Nosey Neighbors

Question: Is it forbidden to look into someone else's garden just as it is forbidden to look into someone's house?


It is forbidden to look into another Jew’s yard and watch the people there (Ramo, C.M. 154:3, 154:7). If your Jewish neighbor will minimize his activities as a result, it is as if you were depriving him of the use of his property, which is similar to damaging or stealing his property. Even if he is not going to change his behavior, it is inappropriate since he may not want you to know what he is doing (Graz, Nizkei Mammon 11).

The Sema (154:14) understands the Ramo to forbid looking out your window at something other than your neighbor’s yard if your neighbor will suspect you of looking at his yard.

However, if you are walking in the street or looking out your window and happen to see something in your neighbors’ yard, you have not done anything wrong. What is forbidden is looking deliberately or standing in a place that makes it look as if you are snooping.

BookID: 4 Chapter: 154:3, 154:7

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