Many years ago when I was a teen and working my first job, my boss was the co-owner of a leather brief case distributor and a Rabbi. I made the mistake of reaching out to shake his hand when he JUMPED back! The secretary later told me women could not touch him or vice verse.
I was massively confused... he was married and had a couple of kids. For a long time I wondered how those kids came to be. How could a wife withstand 'never' touching her husband.
The train from Secaucus to New York was late. People on the train were getting anxious, train delays was the excuse given through the pager system. When we finally got to New York a man dressed all in black, wearing a Kippah and a black western hat along with a long black trench coat...fell.
When the train doors opened he rushed out. The train from Jersey to NY has quite a gap from train to platform. On occasion that gap could be quite dangerous. He never looked down and his foot got caught between train and platform. He fell and the fall was not graceful. His hat flew off, his face hit concrete and his brief case went flying.
I was directly behind him. Instinctively I went to grab him...............but.............that memory of years ago came back. Can I touch him? Should I let him fall? Can I help him up?
During that mental questioning he completed the couple of rolls on the concrete and I just stood there. On the platform staring. The rest of the passengers jumped over him, went around us but none stopped. Not even his fellow Jews.
It bothered me....still bothers me....
I spoke to my co-worker, telling the above story. He said he took a Human Sexuality class in college. He said they in fact don't touch women and concerning wives they have sex with a sheet between them.
I said - 'For that reason alone I would convert'. Why would I stay in a religion that did not allow human contact with ones own spouse?????
On the way home I began to think..... If he were falling into the track would it be alright then to reach out and grab him? If he were choking are women supposed to just watch???? What is up with the sheet????
I felt a whole new appreciation for human contact, for my spiritual self and for being the woman I am (well, with the exception of just staring at someone fall and roll).
In the end the conclusion was................................COMMUTING SUCKS!