Tznius: a woman’s issue

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  • #623826

    Joseph
    Participant

    (Think Big, Regarding your first point, I’m not sure. I do hear your point. But I suspect it depends on a case-by-case basis, and there is no hard and fast rule. If it is given appropriately [i.e. privately] it may be fine. Sometimes tochacha requires public embarrassment, if the person remains obstinate after getting private tochacha. In a tznius case, that may cause may harm than good i.e. other members of the public may inappropriately be called to attention of the problem, causing them to sin. So that surely may be an issue. But even the initial tochacha is questionable for the reasons you mention. But again, if done quietly perhaps it is proper. I would pose such a question to a halachic authority, since it does raise questions as you suggest.

    But absolutely, the root causes must be addressed more so than the symptoms. But sometimes when the symptoms are flagrantly displayed, it is necessary to first address the symptom, and then the root.)

    #623827

    Joseph
    Participant

    Think BIG, One thing I should take exception to is the contention that “That is the extent of what or rabbanim have been specifying from time immemorial.” The Rabbonim have always been specifying the boundaries of gray areas (in hilchas tznius and other halachos.) And saying “What is construed as tznius or lacking therof TODAY is largely “gray area”.” I’m not sure if your implying that tznius TODAY is different than the standards of previous generations, but if so I would take great exception to that as well. It may be true that different people (i.e. Chasidim, Litvaks, Sefardim, etc.) have different minhugim or standards. But they don’t change “for the next generation.”

    #623828

    Think BIG
    Member

    Joseph:

    I get the feeling that we are not referring to the same thing when using the term “gray area”. you write, “Afterall, it is halacha, gray or not.” and “The Rabbonim have always been specifying the boundaries of gray areas ” I do not agree with that statement, unless I dont know what you mean by “gray area”.

    I went into a bit of explanation in another blog, (I think the bungalow colony one) about what i am referring to with that term, but I will try again, giving you some examples to explain my point.

    When I refer to “gray areas” in Tznius, I am referring to things that are not “assur” per se, but may be considered untznius in certain communities. The halaha does not have a final decision on it. For women that are ffb, there is a certain ingrained binah on what is considered “tznius” that often BTs find bewildering. But it varies from place to place.

    For example, in Eretz Yisroel, in one of the chassidish shchunot, I once saw a “kol korehs” screaming against the practice of women wearing “ponytail” Shaitlech. Also, jean skirts are completely out in EY, even among the Bais Yaakov girls. (to the best of my knowledge.) In America, those things are not considered problematic in the “mainstream” (non-chassidish) kehillos, except perhaps on a voluntary basis. There was recently a letter written by the Satmar community (in the US) against wearing white jackets. What is wrong with it, you may ask? It doesn’t matter, unless you are Satmar, because it is not something that the Litvish community would consider problematic.

    These particulars are all “gray area” , again, depending where you live.

    To give another example, in some paces it is perfectly proper for women to cover their hair with a big floppy hat. The halacha says that a married woman must cover her hair. The halacha does not specify with WHAT. But, in some place, if a woman wears a hat, or a bandana (as in the example brought by one poster) they would be flouting the sensibilities and the standard of that communities tznius.

    Then you get into the kind of gray area which is really a matter of perspective or “opinion”. If someone wears something that is flashy or very stylish, it is not tznius . (this is what the BY girls are generally taught.) Now who will decide what is flashy or stylish? You may have one person who “feels” its perfectly fine and another who thinks its unacceptable. I am talking here from a bit of experience, again, with my job as a teacher. I may feel that what a girl is wearing is too tight, whereas the other teacher will disagree.

    Which brings me to your last point, you write, “But they don’t change “for the next generation”…There is a fundamental concept in Tznius that you may be unaware of, again, I believe this is only taught in the Bais Yaakovs and not in the yeshivos. It is the concept of styles or fashion. The idea is that a woman should dress “attractive but not attracting.” She may dress in clothes that are somewhat in style, and NO she does not need to wear the same style that her mother and Bubby wore in previous generations!

    But at the same time, when certain styles come out, they are somewhat eye-catching, and therefor a tzanua would stay away from it. A YEAR OR SO MAY PASS and the style is not so eye-catching anymore because everybody’s been wearing it forever, and no one notices it anymore, because a new style has taken over already! So, the logic goes, NOW it is perfectly okay to wear that style!

    I admit this may sound really weird to a man who is used to black and white halacha, but think about it, and you might see the sense in it. THAT is what I meant by gray area.

    According to Rav Falk’s book, wearing nail polish that is a light color is acceptable if it is the “minhag hamakom” to wear nail polish. and in truth, it is really like that for all these “gray areas”…

    I hope I have given you enough examples to explain my point. Now, the answer is, (imho) is to somehow instill in the girls a sense of “kavod atzmi” and kovod for their neshamos, that they will on their own be able to feel what is appropriate and what is not. Because we cannot give a list of rules, which will include every possible type of clothing or accesory. It is neither necessary or correct, in my opiion, because these things vary from place to place, and are constantly changing.

    The MOST important thing though is to understand the term “minhag hamakom”. It does NOT refer to what the local goyim are wearing, or even what the majority are wearing. It refers to what the chashuvei ha’ir are wearing, the “elite” crop in terms of yiddishkeit. Those are our models, and their standard should be the “minhag hamakom”. And of course, that places a big responsibility of those in that percentage in any locale, to realize that people are looking up them, and taking note.

