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Questions tagged [derech-eretz-manners]

Literally "the way of the land," in this case, "Derech Eretz" refers to good manners.

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42
votes
4answers
12k views

Should one ask a non-Jew attending synagogue to wear a yarmulke?

It says in Divrei HaRav (by R. Hershel Schachter, p143) that when they asked R. Aharon Kotler whether a non-Jewish secular studies teacher in a yeshiva should be asked to wear a yarmulke, he said he ...
32
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7answers
1k views

How to respond to “but he does”

I mentioned to my coworker that I can't eat Domino's pizza, not even without meat, as it's not kosher. He pointed out in response that a fellow coworker of ours, whom I'll call Josh, and who is ...
28
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8answers
1k views

How can we get people to stop talking (much, loudly) during minyan?

I know that lots of minyanim have the talking problem; has anybody solved it? I daven with a weekday shacharit minyan that has a noise problem. A couple of people are the main sources of the problem ...
27
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2answers
951 views

How does a son call up his father for an Aliyah?

Suppose a son is the Gabbai in a Shul and needs to call up his father for an aliyah (or his brother who is the son of his father). Does the son say his father's name? Does he say something else ...
20
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1answer
731 views

How should we respond to objectionable content in a public forum?

The blessing and curse of sites like StackExchange is that everything happens in public. Sometimes someone will post something objectionable and it isn't possible to take the person aside for a ...
20
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4answers
497 views

Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?

Rambam (Hil. Edus 11:4) writes (translation from here): ...base people are disqualified as witnesses by Rabbinic decree. This refers to people who walk through the marketplace eating in the ...
18
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6answers
3k views

Polite way to break up with a chavrusa?

I've been learning with someone for quite some time, but it just hasn't seem to be working out. There are too many interruptions, he seems to space out a lot, and not much progress is made with the ...
17
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3answers
696 views

Insults in the gemarah

Why do tanaim and amoraim use disparaging terms (bavlai tipshai, for instance) or insults when talking with one another. If there is something positive to be learned from this behavior why is it no ...
16
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4answers
33k views

Would a non-Jew wearing the Star of David together with a cross be offensive?

I am not Jewish, although I come from a Jewish heritage. My great-grandmother was Jewish. I have, since childhood, found the religion fascinating, even though my belief in Jesus has firmly placed me ...
16
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4answers
11k views

“Anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world”: Jewish life or any life?

I am puzzled by the Mishnah's original text of the famous Jewish idea that "whoever saves one life [...] saves an entire world" (Sanhedrin 4:5). The English from sefaria.org reads thus: "It was for ...
15
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3answers
683 views

December 25 Greetings

Is it permitted say any of the following to a Christian colleague: 1) Merry Christmas 2) Happy Xmas 3) Happy Holidays I am specifically referring to initiating a greeting not responding to such a ...
14
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6answers
1k views

Can you pick your nose?

Is it a violation of halakah to pick your nose (unrefined act, possibly a violation of being a holy nation)? Would there be a difference in halakah if it were the sabbath (possible violation of ...
13
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2answers
221 views

Is there a model of reconciliation in the Tanach?

Monica asked an excellent question about how to correct someone who posts something objectionable on a public forum. I was struck by the suggestion that the usual course of action was "to take the ...
12
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4answers
871 views

December greeting responses [closed]

How do you respond when greeted, during the Winter "holiday season" by a non-Jewish acquaintance with each of the following? Happy Chanuka (in proximity to Chanuka) Happy Chanuka (not in proximity to ...
12
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2answers
789 views

How can I determine if someone is Shomer Negiah?

I am not Shomer Negiah. However, I have been in mixed social situations where I was unsure if the person I was meeting was Shomer Negiah. I don't want to offend anyone, so I'm wondering if there is a ...
11
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2answers
3k views

Can I still wear my Star of David?

