Friday, October 16, 2009

Erev Shabbos #21- Guest Shabbos

As you can probably see from the title, I'm having guests for Shabbos. Now, I'm not a newlywed, persay, in the manner that I've never had guests before. I'm used to having guests, no matter the week, and I usually cook for about 5-6, even if it is just me, Mr. NMF and NBD. (We eat the leftovers throughout the week if no one shows up unexpectedly.)

But, when I first got married, I heard about the interesting idea that a young couple should not have another young couple as guests. This was rather intriguing, so I probed more.

It seems that if a young couple hosts, they may end up comparing their spouses to the others at the table, which may be a lack of tznius. It also is slightly uncomfortable- if you are a newlywed, possibly your husband/wife has not had too many conversations with one of the other gender, and may feel slightly uncomfortable chatting freely.

I didn't feel it was such a big deal at first, but there are those who have this sensitivity. So, I didn't end up inviting couples so much in the beginning of my marriage.

Now, since I've been married for a while, and I have a little one, slowly but surely, those couples are coming for meals, including this Shabbos.

It's rather nice, actually- since you usually have a lot in common with people of your own age group and life stage. And, it makes for a very welcome and interesting Shabbos meal.

So, welcome, guests, and I'm so very glad you could make it for Shabbos.
Gut Shabbos everyone!


itsagift said...

Have a good shabbos!
And I think it's totally different to have a couple over once you have a baby...I totally agree with you!

Gavi said...

I don't think it's necessarily because of tznius - we in the litvishe velt work in the rema's world, where we have mixed seating at the shabbos table.

I think that young couples (definitely in shana rishona) shoud not have too many people sleeping over, but I don't think that having guests for meals is necessarily problematic.

Gavi said...

correction: I meant the levush, not the rema.

nmf #7 said...

Itsagift- Thanks! It went well...
And yeah- but what does NBD add to the Shabbos that I didn't have before her birth? A family now less focused on talking and more focused on getting the food 'into the ma'ahle'?

Gavi- Okay, so mixed seating, fine. But, what if you're alone at a table with you, your wife, and another couple. Sitting opposite each other. At a small table. You don't think there is any tznius problems in that?

itsagift said...

There is a certain distraction once you have a child that you may not have had before and so it makes it more comfortable to have a couple over. Also, if they are a newly married couple (assuming they are coming without any children), chances are they are still in the 'newly' stages of marriage, when there many be more chances for comparison because everything is fresh and new...of course people are always comparing and they may never stop, but I feel it's more in the beginning that people are sooo busy with "my husband/wife does this/that, my husband/wife loves... or would never..."

Gavi said...

No, I don't think that there is any tznius problem, in and of itself, in two couples sitting together. If it were a halachic problem, we would have to pasken like the rema. Granted, the chassidim do, but we litvish, and the yekkim, do not. Rav Breuer once said that mixed seating is "mitzvah goreres mitzvah."

[For an extensive discussion, see the infamous shi'ur by Rav Aharon Rakeffet - I can e-mail you a transcript if you wish.]

Truth be told, most of the inappropriate (i.e. non-tznius) behaviour that I have witnessed in couples' situations is not due to the fact that there are young couples present per se, but that people does not understand hilchos tznius as they pertain to speech and actions (let alone those that pertain to dress). Namely, there are certain topics that should not be spoken about in public, and certain things that one is not allowed to do.

I think that if people work on themselves to raise the level of dignity and propriety on the whole, then having shabbos meals with two young couples will be less of a problem. Treat the cause, not the symptoms.

[Full disclosure: we had other young couples over in shana rishona. Six years later, I still think we did the right thing.]

You know, one of the yungerleit in yeshiva used to be very strict to call the other men's wives by their married last name (e.g. Mrs. so-and-so). My wife is strict to never be in a situation that is not technically yichud but still feels wrong (e.g. ba'alah ba'ir). And so on...

These are most likely good ideas. There is an excellent shi'ur by Rav Mordechai Willig about practical applications of such halachos - I can link to it if you wish.