    #623829

    Joseph
    Participant

    Think Big, A final point if I may. Your description of the Sefer in question in your initial comment regarding it pretty much narrowed it down to one. Your follow-up of “I will not comment any further on the sefer” removed any lingering doubt. The point here being that you must also realize men are victims when there is a public breach of tznius, so it is a canard that tznius is somehow a “women’s issue.” There isn’t any justification to “have an issue with a Rav going into specifics about the clothing.”

    #623830

    Thank you Think BIG for so articulately conveying what so many of us are thinking.

    #623831

    Joseph
    Participant

    Think Big,

    Perhaps the more correct term for what you are describing is minhugim or customs of tznius, rather than “gray areas.” I think gray areas are understood to mean areas that the law is not entirely explicitly clear and requires additional input from our Rabbonim.

    But even such areas that you are referring to (other than black & white halacha), the Rabbonim HAVE always provided guidance (including direct and specific) for. This is both applicable to addressing the local customs of tznius, as well as issues which you describe as “opinion” oriented, such as what is flashy. Yes, minhug hamokem does differ sometimes between communities, but the Rabbonim in each community do have a right and indeed a duty to define the specifics for their kehilos. So I think this thought that only women should be addressing such specifics stems from a 21st (or 20th) century approach towards gender, propogated by the secular world.

    As far as dressing in style, I don’t have an issue per se with what you said, but do seriously question the notion that the eye-catching “styles” (more appropriately called styleless and bane) fresh off the Paris runway may be perfectly fine A YEAR OR SO later after the next round of trash “styles” is unleashed. They become no less eye-catcing with time, especially amongst our holy people who are not (or certainly should not be) prone to this pritzus a year, two years or even three years thereon. What is wrong, pray tell, with “last years” (gasp) styles? (Last year as an analogy, not necessarily literal.) Yes women are not men, but I’ve been wearing the same general “style” suit for the last 20 years.

    Out of curiosity, could you share your personal thoughts on jean skirts? I don’t even mean from a tznius perspective, but rather from a Bas Yisroel’s kavod atmi perspective. If a Ben Torah wore jeans, I don’t think there is a “tznius” issue per se. But somehow I think you’ll agree with me that jeans is inappropriate for a Ben Torah. Personally I don’t see a difference in this regard between a Ben Torah and a Bas Yisroel. (And again not even broaching any tznius aspect to it.)

    And finally (for the final time?) out of pure curiosity and on a completely unrelated note (and no offence intended!) You have mentioned previously that you have no computer at home and are unfamiliar with general internet facilities, yet you seemingly display a rather sophisticated knowledge on rather arcane matters such as internet-specific acronyms (i.e. imho) and even a knowledge of the going-ons in the YW archives (despite your short presence only made available in thanks to your vacation.) No imputations intended (really), but I’d love an explanation! (Not that you owe one 🙂

    #623832

    Joseph
    Participant

    Think Big,

    Perhaps the more correct term for what you are describing is minhugim or customs of tznius, rather than “gray areas.” I think gray areas are understood to mean areas that the law is not entirely explicitly clear and requires additional input from our Rabbonim.

    But even such areas that you are referring to (other than black & white halacha), the Rabbonim HAVE always provided guidance (including direct and specific) for. This is both applicable to addressing the local customs of tznius, as well as issues which you describe as “opinion” oriented, such as what is flashy. Yes, minhug hamokem does differ sometimes between communities, but the Rabbonim in each community do have a right and indeed a duty to define the specifics for their kehilos. So I think this thought that only women should be addressing such specifics stems from a 21st (or 20th) century approach towards gender, propogated by the secular world.

    As far as dressing in style, I don’t have an issue per se with what you said, but do seriously question the notion that the eye-catching “styles” (more appropriately called styleless and bane) fresh off the Paris runway may be perfectly fine A YEAR OR SO later after the next round of trash “styles” is unleashed. They become no less eye-catcing with time, especially amongst our holy people who are not (or certainly should not be) prone to this pritzus a year, two years or even three years thereon. What is wrong, pray tell, with “last years” (gasp) styles? (Last year as an analogy, not necessarily literal.) Yes women are not men, but I’ve been wearing the same general “style” suit for the last 20 years.

    Out of curiosity, could you share your personal thoughts on jean skirts? I don’t even mean from a tznius perspective, but rather from a Bas Yisroel’s kavod atmi perspective. If a Ben Torah wore jeans, I don’t think there is a “tznius” issue per se. But somehow I think you’ll agree with me that jeans is inappropriate for a Ben Torah. Personally I don’t see a difference in this regard between a Ben Torah and a Bas Yisroel. (And again not even broaching any tznius aspect to it.)

    And finally (for the final time?) out of pure curiosity and on a completely unrelated note (and no offence intended!) You have mentioned previously that you have no computer at home and are unfamiliar with general internet facilities, yet you seemingly display a rather sophisticated knowledge on rather arcane matters such as internet-specific acronyms (i.e. imho) and even a knowledge of the going-ons in the YW archives (despite your short presence only made available in thanks to your vacation.) No imputations intended (really), but I’d love an explanation! (Not that you owe one 🙂

    #623833

    tzippi
    Member

    There is a WORLD of difference between jean pants for men and skirts for women. There are styles, and dyes of the denim that are quite tzniusdik. If for whatever reason a community doesn’t hold by denim, I understand, but for those who do allow it, it is practical and fairly presentable.

