May 21, 2010 5:17 am at 5:17 am #1025084
It is important to be cognizant of the fact that in order to be properly tznuah at all times (so that the knee and above is covered at all times in all positions from all angles), that the skirt should be at least 4 inches below the knee so that it covers the knee even when you are walking, sitting, getting up, into or out of a car, outside in the wind, etc.May 21, 2010 5:17 am at 5:17 am #1025085yeshivaguy1Participant
littleema thanks for clarifying I wasn’t sure if the original comment was supporting or arguing with what I wrote I guess it was supporting.May 21, 2010 6:02 am at 6:02 am #1025087speaktruthMember
many ppl wear knee highs in america too.
it is a problem but at the very least if peoples skirts are long enough then they realize if their socks are falling down b4 others can see it. most people wear stocking if they wear a short skirt.May 21, 2010 6:17 am at 6:17 am #1025088
The knees need to be covered at all times by the skirt even if wearing knee highs. Knee highs are a tight clothing and not tznuah to be the only cover of an area that must be covered. A short skirt is never tznuah.May 21, 2010 8:02 am at 8:02 am #1025089mischiefmakerMember
like so right said-the knees must be covered by a skirt regardless of the tights/socks/knee highs.
But, I have another issue with tznius. Is there any heter to wear sheer tights? Why are ppl wearing sheer stockings if the foot also hasta be covered. Why is this considered less assur than short skirts? Maybe I’m just missing the heter. You might as well go without stockings! (I’m not at the madreiga to give it up-I still wear them)May 23, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am #1025090hodulashemParticipant
mischiefmaker, i think that the halacha with legs below the knee is that they need to be covered… whether or not you can see them is irrelevant, as long as there is a something covering the skin. but from the knee up, the legs are considered erva and the form of legs cannot be seen… does that answer your question?May 23, 2010 7:03 pm at 7:03 pm #1025091
I saw recently a man comming into his house and a woman was holding the door open for him and he was making no effrot to get inside very fast at all nor was she rushing him in.
She was standing there talking to him wearing some kind of blouse that did not cover her arms at all.
Her shoulders and every part of her arms below them, were totally exposed.
And the guy wore a hat and beard, as I recall.
Now, if that was his wife and she wore that only around the house, that might be one thing, but she was exposing herself in public (even though technically speaking, she was still “inside”) where anyone walking or driving by, could easily see her.May 23, 2010 9:59 pm at 9:59 pm #1025092
Read Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin’s essays on tzniut where he brings down *all* the sources. They are a much better source for learning about this issue than Rav Falk’s book which is more selective on sources and also includes many of Rav Falk’s personal chumrot.May 24, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am #1025093rwndk1Member
As you saw from my question on page 2 regarding why they don’t allow long skirts, I am with you. What is more strange about the sheer stockings is that the Israeli seminaries (Chadash, Yashan, Snif, Bnos Elisheva, etc.) REQUIRE the girls to wear sheer stockings – no black, white, or cotton. I understand that it is mutar to wear sheer stockings, but that it is better? Sounds as ridiculous as saying long skirts almost to the floor are not tzanua – is it better to reveal some of our legs than to cover? I am very perplexed about this issue.May 24, 2010 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm #1025095tomim tihyeMember
“Sounds as ridiculous as saying long skirts almost to the floor are not tzanua – is it better to reveal some of our legs than to cover?”
Is it better to reveal our face/neck than to cover (as Muslims do)? There are certain parts (lower leg included) that are meant to be exposed, and to cover them is considered provocative.May 24, 2010 2:24 pm at 2:24 pm #1025096Proud JewMember
EDITEDMay 24, 2010 2:26 pm at 2:26 pm #1025097
and to cover them is considered provocative
That’s a new one to me.
