Halachic Hazards Encyclopedia Letter R

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Letter R


Five things were said regarding a rabid dog: 1) It has an open mouth. 2) Saliva drools out from his mouth. 3) His ears have a bad scent. 4) Its tail rests on its thigh. 5) It walks by the side of the rode.

Seeing dogs in water:[2] A person who was bitten by a rabid dog will see rabid dogs in the reflection of water and urine, and hence he is not to be shown water at all. 


A. Not to stare excessively at a rainbow:[3] [Talmud/Shulchan Aruch]

It is forbidden for one to stare excessively at a rainbow. [However, it is permitted to gaze at it without an intense stare or prolonged contemplation.[4] The rainbow corresponds to the Shechinah, and hence one who looks at it is considered to be looking at the Shechinah.[5] The Talmud states that one who looks at it excessively is considered to not care for the honor of His Maker, and it is thus befitting for him to not have come into the world.[6] Likewise, one who does so causes his eyesight to weaken.[7] The Zohar[8] states that there are Kelipos which surround the rainbow and try to darken its light, thus explaining another reason for why it should not be looked it.]


Q&A on the staring

May one take a picture of a rainbow?

Seemingly, one is to avoid taking a picture of a rainbow, as it is equal to staring at it for the sake of study, which is forbidden to be done. Vetzaruch Iyun.

Is one to avoid staring at the reflection of a rainbow seen within water?[9]

Some write that one is to avoid doing so.

B. Not to tell others of the rainbow:[10] [Achronim]

One who sees a rainbow is not to inform others of it, as doing so is considered slander. [If one was informed of its presence, he has no obligation to go see it in order to recite the blessing.[11]]


A. Walking alone to the house of a Rasha:[12] [Achronim]

One should not walk to the house of a Rasha.

B. Not to start up with Reshaim during times of their success:[13] [Talmud/Achronim]

One is not to start up with Reshaim during times of their success.

C. Not to look at the face of a Rasha:[14] [Talmud/Sefer Chassidim]

It is forbidden to stare at the face of a Rasha. However, one may do so for the sake of Pikuach Nefesh.


Wearing red colored clothing:

Red colored clothing is forbidden to be worn [by either men or women], as they are worn by gentiles for purposes of promiscuity, [and one who wears it transgresses the prohibition of “Thou shall not go in their statutes”[15]].[16] It is likewise not befitting for modest people to wear red. [This especially applies to women, as red is a seductive color which attracts the eye of the male and leads to sin.[17]] Furthermore, there is a tradition from our ancestors to avoid wearing red colored clothing.[18] [However, some Poskim[19] are lenient today to permit men to wear red colored clothing, as it is no longer a color that is worn by gentiles, and thus is no longer included in the prohibition of “Thou shall not go in their statutes”. Practically, one is to be stringent in this matter.[20] This especially applies towards women, due to reasons of Tznius, and so was the custom in all Frum Jewish homes, to avoid wearing any red colored clothing.[21]]



Men and women are to avoid wearing red colored clothing. This especially applies to women, due to reasons of modesty.


May one wear clothing which are not entirely red but contain red parts?

Some[22] write that the above avoidance of red colored clothing is only when the majority of the clothing is red.


May one wear a small article of clothing with is red, such as socks, a head band or hair clip, a watch, or shoe laces?[23]

One is to avoid wearing anything that is red, even if it is a small item, such as socks, a headband and the like.


May one wear undergarments that are red, and may one wear red clothing in the privacy of one’s home?

Some[24] write that one is to avoid doing so.[25] Others[26] however rule it is permitted.


May children wear red colored clothing?

Some Poskim[27] rule that children who are below the age of Chinuch may wear red colored clothing, while children who are above the age of Chinuch are to be educated not to do so. [However, based on the tradition recorded in the Shach, and the explanation of the Chasam Sofer, seemingly, even young children should not wear such clothing.]


May one wear pink or maroon colored clothing?

The above prohibition and tradition is only associated with the color red, and not to any other shade of color, such as pink and marron.[28] However, some[29] argue that all colors associated with red are included in the avoidance, such as pink and marron. Practically, any color which shouts attention to the male eye is not to be worn by G-d fearing women.[30]

What is wrong with the color red?

