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How to approach a parent’s hygiene issue without dishonoring them


Hello, Rabbi!
I live with my parents, and forgive me for addressing something so sensitive, but my mother doesn’t wear deodorant and the scent of perspiration is causing me to have an almost allergic reaction. She never used to need it before, so she is not used to using it. I’ve tried different ways to remind her to wear it by making the issue more about myself, but I’m being too subtle because she truly cannot detect any issue herself and often doesn’t wear anything, and she doesn’t know it’s bothering me so much. She’s the best mother ever, and I don’t know how to ask her to please use a deodorant daily or when needed without hurting her feelings or embarrassing or dishonoring my mother, chas v’shalom.
How do I approach this, what is the right thing to do?

Thank you so much for your time and answering a delicate question.

Wishing you a good Shabbos.




It is beautiful that you are sensitive to the mitzva of kibbud av v’em, and I hear your delicate problem, because you rightfully don’t want to, and are not allowed to hurt your mother’s feelings. You already tried hinting it to your mother, but it isn’t working. This is really difficult. The next thing would be to think of creative ways to help yourself without embarrassing your mother. You might be able to discuss this with you father and he can say something to your mother, (of course in a way that it isn’t coming from you.) Maybe try putting some Vicks under your nose, to change the smell. Or if it won’t embarrass her, to mistakenly leave the can of deodorant, in the bathroom where she changes, etc.

Best wishes

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