Breach in Tznius: Recent affliction attacking Klal Yisroel

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  • #591671

    Recently there has been an outbreak of “frum” girls publicly walking with their knees mostly or partially uncovered. I wish to protest this very recent phenomenon of such public breach in tznius, something that was previously almost unheard of in frum neighborhoods. I can only hope this soon ends before tragedy strikes.

    #1024928

    yentish
    Participant

    you are 100% right! thank you so much for bringing this up, its something that has been bothering me for a while now. recently, a teacher of mine from seminary was in america for a family simcha and was appalled to see that barely anybody was 100% tznius at this chasuna. people think that tznius is ‘style’ as opposed to a mentality and way of life, therefore, if tznius is ‘out of style’, it can be discarded. the saddest thing is when bais yaakov girls who went to good schools, come from solid homes and are outwardly ‘frum’, can be seen with skirts that absolutely DO NOT cover their knees as far as the eye can tell.

    i advise anyone who is struggling with this particular yetzer, or anyone who needs chizuk in their tznius to attend the Bnos Melochim events which are airing in many communities this week. Hopefully the work of this great organization will inspire those who are still lacking in their tznius.

    #1024929

    If Rav’s wife (an Orthodox Rav) has skirts, which hardly cover her knees, what do you want from her daughters and their friends? It is very sad.

    #1024930

    webster
    Member

    Unfortunately, its a problem in Eretz Yisroel as well.It’s encouraging though to see that there still people who care about tznius.The Bnos Melachim program is indeed a very important source of inspiration and chizuk in this area.Try to get as many people you can to attend these events.

    #1024931

    amichai
    Participant

    you cannot save the world!! we must work on ourselves first. it won’t help to point fingers. we need to be the best we can and that’s all. tefilla, tefilla, tefilla.

    #1024934

    so right
    Member

    girls remember your full knees need to be covered at all times front and back not just when you are standing, but also when you are walking, getting into a car, sitting, or the wind is blowing also…

    #1024935

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    If you are female, you should understand that each person struggles with halacha differently.

    EDITED

    #1024936

    chesedname
    Participant

    that’s not an excuse, it’s justifying a breach in halacha.

    i struggle with murdering ppl, i can overcome the urge 90% of the time, would that make it ok?

    a woman’s test is tzinus, and although it might be a hard test, it’s just as important as shabbos and everything else out there.

    on a side note, many woman simply look better when the skirt goes past the knees, nothing to do with halacha, i wonder if they realized that.

    the woman that struggle with weight look ok with a long skirt, but when you wear short and you sit down, the overweight issues are there for all to see.

    think about it!

    #1024937

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    If you edit my post, please note that it has been edited.

    As to the halacha, shok is NOT clearly defined and people showing parts of their knees may have Rabbinic tradition backing them up. I say may because not all communities hold by this.

    As to comparing tznius with murder – tznius is between a person and Hashem. Murder is between a person and another person. I would compare murder more closely with tax evasion than tznius.

    We should really question why women are getting close enough to notice the difference between the few inches on the knees.

    EDITED

    #1024938

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Thank you 🙂

    #1024939

    speaktruth
    Member

    Tznius is also ben adam lechavero. Who knows how many men can see a woman dressed inappropriately and have taavos?! It is definitely something which affects others.

    Additionally, tznius is not something which is done in private. What you wear is seen by all and makes a statement and makes your clothes more acceptable.

    No- I don’t think men should be looking to notice the difference. But even though it is a challenge, as women, that is our job to overcome it.

    #1024940

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    A woman’s mitzvah has nothing to do with men. Helping men is a side affect, not the cause. I doubt the inch on the knee is why a man is having taavos. Usually, it has to be something more extreme.

    Men have their own mitzvos to worry about. Women have theirs.

    What if a woman is following her halachic psak and a man has taavos anyway? What if her psak allows a skirt mid knee?

    #1024941

    so right
    Member

    I learnt that chazal wrote “Shok b’isha ervah” – “the leg of a woman is ervah” (area that must be covered). The knee and above must be fully covered at all times front and back per basic halacha (Shok b’isha ervah) so this typically means a skirt with at least 4 inches below the knee so that it is covered even when sitting, getting up, into a car or walking outside in a bit of a wind. Below the knee it must be covered in stockings per poskim who say chazal are referring to below the knee or otherwise the accepted Orthodox practice, which you halachicly cannot deviate from.

