Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Boy-Girl Relationships I

If you are ready to get married, and the reason for talking to a girl is to see if she is an appropriate marriage partner, then it is okay. If you are not ready to get married, or the purpose of you talking is other than to screen her marriage, then it is still wrong, regardless of her positive influence.

Being friends with a girl is not the same as meeting in order to explore whether you are compatible for marriage. Being compatible for friends is not the same as being compatible for marriage. It won't help you at all.

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The Chazon Ish said regarding shaking a woman’s hand NOT that it is chok vlo yaavor, but Yehoreg vlo yaavor. I refer you to the Steipler's writings. It is black on white. If you were taught differently then you were taught wrong. I would imagine that would be due to some reckoning that some teacher came up with where he figured that if he teaches his class its yehoreg v'al yaavor, they will not accept it or freak out of get "turned off" or whatever, so he took the liberty of making it palatable. Trust me - this well meaning but wrongheaded idea comes up often with teachers.

The Shulchan Aruch's statement, as ALL statements in Shulchan Aruch and Poskim, are not relative to the amount of aveiros you have been doing, but are law, meant for everyone. Had you seen such a statement in a mussar sefer or a chasidishe sefer, we could discuss it. But Halachah is meant for everyone.

And therefore, the standards used when the Bais Yosef in his Halachic Code of Jewish Law, meant for everyone, when he said stay far, far away from women are standards that are absolute. The fact that you are on your way up is great, no question about that, and nobody, especially not me, can know your personal nisyonos and how much, if at all. you are responsible for not fulfilling the Halachah based on your capabilities, but that does not change the halachah. It does not change your GOAL. It may make your culpability less, but not the violation.

It’s like someone is found guilty of murder in court. At the sentencing, it is brought up that the victim had recently murdered the defendant’s wife and raped and tortured his children. The judge may let him off with a relative slap on the wrist - but unless he can claim insanity, he is guilty. Guilty, but not as culpable as someone who killed in a mugging.

You need to separate violation of the law and culpability. The above case does not mean the murder laws are relative - it means the culpability is relative. That is true halachicaly as well. Hakol lefi hanisayon. But the halachah is the same.

There is no way in the world - no way at all - to interpret the shulchan aruch's words "stay far far away from women" to mean merely "don't touch them". That's simply not what it says. He would have said that had he meant that.

What would you say to a child molester who wants to do teshuva? A rapist, molester, pervert, et al, who is still Jewish and still obligated to repent. Do you think he can use his background and his previous actions as a benchmark to interpret the shulchan aruch's statement? Can he say "Well, for me, staying far far away from women means . . . "

You get the idea.

As for Rav Moshe, he does say explicitly, even seeming platonic relationships between boys and girls are assur min hatorah - its towards the end of the teshuva. Look it up.

Although there are people who believe that shaking hands is permitted to avoid embarrassment, the Steipler writes in his letters in the name of the Chazon Ish that it is absolutely prohibited. It's simple logic: If someone asked you to call them on Shabbos and you telling them sorry I cant do that would embarrass them for asking, would you me mechalel Shabbos to prevent their embarrassment? Or if someone offered you non-kosher food and refusing would embarrass them would you eat treif?

And what if a woman tried to hug this rabbi - innocently, at a wedding for instance, or even to kiss him - also one of those social kisses - would he respond in kind so as not to embarrass the woman?

There is no heter to do an aveirah because someone else did not realize that you would not do it and feel awkward that they asked you to.


To say that shaking hands is permitted because it is not derech chibah is against the halachic ruling of the Chazon Ish, Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Steipler and others. There is nothing close to any equal and opposite opinions that say otherwise. Although there was a rav long ago in America who rules that way, Rav Moshe writes that is you should not rely on the heter. There are no such authorities who disagree.

In any case, comparing it to taking change from a woman is an error, because there, you have no intention nor desire to touch her hand. The contact was accidental. In this case, you are purposely and willingly taking her hand.