I’ve always asked if people think that our ancestors wore socks in the desert and not sandals. The only answer people have given me in this regard is that:
1) people wore long robes so their ankles were covered
2) Its minhag hamakom
So then I pose this question back to you – if long clothing is NOT tzanua, did our ancestors wear sandals or socks? If you say socks, please provide some documentation that socks existed in the desert because I’ve never heard of it.May 24, 2010 3:03 pm at 3:03 pm #1025098yeshivaguy1Participant
rwndk1 from my own personal observation in a very long skirt you can see the form underneath much clearer than in a medium length skirt. If girls want to know whether something is tznius ask a guy they notice these things much better than a girl (for obvious reasons)May 24, 2010 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm #1025099
Yeshivaguy, sounds like its time to start working on “shmiras eynayim”!
Tznius is a woman’s mitzvah with set guidelines. That’s why we have halacha – to define what needs to be covered.
EDITEDMay 24, 2010 4:49 pm at 4:49 pm #1025100
I think tznius is actually a woman’s mitzva to protect the woman from being seen as a mere object, “eye candy” for men.
Woman can and should dress in a respectable manner, but shouldn’t be reduced as mere skin to be shown. Frum girls don’t understand this because they are not exposed to general socializing with men, but nebach these poor girls and women who have to compete and vie for men’s attention.
Woman who are dressed b’tznius, but beautiful have a chein that is sorely lacking in those frum girls who try to push the parameters of tznius boundries. Neutral makeup that enhance the features are so much more becoming than clown makeup. A nice skirt that’s not too long to look schluchy but also covers the knee when sitting (a line skirts are cute and very tzniusdig) is more elegant than a short skirt that barely touches the knee. Tight clothing is cheapy looking, while clothing that’s not baggy, but just the right fit shows a refined taste.
Tznius is self respect. That doesn’t mean that a girl that doesn’t dress b’tznius doesn’t have self esteem. It just means that she does not have the self respect not to dress in a flaunting manner.
As I mentioned above, I don’t think tznius is a mitzva only to protect the men. The woman goyim today (shiksa today is not a politically correct word) are actually walking around undressed. So why shouldn’t frum woman too? After all were we women only to dress this way because of how it affects the men, then there is no pshat of being dressed tzniusdig if men can see other women barely dressed.
Tznius is a gift that Hashem has given us so that we will not be reduced to mere objects. This mitzva allows us women to present and conduct ourselves with dignity and pride of being a bas Yisroel.May 24, 2010 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #1025101pomeranzMember
the thing that i wonder is, doesnt the husband mind how his wife dresses? doesn’t he care that people see his wife’s knees and stares at other parts of her body? and its many times husbands that wouldnt think of looking at other women.May 24, 2010 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #1025102tzippiMember
To Charlie Hall: I haven’t read Rav Henkin but I did read Lynn Schreiber’s book. I have a great deal of respect for people who are consistent so I have no quarrel with people who follow such shitos. What is disconcerting is how girls in a milieu where there are certain givens concerning knees, elbows, etc., and who have gone through an educational system with that approach can disregard so much.
Not a new problem but maybe we need some new approaches.May 24, 2010 6:32 pm at 6:32 pm #1025104aaymParticipant
This forum has become more and more rediculous as you read on. I don’t think any Rav would say a skirt that allows the full knee to be seen is acceptable. Therefore, if when you walk it is barely covering your knee or mid knee, so anyone saying that mid knee is acceptable, how do you make sure it remains mid-knee in the wind, when sitting down, or when climbing steps????May 24, 2010 6:49 pm at 6:49 pm #1025105
Tzippi, I personally think its the fact that tznius is so emphasized in schools that it becomes background noise. People start to ignore it and do what they want. A BT friend of mine told me that if she had learnt tznius the way her daughters were being taught, she would have run away from the religion. She was taught similiar to what clearheaded posted.
But I do want to reiterate, most frum women I know dress for women and not for men. Teenager years may be different (I still think more dress for women than men).May 24, 2010 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #1025106
I don’t get it.
It seems there are problems with people not being tznius enough so the complaint is
“it’s taught too much”.
So the answer is what?
Teach it less and all those who do not follow it properly will suddenly start doing it?
Will people learn more Torah if it is taught less?
Will Loshon Hara decrease if fewer people talk about the laws regarding it?
