Kavod Habriyot

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Protecting a person's human dignity is critical in Torah because of the sanctity of man. The obligation to protect the dignity of others and oneself sometimes allows certain leniencies in halacha that otherwise wouldn't be allowed.

Someone Wearing Shatnez

  1. If you notice that someone is wearing shatnez do you have to tell him even though it is embarrassing for him to remove his shatnez clothing in public? Ashkenazim hold that if the other person doesn't know then you don't have to tell him out of kavod habriyot.[1]

Making a Bracha to Avoid Embarrassment

  1. Once a woman who had an abortion previous to getting and didn't tell her husband. They had a firstborn boy who the husband thought was obligated in pidyon haben. If she told him the truth about her past relationship and abortion it would destroy their Shalom Bayit. Does she have to tell him or can they have the pidyon haben even though the father is going to make a bracha levatala? Some major gedolim in a specific case said she doesn't have to said anything even though the husband is going to make a bracha levatala.[2]

Sources

  1. The Gemara Brachot 19b establishes that if someone is in a situation that would be a violation of human dignity it could allow violating a derabbanan but not a Biblical halacha. Therefore, if a person is wearing shatnez and he knows about it he must remove it even in public. However, if he sees someone else wearing shatnez does he need to tell him? The Rambam explicitly writes that if you see your friend with shatnez you need to get him to remove it. The Rosh explains the Yerushalmi that either if the person is wearing derabbanan shatnez or wearing Biblical shatnez without knowing it, you don't need to tell them. The Tur YD 303 presents the Rosh and Rambam as though they are arguing. The Shulchan Aruch YD 303 quotes the Rambam, while the Rama quotes the Rosh. Rama 372:1 explicitly accepts the Rosh. The Bach comments on the Tur that really the Rambam agrees with the Rosh. Nodeh Beyehuda OC 35 assumes that it is a dispute and is strict for Rambam if it is an ongoing situation of a Biblical prohibition unintentionally.
  2. Yabia Omer YD 8:32. Factors on which he relies include: 1) According to many rishonim bracha levatala is derabbanan. Here since the husband thinks he's reciting a bracha correctly perhaps it isn't a Biblical violation even according to the Rambam. To avoid embarrassing someone it is permitted to allow a rabbinic prohibition. 2) But even if it is Biblical since the husband is only violating it unintentionally according to the Rosh to avoid embarrassment you don't have to tell him. Perhaps we can rely on the Rosh one time in extenuating circumstances. 3) Bracha Levatala isn't explicit in Torah and the Sdei Chemed 3:23 writes that kavod habriyot allows violating a Biblical prohibition passively if it isn't explicit. Rav Yitzchak Yosef (Motzei Shabbat Tarziya Motzora 5778) explained that even though Rav Zilberstein quoted Rav Elyashiv as disagreeing with his father, his father was only lenient because of a majority concern of shalom bayit. See Michtam Pesachim 106a s.v. likadesh who understands that Rav Ashi was hesitant about making a bracha in a situation where he couldn't clarify whether he should recite a bracha so as not to embarrass others.