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The Amshinover did not say that Shlomo Carlebach had a heter to do what he did and he did not mean that Shlomo Carelbach gets gan eden for hugging women. He meant that even though Shlomo is going to gehennom for what he did, he also has zechusim for bringing people back. If he did mean anything to the effect that Shlomo gets reward for hugging women, he is simply wrong. The Amshoniver Rebbe has no authority to contradict the Torah.

In fact, Shlomo himself used to say that he is going to gehenom for what he does, but he gladly does so to help anther Jews. This was unfortunately a terrible anti-Torah hashkafa of his, and it is based on a twisted, mistaken interpretation of a statement in the Noam Elimelech and some other chasidishe seforim.

Would you eat a treif hamburger in McDonalds with a tinok shenishba if by doing so you would maybe be able to show him that there are Orthodox Jews who are "mentchen" and will eat with them? If they will interpret your not eating in McDonalds as "snubbing them" would you feel you are allowed to eat?

And what would be if some member of the opposite sex expects you to do more than talk to him? Or shake his hand? What if he expects a lot more? How far will you go to "make a good impression" on a tinok shenishba? What if you were with a group of tinokos shenishbu one evening and they all started to violate serious prohibitions with each other, and if you don’t join them, they will consider you a nerdy, outdated, idiotic, fanatical Taliban loser? How do you decide how for to go in violating the Torah to make an impression on those who - granted, due to no fault of their own - were raised to act like animals?

Your reckonings of "what will convince Jews" is irrelevant. Hashem KNEW when he made the Torah that one day there will be non religious Jews - and STILL he said don't do these things.

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Shomer Negiyah is a commandment. No 2 sides about it.

It is not wise for teenagers to rely halachah lammaseh on their own svoros against poskim. Rav Moshe has several proofs and rules halachicaly that it is assur for boys and girls to be friends - even if it only means talking. I know of no poskim who disagree.

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The assumption that the reason for the mechitzah in the Beis Hamikdash was to prevent talking, although such a thing is said in meforshim, is a minority opinion, and not at all the simple pshat. The majority say that the reason for the mechitzah in the bais hamikdash was to prevent looking at the women, not talking.

Be that as it may, whatever the reason for the mechitzah, it does not show that outside the BHM"K it was permitted. The Mechitzah enforces a behavior, it does not demand any new behavior. Outside the BHMKDSH staring - or talking - could have been prohibited as well, but chazal did not deem it necessary to enforce the already existing prohibition because the holiness of the bais hamikdash demands that we make sure inappropriate behavior does not take place. It does not mean that the behavior is appropriate outside the BHMKSH.

On the contrary - why did they need a mechitzah? Let them just make a gezeirah prohibiting talk? Obviously they were afraid people would do it despite the issur, so they needed a mechitzah. If so, why would you say it was permitted outside of the BHAMKSH? Perhaps people were doing it b'issur there too?

Besides - what would you like chazal to do? Be gozer to make mechitzos in the street? Since that is not feasible, it proves nothing from the fact that chazal only made a mechitza in the BHMKDSH.

But never mind all that -- nobody said its assur halahicly to say good Shabbos. It’s just not the proper thing to do.

Being friends with girls is halachily assur, as Rav Moshe proves.

If the Mechitza is transparent, then according to Rav Moshe it is kosher, but according to the majority of poskim it is not.

But even according to Rav Moshe, the men would be allowed to daven there only if the women are properly dressed. There is a separate halachah that you cannot pray in front of improperly dressed women, even if the mechitza is kosher.

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Shomer:
Father – doesn’t apply
Brothers – doesn’t apply
Uncles - applies

Technically, sitting on your father's lap is not prohibited, but would be considered unseemly in public.

In public, in general, we do minimize physical contact between adult children and their immediate relatives, not because it is a religious sin, but because it is considered tasteless. Sometimes it is considered downright ugly - see Rambam Isurei Biah 21:6,7.

It makes no difference if the uncle raised her, nor if she never met her biological father before. It depends on blood, not upbringing.

Grandparents are like parents in this respect.

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Those "people" who believe that the issur of neguyah is mere "advice" are absolutely 100% wrong. It's simply a lie, or perhaps gross ignorance. Anyone able to read a Shulchan Aruch straight (especially with the sources, but even without) can see this black and white. It is absolutely halachah, and not only is it not less than any other halachah, it is if anything, more stringent! According to many poskim, it is yehoreg v'al yaavor, because it is an abizrayhu d'giluy arayos. But it is definitely not just "advice".

As far as touching women for medical purposes, nothing is pikuach nefesh unless, well, unless its life threatening (if something is a threat to limb but not life, it is not pikuach nefesh but it may be permitted due to a different halachah, i.e. "ones rachmana patrie", which is not the same as pikuach nefesh).

The reason doctors treat women even though it is not pikuach nefesh (nor "ones") is that the prohibition of negiyah to begin with was not meant in a case where the contact is part of a professional, utilitarian procedure - that kind of contact is far from "chibah", affectionate touching. Therefore, no heter is needed.

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Online talking can lead to many other things. Often, in fact, it's easier for a person to get in that kind of trouble starting with an online relationship than in real life. There are people - married people in particular, who have gotten into such trouble because of online "safe" relationships who never would think of doing anything like that face to face.

Because online is anonymous, you are less inhibited with what you say. Sometimes by the time you know it, you're in deep.

But in any case, online chat has certainly led to worse, that's #1.

#2, even if you never meet the other person, there is plenty of prohibited activity that can be done through cyberspace anyway.

So it sure can lead to worse. It has, often.

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The Halachos of Ervah - Negiyah, Talking etc. - apply to cousins like anyone else. The difference between a cousin and strangers is that with a cousin there would probably be more utilitarian, non-social, reasons to have contact, such as family functions etc. But to have a plain friendly relationship with your cousin, like to call him for nothing except to say whets up how you doing etc. is under the same category as having such a friendship with any other guy.

Never mind first cousins for a moment, let's talk about second or third cousins - do you think they too should have social relationships because it's important to have a "kesher" in the family? And that it's "ridiculous" for Halachah to prohibit it? Or fifth or sixth cousins? Who decided precisely how related people have to be in order for it to be "ridiculous" not to have different-sex socializing? And what yardstick did you use to decide this?

And never mind cousins. Isn't it important for all of Klall Yisroel to have a Kesher? So isn't it then "ridiculous" for the Torah to say boys and girls - who are all part of Klall Yisroel - shouldn't have a Kesher?

Or maybe, if parts of a family live far from each other, and they both work hard, so that they have no time to contact each other during the week, we should permit them to make phone calls on Shabbos because it's important to keep a Kesher???

Hashem revealed to us, in His benevolence, that boys and girls socializing is damaging to the neshomah. That includes cousins as well. This Halachah is no different than any other Halachah which nobody feels is expendable for such reasons. It's a simple Issur D'Oraisa.

And besides, the question is a non-issue anyway. This actually happens often, not with cousins dying, but with simple different gender cousins. The cousins IYH get married and then you have more same-gender cousins. I have numerous nieces that I never had much to do with on a social level, but their husbands are my friends. Don't worry so much about the terrible things that you think will happen by fulfilling the Torah. Hashem is smarter than we are. His Torah doesn't harm us.

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While it is true of course that any psak can change if the circumstances change, that is only if the circumstances are Halachicly important to the psak. If, for instance, Rav Moshe would tell someone that their metal microwave can be Kashered, does not mean you can assume that the Psak applies to your plastic microwave, since the material is germane to the psak. But if Rav Moshe said that someone's blue microwave can be Kashered you do have a right to assume that just because your microwave is yellow it wouldn't make a difference. Color is not Halachicly relevant.

So, too, when Rav Moshe quotes Avos DRav Nosson, and Rishonim who say, across the board, without any qualification, according to Rav Moshe, that it is prohibited to engage in social interaction with members of the opposite gender, then that’s the Halachah. The fact that a person cares or not is NOT germane to the Halachah. It’s no different than a guy saying he has a different hair color so maybe the Halachah does not apply to him.

