Recently it has become common to see ladies walking around the Haredi neighborhoods, specifically the shopping streets of Geula, sipping from an iced coffee in a paper cup. It certainly looks inappropriate to me. However someone pointed out to me that many Rabbonim also judged talking on a cell phone while walking down the street as inappropriate (Lav Derech Erets) but in Israel it has become common practice.

I remember a Gemara that says that anyone who eats in the street is like a dog .. is this true of drinking also ? Or is it like walking and talking on the cellphone maybe lacking in Tsniut but still within the bounds of Derech Eretz ?

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    – Isaac Moses
    Aug 17, 2011 at 9:48
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    I'm sorry, but can you explain a bit more why you think this might possibly be an issue, of any sort?
    – AviD
    Aug 17, 2011 at 13:11
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    What about it is inappropriate? Also, do you mean it is inappropriate for anyone to be eat, drink and talk on a cell phone in the street, or only for women? Would it be appropriate for workmen who are working on a construction project on the street?
    – Seth J
    Aug 17, 2011 at 13:53

3 Answers 3


Bechoros 44b says "*...it is not permitted to drink water in public." Rashi adds: "Because it is customary for a scholar to exercise privacy in his eating and drinking."

*[It is permitted to urinate in public, whereas...]


The language is ה*אוכל* בשוק דומה לכלב - one who eats in the street is compared to a dog. So I would think drinking is just a further sensitivity, but not referred to in the gemara.

I do agree that it seems to be lacking in tznius, though. However, keep in mind that it is very very hot in the summer in Yerushalayim, so drinking on the street in Geulah might be somewhat of a necessity. I once asked a shaila about drinking water in the street and was told that it's not only allowed, but recommended to avoid dehydrating. (I'm not sure about the iced coffee though :) )

  • does the fact that it says Shuk, which is a place to buy food, as opposed to rechov, have any meaning? (since you are being picky on the word 'Ochel'
    – avi
    Aug 17, 2011 at 10:59
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    @avi, while I am not speaking for mevakesh, it would seem to me that any public thoroughfare in which many pedestrians walk would be classified as a Shuk. If you are talking about a quiet residential street in a suburb - or a freeway - you can possibly draw a distinction between the idea of a Shuk and the "street". But I think the point is that only an animal was seen by the Gemara as fit to eat in such a public place in which people walked, ran, rode and engaged in commerce (like basically every major street in Jerusalem); a civilized person ought to sit and eat like a "mentsch".
    – Seth J
    Aug 17, 2011 at 14:00

I can agree that it would be proper not do it because of seniut, but drinking is not considered eating, so from icar hadin I don't believe they would go to gehinam because of this, but refraining to do so may bring berachot.

while someone eating a falafel would definitely be pasul as an witness.

talking on the cellphone is a different issue.

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    @Seth, I think he's referring to the Gemara (Kiddushin 40b, bottom) that is the source of this whole discussion: האוכל בשוק הרי זה דומה לכלב, ויש אומרים פסול לעדות... הלכה כיש אומרים.
    – Alex
    Aug 17, 2011 at 15:42
  • See Tosafoth ad loc.
    – Seth J
    Aug 17, 2011 at 16:34

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