A mitzvah for an aveira? or at someone else’s expense?

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  • #588713

    eisheschayil
    Member

    I heard this story from a cousin of mine (a bochur) who lives in Eretz Yisroel. He said that he was sitting on a bus when an elderly woman came on. The bus was crowded and there were no seat lefts. There were a lot of women and girls on the bus. He said that he wanted to get up to give his seat to the old lady, however he didn’t want to ‘touch a girl’ (he should do a mitzvah for an aveirah?), so he stayed in his seat.

    I’m very curious to hear comments from others about this situation.

    #626712

    notpashut
    Member

    R’ Moshe says in a tshuva that on a crowded train there is no problem of “touching a girl” because it’s not “derech chiba”.

    #626713

    oomis
    Participant

    He should have gotten up, given the elderly woman his seat. had I been one of the girls on that bus, I would have gotten up myself, but since apparently none of them did, he SURELY should have. It is not safe for the elderly to try to keep their balance in a vehicle. Shame on all of the people who did not stand for her and show her respect.

    #626714

    Nobody
    Member

    Ditto to what Oomis1105 has just said. Just to add, a person should be frum in the right places at the right time

    #626715

    Question… since we are talking about tzniyus… how tzniyus is it for a lady to stand on a bus and possibly fall over? i have seen that men normally have a better sense of balance then women…. i personally almost fell over onto a man… thats a lot less tzniyus then standing up for a aldy and maybe touching one.

    #626717

    The bachur remained in his seat?! He needs to sit down and have a discussion with his rebbe as well as his mother. Don’t we teach our children to ALWAYS get up for someone else especially an elderly person? Middos 101…

    #626718

    you can’t judge this yeshiva bochur from hearing the story. you need to know the facts, maybe it was really crowded and he couldnt get out without being in an uncomfterble situation or stuck btw. woman.

    #626719

    eisheschayil
    Member

    The Rabbis daughters: Which facts would you like to know? Yes, the bus was very crowded with a lot of women, and chances are if he would have to stand up, he would end up between two women.

    I didn’t bring up this story to judge this bochur. I shared this story because it’s something that I was thinking about and wanted to hear from others what they thought, and what they would do in that situation.

    My question is- What comes first? Being careful not to touch / stand between women, or giving up your seat for an elderly person?

    #626720

    If he is so stringent with regard to shomer negiah, what was he doing on a bus in the first place? What if the bus had arrived at his stop while it was still crowded with women? Would he have pushed past them in order to get off or waited until the crowd thinned, by which time he would have to take another bus in the other direction?

    #626721

    Chacham2
    Member

    There’s nothing wrong with accidentally touching a woman on a crowded bus. He should have given her his seat. To think that its better an old woman should stand on a bus or train than a bochur should rub shoulders with a woman is ludicrous.

    #626722

    You are so right, we should not judge the bachur, but the bachur’s actions or inaction in this story as it was told are simply inexcusable.

    We are in uncomfortable situations ALL the time. This is why I strongly suggest the bachur sitting down with his rebbe and his mother if possible to help with these types of daily situations.

    #626723

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    smalltowngirl – generally, touching someone of the opposite gender thats not “bderech chibah” is allowed. That doesnt mean you should go around touching men!! It just means that if you are on the bus and you bump into a man, its not a problem.

    When I started working I had a long talk with my rabbi about how to deal with men at the office. I work in a company thats 85% male and there are plenty of times that I am the only woman around. I was told that it was 100% fine to shake mens hands (even extending mine first) beceause it was all for the sake of business – no chibah involved.

    #626724

    smartcookie
    Member

    EISHAS CHAYIL- Why are you asking this Halacha question from us? Please asked your Rabbi.

    #626725

    noitallmr
    Participant

    Um SJSinNYC totally zero offense to you or your rov but for a woman to openly shake a man’s hand is most definitely Ossur. The only and i repeat the only heter to touch the opposite gender is accidentally for example in a shop to brush past but to actually shake hands is most certainly forbidden.

    I don’t know how he can be matir you to work in a place which is 98% men anyway.

    #626726

    favish
    Member

    gemilos chasodim, mipnai sayvoh tokim is deoirayse, to subconciously unintentionally touch opposit is no issur whatsoever..to SJSinNYC..IT IS NOT 100% FINE EVEN 50% FINE TO SHAKE HANDS WITH OOPOSITE GENDER NO MATTER WHO THIS RABBI IS..IF YOU RESPECTFULLY EXPLAIN WHY ONE SHOULD NOT SHAKE WITH OPPOSITE THEY WILL RESPECT YOU FOR IT. MIR DID IT THRUOUT THE YEARS. IT WOULD BE CHILLIL HASHEM IF ONE SEES A MUSLIM(WHO WAS NOT AFFECTED WITH THE WESTERN VERSION OF ‘MORALITY’) ADHERE TO NOT SHAKING WITH OPPOSITE GENDER BUT A SHOMER TORAH UMITZVOS HAS NO BACKBONE TO UPHOLD HALACHA. MIR HEAR THE SOME PLACES IN SOUTH (RELIGIOUS BAPTIST?) IT IS KNOWN NOT TO SHAKE WITH OPPOSITE IN BUSUNESS ALSO WHEN GOING OUT TO BUSINESS LUNCH WILL NOT GO WITHOUT HUABAND OR…AND YOU DONT HAVE BACKBONE TO STAND UP WITH TORAH PRINCIPLES?

    #626727

    cantoresq
    Member

    I think that in order to protect tznius in klal Yisrael there should be a special bus line for elderly women. Now I turn my sarcasm button off.

    #626728

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Noitall and Jent – I hate to break this to you, but I trust my Rabbi a lot more than random strangers posting on YWN.

    In my line of work, its expected that you shake hands when you meet someone. Its tantamount to spitting on them to not do it. Since its not derech chibah, my rabbi told me it actually wasnt an issue. Many people are more stringent on this and I accept that, but it doesnt mean I have to hold by it. To be honest, I’ve seen all the religious men I work with shake hands with women also – even extending their own. I do not, however, hug anyone even though many people around here do that! People kept trying to hug me when I changed positions and that I did not allow. That was crossing a line.

    As for working in a workforce thats mostly male – what is the issue? Yichud? I am never alone with any men. Why would that even be a problem?

    #626729

    rabbiofberlin
    Participant

    well, jent (and all the others) has the appropriate response for this bochur’s behavior:; It is a Mitzvos assay” to rise before an older person.(Mipnei seivah tokum)It is no even a question whether to give one’ seat up because maybe, maybe you would be touching another gender by accident.

    As far as shaking hands with another gender, (to noitallmr and jent), first of all, this may not even be a problem for a woman.She may not be under the issur of “loi sikroivu”. second ,even for a man, touching which is not for ‘chibah” (closeness and sensuality) is not ossur. This is clear from a number of sugyos in shas. (Quotes at your request).

    In Germany and Hungary, it was the custom to shake hands as politeness and good jews (even rabbonim) did it all the time. So, very respectfully, it is not an “issur” to shake hands, regardless of what you may think. It may very well be midas chassidus and ,jent, if you want to you are welcome to do this, but don’t denigrate people who do shake hands.

    there is an Igros Moshe on this and various gemoros.

    #626731

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Jent,

    Please… stop shouting (typing in all CAPS). It hurts to read and it doesn’t make your point any stronger.

    The Wolf

    #626733

    favish
    Member

    TO SYSin NYC…as a certain holy tzaddik resonded to a certain issue..’…YOUR RABBI’

    #626734

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    noitallmr:

    Being that You know for certainty what is Assur and what is not (against SJS’ Psak), could You please help all the girls who need shidduchim. It really requires a Nes, and You have the ability to do it, being Omniscient and all that.

    #626735

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    RabbiofBerlin – thank you! I dont always know the sources for things (except for my rabbi’s psak)

    Jent – I’m not sure what your last comment meant – can you please expand on it?

    #626736

    bored@work
    Participant

    Besides for it not being a problem becaues it is not derech chiba middos come before evertyhing.

    #626740

    anon for this
    Participant

    For those who say that a frum woman can’t work where 85% of her colleagues are male, what is an acceptable percentage of male colleagues?

    #626742

    noitallmr
    Participant

    “Its tantamount to spitting on them to not do it”

    I beg to differ. If you politely explain to any man that your religion forbids shaking their hand, I’m sure that not only won’t they be upset, they’ll respect you for sticking to your religion.

