Tznius — Not Directly Handing Items Between Men and Women

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  • #1934087
    ujm
    Participant

    Is anyone familiar with a tznius geder of men and women (who aren’t a spouse or child of the other) not directly handing any item to each other? I wasn’t previously aware of it until doing business in certain large communities where I slowly learnt this is a very prevalent custom.

    Even when handing cash for payment or accepting change many customers will insist that the money be placed down on a surface, both for giving the payment and for receiving the change, if the parties are of opposite genders. Most of the time they seem to try to conduct the transaction without making it obvious they’re trying to avoid a direct exchange (by quickly putting it down and waiting for the change to be put down) but some will directly ask for this if the cashier or person conducting the transaction is clueless about this custom.

    I’m wondering what the background and reasoning of this practice is.

    #1934116
    efshar azoi
    Participant

    it is a minhag from Rashi. See Maseches Shabbos daf 13 and have a look in the Tosafos Harash there.

    #1934131
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Yes, we don’t want to differentiate when one can or cannot as with holding hands in public.

    #1934135
    TAS
    Participant

    It is an argument among the posikim. I believe it is discussed in aven haazer (shulan aruch). The general halacha is that it is muttar. But some still say it is a good idea to do it in order to avoid potential touching.

    #1934174
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    How is handing a dollar bill or a credit card to another w/o ever touching that person or engaging any inappropriate looks or socializing a matter of tzinus? The cashier simply wants to take your money, give you change and move on as quickly as possible to the next person on llne.

    #1934182
    MRS PLONY
    Participant

    Probably so that your hands shouldn’t accidentally touch. I’ve been a cashier; it’s no big deal. In fact, it’s probably more sanitary.

    #1934214
    The little I know
    Participant

    GH:

    It’s terrific if the encounter is considered casual and mechanical by all players. But that’s not always the case. I have known people who seek to casually have such encounters that appear to be fully innocent, but, at least to that individual, are not.

    #1934236
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    If done sometimes and not always it is a problem.

    #1934241
    ujm
    Participant

    Reb Eliezer: I think you’re referring (in your first comment) to between husband and wife. But I’m referring, specifically, to between non-relatives.

    #1934256
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Is the OP a chasiddish custom? Is age a consideration?

    #1934276
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    “I have known people who seek to casually have such encounters that appear to be fully innocent, but, at least to that individual, are not”
    With all respect, not many frum yidden (or even goyim for that matter) go to Costco hoping for an “inappropriate” finger touch with the cashier or an arm touch with the guy helping you load 2x4s at Home Depot. If you are talking about someone with some “emotional” or “mental health” problems deliberately seeking to make an inappropriate physical contact in the context of some normal social or commercial interaction than I guess the OP didn’t make that clear. Obviously, the latter could be a matter of negiah or tzinius (as well as violation of secular criminal law if the touching goes beyond a certain level).

    #1934267
    ujm
    Participant

    Reb Eliezer: When is age a consideration in tznius rules, in general?

    And what communities are you familiar with that follows the custom described in the OP?

    #1934380
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Religious women don’t shake a man’s hand. So maybe in order not to touch each other not because of tzinus.

    #1934367
    TGIShabbos
    Participant

    I’d think it should be a bigger problem between husband and wife (while she is in niddah). With 2 spouses we fear increasing the physical fondness and physical easiness, but with 2 strangers at Costco, the bank, or the public library— nah, no concern whatsoever

    #1934394
    Lamdan LLC
    Participant

    Maybe it’s based on this Gemara:

    Brachos 61a
    תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן הַמַּרְצֶה מָעוֹת לְאִשָּׁה מִיָּדוֹ לְיָדָהּ אוֹ מִיָּדָהּ לְיָדוֹ בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁיִּסְתַּכֵּל בָּהּ אֲפִילּוּ דּוֹמֶה לְמֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ שֶׁקִּיבֵּל תּוֹרָה מֵהַר סִינַי לֹא יִנָּקֶה מִדִּינָהּ שֶׁל גֵּיהִנָּם וְעָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר יָד לְיָד לֹא יִנָּקֶה רָע לֹא יִנָּקֶה מִדִּינָהּ שֶׁל גֵּיהִנָּם

    #1934432
    meir G
    Participant

    thinking it over , if according to the mechaber would be makom lechumra but meikar hadin mutar by stranger will review over shabbos.

    #1934415
    meir G
    Participant

    bekitzur:
    1. when discussing hus./ wife ( kesheyno tehora) clearly asur the mechabers reason is ” shema yigah bo – accidental touch – so in line with that reasoning , the same would be by any woman even a cashier….
    2. The shach adds ” afilu davar aruch” where minimal chance of accidental touch as a “lo ploog”.)
    3. However the rashba & others hold ” davka” beish veishto where there is kiruv daas & familiarity is it asur BUT by ordinary people its ok .
    4. By regular strangers the general minhag is to accept things being passed , however in an office where there is collaboration , working closely on projects… strong gedarim are nec. & not a chumra according to both lines of reason. The title of the siman in E”H is ” lehisrachek” meaning that for us yidden its not enough that ” we didnt chas veshalom ” do anything” hashem has set a way higher bar for his am hanivchar that hirhur is not ok

    #1934505
    catch yourself
    Participant

    יד ליד לא ינקה, IIRC, is interpreted by Chazal to refer to someone who is מרצה מעות מידו לידה so he will have a chance to interact with her.

    It sounds like if it’s done innocently, there’s no problem. I can definitely see how a custom to circumvent the potential problem would develop.

    #1934516
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    catch yourself did not finish the Chazal’s statement לא ינקה מדינה של גיהנם, can’t avoid the punishment of the gehinom, as counting money will bring to direct interaction as stated above.

    #1936543
    hey dude
    Participant

    not maskim

    #1936741
    rational
    Participant

    In Chareidi shops and supermarkets in Israel, it is standard practice. One gets used to it, it’s not a big deal.

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