An El Al Seat Swap Story That Didn’t Make Me Cringe

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I’m used to cringing while reading story after story of Haredi men refusing to fly unless the women sitting next to them are forcibly moved to another seat.

The stories never make much sense to me. Surely they must be the exception to the rule or else we would hear about them far more often, no?

Why aren’t these people asking others to trade with them, why are they asking for their seatmate to be moved? Why is the onus on having the person next to you moved rather than on yourself? And is it really that difficult to avoid touching your seatmate? If it’s going to be a big deal, then reserve an aisle seat, splurge for a 2nd coach seat, or upgrade to business class rather than make international headlines for delaying a flight and causing a ruckus. Personal stringencies shouldn’t be affecting other people negatively and with a little homework beforehand it can all be avoided.

At any rate this story posted to the DansDeals Facebook Group brought a smile to my face as well as hundreds of others. A little tolerance and the ability to see the forest through the trees goes a long way.

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152 Comments On "An El Al Seat Swap Story That Didn’t Make Me Cringe"

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name withheld

sorry dan but I don’t feel it’s proper for you to post something like this

Dov

Rav moshe says this issue is a non-issue

Frumy

can you post the story on the website for all of us yeshivishe chevra that are locked out of facebook

name withheld

@Dov:
I didn’t say its an issue, but some stuff on DDFB is better to leave there, the site has a wide audience

Mike

What did the guy in the middle seat want (or expect) for taking his seat like a grown adult and not complaining? A medal?!? Ah, the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Moshe s

Hey dan. Thanks for posting. And please ignore those who tell you to not have posted it. You will get alot of those. But you are bringing ahavas chinam. You should especially appreciate how your website has actually brought all types of jews together. Your work crosses the different detail boundaries that we seem to have. Thanks for everything

Iris

Kol hakavod!

Gabi

I don’t have a facebook account and don’t have access to it.

Can somebody post this thru a non facebook channel? Thanks

eli

dan thanx so much for spreading good news and exposing hashems beautiful nation how it really is BEAUTIFUL wat a zchus!

Anonymous

yes and no Dan

while maybe demanding others move is not sensitive who says its not the right thing to move yourself and have a flight that’s more free from possible improper thoughts and looks

are we on such a level that we can honestly say we have only kadosh thoughts when we sit between two nashim? who are we kidding? if we can get out of our seat without making others next to us move don’t you think hashem actually is smiling at us?

I feel like those that look down at these haredim are not on a level to appreciate someone caring enough to avoid improper looks and thoughts

David

Thanks!

Lazer

Beautiful, please post more of these stories!

@namewithheld
Maybe this blog is not for you. Maybe this is a wake up call for you. Maybe try to spread some love instead of negativity.

Anonymous

This story involved 2 religious females

what would you say if the man was sitting between two very improperly dressed females? then what? shouldn’t we praise those that seek to the extent possible avoiding nisayonot

Eli

For those “locked out” of Facebook, here’s the original article:

My beautiful el al story between an orthodox, chasidish, and a secular Jew.
(בין דתי, חרדי,וחילוני)
It was a FULL PLANE not one seat empty. My daughter got to her window seat and i to my aisle seat. The middle seat sat a חרדי gentleman. He asked if one of us could switch seats to make it a bit more comfortable. I understood but my daughter wasn’t giving up her window n being claustrophobic was not giving up my aisle seat. To my surprise he said ok and sat down. Half way towards our trip the male flight attendant ( who was חילוני) said to the man in the middle, in my 20 years of working on El Al i have never seen a very religious man not complain or make a commotion to get his seat changed because he was sitting between two women. The flight attendant takes the man’s hand and says with love and sincerity, this is a קדוש השם he probably said it 3x.
Time went by and i turned to my neighbor n said i heard what the flight attendant told you. First its the month of elul and wow I’m very impressed but i have a question? When you saw you would be sitting between 2 girls why didn’t you asked to be switch? The man in the middle said why would i? You told me your daughter likes the window you need the aisle what would be the point of getting angry? To hurt another person’s feelings? To let anger control me? He began talking to me about the שלחן עורך about the essence of Torah n love it.
One more thing about this חרדי man, he kept on apologizing when he asked me to get up to go use the facilities and when he returned to his seat.
We need to break down these physical barriers or preconceive notions of people based on their external appearance or Bec of a few rotten apples who smell the loudest.

Anonymous

@Dov:

read the comments about translating responses into english. and even the teshuva itself hints to the fact that it it bring to improper thoughts better to avoid

Dan

@Anonymous:
@Anonymous:

If your idea of hishtadlus is to make a scene on the plane and become an international embarrassment then something is missing in your frumkeit.

Hishtadlus to avoid that nisayon would be:
1. Reserving an aisle seat in advance.
2. Flying with someone else.
3. Buying 2 seats and enjoying the extra space and extra miles.
4. Upgrading to business class.
5. Asking politely like the man in this story did, rather than asking that your seatmate be moved.
6. Not flying (as Rav Moshe suggested in the link given above to people who find this to be a problem for them).

It’s not calling over the flight attendant to move the people seated next to you. There’s no excuse to let it come down to that.
Is your Judaism so cheap as to let it become an international news story but not worth enough to purchase an extra seat?

DT

To anonymous 10 and 14:
If you are such a holy Jew, please purchase the seat next to you and you are guaranteed a more comfortable flight and no woman tempting your tender neshama. Everyone knows that you never know who you will end up sitting next to (a crying baby, a “person of size”, or, heaven forbid, a woman). If you want to control the environment, purchase the seat. Expensive, you say? Well, no one said being a heilige yiddishe mensch was cheap. Isn’t it a small price to pay to avoid gehenim?

noturbizniss

@name withheld: @Anonymous: @Anonymous: you people disgust me. Have you never heard of chillul hashem? When the stories make headlines in the NY Times (regardless of your opinion of the bias of said paper) the world looks and says, the stinking dirty selfish jews are at it again. Here’s an idea. If you can’t sit on a plane next to a woman without getting all horned up then don’t get on the plane. stay at home, work on your self control and don’t force the rest of the world to have to cater to your weaknesses.

Aj3042

Actually there’s reason to say that sitting between 2 women is actually assur, see Horiyos 12B (in contrast with sitting near one or two but not between). Regardless, your views are clearly informed by emotion rather than fact (aka Halacha). So how about keeping to what you do best-deals-and let poskim and ת״ח deal with they do. Deal?

Dan

@Aj3042:
Obviously everyone should ask their own Rabbi, I’m not a posek. But I daresay those Rabbis won’t say to make a scene on the plane.

See comment 17…

Aj3042

@Dan: “Becoming an international embarrassment”-what the anti religious media will say has absolutely no impact on Halacha in standard Judaism (chabad may differ).

Aj3042

@noturbizniss: Your ideas of chilul Hashem are extremely ill informed. The NYT is a chillul Hashem. Their reporting one way or another makes zero difference to us. If it would, a lot of our halachos would be different. So if you want to discuss whether it’s right or wrong on its own merits, good, but don’t bring the NYT into it. They have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Dan

@Aj3042:
I never said it has an impact on Halacha.
It has an impact on being a decent human being and how the world looks at Haredi Jews!

