Yehareig V'al Yaavor?

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  • #613343

    IvduEsHashemBsimcha
    Participant

    I always thought that there were only three aveiros for which we are supposed to die rather than do them – giluy arayos, shvichas damim, avodah zara. But I’ve heard of others now – like a man touching a woman (who is not his wife) b’derech chiba. Is this really the halacha, and if so, why? Because I thought we learn from “v’chai bahem” that to die rather than transgress only applie to those three.

    #1093713

    old man
    Participant

    Professor Haym Soloveitchik, in his recent Collected Essays vol. 1. illucidated the concept of yehareg v’al ya’avor (YVLY). Essentially:

    1. YVLY means that one allows oneself to be murdered rather than transgress, not that one is “supposed to die”.

    2. A Jew is forbidden to murder a Jew, hence, YVLY applies to the threat of murder by a non-Jew.

    3. Suicide is forbidden.

    From the above, it is obvious that when a contemporary Rav uses the term YVLY regarding these issues (shaking a woman’s hand, etc…), he is using it FIGURATIVELY in order to emphasize the severity of the act and/or the obligation to avoid it. The literal YVLY does not apply in any of these cases.

    #1093714

    yentachaya
    Participant

    Great question. So happy you asked.

    A man touching a woman accidentally is not a problem, but b’derech chiba is a problem. Intimate and intentional physical contact between the genders is problematic because it can lead to one of the three aveiros chamuros, namely giluy arayos. That is why it is considered to be a part of them: it’s like a subcategory.

    I hope that answered your question.

    Besuros tovos! 🙂

    #1093715

    YW Moderator-42
    Moderator

    If the woman is over bat mitzvah we can assume that she is either a niddah or an eishes ish and therefore would be at least an issur kares and therefore has an issur of “lo sikrivu” which is included in the category of “giluy arayos” which is one of the Big 3.

    #1093716

    benignuman
    Participant

    To explain what moderator 42 wrote:

    The Shulchan Aruch and the Rama both pasken that derivative (i.e. lower-level sins of the same category) sins of the “big three” are also yehoreg v’al yaavor, even though those sins are of lesser severity.

    Because the Shulchan Aruch and the Rama also pasken that negiah derech chiba is asur min HaTorah, like the Rambam, from the same posuk that forbids relations with a Nida, it follows that this issur is a derivative of Arayos which would be yehoreg v’al yaavor. The Shulchan Aruch is explicit that negiah derech chiba is yehoreg v’al yaavor by Nida (which is the issur of Arayos that applies to all non-married, adult, Jewish women). And there is no reason to think that negiah would be more meikel with respect to Eishes Ish.

    #1093717

    Sam2
    Participant

    Ivdu: According to the Psak of the SH”A, what 42 said. I have heard Poskim say that we can be Meikel like several other (minority) opinions in the Rishonim (e.g. that it’s not Abizraihu of Arayos, that it’s a D’rabannan, or that Niddah only applies to one’s own wife) because this is a case of Safek Pikuach Nefesh. Others have pointed out that laws of Pikuach Nefesh don’t apply to YVY cases and therefore we should follow the majority opinion and treat this as YVY. (The three potentials mentioned above are very minority opinions.)

    #1093718

    IvduEsHashemBsimcha
    Participant

    Ah I understand, it’s a derivative of giluy arayos.

    #1093719

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Sam, you don’t mean Nida. You mean the Harchakos of Nida.

    #1093720

    Yosi7
    Member

    Old Man:

    About what you said about suicide there are some poskim who say you literally have to kill yourself if your in a yaahreg vaal yaavor position (ex. if you hold yichud is abizraya dgiluy arayos (again, not poshut) so some say if your in a yicchud situation you have to kill yourself). Although many do disagree with this, I just wanted to point it out.

    #1093721

    Sam2
    Participant

    Yosi: That’s just not true. I can hear that some might read a Tosfos in Yevamos (51b or so) that way, but that’s not what Tosfos said and, as far as I have seen, no one says like that.

    #1093722

    yentachaya
    Participant

    @yosi7

    Let’s not advocate suicide here, please.

