September 18, 2011 4:48 am at 4:48 am #599427
I posted that a relative of mine left her job after the first day when she realized that the men are calling her by her first name. You, mdd, replied that it is not assur and her reaction was extreme.
When I read that, I looked up the halacha in Rabbi Falk’s ??? ???? ????? and this is what he writes: (caps are mine)
“If a girl works for a Jewish boss, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that he and other male workers address her only by her official name e.g. Miss Cohen, Miss Chana Cohen, Chana Cohen and the like, but NOT BY HER FIRST NAME ALONE. Although, as a result of their ‘working association’ it might not be absolutely wrong… avoiding doing so is a POWERFUL MEANS OF PREVENTING FAMILIARITY…. It is all the more wrong to address a married woman by her first name… Moreover, it is UNQUESTIONABLY WRONG TO ADDRESS EITHER A WOMAN OR A GIRL BY A NAME THAT HAS BEEN CHANGED TO GIVE IT A SPECIAL AFFECTIONATE SOUND. It is therefore wrong to use names such as Chaya’la, Suri, Esti… and the like. Even if they are called so by everyone else, men who address her should not use such terms…
And Rabbi Falk continues by giving an example of someone who saw much bracha in his business as a result of being stringent in this inyan.
I hope this clarifies my relative’s position, and gives you an appreciation for those who are nizhar in this area.September 18, 2011 4:55 am at 4:55 am #810704
wow, thanks for sharing that. it is so true. i really appreciate everything rav falk writes.September 18, 2011 5:27 am at 5:27 am #810705
i would imagine it would be very off putting for an 18 year old girl to walk into an established working environment where everyone is called by their first names and ask to be called Miss So and so. My husband works for a very large place in Manhattan and everyone is called by their first names even people who are very high on the totem pole. they are very accommodating to frum people so many work there. He has worked with a number of frum girls and there has never been anything but a professional atmosphere there. Everyone treats everyone with professionalism.September 18, 2011 5:34 am at 5:34 am #810706am yisrael chaiParticipant
Is there anything written about young ‘uns calling old folk by their first names?(w/o the Rav, Reb, Mrs., etc.)September 18, 2011 5:46 am at 5:46 am #810707
My parents always taught me that it is disrespectful to call your elders (neighbors, colleagues, etc.) by their first name.September 18, 2011 6:06 am at 6:06 am #810708
When I first started going to bungalow colonies, I felt very funny calling women who were old enough to be my mother by their first names, but when all the women are shmoozing, it is funny to call them Mrs. So and so and to be honest they don’t like it. When they are part of the circle they just want to be called by their first names, even by women who might be young enough to be their children. I think that every situation warrants common sense and insisting on doing what you think is right when it bothers someone else is not necessarily right.September 18, 2011 6:32 am at 6:32 am #810709
sam2, Rav Falk is very clear, and careful to specify when he is writing a halacha, and when he is writing a recommendation.
I think that this excerpt from Rav Falk’s book is the perfect example.September 18, 2011 6:49 am at 6:49 am #810710RABBAIMParticipant
1- Rabbi Oelbaum form Machon Bais Yaakov always calls teh girls by MIss last name. Zehirus in Tzniyus.
Maybe a girl in the workplace can not use her regular hebrew/affectionate name but use a formal version or even a secular version to be used just in the secular environment…… prevents her form feeling close. Rebbeca instead of Rivka, Judith instead of Yehudis, “Raitchel” instead of Rochel etc………
I know of too many single girls who fell prey to the new fund freedom and excitement of relationship in the workplace………… big time problems……. serious ones……. Enough alluded to. Harchakos are in order.September 18, 2011 9:07 am at 9:07 am #810711tzvideerMember
i fully agree with what you wrote.
i have seen people that misbehave very successful at work and making lots of money.
i have seen people who are more machmir than machmir who didnt succeed at all.
so yes, maybe somone who was machmir was successful, but still every business, place, city, even country and its ways, attitudes and work ethics.
what works for one may not neccassarily work for the next.
ultimately, every boss and every worker must be careful and watch themselves and not let ‘work’ take them to other places they should not be going.September 18, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am #810712ImaofthreeParticipant
I think that in todays workplace, everyone calls each other by first name only. It is commendable that the woman left the job because she did not feel comfortable being called by first name. But what if she has a family to support and can’t get another job where they will call her miss or mrs? This is for sure a question that she should ask her Rov (as much as I love Rabbi Falk’s sefer, he is not paskening for everybody, just giving guidelines).September 18, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm #810714apushatayidParticipant
I work with married and single women, both Jewish and non Jewish. When I asked my Rav he told me that there is no issur to address the women by the names they are called by everyone else in all business settings. As a result I work with cheryl, sindy, chana, maria, rebekkah, mrs johnson and svetlana.September 18, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm #810715oomisParticipant
I would respectfully remind everyone there was a time in history when women did NOT have a second name (neither did the men). It is only in recent centuries that we call people Mr. or Mrs.
