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23

It is definitely allowed according to halachah; this teacher was probably speaking about what he felt was the pious and holy way to behave. But the truth is that one must be extremely careful when trying to act "beyond the letter of the law," that he should not damage his Sholom Bayis in the process. The Chazon Ish in his "Iggeres Kodesh" (cited in Mishkan ...


20

There's a prohibition against touching any member of the opposite gender other than your spouse or close relatives. Many opinions say that's only "affectionate" touching, "such as hugging and kissing." Others say no, it includes all touching. (Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin, in Hakira Journal, discusses these opinions and their sources; he strongly believes ...


16

I have heard from my father that my great-grandfather zal, when (in the 1920s) he moved to the States and got a job as rabbi in Canonsburg, Penna., was approached by the women in shul after t'fila Shabas morning with hands outstretched, and promptly acquired the custom of raising his hat.


15

Here, Rabbi Y.H. Henkin quotes his grandfather (Rabbi Yosef Henkin) as saying there is no prohibition against women wearing loose pants, and in fact they are exemplary ("yesh bo mishum tzenius"): "See Bnei Banim vol. 2 p. 211 par. 38, and vol. 4 p. 141 (concerning pisuk raglayim)." Here are the sources: ...


15

Taking it for granted that the issue of "male attire" is ultimately not the source for the prohibitions, a stance I believe is justifiable even if not un-debatable, there remains a significant opposition to women wearing slacks on the grounds of modesty. Although most noted for taking the hard-line position that wearing slacks violates the prohibition of ...


14

I personally saw that my Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Azriel Chaim Goldfein ZT"L, a talmid muvhak (close student) of Rav Mordechai Gifter would shake the hand of any woman who extended her hand to him in greeting. I never had the guts to question him on this, but my presumption is that he weighed the prohibition on touching a woman, which is Rabbinic if not sensual ...


14

In my and others' experience, the reaction to a refusal to shake hands varies depending on the person, from offense to awkwardness to amusement to respectfulness. Perhaps as tactful as you can get is to do the following: Apologize and explain: "I'm sorry, but religiously, I try to avoid unnecessary contact with women (other than my wife)." No need to go ...


14

You are to be commended for taking on a socially-challenging mitzvah. It's not always easy to be Jewish and be seen as different, whether it's through dress, food, or how you spend your Friday nights and Saturdays. With any observance that sets you apart from others, take care in how you talk about it. It's about you, not about them, especially for your ...


12

The best development I've seen on this is Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin's Contemporary Tseni'ut. It appeared in Tradition 37:3 (2003), as well as its own book. The Tradition article is available online, paid subscription required. Here's his conclusion, as relates to your question: It emerges from Rashi, Yerushalmi and Korban ha-Eda that peritsut in ...


12

Presumably standard practice is that once a woman begins treating her hair as erva, she should continue doing so. (I believe I've heard this from Rabbis Broyde or Willig.) Rabbi Moshe Feinstein does write that hair-covering while married is dat moshe, but hair-covering afterwards is dat yehudit. There is a great deal of discussion over what those terms ...


12

Gemara Berachos 24a : Shmuel says that kol of a women is ervah because of the passuk in shir hashirim 2:14. יד. יוֹנָתִי בְּחַגְוֵי הַסֶּלַע בְּסֵתֶר הַמַּדְרֵגָה הַרְאִינִי אֶת מַרְאַיִךְ הַשְׁמִיעִנִי אֶת קוֹלֵךְ כִּי קוֹלֵךְ עָרֵב וּמַרְאֵיךְ נָאוֶה:‏ My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the coverture of the steps, show me your appearance, ...


12

Rambam, Laws of Prohibitions on Relations, 21:19 (or #20, depending on your edition): וכן אסור לאדם שיקשה עצמו לדעת, או יביא עצמו לידי הרהור ... ולא יסתכל בבהמה חיה ועוף, בשעה שמזדקקין זכר לנקבה; ומותר למרביעי בהמה להכניס כמכחול בשפופרת, מפני שהן עסקין במלאכתן ולא יבואו לידי הרהור.‏ A man should not bring himself to arousal ... [gives a few ...


11

I think there are a few different scenarios here: Shmerel looks into his neighbor Berel's mailbox, and sees something inappropriate. Mind your own business. Messing with his mailbox is a federal crime. Dina d'malchusa dina. R' Moshe Feinstein once dealt with a fellow who would seize people's (totally appropriate) stuff and demand they give tzedaka ...


11

Aside from simply giving a short explanation as to why you wont shake hands (which itself can cause people to become offended no matter how polite you are about it), there is not much else you can do that isn't deceitful (claiming sickness) or just weird (bowing, accidentally missing). If you are going to follow the ruling that under no circumstances can you ...