A few steps can make everyone’s lives better. That’s having a little hishtadlus and kavod habriyos.

Gabi

I don’t see anything wrong in going over politely to the flight attendant and asking to switch seats.

Anonymous

@Dan:

Never said to make a scene. All I said if possible to move without inconveniencing others and another person is willing to swap seats whats wrong with that?

I am sorry but we all know that sometimes in life we did not plan ahead nor is it practical always to fly with other nor can some afford to upgrade or buy business seat or 2 seats.

I never said one should call the flight attendant and have someone seated next to you move over. I agree that’s its better for the complainer to move if possible.

just felt the tone of the post was anti charedi

Jack out of the box

From Rabbi Eisenman, rav of “The Ahavas” in Passaic.

The Short Vort
Good morning !
Today is Tuesday the 3rd of Elul 5776
Planes and Prayers
I arrived in Israel yesterday at 7 in the morning- it is always a zechus to be here.
On the plane ride over to Israel i waited by the line to be one of the first on board.
I could tell from the amount of people waiting to board that this would be a packed flight.
More and more people kept coming on the plane as if it was Noach’s Arc.
Immediately the famous Jewish game of musical chairs began in earnest.
Most were for requests to sit near friends; however, there were also those, “My religion forbids me from sitting near a woman ” requests.
The crew began to go into crisis mode- it was obvious we would not be taking off for a while.
I had to do something.
The seat next to me was still unoccupied- a wonderful thought came over me.
I called over the overwhelmed stewardess and said, “I don’t know if this will help you; however, I wanted to tell you that I would be honored to sit next to anyone at all; man, woman or child; whatever I can do to help you please don’t hesitate to place them near me”.
She smiled and thanked me.
P.S. About five minutes later a young kollel man from Yerushalayim is placed next to me.
I say hello and we ended up schmoozing in Torah for most of the flight.
At the end of the flight he turns to me and says, “It was a real privilege sitting next to you; in fact I davend I should sit next to you.”
I looked at him quizzically and asked, “How could you daven for me – you never even met me before today?”
He looked at me and said, ” I am always terrified I will chas v’Shalom be seated next to a woman. So today I davened really hard that Hashem should not cause me to sit by a woman. So you’re the answer to my tefillos!”
“If not now, then when?” Hillel
Ron Yitzchok Eisenman, Congregation Ahavas Israel, Passaic, NJ

Dan

@Gabi:
@Anonymous:
Almost all of these stories involve the person asking that woman next to them be moved. Google it and see for yourself.

Aj3042

@Gabi: Neither do I. But that’s because we’re proud of our religion whereas some others, not so much.
Personally, I sit next to women all the time. But can I understand someone who doesn’t? Yes I can. And what non Jews (especially hateful ones in the media) think of it quite frankly has zero impact. We gotta do what we gotta do.
Best advice, ask a Rav, but a competent one who’s informed by Torah values instead of liberal western ones.

Dan

@Aj3042:
Nobody is saying not ask a Rav, but how about asking that Rav for practical advice about being a mensch as well?

Nobody said Orthodox Judaism is cheap. If you are told to avoid sitting in between 2 women then make sure you can reserve an aisle.
If you’re told to make sure not to even sit next to a woman then buy 2 seats or fly with someone else.

DT

@Anonymous 26
“I am sorry but we all know that sometimes in life we did not plan ahead nor is it practical always to fly with other nor can some afford to upgrade or buy…”

There is absolutely zero requirement to fly. If you are truly concerned about temptation, then do not fly. Is flying so important that you are willing to risk your neshama? People lived for a very long time without having to fly. Stay put in kollel if you want to avoid chas vesholom being within daled amos of a female. Or, you know, plan ahead and buy a second seat and spare us all the holy attitude.

Aj3042

@Anonymous: You’re right.
Dan, can’t you understand that some Poskim hold you shouldn’t do it? The Chazon Ish, for example (as you can imagine), felt that it was improper. Can’t a Yerushalmi who follows in the path of the Chazon Ish in general follow him on that too? And don’t give me the “imposing on others” response. There’s NOTHING wrong with following you’re religious values and asking flight attendants if you can be accommodated.
Western liberal thought has a lot of tolerance for “minorities” and other religions, can’t you to message other views of your own people? And even more for the opinion of some very great people?

Dan

@Aj3042:
I’ve said time and time again, ask your Rov. Most will say it’s not an issue, but I can definitely appreciate those that say it is.

As Rav Moshe said, if you feel like you can’t handle it, then don’t travel!

If your Judaism is giving others an extremely negative reaction then you should do everything you can to avoid that if possible. That’s basic menschlichkeit.

An airplane is even easier then the subway R’ Moshe was referring to as you can reserve an aisle seat or pay to have an empty seat next to you!

DT

@Dan:

” nobody said Orthodox Judaism is cheap.”

Well said. Treif chicken is much cheaper than kosher. Public school is much, much cheaper then yeshiva. The holy neshamas here would never dare skimp on those expenses. So consider buying a second seat “kosher” flying. More expensive but necessary for a particular person’s religious needs.

DT

@Aj3042:

Follow your religious need to your hearts content. Wrap yourself in a plastic bag if that’s what you need to do. But don’t inconvenience other people. You can easily avoid the problem by purchasing a second seat. If you cannot afford a second seat, maybe you shouldn’t be flying.

Gabi

Let’s not blow this out of proportion, yes there are some individuals that make a big commotion when sitting next to a woman and cause a chillul hashem etc. and they can even dare to ask the woman to move instead of them!

HOWEVER, in most cases the Hareidi man just goes nicely to flight attendant and asks to be moved and nicely returns to his seat if cannot be accommodated.

The problem is that flight attendants (and others at DD) don’t differentiate between the two types of these requests and get hysterical when someone asks to change a seat because it reminds them of bad scenario that some unfortunate individual people cause when their request for seat change is not granted.

Anonymous

@DT:

huh? what about flying for parnassah as the teshuva indicates, to bury someone, yartzeit, to go on shidduchim

some of us are bal batimi(not avrechim) who strive to be kadosh. Sorry I had break this to you

Aj3042

@Dan: Sometimes you need to, like for a medical procedure or to to a mitzvah.
And yes, they should do what they can to avoid the problem, but paying for two seats or upgrading is totally unreasonable.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with ASKING others to move. If they won’t like it, they’ll say no.

Dan

@Aj3042:
You wouldn’t think twice about upgrading from non-glatt meat to glatt meat or from glatt meat to chasidisher shchita.
Why is buying a 2nd seat totally unreasonable?

There’s nothing wrong with asking people to trade with you. But when you start asking for your seatmate to be moved, there’s an issue. When you’re willing to delay a plane because people don’t want to trade, there’s an issue.

Seth Kent

“I do not want followers who are righteous, rather I want followers who are too busy doing good that they won’t have time to do bad.” – Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

whYME

“Why is the onus on having the person next to you moved rather than on yourself?”

