The Five Thousand Dollar Dress

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  • #1401418

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller zt’l

    Q: What would the Rav advise me to do if my wife doesn’t dress with צניעות, she’s not so sensitive to dressing modestly, and I would like to help her change that?

    A: You should say, “Look my dear Chanaleh, I want to make a deal with you. If you’ll take this dress that you have, and sew on a little more cloth on the sleeves, or make the neckline a little higher, I’m going to buy you a diamond ring.” That’s what you should do. It’s worth money! דבר תורה מעות קונות – Money works to help along when it comes to acquiring Torah attitudes (term borrowed from Eiruvin 81b). Money always helps with the good things like that.

    So buy her a diamond ring, and you won’t have to argue with her. She’ll quickly become a צנוע, a woman who dresses modestly, for that. Not everything is as easy as that, and even in this case it really depends on the situation, but some things are easy. And the same goes for a wife dealing with a husband. Whatever it is, you have to be smart when dealing with other people.

    TAPE # E-121 (September 1997)

    #1401453

    adocs
    Participant

    What if the wife in this scenario were to say something along the lines of “ that is a very nice offer, but I will feel restricted/uncomfortable with the new clothing so I don’t want to do it. “

    #1401523

    gavriel613
    Participant

    I don’t think people nowadays are so easy to buy – they value their own values and being able to live as they choose more than having another diamond ring

    #1401755

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Nice thought, but out of touch with reality.
    Most women have more than one dress…………
    Today’s women don’t do their own sewing and add cloth to lengthen dresses or raise necklines.

    I can’t imagine Mrs. CTL or our daughters trading their decision making power for a little diamond ($5,000 doesn’t buy much of a quality stone these days). This is not to say the CTL women wear short lengths or low necklines).

    Better to say, ‘darling that dress doesn’t flatter y, why don’t I take you shopping and treat you to a new dress that makes you look spectactular.

    #1401757

    zaltzvasser
    Participant

    Orrrrr… the not-tznius clothes make them feel prettier, but a bigger clothing budget for more appropriate clothes and expensive jewelry might make them more confident and be seen as a good trade.

    #1401759

    funnybone
    Participant

    What happens if she is already spending every penny I have and I cant afford a diamond ring??

    #1401779

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    gavriel – I suspect you’re right. In any case, I think that this conversation has to come after other conversations, or it will sound condescending. (And it could be that was the Rav’s intention).

    First he has to approach her and let her know that her dress bothers him (“I message” not “You message”). And he should make sure to point out why he thinks that it may not be appropriate, citing halachic sources. Then, if she is still having a hard time with it, maybe he can approach her again, and say, “I know this is hard for you, but I am very bothered by your dress. Would it make it easier for you if I bought you a diamond ring in exchange?”

    #1401798

    Joseph
    Participant

    CTL, for a gvir such as yourself, the price is $15k.

    #1401801

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    What if she says “No thank you, I am the primary income earner in this household because you learn instead of working, and if I wanted a diamond ring, I’d have bought one.”?

    #1401810

    Joseph
    Participant

    RY23, Halacha is all income she earns immediately belongs to the husband.

    #1401818

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Joseph – it’s not so simple – I think she can choose to not be supported by him in exchange for keeping the money she makes. I don’t know if it’s generally a good idea or not, but it could be in certain cases.

    #1401946

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @joseph
    Nice that you can decide I should offer triple…………………….
    None of this is an issue in the CTL family, not only do the ladies dress in an appropriate manner, they don’t need to be asked to do so.

    I believe that this is an issue a couple should have discussed before marriage, just as sheitel, hat, snood, work, where to live.

    #1401970

    Joseph
    Participant

    CTL, as you see from the questioner, he wants to start being observant in a Mitzvah he and his wife neglected. Same if the they were wearing shatnes until now or eating out in vegetarian non-kosher restaurants. He’d be correct to seek to make his family Mitzvah observant even though he was neglectful until then.

    #1401977

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “Whatever it is, you have to be smart when dealing with other people.”

    This is the key line from the citation.

    #1402389

    golfer
    Participant

    “Look my dear Chanaleh, I want to make a deal with you. If you’ll take this dress that you have, and sew on a little more cloth on the sleeves, or make the neckline a little higher, I’m going to buy you a diamond ring.”

    I would be very offended if dh spoke to me that way.
    Am I the only married woman who feels that way?
    Syag, are you around? anybody?
    I do seem to remember something about a husband having an obligation to be very niz’har in the kavod of his wife. The quoted doesn’t seem to follow that advice.

    #1402400

    Joseph
    Participant

    The suggested conversation with the wife is probably the most bakovedik possible way to speak to her.

    If the neckline and sleeves you are wearing are halachicly too short and violating tznius, and you didn’t change despite your husband simply asking you to, what better way would you prefer than your husband purchase you a very significant gift in return for your following Halacha.

    #1402414

    golfer
    Participant

    Correct me if I’m wrong Joseph, but I think you are a man.
    If you’re blessed with a wife, maybe you’d like to ask her.

