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May 30, 2022

Interesting Psak: the 10km Chilul Hashem

The Local Council of Kiryat Arba - Hebron is running a race tomorrow, May 31, 2022, in Kiryat Arba.

As you can see there will be separate starting times for men and for women for the same events - 6:30pm for the 10km for men, and 6:40 for women. 6:45 start for the 5km mens race and 6:50 for the women's 5km race. then 7-7:15 for the family 2km races. And some other activities.

Srugim is reporting that somebody asked Rav Tzvi Tau, Rosh Yeshiva of Har HaMor, if it is ok to participate in this race/event.

Rav Tau responded paskening that it is a chilul hashem to participate in such an event of men and women running together, and with women running in front of men and it is prohibited to participate in such an event, even in the "kosher" parts of it (ie in gender-separate tracks).

Rav Tau added that when women run in front of Arabs it is even worse than running in front of Jewish men as it is also a chilul hashem.

They both are a chilul hashem in his opinion, so I am not sure why one is worse than the other (as is mentioned) and he does not seem to explain, at least not in the article. I also recently heard a shiur on tzniyus and it seems that women causing "improper thoughts" by not dressing modestly is worse when it is Jewish men and might not even be a halachic problem when it is not-Jewish men as they are not commanded in the idea of avoiding improper thoughts, so the woman is not even causing them to falter. 

Additionally, Rav Tau calls it a chilul hashem rather than a halachic breach of tzniyus, which makes me wonder why he uses a generic issue like that rather than the halachos of tzniyus, unless maybe he doesnt think they actually apply directly.

I have seen the occasional race that tries to address the tzniyus issue by having separate routes for men and for women in addition to the separate start times. I wonder if that would be more acceptable to Rav Tau. Even with the different start times, with a gap of just ten minutes it seems the slower men might still be running behind the faster women.....

If Rav Tau is your rav, you might want to adjust your plans for tomorrow evening....

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