In an office where everyone is referred to on a first-name basis, it would be the odd person indeed who insisted on being called Miss So and So. And if tznius is your aim, that would defeat the purpose because it would always call attention to that person.September 18, 2011 1:17 pm at 1:17 pm #810716nishtdayngesheftParticipant
In those days you think the men called the women by their forst names?
I doubt they spoke to them at all.September 18, 2011 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm #810717AnnonymouschochomParticipant
Listen up fellow coffee drinkers!!
This has nothing to do with Rabbi Falk. All the men who have frum female workers understand why they should not be calling females by their first names. Let’s not fool ourselves.
In our society it has become normal to call females by their first names BECAUSE our society has sunk so low. It has also become “normal” for bosses to have improper relationships with their co-workers.
In our times harchokos are needed more than ever before.
I heard from Reb Moshe Aharon Stern zt”l that couples calling each others spouces by their first names is one of the most common causes for Shalom Bayis issues. When men become friendly with the other gender, and visa verso, it makes people compare others, albeit subconsciously, to their own spouse. This is not healthy.
I have heard from girls who were extremely uncomfortable with their frum male boss. I have also heard of girls who, unfortunately enjoy their relationship a little too much.
When a female gets dressed in the morning and, even if subconsciously, tries to look nice for the “people” in the office, we know there’s trouble.
If one of the Gedolim would be sitting in the office, would the men and women act the same? Would they address each other in the same manner? The SHECHINA should nor be viewed as any less.
You are all correct, in the previous generations things might have been different. They may have called each other by their first names. I don’t know. But the taivos were certainly more tame back then, And the women dressed a lot different then!!
Let’s not all fool ourselves!!September 18, 2011 5:35 pm at 5:35 pm #810719HealthParticipant
therealmgama -“it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that he and other male workers address her only by her official name”
“Rav Falk is very clear, and careful to specify when he is writing a halacha, and when he is writing a recommendation.”
“You, mdd, replied that it is not assur and her reaction was extreme.”
Noone has pointed this out yet – but not only don’t you refute mdd’s claim, you actually help prove it. I’m sure you read what you wrote before you posted it. R. Falk strongly recommends that your relative shouldn’t have been called by her first name. Granted, they did something wrong. You yourself admit that R. Falk doesn’t hold this is Ossur! So she quit her job because s/o else didn’t keep a Chumra. Even if they called her a nickname which he says is Ossur, all she had to do is say my name is Chaya, not Chayala. I most definitely agree with mdd’s post that her reaction was very extreme!September 18, 2011 7:04 pm at 7:04 pm #810720
It is forbidden to make small talk about matters unrelated to business. Men and women working together should not discuss politics, current events, recent tragedies or gossip, even if they do not do so regularly. Discussing these matters on a daily basis, is a violation of halachos that border on giluy arayos, which requires one to sacrifice his life rather than transgress. (p. 9)
When conversing with female employees or co-workers, one must be careful not to us the word “we,” so that the man and woman are not referred to as one unit. For example, one should not say, “We must talk with the editor,” or “We must purchase that software program.” Rather, he should say, “The editor must be consulted,” or “Please purchase that program.” (pp. 10-11)
It is a custom amongst yirei shomayim not to call a woman other than one’s wife or immediate family member by her first name, thus keeping a respectful distance between the two parties. Referring to a woman by her first name brings inappropriate familiarity into the relationship. Similarly, a woman should refrain from addressing a man other than her husband or immediate family member by his first name. (p. 20)
A Helpful Suggestion:
It is appropriate for male and female employees [to] refrain from all conversation when they meet anywhere outside of the office. This includes not discussing even job-related matters when meeting in the hallway or elevator at work.
