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February 18, 2010


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“I usually just ask them one question, are you attracted to men?” Friedman said.”

A better question would be, Are you attracted to boys?


I thought all chumras are a version of OCD.


That must be the toughest job in the world....

Separating the "normal" lettuce-checking, etrog-psul-finding, toilet-paper-precutting individual from the "real" crazies.

critical minyan

this is how this mishegass started. some rabbi with ocd made up a lot of the laws, and now some duped sheep think its their obligation to keep them, even it makes them miserable.
somebody should tell them, relax you miserable anal shtetl dwellers.
god doesnt care if you put your right shoe or left shoe on first.


I had a patient who couldn't leave her house until she counted every orange in her trees. Joey Ramone would be late to concerts if he didn't properly cross every crack in the pavement leaving his house. OCD is a crippling illness and the choice of manifestation is not the cause of it, so these same folks would otherwise count their money obsessively, or dust for hours,(or become bloggers).



I disagree with you. The chumras have their purpose. the purpose is to make these people dependant on a leader and have them check out their brains at the door.

Yochanan Lavie

Freud thought that all religion was a form of OCD. I think he was wrong, but maybe he had a point.


OCD is clearly an illness. I think it is in poor taste to be making fun of it or to use it as a vehicle to make fun of other people.


god doesnt care if you put your right shoe or left shoe on first.

As with many other folks who like to make fun of certain customs, you totally miss the point for this. In Orthodoxy, all actions are ideally connected to some level of God-consciousness. Putting on the right shoe first is supposed to instill in us the idea that rachamim (=right) should come before din (=left). Thus doing it mechanically (without thinking) is meaningless since it obviates the whole reason for doing so.

william e emba

This has been discussed in this blog before. The name for this syndrome, before it was identified as a psychiatric syndrome, was "scrupulosity".

The last time, someone gave a reference to a medical article that showed rabbinic advice from two or three highly regarded sages was in close accordance with modern medical opinion.


I thought there were some very successful treatments for ocd these days. I think what people are having problems with are those who discourage people with this illness from seeking help.

Sharon Udasin

Hi, I'm the author of the original article, and the disorder is still known as Scrupulosity, which I mentioned toward the top of the article. There are very, very successful treatments for OCD (not complete cures, but treatments that make a tremendous positive impact), and I agree with Effie, part of the problem is that mental health treatment still remains a bit taboo in Orthodox society.

Sharon Udasin

Big Jew

I just can't stop reading and rereading this article. Help me!

Sharon Udasin

Seriously, it's really in bad taste to mock people with OCD, "Big Jew."


All idiots aside - [legitimate srupulosity has its merits, and one must repeat the ritual one million times if only to finally get it right (OCD is repeating it regardless of whether the obligation was satisfied)] -

Big Jew, LOL, you're awesome!



What professional credentials do you have with respect to giving all
this wonderful medical advice?

Mr. Apikorus

"God doesn't care if you put your right shoe or your left shoe on first."

How the hell do you know?

Seriously, this reminds me of an All in the Family" episode in which Archie castigates the Meathead for putting on a sock and a shoe, then a sock and a shoe, as opposed to a sock and a sock and a shoe and a shoe." Whether the left or the right went first is lost to me through the passage of time.

Office of the Chief Rabbi

OMG less than 6 weeks till Pesah!

no name

OCD is horrific. You drive yourself crazy and when you think you have completed your rituals you get panic stricken and have overwhelming urges to begin all over again.

After losing my forth pregnancy I became obsessed each month. The checking and counting drove me crazy. The complete saga only ended when I got my Get. My husband simply couldnt cope with me and walked out


Considering how dramatically treatment can improve the life of those who suffer from this and improve the lives of those around them, I wish there was some sort of campaign or community outreach to get rid of the stigma.

no name: Have you sought treatment from your doctor?

no name

Yes effie I was treated and well now. I am completely over it and things that did bother me dont concern me at all now - I dont think of them even.

But, those 7 years were the worst time of my life, people who joke about it need psychiatric help moreso than the sufferers. Words fail me, I cannot begin to explain how it affects you.


OMG less than 6 weeks till Pesah!

Time to think of ways to riducule the holiday.

Dr. Dave

OCD. Is that why we wash each hand 3 times?

Yoel Mechanic

Dave, those kind of claims are sometimes made to influence people to have prejudice. (I know that you are just joking, but I am saddened when people say this and are not joking)

Dr. Dave

Yes, I was joking, but I really do think it is borderline OCD to put on both Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam T'fillin

Hometown Postville

OCD is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and can be controlled with medication. With a lifestyle so entrenched in ritual, it would be virtually impossible to control with therapy. You would only end up trading one ritual for another. (the cue you would have to use every time you were tempted to repeat your compulsion)


Bill: She gave no medical advice. She is reporting the new. Your dumb aggressive comment to her tells me that you are prejudiced against people with this disease. Shame on you!


You guys should step back and look at some of your comments here and throughout the blog site as a whole. You are just as wacked as some of the haredim you love to ridicule. Seriously!

Yoel Mechanic

Rabbeinu Tam tefillin has absolutely nothing to do with OCD. Just reading the articles about OCD one can see this. Maybe consult with a clinician and ask if he or she would ever consider such a diagnosis (even borderline) just because one puts on Rabbeinu Tam. There are diagnostic criteria to be used before tossing these labels around. It is the tossing of labels around that leads to negativity...Negativity leads to prejudice. Prejudice leads to hatred. Hatred leads to unhappiness. Unhappiness leads to blogging.


I don't know why they call it OCD. It should be CDO, with the letters in alphabetical order.

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