My mother is Jewish but my father is Christian and I was raised in the Christian church, but I still have a lot of respect for my Jewish heritage. Would it be wrong to wear a Star of David necklace, ...
11
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2answers
826 views

Halachot of Lashon Naki (clean speech)

What is the halachik source, if any, for lashon naki (clean speech)? Is there a portion of Talmud that deals with the specifics? On the surface, it seems to be employed inconsistently, by which I mean ...
10
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4answers
763 views

Is it required to knock on doors before entering?

Do we have to knock on people's doors before entering?
10
votes
1answer
445 views

Speaking to a Rabbi in the Third Person

Is there a source for requiring one to refer to his Rabbi in the third person and not referring to a rabbi in the second person (i.e. "you")? I can not recall any reference to this requirement in ...
10
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3answers
4k views

Can a fiance sleep at his in-law's?

Seems to be a minhag that a fiance shall not sleep at his future in-law's house. Even just as a guest for one night. And obviously, even if there is no problem of yichud. Is there a reference in ...
10
votes
1answer
392 views

Should you greet a non-jew after washing netilat yadayim?

If you wash netilat yadayim and then a non-Jew says "hello" to you, should you: say "hello" back and wash again? try to acknowledge him without actually talking? or ignore him (doesn't seem right)?
10
votes
1answer
463 views

Is it proper for a man to hold open a door for a woman?

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, ...
10
votes
2answers
281 views

The silence of the Rabbis — Should they have defended Bar Kamtza?

In Gittin 55b-56a, we read that a fellow named Bar Kamtza was humiliated by a host of a party in public view of all, including the rabbis. Bar Kamtza received an invitation to the party by mistake, ...
10
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1answer
1k views

“Don't say 'lehavdil' between one Jew and another.”

In today's Parashat Hashavu'a Chat, I used the qualification "lehavdil" (*) to apply to a pun that jokingly and innocuously related the actions of Datan and Aviram to those of a community member here. ...
10
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1answer
183 views

Greetings during Prayer

In light of YDK's answer here, Halacha permits one to greet and sometimes return greetings to other people at different times during prayer when other interruptions would otherwise be prohibited. (See ...
10
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3answers
955 views

What do you do if your Shabbos host serves chocolate chip challah? [closed]

Based on this shiur from R. Sobolofsky, chocolate chip challah is no different from chocolate babka or other cake and thus has the bracha of mezonos If that is the case, one would only be able to ...
9
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3answers
174 views

Identifying a chasid

Say you meet a stranger who is a member of a particular community of chasidus. What is the most polite and direct way to ask the person of which community they are a member? I.e. a question whose ...
9
votes
2answers
968 views

May one chew gum in the bathroom?

As per this post - Food in bathroom - one may not eat in the bathroom. May one chew gum in the bathroom? Is it considered eating? Connected to this post - Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?
8
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4answers
982 views

Okay to address a rabbi with “you”?

I find it awkward to constantly say "Rabbi" instead of "you" while in a conversation. For example: "Hello Rabbi. I once spoke with the Rabbi regarding X. The Rabbi said Y. I think that the Rabbi ...
8
votes
3answers
123 views

Which commentators commend Yosef for noticing his fellow prisoners' sadness?

Toward the end of Parashat Vayeishev, Yosef is imprisoned along with two of Par'oh's chief servants. Starting in Gen. 40:6, the Torah tells us that he notices that they look sad, asks why, and ...
8
votes
1answer
256 views

Riches found in a purchased item. Return or keep it?

A young rabbi reportedly found nearly $100,000 in a desk he'd purchased second-hand on Craigslist, and subsequently returned the money. Is this story about a Kiddush HaShem, or a Hassid Shoteh (...
8
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4answers
525 views

Lighting Menorah in remembrance of our dear Jewish friend

We lost someone whom we loved dearly and we are also honoring the family's way of grieving. However, we'd like to light the Menorah we recently purchased in his memory this Dec 2nd. With much respect ...
8
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3answers
220 views

Drinking on the street

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
295 views

Are You Obligated to Vote a Question You Answer?

If a question provokes your answer, it's at least Derekh Eretz (good manners) and Hakarat HaTov (gratitude) to vote on the original question. Does any halachic reason obligate you to upvote (or ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a reason to cover your yawn?