11

The Shulchan Aruch rules (OC 74:6): היתה טליתו חגורה על מתניו לכסותו ממתניו ולמטה, אע"פ שממתניו ולמעלה הוא ערום, מותר לקרות ק"ש If his clothing was tied around his waist to cover from his waist downward, even if above there he is naked, he may read the Shema. The operating principle here is twofold: One's erva must be covered. One's heart must not ...


11

The Shulchan Aruch rules (YD 340:11) that women and men have an equal obligation in terms of keri'a, but that women should turn their undershirt around after tearing it before tearing her overshirt. Furthermore, in :15 he rules that a woman who performed keri'a is allowed to perform a non-professional stitch-up immediately after tearing, whereas a man would ...


11

First things first, You're human. You can't help being attracted to women, Gd made you that way. Only the whens and wheres are your responsibility. Also remember that this area is a very difficult one to conquer, so don't get down on yourself if you fail to climb Everest the first few, or dozen, or hundred times. Getting a warning beforehand helps, so you ...


10

I am a white male, and I had this happen to me recently, where I met a woman in a business setting who politely told me, "I don't shake hands for religious reasons". I had never heard this before, but it did not faze me in the least. She was polite in every other way that she treated me. No Problem!


10

When teaching Kodesh at Yeshivas Toras Emes (High School) in Johannesburg almost 30 years ago, the Menahel HaRav Gedalia Sternstein שליט"א told me that the Rov - Rabbi Salzer זצ"ל - told him that it's best if the students learn about these things from the Gemora - BiKedusha uVeTaharo. As relevant topics came up, we were to explain them is as much detail as ...


9

I'm not so sure that the premise of the question ("all swimming... was unclothed") is necessarily correct. If you look back a century or so - on the contrary, their idea of "bathing suits" was actually clothing that covered all, or at least most, of the body. That may well have been true in earlier times too. In halachah, we find a discussion about crossing ...


9

The gemorah says that IN THE BEIT HAMIKDASH, the Men and women were separated during the "Simcha Beis Hashoeva" because the environment was so lax and fun and lightheaded they were afraid people would do inappropriate behavior in the Beit Hamkidash. After the destruction of the beit hamikdash, this concept was further used to create separate seating in the ...


9

This is awkward, particularly if you have behaved differently in the past (so people who knew you then will be confused by the change). I would not send pre-emptive email; I don't think it will reduce the face-to-face confusion and it risks seeming to make a mountain out of a mole-hill. You're also going to be leaving early on Fridays, not eating the ...


9

This would have to begin with Micah 6:8: והצנע לכת עם א-להיך, "be tzanua in walking with your G-d" (this is one of only two instances of this root in Tanach, the other being in Prov. 11:2, ואת צנועים חכמה). The Gemara (Sukkah 49b and Rashi there) explain this as referring to mitzvos done in public, like funerals and weddings; even these need to be done with ...


9

Per Rabbi Shimon Eider's Sefer Hilchos Nidah a lady who is a Nidah should not sing in front of her husband.


9

I think a rabbi would tell you pretty much what a psychologist would tell you here -- if it's a young child it's not a big deal; if it's an older child that can be a bit weird for them. If I recall correctly, halacha discusses the permissibility of a father co-sleeping with his young daughter; if she's young enough that she wouldn't be embarrassed naked in ...


8

I recall reading the study in question and it is significant in that the color red did not effect how the male perceived the female's other traits such as intelligence or kindness but only his, shall we say, interest in her. Although it is not clear based on this study whether this tendency is the result of biological factors, cultural factors, or both, it ...


8

There are a number of books and websites (including shailot ve'tshuvot of recognized halachic authorities) on the topic of Halachot for Soldiers. I would strongly recommend anyone in this situation consult with your local Rabbi or posek. Below is a list of a few of the sources I know of: http://www.aka.idf.il/Main/rabanut/General.aspx?catId=60233 ...


8

The primary application that has been discussed over the years has been with regards to mixed seating at weddings. See also Rabbi Eli Clark, "Mixed Seating at Weddings" (pdf), Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein allowed it (OCI:41), based on Talmudic discussions related to seating at the Passover Seder. His son-in-law, Rabbi ...


8

Always assume the person is shomer nagiah until they give you a hand, or you see them touch another person who isn't their spouse. I do this even with non-Jews, because you never know if they don't like to be touched or don't like to touch people. http://isitnormal.com/story/i-dont-like-to-be-touched-29913/ From this summary of the research of touching: ...


8

Tznuit does not have to be "funny" looking clothes. When I was a teenager, I went through a modest dressing phase and actually eventually discovered a personally quirky style in it! While I'm not currently observing complete tznuit in dress... 1) Check out styles that might easily be modified for modesty. If you're more of an artsy, flowy type, you could ...



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