    #623834

    Think BIG
    Member

    Joseph:

    The “sefer in question” has been somewhat controvertial even in Lakewood Ir hakodesh, from what i’ve heard, for the reasons I stated, plus others. Personally, I see a value to it for some people, and toatally inappropriate for others. Therefor, it cannot be a book for the hamon am. (imagine Satmar putting out a book on tznius: seamed stockings, hat on shaitel, etc. would it be accepted in other kehillos?)

    Of course I realize that men are affected, but to suggest that the mitzva of tznius is solely to protect the men is doing severe injustice to the mitzva. A woman (and man) is supposed to be tzanua even amongst people of their own gender, and even in private.

    Another reason that women’s Tznius is a “mens issue” is for the same reason that men learning in kollel is also a women’s issue: It is a partnership which both need to be on the same page for. Often, much more often than you would care to admit, it is the men who insist that their wives dress in the manner they do. All of “fashion” is probably based on that, getting the attention of men. Our men are not immune. So I definitely agree that if we are going to address the issue of tznius, men need to be on board so that they could support their wives in dressing more tzanua, and not c”v make them be nichshal.

    However, I will stick to my assertion that when it comes to specifics, it is neither wise nor tzanua for the men to do so in a public format. Please note that in the Lakewood asifa, it was a woman who went into the specifics for the women. I am sure that was not a coincidence.

    You write, “So I think this thought that only women should be addressing such specifics stems from a 21st (or 20th) century approach towards gender, propogated by the secular world.” Again, (besides for the possible tznius issue–which as you said needs to be addressed to a competent rav) I base my view largely on what is EFFECTIVE, not just what’s right.

    (You may have wondered why I use the screen name think BIG. It is actually a pet peeve of mine. You see, humans often have a tendency to think small in so many important areas. When a person thinks small, or narrow, they see things as black and negative and focus on blame. He focuses on petty or unimportant details, or thinks along lines that are simply innefective. When a person’s consiousness is expanded, his thoughts are more solution oriented, and he’s able to see things in a much more positive and TRUE frame of mind. Often two people see the same reality but come to two separate conclusions. Hence, they live in two separate realities. Think BIG is a reminder to myself to have expanded consiousness as opposed to constricted consiousness.)

    (I remember my driving teacher used to say, “you can be dead and right at the same time”.)

    My point here is that being right is not what counts, being effective is. And in my opinion, as a woman, it would be far more effective for girls and women to hear these messages from other women, who are models of tznius and good taste, and could relate to their struggle, as opposed to a man.

    You know that I work in a girls school. The men on staff do not get involved in the tznius on a personal basis. They leave that up to the women. So, i know that my “opinion” is not mine alone, and propbably does not stem from a 21st century mentality.

    Regarding your statement, “Perhaps the more correct term for what you are describing is minhugim or customs of tznius, rather than “gray areas.” I think gray areas are understood to mean areas that the law is not entirely explicitly clear and requires additional input from our Rabbonim.” Call it what you will, but I am referring to customs that the law has not said that it is assur, yet people in certain kehillos find them to be attractive, hence they would be assur.

    As regards to the style issue, maybe a year is not enough, but that wasn’t the point. I obviously was not referring to a style that is inherently pritzus. For example, a while back it became the style to wear very long skirts. Nothing inherently wrong with that. The teachers in my Bais yaakov would admonish the girls if their skirts were too long. Then the style became even longer, down to the shoes. It no longer was a problem to wear it several inches above that, which was the problematic length before.

    In the chassidish school, Bobov (Bnos tzion) in Brooklyn, years ago the uniform in the high school was to wear a sort of vest which was similar to a men’s vest. Then about 15 years ago or so, it became the “style” to wear that type of vest. Thats what they were selling in the stores. Bobov discontinued that part of the uniform, and actually forbade it. (I dont know what they do today, now that its no longer in style) I can give you ten of such examples, but i will spare you. The point is that we are obviously NOT referring to clothing that is inherently pritzus, or trash style, as you put it, for that is never allowed. We are referring to articles of clothes that come into style, but are otherwise refined and tzniusdik.

    Finally, you want to know my personal opinion of jean skirts, and I’m afraid that I will have to pass on that. My personal opinion hardly matters. What I do know is that the material “denim” was accepted years ago in many (chassidish) places where they are not today. For example, I know someone who went to camp Gila, many years ago, and remembers when the camp instituted a new rule that denim skirts were no longer allowed. Up to that point, they had no issue with it. Over the years the jean skirts began to take on a new “tzurah” (faded, ripped, tight) which certainly did not befit a bas yisroel. But you can still find denim or jean skirts that are refined.

    To the best of my knowledge, jean skirts are accepted in Bais Yaakov style camps,(if I’m wrong, someone please tell me) and among Bais Yaakov girls in America. It has never been considered to be the same as a man wearing jeans, which i agree with you is not acceptable for a ben torah. (perhaps one can say it’s because goyim [often lower class, or casual dressed] wear jeans, whereas no goy wears a long denim skirt!) Of course, some people who try to have a higher level of tznius than what is accepted, choose to stay away from them (and other things that are otherwise considered acceptable). But again, my personal opinion hardly matters. What matters is what those bigger and better than me decide.