There is zero sense in the idea that if someone doesn't care about the Halachah it changes for him. If someone doesn't care about eating pork does that mean he is permitted to do it?

About rebuking someone for talking to the opposite gender, that's different. There, it does depend on whether the guy will listen to you. So if the guy doesn’t care what the Halachah is, you have no obligation to tell him to stop, since he won’t listen anyway. But that doesn’t mean he’s not violating the Halacha. The same thing applies to eating pork - if someone doesn't care about the Halachah, you don’t have to correct him, since he will not listen anyway. But of course pork is still prohibited.

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The prohibition of socializing has nothing to do with what "can happen". It has to do with the fact that the Torah said it is prohibited.

A lot of things "can" happen. That's why we don’t make Gezeiros the way Chazal did. But when Chazal held that the risks are not worth taking they made a Gezeirah that the Torah says is binding.

But in our case we have a simple issue of the Torah saying, to coin a phrase, Thou Shalt Not Socialize With Guys. The reason this bothers you is because you have been used to the discussion of socializing revolving around the bad things that "might happen" if you do, implying that socializing itself is OK, but dangerous. So now you ask anything is dangerous, depending on how much self-control you exert.

But the reality is that that entire discussion is a mistake. Ask yourself this: Never mind talking to guys -- what’s wrong with actually hooking up with them? Is that also only "bad" because it may lead to sex?

Or what's wrong with sex? Is it because it may lead to...pregnancy? I mean, in secular society none of this is really terrible, so how did anyone decide where the line is for what’s "bad" and what is merely potential leading to the "bad"?

The answer is that we have to get this whole idea out of our heads. It’s a typical propaganda and brainwashing tactic - and here the Yetzer Horah is using it - to dismiss someone else's answer by asking the wrong question. Here, by framing the issue in terms of "Will talking to guys lead to something bad?" the Yezter Horah tells you not to understand why others are so gung-ho on not talking to guys. But will it lead to worse is not the issue. The Torah says it is Assur. Period. Not because it will lead to worse but because it IS worse. In and of itself. The Torah doesn’t want boys and girls to be friends. Why? Well, why doesn't the Torah want boys and girls making out with each other? That you do understand?

Since when do we ask "why" the Torah prohibited something? Only since the Yetzer Horah wants us to think that Tznius is some kind of secular ethical - moral issue. The reality is that it is much more than that. It is the physical manifestation of Holiness, and holiness is a concept that only Hashem can define.

And He has defined it.

On His terms, not ours. Like the rest of the Torah.

One day we're going to thank Hashem for revealing to us the secret of Holiness, rather than letting us grope in our blindness to try to figure it out on our own. Because this way, He is giving us the road map to success. Its up to us if we want to follow it, or think that we know better.

Let's not second guess Hashem.

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The prohibition of Lo Sikravu applies to all ages equally. There is no logic in saying that an explicit Torah prohibition is "not talking" about teenagers.

Rav Moshe addressed the Derech Chibah issue in the Teshuva, saying that whenever boys and girls are friends, even innocently, that is considered Assur, like Derech Chibah.
Rav Moshe tells us that girls are forbidden to talk to boys not because it's going to be a distraction but because the Torah prohibited it M'Doraisa. Period. That includes cousins.

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If you are saying good morning as a friend, it is not the good morning that is prohibited per se but the being friends. Cashiers say good morning to their customers even though they are strangers. That is ok.

Obviously, some things cannot be quantified: The girl is not your friend, no social friendship between you and her. She goes about her way and you go about yours. Whether or not to say hello would depend on your age, her age, and the circumstances. Teenage boys have no business saying even a casual good morning to their teenage girl neighbors. If she’s like 50 and married, then out of respect you want to greet her. But that respect does not apply to a teen aged girl next door.

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Women should not teach High School boys.

But women teaching little kids is not the same as kids growing up together and then ending up casual friends. That does not happen with a teacher.