    #1402417

    Joseph
    Participant

    I did and she agrees with what I wrote.

    #1402421

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    What did you have to buy her to get her to agree with you?

    #1402423

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    golfer – you are so right. Not only would I not want to be spoken to that way, but my husband wouldn’t even try it. If he wanted me to improve on the level of tznius of my clothing, I would imagine he would probably phrase it very differently. Perhaps he would say that he was working on his shmiras einayim and he knows it is his issue, not mine, but would I be willing to wear shirts/skirts that would help him with that goal. maybe.

    #1402431

    golfer
    Participant

    Thanks for asking your wife, Joseph.
    And thanks for answering my question, Syag.

    #1402434

    golfer
    Participant

    Sorry to have missed it- I see you asked me a question, Joseph.
    I would not want my husband to offer me a bribe for complying with a request. When my husband has an issue with something I do (sleeve length has never been a problem, but other things I do have on occasion made him unhappy) then I prefer that he tell me what I’m doing that he finds unpleasant, what the reason is, and what I can do to change so he’ll feel more comfortable.
    I do enjoy receiving gifts (significant and other) from my husband, but not as an incentive to have me change my behavior. We’re building a home here, not running a circus.

    #1402443

    Joseph
    Participant

    Golfer, my reading of the questioners question is that his wife wasn’t receptive to the approach you suggested and that he already tried. Now he’s asking the Rov for a suggestion for another approach.

    #1403846

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Joseph – how would you react if your wife told you:, “Look, my dear Joey, I want to make a deal with you. If you stop posting in the CR and start learning an hour more a day, I will buy you a new car.”

    #1403833

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    DY – lol

    Golfer: “I would be very offended if dh spoke to me that way.
    Am I the only married woman who feels that way?”

    I’m not married, but did you see my post, and how I rephrased things? It’s true that personally, I would probably still be offended by the diamond ring thing, but then again, I’m totally not that type, and I assume we’re talking about a very different type of person than me, so I can’t really say how she would feel.

    I guess it depends on the type of person and how it’s said.

    #1403854

    Joseph
    Participant

    Lilmod, under Jewish law it is rare for a wife to have money to purchase a car. That said, if that was a realistic possibility I’d cut back my work hours and learn that extra hour for the car.

    #1403865

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    If you really care about your wife, instead of buying her something that is just pretty but not useful like an expensive diamond ring, you should let her wear CZ jewelry and as a gift buy her a slave to help with the sewing and housework. Or pay to have all her dresses custom sewn to tznius standards.

    #1404033

    golfer
    Participant

    Lilmod, I’m sorry I seemed to imply that being married was a prerequisite for answering my question.
    I actually Loved your comment!
    Looks like a marriage license is not an indicator of superior brain function, good writing skills, or a great sense of humor. You showed me!….

    #1404283

    flowers
    Participant

    Joseph: I did and she agrees with what I wrote.

    According to your belief system, a woman must agree with everything her husband thinks, so this doesn’t prove anything.

    #1404291

    Joseph
    Participant

    flowers: 1) I was simply courteously doing what golfer requested I do by asking 2) You’re incorrect in any event.

    #1404985

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “Lilmod, under Jewish law it is rare for a wife to have money to purchase a car. ”

    She can sell the diamond ring and buy a car with it.

    #1404988

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “Perhaps he would say that he was working on his shmiras einayim”

    I’m not sure why shmiras einayim should be a problem regarding his wife, but that gave me a good idea.

    He could say, “Chanala, you are so attractive, and that dress is stunning on you! Since it looks so good on you, I am concerned that it could pose a problem if you were to wear it outside. How about if you just wear it at home, and I’ll give you money to buy another dress that you can wear outside?”

    #1404986

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Golfer – thanks for all the compliments, but I suspect that we are actually talking about different posts!! 🙂

    That’s what happens when posts are posted out of order!
    I have a feeling that you thought I was referring to the post (#3846) (that seemed to) immediately proceed the one in which I asked if you saw my post (3833). That post (3846) was actually written after 3833, so it was not the one I was referring to. I was referring to a post much higher up that had been written a day or two before.

    #1405087

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @joseph
    Many a car was purchased by a wife
    Many a Bar Mitzvah was paid for by a wife
    Many a Chasunah was paid for by a wife

    Paid for out of the knippel……………………

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Mrs. CTL and I own separate businesses. We each see our joint personal tax returns, neither sees the other’s business tax returns or bank statements.

    #1405247

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Whatever it is, you have to be smart when dealing with other people.

    #1407676

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    APY – +1!

    #1407907

    CS
    Participant

    I have a neighbor who I could see this working for. Personally my husband and I wouldn’t take that approach because in a sensitive topic, you have to be very careful with how you say things or you are less likely to be effective and more likely to be lashed out at.

    In this case, the attitude I feel coming across is I am perfect and you need to work on yourself and I’m willing to pay you for it. See how generous I am?

    I think this is usually wrong and that’s why I’d find it offensive. As has been brought up before, usually people marry a spouse with a compatible level of yiddishkeit, so if he found her less than tzniusdik look attractive, then he is part of the problem and shouldn’t be playing tzaddik now.

