Friday Repost: People Jump to the Oddest Conclusions

I’ve always thought the concept of “ma’aras ayin” is a bit strange. I mean, if I saw a nice aidel maidel going into, say, Mickey-D’s, I would assume that she’s going for the coffee or the bathroom. Because let’s face it, which is more likely:

Nice aidel maidel has a good, kosher reason for entering a non-kosher restaurant or

Nice aidel maidel just randomly walks into non-kosher eateries and indulges her cheeseburger craving?

If we assume that people are who they present themselves to be, then if they appear to do something incongruous, shouldn’t we assume that our conception of the situation is wrong, rather than our conception of the person

I’m wondering all this after rereading a post about my alleged drinking problem.

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11 thoughts on “Friday Repost: People Jump to the Oddest Conclusions

  1. Not to fall prey to ma’aras ayin or anything, but for someone with only an ‘alleged’ drinking problem, you start your weekends pretty early.

  2. You are mixing up chashad and ma’aras ayin, I believe. According to many, chashad (from the pasuk of V’hyisem n’kiyim by bnei gad and bnei reuvain) is when people think you are doing something wrong. Ma’aras ayin is when people think you are doing something RIGHT. In your example, someone watching would think that the McDonalds is actually kosher.

    (Such a mistake might not be likely with McDonalds in the US, but in Israel it’s more likely to be an issue…)

  3. Can someone explain why מראית עין in Hebrew is transliterated as ma’aras ayin (and not, say, mar’is ayin)? This isn’t the first place I’ve seen it and I’ve always wondered…

  4. B4S- do you really have an insect collection? Live or dead? or are you just using artistic license?

  5. Ooops! I don’t know why they’re all posting funny. Tere weren’t supposed to be three last week either. I swear I didn’t have a drop when I scheduled them!

  6. In this case, I’m not using poetic license. When I was a kid I collected those plastic bugs. The prize of my collection was a spider as big as my head which I hung from the ceiling fan on a piece of fish line. It did not go over well with the guests.

  7. Is that true about maras ayin? Because everyone always says “don’t do something that can be misconstrued as wrong, it’s maras ayin.” Never heard of “chashash.” Great.

  8. In any case, halacha actually does consider the issue of people’s reputations. And poskim do, for instance, discuss whether the fact that someone is known to be a “erlich” should protect him (or her) from certain spaects of maris ayin / chashad.

  9. @B4S:

    Well, I heard this distinction given in a pre-pesach shiur about gebrochts, where the angle is discussed by the rishonim that people might see someone baking with matzah meal and think it is mutar to bake with flour. The Rabbi explained that according to many the difference is what was written above. (I don’t know if there are other ways of explaining the distinction or not…)

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