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OCD Question


I have written several times about my struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) that revolves around Kashrut. Thankfully, I continue to make good progress with the therapy. Essentially, when the OCD got bad my wife removed me from the kitchen, however, recently my son was hospitalized, which has thrust me back into it. Mostly, it has gone well but situations do arise occasionally that I need to figure out how to navigate. If nothing else, it has accelerated my therapy. Tonight I was doing some final preparation for Passover which involved moving between the meat and dairy sides of the kitchen. First, I cleaned out some sticky meat food from some containers with my hands. Afterwards, I moved to the dairy side to box up the toaster oven and put it away in our designated dairy chametz cupboard which involved moving around a bunch of dairy stuff. I am almost certain that I washed my hands between the meat and dairy. Frankly, I am a very careful person when it come to kashrut and in the moment I had no concerns about it. Later, however, the OCD doubt kicked in and made me think maybe I did not actually wash my hands. Now I am worried about everything I touched on both the meat and dairy sides. I have a couple of questions:

1. Based on the situation and the doubt are there any potential concerns, particularly with the dairy items, and if so what should be done? I almost certainly washed my hands, but I suppose it is possible I forgot. Recently, I have just ignored these kind of stupid thoughts but I want to make sure there are no genuine concerns.

2. More importantly, as I move forward with the OCD treatment I will encounter more of these situations. Honestly, it is untenable to continue to exist with this kind of kashrut doubt and I need some guidance on how to navigate it from a halachic perspective. The OCD will always want me to assume the worst, however, do we always assume the best case scenario when it comes to doubt like this and move on? Basically, if we are not certain something happened do we assume it did not? In this case I am not certain I did not wash my hands, so based on my feeling that I did do I safely assume that is the case? The therapist would want me to ‘ignore’ these thoughts, but I want to make sure that is consistent with what I should do normally from a halachic perspective. Outside of the practical considerations I worry about what will happen in shamayim if I make a mistake like this.

Thank you.




  1. Even if in retrospect you didn’t wash your hands, the amount of milk or meat, if anything would be negligible, and I wouldn’t worry about it.
  2. I can’t give a blanket heter for everything because you have OCD, and if you aren’t sure that something happened most of the time, we can assume that it didn’t. Your therapist is correct, you should move on and not think about it. Regarding, what will happen in shomayim, you will be credited with moving on, because you are helping, your mental health by it, and the mental health of your wife and children, and contributing to your shalom bayis.

Best wishes


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