What kind of backwards, upsidedown plan, are we supposed to follow here?May 25, 2010 3:54 am at 3:54 am #1025108
i am just randomly posting this as food for thought.
i am a yeshiva bochur learning in yerushalaim.
and i can tell you that walking through the charedie neigborhoods on the way back from yeshiva. i dont see non frum people. rather i see the frum married women. and when trying to take your mind off of taavos, it is very hard when you see the uncovered leg [below, even if the knee is covered], that is meorer tavvos. and it gets into your head. even seeing one women like this, when you are sensitive to it, is meorer. and causes taavos, and who knows what else.May 25, 2010 3:59 am at 3:59 am #1025109
i would also like to point out, that dressing in tight clothing or short skirts does not look more beautiful in the eyes of most men. rather since it is showing off the womens form, that is just stam meorer taavos.
i think that what has happened is, that since frum women want to look nice [and that is legitimate] they therefore wear these things. and i dont think that they do it like the goyim to merorer taavos. however i think that what in the womens mind. looks nice, is based on the culture that we have been exposed to. and since the secular world the men and designers that are fashioning the clothing, are fashioning based on what is meorer taavos. therefore that is what determines what is considered looking nice.
just like in general in a persons mind, what looks nice to him or her is based on what the fashion is in their times and the fashion of ten years ago doesnt look nice.May 25, 2010 4:03 am at 4:03 am #1025110
also i dont see the point of all this discusion of feelings ect. who cares about feelings. ask your rav what is the halcha, and what is the spirit of halcha. and go with that.
since when are we on that level where our personal feelings and thoughts tell us what is right. that is not judaism.May 25, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am #1025111rwndk1Member
Are you trying to tell me that it is provocative to wear gloves or a scarf? I believe the long skirts thing has to do with political affiliation – that you are dressing like a mizrachi and not chareidi.May 25, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm #1025112Be HappyParticipant
Rebbetzin Braunstein z”l said that as men have the mitzva of Torah so we have the mitzvah of Tzinuus. Are we going to give it up so easily Chas Vesholom?? Also consider if our Imohos were to come to us now, would we feel happy with what we are wearing or would we be trying to shlep our skirts down a bit lower, want to change our tights, and maybe even our tops?May 25, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm #1025113mddMember
Some people were trying to dig up here lenient shitos (opinions). We do not pasken like those shitos. If we start looking for shvere (fraught with difficulty)opinions in any area of Halacha, one can matir (permit) wild things. And some of those wild things are surely not going to be liked by the modern-inclined people who try to dig up shvere kulos in the field of tsnius. T h e a n s w e r to all the l e n i e n t o p i n i o n s is that w e d o n’ t p a s k e n l i k e t h a t.
As far as the claim that men see non-Jewish women in very untsniusdic clothing — the immodestly dressed Jewish women still can cause temptation/provocation:
1) if at that moment the non-tsnius. lady which happens to be in front of the man is non-tsnius. bas Isroel — she will cause the problems, and not the non-Jew 8 feet away (especially, if the man is in a place where the only women are frum ones — like a frum house);
2) he can happen to notice the non-tsnius. Jewish woman out of the crowd (especially, because the frum women wear fancy sheitels, nice clothing; some wear a lot of make-up);
3)he might see an non-tsnius. non-Jew, and it can cause problems, and then 3 seconds later, he might see a non-tsnius. Yiddishe, and it will make it worse.May 25, 2010 2:47 pm at 2:47 pm #1025116
Listen joeym, I agree with you on the points you are conveying. Tight fitting clothing should not be worn and legs should be covered, but maybe you need some help with this issue.