Being a teacher of girls is not the same as being their peer. There is no Issur of Lo Sikravu to be their teacher, just their peer.
If we would have women teachers who could take the place of the rabbis in the Bais Yaakovs then we would certainly prefer that. But as a rule, the women teachers cannot duplicate the knowledge of the rabbis, and especially nowadays, if the girls do not get the proper answers, there could be trouble.

So if we could deal without men teaching the girls, it would be wonderful. In some communities they don't. But in others men do teach girls - even via live interaction in a classroom - certainly electronically.

It's a similar case with babysitting, although in that case there may be yichud problems.

As long as it’s not a friend relationship there’s no lo sikravu. Women are allowed to come to rabbis for sholom bayis and other personal issues as well.

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The communities that are rejected (as unacceptable, not as unJewish, by the way) because of their short skirts or mixed swimming pools are not rejected because of the sins themselves, but because they officially believe in such behavior.

If you speak Loshon Horah you violate the Torah. But if you say "I see nothing wrong with short skirts", you're disagreeing with the Torah.

It's like 2 people who are caught speeding. The first comes to court and says "Yes I was speeding, and I did it because I wanted to get home early". He's guilty, no question.

But the other says to the judge "I think there's nothing wrong with speeding". He's not only speeding, he's revolting against the authority of the court.

When someone speaks Loshon Horah he is violating the Torah. When someone says "I don't see anything wrong with mixed swimming" he is rebelling against its authority.

When someone does a sin because he "doesn't think there's anything wrong with it" it becomes a different sin. A very severe one. If an entire community does it, the Rambam calls it "Ir Hanidachas".

That's why, he says, Yehoshua wanted to annihilate the tribes of Dan, Reuven, and 1/2 of Menashe for bringing sacrifices outside of Shiloh. The sacrifices weren't a capital crime. But a community getting together deciding "We don't think there's anything wrong with bringing sacrifices outside of Shiloh" is. It's Ir Hanidachas.

Another example: The Akeidas Yitzchok tells of a problem his community was having (about 500 years ago). There were many who were involved in adulterous relationships. Some rabbis suggested a solution: They should institutionalize Pilagshim. Even though they are prohibited, they are better than adultery.

But the idea was quickly abandoned - because even though adultery is worse than concubines, when the community officially allows concubines, the sin is magnified a thousandfold, as the institutionalization of sin takes on a life of its own, becoming a sin in itself.

So two people can do the same act but be guilty of different sins. The one who sins because he wants money or pleasure is guilty of whatever sin he did. But the one who sins because he "doesn't see anything wrong" with it is disagreeing with G-d: And that is a different sin altogether: Kefirah (denying the Torah).

That is what distinguishes one sin from the next.

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Coed schools are surely assur - the Gemora says clearly in Sukkah 52a that men and women must be separated even during a hesped speech, all the more so during regular lectures. The Meiri (kiddushin 81a) says that even little children are not allowed to sit in class together because they will get used to being together and it will be difficult to separate them later (we see this all over these boards when girls say "I grew up with my boy neighbor" etc.)

That's just the beginning. Shas and poskim are full of exhortations to keep boys and girls separate.

Coed day schools are usually not relevant to this discussion. The idea behind them was that without those schools the kids would be in public school, and mixed anyway. Worse than mixed. So a coed school is a step up for them, and does not cause them to mix.

Saying that these schools show coeducation is permitted is like saying we see from Hatzolah that driving on Shabbos is permitted.

But even those schools were very controversial, for several reasons.

As far as the idea that coeducation is not only permitted, but necessary, because if you separate boys and girls they will not know how to resist temptation of interacting normally etc etc, this is falsified by the fact that the hundreds of thousands of Bnei Torah in the world who do not mingle with the opposite gender are not being irresistibly tempted later in life, as well as not being unable to function normally. It’s just simple reality. On the contrary, the Gemora says about that this particular temptation, "the more you feed it the hungrier it gets; the more you starve it, the less hungry it gets".

