Dec 2, 2007

interesting psak from Rav Chaim Kanievsky

Those of you in the parsha of shidduchim will definitely be interested in this post.

A girl was having a difficult time making a decision whether to go out with someone that had been recommended to her as a shidduch. One of her siblings asked Rav Chaim Kanievsky if it would be allowed to obtain a sample of the fellow's handwriting from notes readily available in his yeshiva and turn them over to a graphologist for analysis. He suggested that this would help her make a decision regarding whether to date him or not and asked if it would be allowed (without the fellow's knowledge, obviously).

Rav Kanievsky answered that it would only be allowed to send in a sample (without his permission) if the handwriting sample obtained is one that is already in the public domain - "going around yeshiva". They would not be allowed to steal a sample from his own notebook or anything like that, but if there is a page floating around yeshiva with his handwriting on it, they could use that and send it in.

The next part of the question was whether a graphologist's opinion should/could be relied upon to make such a decision.

Rav Kanievsky related a story that happened with his uncle, the Hazon Ish. A letter was delivered to his house addressed to "The King Messiah". The family took the letter to a graphologist after removing the unusual titles for analysis. The graphologist declared that the author of the letter was either insane or great.

The Hazon Ish took that as evidence that the graphologist has the ability to discern traits from handwriting, even if he would not ascribe complete reliance on the analysis of a graphologist.

Rav Kanievsky concluded that, like his uncle, one could rely on a graphologist, to a limited degree. You could use his opinion as a factor, but not rely on it completely.

The article claims that this has become a very popular method of deciding on shidduch suggestions recently...


  1. When interviewing for my current job, I was sent to a major outside company that does graphology and other similar tests. Before I was sent, they were ready to hire me. After the tests, they almost didn't (I had to convince them to ignore the analysis of the outside company.) Since then (3-1/2+ years), it's a joke among us about how wrong the outside company was in their analysis.

    Another popular graphology method (besides handwriting) is to have the subject draw a tree. The picture is then analyzed, and conclusions are drawn about the subject. Someone once lent me a book about how to interpret tree drawings. About 80% of the things you could understand from a tree drawing were bad (i.e., psychotic, suspicious, not diligent, posts comments on blogs, etc.). It kind of makes me suspicious about the whole thing.

  2. good thing im married, my penminship is horrible.

    people would rely way to heavily on something like this, and take things out of context. dangerous ground if you ask me.

  3. whats - I do not think penmanship matters for graphology purposes... I read a bit about it a while ago. It is not penmanship they analyze, but the specific formation of the letters. Bad handwriting can still result in a good analysis...

    yoni - for my job I had to go through polygraph and security screening, but no graphology.... also, it is possible they were right in their analysis of you but you still worked out well in your job regardless of that fact... :-)

  4. My husband says that in America to be religious means you believe in G-d, but in Israel it means you believe in the supernatural. And handwriting analysis, and all kinds of alternative medicine.

  5. he has a point. The religious in Israel seem to be much more open to holistic medicine, alternative, and the like.. I wonder why that is... maybe it is more of a colonial, earthy mentality...

  6. It might be allowed, but a more convenient way would be to just check him out for herself.


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