Why Do Girls Have to Cover Their Legs?

Home Coffeeroom Bais Medrash Why Do Girls Have to Cover Their Legs?

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  • #608309

    WIY
    Member

    Ok I know very little about this topic so please fill me in, why do women who properly cover their knees have to cover their legs? Whats the source for this and what are girls required to cover their legs with?

    #952045

    I think it is actually a chumra. Obviously, I was required to cover my legs when i was at the bais yaakov i went to, so i started doing it outside of school as well. As long as the whole leg is covered, either by your skirt being long and wearing knee highs, or by leggings and socks, or tights, you are following the minhag.

    The denier concept is Super chumra, and the people that wear black tights/ socks from succos to pesach are taking their chumras to a whole different level that i respect, but feel is completely unneccesary.

    #952046

    golfer
    Participant

    Snowbun, some of the people you see covering their legs with black tights all the time, for instance black tights at a wedding with slingbacks, think they are being fashionable. Perhaps erroneously. This is not to be confused with the people who wear them as a chumra, in which case it’s not Succos to Pesach- (why would the season make a difference as far as tznius is concerned?) it’s all year.

    As for the exact halachic requirements, I would like to leave that to the more learned posters who can quote the relevant sources and offer proper references for what they say.

    Feel free to consult me on matters of fashion, though.

    #952047

    I heard succos to pesach from a bunch of my friends. i know people who do that…

    #952048

    benignuman
    Participant

    The Gemara in Brachos 24a says that a women’s “shok” is considered erva.

    There is a dispute among the Achronim what “shok” refers to, the thigh or the calf (i.e. lower leg). According to those opinions that “shok” refers to the calf, a woman must cover her lower leg down to the ankle.

    #952050

    So then why don’t bais yaakov girls just wear flip flops and ankle length leggings?

    #952051

    benignuman
    Participant

    In addition to the tznius standards found in the Gemara women are free to increase their tznius. However when a particular manner of tznius becomes widespread within a community, each woman within that community must abide by those standards.

    So there is no halachic reason why Bais Yaakov girls can’t dress as you suggest. However because they do not dress that way it would be untzniusdik for an individual girl to dress in a such a fashion.

    #952052

    What if I lived in memphis tennessee, and nobody else covered their legs, if I moved there, would i be able to wear flip flops and ankle length leggings?

    #952053

    superstar
    Member

    If the halacha is to cover the legs, how is it ok for them to show with nude socks? It looks the same as with no socks.

    #952054

    sam4321
    Member

    See Igros Moshe chelek 4 EH 100:6.

    #952055

    benignuman
    Participant

    Snowbunny,

    If you feel that is tzniusdik, then yes.

    #952056

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    snowbunny-

    theres a concept known as “minhag hamakom”.. that means if ur in a place such as tennessee u dont need to be machmir and cover ur legs.. but in flatbush u wud need to.. for ex in camp i wear ankle sox but in the city wouldnt..

    #952057

    yytz
    Participant

    Wearing just leggings is no good because skin-tight clothing is considered no different from being naked. Actually, that’s the style now on college campuses and high schools, to wear skin tight leggings and a shirt that doesn’t extend down past the waist. So for all practical purposes, aside from the color of the leggings, people are seeing them naked.

    It reminds me of the story of the charedi rabbi at the bus stop in Israel with the scantily and tightly-clad women. All the people looked at the rabbi to see how he would react. He simply handed the woman an apple. The woman said, “Why are you giving me an apple?” He said, “Chava didn’t know she was naked either until she ate an apple.” Of course, it’s not a real story, and the fruit wasn’t an apple…

    #952058

    1. Tights are also skin tight

    2. Socks are skin tight

    3. Obviously, I am wearing a skirt over the leggings…

    #952059

    benignuman
    Participant

    “Wearing just leggings is no good because skin-tight clothing is considered no different from being naked.”

    That is absurd. The Gemara says that something transparent is also assur, but skin-tight is hardly the same thing as transparent. See the teshuva from R’Moshe cited by Sam above.

    Theoretically all spandex would be in keeping with the halacha. However frum Jewish women the world over have a broader sense of tznius than the bare minimum and keep a higher standard. The standard a woman must keep is dependent on her community and her personal sense of tznius (l’chumra only).

    #952060

    yytz
    Participant

    Oh, sorry, I thought you were using a more extreme example!

    I don’t know what’s wrong with flip-flops. There are definitely very frum women who wear flip-flops and sandals. But more yeshivish people may believe it’s better to cover up the feet too. And flip-flops or sandals are pretty informal, so that doesn’t go along with the custom to dress fairly formally all the time.

    #952061

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    the halacha is that u must cover below the ankle. its a chumra for between ankle and knee. therefore, why wud leggings help anything? ur feet below ur ankles not covered and thats the main point. also the portion bet ur knee and ankle is allowed to be skin tight.. ever heard of baggy tights? not rlly..

    #952062

    interjection
    Participant

    As far as I know there is no source regarding why feet have to be covered but many men have a thing for feet so many hold closed toe shoes are better than sandals. If the legs from the knees down have to be covered depends on each person’s posek; it’s not assur to show the legs just depends how your rav interprets ???.

    #952063

    benignuman
    Participant

    PurpleOne,

    You don’t need to cover below the ankle. There is a machlokes regarding between the ankle and the knee.

    That is all m’ikkar hadin. But one cannot dress in a manner that would be viewed by his or her community as untzniusdik, even if the standards of that community are well beyond what the halacha requires.

    #952064

    WIY
    Member

    How is wearing those beige/light colored see through stockings or whatever they are called accomplishing anything if you can still see the leg?

    #952065

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    Where does it say that a woman is obligated to cover areas which are called “ervah”?

    #952066

    SaysMe
    Member

    wiy- some are translucent, some are pretty or completely opaque. They are just skin colored so you might not know that

    #952067

    FIA
    Member

    yitayningwut: are you suggesting they might be allowed to go in public with erva uncovered?

    #952068

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    fia-

    noo hes NOT hes just asking 4 a source!!

    #952069

    sam4321
    Member

    Yitay:???

    #952070

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    ThePurpleOne understands what I’m asking.

    A few people implied or said straight out that the Gemara says it is “assur” for a woman to leave certain body parts exposed. What Gemara is this?

    #952071

    WIY
    Member

    SaysMe

    But my question is can it be transparent? What is the actual requirement?

    #952072

    sam4321
    Member

    Yitay:Berachas 24 in conjunction with a passuk in the Torah.There other sources in the Yerushalmi.The idea of ervah is something which is hidden which makes it an obligation to cover areas which are always covered.You know this already nit sure what ur q is.

    WIY: The Igros Moshe I sourced before answers your q.

    #952073

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    sam4321 – In that Gemara it does not say anything about women being obligated to cover anything; only about not gazing, and about krias shema. Where does it say that specific areas are not allowed to be exposed?

    #952074

    my leggings cover my ankles.

    #952075

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    wiy-

    girls have to cover a lot and there are diff recquirements for everything. some have to be covered and cannot be too tight (ex legs, stomache..) and some have to be covered but can be as tight as u want (ex arms)and thats why shells can be skin tight cuz only has to be covered not loose.. and some can be tight and transparent but should be covered (legs below knee).. got it? if u want more info read rabbi falks book.. its RLLY machimir on e/t but has the right ideals and approaches for a torah jew..

    #952076

    benignuman
    Participant

    Yitay,

    With respect to hair covering and arms it is in the Gemara in Kesubos 72a-b. It is also clear from that mishna and Gemara that anything that Bnos Yisroel have a minhag to keep covered must be kept covered.

    There is an issur brought down in the Gemara (Shabbos 64b and other places) that one is not allowed to look at “erva.” There is an assumption therefore that if men are not allowed to look, then women must cover “erva” up. Therefore if a gemara refers to some body part as “erva”, the poskim assume that it must be covered.

    Hair covering is unique in that it is D’oraisa and must be covered even if the hair is not considered erva.

    #952077

    interjection
    Participant

    Don’t read rabbi falks book.

    What exactly does it say in kesubos?

    Edited.

    #952078

    interjection
    Participant

    WIY: there were many sources given in this thread

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/tznius-in-brooklyn/page/2

    #952079

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    benignuman –

    anything that Bnos Yisroel have a minhag to keep covered must be kept covered

    Sounds quite fluid, doesn’t it? Who is to say that a minhag can even exist in places where the general population is not careful about something? If people are generally used to seeing it, and your typical woman doesn’t cover it, you are still going to call “minhag tznius”??

    Furthermore, if your whole argument rests on this then you shouldn’t be using terms like “assur” and “muttar.” It would be more fitting to say “this is what a Jewish woman does” and “this is not what a Jewish woman does.” But I don’t agree anyway, because to see what a Jewish woman does, you look at what the Jewish women do.

    There is an assumption therefore that if men are not allowed to look, then women must cover “erva” up.

    Yes, I know very well that there is such an assumption. I am challenging it.

    #952080

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    Yitayningwut,

    Do you think it’s reasonable to assume that a woman loses her kesuvah for not covering certain areas, but it’s muttar to do so?

    #952081

    benignuman
    Participant

    Interjection and Yitay,

    The Mishna in Kesubos is discussing things women can do that will lose them their kesuba. It says that someone who “violates Daas Moshe and Daas Yehudis” loses her kesuba. The Mishna then gives examples of each.

    Rashi explains that “Daas Yehudis” are the minhagim of B’nos Yisroel. The Meiri explains that these are minhagim that B’nos Yisroel keep out of tznius so that Jewish women should have higher standards of tznius then the general non-Jewish population.

    There are many, many sources that minhagim of a community are binding on all members of the community. See, e.g., Pesachim 50a-b. The language of the Mishna about Daas Yehudis itself assumes some sort of binding power. The Mishna uses the word “oiver” a term used for the violation and she is punished for her violation by losing her right to her kesuba.

