“Outrageous though it is to use a noble idea as the cloak for evil, it is still worse to assail the noble idea itself because it can thus be used.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 1894

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“Faith is the human response to the phenomenon that defines the human condition, the constitutive uncertainty of our lives as we walk toward the undiscovered country called the future.”

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Flight Attendants and Maimonides

As I sit here in seat 7D about 32,000 feet above the North Pacific, I am in danger of losing my superb kosher dinner as I cannot help but overhear the married gentleman in 8C shamelessly hit on each of the Japanese flight attendants (including the Purser) every time they walk past. That he was American, clearly practiced at his pitch, and more boorish than suave makes it all the worse.

I’m not going to comment on the gentleman’s marital status or his apparent readiness to set aside the Seventh Commandment: his marriage could be on the rocks, or maybe he lives in an open marriage.

But in this case, the FAs are in a position of disadvantage, in that they are obliged to serve all passengers with courtesy, especially in business class. Does any moral code make it permissible for this “gentleman” to take advantage of the flight attendants in this way? Mine does not. Maimonides makes clear that “the way of the pious and the wise is to be compassionate and to pursue justice, not to overburden or oppress a servant.”

You want to hit on flight attendants? Fine. But do it when they are off duty, at least, and can safely tell you to get stuffed without risking their livelihoods. To do any less is reprehensible.