    #623835

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Joseph and Think Big,

    If a Ben torah does work around the house, would it be acceptable to wear jeans or would he clean the garage in a suit? Also I’m curious as why suits aren’t also assured since goyim ( even lower class ones ) wear them too.

    #623836

    Joseph
    Participant

    Think Big,

    Perhaps, dare I suggest, the Sefer being “controversial” is one of the reasons that the Rabbonim in Lakewood feel that there is a tznius problem in Lakewood “ihr hakodesh”?

    I do agree with you that a big part of the problem is with the men allowing, if not actually encouraging, their wives to wear pruste clothes.

    Why must girls follow “styles”? Whats wrong with the style from 5 years ago (or whatever your favorite number of years is — more or less)? That attitude frankly IS part of the problem.

    #623837

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Obviously Joseph is not a Woman.

    #623838

    anon for this
    Participant

    This is off-topic, but it is relevant to the point raised in previous posts about not wearing clothes that are worn by the general public. Why is it that so many girls’ school uniforms include plaid skirts that are identical in pattern (though not length) to those worn by Catholic schoolgirls?

    #623839

    tzippi
    Member

    What is wrong with the style from x number of years ago, you ask? Nothing, if the clothes still fit and are in good condition. But I assume you’ve bought a suit recently. Is it different than others you’ve bought in the last 15 years, as far as pattern, stripes and width, or no stripes, lapels, buttons, etc? People grow, styles change, and even if we were to make our own clothes, we would still have to buy the patterns available.

    And for women, much more than many men, clothes are a form of self expression. B”H for that. I’d hate to be limited to a chador or burka.

    #623840

    zishe
    Member

    Joseph:

    Your disinterest in fashion does not give carte blanche to choose strigencies for the pruste masses. Maybe that’s why Think BIG feels that such advice is better given by women.

    #623841

    Joseph
    Participant

    Another interesting point is that tznius is “controversial” for the same reason Kollel is controversial. People don’t want to hear about it. They feel inexplicably threatened by those who maintain tznius and those who learn in Kollel. They feel inherently inferior to those who maintain traditions in the proper manner, so they must lash out at those that do, to attempt to bring them down to their level.

    The proper attitude is of course to raise their own levels of kedusha to a higher madreiga. And if they can’t learn in Kollel, certainly a reasonable possibility, at least support (rhetorically and financially) those that do.

    #623842

    Think BIG
    Member

    Joseph:

    The sefer being “controvertial” was according to the Rabbonim, (some, obviously) not the townspeople. The Rabonnim, who deal with people on a personal basis also saw how such a sefer can be detrimental to a jewish home. Part of the issue was that advocating things that are “extreme” in certain circles are not beneficial to yiddishkeit or to a healthy productive life.

    You ask what is wrong with style from 5 years ago. My answer is that as far as i’m concerned, nothing is wrong. Personally, I prefer classy things that are “in style” for 20 years too. But, being that you are a man, you probably have no concept about women wanting to dress individually and tastefully, and no, it is not necessarily a problem. It is inherent in every healthy woman to want to look her best, (as it is healthy and normal for husbands to want thier wives to lok pleasing to them.) and her job is to ensure that it is begadrei tznius.

    Just curious: are you married?

    #623843

    Think BIG
    Member

    lesschumros:

    In another blog I explained the reason why bnei torah where black and white. it is not a matter of frumkeit, but a matter of how one wants to be perceived.

    In my opinion if he feels more comfortable in jeans working around the house, let him wear jeans. I know of hoshuv people who have “work clothes” for the house. i think though, that many people who are used to wearing “yeshivish” clothes may be uncomfortable donning jeans even in the house, and even in private. It is a personal preference of what youre comfortable with.

    #623844

    Think BIG
    Member

    Regarding your last question about my use of the internet:

    Another poster (Zalman) asked me the same question a few days ago on the divorce thread and I actually answered him, but it wasn’t posted. So I’ll answer you and him again now:

    His question (AND YOURS) was how I am so familiar with YWN, and the comments from a few months back. The answer is that I never went onto yeshivaworld before, but someone told me about it and so for two evenings before I even registered myself on this site, I sat and perused the “out of the mailbag” section randomly, getting a kick out of the different discussions and posters. And then I decided to participate as well.

    regarding your next question, I have mentioned that I have no computer at home, but I did not say I am not familiar at all with the internet facilities. Years ago, we used to have one becuase I needed it for a job. Today, if I need something, I manage with the library computer. (But since it is so inconvenient, I usually must do without)

    About being familiar with the acronym “imho” I actually saw it here last week and had no clue what it meant, but then another poster wrote back, “in YOUR humble opinion…” so that clarified it for me!:) . hope that answers your questions satisfactorily.

    #623845

    Joseph
    Participant

    Think BIG,

    “wanting to dress individually and tastefully” Absolutely. But why follow styles and trends (as they change at the whims of pruste designers in Paris)? (Even X number of years later.)

    To answer your question, B’H yes.

    tzippi,

    My suit hasn’t much changed in the last 20 years. I buy a new one when the old is worn out, not when some pruste clothing designer in Paris decided that a new style is “in.” Obviously you are subject to what a store is currently offering, but as Thing Big pointed out there are styles that stick around from one “fashion” to the next, and are individual and tasteful and fully in line for a Bas Yisroel.

    gavra_at_work: “Obviously Joseph is not a Woman.”