This, I believe, is the real problem here.

I would be very uncomfortable sitting between two woman but I would NEVER demand that they be moved, if it bothered me enough I would find someone to switch with me.

Aj3042

@DT: Nowhere in the Torah does it say that religious obligations can’t inconvenience others.
And yes, some Poskim say it is the wrong thing to do. Not all Rabbis are Young Israel Americans. Some are much more right wing (ideologically pure?) than the ones you’re familiar with.

Dan

@Seth Kent:
True that.

@whYME:
Correct. Not sure why people aren’t getting that distinction.

@Aj3042:
That’s exactly what I meant by seeing the forest through the trees.
Judaism is a beautiful religion. We’re supposed to be a light unto the nations. Why do you feel the need to ask for your seatmate to be moved rather than taking your own initiative. Antagonizing the nations isn’t a mitzvah.

Aj3042

@Dan: It can usually be accommodated with minimal effort if hysteria didn’t overtake the western mind every time it meets up with a religious value it doesn’t agree with.

Dan

@Aj3042:
Asking an FA that your seatmate be moved to accommodate your religions preference deserves every bit of the hysteria it gets.

Shloimy

I received this from a friend.
It’s a sad day when we have to compliment a chareidi man for being civil. Sorry, but the unfortunate takeaway I get from this story is that the flight attendant said that this is the first time in 20 years that he did not see a chareidi man make a commotion.
Sorry to be a spoiler during Ellul, but the first part of teshuva is hakaras hachet, recognizing that we sinned. We need to recognize that our behavior needs a lot of work.

Aj3042

@Dan: That’s a very nice philosophy but I’ve never seen the Rema say “this is the Halacha, but we have to be a light into the nations and see forests, so we’ll do otherwise”.
Get it? Those are western values and are not factors in Halacha.

Aj3042

@Dan: Asking for a few seats to be rearranged if possible is totally fine. It’s done for emergency exit passengers, for kids to be near parents, etc. There’s NOTHING wrong with asking.

Dan

@Shloimy:
That is a sad takeaway. Hopefully it was an exaggeration or most people resolve it without needing to bother the FA.

@Aj3042:
Aj3042, what is it with you and western values?
Just because something is a “Western Value” doesn’t make it wrong!

If you can go about your Judaism in a way that is compatible with those values and doesn’t offend others and/or put Judaism in a bad light, then that’s what you should strive to do. That isn’t a halacha, that’s common decency. Obviously I’m not referring to where those values contradict halacha.

@Aj3042:
For the 10th time, the issue is asking for your seatmate to be moved!

Me

from your q. “is it really that difficult to avoid touching your seatmate?” looks like you never used ELAL…

Aj3042

@Dan: Btw, as I’ve said, I sit near women and don’t think twice. But I understand those who don’t.
Would you make a post if you saw a Jew on a plane eating on a fast day? How about boarding a plane right before Shabbos? Well that’s much worse than a chareidi asking to be moved. That should bother you a lot more. But it’s typical of the liberal mindset to be get ashamed of people to the right of you but not people to the left of you.

Dan

@Aj3042:
http://www.chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/7911/jewish/Chapter-32.htm
ומ”ש בגמ’ שמי שרואה בחבירו שחטא מצוה לשנאותו וגם לומר לרבו שישנאהו. היינו בחבירו בתורה ומצות וכבר קיים בו מצות הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך עם שאתך בתורה ובמצות ואעפ”×› לא שב מחטאו כמ”ש בס’ חרדים
אבל מי שאינו חבירו ואינו מקורב אצלו ×”× ×” ×¢”×– אמר הלל הזקן הוי מתלמידיו של אהרן אוהב שלום וכו’ אוהב את הבריות ומקרבן לתורה. לומר שאף הרחוקים מתורת ×”’ ועבודתו ולכן נקראי’ בשם בריות בעלמא צריך למשכן בחבלי עבותו’ אהבה וכולי האי ואולי יוכל לקרבן לתורה ועבודת ×”’ והן לא לא הפסיד שכר מצות אהבת ריעים

But I suppose the Baal Hatanya was a “liberal” in your eyes 🙄

Aj3042

@Dan: Btw don’t give me credit for getting you to remove the lashon hara from yesterday.

Anonymous

And here’s my El Al story that wasn’t published in the NY Times:
A woman ( chiloni) with a child asked a chareidi man to switch seats with her as she had a baby and wanted to sit next to her mother. He had an aisle seat and she had a seat one row behind him in the middle. He graciously gave up his seat and when she started to thank him, all he said was , “it’s my pleasure, enjoy your flight”

Aj3042

@Dan: Lol I see your tech skills are better than your analytic ones.
I don’t expect a chabadster to understand that Juddsism isn’t all smiles and fun. The Torah was given on Har Sinai thousands of years ago, not in the US in 2016.

Dan

@AN:
I didn’t remove it for being LH. If someone is going to blackmail me it’ll go public and it’s still on DDF.
It was removed from the post because upon further review it didn’t add anything to the post.

@Anonymous:
Wonderful, thanks for sharing!

@Aj3042:
If your Judaism means having to needlessly offend the nations and their values then I’m happy to have no part in your Judaism.

Aj3042

@Dan: You’re w boring debater sometimes. You always rehash the same old stuff. The Baal Hatanya was of course a great man. But are you aware there were other great men too? You’re informed by your people and others by theirs. See Keser Rosh for how the Gra dealt with people he saw being oiver aveiros-not pleasant.
You don’t seem to understand that one Baal Hatanya doesn’t change the dynamic at all. Besides, it has no relevance here. I’m a going if YOU would be bothered, not if you’d yell at him.

source

Shulchon aruch harav book 6 laws of guarding your body and soul, and Talmud Pesachim 111a both state: a man should not pass through two women and a woman should not pass through two men.
Just quoting.
The link to Rav Moshe brought above only mentions sitting next to, not in between.
One should certainly act cleverly as not to cause a chilul hashem.

Dan

@Aj3042:
You’re angry at me for blogging from my upbringing and perspective?
Go write your own blog and blog from the Gra’s perspective. Am I stopping you?

And yes, obviously that would bother me. I won’t book non-religious relatives to fly on Shabbos for that reason. Did you read the MH370 story? http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/41764

But I don’t believe that a blog post would fix that person. Doing that in a loving way would have greater odds of fixing that. That’s why I invite non-religious Jews to my Shabbos table and show them the warmth and beauty rather than fire and brimstone.

But to each their own.

@source:
Again. So reserve an aisle seat beforehand! Pay for it if necessary, it would be worth it even without this issue.
This isn’t rocket science.

Aj3042

@Dan: Ok whatever. At least you did the right thing.
And blackmail usually connotes a threat that you wouldn’t laugh away. I think it was pretty clear that message didn’t fall into that category. It was a total joke and you know it.

Aj3042

@source: Please no facts. This is an emotional argument only.

Dan

@Aj3042:
Actually, at the time I didn’t. If I did I wouldn’t have called a lawyer.

