My understanding - Lashon Hara is gossip about the truth; Motzi Shem Ra is slander - based on false assumption.

Let's say that someone saw me go into a non-kosher restaurant. All I did was use the restroom. That person tells others what I did and the gossip spreads. He tells others that he saw me go into a non-kosher restaurant, and leaves it at that. That's lashon hara.

If that same person says further that I ate a cheeseburger there, that's motzi shem ra.

My question - in all these examples, am I not allowed to enter these places because of marit ayin because someone MIGHT dispense lashon hara / motzi shem ra about me? Do I have any obligation to prevent another Jew from doing something wrong himself even when in the last example, I'm not doing anything wrong at all, but an observer may think that I am? Do I have to prevent possible lashon hara and is mar'it ayin any form of such prevention of lashon hara?

  • 1
    I'm not sure where it says this, but somewhere it says that marit ayin is a problem even in chadrei chadorim, a even in a room inside a room etc. Ie even if no one can see you
    – user613
    Aug 21, 2014 at 0:55
  • @user3949142 if you can provide a source, that would make the claim more credible. I can't quite imagine a concern of marit ayin in my own bedroom. That would make me really paranoid and nervous.
    – DanF
    Aug 21, 2014 at 2:12
  • 1
    @user3949142 there's nothing to be nervous about; Maris Ayen refers to certain very specific things, see Igros Moshe O.C. 1:96 where he writes that it only applies to doing something that would reasonably cause someone to be to think you are doing something prohibited. (See also Tosfos and Ritva to Kesuvos 60a, which I started writing but it became too long for a comment) Aug 22, 2014 at 13:37
  • 1
    @user3949142 but it is true that it's prohibited even בחדרי חדרים (Shabbos 65a and other places in Shas) Aug 22, 2014 at 13:38
  • @Matt "doing something that would reasonably cause someone to be to think you are doing something prohibited". Some problems I see with this - 1) If I don't see something being wrong, how could I evaluate someone else thinking that? 2) If I know something is absolutely right how would I know that others assume that it's wrong? E.g - I go to "Deliware" (made up name) - it's a new deli, open on Shabbat b/c owners are non-Jewish. Serves only kosher food, in a busy frum neighborhood, but few in the community trust its hekhsher b/c it's not from the Va'ad. So, I haveto worry about maris ayin, here?
    – DanF
    Aug 22, 2014 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


There are things which are prohibited because they often lead to Lashon Harah. These are generally classified as the prohibitions of Avak Lashon Harah, such as talking excessively of someone's praises, or talking about someone (non-negatively) in front of someone who hates that person. So to answer your penultimate question, yes, you do have a certain degree of responsibility to prevent Lashon Harah.

However, mar'is ayin is not necessarily for that reason. It is sourced in the verse from Bamidbar 32:22

והייתם נקיים מהשם ומישראל

You shall be clean from Hashem and Israel

Some understand that mar'is ayin is to prevent others from being misled by your actions. If someone sees you doing something, they may come to assume it is permitted and follow suit (A case of this is found in Beitza 11b according to Rashi's explanation there s.v. התם).

Others understand that it is an independent requirement to not give off the impression that you are sinning, as every act of sin is a chillul Hashem, a desecration of Hashem's name, as it shows that His will is not being followed (implication of Rambam Yesodei HaTorah 5:11).

  • Sources please? There are achronim that discuss your rayos specifically (and regarding the OP's opinion, it the opinion of R. Y. D. Soloveitchik as recorded by R. Schachter in Nefesh Harav pg 150 but it's definitely a minority opinion) Aug 21, 2014 at 16:39
  • @Matt The OP's opinion is sourced from much earlier than that. That's why my answer says "not necessarily for that reason." Aug 22, 2014 at 3:36
  • what do you mean earlier? And which other achronim discuss these reasons? I know I've seen them Aug 22, 2014 at 4:54
  • Also, while I think that your explanation is the simple one, Rav Moshe Feinstein thinks that Maris Ayen is a derabanan that isn't sourced in the pasuk you've quoted which teaches us the deoraisa of cheshad. See Igros Moshe O.C. 2:40 Aug 22, 2014 at 13:36
  • pinging @YeZ: you haven't given sources for any explanations of Maris Ayin, either for the idea that it's due to lashon hara considerations or of a Chillul Hashem Dec 30, 2014 at 19:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .