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Modesty

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Rabbi David Sperling

Av 5, 5773
Question
Is it permissable for a male and female to drink from the same cup? Is it permissable for a male to sit next to a female on a bus? Thank you Rabbi for your time and patience.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. In general, the boundaries between the sexes are set up in order to allow men and women to function in society together without the downfalls of immodesty. In certain cases, an individual situation will warrant one to go beyond the letter of the law in order to ensure that one does not come to temptation. With this in mind, let us turn to your questions:- 1. Yes, a male and female may drink from the same cup one after the other. (A married couple must refrain from this during the days when they are forbidden to each to each other because of the Niddah laws). However, in general, the rabbis were not in favour of offering someone a cup you have drunk from, as many people are repulsed at the idea of drinking from another's cup - and it may also spread germs. 2. Many rabbis permit a man to sit next to woman on the bus - see Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l (Even HaEzer 2, 14) where he rules this is allowed. Again - if one's personal situation is such that these acts may lead one to sin, in act or thought, one should build their own personal safeguards to avoid stumbling. But in general, normal social behaviour such as sitting on a bus next to a woman, should be devoid of all sexual connotations and permitted. Blessings.
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