Shabbat Parashat Ki Tavo| 5770
Hemdat HaDaf Hayomi: Mar'it Ayin (Avodah Zarah 12a)Rav Ofer Livnat
Elul 12-18, Avodah Zarah 8-14
However, this principle regarding mari't ayin is a matter of dispute. The Mishna in Masechet Shabbat (146b) states that one is not allowed to lay out wet clothes to dry on Shabbat, because it will appear as though one did laundry on Shabbat. The Gemara quotes a dispute between the Tana'im regarding whether it is permitted to lay out the clothes in a place where people can't see. The dispute is whether things that are prohibited because of mar'it ayin are prohibited even when other people are not present.
The Rishonim disagree as to how to rule. The
A few resolutions were offered against the proofs of Rav Nissim Gaon. The Ran (Beitza 5a in the pages of the
The Tosafot (Ketuvot 60a d"h mema'achan) differentiate in a different fashion. If the concern is that it will appear that one is doing something prohibited by the Torah, then one may not do it even if he will not be seen. However, if the concern is only that it will appear as if he is doing something prohibited by the Sages, then it is not prohibited if others cannot see.
Summary and Ruling:
The Mechaber (Orach Chaim 301, 45) rules that anything prohibited because of mar'it ayin, is prohibited even if no one will see him do it. The Mishna Berurah (165) rules leniently like the Tosafot, that if the mar'it ayin is of a rabbinic prohibition, it is permitted if done privately.
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