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Section: Questions   Category: Halacha
Halacha - Men-Women Interactions
Submitted by anonymous  Answered by Rav Peretz Moncharsh
Question: I got a heter from a learned Sefardi rabbi that to avoid shaking the hand of a woman, I can say I'm sick and refuse to shake hands. Does this mean I can say instead that my girlfriend will object when I'm not married and don't have a girlfriend? Ditto with avoiding looking at an immodest woman who's a customer where I work. An additional twist to this question is whether I can add (if necessary not to lose the customer) that I wouldn't mind looking at halachic erva if my girlfriend wouldn't object. I'd like to ask this rabbi these questions, but it's been hard reaching him recently.

I don't see any difference between claiming illness or claiming a girlfriend minds. However neither is fully honest and additionally can cause a Chillul Hashem if/when it slips out that you were not being honest.

Generally I find the best solution is to be honest and to say that my religion does not permit me to have physical contact with an unrelated female. Most non-Jews will understand and respect you for standing up for your principles and beliefs, although not-yet-religious Jews may be likely to object.

Saying "I wouldn't mind doing an aveira" is not somewhere you would want to go.

posted:2010-12-08 22:39:16

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