How to answer questions regarding a shidduch

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  • #609105

    gefen
    Participant

    My daughter recently received a call asking about a girl she knows. One question that she was asked is “Does she dress Tzniusdik?” Now, that’s a difficult question sometimes. This girl wears tightish skirts which barely cover her knees. Also some of the styles she chooses are questionable. What should my daughter have answered to this? She doesn’t know what the boy is looking for. Perhaps her style of tznius would be ok with the boy. If she would have asked the caller what he’s looking for, or say that there are different standards of tznius, that would already raise a red flag. Mind you, this girl is a sweet frum girl and my daughter wouldn’t want to do anything to ruin a possible shidduch.

    Any advise from our CR friends?

    #1042499

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    She should ask for more specific questions.

    Popa would say: “I’m happy to talk about that. But people have very different conceptions of tznius. Certainly she is not dressed like the taliban women in ramat beit shemesh, and certainly she isn’t dressed like rachav. So I’ll tell you the sort of way she dresses, and tell me if you have any follow up questions.

    She always wears skirts and long sleeves. Her skirts…”

    #1042500

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Tough one. If the caller knows your daughter, it might be fair to assume that their standards are your daughter’s standards.

    #1042501

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    I usually tell people that I don’t answer open-ended questions (especially for anonymous callers). I do that by saying “I only answer yes or no questions”. This prevents a lot of issues. As a reference, you are there to assure the other person they are not going out with an axe murderer, and are basically what they say they are in the resume. Don’t talk too much.

    This goes into the category of questions you automatically say yes to unless it’s an outright lie. Yes, this girl is tzniusdig. She may not be to your standards, but she has some tznius. They didn’t ask you if she dresses like a BY girl.

    It’s like when you’re asked if a girl is smart or pretty. You just say yes. Because all that counts is what the boy she is dating thinks. If he thinks she is tzanua, smart, and pretty, then great.

    #1042502

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I usually tell people that I don’t answer open-ended questions (especially for anonymous callers). I do that by saying “I only answer yes or no questions”.

    I also say that. But I say it whenever I don’t want to answer the question.

    And they usually know what I mean, if you know what I mean.

    #1042503

    computer777
    Member

    This girl wears tightish skirts which barely cover her knees

    She should say that and let the person she’s speaking to decide if that is tznius enough or not.

    I usually tell people that I don’t answer open-ended questions

    Basically, you should just say you don’t give information at all. Because you’re really not giving any information. Like you said: everyone is somewhat tznius. Everyone is also somewhat smart. So really, the information you give is not worth anything.

    #1042504

    gefen
    Participant

    Popa – I like your answer. Certainly my daughter would not use your quote verbatim (ex: the taliban and rachav reference, as my daughter wouldn’t want to sound chutzpadik after all she’s also in shidduchim ;)), but it does give us something to work with. Thank you.

    DaasYochid – The caller does not know my daughter. Even if she did, I don’t think she should assume that the two girls would have the same tznius standards. Just because they know each other does not mean they are the same in every aspect of hashkafah.

    #1042505

    gefen: your daughter should answer “no”. She should be honest. Dressing in tight clothes with the knee sometimes uncovered is not tznius and she should say so if asked. (I’m not suggesting that she should raise this chasoran is she wasn’t asked about it.)

    #1042506

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    C777: Well, the people I give information for seem to get engaged, so I must be doing something right. 🙂

    It is though. Because I do, in addition, have a prepared story for each friend that illustrates the few things I do volunteer. If they are nice, I help them rephrase into something I’m willing to answer.

    I think they get a better picture from talking to me than from the rest of the she’s-extroverted-but-not-too-extroverted, pretty-but-tznius-and-not-vain, and smart-but-will-respect-your-son crowd.

    #1042507

    Brony
    Participant

    “This girl wears tightish skirts which barely cover her knees. Also some of the styles she chooses are questionable. “

    or, as i put it:

    “She’s fashion-forward and wears beautiful skirts that always cover her knees”

    #1042508

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Gefen, moot point for this case if the caller doesn’t know your daughter, but if she did, since tznius standards differ, she probably would be asking your daughter’s opinion according to her own standards.

    #1042509

    gefen
    Participant

    Derech Hachaim – I hear you about being honest but saying “NO” seems so harsh. As I said, we don’t know what the boy in question is looking for. He might be ok with it.

