The Matzav Shmoooze: Don’t Say Cheese and Violate Halacha


picture cameraDear Matzav,

I am writing this letter to about a matter that I have yet to see addressed: the prevalence of pictures of chassanim and kallahs being posted online where the people in the picture are clearly touching each other in violation of halacha.

It would seem strange that people would post photos of themselves violating halacha, right after their engagement no less.

The halacha is clear, as most Matzav readers surely know, but I double checked with a noted rov just to be safe before writing this letter. There is no hetter for chassanim and kallahs to make contact, especially when it is in the fashion seen in many, if not most, engagement photos online. It is not incidental. It is shameful. It is embarrassing.

Whether sites should be posting such photos is one issue. What I wonder about is why the people themselves, the chassanim and kallahs, don’t realize how embarrassing it is for them to be putting their ignorance and stupidity on display for all to see. Would someone post a photo of themselves eating treif or being mechallel Shabbos? I am obviously only using these scenarios as examples, but it should give us an idea of how people view a newly-engaged boy and girl who violate the issur of negiah and then have pictures taken of themselves that way.

Where’s the chinuch? Where are the parents? What’s wrong with these people? Pardon my bluntness, but where are the brains?

Matzav readers, it’s time to say ad kan. If a chosson and kallah choose to violate halacha, that is an issue that should be addressed, but surely, most definitely, we should not be complicit in publicizing their ignorance, unawareness or plain foolishness.


A Concerned Jew
Brooklyn, NY

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  1. It’s equally as troubling to see chassonim and kallos walk hand in hand after the chuppah, something they’ll never ever do in public for the rest of their lives.

  2. An excellent letter. People honestly need to be jolted.

    Unless we go further though, I don’t see how you effect anything.

    I had a Rebbi in Yeshivah talk about how picture taking is an Eisavdike thing. Creating a past to dwell on, dwelling on the past is the emotional crutch of Edom. They mourn old age, because they spend all their time recalling their younger years.

    Eisav lives his life like he is writing a memorial for himself, something to be remembered by, his focus is all on this world not the next.
    The Frum world is highly Eisvadike now. Living for the moment, going from emotional shot in the arm to emotional high. Limping along looking for another emotional fix, this is the religion of Christianity. Singing songs, reading words that sound pleasing to the ear regardless of depth or content!

    Pictures themselves are a silent topic. At the advent of photography the Rabbanim of the time, some ruled you can only be photographed shoulders and head, so said not your whole guf. And about photographing women! A violation of: “do not placing a stumbling block”, and that women who pose for photos violate a Torah commandment! (pictures took a while to take, one had to pose)

    We are far more Eisavdike now than we are Yaakov. Lots of teshuva to do, and vast gaping silence from the Rabbanim, who claim we don’t listen to them or wont. Well I for one don’t hear you at all!

    Eisav was very concerned about appearances, looking respectable. Right tie, right hat, right guy right girl. right hall, right Shul, right simchas. Right eruv, right neighbourhood! Right devar Torah speech! Eisav was a frum yid and don’t forget that! He asked about tithing salt! He made the “right” sheilot!

  3. I don’t understand…are they following halacha the rest of their lives, EXCEPT when taking the picture? Or are they just doing what they normally do? If they’re always touching, then the problem is THEIR chinuch, more than just when taking pictures. And if normally they don’t do anything wrong, and they’re just doing something wrong when taking the photos, well, I don’t believe it.

  4. you are absolutely right & i couldn’t agree with you more.

    now i would like to welcome you to the new generation of the corrupted human mind,where the person-adult or child-convinces himself that whatever s/he is doing is honest & righteous etc…. (what do you believe toaiva marriage just became TOTALLY normal in the USA & there is nothing for a person to be embarrassed about in front of all his friends if he is gay) there’s nothing for me to be embarrassed about in today’s generation if i am dishonest & corrupt cause its tragically normal R”L “”KI MALEI HA’ARETZ CHAMAS”‘

    i am ashamed to be living in such a generation.

    a Psychologist & therapist

  5. Halevai these people would listen to these words of Mussar.
    See Yaaros D’vash where Rav Yonasan Eibshitz laments at length about the same problem in his days…

  6. You are 100% correct both Halachakilly and Hashkofo wise Tizku Lmitzvos! What about the extremely tight pants that many bochurim wear today?! It’s disgusting and a total lack of tznius!