    I literally thank G-d every day for that.

    (Sorry, that is intended to be HUMOROUS in case anyone lacks that understanding. I can already see the misogynist catcalls coming.)

    #623846

    Think BIG
    Member

    Tzippi, that was a very good point that i didnt think of. the main reason I think Joseph is having a problem with this is because he’s a man, and I wonder if Joseph’s cluelessness about the innate nature of women is limited to a few like him or is he an example of the general male population.

    Joseph: I don’t mean any of this negatively, c”v, becuase I believe you mean well. But i asked if you were married, because usually this is an issue that a married person understands better than a single man. In adition it is clear to me that as much as a woman innately wants to look pleasing, she also innately posseses the quality of tznius

    And about your last point I vehemently disagree with your line that tznius is contovertial like kollel is. Kollel is optional, tznius is not. Tznius is not controvertial. It is only certain “gray areas” that need to be carefully maintained depending where you live. The ikarim must be there always. Each woman must consider her tznius as her spiritual mitzva and be on the lookout constantly to make sure that she is fulfilling it in its entirety.

    Just for the record, I have never lashed out at someones tznius, and I am a big proponent of tznius. (I dont think anything I have written should give you cause to think otherwise) My whole point to you is, assuming we are on the same side of wanting to increase the tznius level in our communities, i disagree with your general approach of giving tochacha (as i have dileneated above).

    #623847

    postsemgirl
    Member

    About following the style, many girls think that since it is the style they have to wear it. It could be that it is really ugly and maybe untznius but since it’s the style they will wear it. When a certain style came in, someone told me it’s ugly. Then I told her it is the style and she said “Oh really it’s so cute, I have to get it. Not because it’s the style but because it’s cute.” Sure!

    #623850

    tzippi
    Member

    Anonforthis: maybe it’s because the uniform manufacturers have this material lying around.

    #623851

    Think BIG
    Member

    joseph, and postsemgirl:

    Yes the issue with styles, especially the fact that they come from pruste designers in paris, whose main goal is to get you to look as attracting as possible, is definitely a problem. Why people want to follow trends is part of their yetzer hara, I guess, similar to the yetzer hara to keep up the jonses or to talk loshon hara. But it is nevertheless a fact of life and comes from an underlying root (low self image?)

    Incidentally, I feel that the male side of the population has the same issue, just not as obvious. In the little leeway a yeshiva guy has, you might find him following the trend too: his glasses, his tie, belt, shoes…even the hat you wear is different from the one they wore 20 years ago.

    You joseph are not a style guy, and I dont know your wife, but I will assume that she is not into styles either. (I am not either, btw) But the fact that it exists should not be shoved under the carpet. It must be dealt with effectively. Advocating an extreme approach is usually not effective.

    One more thing, in regards to your earlier comment that sometimes one must be told off if one is not tznius’dik, dealing with the symptom instead of the root cause:

    The way i see it there are two ways to get someone to do what you want him/her to do. By Discipline or by Education.

    By discipline, I mean, put someone in their place, force them to do what you want, put the kid in time-out, etc.

    Education is when you actually teach the child right from wrong at a time when he/she is able to hear and not be on the defensive.

    Discipline is a necessary tool, when for ex. a child is disruptive or out of control. But when I discipline, I am not really teaching my child anything. And I don’t want to be disciplining forever. I would rather educate. When you educate, you are imparting values that, when the child is independant, he will want to keep as his own.

    This is chinuch.

    To connect this to our discussion, Tznius is a mitzva that needs to be taught and instilled into our children, so that when they leave the “confining parameters” of home and school, they will not want to throw it off. But when we criticize an offender, we are merely disciplining, and not teaching. And that is the sort of discipline that if done in an insensitive way, may severly backfire.

    #623852

    Joseph
    Participant

    Think Big,

    My comparison to Kollel is regarding those who criticize Kollel. They criticize Kollel, with the litany of all the usual grievances that too many people go there, they don’t work, they don’t learn and whatever other baggage they try to dump on the holiest people in our nation. These will be the same crowds that tell you to mind your own business about tznius, that any pseudo-standards are more than sufficient, start yelling that tznius rules are like the Taliban, etc.

    Aside from not conceding your approach regarding styles, trends, and fashions is more correct, I’ll tell you this. My thoughts on this subject are not in fact my thoughts at all. They stem from the thoughts, and approach, taken by Rabbonim. So your bewilderment if this is the characteristic male approach, I’ll say this is a characteristic approach of our Chachomim.

    Trust me, of all people on this forum (and I mean EVER) that I’ve encountered, you are by far the most earnest, serious, and Torah-centric. Many in the general populace (and certainly most of those populating the internet) are at minimum blissfully unaware of tznius obligations or even maliciously uncaring. I would not characterize our discussion as being in disagreement in essence, but rather as refinement towards the nitty-gritty’s that have a slightly different understanding.

    I think it is a very safe bet to state that in practice both of our implementations of our families personal tznius is identical.

    #623853

    yossiea
    Member

    Many people have a problem with this tznius asifas because that is all they are hearing. It is as if tznius is the only problem the yeshivishe velt faces today, and if the women would just burka-up everything would be hunky-dory.

    Perhaps it’s time to focus on the men for a change.