    Another terrible problem lately is ppl wearing low necklines or tight fitting clothes.

    #1024942

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    So right, Rav Falk may hold that way but not all rabbonim do.

    Yes, Shok is erva. But there are large debates on what shok is and exactly where the line is. Most poskim say the knee. Most, not all.

    4″, wearing stockins, a whole different ball game.

    #1024943

    oomis
    Participant

    “If you edit my post, please note that it has been edited.

    As to the halacha, shok is NOT clearly defined and people showing parts of their knees may have Rabbinic tradition backing them up. I say may because not all communities hold by this.

    As to comparing tznius with murder – tznius is between a person and Hashem. Murder is between a person and another person. I would compare murder more closely with tax evasion than tznius.

    We should really question why women are getting close enough to notice the difference between the few inches on the knees.”

    Shok is not clearly defined, according to how I was taught, true. It says”shok b’isha erva” without specifying the exact areas that are considered shok. Being that a shok by today’s English definition is the thigh, it would seem to NOT include the knee. It may begin above the knee, it may be below. We are not sure. But to be safe and certain, it is best to cover the knee.

    That being said – comparing tznius or its lack (in knee-showing, NOT in behavior, which clearly is a whole other ballgame and unquestionably assur)to murder, is the kind of comparison that turns people away from Torah. It’s that type of hyperbole like saying eating cholov stam brings great tragedy on klal Yisroel. If something is emes, it is emes. But if it might not be, it should not be used as an example. Like Odom Harishon telling Chava that Hashem said it is assur to touch the tree, when all He said was to refrain from eating its fruit. That’s how Chava came to sin because of him exaggerating.

    Girls wearing skirts that show the knee when they get in a car, or sit down, are not committing an act that is morally equivalent with murder, though they should be wearing longer skirts. People who kick those girls out of Yeshivah and make them feel disenfranchised, they are the ones who are wrong, because those same girls who might have remained frum, shomros of the mitzvos of shabbos, kashrus,and taharas hamishpacha, end up becoming so soured on frumkeit that they go the other way, chalilah.

    I happen to be in the group that believes girls SHOULD dress in a more tzniusdig fashion (btw, “tznius” is a noun, and it should not be used as an adjective, which people erroneously do all the time). But I would never look at a frum girl wearing a shorter skirt and equate her with a murderer (or even view her as not frum)! That is not only ridiculous, it is outrageous and insulting. Lack of tznius in dress, as defined by most people here, is also not on par with Chilul Shabbos or eating tarfus. What constitutes the boundaries of tznius, has often been a gray area, throughout history, locale, and mode of dress of most women (Jew AND non-Jew alike). Yes, there are certain boundaries we must not ever cross, but there is also wiggle room (no pun intended) in some areas, as well. This is my opinion, and I am sure it will draw some criti-cism, but I believe that we need to learn to be less judgmental of things that in the final analysis may not be so “glatt” as we think.

    #1024944

    so right
    Member

    many poskim hold basic shok from chazal includes below the knee.

    others hold covering below the knee is per the accepted custom which one cannot deviate from.

    #1024945

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    So right, that is true. Many poskim hold that way. But don’t expect people who DON’T hold that way to conform.

    #1024946

    so right
    Member

    Everyone says that the skirt must be long enough so that it is covered even when getting up, sitting down, getting into a car, walking in the wind, etc. Unfortunately many don’t conform properly.

    #1024947

    chesedname
    Participant

    a woman’s tzinus or lack of it, affect everyone including men.

    how do i explain to my wife/daughter, that she has to dress tzinusdik, when everyone else is walking around the way they do?

    So it does affect us, and after 120 that’s part of what a person will have to answer for.

    #1024948

    ChanieE
    Participant

    This thread started out questioning the frumkeit of girls who wear skirts that don’t completely cover their knees. Would you put the word “frum” in quotes in the following sentence: “Recently there has been an outbreak of “frum” people speaking lashon hara”? Who are you (or any of us) to judge who is frum and who isn’t? Nobody is perfect.

