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Weekly Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 12

July 29, 2021; Av 20, 5781

Halacha – Jewish Law Question: If an unexpected visitor knocks at the door and the homeowner is otherwise engaged and is not able to greet him, may the homeowner direct a member of his household to tell the visitor that he is not home?

Answer: Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZT’L says that one is permitted to tell an unexpected visitor that the homeowner is not at home, even if he is at home. This is because one is not obligated to greet a visitor whenever a visitor shows up, and one is not obligated to tell every visitor that comes to the door what the homeowner is busy with at that time. Additionally, there is concern that if the homeowner tells the truth and says that he cannot receive him now and provides him with the reason why he is too busy to see him, the visitor may feel offended that he is not valued enough in the eyes of the homeowner to stop what he is doing and greet him. Therefore, to prevent hurt feelings, the homeowner may instruct a member of his family to tell the visitor that he is not home. This is also the opinion of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ZT’L.


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