The Gemara in kiddushin mentions that eating in public is a disgraceful behavior and would invalidate a witnesses testimony. Does this still apply today? Why is this act considered so bad in the eyes of chazal. In current times, I believe most people wouldn’t think so bad of a person who eats in public.

Answer:

This is an interesting question. Note that the halachah is ruled in the Shulchan Aruch (34) without objection.

It is certainly not disgraceful behavior to eat in a restaurant. Although this is “eating in public,” the public area of a restaurant is considered respectable, and will certainly not affect one’s status as a witness.

However, there are acts of eating in public that remain dishonorable (such as eating a pizza on a bus), and these are the ones to avoid. Indeed, the wording of the Gemara is that one who “eats in the market” is invalidated, and this implies a specific mode of eating in public that Chazal denigrated.

Note that the halachah of being invalidated for testimony applies specifically to an actual “se’udah” in public, and not eating a chocolate.

Even for eating in a way considered disrespectful, there remains room to consider how the principle will be applied today – it is possible that the degree of contempt in which somebody eats in public has changed, and this might influence the halachah.

In my own experience I have never seen somebody invalidated for testimony for this reason, and it is a little hard to conceive of this happening.

Best wishes.

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