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Is it proper for a man to hold open a door for a woman? (Does it matter if it's his wife, or any other woman?)

The American-manners, don't-dare-be-or-look-like-a-misogynist part of me says "always, of course; don't make a chilul Hashem." But I believe there's a quote from Chazal frowning on the practice (I think related to Judges 13:11)? I vaguely recall this has been discussed someplace? Anyone?

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It's never occurred to me to "open the door for a woman" specifically. I hold doors open if there's someone walking behind me. –  TRiG Jul 14 '12 at 0:49

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Brachos 61a deals with this subject. According to Rashi (see Maharsha), there are 2 issues. First, there is a hirhur problem. Additionally, the gemara extends the halacha to one's own wife. This, acc. to Rashi, is a "best practices" problem (ayin sham v'ayin maharsha). According to the Rambam (see Maharsha), the second issue may be a kedusha issue and merely an extension of the first issue.

The next halachos in the gemara, which are similar in nature to our subject, Rashi says specifically are talking about a married woman (who is not your wife-maharsha). This may be regarding the issur. The spirit of the halacha would apply to an unmarried woman depending on the circumstance (see S"A Eh"E 21:3).

When I was dating, I consulted my rebbi regarding opening the door for my date. My Rebbe was matir if the girl was not aware of the halacha (I stalled for a second after opening the door to verify). I don't know whether this heter would apply to an aishes ish, too. This subject would best be answered by your rav. Personally, when in this circumstance, I hold the door open, but do not walk in forward behind the woman (my practice depends on the circumstance).

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I don't see how it could be muttar to go on a date with an aishes ish (unless you're the ish) in the first place! –  Isaac Moses Jul 8 '10 at 16:54
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Thank you. My conciseness sometimes bites back at me. I will edit my answer and elaborate. –  YDK Jul 8 '10 at 23:07
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how could there be a hirhur issue with one's own wife? –  Desert Star Jan 16 '11 at 0:21
    
Desert Star- good question. I intentionally wrote the answer in such a way that the reader would have to look up the sources to understand how the opinions fall. To address your point, according to Rashi, the "extention" to ones wife is not because of hirhur as would be if it wasn't your wife, but of a different nature and is not forbidden, but is improper. –  YDK Jan 16 '11 at 19:48
    
@YDK, why does Rash say it is "improper"? –  Desert Star Jan 26 '11 at 2:01

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