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Is mechila necessary?


Kavod haRav,
Thank you for your help. I was wondering if mechila is necessary in the following situations:
1. I was in a group setting for a Yom Tov meal, and there were various groups of people sitting at various tables in a room. There was beautiful singing during the meals. I asked one of the men singing (at another table) what a name of the song was. (I turned around and did not get out of my seat to do so, I am female). I also smiled at what I assume was his wife as a silent “Good Yontif.” She was friendly and smiled. I realized after, that out of respect for her/ modesty I probably should not have asked…it was an honest mistake with zero ill intent. I considered apologizing to her then, but then realized I could make it more of a blunder if I said the wrong thing. Should I ask her mechila or is that not necessary.
2. Someone sitting at my table pointed to a lady at another table and said something like “she looks so familiar, do you know who she is.” To which I did not look at the lady and said I don’t know (I did not know most people there and I did not want to look at the lady as to make it seem like there was anything negative). I give the benefit of the doubt to the speaker that she had no ill intent, so I do not think it was lashon hara. I wanted to make sure I did not speak lashon hara- which would then not require me to ask mechila from the lady pointed to? (I don’t know if she saw it, but I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable. Again, no ill intent at all).
3. A man said hello to me/ introduced himself soon after I was davening and I was still somewhat thinking about the davening. He said hello to me in front of other people,and stood up to do so. I worried after that I was not friendly enough and may have “embarrassed him.” (I tried to balance this in the moment with maintaining modesty…I am trying to grow in observance and readily admit that I do not always know how to handle each situation, though I really mean no harm…) Am I required to apologize to this man for not being friendly enough/ “embarrassing him”- or since it was his choice to introduce himself in front of a large group, that is not something that requires reaching out to apologize for?
Thank you so much for all of the help. I don’t know how to accurately put the gratitude in words. Thank you.



Thank you for your question.

  1. There is no need for you to ask mechila, because we only have to ask mechila if we negatively affected the other person. Even if you want to assume that you’re asking her husband was incorrect, there is no need to ask mechila.
  2. There is nothing negative or lashon hora about asking if a certain person is familiar looking, therefore there is no need for you to anyone mechila for this.
  3. In this situation I also don’t see any need for you to ask mechila. You did he best you could under the circumstances, and in all probability the situation didn’t even offend the other person. It seems to me that your yiras shomayim and fear of doing an aveira are bringing up these concerns.

As a side point, in general, you don’t have to worry about asking mechila for such minor infractions. At best, the person had a slightly awkward feeling, but if you ask mechila, or even apologize, by asking mechila, that will make it into an issue, which will make him feel worse. Therefore you’re better off not worrying about these issues.

Hashem should grant you a year full of simchos, good news, spiritual growth, and everything that you need.


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