Speaking to boys at the Workplace



I go with my father to work and help him at his business which is a bakery. There are boys who work there as well and I speak to them sometimes about things at business but not about anything else. Baruch Hashem I am careful about negiah and do not speak any words of affection... is this situation ok? My father comes in from time to time and the boys know that he's there and they are respectful. 
I would like to hear your advice. Thank you.


To the Questioner,


Your present situation is ok halachically; but you need to be extremely careful and guarding of yourself as time progresses. 

Explanation of answer:

According to what you describe, since you are careful from any situation of Yichud and not to speak to any men or boys in a way of "kalut rosh
" (= frivoulous, flirting), you are presently not doing anything wrong halachically. 

Nonetheless, you will need to be true to yourself and to be honest about your real feelings as time progresses.

The reason for this is as Shlomo Hamelech writes in Mishlei: "As the water [appears a]s a face to the face [looking into it], so to is the heart of one [hu]man to another" (Mishlei 27:19). Although from your side there may be no improper intent whatsoever, if from the boy's side - because of something that is lacking for him - he begins to develop positive feelings for you, it will start to be felt in your heart as positive feelings for him as well - even though you did not dream of having any such connection to this person at the beginning. 

Therefore you will always have to guage what you are really feeling in your heart. And if you begin to feel positive feelings for any one of the men or boys at your workplace (it doesn't make any difference whether it be an important manager or a broken soul who you have pity on), you will have to notify your father that you cannot work at his bakery anymore and you will have to leave. Because the nature of feelings of affection and positivity is that they grow very quickly and in a way that you don't even notice them growing, until they suddenly one day come to such a point that you begin to think about him during your quiet moments - and then the relationship becomes serious and is very dangerous once it reaches that point. 

So although right now everything is ok, you'll have to be very cautious and honest with yourself. Remember what direction you really want to go in and what type of person you would really want to build a home with. Especially in today's times, when the atmosphere in very many workplaces is one of extra-openness, and over-stepping boundries between men and women is played down as if it's not "so terrible", you must be extra-careful. Because in truth, overstepping by participating in a relationship that is prohibited, is from the most stringent  prohibitions of theTorah. 

Source: Gemara Yerushalmi, 5a.

With Blessings, 
Rav Nachum