  7. Unfortunately, many graduates of of the more modern schools do not realize the severity of this problem.
    The teachers should perhaps emphasize it more and explain the beauty of the halachos rather than the restrictive nature of it.

  8. Was wondering why you Mr Baal Halacha looks at pictures of Chassanim and Kallahs online? Did you speak to your Rov about that also? Or did you forget to discuss that point?

    Looking at inappropriate pictures online is not something they’re worried about, when it’s a “severe” spiritual danger”
    Get your head checked and set your priorities straight. As the משנה states: קשוט עצמך ואח״כ קשוט אחרים. Don’t work on issues you feel others have when you have your own issues to deal with.
    Stick to and you won’t have these brilliant הערות.

  9. @Mordy (comment 1) there is a minhag to hold the kallah’s hand from the chuppah to the yichud room even though it is in public (at my chasunah my Rosh Yeshiva specifically told me immediately after the chuppah to “nem the kallah by the hent un gei”)

  10. As for Chasanim & Kallas walking hand in hand after the Chupa – there are Halachic reasons to do so (not accepted by all, but this in the minhag in many Chasidic circles), as the Choson is now bringing his wife into his house (the Yichud room), and is part of the act of Nisuin

  11. You’re 100% correct but please realize that as strange as it sounds, it’s accepted minhag by many chassidim and also by many Ashkenazim for the chosson and kallah to hold hands while walking from the chuppa to the yichud room, to demonstrate publicly that they are married. Even though they will never again do so publicly!

  12. Those bashing the fact that the author is looking at these pictures in the first place are simply circumventing the issue at hand. This is a serious issue which has been brought to light- THANK the author for caring about the children of Klal Yisroel instead of pointing out pointless points!!!!

  13. Even among chassidim, what about the cases (few though they might be) of those who are embarrassed because they can’t hold hands?

  14. With the few such engagement pictures that I have seen, I though that the couple only looked like they are against each other, but that you can’t tell in a two dimensional picture.

  15. I write this post with a pain in my heart and a tear in my eye. I especially want to wake up poster #11 This problem has zero to do with modern or the type of upbringing. This problem has crept into those with chasidese upbringing too. In my family I have close relatives who are part of this crowd. They aren’t called at risk or otd any more. Now they are called tuna bagels or with it or rolly pollys. The difference between these kids and the otd groups was the otd kids often weren’t looked upon as frum. These kids consider themselves frum. The other big difference between this crowd and otd kids is the otd kids for the most part were rebelling These kids Im talking about aren’t rebelling in the same way. These kids look at the Torah as a suggestion book and why is this because from when they are young they hear all kinds of confusing statements in halacha. Now me and you (whoever you are) know there is a machlokes in almost every halacha you have pick your posek. These kids don’t want to be confused with the facts. They pick their rav but it’s the one who is the most lenient or they justify themselves that someone out there says that what they are doing can be condoned. So this can be with something as serious as nigia or making mezonos on real bread everything is a mere suggestion. Hashem should guide us them on the correct path.

  16. oy
    lets be dan lecaf zechus
    1. many of the chassanim and kallos dont put their pics up but others who get hold of the pictures post them
    2. if they are standing next to each other and one is standing slightly in front of the other it will look like they are touching when they are not
    3. those that are touching may not know enough and we should teach them instead of bash them
    and I am being dan lecaf zechus on the writer that he never looks at these and he only heard about it so he doesnt know that many arent touching and those that are may not know

  17. Finally someone who has his head screwed on right! One website posts all photos without censoring, and another site adds all kinds of video clips. If they want to run an un-tzinusdik website, it’s their free choice. Until the Sanhedrin is reinstated there’s no way of assuring that Halacha and common sense are the guidelines for website editors. But please..don’t call these sites Jewish. This is misleading and cause people to surf (at least once until they see that it is improper). So figure out some other catchy name, or add a disclaimer.
    Thanks again to the writer who addressed a new insensitivity that is plaguing us.
    U’measaymim b’tov: may we have many more simchas, the kind that The Aibishter will feel at home participating.

  18. THANK you to the author.This has greatly been bothering me for a while.
    Possibly it was my naivete,but one assumed the ‘frum’ young couples kept the basics of negi’a,Kalv’chomer with a niddah.

    And shamelessly in public?!!