@Aj3042:
Right. Like the facts that anyone can reserve an aisle seat, as I’ve written several times already. Or that I don’t have an issue with asking others to trade seats with you.

But hey, why let facts get in the way?

source

Agree 100%
Btw thanks Dan for all the good stuff you do for us.

Aj3042

@Dan: Yes I did read that. B”h you were on the right side of things for once (though who wouldn’t against your opponent there?).
Either way nice schmoozing. I see you’re missing the vigorous debates I used to give you. Got to sign off now, no time for more.
The lesson of the day-tolerate those on your right as much as those on your left. An unpopular idea, but sensible nonetheless….
Talk to you another time.

Dan

@Aj3042:
I’m suggesting some basic strategies that can be used to not cause a scene on a plane and you’re ranting against western values and that I don’t rant against non-religious Jews.

Good to see you still live in an alternate universe than me.

jack6941

Lets stop kiddush levana, people are always laughing at us for talking to the moon!
Obviously not the same, though the tone of the post is a bit anti chareidi sounding, dont bash people who are more stringent then you ( as long as its done within the parameters of halacha ).

jack6941

Great job opening a bashing contest on frum people.

chaim

Once on the topic…is it right to occupy the isles with a minyan while inconveniencing other people and flight attendants?

Or would Hashem Yisborach prefer you to sit and daven in your seat with your tallis and tfillin? Is it a mitzvah haba b’averah?

I remember flying El Al and how the minyan caused a big commotion on the plane…the poor flight attendant was getting worked up and people were angry….I doubt those prayers were worth much.

Having said that…I don’t want this to come across as attacking Jews for trying to do the right thing…like praying with a minyan or avoiding unnecessary contact between genders…only that it has to be done correctly…and you really really need to know what the halacha is meikar hadin before opening your mouth.

Aj3042

@Dan: The feeling is mutual, my friend.
The road from Chabadistan to Brisk is a long one indeed (not that I’m from either one). Yes, your values will be very different from those of others. Yes, your Chabad upbringing probably inculcated you with a certain myopic view of Judaism (no offense intended), just like you think of Satmar extremists.
Surprise!
Hatzlacha and chill.

Dan

@jack6941:
It’s constructive criticism. A little homework before a flight will go a long way.

@Aj3042:
I’ve taken the liberty of correcting the various usernames you used. Feel free to let me know if I missed any.
No need to hide behind other names and Anonymouses to make it seem like more share your views.

Moshe

Are there any laws regarding some of holy folks should act if there is no alternative to sitting next to a woman. Should they cover their faces with a blanket? Perhaps spend the entire flight staring at the seat in fron of them.
Please no drooling.

Alex

As usual in cases like this, people tend to get their emotions and private agendas mixed into the discussion. That never serves any purpose beyond a flame war, which distracts everyone from the main point.
Here are the pertinent topics and points:
A: The issue of sitting NEXT to a woman.
B: The issue of sitting BETWEEN 2 women.
C: Entitlement.
D: Self-righteousness.
Rav Moshe’s Psak was regarding sitting NEXT to a woman, or standing in extremely close proximity to a woman (to the point of touching). It does NOT mention at all the question of sitting BETWEEN 2 women, which is clearly stated as being ossur (as already pointed above).
If a man is stringent on this, then it makes sense for him to do the utmost to get an aisle or window seat, preventing this problem. However, that’s not always possible, e.g. in the case of a late purchase. In that case it makes perfect sense for him to first ask his seatmates, POLITELY, if they mind a seat shuffle. If that can’t be achieved, the next step is to ask the FA, again, POLITELY, if another seat can be found FOR HIM.
Obviously, demanding that someone ELSE should be moved is chutzpah of the first order, and is a direct result of the entitlement issue.
On the flip side, and as mentioned above, as much as you may like sitting in an aisle or window seat, taking BOTH and leaving the middle seat seat for someone else, is also a lack of tact, or mentchlichkeit. By doing this, you force the middle-seater to be constantly privy and part of your conversations, and make them uncomfortable to no degree. If they ask you to accommodate them, especially when you, too, are Frum (though “differently” observant), while you are still entitled to refuse, it’s more than just not being a mentch, it’s again entitlement to the exclusion of anyone else’s needs.
As for the “if you’re so Frum get another seat” crowd, that’s the voice of the age-old self-righteousness. Yes, kosher is more expensive, but to demand that someone pay for two items when he needs one is absurd and bigoted. Upgrading your seat won’t help, unless you get a 1st-class, single seat cabin -not available on all flights and exorbitant when it is. Sorry, but most travelers are not overly wealthy, or know or can spend their time curing out bonus miles. Most of us are regular grunts, flying because we have to, not because we want to.

Here’s my way of handling this issue: I rarely fly, and it’s always international – NY/IL route. The last few times I did that was for my Mother’s Yahrzeit – I’d trade just about anything to not have that. I always try to book an aisle seat, and have almost always wound up next to a man. Pf the few times a woman was seated next to me, most resolved without me doing anything, because the woman herself traded seats with her spouse because they figured I may feel uncomfortable. The few other times I asked a FA if it was possible to change seats with someone else, and usually people were happy to trade their middle seat for an aisle. There was only ONE time when this couldn’t be accomplished, and thus I just sat in my original seat and went on with my flight. Starting out with an aisle seat makes things much easier later on, and you don’t get stuck in a real Halachic issue.

Alex

@Aj3042: Wow, are you barking up the wrong tree. If there is any Chassidic sect that is more tolerant of others, or has a more open world-view of all sorts than Chabad, I have yet to find it.

Dan

@Alex:
Clearly you do your homework and do this with the upmost mentchlichkeit. Kol hakavod.

I have no doubt that if everyone took a lesson from you that there would be no more stories like the ones that come up all the time.

Mendel

Kvod Shamayim and Kvod Habriyos are not “western values”. They are Torah values which actually DO affect the final Halacha in many cases.

It’s unbelievable that people who consider themselves frum disregard these values in favor of personal Chumros.

Don’t learn Tanya Ch”V. But it would be helpful if you read some stories about Litvishe Gedolim like the Chafetz Chaim, R’ Moshe Feinstein and R’ Shlomo Zalman Oyerbach. This might help you in getting your Torah values in their correct order of preference.

Elisheva

Hey Dan. I saw some of these comments and wanted to drop a line saying that I really hope you’re ignoring those people who are saying you shouldn’t have posted this. Don’t let it get to you, please. You created an amazing platform, the kind of platform that people like that could never dream of creating. You have the right to say whatever you want on the platform you created with your own hands. I happen to agree with your position, but that’s besides the point. I’d feel the same way if i disagreed. Kudos for sharing something you saw that you valued with your audience – rest assured we’re waiting for the next time we hear from you. Thanks as always for the great work you do!

mortimer

we all know that our people can be disgusting to each other (including our own women), and even worse to others (just look at how we treat palestinians). i urge us to become better people.

DL

@AJ3042 if someone sat next to you on a plane, and said, “I do not wish to be sat next to a Jew” you would be rightfully offended. Given that Rabbi Hillel said, “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary. Go and study it.” (Talmud Shabbat 31a), we should thus not be asking others to move because we do not want to sit next to them. Otherwise, it is hypocrisy.

