During one recent TorahTutors session, discussion about public perception brought up a particular detail of the laws of Chanukah. The Gemara (Shabbat 23a) suggests that someone who lives in a courtyard [or house] with entrances (or windows) facing two different directions must light Chanukah candle[s] in both. Why? “Because of suspicion” – because if one lights only at one of the entrances/windows, someone passing by the other one might see the lack of candles and think the owner of the house didn’t light at all.
Of course, the passer-by should not pass judgment – but at the same time, it seems the homeowner would share some of the responsibility.
We often emphasize the value of not caring what others think, but this TorahTutors student noted that it is still important to behave in a way that reflects well on us. Perhaps this is part of what it means to value, and build, community.
(Note: Not intended as a halachic ruling.)
A Tuesday TorahTutors tidbit: real Torah, from real TorahTutors sessions.