    Brony- Your quote says “always covers her knees”. I said “barely covers” There is a difference. But I do get what your saying about wording things in the best possible way.

    #1042510

    gefen
    Participant

    Daas “Gefen, moot point for this case if the caller doesn’t know your daughter, but if she did, since tznius standards differ, she probably would be asking your daughter’s opinion according to her own standards.”

    So my daughter should answer according to her own standards? Then the answer would be “No – she does not dress tzniusdik” but that’s the whole problem here, she doesn’t want to say that (and I agree with her). It’s so harsh. We are trying to find a nice way to put it without ruining anything and without sounding “holier than thou”.

    #1042511

    WIY
    Member

    By the way you either keep laws of Tznius or not there’s no halfways tznius. Just like the texters on shabbos made up a term “half Shabbos” which doesnt exist. They are mechallelei Shabbks. Wearing too tight or too short is like saying I occasionally eat McDonalds but I still keep Kosher. Don’t blieve me ask your LOR!

    #1042512

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    Torah613 – Hey, I give that same type of answer! I always tell them to ask me specific questions as I don’t do narratives.

    In regard to the tzniyus question above, I understand the point you are trying to make but if a girl is not dressing tzniyus according to halacha, why are you going to let the person decide if it is tzanua not? It’s not up to them. They may still be willing to pursue the shidduch, they may be “okay” with her level of tzniyus, but why are you wondering if tight clothing and barely covered knees constitute a yes or no for that question?

    Maybe you know it is a no but didn’t want to say so? That shouldn’t be your decision to make. I have too many friends suffering in marriages because people were more sensitive to their friend than to the shidduch. If the girl wants people to say she dresses b’tzniyus, then let her dress b’tzniyus. If I don’t want people to say I’m fat (which I am) then I should either lose weight or not be seen in public.

    #1042513

    writersoul
    Member

    WIY: But that assumes that this person is being oveir on what they hold is the halacha and they justify it by saying “it’s only a little too ___.” OTOH, if the person just holds by a different, halachically-based standard than you do, then that wouldn’t apply.

    #1042514

    WIY
    Member

    Writersoul

    It sounds like we are talking about 2 girls who were similarly educated and one girl (Gefens daughters friend) chose to keep looser standards of Tznius. I’m no baki on hilchis tznius but who holds that you can wear a skirt that when standing barely covers the knee which when sitting would certainly bare her entire knee and then some?

    #1042515

    Brony
    Participant

    wait, so wearing “tightish skirts” that “barely cover the knees” is no longer halachically tznius? it’s over, the seminaries have won. surrender now, logic, and we will kill you quickly and painlessly.

    #1042516

    WIY
    Member

    Brony

    Ask a shaila from a regular Orthodox Rav and then go join the MO because you won’t like the answer.

    #1042517

    Brony
    Participant

    please dude, tell me where it says any of this. any of it. only then will i consider taking off my wading boots when reading your posts.

    #1042518

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Gefen, she could just say that there are different standards of tznius.

    WIY, writersoul, and Syag, the question isn’t necessarily about halachic standards, it’s about the caller’s (or the boy’s) standards. If there’s a chance that his standards are sub-halachic, it still might be a good shidduch.

    AFAIK, there’s no issur of lifnei iver for the one giving information if the girl dresses according to the boys’ standards, even if they’re not l’halachah.

    #1042519

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    They never were. the fact that more people are comfortable wearing clothes like that doesn’t mean that they are tzanua. And my friends who wear clothes like that are more than willing to admit that they are not dressed halachically appropriately and they acknowledge their struggle, just as I acknowledge my struggle with certain mitzvos. Why does that offend you? It doesn’t make the person less valuable in my eyes, but I’m not obligated to accept everything they do as torahdik.

    #1042520

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    DY – I think you are missing the point. If someone asks you if the girl is dressed tzniusdik and her knees are showing than it doesn’t matter what his standards are. She is not dress tzniyusdik. He may not mind, but that doesn’t change the halacha. If she was dressed in a way that was not tzniyus according to SOME poskim, but yes tzniyus according to others, than by all means, say so. The boys standards of tzniyus don’t determine whether or not she is dressed tzniyusly, they just determine whether or not he will APPROVE of how she dresses. If she wears pants and he doesn’t mind, then the shudduch can continue. But that doesn’t change the tzniyus answer to ‘yes’.