    #1093723

    por
    Participant

    My understanding is that in a time of gezeiras ha-shmad, i.e. when goyim are trying to force Jews to violate the Torah just for the sake of violating the Torah and giving up Judaism, then it is required to give up one’s life rather than violate any mitzva or halacha however minor it may seem (the example given is if goyim wear red shoelaces and Jews wear black shoelaces, then in a time of gezeiras ha-shmad a Jew is required to give up his life rather than wear red shoelaces). If, however, the goy needs the labor of a Jewish prisoner or slave-laborer on Shabbos for his own benefit, but doesn’t otherwise care if the Jew keeps Shabbos on his own time or not, and it’s not a time of gezeiras ha-shmad, then the Jew is allowed to work on Shabbos. But the halachos (Yoreh Deah 157) are more intricate than I’ve been able to present them here so don’t do anything without learning them carefully and asking a Rav. May Hashem protect all of us from being subjected to such trials.

    #1093724

    por
    Participant

    Even not in a time of gezeiras ha-shmad, however, it is never allowed to violate the “big three” or even to say that one is an idol worshipper in order to save one’s life.

    #1093725

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Sam, why then did Rav Cahana jump (in Kidushin, Assara Yuchsin)?

    #1093726

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    ??? ???? ????, ????? ?????

    #1093727

    benignuman
    Participant

    HaLeivi,

    I don’t know what Sam meant but there is a shitta, the Toras Hashlamim, that holds that Niddah d’Oraisa, not just harchokos, is only for married women. There is also a Taz that I have seen people misunderstand that way, but I don’t think it is what the Taz means.

    #1093728

    Sam2
    Participant

    HaLeiVi: I meant Nida, as ben mentioned. There are also some who read the Rambam that way (I hear it, though I don’t think it’s Pshat). I think the Meiri also brings down such a Shittah.

    #1093729

    benignuman
    Participant

    I should clarify that the Toras Hashlamim doesn’t hold that way l’maysah. He holds, if I remember correctly, that this issue is a machlokes Tanaim.

    Sam, do you remember which Rambam they read that way?

    #1093730

    About Time
    Participant

    The Ramban in Sefer HaMitzvos posits that in some cases it isn’t Harog v’al ya’avor.

    old man: typical ivory tower foolishness. Is he choosing to be casting aspersions on thousands of our mutual ancestors who jumped into the flames and onto swords?!

    #1093731

    Sam2
    Participant

    ben: I’m sure I’d find it if I looked through them again. I think the Rogotchover might even point it out.

    #1093732

    nem621
    Member

    i think also if someone R”L says do an aveira (any aveira) in front of ten people for the sake of the aveira one should give his life now please if R”L someone is faced with this don’t say in shamaim i saw it in the offeeroom

    #1093733

    yentachaya
    Participant

    @nem621

    Oh, come on! No one is that foolish. People have a head and can think for themselves.

    #1093734

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    A physical head, yentachaya?

    #1093735

    Rebbe Yid
    Participant

    “YVLY means that one allows oneself to be murdered rather than transgress, not that one is “supposed to die”.”

    No, yehareig means “be killed” not “be murdered.” There are various cases given of being killed rather than transgress, such as dying of lovesickness or whatever rather than have some sort of contact with a woman, dying of thirst rather than bending down (bowing) to drink from water in front of avodah zara, etc.

    #1093736

    yentachaya
    Participant

    @rebyidd23

    I’m not sure what you were implying there (hope it was nothing inappropriate) but I meant that people can think for themselves. I hope.

    There’s an expression “having a head on your shoulders,” which means you have some seichel.

    #1093737

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Mai Chazis Dedamach Sumak Tfei would mean that you are not required to kill yourself. I can’t think of a scenario where this is Noge’a since being used passively in a murder (or even Orayos — Karka Olam) is not Yehoreg V’al Yavor.

    On the other hand Rav Kahana jumped off a roof so as not to be forced into an Aveira, and Eliyahu Hanavi had to save him. The Yaavetz also holds that when it started out as your fault then it is better you harm yourself Beyadayim.

