 30 seconds, but people get over it, if they don’t, they aren’t being professional. If you don’t make a big deal, chances are that they won’t. It’s a good way to know at an interview if they have a problem with religious observances. (Which I have dealt with, it’s part of galus.) Find a mentor who has done it. Good for you YY, you will find a job that will be an appropriate fit. If handshaking will hurt you professionally, keeping shabbos/leaving early Fridays has been a much more difficult hurdle, like you saw at the interview. Hatzlacha.August 23, 2012 8:02 pm at 8:02 pm #894004SayIDidIt™Participant
I heard a story from Rabbi P. Krohn:
There was a couple who had a company and every morning a delivery truck who come to the factory, the driver would unload the truck and the wife (owner) would sign the delivery paper, they would shake hands and the driver would leave. Then the couple became BT. And the wife felt akward shaking the driver’s hand but didn’t want to say anything that may ruin there buissness.
One dayc while Davening, the lady thought of an interesting P’shat to a Passuk. She was saying Ashrei and read the Passuk like this: Poeach Es Yodecha, you, Hashem, put out your hand. I don’t need to put out my hand. Me puting out my hand is not bringing me my Parnassha but Hashem is Masbea L’Chol Chai!
And the next day, when the delivery man put out his hand, she told him that religious Jews don’t shake hands with the other gender. And the man left and never asked to shake hands again.
Whatever you do, remember that Hashem is the one who gives us what we need. If you stick with him, he’ll stick with you.
(hope this was clear. Its hard to post from a phone…)
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