Forgetting The Torah (Part 3)- Walking Between Two Women and Sleeping With Clothes Under One’s Head

(This should not be relied upon for practical halacha. When a question arises a Rabbi should be consulted.)

Please Read Forgetting The Torah (Part 1) before reading this post.

Walking Between Two Women

1. The Gemara in Horayos (13b) writes that a man passing between two women can cause forgetfulness. Similarly, the Gemara in Pesachim (111a) states, “There are three things that should not pass between two men and a man should not pass between two of them. And these are a dog, a palm tree and a woman. And some say, also a pig. And some say, also a snake. And if they do pass in between, what is the remedy? Rav Pappa says that he should recite the verses found in Numbers 23:22-23, which begin with the word “Kel” (Almighty) and concludes with the word “Kel.” Alternatively, he should recite the verse in Numbers 23:19, which begins with the word “Lo” and concludes with the phrase ‘Lo Yekimenah.’”

2. This issue of not walking between two women is cited by the Aruch Hashulchan (2:6). The Chazon Ish (Sefer Hazikaron 2:19, Taameh Dekra 29) and Harav Elyah Lopian zt”l (see Rivevos Efraim 3:525) are both cited as being very diligent not to walk between two women.

3. Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld zt”l (Salmas Chaim 503) maintains that there is only a problem if a man travels between two women who are stationary. However, if all three are walking (as is common in busy streets), even if the man is walking in between the women, there is no concern of forgetfulness.

4. The Ben Ish Chai (year 2 Pinchas 17) writes that if two men travel in between two women it is permissible. In addition, the problem only exists if the two women are standing within four amos of each other.

5. Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a (Sefer hazikaron ibid.) posits that one may walk between girls who are under the age of twelve. This is also the view of Harav Nissam Karelitz shlit”a (Chut Shani Even Haezer page 69).

6. The Maharsham (4th edition 4:148) questions whether one is permitted to walk between two non-Jewish women. He concludes that if one wishes to be lenient he should recite the verses described in the Gemara cited above. The Sefe Otzar Hachaim (1034) discusses this issue and he offers a definitive ruling. He writes that one may not pass between two non-Jewish women.

7. The same law applies to one’s relatives. Therefore, one may not walk between his two daughter’s or his daughter and his wife. (Rivevos Efraim ibid. Sefer Shemiras Haguf V’Nefesh page 333)

8. The poskim write that if one needs to walk between two women, or if a woman is walking between two men, one should carry an item in his hand and that negates the issue. If one does not have an item to carry he should grab his peyos. (Rishfei Eish 334)

Sleeping With Clothes Under One’s Head-

1. The Gemara (Horayos 13b) lists sleeping with clothing under one’s head amongst five activities that cause one to forget his learning. This means that one may not substitute clothing for a pillow.

2. The Mishnah Berurah (2:2) rules that if one places something in between the clothing and his head (such as a pillowcase) it is permissible. A similar ruling was expressed by Harav Yaakov Emden zt”l (Sidur Hanhagos Haboker 2). Harav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a, however, disagrees with this lenient ruling.

3. Harav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld zt”l maintains that if the clothing does not belong to him he may use it as a pillow.

הקשו האחרונים מההיא דתנן בריש תמיד (כ”ה:) לא היו הכהנים ישנים בבגדי קודש אלא היו פושטין ומניחין הבגדי קודש תחת ראשיהן, ע”ש. והרי המניח כליו תחת מראשותיו בא לידי שכחה. ובשו”ת שלמת חיים ח”א סימן י’ תירץ הגאון רבי יוסף חיים זונפלד זצ”ל דדוקא כליו אסור אבל כשלובש בגד של אחר מותר ליתן תחת מראשותיו, ולכן בגדי כהונה שהם קודש ואינם כליו ליכא איסור. ועל חידוש זה דן הגר”ח קניבסקי שליט”א בספר הזכרון, ומסיק ולכן קשה להקל בכל זה. אכן מסיים: “מיהו בבגד חברו שאינו לובשו הוא אפשר שאינו בכלל כליו דלא דמי לכל הני דשם מיירי בלבשו בהם”. ועוד תירץ בשלמת חיים הנ”ל דדוקא ברגיל אסור. אכן הגאון רבי חיים קניבסקי שליט”א העיר דכאן בגמ’ לא הוזכר רגיל כמו שהזכירו גבי זיתים. וגם במהרי”ל הנ”ל מבואר להדיא דגם באקראי יש לחוש. וכן בשו”ת יביע אומר ח”ב יו”ד סימן ח’ חולק עליו ע”ש.

4. One may nap on his sleeve and it is not considered sleeping on clothing (Sefer Hazikaron).

If you have a question, comment, or an idea for an article please email me at avizakutinsky@gmail.com.

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