Appearing To Not Uphold the Torah (Mar'it Ayin)

You may not do any action that may cause religious Jews to do something wrong or cause people to think that an observant Jew is doing something forbidden (mar'it ayin). Mar'it ayin is doing something that might lead people to:
  • Violate a Torah law by thinking that an observed action that is permissible under special circumstances may be applied to other cases, or
  • Think that the person doing the action is violating Torah law (since the observer might not know that the action is actually permissible).
Example When a Jew wears a yarmulke and eats raw, kosher vegetables in a non-kosher restaurant, someone who did not know that only kosher food was being eaten might think that:
  • All of the food in that restaurant is kosher, or
  • The Jew was doing something forbidden (and think badly of the Jew).
If no one can see you, you may do activities that might look like violations of rabbinic laws. If the action is forbidden by the Torah (d'oraita), you may not even do it in private (but you may not actually violate either type of law!).
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I just read this halacha, Appearing To Not Uphold the Torah (Mar'it Ayin), at www.practicalhalacha.com. I think you will find it very interesting.