    Some people clearly feel very strongly about this perceived lack of tznius and that’s their prerogative, but to insinuate that someone is not frum because she doesn’t follow your standards?! (I use the word “perceived” because the specific halachos of tznius are NOT uniformly agreed-upon and those who dress in shorter skirts or lower necklines than others may in fact have rabbinic approval for these standards.)

    This is a topic that has come up many times over the years here in the coffee room, and I’ll reiterate my standard rule: Ask your rabbi what you should do and don’t impose your rabbi’s psak/chumra/minhag on others.

    How about being dan l’kaf zechus and instead of assuming a girl in a short skirt is an evil sinner, assume she either has a heter for her skirt length or she’s struggling to work through her issues? There are nicer ways to tell someone her skirt may bit a bit shorter than she realizes without questioning her frumkeit, and we can certainly use a little more niceness in the world 🙂

    #1024949

    qa
    Member

    Would you be as quick to suggest that if you see (through the glass wall) your frum neighbor in McDonald’s fressing a cheeseburger, that we be assume he has a heter?

    #1024950

    charliehall
    Participant

    Everyone should read the writings of Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin, the grandson of Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu Henkin z’tz’l, on this subject before they all people baalei aveirot. Rav Henkin brings all the sources, the meikel and the machmir, and even points out where some have distorted the sources.

    #1024951

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    qa-

    If the person is known to keep halacha, then you should definitely assume he has a heter. The gemara’s case is where they saw someone taking off his tefillin, walk into the house of a zonah, walk out and tovel as if he had just done an aveirah, and still they judged him lekaf zechus because they knew he was not the kind of person to do the aveirah. So if you know the person eating the cheeseburger is a shomer torah u’mitzvos you should certainly assume he has a heter – i.e. a medical condition that he has to eat it if he smells it (something the mishnah talks about) etc. etc.

    However, if the person is not so careful with halacha there is no reason to be a fool, and I suspect Trying My Best was talking about such people when he/she accused them of not keeping the halacha.

    #1024952

    ChanieE
    Participant

    Re neighbor eating a cheeseburger at McDonalds: Maybe you’re misinterpreting what you think you are seeing. People are so quick to be mekayeim tochachah that they forget about a lot of other miztvos. Work on yourself first.

    #1024953

    lakewoodwife
    Member

    I’ve noticed this situation quite a bit lately (I’m not getting involved in the halachic debate). What concerns me even more, though, is the number of times that I’ve seen uniform skirts that barely cover the girls’ knees. There is no way these skirts cover their knees when they are doing anything other than standing perfectly still or taking tiny steps. While there may be opinions that allow showing part of the knee, I think we all can agree that that is not the chinuch we expect from our girls’ schools. I’m talking about the “good” schools in Lakewood, not “modern” schools. Schools that won’t accept people because of the way a mother dresses or because of what a father does for a living. Schools that won’t accept girls who have internet at home, or who occasionally watch a (Jewish) video. Can someone please explain to me why they seemingly have no problem with their students walking around advertising the lack of tznius in their schools. This is where the problems start. I can just imagine the conversations “but why does my Shabbos skirt have to be longer than my uniform?” “The principal saw me today and she didn’t say anything, so it must be fine” “everyone’s uniform skirts are this length”. I know good families where this is an issue, the mothers’ don’t know what to do and the schools do nothing (I know at least a few girls who have been wearing skirts this short for a couple of years already and the school has said nothing). How do you tell a teenager that it is inappropriate to wear skirts that short when the heads of the tznius organization/ club in school wear skirts that are shorter. These are girls that were chosen by the hanhala to help teach and encourage others in their tznius. What is happening here????

    #1024954

    tzippi
    Member

    SJS and Oomis, you’re right.

    BUT the big question here is, why are girls who are living in communities, and going through BY systems, where there are certain standards of tznius (not necessarily Rav Falk, but knees, elbows, feet and collarbones covered all the time) NOT living that way? You can go on and on about other halachic points of views and I will not impugn your rabbinic authorities. We are talking of a milieu where certain things should be givens, and sadly are not.

