Can a Man Change a Baby’s Diaper?

11.12.17

Pergunta

My husband says that it may be a problem for a man to change dippers for the following reason.  A man is not allowed to wipe himself (in bathroom) using the right hand because he uses that hand to wrap tefilin. Not only that, but when using a left hand, he must also not use the index finger (because the tefilin is wrapped onto it).  He claims that since it is impossible for him to wipe the baby using his left hand, he is not required to change dippers. Is there validity to his claim? If so, what should we do if I need to live the kids with my husband?
 

Resposta

To the Questioner:
There are certain reasons that make it permissible even for a man to clean the baby.
1. If the baby does not eat yet the amount of 30 grams of a grain-based food within 9 minutes, then the baby's residue is not considered as waste product from a halachic perspective.
Source: Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 81:1
2.  Even if the baby can already eat such an amount, today when one cleans a baby they use wipes, and so there is no issue of dirtying the right hand or the left middle finger when cleaning a baby. In the time of the Gemara, and in previous generations, soft edged rocks were used for this purpose, as paper was not yet prevalent and one's hand could easily become soiled.
Source: Gemara Shabbos 81a (that certain types of stones were used for this purpose).
Nonetheless, we do not find any poskim who differentiate regarding upholding this halacha today. Therefore, a man is obligated to fulfill the halacha as quoted in Shulchan Aruch in regard to himself.
In any case, in regard to a baby, if you acquire baby wipes, your husband can use both his right hand and left middle finger in order to change the diaper, while at the same time taking care that they do not become soiled from the waste.
May you both merit raising your children together with much nachas