    #623854

    anon for this
    Participant

    tzippi,

    Thanks for your reply. I agree that mandating that Bais Yaakov girls wear the same plaid skirts as Catholic schoolgirls makes economic sense. But why is it considered appropriate to dress this way, when copying the fashions of a non-Jewish segment of the public would generally (as noted in multiple posts above) be considered unacceptable? This is something that has always seemed odd to me, perhaps because I never had a real school uniform (except in seminary, sort of–are students at BJJ still required to wear “blue & brown”?).

    #623855

    Think BIG
    Member

    Joseph,

    Firstly, thanks for clarifying your comparison of kollel to tznius. In my experience, however, even those that profess to support a kollel lifestyle are sometimes lacking in their tznius. It is a very, VERY challenging nisayon. And that is partly why I’ve been going on so long about this with you. If you cannot appreciate the struggle involved, you cannot begin to understand how to approach an effective solution.

    It is not for nothing that major organizations have been forming lately to address this issue (bnos melochim, to name one). When I was in school, I don’t remember any major campaign to boost the tznius level. Today, practically every Bais yaakov school out there is employing some kind of Tznius campaign. You see books, signs, and films on the subject all over the place. This tells you two things: 1. that the tznius level has drastically deteriorated lately, and 2. as a logical conclusion to 1, that this is a major nsayon for people today.

    So therefor when people are resistant to improving their tznius (including perhaps some of the posters on this blog) it is their great nisayon talking–respect that. Understand them first, and then perhaps you will be able to help them. It is clear that you dont begin to understand them. It is simply NOT HELPFUL to take the approach you take. If you really are concerned with klal yisroel’s Tznius, you may want to ask yourself if ANYBODY will improve their tznius when you say things like, “If a woman dresses like a provocative zoinah, that is not someone who is proud of herself”, to quote you.

    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I wonder if you really believe what you say when you say that these thoughts stem from the thoughts of Rabbonim. Tell me, have you ever actually discussed with your rav if your approach is the correct one? If is a helpful one? It is hard for me to imagine that the rabbonim are as clueless about womans relationship with tznius as you are. (and I dont mean this negatively at all. There really is no reason why you SHOULD necessarily understand this issue. You are a male, and you obviously dont work in this field..)

    I feel over these last few days that I have given you several valid reasons why it is NOT the way to go, namely, and most importantly because it is not effective, because much of it is something that needs to be internalized, and thirdly, coming with the bit of experience that I do have, women and girls just simply tick differently, and in this highly sensitive topic, a man just won’t do the trick. (Imagine for a moment a choshuv rebbetzin giving yeshiva guys a lecture on bitul torah or another male-oriented topic). I don’t know if you have daughters, but if you do, you may want to learn a bit what their world is like.

    Again, men certainly need to be involved in their families tznius and all, but to assert that it is any mans job to give tochacha to another woman is in my opinion unwise, untznius’dik and totally counter-productive in many cases. Please do yourself a favor and double-check this with your rebbe or mentor.

    #623856

    Think BIG
    Member

    joseph:

    I forgot to comment on the last paragraph.

    Perhaps you’re right that we basically are not disagreeing in essense. However, even if you feel that the oilam on this site is maliciously violating tznius, or blissfully unaware, how do you think your comments will help them?

    It is my opinion btw, that people in general do not consider themselves bad, or malicious. Just misunderstood. If you approach them with that thought in mind, it might be easier to effect a meeting of the minds, which again, will enable you to be more effective in getting a message across. The key word here is effectiveness.

    #623857

    Joseph
    Participant

    I’ve discussed this issue with Rabbonim.

    Take this note. Things must be taken in context. What is said in the abstract is not necessarily what is said in person. On the internet in particular you have people making very anti-Torah statements and it must be responded to forcefully. This is not necessarily how things are practiced in the real world.

    See the other thread.

    #623858

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Joseph

    Of course you aren’t a woman. I can’t understand style either, but it does exist and would be not Kavod to show up to a wedding, etc. or even Schul on Yom Tov with something that was better worn 20 years ago.

    #623859

    kollelwife
    Member

    Uh, as a woman, I strongly disagree. Tznius is a man’s issue bec it’s the men who have nisyonos when women dress untzniusdik. I think the reason you and many others are reacting so strongly is bec it’s uncomf to be told that what you’re doing is questionable and therefore, you’re defending yourself and other as well. No one likes to be given mussar and everyone wants to feel that they’re doing right.

    On a better note, I heard what r’ Forchheimer said at the follow up speech that hatzalah got the least calls that time period bec of the many women who improved and took new takanos upon themselves.

    #623860

    lesschumras
    Participant

    “My comparison to Kollel is regarding those who criticize Kollel. They criticize Kollel, with the litany of all the usual grievances that too many people go there, they don’t work, they don’t learn and whatever other baggage they try to dump on the holiest people in our nation. These will be the same crowds that tell you to mind your own business about tznius, that any pseudo-standards are more than sufficient, start yelling that tznius rules are like the Taliban, etc.”

    Joseph,

    Please do not generalize and apply your own grievances to a whole class of people. There are legitimate reasons to feel that there too many people in kollel who are there because of peer pressure and are dependent on the community for support ( either thru fundraising by the kollel or Medicaid ). As with most things, there is a bell curve in terms of abilities. I have no issue or problem in supporting those students in the top half. However, there are better uses for tzedaka ( and taxes )than supporting the C and D students who want to learn in kollel. I understand we disagree on this; it doesn’t mean we disagree on tznius ( except where you disagree with Think big , I agree with her )

    #623861

    postsemgirl
    Member

    What is the point of putting the blame on the women or the men? Each individual should decided for him/herself if she is doing what is right and his/her spouse should help.

