Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Chassid In The Workplace Asks For Advice - Part 2

(Painting by P. Driessen)

Received via e-mail from a reader:

People in my office are passing around a card and collecting money to purchase a wedding gift for our boss. Knowing that my non-Jewish boss is getting married to a Jewish woman creates a real dilemma for me. If I sign the card and contribute money for his wedding gift could this be interpreted to mean that I agree with intermarriage?

On the other hand, if I don't contribute is it possible that co-workers will not understand my rationale and view my actions as the actions of a stingy, intolerant Jew and thereby create a chillul Hashem?


At April 30, 2009 at 5:40:00 AM EDT, Blogger Ploni Almoni said...

Hopefully a Rov is reading this because this is really a question for a Rov.

At April 30, 2009 at 5:55:00 AM EDT, Blogger micha berger said...

I was once put in a worse pickle. I was in a small firm, everyone friends with everyone. One of the developers was a Russian Jew who was in the US via Israel. Our lawyer / office manager was an Italian Catholic. They were living together, and decided to get married in city hall. And asked me to be the witness at their wedding.

So, I went to my rav, thinking I was asking him for ideas on how to bow out gracefully.

HOWEVER, he said I could do it, and if I had any chance of keeping up a friendship with the groom I *should* do it, rather than his losing his one contact with Orthodoxy.

The reasoning:
They're living together anyway, the civil marriage doesn't change anything much. In fact, 5 years later they aren't all that more likely to still be together because of the piece of paper.

Second, people know that Yahadus considers intermarriage wrong. I'm not "making a statement" that it's okay in my eyes, and since we were such good pals, there were even polite ways to say "G'luck, but I really wish it would have been a Jewish girl."

Boy did that pesaq TOTALLY SHOCK me.

Your case is even easier, as a name on a card with all your co workers isn't particularly noticed. It's only the absence that would stick in people's heads.

Now, as Paul Harvey would have said, "for the rest of the story"... So I got to the courthouse, and there were just the couple, me and Mr. and Mrs. "Stellano", the bride's parents. So while the couple was dealing with paperwork, I chatted with the Stellanos. The Mrs noted my yarmulka and mentioned that commented on the contrast between this wedding and when she converted to Christianity to marry her husband.

(I bet you saw that coming from the beginning of the paragraph. Otherwise, what "rest of the story" could there have been?)


At April 30, 2009 at 10:17:00 AM EDT, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

What a story, R' Micha!

(Can I ask who the Rav was? I am always happy to hear of rabbabim who use the 5th chelek of Shulchan Aruch for possible future use)

At April 30, 2009 at 11:27:00 AM EDT, Blogger micha berger said...

I can't share a private ruling in public without asking the rabbi first. You can email me privately. (My name below is a mailto link.)


At April 30, 2009 at 2:47:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic story micha. Btw ASJ my first thought before loading the comments was "ask a rov". But after reading micha's story i think you should sign the card and give money. Since the children will be jewish you can offer advice (when appropriate of course) about things like sending the kids to jewish school or getting in touch with a kehilla ect... and of course always being warm and welcoming to the wife when she visits the office.

At May 4, 2009 at 11:22:00 AM EDT, Blogger Shmerl said...

Great story Reb Micha!

At May 4, 2009 at 5:25:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catch 22, if we ignore it and take part with gifts or in person does that not make the whole idea not intermarrying cheep for ourselves do we not say the "The Buck Stops Here" and if not whats the limit?

People see a yamerka understand that we don't accept everything

micha story had a good ending but he did ask a Rov, if we believe that we need to ask. can we ourselves compare


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