Ladies First – Is it respectful or not?

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  • #618291

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I wrote this on another thread, but I realized it could get lost there. It is important, so I wanted to make sure posters will see it. Thanks Meno (and Joseph) for giving me the idea of starting a new thread. If anyone would like to see the original discussion regarding the halachos involved, please see the thread entitled “Dating question.”

    I have a question on this whole “ladies first” thing (the idea of ladies walking in front of men, for those who did not see the original discussion).

    Some of the comments here as well as something else I saw on the topic got me thinking about this. I still am pretty convinced that as per Rav Shlomo Zalman, there are heterim nowadays, although w/o seeing it inside, it is hard to know to what extent it is b’dieved or preferred.

    But, let’s assume for a moment that it’s technically completely muttar. Let’s assume that you never saw any specific source that it was assur. Something can be a problem in terms of tznius even if it is not brought down anywhere, simply because it is clearly a problem, and if one knows that is the case, obviously they should try to avoid it if possible.

    I got the impression from some of the postings here that this may possibly fall in that category. I would like to know from the male posters here: If you had never heard that there was any halachic issue involved, would you consider it a problem in terms of tznius? (I hope that’s not inappropriate, I am asking l’toeles, since I have no other way of knowing, and am trying to phrase the question as tzniusly as possible. You can answer with a simple “yes” or “no”). Thank you in advance.

    #1178342

    Sparkly
    Member

    lilmod ulelamaid – it is respectful they just let you go first nothing wrong with that.

    #1178343

    Joseph
    Participant

    Ladies First is no more respectful than Men First. In the Jewish world the law is men first; in the Christian/Western world they do ladies first. There’s nothing inherently more respectful for men to allow ladies go first than for ladies to allow gentlemen to go first.

    #1178344

    Joseph
    Participant

    As to your question in the OP, of course men walking behind women is a tznius problem. That is the very reason why Halacha prohibits it. Halacha didn’t create the prohibition of men walking behind women for another reason. Rashi in Eiruvin 18b explains that a husband cannot even walk behind his wife.

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/chivalry-038-yiddishkeit-a-foreign-concept

    #1178345

    yeshivishe kup
    Participant

    Joseph is right on

    #1178347

    Meno
    Participant

    “But, let’s assume for a moment that it’s technically completely muttar. Let’s assume that you never saw any specific source that it was assur. “

    Joseph isn’t following the rules, or he’s just not very good at pretending…

    #1178348

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    lilmod ulelamaid – For a serious answer (and not Joe, which avoids the question), you first need to understand “Tznius”. I’ll quote myself:

    As promised:

    There are THREE (really four) different aspects of what is known as “Tznius” (which is like calling lighting a fire on shabbos “Mukzta”). They are:

    1: Ervah

    2: Das Moshe/Yehudis

    3: Tznius

    4: Histaklus

    1: Ervah is a din in Kriyas Shema (which is why the halchos are in Keriyas Shema). Many Rishonim hold it applies to other brachos as well. The idea is that a Davar Sheb’kedusha may not be done/said before any Ervah. That includes for a man (as per the Gemorah Brachos) a woman’s hair, shok, etc. This has NOTHING to do with the general idea of a man looking at a lady. See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75 for more details.

    2: Das Moshe/Yehudis is what the Torah (add: or Chazal) perscribes that a female should not have uncovered when she goes out in public. This includes hair of anyone who is not a Besulah (as per Even HaEzer 21:2). The Mishna in Kesubos (72B) differentiates between the two. Ayin Shom. (Rav Moshe IIRC also has some teshuvos on the matter).

    3: Tznius: There is a general concept of Hatznya Leches. This applies to both males & females, both in manner of dress and action, to be “low-key”. (There are also halachos of Tnzius in OC 240, which I will ignore for this discussion). An example is a woman covering her hair in her own yard (a private domain), where there is no Chiyuv (seemingly even if others will see her), but there is a concept of “Tznius”. (Offen a Bais Shemuel in Even HaEzer). In general, Chassidim are more Machmir in this.

    4: Histaklus: A man may not stare at a woman. Period. If he does, he is Over “Lo Tasuru”. It certainly is a good thing for women to make sure that men have no reason to stare at them, but unless it is “Trai Ivri Nahara”, then it is not “Lifnei Iver”.

    Depends on the scenario. Let’s say a woman is sunbathing in her own backyard, where there is no Chiyuv to be covered, but men can see (for whatever reason). The men have a chiyuv not to look (Etzba Ketana and Histaklus), but the woman has no chiyuv to cover up (as she is in her own chatzer).

    Does that answer the question?

    #1178349

    Meno
    Participant

    yeshivishe kup is also not following the rules

    #1178350

    Person1
    Member

    No it doesn’t feel to me as non tznius. But I could say the same about other hilchot tznius. What the point of this? And wouldn’t “walking behind isha” be a more appropriate title to this post?