    #623862

    postsemgirl
    Member

    I think we should stop putting the blame on the womem/men because both are not doing 100% what is righ. If we stop playing the blame game and everyone took responsibility then the situation would be better.

    #623863

    postsemgirl
    Member

    I think everyone should stop playing the blame game as a way to take the blame of his/herself and just fix yourself. The men can say it’s the woman’s problem because she shouldn’t look like that and the women can say it’s the man’s problem because he shouldn’t be looking at me and flirting with me. Just do what you have to do.

    #623864

    postsemgirl
    Member

    I think everyone should stop playing the blame game and take responsibility for his/her own actions. It’s BOTH the men’s and women’s fault.

    #623865

    Think BIG
    Member

    kollelwife, if you were addressing me, I might tell you that I was b”h never told that my tznius was “questionable” in the slightest, so I am not “defending myself”, as you put it. I am actually talking from the perspective as a teacher of high school girls. It seems like you probably werent following the conversation, but your point was adressed, and I do agree with the fact that it is partially a man’s issue for the reason you stated, plus others, but not completely. The point I was bringing out is how to maximize effectiveness in this issue, which in my opinion is NOT to have men give the mussar. (this topic was also covered in the bungalow colony blog and the how to increase tznius blog)

    #623866

    blue shirt
    Participant

    to kollelwife,

    I am sorry, but the claim that those women caused a reduction in hatzalah calls is dubious at best, borderline ridiculous and dangerous in any case.

    1. There is no way of knowing this, absolutely no way

    2. I would like to know if these women are willing to accept the responsibility if hatzalah calls increase at any given time (a certainty, by the way)

    3. which hatzalah? local? national? bnei brak too? why not?

    4. which time period? an hour? a day? a month? any time period that makes it fit?

    Illogical claims such as these where B follows A, therefore A caused B are dangerous because they expose themeselves to a multitude of potentially opposite claims that are just as valid.

    Tznius is lauditory and important, new takanos are a wonderful idea, let’s leave it at that. Don’t make magic out of it, it is unnecessary and potentially damaging.

    #623867

    Bogen
    Participant

    No halacha is ever a “mans issue” or a “womans issue.” Keeping the Torah and halacha is always “everyones issue.”

    #623868

    Thinking out loud
    Participant

    This is an ammended version of a previous comment of mine, without the mistakes!

    Regarding the hilchos tsnius currently in print: There seems to be some confusion due to its level of kedusha.

    Current trends have led to the publishing of these sefarim. However, Tznius is a multi-faceted thing. There are basic halachos that need to be kept (specific areas that are ervah). There are some variant determinations by rabbanim about the exact definitions of those areas. One needs to ask their Rav.

    In addition, there is a whole other area, that is extremely dependent on the situation. This area requires sensitivity and judgement. Girls are supposed to be taught judgement. When people are given black and white rules about things that require thought, eventually it can backfire. Not only do they dismiss judgements that they don’t understand yet, they also can chas v’sholom come to dismiss the basic halacha R”L.

    In plain english: they can get confused by yiddishkeit, chas v’sholom.

    There are communities that deal with all issues by making more and more rules. Chasuna Takanos, Shidduchim Takanos, etc. For some people, this works. They know what to do, what is acceptable, and they do not have to make their own decisions. Hopefully the personal avodas H-Shem or Yiras Shamayim of these people will be enhanced.

    However, there is a huge price paid by those who do need to think for themselves in order to effectively be ovdei h-Shem. They may quickly be labeled rebels, for not accepting these extra – sometimes arbitrary – rules. And once someone considers himself a rebel, nothing matters any more.

    The rules of tznius have not changed, and the sensitivities and judgements that need to be learned, need to be taught in every generation. The “simple solutions”, where there is a “short list” of acceptable clothing… or a uniform… have short term gains, but long term losses. When a generation of frum girls seem to be clueless, it is apparent that the problem is not because there aren’t enough rules. It’s because they have stopped listening, rachmana litzlan. We each need to ask OURSELVES why… to daaven for chochma, bina and da’as in all things.

    May we all be zoche to listen… and HEAR the kol shofar of moshiach tzidkeinu.

    Ksiva V’chasima Tova

    #623869

    just me
    Participant

    I have a question for Kollel Wife: I understand you were quoting a rav when you said there were less hatzalah calls because of women’s tznius, but

    a)does this mean that this choshive rav has ruach hakodesh that he knows this?

    b)does this mean than men can sin all they like but as long as the women are tznius, all will be fine in the community?

    I’ve heard this line of thinking before and I’ve always envied that these rabbis have such a direct line to the Rebonon Shel Olam.

    In my opinion, to increase tznius, you have to increse frumkeit. A person needs a reason to do someting. Yelling and calling names have never mekaraived anyone. Joseph, if you are still dressing the way you did 20 years ago, you must be a Chossid. The only people who still look the same as in my wedding album, are the Chassidish side of the family. They Litvish, even the ones in cheenuch with a bunch of children in kollel, don’t wear the same kind or suits or hats.