    #1093738

    Yosi7
    Member

    sam2- There are people who hold like that. There is a very well known Posek and Magid Shiur in a very chasuve Yeshiva in E’Y who I have heard say this on many times. He even said that Rav Chaim Kanievsky wanted to say like that but Rav Shlomo Zalman said CH’V to say like that.

    #1093739

    Sam2
    Participant

    Good. I’ll take R’ Shlomo Zalman and R’ Chaim’s L’ma’aseh over an unnamed Rosh Yeshivah any day.

    #1093740

    Menachem Melamed
    Participant

    Twice (or more) per day when we say Shma we say that we are commanded to love HaShem to such a degree than if necessary we would give up our lives and all our possessions for Him. This is a very weighty topic which should be learned with the seriousness it deserves. It is difficult for me to understand how people can discuss such weighty topics in the Coffee Room. We must learn these halochos with the appropriate serious attitude and not have every anonymous person – perhaps learned, perhaps somewhat knowlegeable, or perhaps a bored kid – state whatever they think the halocha should be.

    #1093741

    mik5
    Participant

    Harav Y.Y. Kanievsky [the Steipler Gaon] quotes the Chazon Ish as maintaining that shaking hands falls into the category of yehareg ve’al ya’avor – better that you should die than to transgress (see Teharas Am Yisrael, pg. 44).

    It bothers me to no end that I see supposedly frum Jews shaking hands with people of the opposite gender, and they make all kinds of excuses for this behavior (such as not wanting to embarrass people, or supposedly having a heter for work).

    Do you know what “yehareg ve’al ya’avor” means? The Chazon Ish zatzal held that even if they will shoot you and your entire family, you are NOT ALLOWED to shake hands. Period.

    #1093743

    Yosi7
    Member

    Mik5- Not saying CH”V to be meikel to shake hand but… the first source for that story with the Chazon Ish (that shaking hands is Yehareg Vaal Yaavor) is a very frummy biography of the Chazon Ish in Hebrew written by his Talmidim. Even in this biography the footnote says that many times the Chazon Ish used the lashon of “Yehareg Vaal Yaavor” to make a point and didn’t hold Lmaaseh it is Yehareg Vaal Yaavor. In terms of frum Jews shaking hands with excuses, although Rav Moshe did say that it is very hard to be Meikil so no one should actually do it, there were many great Rabbonim (from the Yekke community, mostly) who did shake hands in a case where it would embarrass the lady.

    #1093744

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    Yosi: My very first post on this forum was mentioning that Rav Schwab was meikel. Today, that is more of historical interest than anything else since I don’t think yekkes follow that psak anymore if they ever did l’maaseh.

    #1093745

    benignuman
    Participant

    mik5,

    If that is genuinely the Chazon Ish’s position, it is certainly not the mainstream opinion. I have learned the sugya and discussed the issue with multiple rabbonim. Many, if not most, poskim would hold that if a woman sticks out her hand you can shake it quickly to avoid embarassment and/or potential loss of money. Some would limit this ruling to cases where you know that there will be no feelings of chiba.

    Only negiah derech chiba is yehoreg v’al yaavor and only if the woman is Jewish or married (nidda is only d’rabbanan for non-Jews). According to some “derech chiba” is subjective and would depend on a self-assessment of potential for chiba when shaking hands (one posek said that shaking hands can be a question of d’oraisa on either side, so that if you decide there is no potential for chiba you have to shake to avoid embarassment and if there is potential for chiba you cannot shake because of the issur nidda).

    According to others, e.g. Reb Moshe, “derech chiba” is objective and the question is how to asses shaking hands. If shaking hands is objectively an act of chiba, then it would be yehoreg v’al yaavor (presumably this is how the Chazon Ish holds). If shaking hands is not objectively an act of chiba, then it would not be yehoreg v’al yaavor.

    Bottom line, don’t get upset when you see frum Jews shaking hands with women. Dan them l’kaf z’chus that they asked their Rav before doing so and know that yesh l’hem al mi lismichu.

