I have been told that one must never let his nail clipping lying around as they pose danger to fetuses. How does that work?


The Talmud1 tells us that "the righteous bury their nails, the pious burn them, and the wicked carelessly discard them." The Talmud explains that nail clippings must be carefully disposed of lest a pregnant woman pass over them and miscarry.

Rabbi Yosef ibn Habib2 offers the following two reasons:

1) Due to the emotional strain of pregnancy, a woman is likely to be overly repulsed by the sight of the nails, and this, in turn, might cause her to miscarry. (To be honest, I find them pretty gross myself.)

2) In ancient times, nail clippings were used as implements for witchcraft. As such, the possibility existed that these clippings would be used to harm her.

Others3 quote the Midrash which tells us that before Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, their bodies were covered with a nail-like covering. After they sinned, this was taken away. Another consequence of the sin was that womankind would begin to experience long and painful gestation and birth. Hence, when a woman passes over a nail clipping (reminiscent of the nail-like scales of Adam and Eve), there is a concern that the prosecuting angels would find reason to cause her grief and pain.

Happy clipping!

Rabbi Baruch Davidson