    What would be taken much better by me, would be something like, “Chanale, I know when we got married, this is how you dressed and I was fine with that. However, you’ve helped me grow so much that now, your way of dress bothers me. I know it would be hard for you to change so can we make a deal? I will stop watching movies/non Jewish entertainment, or some other comparable kabbala, and you will go shopping, and buy a new tzniusdik wardrobe?

    Here I would feel motivated because a) we are in this together and if it gets hard for me, I know he is working hard as well.

    B) he is not making himself look good at my expense.

    C) I get the zechus of helping him improve as well.

    Disclaimer 1: I dress tzniusdik and my husband doesn’t watch movies or sports

    Disclaimer 2: HaRav Miller said you have to know who you are talking to so I am not in any way negating what he said, as this is included within that, I am simply giving another approach/example.

    #1408081

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    These days, buying a diamond ring is a bad financial decision.

    #1408089

    Joseph
    Participant

    Do you see getting married as a good financial decision?

    #1408543

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    no

    #1408572

    CS
    Participant

    I do because all financial brachos are in the merit of the wife, so if you get married and are a mentch of a husband, you have allot more money available to you:):)

    #1408593

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    What about for girls?

    #1408614

    CS
    Participant

    For the girls even more, you are the one who effects how much Parnassa is brought down from the spiritual to the physical for the whole family! On another note, once you get married you have a husband to support you and take care of you and buy you things you wouldn’t buy yourself

    #1408669

    slominer
    Participant

    In return for being supported by her husband, what is the girl’s obligations to him?

    #1408677

    CS
    Participant

    To be a wife. A woman risks losing much more when she gets married, and a man had only to gain. She’s the one who gets pregnant, she’s the one who is more vulnerable, and she needs her husband’s support and protection. Therefore, under every chuppah the husband had to obligate himself towards her in the kesuba, while she doesn’t write one for him, because she’s already giving him everything by marrying him

    #1408689

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “she’s the one who is more vulnerable”

    I wonder if that’s true… I suspect that men may actually be more vulnerable, although perhaps less likely to acknowledge it (which would make them even more vulnerable).

    What do the men and married women here think?

    #1408696

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @rebyidd23
    Buying a Diamond Ring may or may not be a bad financial decision. It depends on the individual, purchase, amount paid, whether bought for investment or jewelry purposes, etc.

    In general, the ring one buys for a spouse is not an investment. It is an adornment, not something one expects to sell later at a profit.

    That said, my father and grandfather often bought jewelry at distressed prices from customers and clients because they were good investments. Sometimes the pieces went directly into the vault, sometimes spouses were allowed to wear them but with the understanding the pieces were investments and would be sold at a later date.

    I can’t hazard a guess how many times over 40 years as a family law attorney a divorcing wife has offered her diamond ring as payment towards her legal fees. I don’t accept them, because a judge could later rule they were marital assets. However, I have been offered some lovely pieces at good prices from estates we have handled. Sometimes, an executor will shop a ring around to 4 or 5 local jewelers and tell me the best price he was offered was $XXXX. I have my estate jeweler look at the piece(s) and tell me if I can make a profit offering 10% more than the best offer. If so, I can have the executor submit the quotes from the jewelers and my 10% overbid to the Probate Judge for approval.

    I currently have about 30 good sized stones in the law firm’s vault. With current interest rates so low, these have been good financial investments.

    #1408695

    slominer
    Participant

    Can both of you please define what you mean by “vulnerable”. You may be using different definitions. Are you saying she’s more vulnerable than she was when she was single?

    You wrote “to be a wife”, but my question really was what exactly does that entail.

    #1408694

    CS
    Participant

    @lilmod olilameid
    I’m not telling lofty I’m saying very practical. Let’s say the marriage fails CVS. The man walks out, healthy strong, and now he’s single with no family to support. He’s not lifting, he enjoyed it while it lasted and now he’s free to move on.
    Meanwhile the woman is most likely in the midst of a pregnancy/recovering from a birth, has young children dependent on her and can’t work full hours.

    Who needs the protection more when they get married?

    I’m not talking emotionally, could be hard on anyone, I’m talking about why the chachamim mandated the husband to commit to the wife and not the other way around. Because if either is entering it just for fun, to see if it will last, a woman is much less likely to do that because there are more practical consequences for her…

    #1408712

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    After a divorce, the wife has a harder time in the short term because the practical aspects are usually more complicated for her – the finances, and taking care of the kids. But the husband has a harder time emotionally, and I think I learned that studies show that it’s harder for the men in the long-term.

    I was talking about the emotional aspect. Emotionally, I think men need marriage more. That’s why single guys have a much harder time than single girls. And I think that women could potentially hurt their husbands more on an emotional level. I’ve never been married, so I could be wrong, but that’s my impression.

    But I guess we don’t disagree, since you were talking about the practical/financial side.

    However, nowadays, it’s less true than it used to be, since most women work today.

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