    My 2 cents worth on kollel is that there are some people who if they don’t sit and learn forever it is a huge loss for all klal Yisroel. But there was Zivulan as well as Yisaschar but these days Zivulan is looked down upon. Kollel is important for SOME of our men, but “ain kemach ain Torah”. You need Zevulan too.

    Too many people are kzetching the banhk because it is the easy and expected thing to do.

    #623870

    mariner
    Member

    just me: not ruach hakodesh, just fantasies of grandeur. these rabbonim dont realize, by claiming these things, they are saying they have nevuah, which puts them in one of three categories. a child, a woman, or a shoteh. as they are neither a woman or a child, that only leaves…. (which would explain their use penchant for knowing why calamities befall our nation)

    personally i think the reason is because rabbonim are to busy banning concerts and other things, and not banning yeshivas that allow all types of nevalah to go on behind closed doors!

    #623871

    Joseph
    Participant

    just me, I don’t dress in chasidish levush. Suit, tie, and fedora.

    #623872

    bein_hasdorim
    Participant

    Semper_Fidelus: It totally affects men in a huge way

    & thats why men have a chiyuv & a right to protest.

    If men did something on a daily basis all over

    the place which caused tons of women to sin on a daily basis

    you bet the women would protest.

    read feivels 2nd post on this topic

    feivel: well said

    #623873

    000646
    Participant

    Joseph and all you pepole who say tznius hasnt changed in the past 2000 years,

    Tznius depends on what is considerd pritzusdick in the time and place were you are: 2000 yrs ago woman walked around barefoot or in sandels, you would probaly hold that is ossur today.

    If there was a style that is accteptable to jewish woman today for arguments sake black stockings (this is not a real example) that started being worn specifcly by harlots and the like I think you would agree that it would be ossur for jewish woman to wear them even though it was fine before.

    It also makes sense that the gedolim of today would write tshuvas saying its ossur to wear black stockings that would still be around after this style stopped being worn by harlots ect. and it wouldnt be pritzusdick or ossur anymore after it stopped being worn by harlots and the like because that is the only reason it was ossur in the first place.

    so bkitzer tsnius depends on what is considerd pritsusdick in the goyishe world to the extent that it dosnt violate showing somthing that is an ervah (hair, elbows, knees ect.)

    so if a womans elbows and knees are covered and you think that she is dressed to flashy or tight or that that she violates the spirit of the law (even if you can find some tsuva from 50 or 100 years ago when the entire world considerd this cheap looking that says its ossur) if it isnt considerd cheap nowadays your not liking it is just your opinion and taste.

    so for a man to comment on it, is just a man saying what his taste in woman is wich is wrong, indecent and extremeley untsniusdick.

    #623874

    If we would look back at the begining of this post, we would find that it is untzniyusdik for men to comment on women’s tzniyus. By describing something, they imprint it further into their minds, from being short term memory (and forgetting it) to long term (not forgetting it). It is true- communicating in any form what you see/hear makes a bigger impact on what you remember (it is a good study tip- repeat back what you learn!) If a man sees someone who he knows is dressing untzniyusly- tell your wife to tell her! Speak to the school (if it has to deal with school-aged girls) so that the Morah (WOMAN- not the moreh) can speak to the class in general about it! Women are able to say things in a more gentler, easier to handle way that other women can accept. Men say things in a way for men and women say things that are in a way for women. That is the way Hashem made us- men and women are referred to differently in the Torah (Vayomer vs. Viyidaber).

    While Tzniyus here is generally refered to as regarding clothing, in essence it includes more then that. For example- speech and mannerisms which MEN have to work on also! It may not be “attracting men’s attention” as the mantra goes for women, but it is still “attracting attention” and is just a chillul Hashem! It is just easier to comment on another’s issue that you dont have to worry about. MEN have just as much issues with speech and mannerisms- I see men on buses and in the street yelling, talking loudly on the phone, acting rude and unmench-like, and overall acting inappropriate for a Ben Torah. A Man can set the tone for teaching others and should work on themselves, especially if they are going to correct others.

    (By the way- just because I said these things doesnt mean that I am untzniyusdik in nature or dont dress properly. I do- but I wont describe my habits as I dont feel the male readership should read how women should/should not/ do dress. )

    #623875

    ZeitBesimcha
    Member

    You know, with all the blame and all the aitzah… etc.

    I know that one of the reasons women and girls are dressing not b’tznius is because, pashut, it is just hard to find in stores. In Jewish place and elsewhere, the styles have just overtaken except for maybe a few stores in BP that sell any decent clothing for an absolute unaffordable fortune. But Girls like to feel good about the way they look. IT”S NOT ALWAYS L”HACHIS when there is a lack of tznius or “gray area” sensitivities. It’s just what is available and what you get used to.

    When I first saw the capsleeve/ longsleeve style I thought it looked very not refined and I felt like you could see too much the way girls were wearing the shells. But guess what?!? I barely notice it anymore. It’s what the stores sell. And so either you get it or like me you search hi and low till you find something decent and nice for an affordable price.

    #623876

    ZeitBesimcha
    Member

    oops, not finished yet…

    There is nothing wrong with being stylish and looking nice. There is something wrong when the only styles you can find are not nice!

    Gmar Chasima Tova

    and don’t forget… Zeit Besimcha! 🙂

    #623877

    GILA
    Member

    thats not true thats not the reason frum girls arent dressing tznius if someone wants to dress modestly theyl find a way

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