Unfortunately, there are some circles that are frum and not chareidi where woman will not cover their legs. You’ll have to live with this. I’m definitely not condoning this level of (un)tznius, however this is reality. Therefore, it might do you good to discuss with a Rabbi or someone you trust,ways to stop noticing and thinking about women that much. Im not trying to be nasty. I’m just saying that this is reality.May 25, 2010 3:25 pm at 3:25 pm #1025121
Hereorthere (take 2, although I don’t quite understand what was wrong with take 1):
You need to teach in an effective way. Not in volume. Volume means nothing if the message is NOT being recieved. Sometimes, the more you say the less you say. Why aren’t kids in school 12 hours a day? Because they can’t learn that long. After a while, nothing really sinks in. That’s why kids are in school for shorter hours – they can learn and absorb better that way (obviously, a balance on both ends).
When every speech is about tznius, people stop listening. People don’t take it seriously because its become the catch all of everything, rather than have people take their own personal responsibility.
EDITEDMay 25, 2010 4:08 pm at 4:08 pm #1025123squeakParticipant
Let’s try to analyze this logically. What is the impetus for the stringent requirements of tsnius? In a world with no men (or a women’s locker room for the sake of a realistic example) is there a different standard? If you answer yes, that means at least some of the requirements of tsnius are to avoid provoking men. If you answer no, please explain the double standard.
I see at least two schools of thought emerging here. One appears to be an expression of outrage against men, decrying the need for women to act/dress differently than they would otherwise have to, merely due to problems that men have. If it is men that have the problem, then men should be the ones who have to fix it, not women. I personally find this way of thinking to be quite appalling.
Another school of thought is that the same Creator who gave women physical (and other) characteristics that are attractive to men, and the ability to ensnare men, also commanded them to make use of an appropriate “bottle stopper” to keep their powers in check. With great power comes great responsibility (as my wise uncle used to say). A similar example is tzedaka – a wealthy person has (financial) powers and the same Creator Who gave him those powers commands him what to do with them to alleviate the weakness of others (who lack the means to live at a proper standard). In the past it may have been more obvious where to draw the line in behavior and dress (“V’hatznea leches im H”E”, “B’chol drachecha do’ehu”), but it is very clear that in today’s world, clothing designers are purposely seeking to be on the wrong side of that line (most designers are men, after all) and they are affecting everyone’s judgement.
To some degree, black and white rules are needed now, in face of the anarchy found in the world of fashion. And to some degree, men may be needed to participate in setting these rules (due to halacha and mesorah passing from man to man, and the degree that the requirements are for his benefit), albeit the participation should be INDIRECTLY. [In my opinion, men have participated thus far as much as will ever be needed and the future can be left to capable women.] I tend to agree with SJS and the others who have stated that the approach to teaching tsnius requirements taken thus far may have been flawed and an improved approach must be implemented.
I think it should be obvious that any man who ever leaves his home is going to be challenged in this regard whether or not every Bas Yisroel is 100% up to the standard or not, simply due to other people in this world. If I have an urge to steal, there will be some stores that have cameras to prevent me and some that have none, and regarding those stores it is entirely up to me to prevent myself. So, in my opinion the men’s job here is DONE (except for giving encouragement to wives and daughters). Women should take responsibility for themselves, and men should take responsibility for themselves. “Kiruv rechokim” should be left to women.May 25, 2010 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #1025124Pashuteh YidMember
As far as socks go, Reb Moshe says it is not necessary to cover anything below the knee. Therefore, he says socks are only a chumrah and can be made of anything, since they are not really necessary at all.
As far as women who wear above the knees or elbows, I am not condoning it, nor do my wife or daughters do it, but perhaps we can me melamed zchus.
The halacha is tefach b’isha erva. An exposed handbreadth (4 inches) of any part of the body that should be covered is considered ervah.
So if the entire area above the knee is shok, then one would not violate it until a tefach was exposed, meaning 3-4″ above the knee, and the same for the elbow. (Note this assumes the tefach is a measure of length, not area as in square tefachim, since then, even a centimeter above the knee may expose more than a square tefach all the way around.)
If this is true, then perhaps that is why many frum women with tichels let it uncover an inch or so above the forehead, since one does not violate until a tefach of hair shows.May 25, 2010 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #1025125
Squeak, the point about it being a mitzvah for women having nothing to do with men is this: I keep the halachos of tznius because its commanded to ME. I don’t keep it to help a man with shmiras eynayim. Its a great side effect, but its not the reason I keep the halacha.