    #1178351

    Joseph
    Participant

    Completely absurd, gaw. A woman outside the four walls of her home, with the shades drawn, is absolutely required al pi halacha to be fully covered per all the requirements in hilchos tznius.

    And if her shades are open into her home, she must be dressed tznius even within her home when people in the public can see her inside. Same is true if she has guests in her home who are not immediate family members. (Even if they are spouses of immediate family members.)

    #1178352

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Completely absurd, gaw. A woman outside the four walls of her home, with the shades drawn, is absolutely required al pi halacha to be fully covered per all the requirements in hilchos tznius.

    Joseph Vs. the Bais Shmuel and Gemara Kesubos 72B.

    You can guess whose side I’m taking.

    #1178353

    Meno
    Participant

    I feel that there’s a difference between walking behind a woman merely opening the door for a woman so that she can enter first.

    #1178354

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “Does that answer the question?”

    No it doesn’t actually. No one here answered my question. No one seems to have understood it (besides Meno, but he chose not to answer it either). I was deliberately trying to phrase it tzniusly, and therefore not too directly, but no one understands what I’m asking. :(.

    “Depends on the scenario. Let’s say a woman is sunbathing in her own backyard, where there is no Chiyuv to be covered, but men can see (for whatever reason). The men have a chiyuv not to look (Etzba Ketana and Histaklus), but the woman has no chiyuv to cover up (as she is in her own chatzer).”

    I have no idea whether or not that is accurate halachically, but it is not relevant to what I am trying to ask. Regardless of whether or not it is muttar, no lady with any sense of tznius/self-respect will deliberately put herself in such a situation if it is avoidable (without getting into the specific scenarios that you may be referring to – let’s just assume that it is easy to avoid such a situation and there is no reason not to).

    Let me ask the question this way: When a girl walks in front of a Frum boy, is she doing something similar to what the lady in your hypothetical case is doing if she KNOWS that there are men who will be deliberately watching her?

    #1178355

    akuperma
    Participant

    It is the American custom, and reflects their cultural and social values. It is not prohibited to do so by halacha, though in our tradition a man would often not defer to a women (unless she was elderly, handicapped, or clearly more hashuv than he is, e.g. the Rebbe’s daughter) since that might be considered flirtatious (something the goyim have never found especially problematic, but that gets beyond what we disucss on YWN). So it probably would be best to let a woman get on the bus before you, unless you are in an all frum environment.

    #1178356

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Person1 – thank you for answering the question! An answer at last! I’m sorry – I started my post before I saw yours.

    I deliberately phrased it that way because I wanted to make it clear that the issue is based on respect for women. This is true in both directions: On the one hand, if the guy is supposed to let the girl go first, it is out of respect of her. On the other hand, if he is NOT supposed to let her go first, it is certainly out of respect for her, since if it is untznius, it is not respectful to her! That is the what tznius is about – respect for women!!! Unfortunately, that is something that people don’t always realize.

    So my question was, even if it true that it is completely muttar nowadays, would it still pose a tznius issue on the guy’s part and hence be something that the girl might want to try to avoid?

    Thank you for answering the question Person1, but if you feel that way about most halachos of tznius (which I don’t think is typical – there is a reason for the halachos, although this may have to do with the community you live in and what you are used to), then I’m not sure your answer is so helpful l’maaseh.

    #1178357

    Joseph
    Participant

    I feel that there’s a difference between walking behind a woman merely opening the door for a woman so that she can enter first.

    Is that the boich giving you that feeling? 😉 If she enters “first”, you will be walking behind her.

    #1178358

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Regardless of whether or not it is muttar, no lady with any sense of tznius/self-respect will deliberately put herself in such a situation if it is avoidable

    Maybe, maybe not. Maybe she doesn’t expect her neighbor to look out the window at her swimming pool with his binoculars. She’s not changing what she wants to and can do al pi Halacha just because of some peeping tom.

    Let me ask the question this way: When a girl walks in front of a Frum boy, is she doing something similar to what the lady in your hypothetical case is doing if she KNOWS that there are men who will be deliberately watching her?

    No, she is doing something worse. By acting specifically in a manner that shows herself off IN PUBLIC, which even when the “ervas” are fully covered, she is Over Da’as Yehudis. If “she KNOWS that there are men who will be deliberately watching her” (AKA Histaklus) doing this act, because of that action, that would be “Vered” (IMHO).

    If a woman is so beautiful that she can’t walk normally in public Tzniusly without people staring at her, I don’t believe that is her problem. The guys are Mechuyav not to look.

    Does that answer the question?

    #1178359

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Maybe this is a better way to phrase it: Would the average Frum boy be “over” (transgress) on histaklus (or at least find it difficult not to be) if a Frum tzniusly dressed girl were to walk in front of him?