My 9th grade Rebbi told us that we have to cover our mouths when we yawn to avoid evil spirits entering our bodies. Is there any source that says this? If not, is there any other Jewish reason, ...
7
votes
1answer
406 views

Why call so many olim “moreinu”?

I davened in a couple of different Chassidish shuls over the past few days, and in two different places (Tenka and Munkacs), I noticed that nearly all men who were called up for an aliya were ...
7
votes
1answer
316 views

Is it permitted to eat boogers?

I apologize for the question. but is it permitted to eat ones boogers? possibility of blood? is it Baal Teshakzu? totally permitted similar to nail biting? and would it be forbidden on shabbos?
7
votes
2answers
146 views

What should one do if he're not sure he counts toward the minyan?

Ploni is a convert or descendant of a female convert from denomination A. He wishes to join a minyan of denomination B, which is stricter. He is not sure whether the congregation considers the ...
7
votes
1answer
230 views

If I have behaved badly, should I hide the fact that I'm Jewish?

If, G-d forbid, a Jew should behave badly in public (anything from simply doing something quite embarrassing, to being rude, to making a scene/causing a disturbance, to actually [ch"v] committing a ...
7
votes
1answer
111 views

Boshes damages for a מלבין פני חברו ברבים

Asked by my kid (albeit less fleshed-out than the way I'm presenting it here): One should rather submit himself to be burned alive than cause another to blanch in shame in public, according to Sota ...
7
votes
1answer
395 views

Is it acceptable to make someone feel uncomfortable because they have inadvertently done something that you consider undesirable?

Background This question was inspired by the comments (now deleted) under another question. My sister in Williamsburg Brooklyn noticed that Orthodox male strangers were glaring at her for unknown ...
6
votes
2answers
165 views

Washing for bread at work: how to avoid interruptions

I occasionally bring a sandwich to eat for lunch at work. The company has a small kitchen where I go to wash my hands, and then I generally eat at my desk. Whenever I have bread, I always try to wait ...
6
votes
2answers
192 views

Saying “thank you” before taking a bite

The halacha as codified by Shulchan Aruch O.C. 167:6 is that if one interrupts between making Hamotzi and eating the bread, as long as the interruption is related to the meal (not just to eating the ...
6
votes
3answers
322 views

Is there any rabbinical precedent, ancient or recent, to tell somebody that they are Jewish?

Is there any rabbinical precedent, ancient or recent, to tell somebody (for any reason) that they are Jewish (if such a person is unaware and does indeed have matrilineal Jewish descent)? Scenarios ...
6
votes
0answers
56 views

For the Sake of an Argument?

In the Mishna, Miqvaos 7:1, Rabbi Akiva quotes Rabbi Ishmael as having declared that snow does not count towards the completion of a mikva, but the people of Meibeba then testify that Rabbi Ishmael ...
5
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5answers
507 views

Sources to encourage returning s'farim to their places

Hanging signs saying the above was not enough to make people in my synagogue put back the s'farim they have used into the bookcases. What other mitzvos could I bring on my next edition of the signs?
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there any problem with thanking a non-Jew by saying “God bless you?”

If your neighbor/coworker/etc. is a religious non-Jew and they do you a favor, is there a problem to say "thank you, God bless you?", assuming you think they'd appreciate hearing that?
5
votes
1answer
205 views

What are the parameters of kavod ha'brios?

When I was younger I was told that in extenuating circumstances one can rip toilet paper on shabbos (preferably not on the perforations) due to kavod ha'brios. This concept is applied in other places ...
5
votes
2answers
589 views

How are we supposed to interpret “Derech eretz kadma l'Torah”?

I'm having a lot of trouble understanding how we should interpret the pseudo-midrash "דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה", ~~ "Derech eretz should come before Torah." The actual text of the midrashic source is: ...
5
votes
1answer
748 views

Photography of synagogues on Shabbat?

Recently, I was on vacation in Asia, and was walking through a district on a Saturday afternoon. I noticed that there was a synagogue in the area, which appeared to have some architectural features ...