So if a man comes up to me and says “I find bare legs (below the knee, halachically acceptable according to my rabbonim) too alluring, please cover them” then I am not going to. I am not keeping the halacha according to my shitta for HIS sake. I am keeping it to conform to my halachic standards. Otherwise, Orthodox Jewish women would end up in burqas.
I am only responsible to ensure that I keep halacha, I cannot control what others do. No matter how tzanua (or lack thereof) I dress, it does not exempt a man from his mitzvah of shmiras eynayim. Remember, side effect, not root cause.
[see my illness/antibiotics analogy posted back in this thread]May 25, 2010 6:39 pm at 6:39 pm #1025126
Squeak, in my first post on this thread, I wrote that women have this important mitzva of tznius precisely to protect the women from an unwanted kind of attention from men.
But there is seperate issue of men working on their yetzer hora. Their thoughts should not dwell constantly on women and not keep on seeking out the forbidden. It is not realistic to expect the whole world, the goyim and the non-Chareidim to dress like the Chareidim.
And while it is normal for a man to have some sort of attraction to women as Hashem gave that feature for men, however constantly looking at women and their dress is clearly against halacha. So what do you mean with their job is done?May 25, 2010 6:58 pm at 6:58 pm #1025127
“There are certain parts (lower leg included) that are meant to be exposed, and to cover them is considered provocative. “
If you study pre-modern Jewish dress you will not find lower legs exposed; your statement is inconsistent with how Jews have understood proper dress for millenia. The mizrachi ankle length skirts are more in keeping with tradition than are the charedi calf length skirts.May 25, 2010 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #1025128
SJSinNYC, While girls generally dress for women and girls, women who have been married for a while, their yetzer hora can change. Some frum women are unfortunately clearly provocative in dress and speach. I believe you are single or at least newly married. But definitely not married for a few years. People change. If women have not gotten used to dressing in a way that shows they respect themselves and dress for themselves then for WHOM they dress and try to impress can change. From dressing to impress for women it can easily evolve into dressing to impress for men.
While I agree with your line,”I am only responsible to ensure that I keep halacha, I cannot control what others do.” I do not agree with your next sentence that seems to imply you will not be held accountable for causing men to sin if you do not dress within the parameters of halachah. While a man is not exempt from shmiras eynayim regardless of how women dress, those who are lax in the halachos of tznius and as a result cause a man to sin, ARE responsible for causing someone to sin. One is not allowed to be the cause of sin, regardless what the others responsibilties are regarding sin.May 25, 2010 7:50 pm at 7:50 pm #1025129
clearheaded, I have been married for over 5 years. Is that “new”?
I never said if I don’t dress tzanua I wouldn’t be partaking in a man’s sin that I may cause. But it doesn’t exempt him from shmiras eynayim. If I am 100% tzanua according to my shitta, and a man still has trouble and sins, that has nothing to do with me!May 25, 2010 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #1025130Trying my bestMember
charliehall: There’s no such thing as “charedi calf length skirts” (your terminology.) Chareidim always must wear longer skirts than that, at the very least to keep the knees covered in any position.May 25, 2010 8:53 pm at 8:53 pm #1025131
SJSinNYC What is someone were to say “I’m tired iof hearing about abused women and about agunos”?
In some circles that is all they ever talk about.
One well known “Jewish” Paper had a section only about agunos in every issue (at least for a long while, durng one period) in which women were always victims of men and they made it sound as if all men were to blame for any instance, of any woman ever being unhappy.
Some never stop talking about such things, they have seemingly made talking about it, their life’s work.
Do they say “there is too much volume”?
Would ‘you’ agree with that assesment?
Do we say “stop talking about it because so much of it is turning people off to women who are abused or who are Agunos”?
I’m not saying Tznius should be talked about every second of every day.