    Is so, this is something important for Frum girls to know, and therefore, I would like to know. Thank you. And thank you GAW, for your categorization which helped me to figure out how to phrase the question. Thank you all in advance for answering.

    #1178360

    Joseph
    Participant

    I would like to know from the male posters here: If you had never heard that there was any halachic issue involved, would you consider it a problem in terms of tznius?

    Yes.

    lilmod: You now have a direct, to the point, response to your question.

    #1178361

    golfer
    Participant

    Sigh.

    LU, you phrased your question clearly and with great care. No possibility to misconstrue to find any type of offense, tznius-wise or otherwise.

    Unfortunately, I can’t help you here.

    And not a single (male, as required) poster has found it in his heart (or brain) to provide the simple yes or no requested.

    Sometimes things just work that way here…

    True, but if you think about what the question is asking, it may be a bit more personal than you realize and they are demonstrating tznius by refraining 🙂

    #1178362

    Person1
    Member

    Like I said it doesn’t feel non tznius to me. Rs”z in his discussed tshuva give a good svore to why it is, or used to be, non tznius.

    #1178363

    Person1
    Member

    Joseph I think what Meno means is that “walking” is something you do more more than half a second.

    #1178364

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    GAW: “Let me ask the question this way: When a girl walks in front of a Frum boy, is she doing something similar to what the lady in your hypothetical case is doing if she KNOWS that there are men who will be deliberately watching her?

    No, she is doing something worse. By acting specifically in a manner that shows herself off IN PUBLIC, which even when the “ervas” are fully covered, she is Over Da’as Yehudis. If “she KNOWS that there are men who will be deliberately watching her” (AKA Histaklus) doing this act, because of that action, that would be “Vered” (IMHO).”

    Sorry, my question was not phrased well and got misunderstood. I meant that the lady in your situation knows that someone is watching her.

    It’s too complicated to reexplain the way I phrased it and what I meant. I rephrased it in my last post which was written before your last post “appeared” (which may not be your last post by the time this appears 🙂 ) My last post should have “appeared” by now, so see how I phrased the question there. It is much clearer I think.

    #1178365

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Joseph, thank you!!!!

    #1178366

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Golfer – I assume you are a girl?

    #1178367

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Joseph, I think that your short, to-the-point post answers the entire issue much more than anything else that has been posted until now!

    Well, at least in terms of what girls should be doing.

    It still doesn’t NECESSARILY mean that on the guy’s side, it is okay for him to walk in front of the girl if she will not understand the reason for it and will be insulted and if in fact, Rav Shlomo Zalman Zatsal poskened otherwise. I still don’t see why he can’t avoid the problem by letting her go ahead and holding the door open for her without walking behind her.

    But at least, I know for myself now what my mehalech should be.

    Thank you!

    #1178368

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Would the average Frum boy be “over” (transgress) on histaklus (or at least find it difficult not to be) if a Frum tzniusly dressed girl were to walk in front of him?

    I have no idea, but it shouldn’t change your actions. The boy the the one who is mechuyav not to stare, you are not. I would hope that most religious Jews would turn aside or look down and not stare.

    #1178369

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Person1 : “Like I said it doesn’t feel non tznius to me. Rs”z in his discussed tshuva give a good svore to why it is, or used to be, non tznius.”

    True, but you also said that about other halachos of tznius, even though they clearly are supposed to be a problem (I’m not saying this to criticize you – I’m not sure if it’s a maaleh or a chisaron or neither – but it seems to me that it makes your response less relevant). But I do appreciate your answering.

    #1178370

    Health
    Participant

    Akuperman -“often not defer to a women (unless she was elderly”

    I guess not e/o knows that! My mother told me a story that she went shopping and some lady told her while standing in line that the famous doctor should go first, not her. My mother is elderly!

    #1178371

    Joseph
    Participant

    I still don’t see why he can’t avoid the problem by letting her go ahead and holding the door open for her without walking behind her.

    I still don’t see why she can’t avoid the problem by letting him go ahead and holding the door open for him without walking in front of him.

    #1178372

    Person1
    Member

    I’ll try again: I don’t feel walking behind a woman is non-tznius. I wouldn’t avoid it of it wasn’t an halacha. There are other things I don’t do because they feel non-tznius, for example going to the beach. Walking behind a woman is not one of them.

    #1178373

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Person1- thanks for clarifying. I hope I didn’t offend you.

    Joe – just curious, what do/did you do on dates?

    #1178374

    Person1
    Member

    No worries 🙂

    #1178375

    Joseph
    Participant

    My chauffeur opened the door for both of us. (He’s a goy.)

    You didn’t suspect me of being hypocritical, did you? j/k

    #1178376

    oomis
    Participant

    If one is walking down the street, there no doubt will ALWAYS be a woman walking ahead SOMEWHERE.

