I was walking in Times Square a few months back and I saw a happy Chassidish couple holding hands and it brought joy to my heart. I have heard so many stories of arranged marriages, people not finding love, and all sorts of horrors from the ultra orthodox world, that seeing a couple publicly showing affection made me genuinely happy.
I understand that there are halachos concerning public affection, I know that there are certain laws preventing married folks from public displays of affection due to niddah purposes, so no one should know when the couple is getting nasty or not. I myself have issues with downright public displays of affection. Sometimes it become a bit much and sometimes it’s super cute and gives me some sort of faith in the true love, everlasting marriages and deep passion which is nice to see amongst frum Jews because you so rarely see it.
Sometimes people take public affection to a new level. My friend who is a campus chabad rabbi told me the story of this couple that would show up to the chabad house and make out in public on their couch. It bothered him, but he really didn’t know how to approach them. He finally approached the boy who had grown up modern orthodox and tried to talk him out of his sexual escapades on the couch in front of everyone, he had no idea what he was doing wrong – I find that hard to believe – but the story has a happy ending, the couple is married and frum now, and the girl one time told the rabbi that, had he said anything to her she would have never become religious.
What I really wanted to talk about was public sexual touching that people think is inconspicuous. I was at a meal recently and there was a couple that was touching in ways that shouldn’t be done in public, but I guess they felt no one was looking. Like when we were standing for Kiddush and the guy was touching his wife’s butt and people could see. When they were sitting on the couch, her hand was on his inner thigh and they weren’t making swears – it was all plain to see, but I guess they felt it was cool, which I don’t think it was. Besides the fact that these were frum Jews, blatant sexual touching in public is wrong in my mind especially in front of kids.
Then again, I think its healthy for kids to understand the husband and wife bond, love and friendship. Yes, I think that the husband kissing his wife in front of the kids is healthy – as long as he doesn’t start sucking tongue with them there.
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