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Bais HaVaad on the Parsha, Parshas Mikeitz

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Excerpted and adapted from a shiur by Dayan Yaakov Rappaport

December 14, 2023


The Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 148:5) says that on the holiday of an idol (yom eidam), one may neither send a gift to nor accept one from someone who celebrates it. If someone being offered a gift is concerned about eivah, he may accept it and later dispose of it.[2] The Shulchan Aruch also says (Y.D. 148:8) that if the giver celebrates the holiday only due to the influence of the culture and not as a believer, one may send him a gift.

The Shulchan Aruch says (Y.D. 148:9) one may not go out of his way to greet an idolater on his holiday, but he may offer a greeting if he encounters him on the street. Many even allow him to say “happy holidays.” The Shulchan Aruch says (Y.D. 147:2) that one may say the name of the holiday, but he should pronounce it a bit differently from the way believers do (e.g., “Kreitzmach”) so as not to accord it respect.

R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe E.H. 2:13) writes that it is best not hold a bar mitzvah celebration or wedding on the holiday due to mar’is ayin. He also says (Y.D. 3:85) that schools should not give the day off, even though it would allow parents who also have the day off to spend time with their children.

[1] The Rama (O.C. 156:1) writes that one may form a partnership with a Christian, because believing in Christianity does not constitute avodah zarah. But the Noda Bihudah explains that the Rama holds that Christianity is in fact avodah zarah, and what he meant is that although a business partnership could result in a dispute in which the partner will swear by his god, the Jew does not violate an issur thereby, because a non-Jew is not prohibited from swearing with shituf (by the true G-d and also by a false god).

[2] The Rama (Y.D. 148:12) offers additional leniencies in cases of eivah, especially because some Rishonim maintain that today’s idolaters are not considered ovdei avodah zarah.



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