I think there should be other ways of presenting it not ‘more’ but differently if the way it is being handled, is not working.May 25, 2010 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #1025132
Trying my best,
I have seen lots of calf length skirts every time I visit Flatbush or Boro Park.May 25, 2010 9:51 pm at 9:51 pm #1025133ramateshkolianMember
OK Everybody, while we have everyone at their computers with, seemingly, some free time + being heated up about this topic, I challenge everyone to come up with an idea or two about how tznius can be taught to ourselves and our children in a non-threatening but effective manner. What kind of forum could it be done in? How can we demonstrate tznius from the inside out effectively? People seem to be creative in showing their opinion, so let;s use it to come up with some good ideas (which I will be so happy to show to some teachers I know that are struggling with this very issue). Instead of ranting and raving, let’s DO something about it! I envision a committee of sincere Jews from all over the world coming together and creating an effective program to teach and LIVE tznius….May 25, 2010 9:58 pm at 9:58 pm #1025134says whoMember
“I have seen lots of calf length skirts every time I visit Flatbush or Boro Park.”
OK So now you understand the opening for this threadMay 25, 2010 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm #1025135
Hereorthere, I never heard of men not giving a get because all they heard about was the aguna issue.
One way to start teaching about tznius better, is to make it less a focus of every single lesson. Sounds counterproductive right? But when you do speak about it, your audience will listen.
The first thing to do is to stop teaching that women cover themselves to help men. Start teaching frum kids the way that BTs are taught – about a woman’s beauty and how she has to protect it FOR HERSELF. Show young girls that if a woman values herself as an individual, she will value maintaining her modesty. Its important to empower women with tznius not devalue them. Woman are not just around to wait until a man comes along to marry them so they can have lots and lots of children. Girls need to understand that they are people with thougths, feelings and purpose INDEPENDANT of men.
And for the love of pete, never take out a ruler to measure her skirt when fitting her for a uniform.May 25, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm #1025136ramateshkolianMember
that was a good suggestion SjS sounds like you had a great and positive upbringing on the topic! I hope you are able to convey this to your own children!May 25, 2010 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm #1025137
I had a terrible school upbringing relating to this topic (both a right wing school and a MO school). Its why I’m extra passionate about this subject.May 25, 2010 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm #1025138
I missed the edit window – my mother gave me an amazing amount of self worth and taught me how to be humble, modest and still value yourself.May 25, 2010 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm #1025139
SJS “And for the love of pete, never take out a ruler to measure her skirt when fitting her for a uniform.”
Its necessary to measure the skirt before fitting it so that you can be sure it will cover the knees in ALL positions.May 25, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm #1025140
So right, that is 100% wrong. A ruler doesn’t tell you that. Moving around in the skirt does. Sitting down, standing up, leaning over.May 25, 2010 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm #1025141
Ok, that’s a good suggestion you made SJS.
Everyone should always sit down, stand up, lean over, etc. when buying and fitting/tailoring a dress to make sure that the dress covers you in all positions like walking up stairs/down stairs, walking in a wind, into/out of a car, sitting down/standing up, etc.
You still need to measure it though to make sure it’ll cover your knees on a windy day, etc., that its long enough below the knees that a wind won’t bring it up too high. Also, by measuring it you can get a good idea if it is sufficiently long enough below the knees (4 inches for example) so that it’ll cover you going up stairs, etc.May 25, 2010 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm #1025142
So right, if you test out circumstances, why would you need a ruler?
I went with my friend to get her Bais Yaakov uniform. She is short. They measured 4″ below her knees and it was actually much longer than they wanted it. The lady measuring was not sure what to do. Eventually, she made the measurement shorter because 4″ just seemed absurd on my friend.May 26, 2010 12:51 am at 12:51 am #1025143
SJSinNYC I never heard (before this thread) of a woman not wearing Tznius because she heard too much about it.
Having their own thoughts and feelings is one thing.
Being so ‘independent’ so as to not wnat to marry or in any other way start following the Radical feminist anti male anti cohesive family….Agenda, is a totally different thing.May 26, 2010 12:58 am at 12:58 am #1025144
A woman is her own person. She should only marry if its what she wants to do. There is nothing radical about that.
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