Wednesday, November 23, 2005

1 Guy, 2 Girls & Seating

Just returned from a friend's chasana. Both the chosson and kallah are from a more yeshivish crowd. Separate seating was the norm except for our table, which comprised nearly 20 people from school and work. We sat together. On the ladies side.

We got the occasional look from passersby, 9 guys surrounded by 200 women is quite the spectacle. One person, a close friend of the couple, was explaining to her husband what the story was. He smiled and chuckled, and when I managed to catch his eye, I waved. He froze for a second and smiled back. 'Twas fun.

But that's not the point of this post. One of the girls at the table remarked that we had managed - without intending - to make sure that no guy was seated between two girls. Puzzled I asked why. She said that halachically a man is not allowed to sit between two women. Another friend (also female) confirmed. Never having heard this, I asked for its source. We eventually found the source to be a gemara in Horiyos 13b.

The Gemara there states a number of things which are "kashim l'limud". Included amongst them is passing between two women, and a woman passing between two men. It doesn't appear to be brought down lehalacha, and the list includes other things we do, such as reading gravestones. Nothing about sitting.

I'm at a loss as to why a Rebbe would tell his talmidot that it was ok to sit next to one man, but two is asur. I can understand them saying that its a gemara, even if they get it wrong, how many girls would go look it up (or guys for that matter). And if you say its a gemara and use it as a springboard for an hashkafic point, the gemara is soon forgotten.