Unless you are maybe Rav Ovadiah Yosef or ybd"l Rav Yosef Engel, that fact that you cannot find the source for prohibiting coed schools does not mean it does not exist. Please see the above quoted Gemora and the Meforshim there. Also see Igros Moshe YD 1:137, Shevet Levi OH 29, Yechavah Daas 4:46.

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It’s not simple that handshakes are non-affectionate. Chibah doesn’t have to mean messing around. It means friendly too. Rav Moshe says it’s not a reliable heter to shake hands because its not derech chibah.

Also, if there is any hanoah whatsoever, then it is assur regardless of the prior intent. it is based on this factor that the Steipler writes - and he says the Chazon Ish agrees as well - that any such physical contact is prohibited.

Even in a case of a professional doing his work, such as a doctor, we allow it because "hoanach lahem l'yisrael" for refuah (so says Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenefeld ZTL in Simlas Chaim).

You are allowed to hand something to a guy and vice versa; you're just not allowed to touch him.

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The prohibition is friendly talk, and especially being friends, as opposed to just a statement to them or from them. It is not possible to quantify this. At the Shabbos table, talk between teenage boys and girls should be minimized of course, but not to the point where it gets ridiculous, like where you refrain from asking him to pass the horseradish. Or to ask a question about something that was said. The idea is not to socialize and to avoid friendly chatting, not to avoid communication where there is a legitimate purpose.

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"A person must stay far, far away from the women, and it is prohibited to signal with your hand, to hint with your eyes, to any prohibited women. It is furthermore prohibited to laugh together with them and to be frivolous in her presence, or to watch her beauty. Even to smell her perfume is forbidden...."

Of course, none of this means that you can't see the woman for normal reasons, such as out for your windshield to make sure you don’t run her over, or things like that. Regarding going in the street, the Gemora says that you should avoid places where women are known to congregate, if possible.

In other words, we are allowed to function normally, but we must try to minimize as much as possible casual interaction with women.

It says don’t talk "too much" to your wife. Rabeinu Bachya says it means that there are certain things that you should not tell your wife under some circumstances. As an example, he says if someone said something derogatory about you, and by telling the incident to your wife she will respect you less because of what this person said about you, then you should not tell her. It means stuff like that.

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You draw the line where (a) you are able to and (b) where you choose to. The higher you are, the more you want to stay away from Tumah. And the more you stay away, the higher you get. There are certain Halachos that are minimum standards, but Kedushas Ha'Aynayim goes way beyond that.

There is no limit. The less you see of Pritzus the better.

And shmiras ha'aynayim goes beyond pritzus. Avodah zarah and other forms of Tumah are also part of it, but Pritzus is first and foremost in this catagory.

Regarding Halachos, there is a Machlokes in the Poskim whether the prohibition of looking at women means staring at them (that is, looking at them because you want to look) or if you have to Halachicly avoid seeing women whenever possible.

As I said above, everyone agrees that even if it is not Halachicly prohibited, it is meritorious not to look at women at all. In fact, one of the proofs to the opinions that you MAY see women if you’re not intentionally looking at them is the fact that the Gemora says a Talmid Chacham does not recognize specific women. From this we see, that only a Talmid Chacham is on this level, but average people are not required to be on that level (Yam shel Shlomo Kesuvos).

The Shulchan Aruch (EH 21) writes that if you are "mistakel" ("stare") at even the small finger of a woman because you want to enjoy it, it is the same as if you stared at the her nakedness.

So looking at a woman because she is pretty is prohibited, regardless of whether she is dressed Tzniusdik or not.

The Mishna Brurah (75:7) also rules that incidental seeing of a woman without getting pleasure is permitted halachicly, but wrong by way of Mussar - though an Adam Chashuv should avoid even seeing.

The Bach holds that regarding the parts of a woman that Halachicly should be covered, it is prohibited even to see them; the parts that may be exposed, it is prohibited only to intentionally stare.

However, other opinions state that even seeing a woman must be avoided if possible. These are Chida (Psach Ainaim Avodah Zarah 20), and Igros Moshe (OH 40) who rules that in the street you should look down and away from women, to the extent possible, and when a woman comes to a rabbi to talk he is obligated to avoid looking directly in her face.