Despite what we may think, colors effect our feelings and attraction. Red is a color associated with blood, and is therefore the color of Eisav and Edom, of whom the verse states “By your sword you shall live.” A Jew who wears this color is spiritually effected by it.[31] Furthermore, red represents love, romance and promiscuity, and naturally draws the attention of the male eye.[32] This is referred to as the red dress effect. Studies and social experiments performed by universities and journalists have proven that the color red attracts the eye of a man more than other colors, and can be viewed as promiscuous even by women. In one study, it was found that the vast majority of wives would not allow their husbands to chat with a woman wearing a red dress, as opposed to if the same woman was wearing another color. In another study, it was found that men who dated women who wore red felt a more promiscuous atmosphere by the date, as opposed to if the same woman wore another color. The color red shouts for attention from the onlooker, and is thus avoided by the Jewish people who are traditionally modest and avoid wearing things that seek attention of others.   

Red string:

Some Poskim[33] defend the practice of wearing the red string as a protection against Ayin Hara. Others[34], however, prohibit its use due to Darkei Emori and other relating prohibitions, and so is said to be the Rebbe’s opinion.


A. Passing through rivers with strong currents:[35] [Talmud/Shulchan Aruch/Shulchan Aruch Harav]

It is forbidden to pass through a stream which has strong currents if the water reaches above one’s thighs due to danger of drowning in the current.

B. Walking on a frozen river:[36] [Sefer Chassidim]

It is forbidden for one to walk on a frozen river or lake in the winter, due to worry that the ice may break and he will fall inside and drown. One who does so is liable for his own life.


A. Making a fence:

See Chapter 3 in length!

B. Walking on tightrope or plank of wood between roofs:[37] [Talmud/Achronim]

It is forbidden for one to walk on a plank of wood that is between two roofs, even if the plank is wide. [Accordingly, it is most certainly forbidden for one to walk a tight rope between two buildings.]


Wearing a linen rope as a belt:[38] [Talmud/Achronim]

One is not to wrap a wet linen rope on one’s loins due to danger.

Rosh Chodesh:

See Volume 1 Chapter 12

Rosh Hashanah:

See Volume 1 Chapter 12

Running-Jogging: [Talmud/Rambam/Shulchan Aruch Harav/Achronim]

One is not to run in public as this appears like one is eccentric and odd.[39] Furthermore, one is not to run even in  private, even during the weekdays, as one who walks in wide steps takes way 1/500th of one’s ability of sight.[40] See “Walking in large steps” for the full details of this subject!

Running and jogging for sports and exercise:[41] It is permitted to run during the week for the sake of sports and exercise, even if one does so in large strides.


[1] Yuma 84a

[2] See Ramban Bamidbar 21:9; Menoras Hamaor 10 p. 384

[3] Michaber 229:1; Chagiga 16a as explains Rosh and Tur; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 234-235

[4] Beis Yosef 229 in name of Rosh “The prohibition is only to stare as one who stares focuses on all the details in a much greater fashion than one who simply looks; Biur Hagr”a “One must see it in order to say the blessing and Lashon Histaklus means with great contemplation”; Machatzis Hashekel 229:1; Olas Tamid 229:1; Kaf Hachaim 229:5

[5] Zohar Beshalach 66b

[6] Rebbe Aba in Chagigah ibid; Machatzis Hashekel ibid

[7] M”A 229:2; Chagigah 16a [see Machatzis Hashekel ibid and P”M 229 A”A 2 who replace the word Shlah in M”A ibid]; Olas Tamid 229:1; M”B 229:5; Kaf Hachaim 229:5

[8] Tikkunei Zohar Tikkun 18 p. 36b

[9] Yalkut Hagershoni 229:2; Ruach Chaim 229; Piskeiy Teshuvos 229:2; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 235:2

[10] Chayeh Adam 63; Pischeiy Teshuvah; M”B 229:1; Kaf Hachaim 229:1; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 235:3

[11] Makor Chaim Kitzur Halachos 229; Piskeiy Teshuvos 229:3

[12] Igara Deparka 98; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 109:5

[13] M”A 156:2; Brachos 7b; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 232:1

[14] Sefer Chassidim 178; Megillah 28a; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 237:1; See Kaf Hachaim 156:14

[15] See Michaber Y.D. 178/1; Maharik Shoresh 88; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1/81; Dibros Eliyahu 34

[16] Rama Y.D. 178/1; Beis Yosef 178; Maharik Shoresh 88; Aruch on Brachos 20a

[17] Aruch ibid; Rashi on the verse [Bereishis 49/11] “Ubidam Anavim Susa” that “Clothing which are colored with the blood of grape are worn by women to seduce the male, and is therefore called Susa by the verse”; Dibros Eliyahu 34

[18] Shach 178/3; Maharik ibid; See Drashos Chasam Sofer 2/244

The reason: See below for the discussion of “What is wrong with the color red”

[19] Darkei Teshuvah 178/16 in name of Rav Yitzchak Elchonon of Kovna; Orchos Rabbeinu that so ruled Rav Kanievsky even regarding women; Dibros Eliyahu 34 regarding men; See Igros Moshe Y.D. 1/81 based on Maharik ibid that red clothing is considered “Nidnud Peritzus” and hence may not be worn due to Chukos Hagoyim so long as Jews avoid wearing it. Thus, we see its dependent not on whether the gentiles actually wear it, but on whether Jews avoid wearing it or not.