    Uncovering arms is classified in the Gemara as Daas Yehudis. No hair covering at all is deemed a violation of Daas Moshe and the Gemara says it is Torah prohibition. Partial uncovering of the hair (i.e. only covering the top) is deemed a violation of Daas Yehudis.

    “Yes, I know very well that there is such an assumption. I am challenging it.”

    Why? The assumption seems fairly reasonable, why would you assume the opposite, that women are free to walk around in public in a manner that would require all men to look away?

    #952082

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    DaasYochid –

    Do you think it’s reasonable to assume that a woman loses her kesuvah for not covering certain areas, but it’s muttar to do so?

    It’s not a matter of issur v’heter, it’s a matter of minhag. The halacha of losing kesuba is not a punishment for being oiver on an issur, it’s a matter of what was expected when she accepted the contract. She accepted whatever minhag is the norm, so if she violates it she has breached her contract and forfeits her kesuba.

    benignuman –

    why would you assume the opposite, that women are free to walk around in public in a manner that would require all men to look away?

    First of all, because shteit nisht. With all the tznius books manufactured nowadays, you won’t find one Gemara delineating guidelines of how a woman is obligated to dress. Yes, you find halachos of kesuba etc. based on the way the women dress, but you don’t actually find the directive anywhere.

    Second, because even if it is reasonable that there are guidelines, it is just as reasonable that the guidelines are completely subject to the norms of any particular time and place. To say that the Gemara names certain things as absolute “ervah” and that those things always must be covered is quite a leap.

    Third, the Gemara in Berachos doesn’t say you aren’t allowed to look at the things it names “ervah.” It says that you aren’t allowed to say krias shema in front of them, because they take one’s mind away. The same Gemara speaks out very clearly what you are not allowed to look at: ?? ?????? ????? ???? ?? ??? ????? ????? ????? ?????. A man is enjoined even from looking (read: gazing with the intention of pleasure) at a woman’s small finger, if she is forbidden to him. According to your reasoning even burqas should not be sufficient; women should be obligated to wear gloves.

    #952085

    benignuman
    Participant

    Yitay,

    I have a longer response to your third point and I don’t have time right now to post it. I will therefore deal with your first two points.

    1. The woman loses her kesuba for violating a minhag of B’nos Yisroel (not the non-Jewish culture, as the Meiri explained). Are you disputing that minhagim are binding? (e.g. Yarmulka is a minhag, but the Shulchan Aruch still says a person must not walk 4 amos without one.)

    2. With respect to those things that are Daas Yehudis (like covering arms), I agree that it would depend on the norms of the frum Jewish community in which the woman resides.

    With respect to No. 3 you are making a mistake in lomdus. I will explain b’ezras hashem after Purim.

    #952086

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    Yitayningnishtgut, shteit nisht?

    Look at the Ritv”a in hilchos brachos. I’m sure there are more sources, I’ll try to find them noch Purim. A freilichn!!

    #952087

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    1. I am disputing that a minhag from 2000 years ago or even 200 years ago is binding in a society that simply doesn’t act that way. At any rate, this wasn’t really my first point. Point #1 was that as far as I know nowhere in shas do we have an explicit directive from Chazal that women have to cover specific body parts. We have hilchos kesubah which people are trying to infer such directives from, but interestingly enough the halacha itself doesn’t seem to be stated anywhere.

    2. Then why would you not take the next step, and subject the entire idea of tznius to such standards? If, for example, the frum women of the area do not cover their legs, why wouldn’t you agree that tznius does not demand that a woman cover her legs?

    #952088

    Sam2
    Participant

    Ben: I will dispute your claim that the Shulchan Aruch says that one must not walk 4 Amos without a Kippah.

    #952089

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    DaasYochid – Dunno what you are referring to exactly, but I just skimmed through the entire Hilchos Berachos of the Ritva and didn’t notice anything relevant.

    #952090

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    Sam2 – My shtika was not k’hodaah, I’m simply not responding to anything off-topic.

    #952091

    Although we could take a completely different twist on this thread, and say that I have heard that the bare minimum of ones arm that a woman has to cover is half way between the shoulder and elbow… so why are woman supposed to be so machmir on covering her elbows and wearing 3/4 sleeves as well?

    #952092

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    snowbunny-

    isnt it basic halacha that we gotta cover our elbows? which rabbi says otherwise?

    #952093

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    not Mishnah berurah who says even men.

    #952094

    Sam2
    Participant

    DY: Yes, but the M”B says even men because that was the custom then. Meaning he explicitly states that by men it’s based on the custom.

    #952095

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    Sam – DaasYochid is trashed if you haven’t noticed. Lol 😀

    #952096

    benignuman
    Participant

    Sam2,

    The following is a quote from from the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 2:6

    ??? ??? ?’ ???? ?????? ????

    I did not mean that the shulchan aruch uses the Yiddish term yarmulke, if that is what you were challenging.

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