    #1024955

    mdd
    Member

    Who are these Rabbonim who allegedly allow this? Why nobody heard of this heter before this breach had begun? It looks like first comes the tuyva, then heterim get invented.

    Nobody meant to equate not-tsniusdic skirts with murder. What was meant is that having yetser horah is not a valid excuse.

    By the way, the main reason for tsnius is because of the men. Stoping others from doing aveiros (such as protesting against women wearing immodest clothing) is everybody’s business according to the Torah.

    #1024956

    oomis
    Participant

    “Would you be as quick to suggest that if you see (through the glass wall) your frum neighbor in McDonald’s fressing a cheeseburger, that we be assume he has a heter?”

    That is an example of the type of inappropriate equivalency to which I was referring. Eating treif (and l’kaf zechus there might be a reason for it, i.e. a medical condition, if an otherwise frum person is doing it, as someone stated) is an absolute issur. A thing is kosher or it is not. A cheeseburger made with kosher cheese and kosher meat, is still assur for us. EVERYONE knows and agrees upon that, if they are shomrei Torah u’Mitzvos. Not so with skirt and sleeve lengths. It is not as black and white an issue, and to say otherwise, is to discredit all the VERY many poskim who held kulos. I have seen pictures of Rabbonim and their families, in the 1940s and 50s, where the daughters, who were adults in the pictures, wore cap sleeves or slightly longer. The Rabbonim, with long beards, and whose wives were wearing shaitlech (the OLD style, not like the natural-looking ones of today), permitted their daughters to dress in the customary style of all young women of that time. Again, I am not saying right or wrong, only stating an observation.

    Whatever we each hold to be the proper way of doing things, we also have to recognize that just as we make a choice, someone else’s choice may be different from our own, and that does not make them not frum. If they desecrated the Shabbos, ate tarfus, and didn’t practice TH”M, then I would have something to discuss about their religious observance.

    #1024957

    just listen
    Member

    it’s a problem and we all know it.the issue has to do with the fact that the girls are not taught how it affects others.

    and the reason it’s not taught is because schools don’t want to start up this side of “tznius”.

    thats the issue.

    #1024958

    chesedname
    Participant

    lakewoodwife

    try paying your tuition late, and you’ll see how fast they react!

    #1024959

    mdd
    Member

    oomis1105, those Rabbonim did not hold it was mutar, halila. They just coud not stop their daughters from doing it. There were also Rabbonim, whose wifes did not cover their hair at all.

    Where does this idea come from that wearing tsniusdic clothing is less of an obligation then keeping kosher?

    #1024960

    chesedname
    Participant

    everything became a cholont here.

    #1 which rav says that the skirt doesn’t have to cover the knees??

    #2 there is a difference between a person that’s not frum period, IE doesn’t cover her hair or a balas teshuva that doesn’t cover her knees, versus a completely “ultra frum” person who doesn’t cover here knees, so to say it’s a challenge for us woman or other excuses doesn’t cut it. we expect more as we should, from the “ultra frum” and “bais yaakov” girls.

    #3 if you look away at the length of the skirt, in short order they will be mini skirts, and from there everything else goes out the window. it’s one of the few mitzvas a woman has, and the yeter harah will attack 24/7, but that’s your fight.

    #4 to all the woman that say this is their problem and it doesn’t hurt anyone, besides that it does hurt others. would you like your husband doing things he shouldn’t in the office, and say it’s my problem? your hurting your kids, your husband, and all guys that see you!!!

    #1024961

    bein_hasdorim
    Participant

    SJSinNYC said; “I doubt the inch on the knee is why a man is having taavos. Usually, it has to be something more extreme.”

    unless you are a guy, which I remember from way back you are not, you cannot possibly understand anything about a man’s taaivos or nisyonos, just as it wouldn’t be right for me to make a statement as if i understood the struggles of being a religious woman.

    If men were generally behaving in a way that put women in a serious nisayon on a daily, secondly basis, we’d be sure to hear of it, just the fact that young men learning (or just not working)sending their wives into the workforce & not giving them the time of day, & neglecting their feelings has caused many to seek the attention of their bosses & coworkers

    leading to disasterous results with girls from good homes.