Oh, and I love Chabad, even though I am definitely nowhere close to them on the observance spectrum. They do far more for yiddishkeit and jews at large than pretty much any other group

luckyluck

Just to clarify to however is interested. The notion of not passing between 2 women, as quoted in Horayot 13B and Pesachim 111A, is NOT derived from Halacha, but is based on Segula and/or Hanaga. It is therefor questionable if and how it does apply nowadays, and even if it does, it would be only in very specific circumstances. But more importantly, it would not carry the same weight in case of a Chilul Hashem.
עיין בן איש ×—×™ שנה ב’ פרשת פנחס אות ×™×–, לב אליהו בראשית עמ’ כו, ועוד

Joe

Wohoo Dan is now my Rebbi and deal man!! This is AWESOME!!!

simple. idea

Instead of asking ppl to give up isle or window seats, just ask the person in the middle seat behind u or in front of you if they would b willing to switch with you.

Miriam

How did this lovely story turn into Chabad bashing. ??

For shame!

Anonymous

@noturbizniss:

It appears to me that you are the one in need of some guidance. We sometimes have to do things and go places, but who says hashem does not praise those who politely want to limit their nisayon especially on a long flight???

are you being honest with yourself or are you mad at us because you have the same nisayonot

Eli

@Aj3042 :
What the public sees actually DOES have an impact on Halacha.
Have you ever heard of חלול השם?
Or מראית עין?
Or בפרהסיא vs בצנעא?
The fact is that Halacha DOES consider what others will see.
I’m by no means a Rov, nor am I weighing in on the merits of this particular case, rather stating that “Halacha” obviously considers PR, and “Charedi” men making a scene on an airplane… well, that’s obviously bad PR.

U-No-Me

I don’t think I have to bother saying this, but I’ll say it anyways. Open minded to anyone but those that are more sensitive than you in physical matters doesn’t necessarily make one a tzaddik and everyone else wrong. Best wishes.

U-No-Me

Three quick observation:
Tl;dr of the most prominent commenters position: good person > good jew.

The one’s spewing the most virulent hate in the comments here seem to be the open minded segment. Interesting.

I was on many flights when people were unhappy with their seating arrangements for various reasons (usually wanting to sit with a family member or travel partner), and endeavor to switch with others to get their seat of choice. It’s usually not a major deal, as you can normally find a few people that aren’t incredibly particular about which seat they’re in and would like to help another. One of the most disruptive scenes I’ve ever seen involved; you guessed it; a chareidi guy that was distressed with his seatmate and wanted to change. it looked like it was going smoothly, but a concerned citizen noticed the tremendous chilul hashem going on and of course had to be moche. As we’ve seen in the comments on this post, when the one’s seeking to not make scene decide to push their agenda, they can make quite a nasty scene. The guy was almost purple yelling at the chossid that he was a disgrace to Judiasm, holding up the plane, and deserved to be bodily ejected. He insisted that nobody switch seats with the guy, so that he would learn his lesson about being a normal member of society. Eventually the vigilante sat back down in his seat, the chareidi easily found someone to switch with, and the flight continued without further issue. I’m sure you’re proud of the kiddush hashem that person made, by showing that not all Jews are crazy fanatics like that chossid was.

Best wishes.

Dan

@U-No-Me:
You’re completely misconstruing the point and the comments. It’s not hate, it’s constructive criticism for those who request that their seatmate be moved.

Best wishes.

U-No-Me

@Joe:
Which religion?

@mortimer:
Your second statement was revealing on the first.

@Aj3042:
This was an exceedingly inappropriate comment. Exceedingly.

@noturbizniss:
@DT:
Tolerance is wonderful, isn’t it?

@Dan:
Constructive is a matter of opinion. In either case, there are ways to make your point politely, and there are statements that reveal your hand on your true perspective of those with different religious beliefs than one’s own.

All the best.

Dan

@U-No-Me:
I don’t have issues with those that have more chumras than me.
I’ve been made fun of for keeping cholov yisroel, not using an eruv, and for having a full beard, so I’ve been there and done that. “Anyone with fewer chumras than you is frei as the wind and anyone with more chumras is crazy.”

I do have issues when they try to resolve them in a way that makes international headlines, such as requesting that FAs move their seatmate. Let’s do what we can to avoid those headlines.

You’re being overly defensive if you’re reading more than that.

tq

Exceptions prove the rule

Moshe

Agreed that making a scene is wrong. But the lady posting the story how rude can people be. Forget about gender, she has Simeon sit between her and her daughter that would be a big chullel hashem if she would do this to a non Jew.

Dan

@Moshe:
It’s not fair to make her take a middle seat. Would you switch your aisle or window for a middle?

The guy could have gone and asked the people sitting in a middle seat near him to switch if he wanted, but he was clearly OK with the effort he made.

U-No-Me

@Dan:
I’m confident that if it were a chareidi refusing to move to accommodate a non Jewish couple or mother with a child, this article would have a very different tone.

@Dan:

Never in a million years would requesting a seat change warrant international headlines, if it weren’t a religious issue. This has nothing to do with being an indecent human being, and everything to do with being anti religious. Do you really want to join that club?

If you wanted to join the police force, and your beard was an issue, I think it’s unlikely you would back down or walk away from the job in order not to stir up a fuss. I also imagine you wouldn’t take to kindly to a Lakewood blogger urging you to get with the times and shave; and stop making Jews look so uncivilized.

Best wishes.

notme

while this topic is well deserved and I agree with Dan 100%. I would never discuss this in certain shuls. while true, it could upset the ultra frum minority. As Donald Trump says things that are 100% true, they are better left not said as the small % of people will be offended

Moshe

@Dan: @Dan: Assume you fly with your wife would you ever book an isle and window just because non of you like the middle seat. I known you wouldn’t…. It’s a very selfish thing to do.

Dan

@U-No-Me:
1. And you’d be wrong. Most people don’t want to give up their seat. No shock there.

2. Enough with the straw man arguments!
Switching a seat isn’t an issue!
Asking that your seatmate be moved to another seat is an issue!
All of the headlines have been when someone asked that their seatmate be moved.

@notme:
If one person does his homework before a flight or learns something from this post, it will have been worth it.

@Moshe:
Dead wrong!

I literally always book an aisle and window when in coach.
Just last week I booked 2 aisles and 2 windows for us!

In 1 row it stayed empty. In the other row someone came for the middle and we offered the aisle, but that was because the carseat was by the window and I wouldn’t have a stranger sit by the carseat.

Moshe

@Dan: we are Jewish and special we should be leading by good example of being nice and kind to “EVERYONE” (even Chareidi people). What that woman did was very not kind.

Dan

@Moshe:
For all you know she paid extra for an aisle seat. Why would someone give that up on an 11 hour flight?

When I want to switch seats I always ask someone in a totally comparable seat. Had has asked a few people sitting in middle seats he probably would have found someone to switch with.