    #1093746

    Joseph
    Participant

    benignuman: The mainstream position, by far, is like the Chazon Ish and the Steipler. Which is how mik5 correctly explained it. Rav Moshe, in the Igros Moshe, repeatedly in multiple teshuvos (EH I #5, OC I 113, EH IV 32.9) says it is impermissible to shake a woman’s hand. Even if she sticks it out. And Rav Moshe specifically paskens that claiming there is no chiba is unjustifiable.

    Please cite any first-rate posek who disagrees with this strong position of the Chazon Ish, the Steipler and Rav Moshe amongst many others.

    The Chazon Ish stated [re: a man shaking a woman’s hand who is not his spouse, his mother, his daughter, or his granddaughter] [p.p. 130-131])

    A Yeshiva student from England refused to shake hands with his step-mother when greeting her. His father was extremely upset with his refusal. He demanded his son display “derech eretz” towards his step-mother and shake her hand. The son refused stating he was taught it was impermissable with a non close blood relative. This affected the fathers relationship with the son. Some family members told the son to give in al sholom bayis. The son asked a shaila from the Chazon Ish. The Chazon Ish responded with a short and sharp answer – “Chok V’lo Yaavor, Issur Gamur” (It is a prohibition that one dare not violate; It is absolutely forbidden,) Violating this halacha was out of the question despite sholom bayis and kibud av.

    Its also paskened assur in Responsa Be’er Moshe 4:130, and the Od Yosef Chai (by the Gaon Ben Ish Chai zt’l) Shoftim #22 where they rule it is totally assur. The Sefer Chassidim # 1090 writes one should not shake hands even if the person of the opposite gender is not Jewish.

    #1093748

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Joseph

    “Please cite any first-rate posek who disagrees with this strong position of the Chazon Ish, the Steipler and Rav Moshe amongst many others.”

    Rav Heineman beshem R’ Aaron.

    #1093749

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Heinemann only said that about it being permissible to see a doctor of the opposite gender (and him physically handling the patient) and it not being chiba. He did not apply it to any other situation such as handshaking.

    You can check this with Rav Heinemann. (Or with any talmid of Rav Ahron.) You also provided no source for your claim that he was lenient in the face of virtually universal prohibition by the gedolei haposkim.

    #1093750

    feivel
    Participant

    Maaseh that happened to me one week ago.

    I’m not proving anything just a maaseh that’s related to the discussion.

    My sister in law called me sobbing. My brothers heart stopped and they were doing CPR, defibrillating etc. she asked me to come over. I called a Rov I know. He isn’t a Posek but he’s the Rov of a Shul and a Rebbe in a famous Yeshiva.

    I asked him if my brother became niftar and his (not frum) wife came to hug me could I hug her. This Rov who tends to be makel, did hesitate for a few moments, then said “no” in a forceful tone.

    Baruch Hashem my brother made it and is recovering b ezras Hashem.

    #1093751

    DaMoshe
    Participant

    feivel, I’m glad there was a happy outcome to the story. May your brother have a full refuah quickly!

    I was told by my Rav that a prominent, well known Rav (who I won’t name for obvious reasons) shakes hands with a non-Jewish woman once per year.

    There are questions regarding if a non-Jew makes a kinyan in the same way as a Jew. One opinion is that when someone sells something to a non-Jew, the kinyan is made with the normal way of “sealing the deal” in society.

    This Rav sells chametz before Pesach for a large number of people, and he sells it to a woman. He is careful to use a few different forms of a kinyan to satisfy all opinions, so that the sale and transfer of ownership is valid. Since it is normal to shake hands to seal a deal, he will shake the woman’s hand to transfer ownership of the chametz to her.

    #1093752

    Joseph
    Participant

    Those kind of shticklech only come from mo rabbis, if you’ll pardon my candor. He could just as well have sold his chometz to a man instead of being such an egalitarian in need of shaking her hand.

