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Stitches a chatzizah for the mikvah?


Rabbi David Sperling

Cheshvan 1, 5780
Would external stitches be considered a chatzizah?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You raise the issue of whether medical stitches would be considered as a chatzizah (or interference between the body and the mikvah water that would invalidate a ritual immersion). There are several types of stitches used today. Self-dissolving stitches are not considered as a chatzizah according to most authorities. However, stitches that must be removed are generally considered as a chatzizah, and the immersion in the mikvah must be postponed until the stitches are removed. In certain cases, there is room to rule leniently, with factors such as where the stitches are located (inside the mouth, or on the surface of the body), how loose the stitches are, whether they are cut to skin level, or stick out, and, most importantly, how long the stitches will be in place. Because of these various factors it is worth while approaching a Rabbi with each specific case before deciding that the mikvah date should be pushed off. Blessings.
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