    I think the discussion is being based on questions of hashkofa, but the example that was given was halachik.

    #1042521

    Brony
    Participant

    can someone, anyone, source their info here? yeah i know every by gives the “tznius is more than elbows and knees” speech ad naseum, but – surprise surprise – that doesn’t make it halachic. i don’t mean to say that its right, only that you shouldn’t present it to a caller as being contrary to halacha if it isn’t.

    #1042522

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Syag, I think you are missing the point (so there! 🙂 ). The caller is not asking a halachah shailah, (s)he’s asking a shidduch question. You’re supposed to answer the question according to the intent, not necessarily the technically correct answer.

    #1042523

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    DY – 😛 I wouldn’t even consider that. The question to a halachik question would have to be a halachik answer, but with a disclaimer or clarification about the compatibility. I think it would be awful if we started answering halachik questions with subjective answers. If you are asked if he is koveia itim, and to you there should be a 3 hour minimum, you can say yes to that question if the boy only learns one hour because it is still halachically accurate. If he just reads the Yated every night you would be lying if you said yes, even if the girl would consider that gevaldik. Halacha is halacha, hashkofa is hashkofa, and as far as I am concerned, emes is emes.

    And I add for Brony’s sake that that doesn’t change their value as a human being, it is just stating the facts as they stand.

    #1042524

    Toi
    Participant

    “he’s not totaly michallel shabbos…”

    #1042525

    Brony
    Participant

    lololol you say “Halacha is halacha, hashkofa is hashkofa, and as far as I am concerned, emes is emes” yet you conflate the three like it doesn’t matter.

    #1042526

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    actually, I didn’t at all.

    #1042527

    WIY
    Member

    Brony

    It is common knowledge and normative halacha that a girls skirt must cover her knees fully sitting as well as standing.

    Don’t pretend that you never heard of this.

    #1042528

    Brony
    Participant

    oops i thought you said 1 hour is not okay. apologies.

    #1042529

    Brony
    Participant

    WIY, i have heard it, but the burden of proof is on you to prove that it is “normative”. also note that nowhere in the original post did they say anything about whether the “barely covering” referred to sitting or standing.

    #1042530

    gefen
    Participant

    I think we (my daughter and I) are more confused now than we were before. Although, we do hear everyone’s point here. It just seems so complex and confusing. But Syag (and others who said this), you are 100% right – tight skirts and showing the knees is NOT tznius. That is a fact. And you’re also right that the boy’s level of what is acceptable also does not determine what is tznius. So maybe I’m not as confused as I thought. It’s just finding a way to answer these questions that’s kind of uncomfortable, especially for a girl who is also in the parsha.

    #1042531

    big deal
    Participant

    I think that if they asked the question then it does matter to them. Also if she dresses a certain way wouldnt the boy notice when they went out. This is a chitzonios question which the boy could judge himself why do you have to answer that?

    #1042532

    yehudayona
    Participant

    big deal, unless she’s stupid, she’ll dress tznius for their date.

    #1042533

    big deal
    Participant

    Not necessarily. Unless she usually dresses extremely not tznius like skirt way above knee.

    #1042534

    yetelz
    Member

    this is an all too common problem, nebech. tznius has gone out of style.

    #1042535

    chanasara
    Member

    why doesn’t your daughter nicely respond “people mean different things when they talk about tznius. i would like to be helpful and accurate. how do you define tzniusdik in dress?” and then the woman can refer to her (or her son’s) very specific standards and your daughter can answer without seeming like she is trying to hide anything.

    #1042536

    just my hapence
    Participant

    I rarely answer shidduch inquiries these days as almost everyone I know is married, but when I did I would always give the “I only answer direct questions” speech before the caller said who they were asking about to ensure that they knew it was not a way of avoiding answering difficult questions. Most people seemed to get it, though I still had a few who asked me things like “what type of boy would you say he is?”…

    #1042537

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I think it would be awful if we started answering halachik questions with subjective answers.

    Yes, and my point is that it’s not a halachic question. No matter how it’s worded, it’s a question of compatible standards, so, not knowing the caller, it’s an impossible question to answer.