[20] See Shach ibid that aside for Chukos Hagoyim, we have a tradition not to wear it, and hence why should the tradition stop simply because Chukos Hagoyim is no longer applicable; See Igros Moshe ibid; So rules Rav Eliezer Melamed and Poskim brought in next footnote [although most only discuss women and not men]

[21] Shevet Halevi 6/24-2; Beir Moshe 4/147 “Such clothing, such as a red skirt or blouse, are an abomination, and such clothing cannot be found amongst G-d fearing Jews.”; The Chasam Sofer did not allow any red clothing into his home; See Drashos Chasam Sofer 2/244; Rav SZ”A, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky, brought in Malbushei Kavod ibid; Halichos Bas Yisrael 7 footnote 7 in name of Rav Elyashiv; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1/136; Dibros Eliyahu 34

[22] Halichos Bas Yisrael 7 footnote 7 in name of Rav Elyashiv; Dibros Eliyahu 34

[23] Beir Moshe 4/147-13

[24] Malbushei Kavos 1/25 in name of Rav Chaim Kanievsky

[25] As it may involve Bechukoseihem Lo Seleichu, and certainly goes against the tradition and bad effect that red clothing bring onto a Jew.

[26] Rav SZ”A, brought in Malbushei Kavod ibid; See Dibros Eliyahu 34

[27] Shevet Halevi 6/24

[28] Halichos Bas Yisrael 7 footnote 7 in name of Rav Elyashiv

[29] Hatzenius Vehayeshua 12 of the Admur of Zutchka; See Shevet Halevi 6/24 that any color which is immodest is included in the prohibition

[30] See Shevet Halevi 6/24 that any color which is immodest is included in the prohibition

[31] See Drashos Chasam Sofer 2/244 in name of Rabbeinu Bechayeh that red draws down the power of Maadim, which is detrimental for a Jew

[32] Aruch ibid; Rashi on the verse [Bereishis 49/11] “Ubidam Anavim Susa” that “Clothing which are colored with the blood of grape are worn by women to seduce the male, and is therefore called Susa by the verse”; For a secular study on this matter-see here http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/02/red-dress-effect [This site was viewed by us with a filter which prevents potential immodest pictures, which may or may not be on this page. You can avoid immodest pictures from showing up by attaching a filter to your internet, and/or disabling your browser from showing pics. In general, every G-d fearing Jew must have some filtering system and/or picture blocking method installed onto his internet, to allow for Kosher internet access.]

[33] Beir Moshe 8:36; Vayaan Dovid 3:54; Vayitzbar Yosef 4:114; See Divrei Torah 2:71; Michtav M’Eliyahu V.4 pp. 5-6

[34] Hakatan Vehilchosav 1:21 in name of av Chaim Kanievsky; Hava Li Banim 7:3;See Tosefta Shabbos 7:1

[35] Admur Shemiras Guf Vinefesh Halacha 11; Admur 613:9; Michaber 613:5; Yuma 77b; Rashi Yuma ibid; Kaf Hachaim 116:99; Kitzur SHU”A 33:13; Darkei Teshuvah 116:83; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 103:4

[36] Sefer Chassidim 675

[37] Yerushalmi Shabbos 4:6; Kisei Eliyahu 3; Aruch Hashulchan 116:23; Kaf Hachaim 116:46

[38] Bava Metzia 113b; Beis Baruch 1:38; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 72:1

[39] Rambam Hilchos Deios 5:8; Brachos 43b; Lechem Mishneh ibid; Kiryas Melech ibid; Chupas Eliyahu Raba 6; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 110 footnote 1

[40] Admur 90:13, 301:1-2, 271:19; M”A 90:25; 301:1; Shabbos 113B; Brachos 6b and 43b; Taanis 10b; Tosafus Taanis ibid; M”B 90:42; 301:1; Kitzur SHU”A 32:27

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that there is no restriction against walking in large strides at all, but rather against skipping. [Aguda Taanis 1:5 in name of Tosafus, brought in M”A 301:2 and Admur Kuntrus Achron 301:1] Other Poskim rule that there is never a prohibition against taking large strides or skipping during the week, and it only applies on Shabbos. [Tosefes Shabbos 301:3]

[41] Yeshuos Yaakov 301:1; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 110:5

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