Rav Elyashiv: Braces Are a Chatzitzah


rav-elyashiv1In a p’sak that has significant practical halachic ramifications, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv has ruled that orthodontic braces have a din of a chatzitzah with regard to tevilah.

A few weeks ago, an individual approached Rav Elyashiv to seek advice on whether orthodontic braces are considered a chatzitzah. Rav Elyashiv responded that braces are indeed a chatzitzah, and in cases were tevilah is required (rather than just done as a minhag), it would present a problem and disqualify the tevilah.

The p’sak was rendered by Rav Elyashiv despite the fact that the tevilah is done with a closed mouth, and water would not touch the teeth in any case, braces or not. The p’sak from Rav Elyashiv follows prior p’sakim on this topic with regard to other chatzitzos, which understand that chatzitos refer as well to separations within the body, as there is no significance to whether or not the teeth are actually being immersed in the water.

Orthodontists and dentists in the chareidi community have reportedly responded and have published notices announcing that removable braces are available to customers at their offices.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. So what would be the psak if someone would have any sort of device surgically placed in their body? i.e. A pace maker in the heart, or any sort of valve or foreign medical device. They like the braces are not going to be touched by the water. Anyone?

  2. Orthodontists don’t have customers, they have patients. One is not buying a piece of metal but rather a professional service. Give these professionals the proper respect that they deserve.

  3. I don’t believe that Rav Elyashiv made this psak. I’d like to see it in writing, including all of the peratim about exactly what kind of braces are being referred to.

    Some people have a lot of time on their hands…

  4. I was at Rav Elyashiv just three months ago and he told me braces are not a problem of chatzitzah since you want them on and stay on. The Rav even told me that efsher even nail polish that is neat and clean shouldnt be a chatzitzah since the woman wants it there and it stays.

  5. If we want an accurate and authentic psak they should always be published by the person who heard it or takes responsibility for it. otherwise we may doing much more harm then good.

  6. Hey number 11, maybe look it up before you post. The teshuva from Rav Moshe zt”l is about a temporary filling (though from reading the teshuvo you may conclude that it would also apply to braces).

  7. It is not Rav Elyashiv’s psak that there is a halacha of Chatziza in the mouth. That is a mishna and Gemoroh.
    Rav Moshe ZT”L paskens that braces are a chatzizah [Y”D 1:96} but if it does not disturb one’s eating, nor change the taste of the food, then “maybe, one need not protest one who wears them”! Surely if it hurts one’s gum etc. it is a Chatzizah according to Rav Moshe ZT”L.

  8. #18, be specific.
    It’s Sha’arei Tevilla from R’ YM Stern Siman 35. In it he writes that if having the braces is “only” to straighten the teeth (i.e. not for refuah, just to improve appearance), then one needs to be machmir. He continues, that Rav Eliyaahav agrees with him (to be machmir).

  9. Upon some more research…
    Rabbi Wosner in Shu”t Shevet HaLevi, Chelek Yud, Siman 117 concludes that one can be maykel (lenient) in regards braces and tevilla (it seems from his words that he holds this way even if the purpose is cosmetic and not just medical).

  10. Rabbi Wosner in SHIUREI Shevet Halevi (not to be confused with his tshuvo sefer called “Shevet Halevi”) in 198:24:2 says clearly that braces, even if only for cosmetic purposes, is NOT a chatzitza.

  11. Everybody had to ask their own rav. I had a temporary filling once and asked my rav. He asked me so many questions before he made his decisions – meaning there are a lot of different things that it depends on.

  12. Braces weren’t just invented last week. This is not a new issue by any means. People have been toiveling with braces on their teeth since there has been such a thing as braces. I do not believe that HoRav Elyashiv has issued such a psak.

  13. Who is this person who asked the sheilah? How do we know he is truly representing (or even understood) what the Rav said? Who gave him permission to speak in the Rav’s name?