    And hey rabbiofberlin, you better check your Halachos. Look in your Mishna Brura and any Mussar Sefer about touching the other gender and you’ll find that it is Ossur period. Until now I thought you knew your stuff but to Matir someone to shake a man’s hands??? Surprising of you…

    #626743

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    noitall, I beg to differ with you. I work in a company of 14,000 people. I personally have dealt with about 1/3. Its been hard enough explaing and re-explaining kosher, shabbos and yom tovim. Why would I add the hardship of something that my rabbi said is ok?

    You may not agree with the psak, but thats probably because you are used to 1,000 gedarim placed around everything. I am not fragile, and shaking a man’s hand will not make me stray.

    My sister is a nurse and has to touch men daily – do you have a problem with that? Its not always for life saving measures. Sometimes, its just to take their blood pressure or help them sit on the table. Would you like all Jewish women to stop being nurses so they dont have to touch men?

    #626744

    rabbiofberlin
    Participant

    dear noitallmr…..First, mussar seforim are not halacha…also, Ii have no idea why there should be any discussion about shaking hands in mussar seforim…

    Second, you mentioned the mishne berurah…OK, please can you quote where he discusses shaking hands with another gender?

    Thirdly, there is a difference beteeen men and women on that. For example, is listening to the voice of a man “ossur’ for a woman? NO- because the lav of “loi sikroivu’ has a limited purpose.

    Lastly, I will bring you some mekoros that fully allow shaking hands because it is not derech chibah.

    Again, I did not say that everyone holds by this but there are enough Poskim of great stature who do hold that shaking hands is not ‘begeder chibah”.

    #626745

    there are reputable rabbonim who allow shaking hands in a business situation. Someone told me that he asked Rav Shimon Schwab ZT”L and he said its ok. I’m not suggesting anyone rely on a third hand quote to be matir but on the other hand don’t assume its assur and risk insulting your boss and losing your job because someone online said (in all caps) that its assur. Ask your LOR.

    #626746

    noitallmr, you clearly don’t “know it all” if you can’t even be bothered to double check what you are reading and instead respond to a post by misquoting it. When I saw that you described SJSinNYC’s workplace as “98% male” even though she had written “85% male” your posting lost all credibility in my eyes.

    #626748

    why would you extend your hand to a man if it’s not neccisary. If it will be akward if somenone sticks out their hand then shake it, if not why you making the first gesture.

    #626749

    oomis
    Participant

    If a man in the business world or anywhere, for that matter extends his hand to me (as did my daughter’s surgeon, recently), you had best believe I will not embarrass him by a) refusing to shake hands and b) attempting to explain to him al regel achas why we don’t shake hands. Most people (and especially if they are Jewish, but not affiliated) DO take offense, or think you are an oddball or feel you are holier than thou when you do that. At the very least, they are made to feel mighty awkward, and THAT is never good for business. There is a direct prohibition in the Torah against embarrassing someone, but there is no direct prohibition in the Torah against shaking hands with a person of the OS.

    #626750

    Bogen
    Participant

    Thank G-d we still have people willing to stick by their religion and not water down Judaism to feel-goodism.

    #626754

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Bogen, you mean people who dont have cash businesses and cheat the government? Hmm…I wonder which sect of Judaism has more tax evasion than other…

    #626755

    eisheschayil
    Member

    oomis: “you had best believe I will not embarrass him by…b) attempting to explain to him al regel achas why we don’t shake hands”.

    I have done this before (explained al regel achas) – and I want you to know that it is possible- and I don’t think anyone was offended. If you dress a certain way and act a certain way- from the first second that a man will see you – they will realize that you are “different” and religious, and in most cases will respect you for that. If a man extends his hand to you, I don’t see a problem with saying in a nice and respectful way (and not condescending) “I’m sorry, but due to religious reasons, it is forbidden for me to shake hands with a male.”

    I would like to emphasize that you have to be consistent. If the way you dress and act are in a refined/modest manner, not only would he not be offended but he’ll respect you for it.

    #626756

    rabbiofberlin
    Participant

    eisheschayil- the problem is with your quote “due to religious reasons it is forbidden to shake hands with a male”. This is not the crux of it.If there is no “issur’ (as many maintain) then there is no need to circumvent it. Not everyone has to do ‘middas chassidus”. (and, btw, this is surely less of a problem for a woman,as mentioned)

    #626757

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    has anyone else discussed this with their Rabbi besides for me? Just curious. I have an actual psak, but some of you are going by “feelings.”

