Hesder Rabbi: Blind Men May Touch Their Dates


wedding-ringIn a ruling that is being strongly criticized by many, Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, head of the Petach Tikva Hesder Yeshiva, has declared it permissible for a blind man to touch his date if he intends to marry her. “This is the way a blind man gets to know his partner,” the rov said in response to a halachic question he was asked. “It may even be correct to say that he is required to touch her.”  Rabbi Sherlo was then asked to base his ruling on halachic sources and his answer was posted on the yeshiva’s website.

On the site he explains that Chazal required all men to see their intended before marriage. He says that this is true regarding the blind as well, but because the only way they can ‘see’ their date is by touch, they are permitted to do so.

The ruling is contrary to the opinion of virtually all poskim.

“Feeling the face…is the blind man’s way of seeing,” the rabbi writes. “He is also subject to the obligation to build a loving home, and this is an inseparable part of how he does this.”

Rabbi Sherlo also explains that despite their disability, the blind still desire to know what their wives look like. “A blind man cares about many things, even if he cannot see them,” he explains.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Ki Yesharim Darchei Hashem, V’tzadikim Yeilchu Bam, U’rishaim Yikashlu Bam. Enough said. One can hide behind the word “Rabbi”, and distort the Torah any way they want. We are indeed in Galus.

  2. I am not commenting as a posek or as a Rav, but I would like to point out the following:

    For a sighted person, the obligation is to “yirenah” to see her. Histaklus, “gazing”, is still asur. I suggest that physical contact comes under the category of histaklus.

    The severity of the issue can be seen from the discussion at the end of YD 195 regarding a male physician examining a woman. See particularly the Shach, pischei tesuvah, and toras hashelomim there. The negiah here seems to come under the category of affection, which somewhat weakens the argument of the Shach according to the Rambam.

    In any case, the gemarah seems to be very clear in that a blind man recognizes his wife by her voice rather than by touch.

    Just food for thought…

  3. To #1– I am not qualified to say whether or not the opinion about the blind man touching the woman’s face is correct or not. However, to imply, as you did, that he is a rasha for saying so is ignorant & hateful, and reflects badly on your neshama, not his. This is especially true since you don’t even know what his halachic reasoning is.

  4. #1 you are not a very nice person.
    I personally know a man who went blind as a young bochur and he was told many of the top gedolim of our genneration that it was permissable as well – at the very least to touch her elbow on a date.

  5. I can’t believe that this can be a frum p’sak. A blind person can sense with his ears much more than a seeing one, and he can surely get to know his date by her voice. Also. since he can’t see, it doesn’t matter much how she looks, as long as her penimius is beautiful, that’s what counts.

  6. to shalom in cherry hill saying this person is a rasha is not adding anything the fact is he made himself a rasha by trying to make new laws in the torah being matir something that is assur

  7. there are two types of golus gashmius(physical) and ruchnius(spiritual) we are in a ruchniusdik golus hashem yirachem! the other day rabbi ploini (no mention of name not to give any credibility) appoints a woman manhigga ruchanit cover up term for rabbi and calls himself orthodox apikores koifer min no one in the history of frum yidden ever did this thats from moshe rabbeinu to the tannaim to the amoraim to the rishoinim achronim etc. so he is slaping all of them in the face that to me is kfira AND NOW YOU HAVE THIS LUNATIC WITH HIS NEW HALACHA NOT BROUGHT DOWN IN THE GEMORAH SEE MISECHES KIDUSHIN ANOTHER FORM OF SPIRITUAL GOLUS
    HASHEM YIRACHEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. 5 you are very wrong. i mnow several frum yeshivish blind peopel who have all received similar psak from reputable poiskim.

    its even for you to talk about penimius when you dont know what it is like. Blind people rely heavil on their other senses and can see in their minds what they cant see visually. Especially people who may have once possessed the gift of sight and then lost it.

    you have no right to judge.

  9. In Reply to number 5 , I unfortunately have become intimately aware of issues associated with blindness due to a person close to me and have researched extensively.

    1)What you are saying is a very general statement, not all blind people have heightened hearing.

    2)BH we do not know the tzaros associated with blindness and cannot judge someone in that Matzav.

    3)Perhaps this was a psak made on a per basis need and then mushroomed into a general psak.

    4)One must assume this question was asked for a reason, (while you might disagree with the answer) we cannot judge as i stated already someone is in this mAtzav which necessitated the need for such a question to begin with. This is not only true with blindness but any severe disability, and, you will find many seforim and psak Halacha that give heterim for people with any variety of disability to get some sort of Halchic patur or dispensation. I will state again you might not agree with the psak of the rav in question, but it is not fair to generalize either especially without clear halachic guidance as you will be surprised as to how many heterim there are which are brought down from mainstream rabbis and sources when dealing with the disabled (p.s. I work with the disabled in the frum community and have regular consultations with rabbonim through my work).

    May we have only Simchas.

  10. the next thing this guy wants to do is claim he cant see well that seems to be his goal i have no problem he can say what he wants just dont call his religion orthodox he should admit he wants to be reform

  11. I dont know halacha. I also dont relate to the issues a blind person deals with. Therefore. unlike some other people . I will keep quiet.