    #1042538

    gefen
    Participant

    chanasara; Thank you for your answer. That sounds like the best way to handle this.

    DaasYochid; Right – I was not asking a halachic question (at least I don’t think I was). I just wanted opinions on this delicate topic.

    However as others pointed out, Tznius is a halacha. Wearing tight skirts and not totally covering the knees is not tznius, and it really shouldn’t matter what the boy’s standards are. The question was “does she dress tznius”. However,I don’t agree with the comparison to the half Shabbos – texting situation. I see one as black and white and the other as possibly having some grey areas.

    Anyway, I think we will go with chanasara’s advice for now.

    Thanks everyone for your input.

    #1042540

    mdd
    Member

    Gefen ,it is not different than Shabbos, even though Sotan would like you to believe otherwise.

    #1042541

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    gefen- Please tell your daughter to answer honestly. I don’t mean she has to be knocking- she can say something like “her skirts are usually covering her knees”. She wouldn’t be preventing a happy marriage from happening if she finds a way to say it politely. If he feels cheated, they wouldn’t be happy.

    #1042542

    dotnetter
    Member

    WIY – “By the way, you either keep the laws of tznius or not. There’s no halfway tznius”

    In that case, let me add – you either keep the laws of talmud torah or not, theres no halfway. so were you ever guilty of bittul torah? That negates all the hours you spent on talmud torah – theres no halfway! You either keep the laws of shabbos or not, theres no halfway. So all of us out there who are guilty of chillul shabbos (biting nails, biting lips, ripping letters etc.) are just through and through michalellei shabbos.

    Yiddishkeit fortunately does not work that way! We are all, as human beings, works in progress. And we all, as fallible human beings, keep some halachos ‘halfway’. And hopefully we all, as Jewish human beings, are constantly trying to fix that.

    #1042543

    Dotnetter +1

    #1042544

    oomis
    Participant

    I have had worse questions asked of me. Someone called me and once asked about a wonderful young man with all mailos. Then,3 the person said, “But I hear the mother is a difficult person. Is that true?” The mother does have a very strong personality, but I didn’t want to come across speaking negatively about her, while at the same time I did want to try to answer the question. So I simply said that the mother has strong love for her children, she is the type that will always advocate for their happiness, and that the girl who is lucky enough to marry the son (who is terrific, bli ayin hara), will be very much loved by this mother, if she is a good wife to the son and good mother to the aineklach. All of that is the truth.

    #1042545

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    DaasYochid; Right – I was not asking a halachic question (at least I don’t think I was).

    Actually, you were, and should definitely speak to an expert in hilchos loshon hora.

    What I’m suggesting is that the caller wasn’t necessarily asking a halachic question. In other words, let’s say the caller’s standards are sub-halachic. If the girl has the same standards, then that’s really all the caller is asking for.

    Again, that’s my opinion for the sake of discussion, but I think you need a psak on this.

    Anyway, I think we will go with chanasara’s advice for now.

    It might be sound advice, but I just want to point out that you initially rejected the idea. I quote from your OP:

    “If she would have asked the caller what he’s looking for, or say that there are different standards of tznius, that would already raise a red flag.”

    #1042546

    mdd
    Member

    Brony, if there is an accepted Halochic practice in a community, if you want to question it, it is you who has to bring proofs to the contrary.

    #1042548

    a mamin
    Participant

    Why don’t we be truthful when it comes to shidduch information? If he or she asked apparently it is important to them. Yes, there are those who have different standards of tznius, BUT you won’t find any orthodox Rabbi tell you , tight fitting or short skirts are tznius! Wake up and smell the coffee!!

    #1042549

    Brony
    Participant

    “Brony, if there is an accepted Halochic practice in a community, if you want to question it, it is you who has to bring proofs to the contrary.”

    no. ff you can’t justify your actions at even he most basic level (halacha l’moshe misinai/chok/some othr broad concept like kavod habriyos), you shouldn’t be doing them.

    while i’m here, let me poll the crowd for sources for to two practices that i have stopped doing for lack thereof: lifting pinky toward torah during hagbah (fun fact: you should wait until you see the words side before you say vizos hatorah, for rather obvious reasons) and lifting your posterior up (aka “standing”) when saying “baruch sh’achalnu…”. Haven’t found them, and no longer do them. come at me bro.

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