Shaking Hands With Women IV

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More sources that justify the common practice of a man shaking a woman’s hand in business settings (see these posts: I, II, III, IV):

  1. R. Yosef Tzvi Rimon (Tzava Ka-Halakhah, pp. 318-323) discusses whether a male soldier may shake the hand of a woman soldier (or vice versa). He goes through the sources and concludes that it is a debate whether it is permissible and therefore you shouldn’t initiate the handshake and if she initiates it you should to elegantly refuse. But if that isn’t possible then you may return the handshake.

    However, he writes that when you meet a woman on an ongoing basis you should explain to her once that you don’t shake hands. Also, and this is significant, army and educational (i.e. college) settings require great caution in intergender relations and therefore you should be strict on this issue.

  2. In this lecture (link, starting at 5:45), R. Hershel Schachter quotes a responsum from R. Chaim Berlin permitting shaking hands with women.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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