It’s unfair to assume someone in an aisle will switch with you. It would have been generous if they agreed. But definitely not “very not kind.”

Dovid

@Aj3042:

I am Chabad and I do not agree with Dan. Mainly because of sitting between two women which is a Halachic question.

I personally don’t have an issue sitting next to a woman, and honestly, even without R’ Moshe it’s common sense. I just have to make sure not to touch her.

I do have an issue sitting between 2 women, and in general try not to. I have stood countless times on long subway trips, often learning with an open Gemora in hand instead of sitting between two women or on a seat where I would be touching a woman (unlike a plane, where you can actually squeeze into your own seat as uncomfortable as it is).

It is possible that the guy booked the ticket last minute and wasn’t able to get an isle or window.

It would have been nice for the lady or daughter to move. Then again, it’s Elul, and who am I to judge their reasoning (a point you might be missing).

Of course, he could have also switched with a woman who was sitting between 2 men, but maybe he was too embarrassed to make a scene. The point is that he didn’t make a scene and that’s the Kiddush Hashem everyone is talking about.

It’s funny that I just wrote this whole long comment to explain that Dan does not speak for Chabad, especially since this probably all went right over your head. Then again, it’s Elul, and who am I to judge?

Moshe

@Dan: I guess I was DEAD WRONG about you. Your not a mentch after all

Dan

@Dovid:
Where did I disagree with anything you wrote?
Sounds right to me.

@Moshe:
No, it’s just common sense. Every frequent flyer does the same thing as it increases the odds of having an empty seat.

Personally I switch to the middle if it gets filled, but I don’t blame someone else for not doing that.

If he really wanted to switch he could have found another middle seat to switch with. Clearly he didn’t want to go to those lengths.

Moshe

@Dan: and now we’re up to that place where you will make up I’ll kind of silly and excuses and assumptions just to defend her.

Moshe

@Dan: so I wasn’t dead wrong as you agree that you only book for the chance of it being empty but your a mentch if it gets filled.

Dan

@Moshe:
Personally I’d fly business class on an international flight to avoid that situation, but I have the miles to do that.

I don’t presume to put myself in her shoes. It’s a long flight to be stuck in the middle.

And it is Elul, why judge?

My entire point here has been missed by people being overly defensive.

1. Speak to your Rov about what or isn’t allowed.
2. Do your homework before flying to avoid this situation.
3. Ask others onboard to switch with you rather than try to get your seatmate moved which is what seems to cause all of the headlines. Try to ask others seated in a comparable seat if possible.

Vaitur geforin.

yitz

Dan do you publish these stories just for entertainment when you get bored and want to stir things up? Didnt you learn your lesson from MH370????

Dan

@yitz:
Heh. Amazing how that story became so controversial!
People’s defensive reflexes are a powerful thing.

ok

On an older other note, I recently sat next to a ‘frei’ older woman on the way to TLV. I personally don’t watch movies and try my best not to look at others’ monitors. I am no tzaddik and I chose not to view certain things (because of my religion). It was unfair that the screen right next to me was very very offensive to me. I would rather sit between 2 ladies who would not put these disgusting movies on right next to me.

chaim

These crazy comments would be comical if they weren’t so sad. I think some folk on the Dan need to take a serious chill because there is no reason to pop a vein on this. Dan stated some sensible stuff, nothing mind-blowing or life altering. You can read it, shake your head up-down or left-right and sip a cocktail or a beer if you like.

These guys going back an forth on the same stale points need a check up from the neck up. I am praying right now that I NEVER sit next to one of these fardreit guys leaving comments because it would be far worse than sitting next to two women, dogs, cats or even fish. I would probably strike a match and force a sudden landing…someone stop me now.

Anonymous

@Dov: thanks for the Link!

Moshe

@chaim: Wow the most hatful comment by far.

I only like MY chumrah ; )

@Dan: I think now is the perfect time for the Lev Areyeh chumrah song https://youtu.be/WfFyBqN8kW8

Dovid

@Dan:

Ur right. Gets really confusing with all these comments back and forth.

So to rephrase. Everyone agrees that it’s both best for a man not to sit between two women, as well as to find cheap flights to Israel. The argument is whether we should be pushing our agenda on other people on that flight which somehow has turned into a Chabad bashing fight.

Sums it up? 🙂

Joe1233

All u guys are crazy!! Dan is 100% right!! It’s not left or liberal! Anyone who thinks otherwise got influenced by the chisronos of the yeshivishe mantalaty! Personally I learned in brisk-the real one 🙂 – and have the mallos of the yeshivishe mantalaty, and this is the view of any posek: politely get yourself another seat or don’t do anything at all!!

Anonymous

If you have a hard time flying don’t fly but don’t let your fly get in the way!!!

Chaikel

I’ve spoken to a few poskim, some Yerushalmi, who all said it is assur to make a scene. I’ve had someone who believed it was yaharog val yavor, only to speak to their rav who also said one may not make a scene.

Everyone should contact their own halachic authority, follow what they say, and not pasken for themselves based on the few blatt gemora they once learned.

In truth the stories with scenes are few and far between, making it not believable that a 20 year veteran never encountered this. There are roughly 18 flight per day between TLV and North America. Each plane holding 250-450 passengers, and an average load of about 90%. Probably about 10-20% of these passengers are Chareidi, which boils down to roughly 500 or more PER DAY, 2,500 per week, 10,000 a month. These stories happen a few times per year.

I was discussing this matter with 3 FAs about 2 months ago, and none of them ever had a story (I don’t know how many years they have been on the route, but I’ve bumped into them a number of times over the past 5 years).

Anonymous

To Mike, who posted: “What did the guy in the middle seat want (or expect) for taking his seat like a grown adult and not complaining? A medal?!? Ah, the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
This man did not write this post, and will probably never see it. His seatmate posted it to share the kiddush hashem that was made. And for those of you who bashed the letter writer for not changing her seat, she wrote her reasons for not changing. I was also once asked to change my seat – I was sitting in an extra space seat that I had paid money for and had an empty seat next to me. A man asked me to change with him, he was sitting in a regular seat and I said no. There is nothing wrong to ask someone to switch a seat, the person being asked has the prerogative to decide whether or not to make the change. The problems only arise when someone makes a scene or asks that his/her seatmate be changed. Let’s all try to be cognitive of others and make a Kiddush Hashem wherever we are – whether on a plane, train,bus, or store!! Together we can bring Moshiach.