“It cannot be stressed enough that the term prutzim also refers to people who are otherwise shomrei Torah u’mitzvos, but are not careful in matters relating to kraivah l’arayos. They may be regularly exposed to immodesty through the media, or may often be in the presence of immoral individuals through their everyday social interactions….(p.39) meaning that they are exposed to immodesty through television, movies, in publications and the like. An individual involved in such activities is labeled a parutz. This is not limited to visual images; someone who is exposed to any form of indecent activity, such as chat rooms on the Internet, is considered a parutz. Such forms of recreation are a breach of morality.” (p. 34)September 18, 2011 8:07 pm at 8:07 pm #810721AnnonymouschochomParticipant
Obaminator: GREAT POST!!
As a side point, anybody who has been involved in shiduchim understands calling somebody by their first name actually does.
When a boy and girl are going out and want the shiduch to “move on” and “take it to the next level”, the shadchan often advises the young man to call his future Kallah by her first name. And for the girl to do the same to her future Chosson.
This often helps them to take their relationship to the next level.
YES. Calling someone by their first name does mean something!!September 18, 2011 8:36 pm at 8:36 pm #810722☕️coffee addictParticipant
everyone in my yeshiva (including my Rosh Hayeshiva) called the secretaries by their first nameSeptember 18, 2011 8:39 pm at 8:39 pm #810723
thanks for sharing Rav Neiman’s 9 to 5 guide. i’ve printed it out to put a copy in my desk to remind me of them. it is so important!September 18, 2011 9:58 pm at 9:58 pm #810725oomisParticipant
In those days you think the men called the women by their forst names?
I doubt they spoke to them at all.”
You are probably right, but we do not know that for certain. They certainly had SOME contact with women in some context. Women conducted a lot of business.September 18, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm #810726
rshalom: Rav Neiman shlit”a is 100% correct. There is no so-called “apparent discrepancy” c”v with Rav Moshe (as you put it) whatsoever. Rav Moshe never ever said its okay to shake a woman’s hand. Never. To no one. Rav Moshe has 3 psaks in Igros Moshe yelling assur assur assur in strong language. Three teshuvos, to make it exceptionally clear because he apparently realized some folks (as we see here) will come crying he allegedly said otherwise.
Igros Moshe EH I #56 page 144;
Igros Moshe OC I 113 page 177;
Igros Moshe EH IV 32.9 page 76.
[p.p. 130-131])September 18, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm #810727Sam2Participant
Sammyp: But for people who are accustomed to calling people by their first names it’s an irrelevant distinction. It only adds something significant because it was decided that it would be that way, not because calling someone by their first name has an inherent significance.September 18, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm #810728squeakParticipant
and what level were they on before? Calling each other by numbers?September 19, 2011 3:37 am at 3:37 am #810729
Health, I was very much aware that I am supporting mdd’s claim that it is not assur. However, I was hoping s/he would realize that the reaction was NOT extreme based on the STRONG RECOMMENDATION of gedolim.
and as the Chofetz chaim said: YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO CAREFUL WHEN IT COMES TO TZNIUS!!!September 19, 2011 4:37 am at 4:37 am #810731
Rabbaim, excellent suggestion.September 19, 2011 4:48 am at 4:48 am #810732NYBDMember
uhhhh… is there not a gemarah that expressly states that one should not call people by any name other than their given/first name(s) (i.e. surnames, nicknames)????September 19, 2011 7:15 am at 7:15 am #810734HealthParticipant
therealmgama -Explain me how it’s not extreme -when you quit your job because s/o else didn’t keep a Chumra? Get it Someone Else!September 19, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm #810735gregaaronMember
She quit because it made her uncomfortable, not because someone else didn’t keep a Chumra. I agree with you that the other person did not do anything wrong in the slightest, and I personally also feel that it was a bit of an overreaction, but if she did not feel comfortable there, I can sort of understand why she didn’t want to be there.September 19, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm #810736
Sorry rshalom, but when Rav Moshe has a written psak strongly objecting to something, and he repeats himself in strong language three times in three separate psaks making himself very clear, there is no credence for someone to come claiming he has a private psak from him directly contradicting his written psak. (Especially considering the reasoning allegedly given is that he verbally said it is supposedly okay “if” there is no derech chiba, when in the written psak in EH I #56 he writes it *IS* derech chiba and he writes that you cannot claim there isn’t.)
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