    #626758

    intellegent
    Member

    BTW, I recall being on a long distance bus a while back and people came on after it was full. It must have been an older woman or an expectant woman. There were girls sitting on the bus who stood up for them. Of course that was the correct thing to do but is it right that someone who got on the bus when it was empty should have to stand for an hour? Maybe a person who knows that they need a seat should wait for the next bus.

    What do you think?

    #626759

    feivel
    Participant

    oh, im so sorry, i have a cold, i dont want you to catch it.

    but you have to be ready for the hand as soon as its extended to you.

    #626760

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    feivel, you have a cold for all the years you work at the company? I have been here for 3 years already. Boy thats a long cold!

    #626761

    bored@work
    Participant

    intellegent- well being that our sages tell us “lifnei sayva takum” I aassume that they took that into consideration and yes, we must rise. Life is not always about fare or not, its about doing the right thing which in this situation would be getting up.

    #626762

    eisheschayil
    Member

    feivel: that’s good if you’re meeting someone once and most probably won’t ever see them again… I don’t know if that’s going to work so well in the office… It’s kind of weird having a cold every day -don’t you think (not to mention in the middle of August!)?

    #626763

    smartcookie
    Member

    intelligent- it’s an elderly person/expectant lady’s duty not to obligate others and get themselves into that situation, but it’s your job to stand up for them if you are in that situation.

    #626764

    feivel
    Participant

    i guess it wont always work

    for people i know well i explain the real reason

    for those i meet randomly it works well

    #626765

    favish
    Member

    ON THE OTHER HAND WHEN ONE PAYS FOR A BUS WHICH INCLUDES A SEAT THE GEMMORAH SAYS ‘MAH KIMA SHEIN BO CHASARIN KIS, AF HIDDUR SHEIN BIO CHISARAN KIS'(KIDDUSHIN) SO ALPI HALACHA MAYBE ONE DOESNT HAVE TO GET UP,ESPECIALLY IF ITS ALONG TRIP (MONSEY,LAKEWOOD BUSSES ETC. )ONLY AL PI MIDDOS CHASSIDUS

    #626766

    JENT,

    you’re paying to get from place A to place B not for the seat, even if there are no seats and you end up standing you still have to pay, so it wouldn’t seem to be a case of chisaron kis. Secondly, besides for hidur if its a sakana for the old or expectant person to stand the whole way and possibly fall then there would seem to be a chiyuv (lo sa’amod al dam rey’echa?), not just middas chasidus.

    #626767

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    jent,

    lower case letters. learn to use them. please 🙂

    the wolf

    #626768

    intellegent
    Member

    bored@work

    You missed my point. Of course the young girl should get up. My question was if the person she got up for should have gotten on to the bus to begin with. It’s just theoretical. I am not claiming it’s right or wrong, just curious what people think of it. If it’s a short distance bus and someone will have to stand for 10 minutes, big deal, but we’re talking an hour here.

    #626769

    favish
    Member

    charlie brown…yes , your right,i just cant even contemplate how that bocher or anyone could keep on sitting when old lady was swaying.mir mentioned once but moderator didnt pass on ..it is said in name of the holy bal shem tov that one shuold be ready to give away his oilm habeh for another yid,so this would be a sample. wolf, why dont you use ear plugs..just kidding….

    #626770

    myshadow
    Member

    Don’t judge other people’s psak. A women in a professional business such as a lawyer or that sort, that often needs to shake hands with men or else they will appear rude can probably get a heter. A doctor, nurse, dentist and any other medical person falls under a different catogory of halacha which is mutar.

    I was once a bus going to Williamsburg and was paying while the bus was driving and I had men behind me that were stamping and muttering nu! because they didn’t want a woman standing in front of them. Then when I had to walk back to the of the bus to the women’s section I almost fell on the men because I couldn’t hold on to the seats because there were men there. I learnt that a woman is not supposed to walk between two men so how is it ok the way the bus is set up? Correct me on the halacha if im wrong

    #626771

    mamashtakah
    Member

    I asked my Rav years ago about shaking a woman’s hand in a business situation. His answer was that I shouldn’t extend my hand first, but if she did I should shake it. As usual, those of you who are shouting “assur assur assur” are assuming everything is black and white, with no shades of gray.

    (BTW, one of the advantages I’ve noticed here in Israel is that women here who are obviously not dati usually don’t shake my hand, nor do they expect me to shake hands with them. It takes some getting used to, but add that to the reasons to make aliyah.)

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