So it is a machlokes, halachicly, if you must avoid even casually looking at women where possible. The Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Brura rule it is not a problem, but everyone agrees that it is meritorious and holy to be strict in the matter.

Obviously, with the exception of many Chasidim and Chareidi communities in Eretz Yisroel, the lifestyle that most Orthodox Jews live makes it very difficult to do anything but rely on the lenient poskim in this matter. That's fine. But we always need to remember that we would be a holier people if we would be able to be more careful in distancing men and women. So many problems happen because we are not careful in this matter. The problem is especially existent in Modern orthodox communities where men and women being casual friends is considered a perfectly wonderful thing, and sometimes even healthier than not. This attitude clearly disagrees with the Torah, and the extent of mixing allowed in these communities clearly violates the Halachah as well.

Even if we are not to as holy as we would want to be, we should always wish we were better, and we should always know in what direction "better" lies.

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Staring at men, though obviously not a righteous practice, is not halachicly forbidden - which is why there is no mechitza in shul that prevents the women from seeing the men. However, lo sasuru, which forbids hirhurim, does apply to women as well - like all laavim do.

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KOL ISHA - HALACHOS

The Gemora (Brachos 24a) derives the prohibition of Kol Isha from a posuk in Shir HaShirim (2:14). Here we happen to be talking about saying Shema (or learning Torah - Mordechai ad loc.) while hearing a woman's voice. However, in Gemorah Kiddushin 70a and Sotah 48a it is clear that under any circumstances - even without Shema - Kol Isha is prohibited. (There is a discussion in the Rishonim regarding differences between Kol Isha during Shema vs. other times – during Shema it may be more strict, or more lenient. The above is the bottom line Halachah as recorded in Shulchan Aruch).

There is a disagreement in the poskim regarding whether only a singing voice of a woman is prohibited or even plain conversation. The Rambam (Teshuvos, mekitzei nirdamim, II:224) seems to hold that even a non-singing voice of a woman is prohibited. This non-singing prohibition may be limited to a friendly or even affectionate voice, as opposed to plain business, for instance, which may be permitted even according to these opinions.

Achronim (Magen Avraham 75:6, Beis Shmuel 25:4, and others) conclude that the speaking voice of a woman is permitted. There is discussion in Poskim regarding voice that is not quite singing, but not exactly plain conversation either.

There are poskim who permit hearing the blended voices of men and women singing together (Chasan Sofer aovdas hayom, taharas hayadayim 14). Others disagree (see Otzar haPoskim 21:1).

If you have never seen the woman whose voice you are listening to, the Maharam Shick (Even HaEzer 53) would permit listening. It is a matter of controversy in the poskim whether the Maharam Shick would permit in such circumstances even an actual singing voice or merely an “affectionate” greeting voice. Knowing what the woman looks like from photos qualifies as having “seen” her, even if you never met her live (Yabia Omer I OH 6).

Kol Isha on the radio or a CD is a topic of disagreement in the Poskim. It may not be Kol Isha because it is not actually the voice of a woman but the voice of a machine. However, even the lenient Poskim agree that such practice should be avoided as it is “mechuar”, even if not Halachicly prohibited.

Whether you can listen you your wife, when Nidah, is a big controversy in the Poskim. Rav Moshe (YD II, 75) rules that you should be machmir.

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You’re not responsible for your taavos. Hirhurim are thoughts that are imagined intentionally.

You are not responsible for things that "pop" into your head unintentionally. That is, unless, those random thoughts were triggered by something else that you did intentionally, for example, if a person acts in an improper manner, for instance, then besides being responsible for the behavior itself, he is also responsible for any effects of the voluntary behavior, including involuntary thoughts.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous wannabe said...

One tiiiny nitpicky comment from the person IPG knows as the grammar police:

Relationships. Not relashionships.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous taon said...

it's fine. thanks, working on corrcting it.

11:40 AM  

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