    #1178377

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Joseph, I think that your short, to-the-point post answers the entire issue much more than anything else that has been posted until now!

    And obviously I still don’t understand what you are trying to get at 🙂

    #1178378

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    GAW -thanks for trying! 🙂

    #1178379

    apushatayid
    Participant

    There is a gemara somewhere (Im sure Joseph has it bookmarked for such discussions) that says one who walks behind a woman is considered an am haaretz. So, to all frum girls on a date with a yeshiva guy, can I assume you are not interested in the am haaretz of the yeshiva?

    when I was in shidduchim about 25 years ago, the accepted practice (and I dont know how both sides knew this, but everyone just did) was that the guy held open the door, gal walked through and moved to the side and guy came in and they continued walking together.

    #1178380

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Joe – seriously, what did/do you do? Or am I getting too personal now?

    #1178381

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “when I was in shidduchim about 25 years ago, the accepted practice (and I dont know how both sides knew this, but everyone just did) was that the guy held open the door, gal walked through and moved to the side and guy came in and they continued walking together.”

    Shkoyach! That’s what I’ve been suggesting!

    #1178382

    Joseph
    Participant

    I had an arranged marriage, lilmod. (I also happen to think they’re the best approach to shidduchim.) There were no doors needing to be opened at the beshow. 🙂

    #1178383

    Joseph
    Participant

    apushatayid, can you explain what issue you would have that the accepted practice be that the gal holds open the door for the guy and then walk in after him? Or if he walked in first and then held the door open for her to come in after?

    When and where was this so-called “minhag” picked up from that the guy is mechuyev to go in after the girl – and that he must open the door for her rather than she for him?

    I’d like a logical explanation why one way is better than the other.

    #1178384

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “I had an arranged marriage, lilmod. (I also happen to think they’re the best approach to shidduchim.) There were no doors needing to be opened at the beshow. :-)”

    sigh…trying to get answers to simple questions around here…..

    #1178385

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “I had an arranged marriage, lilmod. (I also happen to think they’re the best approach to shidduchim.)”

    I agree. Now if I could just find someone I trusted enough to arrange a marriage for me…

    #1178386

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    APY:

    ??? ?? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? (?????? ??) ???? ???? ???? ????

    ???? ????? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ??? ????? ????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ??? ??? ???? ????? ????? (????? ? ?) ???? ???? ????? ??? ??? ??? ???? ????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ????? ????? ??? ?? ??? ????? ???? ?? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ??? ????? (?????? ??) ???? ???? ???????? ??????? ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ??? ????? ???? ??? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? <???? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ?????? ???> ????? ??? ????? ???? ????????

    Eruvin 18B (Joe pointed it out earlier).

    Joe:

    ???? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ??? ??? ???? ????? ?? ????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ??? ????? ???? ?? ??????

    Keddushin 2B. Al Kein, the man has to convince the woman to marry him by being nice to her (such as holding the door and buying flowers), not vice versa.

    #1178387

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “apushatayid, can you explain what issue you would have that the accepted practice be that the gal holds open the door for the guy and then walk in after him? Or if he walked in first and then held the door open for her to come in after?

    When and where was this so-called “minhag” picked up from that the guy is mechuyev to go in after the girl – and that he must open the door for her rather than she for him?

    I’d like a logical explanation why one way is better than the other.”

    That’s an excellent question.

    I think it goes together with other things you’ve written about accepted differences in men and women’s roles.

    If you want your wife to make potato kugel for you when you’re married, you should start out by opening doors for her when you’re dating. It might make her more inclined to want to make potato kugel for you.

    #1178388

    lesschumras
    Participant

    I was wondering about this too. Joseph, how do you walk down the street? Do you ask all women to step aside so as not to walk behind them? How do you board a plane, insist that you board before all women?

    #1178389

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    If you want your wife to make potato kugel for you when you’re married, you should start out by opening doors for her when you’re dating. It might make her more inclined to want to make potato kugel for you.

    Potato Kugel is Awesome. I’ll even try singing the “Who is He” song if Country Yossi offers me an extra piece of Potato Kugel.

    I was wondering about this too. Joseph, how do you walk down the street? Do you ask all women to step aside so as not to walk behind them? How do you board a plane, insist that you board before all women?

    1: Close your eyes, look down, up or away. You can’t do that when interacting with someone, but can in your situations.

    2: Shulchan Aruch (IIRC) says the agreed distance is four amos.

    ??? ??? ????? ???? ??? ??? ???? ???

    #1178390

    Joseph
    Participant

    lesschumras: Just the women move aside for me? Hah! You have no idea who I am. Even the men move aside for me.

    (Now waiting for Syag to backhandedly accuse me of being a baal gaaiva.)

    #1178391

    kapusta
    Participant

    Welcome back oomis!!

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