    No offense but the women who defend not being dressed tzniusdik are Nogeah B’davar. In my professional experience it usually stems from a low self esteem and a need to be looked at,

    get attention, be the center of attention.

    The other main reason is simply not being aware of halachas & middos of tznius. More modern generations & parents who carved their own path away from what they saw by their parents & grandparents hence leaving their children in a state of cluelessness.

    Yet another reason is peer pressure & monkey see monkey do syndrome. These girls imitate popular classmates, also when they get older they’re convinced that if they are not totally into

    the latest styles it will affect their shidduch,

    the latter being the boys or rather their mothers fault.

    We need to educate the masses saying this is NOT ok!

    If this seems offensive, please read it again. I am merely trying to introduce some elements that may shed light upon the root of this

    issue.

    #1024962

    webster
    Member

    I don’t know what you people are talking about! The Mishnah Berurah (???? ?”? ???? ??? ?)states explicitly that the knee is part of the upper section of the leg,which according to all opinions is certainly considered “Shok” and therefore must be completely covered by a skirt or a dress.All the different opinions mentioned in the Halachic literature are in regard to the question of whether the area of the leg from the foot till the knee (but not including the knee itself!)[calf]is considered “Shok” as well,or is “Shok” just the upper part of the leg from the hip until below the knee.All this has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the issue of covering the knee itself.

    #1024964

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Whoa! A total deleat! It’s too bad ’cause the post was true to the point; just not PC.

    #1024965

    I did not go to BY or any other religious school – we did not have it. I’m BT and I’m following what I learn from my daughter ( who is observant 18 years out of her 30), my mentor and different classes I take. I was learn that Jewish woman suppose to cover her knees, elbows and collarbones and I personally follow it. Being a fashion designer I made a new gowns and kind of “creative” alteration for ladies from our community. Till one day. That day someone call me and asked to make gowns for her daughters (15 and 18 yo) and I was agree. Next day I could not believe my eyes – girls ask me to make strapless gowns with small boleros. I gave my word just a day before and did not know what to do now. I asked the shaila and I was told I can do it, because: 1. I’m not only a dressmaker in community, 2. I’m doing this for money, 3. girls will not listen to me any way, because the mother does not care about the way they dressed. So, I did. But I do not want to do this any more, I do not want to help ffb girls to be dressed this way. Every road starts from the first step and not long enough skirt may be this first step. I do not judge anybody – just my thoughts.

    #1024966

    Anonym613
    Participant

    “Rabbi, what are you doing?” asked the student.

    His teacher responded, “I am 86 years old and blind in one eye, and I am still affected by human nature. You are young and in the prime of life. If you are not affected by immodest sights, then perhaps you’re sick. I am saying Tehillim for your recovery!”

    #1024967

    oomis
    Participant

    “Where does this idea come from that wearing tsniusdic clothing is less of an obligation then keeping kosher? “

    I don’t believe it to be less of an obligation – only that it is NOT equivalent. If someone eats treif in his home, you cannot eat in his home. Period. If his daughter wears a skirt that covers the knee but not when she sits down, do you truly feel she is treif? If so, I respect where you are coming from, but there is nothing further to discuss.

    #1024968

    mazal77
    Participant

    I was at a shiur and the speaker mentioned at the class, about why there are so many more tragedies in the Summertime R”L, then normal, and the speaker mentioned because the there is a breach in the laws of Tzinius. The Yeter Hara makes the Summer a little more difficult for some women to be Tzinus. When some posters say, well, what they want to wear is their business, their thinking is incorrect, because how they dress does effect Klal Yisrael. At this same class, we were told how we when we are hot and sweaty, and we still make sure that we are dressed properly, Hashem collects those drops, and B”H, when the time for Ticiyas Hamasim, comes, Hashem will turn the sweat in to the dew that will revive them. So girls, in the merit of keeping the laws of Tzinus, only good can come of it.

    #1024969

    oomis
    Participant

    ” there is a difference between a person that’s not frum period, IE doesn’t cover her hair “

    Chesedname, are you saying that a (married) woman who does not cover her hair, is not frum, period? There are many, many frum people who would strongly disagree with you about that. They all go to mikvah, keep a strictly kosher home, are mekadeish the shabbos and yomim tovim, say Tehillim on a regular basis, daven every day, and do great chesed (with or without the name). Do you really feel that they are not frum because of that one reason?