Anon

Just to get one think straight
People influence with western values don’t understand what means kiddush hashem and chilul hashem, they think that even a goy laughs at you or doesn’t like what you are doing or the way you are dressed that’s chilul hashem and when a jew wins a sports game is a kiddush hashem, that’s where the reform went wrong
Chilul Hashem is when you do something wrong against God and others see, you gotta set straight the Torah values not western values
Some people will call the following chilul hashem too
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/07/07/nyregion/gender-segregated-swimming-cut-back-at-2-public-pools-near-brooklyn-hasidic-areas.html

SAUL GOLDSTEIN

BETTER STORY… two Chassidishe Ruv’s sitting on a bus. One is Ashkenazi. Other is Sfardy. A young woman enters, dressed very immodestly, and sits between them. The Ashkenazi Ruv jumps up, and exits bus at next stop. And he chases the bus, running for 8 stops, until immodest woman exits. He boards the bus, goes straight to the Sfardi Ruv with a question. HOW COULD YOU SIT NEXT TO THIS WOMAN! His reply was, that’s why they call you Ruv… And they call me chacham.
😁

AsherO

@Moshe:

Glad I’m not the only one wondering about this. What kind of mom chooses not to sit next to her daughter while they fly together on a 10 hour flight? Granted the mom might really suffer from claustrophobia, but what kind of daughter prefers the window over her own mom?

@Aj3042:
LM@O, pot calling the kettle black? If Dan’s view of Judaism is myopic, yours is outright blind.

Dan

@ok:
That’s why Gd created eyelids 🙂

@Dovid:
Sounds about right.

@Joe1233:
Apparently being logical is offensive now.

@Chaikel:
Absolutely, everyone should ask their own Rabbi and not make their own decisions.

And I agree that the stories are not nearly as common as the poster indicated, that was one of the reasons I didn’t embed the story and why I wrote “Surely they must be the exception to the rule or else we would hear about them far more often, no?”

@Anonymous:
Bingo, well said.

@Anon:
I didn’t say it was a chillul hashem.
I said asking an FA to have your seatmate moved is a violation of basic menschlichkeit and kavod habriyos.

@AsherO:
Many people find it easier to sleep on the window. And many people hate the middle.
Granted it’s a little funny, but there are plenty of valid reasons for not wanting to switch.

Rav Papa

Islamization of charedism.

Summary Clearified

I’m sure everyone following Daas Torah agrees to the following:

1. Before getting on a flight- every effort must be taken (business class, companion, aisle seat, etc.) to ensure your seating on the plane will not effect your religious standard in any way and by any means.

2. On the plane- if for any reason you found yourself on the plane seated between 2 women, or any situation that is offending your Judaism, you SHOULD try to get YOURSELF seated somewhere else.

3. If you didn’t succeed in getting yourself seated somewhere else, you MAY ask the FA to help replace you.

4. A person has to FULL RIGHT to ask and try to change his seat for whatever reason important to him. For someone the importance is to be seated together with his family members, and for someone the importance is not to risk his ‘Neshama’ during the flight. If someone is trying to change his seat because it is NEXT to a woman, his request should be understood AT LEAST as if someone wanted to change because he want’s to seat next to his child.

5. A person MUST NOT request to move other people around while he wants to remain comfortable in his same seat, specially if the change will move them to a less accommodating seat. However, he may offer an aisle for middle seat, an extra legroom seat for a standard seat, etc.

6. In any case- everything should be asked nice and politely, friendly and gently, and you should know that sometimes you are dealing with people that doesn’t share your values and views, so make sure to act in manner that will only make a ‘Kidush Hashem’.

Does anyone disagree? I don’t get why all the fighting here.

eddiovideo

TO EVERYONE:

It’s NOT right to sit in the middle of 2 women, let alone walk in between 2 stationary women. HALACHA

That being said, I do believe that the “middle man” made a kiddush hashem and should be applauded for his actions.

A person can ask politely other people in midlle seats to switch, most people would gladly switch.

It is ASSUR to ask others to switch for his beliefs. Who are you to impress your religion on others!? totally ridiculous!!!

Mendel

@Anon: Chillul Hashem means causing the opposite of Kvod Shamayim. When you cause people to have less respect for Hashem and his Torah, that’s Chillul Hashem.

Anon

@Mendel: So if the goy doesn’t like how we slaughter animals and therby he has less respect to hashem that’s called chilul hashem?
Don’t get me wrong you gotaa be a mentch but that’s not what kiddush hashem is all about

Mendel

@Anon: That’s one good reason not to to shechita in middle of the street (or on an airplane full of people).

Mark

@Shloimy:

I don’t know about this flight attendant, but I’m Platinum on Delta so I fly to EY a lot, and I’ve sat next to women more times than I can count and I’m as Charedi as they come. I’ve seen requests for seat switches, but it is the exception, not the norm. Something about this entire doesn’t ring right.

Avrum

Yesterday I came back from TLV with ELAL and I find out in the plane that my seat is between 2 women and I ask the flight attendant if he can change me a seat, and he told me sure just wait hear on the side, I was waiting for an half hour and the doors was closed and then came to me the manager on the flight and scream on me why i’m not seating, so i tell her I’m waiting here for a half hour for the flight attendant to find me a seat, she was got nerves and scream on me “SIT DOWN NOW ” and then she took the speaker phone and says WE CAN’T DEPORT SINCE SOME ONE DON’T ONE TO SIT DOWN….. so I see I don’t have another choice so I sit down on my seat ………………………..

Yona

@Avrum
I had exactly the same story on ELAL few years ago. I tried kindly to change with other surrounding middle seats but all the people there started shouting at me. I sensed it was some kind of L’hachis. But when the flight manager came screaming at me I told him calmly that if they want I’m ready to get off the plane, I was willing to do that for my own convenience which i was not ready to give up for a 12 hour flight. Within a minute I was taken down the plane straight to an empty aisle seat…

Moshe G

It is not hard rule that moving you seatmate is always wrong. I once flew with my wife and baby and we weren’t seated together. We both had back seats so it would be really hard to get someone to switch. The FA offered my seatmate and economy plus seat in order toI accommodate us. The point is I think it’s not a big deal to ask your seatmate to move if it can be done in a nice way that doesn’t effect their comfortability.

Marc

I am not Jewish. But, I will say that you guys are out of control here. Does anyone have the ability to be an adult and just let this go and stop insisting on proving their own righteousness?

U-No-Me

@Avrum:
You stinking selfish hareidi. You’re a disgrace to Judaism and humanity. You’re one of the smelly rotten apples that prevents mashiach from coming. If you really have these stupid religious fanatic beliefs, buy yourself a row in business class, or stay home and spare us from the like of you. I’m glad the flight attendant and manager took control and knocked some sense into you. Honestly, humiliation and force is the only thing that works with uncivilized savages like you. I’m sure there will be a post congratulating the manager on the kiddush hashem she made by showing that not everyone puts up with your garbage. I’m shaking my head and cringing in disgust at the thought of you. You truly are the scum of the earth.

(Just paraphrasing the comments above.)

Igor 770

Dan, the way it is usually done, by all sorts and levels of Yidden, is politely. That stuff does not make the news. One crazy person does something stupid, don’t tar all “fanatic” Jews with that brush.

Thanks!

Anonymous

@Mendel:

huh? first of all i never heard it was problem to do schechita in public

second, so we should shake nashims’ hands in public if it might cause people to have less respect for the Torah if we dont? are you serious?

Dan

@Summary Clearified:
Because people like to take offense at things that were never said.

@Anon:
Shechita is a commandment.
Asking an FA to move the person next to you isn’t. You can follow halacha and be mencshlich.

