When and how can women greet men?
Q. I taught my students the Sicha about shlomis bas divri – how she greeted and spoke to everybody. We know that a woman isn’t allowed to greet a man, what are the exact halachos? What about family/family friends? Can the students say good morning to the security guard out of mentchlichkait? What if it is someone respectable?
A. A man or woman may not create closeness קירוב הדעת וידידות with a man through asking how the other is doing and other types of indirect affection.
However, one may say ‘Hello’ or ‘good morning’ since this is generally interpreted as a form of ‘social norms’ which is not showing even indirect affection.
Nonetheless one should always be aware of the issue to ensure that no problems ever ensue. The Yam Shel Shlomo (Kiddushin 4:25) writes that a man, depending on his inclination and how he knows himself, can weigh how he should speak with women.
The laws of tznius conduct applies also to family (and friends) with the exclusion of siblings, parents and grandparents.
Sources: Shulchan Aruch Even Haezer 21:6; Aruch Hashulchan 21:8. Minchas Yitzchak 8:126.
Q. I see, so there isn’t a problem for a woman to just say gut shabbos to every man in the street? if it’s in an eidel way? I remember learning that she shouldn’t be the first one to greet, is that incorrect?
A. The intention was not that a woman should go out of her way to greet men, rather as you asked – may one say “hello” to someone like a security guard etc.. when there would otherwise be a feeling of awkwardness.
Many Poskim (as previously quoted) explain that when the “hello” or “good morning” or “thank you” is just to avoid otherwise awkwardness, there is no prohibition.
That is far from suggesting that women should “say gut Shabbos to every man in the street”.
One needs to use their proper judgment when it is better to say “hello” than not to say anything.
There can also be a difference between the “crowd” and the “places”, ודי למבין.
Q. My students are asking about an uncle – are they allowed to greet him? Are they allowed to have conversations with them (young uncles) and cousins their same age? What are the halachos I can tell them about interacting with them?
A. See here: