Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Shevet HaLevi: Is There An Issur For Women To Stare At Men?
The Otzar Haposkim brings from Tshuras Shai (1:125) that a Shul must be set up in a way that the women's section is situated in a way that that they cannot stare at the men.  He brings a raya from Chazal who say that the reason why the women were so lengthy in their words when Shaul HaMelech came, was in order to enjoy staring at him longer.  Rebbi Yosi responds that if you say that explanation you are accusing Bnos Yisroel of Znus.  From here he learns that a woman staring at the beauty of a man is assur just like the opposite scenario.

However the Otzar Haposkim brings the Maharit who says that he never heard of any Shul that was makpid on this.  He says that men staring at women during tefila is assur MiDin but not vice versa.  He also brings proof and disproves the raya of the Tshuras Shai.

Rav Vosner (Shevet HaLevi 5:197:2) says that the proof of the Tshuras Shai is clear and certainly he is correct that it is assur for a woman to stare at a man.  This is a Lav of "Lo Sasuru... Acharei Eineichem" and applies to both genders.  However he says that there is no need to be machmir to make it impossible for women to see the men in Shul.  He says that there is an issur of Histaklus L'Sheim Ishus, staring with the intent of marital relations which applies to both genders.  However the issur of Habata or gazing, only applies to men, since they are quicker to have Machshavos.  A woman can gaze at a man without any intent.  Therefore, in Shul, the women can see the men since Habata is permitted, but the men may not see the women at all.

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha.  We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.