Question: Why can a non-Jewish maid sew her own clothes in a Jew’s house
on Shabbos but she cannot write her own personal letter?
A. A maid cannot do melacha, forbidden work for her Jewish boss on Shabbos and the Mishna Berura 244:5:30 says that even for her to do work for herself is forbidden in his home so that people who see her shouldn’t say she is doing work for a Jew, I.e a maaris ayin issue.
Answer: When fixing her clothes everyone would agree it is obvious she is doing it for herself but when writing a letter it is not so obvious it is for herself.
Question: Why is there an
issue of mar’is ayin by a certain case in the laws of Shabbos but not in a
certain case by the laws of Kashrus?
Mar’is ayin is causing others to think you are doing something wrong when you
really aren’t. You can’t put yourself into that situation, for example walking
into a McDonald’s to ask for a coke and people might think you are buying
The Rema in the Mishna Berura (244:1) says one cannot hire a non-Jew as a
contractor to build a wall around your house if he is going to be also working
on Shabbos because people with think he is being paid a daily wage which is
certainly forbidden to do on Shabbos rabbinicly. And even if one lives in the
middle of nowhere only among non-Jews there is concern that a guest who comes
or one of your household members will suspect you of hiring him as a daily
wager on Shabbos.
A contractor can technically get something done for you on Shabbos because you
are not paying him by the hour or day, rather to just get the job done so
working on Shabbos is for his own convenience not for your benefit it is just
forbidden because of mar’is ayin since people will say he was hired by the hour
to work for you even on Shabbos and the rabbis forbade non-Jews to work for or
give benefit to a Jew if it will be doing something a Jew cannot do on Shabbos.
D. The Nachalas Tzvi in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah (87:3) said that we are allowed to cook chicken in almond milk because milk and chicken is only rabbinically forbidden and though the Shach and Maharshal argue on the Rema and says there is an issue of maaris ayin even for rabbinic matters so it should apply in this case too however the Rema holds that surely maaris ayin applies in rabbinic cases but only in cases which is for sure maaris ayin but here in this case where chicken is being cooked in almond milk inside the house there is no concern of a prohibition accept for what the rabbis enacted that whenever there is an issue of maaris ayin that’s even privately in the house but that’s only for Torah level mitzvos but here even if he is making it in front of his household it is considered private because they for sure know what he is doing.
Answer: By the Chicken in almond milk they can see what he is doing so there is no room to be mistaken but by the shabbos case not everyone knows the business of the head of the household so there might be what to be suspect.