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Feb 15, 2010

Interesting Psak from Rav Elyashiv: no mikva wearing braces

The latest psak to be making the rounds in the name of Rav Elyashiv is that a woman cannot dunk in the mikvah if she is wearing braces (for anybody from England or other countries where this word might have alternate meanings, it here means the train tracks wired to someone's teeth in an effort to straighten them out, and not to suspenders). The braces would be a chatzitzah and dipping in the mikvah would be futile, as dipping with a chatzitza is not really doing anything.

The psak, if it is true, is a little surprising, as braces are pretty permanent. they are generally connected to the person's teeth for upwards of a year or more. Usually the problems of chatzitz with dental or other accessories, is when the item is only in temporary - for a period usually of less than 30 days, sometimes for up to a few months according to some. I have never heard such a psak for something that is permanent and in for so long without being removed.

I don't know if Rav Elyashiv actually said this psak or not, but it is being quoted in his name.

If it is true, and if this is how we should be paskening, then I see the following ramifications (humorous attitude when reading the following would be appreciated):
  1. any child whose mother wears braces should now be treated like a ben nida for shidduchim purposes.
  2. Any man who wears braces is no longer allowed, according to Rav Elyashiv, to go up to Har HaBayit, as he can no longer dip in the mikva as is required.

If you can think of any other ramifications, add them in the comments


  1. Har Habayit is off limits for men if you hold by R. Eliyashiv, braces are the least of your worries.

  2. Any man who's wife requires braces for a serious health or dental issue will have to be issued an allowance for a pelegesh, since his wife will be not permissible for a year.

    Alternatively, any man who's wife requires braces will be allowed a 2nd wife.

  3. not bad Akiva.. but the guy has to want the 2nd wife/pilegesh

  4. Rafi - I thought you could better than YNet. This story is garbage with a capital G!

    Permanent braces are not considered chatzitza and if the reporter had checked his story he would have discovered how absurd it is.

  5. shalom - I think you basically said what I said in the post.

  6. Rav Moshe has a teshuva where he talks about temporary dental fillings, and is mekil. Presumably, those would be much more problematic. He's also mekil on casts - the mesora (at least from the YU rebbeim) is that if a cast will be on for at least 3 months, you can be mekil (of course, you must be able to dip the cast in the mikva).

    If this is true (isn't that sad how we always have to add that to psak coming from RYSE and others?), it seems like it is a chumra that will lead to kula, as I would not wish to be responsible for the ramifications of preventing women from going to the mikva for a year or more.

  7. It's probably a misunderstanding of the commonly known issue that a kallah who removes braces for her wedding calls into question whether they're actually permanent.

  8. This is bizarre. I can't imagine there is no previous responsum on the subject. Like you said, permanent interpositions have already been dealt with as far back as the Shulchan Aruch and braces have been around for decades.
    There are two possibilities:
    1) My preferred: Rav Eliashiv never said this. Some askan with an axe to grind did in his name and he can't be bothered to dispute him in public.
    2) He did say this and that's worrisome because since there are probably already responsa on this out there, why not just refer the questioner to them?

  9. any child whose mother wears braces should now be treated like a ben nida for shidduchim purposes

    Any child whose mother wore braces from the time she was married...

    You're worried about shidduchim?! Think of all the kids who have been born from past shidduchim of this type!

    Heck, we're going to have to impound the dental records of the entire State of Israel -- and request (voluntary) compliance from the rest of the world.

    Good thing straight teeth run in my family!

  10. He couldn't have said that. But since you're looking for humorous ramifications:

    1. R' Elyashiv was practicing his Purim Torh in honour of Adar.

    2. He's getting kickbacks from some orthodontist who will be removing and re-applying women's braces on a monthly basis.

    3. There will an increase in the number of gittin since no husband will allow his wife to get braces, but will also not want to stay married to her if she doesn't.

    4. The Gedolim will have to decide which one to hang onto, this or the internet ban. Because if a man's wife is assur for that long, he will need somewhere else to go.

    5. We will see a sharp increase in women dying in childbirth, as discussed in Bameh Madlikin about women who are not careful.

  11. wanna- very good. especially #4

  12. I got one for ya: teenage girls who go to the mikvah in order to engage in premarital sex will not be able to if they have braces

  13. Bill Clinton asks...February 16, 2010 12:11 AM

    It is rumored that Monica Lewinsky wore a brace.

    According to this psak, was Monica therefore required to take it out before mikva and, urr, doing other things?

  14. Anonymous: teenage girls, etc..

    Good point, the value of girls with braces will sky-rocket in the shidduch market.

    Braces are now our answer to the chastity belt.

  15. ahem. there is a reason why mikvah is considered a topic to be discussed with modesty....

  16. DDS in Beit ShemeshFebruary 24, 2010 12:47 AM

    See Igros Moshe YorehDayeh
    Simaan 96
    Blue edition Moriah Offset Co.
    Page 157-158


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