    #1024970

    mazal77
    Participant

    Oomis, I was at another class and the Rav mentioned that celebrites, L’Havdil, do good deeds as well, but they don’t dress properly. The laws of Tzinus are imporant as well as other mitvoth. There are many Halachos that are involved as well. They serve as a protection for Women, Spritually and Physically. There are many books, (can’t think of them now), that explain the whys without the fire and brimstone of why we should keep these laws, just as well as Shabbos, and Kashrus. They are part of the Jewish Woman who has the most important and crucial task in this world, running a jewish home.

    #1024971

    anonymous555
    Participant

    Am i the only one that has realized that women, married and single, are walking around with leggings!! and they then wear these short skirts up to their knees, but you can see their ankles!

    also, why do some of us women, myself NOT included, think that men, if they are presented with a slightly not tznius woman are animals and their taavos go out of control? that cant be further from the truth.

    #1024972

    oomis
    Participant

    “unless you are a guy, which I remember from way back you are not, you cannot possibly understand anything about a man’s taaivos or nisyonos, just as it wouldn’t be right for me to make a statement as if i understood the struggles of being a religious woman.”

    There is no question that taaivos are an issue. However, the Muslim response to that is to put women in a chador or burquah, and only allow her eyes to show. So maybe the problem is with the man, and not the woman. Maybe men need to learn more self-control. I love the smell of a BLT, but I am not going to eat it.

    “No offense but the women who defend not being dressed tzniusdik are Nogeah B’davar. In my professional experience it usually stems from a low self esteem and a need to be looked at,

    get attention, be the center of attention. “

    Unless you are a woman, and from your screen name, I get the feeling you are not, you cannot possibly understand anything about a woman’s sense of fashion and desire to well-dressed, which has NOTHING whatsoever to do with lack of self-esteem, and everything in the world to do with wanting to look pretty. If you ask most women, they are dressing to impress other women, not men, because most men are clueless and don’t even notice when their wives are wearing a new dress. Women who come from frum homes but dress like a zonah, are possibly suffering from low self-esteem.The typical girl who wants to wear a pretty dress that does not quite measure up to what we perceive as 100% tzniusdig standards in the Yeshivish world,however, just wants to look nice. Maybe they should not wear makeup, either, because it shows a lack of confidence to not be satisfied with the face Hashem gave them.

    #1024974

    oomis
    Participant

    Mazal, when there is a breach in tznius in the summer, it is often because the men are home alone with too much time on their hands, while the wives go to Bungalow colonies. They are only together for weekends, and from a halachic standpoint, that is not such a healthy thingfor the men OR the women.

    #1024975

    anonymous555
    Participant

    also, lets all try not to be so judgemental of one another and mind our own business

    #1024976

    anonymous555
    Participant

    and lets not forget thAT woman have taavos as well, just like men

    #1024978

    anonymous555
    Participant

    oomis, i was really refering to taavas nashim not cheeseburgers. and no, it wansnt tounge in cheek-this is what is happening in flatbush and the 5 towns today, not sure about lkwd-if thats where u are

    #1024979

    mazal77
    Participant

    You can still look pretty and follow the laws of Tzinus. Wearing clothes and behavior that does not attract attention. No one says you should look ugly and dress in a burlap bag. It is an awareness, that Hashem is watching at all times. Even when you are home alone, you need to be aware of Hashem and be Tzinus.

    #1024980

    chesedname
    Participant

    dear oomis1105

    the holy books are clear, any time we “slip” we can do teshuva, and the great and compassionate one will forgive us, but if there is any halacha that we (man or woman) completely ignore, while knowing it’s wrong. that person has the title of a rasha.

    Again if you have an urge for a cheeseburger, and control it on most days, but slip here and there, you can do teshuva.

    That’s better than taking something from the torah and just throwing it out the window.

    #1024981

    mazal77
    Participant

    Daughters of Dignity is a very good book on the laws of Tznius.

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