Sunday, July 17, 2005

Strolling Down The Beach

A responsum from R. Shlomo Aviner, originally printed in the 1985 edition of R. Shmuel Katz's Kedoshim Tihyu, p. 236 and reprinted in R. Shlomo Aviner, Gan Na'ul, p. 265:

Question: May girls dressed according to halakhah attend a mixed beach?

Answer: Apparently, there is no prohibition in the girls' actual attendance, as in the previous question; however, it might be that we must prohibit it because of mar'is ayin [appearing to sin], similar to what is written in the Mishnah (Avodah Zarah 11b), that it is prohibited to travel on a path that is dedicated to travel to a specific city in which there is an idolatrous celebration. In our situation, also, there is mar'is ayin on those girls, i.e. [people thinking] that they are going to participate in mixed swimming.

However, if there is a practice like this, that many women walk to a mixed beach and remain there dressed, it is possible to say that there is no mar'is ayin (R. Moshe Feinstein wrote similarly on a different topic in Iggeros Moshe, Orah Hayim vol. 3 no. 25). However, it seems to me that there is no such practice. Perhaps, if a woman walks with a young child there is no mar'is ayin because people will assume that she is just bringing the child. However, regarding young women, there is certainly mar'is ayin.

However, since this is a new question to me, and I did not see anyone else discussing it, I can only tell to where my opinion leans.

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