@Mark:
Sounds right to me.
It’s just not often that a story like this comes out.

@Avrum:
Next time just politely ask people in comparable seats around you if they wouldn’t mind switching.

@Moshe G:
It is a big deal almost always. Really should only be a last resort.

@U-No-Me:
Nobody said that. But nice straw man argument.

@Igor 770:
Of course.
Nobody is tarring anyone. Just advising what to do and what not to do.

@Anonymous:
AYLOR. What is the point in debating it here?

BillyBeinu

Forgive my ignorance, but where is it stated in Halacha that sitting between two women is assur?

Dan

@BillyBeinu:
It’s a moot point.
Ask your Rabbi what the halacha is and if he says that it’s now allowed be sure to ask how far you need to go to avoid it.

It really shouldn’t be hard to get an aisle seat in advance. Maybe it will cost a little extra to reserve, but surely that would be worthwhile if you were instructed to avoid that situation.

Eliezer

I, too, cringed when flying back from Israel, and a chassidishe Yiddishe from Williamsburg switched seats with the chiloni person sitting next to me. The whole trip, especially when the stewardesses provided food service, he was very assertive with the stewardess to make sure that he got his mehadrin kosher meal, which was earmarked for his original seat.
I really think El Al should be firmer with all the lunatics who refuse to sit next to a woman.

Avrum

@U-No-Me:

Thank you so much

BillyBeinu

@Dan:
This is a topic that has generated 135+ comments and I’m curious to know the source of the Halachos being discussed. Is there something wrong with that?

Dan

@Eliezer:
If it was done politely and quietly as a simple request to swap seats for a similar seat I don’t have an issue.

@BillyBeinu:
Wrong? No.
It’s just not the proper forum for getting answers to complicated halachic questions.

Anonymous

@Eliezer: seriously. What is your problem?? I’ll tell you, your head if spinning from hate, obviously . Why does it bother you that he changed seats with someone who was willing to change. Even further what kind of gesheft do you have with his meal.

mh

Dan:

You know I have gotten into it with you before when I did not agree with something Strongly.

Now I have to commend you since I feel strongly about this.

Youre article is excellent & as a matter of fact – totally belongs on this blog.

This is a travel blog first & foremost & therefore any flight experience is covered both bad & good.

As an aside, I have no idea why El-Al from an Airline standpoint puts up with this:

Would Charedim ever do this on Delta or United! Same thing here.

Would a Chareidi go into Telaviv & demand a separtate busline.

This is a public airline & as an accomadation they serve Glatt food & make changes to seats if requested & it seems even if they are demanded too.

I think they should put out a notice that they will not tolerate these demands anymore as a functioning Airline.

Also, My wife was traveling alone & mysteriously she was bumped up to Business class 😉

My gut tells me its because they probably needed groups of seats to accomadate all of the sating requirements. I was very happy for my wife but its ridiculous that everyone coming on feels they have a right to demand seats.

Thanks for letting me vent on this

mh

@BillyBeinu – Most people are missing the point – even if its straight out the biggest Issur Deoraisa & Yahrog val Yaavor!!!

The burden is upon the transgresse to do something else:
1) Business class
2) don’t fly – leave plane or do not fly
3) offer money to someone to change (a novel Idea!)
.
Most certainly do not demand & place your Halachik issues onto another person who is doing nothing to cause you to sin.

Maybe I should go to mixed beach in Israel & demand everyone move/cover up!

schwartzberg

@U-No-Me: western values

mh

They should get their own airline like the bus routes!!

I took a monsey Bus & sat on the right side – even though it was terrible – sun shining in the whole time on that side & I wanted to move to the womens side which was mostly separate.

From a legal standpoint I would have been oK.

But I respect the fact that they hae this Bus line & I will not do my own thing. exact same thing over here on the opposite spectrum

Fraidy

i hear you and what you said about not making a scene. I think that’s it’s very important for frum people to always act in a way that makes a chill up hashem and not Chad vshalom a chillul hashem. But really? There’s other ways to go about in keeping stringencies with a little bit of common sense. This guy could easily have asked a flight attendant or somone else to switch his seat. It obviously should be done in a peaceful way but what makes this story so amazing. While you personally don’t think it’s a big deal to sit next to women there are some people that do. And It’s not your job to judge but to be respectful that there are some people that are on a higher level than you. There’s nothing ring with asking a flight attendant to switch your seat. Also not everyone has enough money (or miles) to book two seats or upgrade to first class. Let’s not be judgmental please.

MIMB

Dan- just wanted to thank you for trying to talk some sense into the radicals. It is of course important to uphold one’s religious stringencies however it needs to be done in a respectful way; which is exactly what you are saying. It pains me when I see more and more articles pop up online about disturbances being caused by individuals that refuse to cooperate. Unfortunately it’s clear thru many of the comments that some people do not care for others and use any means necessary to get the seat they want

MIMB

Dan- just wanted to thank you for trying to talk some sense into the radicals. It is of course important to uphold one’s religious stringencies however it needs to be done in a respectful way; which is exactly what you are saying. It pains me when I see more and more articles pop up online about disturbances being caused by individuals that refuse to cooperate. Unfortunately it’s clear thru many of the comments that some people do not care for others and use any means necessary to get the seat they want.

Anonymous

@Anonymous: There is a problem to do ANYTHING which causes the opposite of Kvod Shamayim. Period.

Sometimes there is no choice, like when the other option is doing an Aveirah, or not fulfilling a Chiyuv.

So, for example, if Torah obligates you to fly (for example, if there is someone very sick and you are the only doctor within flying distance), and you are given a seat between two women, and your rov paskened that it’s a clear cut issur without any room for leniency, and you asked every single passenger if they agree to switch places with you and they all refused – then you can remove your neighbor from her seat, possibly even by force if needed.

In any other case, if you are sure that it’s clearly ossur to sit between two women, and you cannot find another solution without causing Chillul Kvod Shamayim, simply get out of the plane. There is no issur in that.

Chaya

I have flown multiple times to Israel and have seen the scene over and over again. Chareidi guy tries to find himself a new seat, sometimes he asks a woman if she minds switching seats so that he can sit near his friend, he helps her move her bag and thanks her…highly appropriate and respectful. I have been told that both men and women have an obligation to avoid being seated near the opposite gender. Please don’t put down what I consider my halachic obligations to be, if I can do it respectfully. And btw, as a woman, I totally prefer being seated next to a woman, just for comfort purposes. I cant imagine im the only one

Yona

Correct. Man and woman have both the same obligation to avoid being seated near the opposite gender. Also the issue of sitting BETWEEN 2 women, is exactly the same in the opposite direction, a woman between 2 men. There is no difference if the man is in between or the woman, and the obligation is the same for both genders.

I have no idea why all the comments here are blaming the men, I watched many times such a story in the opposite direction, a woman trading seats because she found herself sitting between 2 men.

(BTW, the mother and daughter from that story, they had the same obligation (If they are following the Halacha) as that person sitting in the middle to try to avoid sitting like this, they would have had to ask him to change exactly as he asked them, not talking about their refusal.)

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