    #1093753

    newbee
    Member

    see the shach lemeiseh women go to male doctors lav davka for pikuach nefesh and if it was yeharog val yavor pikuach nefesh wouldn’t even work, we see that its mutar if there is no neheneh be’kiruv baasar. So for shaking a woman’s hand you have to ask yourself if there is neheneh be’kiruv basar, and its a question you have to ask yourself very quickly.

    #1093754

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Joseph

    “You can check this with Rav Heinemann. “

    I have! I asked him about shaking hands in general he said he was quoting his rebbe (R’ Aaron) “besser zich arois dreien fun deim” In other words it is better to avoid it but not assur. (He agreed this was his intention)

    I have this all on tape

    It is not out of the world to say a handshake isnt derech chibah. Obviously R’ Moshe disagrees (at least a few decades ago).

    #1093755

    writersoul
    Member

    I’m in an environment currently where I was told to attempt to avoid handshaking but that I may do it if necessary. Professionalism and good impressions are very important in this environment (first impressions are key, and I’m not given the opportunity to “make up” for my initial breach in protocol) and I was told that it is not preferred but acceptable. The well-known rosh yeshiva whom I consulted gave me the names of people who had received heterim from R Moshe for handshaking in similar situations.

    I know it’s not something I should be doing, but I feel comfortable relying on the rav whom I asked.

    #1093756

    benignuman
    Participant

    Joseph,

    First of all, Rav Moshe acknowledges in his teshuvos that there were rabbonim who disagreed with him as to whether shaking hands was derech chiba. Second, Rav Yaakov (m’pi hashmuah) and Rav Shimon Schwab both disagreed with Rav Moshe and the Chazon Ish. Third, I have spoken with multiple rabbonim on this issue, it is very common question. The almost universal response I have received was: try to avoid hand-shaking situations as best you can, but if someone sticks out their hand you can shake it quickly (or with a “wet fish”).

    My rebbe (who I will not name for obvious reasons) is a substantial posek in his own right and he holds that derech chiba is subjective (so it depends on a rapid self-assessment).

    Feivel, hugging is different because it is objectively derech chiba.

    #1093757

    newbee
    Member

    How would there be orthodox doctors if a handshake is yehareg vehal yavor for everyone?

    “so it depends on a rapid self-assessment”

    Hence what I said, “and its a question you have to ask yourself very quickly”

    Rov Moshe was only saying one cannot be so quick to say “oh handshaking is not derech chiba for me” regarding a yehareg vaalyaavor so easily, but if there is 100% no neheneh be’kiruv basar it is mutar.

    #1093758

    Joseph
    Participant

    The difference is you are asking MO rabbis. In the Chareidi world, which according to the Pew Research study less than two years ago constitute 71% of American Orthodoxy and 81% of American Orthodoxy aged 30 or younger, it is by far the mainstream to rule on this issue in line with Rav Moshe, the Chazon Ish, the Steipler, the Debretziner and the Ben Ish Chai that it is prohibited to shake hands with a woman and that it is objectively derech chiba.

    #1093760

    Joseph
    Participant

    Sam: I am not incorrect – I didn’t even address the issue of whether a handshake is needed to seal a deal. I simply pointed out that you don’t need a gentile woman to sell your chometz too. You can be less egalitarian.

    newbee: Rav Moshe is very clear in multiple teshuvos on this issue that a handshake with a woman is objectively derech chiba.

    #1093762

    Sam2
    Participant

    Joseph: And yet the Chasam Sofer holds it has to be a woman. He has a Chiddush in the Gemara in the beginning of Bava Metzia (I think) like that.

    #1093763

    Joseph
    Participant

    Sam: Please provide a citation to this alleged Chasam Sofer where he rules one can only sell their chometz to a woman (and that the Rov must shake her hand.)

    #1093764

    writersoul
    Member

    Joseph: How on earth do you know who we asked?

    #1093765

    Sam2
    Participant

    writersoul: It’s easy. If someone gives a Psak he doesn’t want to agree with, that Posek is automatically “MO” so that he can write him out of Judaism. It’s brilliant. It’s a “no true Scotsman” with the Heilige Joseph as the direct conduit to God’s will.

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