Tznius gone too far

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  • #1258505
    Chortkov
    Participant

    Of course there is a difference, Sam2.

    mw13 was pointing out that he has no inferiority complex when he sees others being more frum than himself. This comes from security and self esteem.

    If people are being less frum than you – ie., doing things you feel are wrong, you have every right to be upset. That’s the way it should be.

    #1258528
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “If people are being less frum than you – ie., doing things you feel are wrong, you have every right to be upset. That’s the way it should be.”

    Maskim, but on the other hand if they are not actually doing something wrong, but simply haven’t gotten up to your level yet in some area (for example, they don’t daven with as much kavana as you do, although they are trying), then Sam2 would be right.

    And that might be similar to the way in which the “more Frum” people are “more Frum”. In other words, I think that MW13 was referring to a case in which the way he is doing things is fine, but someone else reached a higher level in that area. Alternatively, they simply have a different idea than him about what the ideal behavior is, but neither one is clearly wrong or right, and theirs has the appearance of being “Frummer”.

    The opposite of either of these should not bother him.

    #1260585

    Find a rav who ever told anyone that they should
    start wearing a burqa, then we’ll talk about what
    “people take upon themselves as a chumra.”

    As for the masses, I think it is more infuriating when
    people behave improperly in the name of righteousness.

    #1260594

    Find a rav who ever told anyone that they should start wearing a burqa, then we’ll talk
    That’s the question I have been waiting to hear asked and answered!

    #1260595
    Joseph
    Participant

    I mentioned above there are as sh”ut that pasken they are mandatory.

    You’re assuming it is improper. Even if you’re correct, which you might not be, the “impropriety” of wearing a burka-like garment is far less than the impropriety of dressing with pritzus garment in public.

    Which of the two should gall us more and cause us to cry out in greater protest?

    #1260601
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Joseph, do you have a source? (I apologize if you already gave a source and I missed it).

    Also, the question is: are these shutim accepting as halacha by any of our contemporary Gedolim?

    #1260614
    Joseph
    Participant

    The ones I saw some time ago were Sephardic poskim from 100-150 years ago. I don’t recall offhand which sh”ut they were in.

    #1260699
    Chortkov
    Participant

    It is very likely to be unnecessary and the source of such ideas most probably comes from the wrong place. Consequently, no legitimate [contemporary] Rav would mandate the wearing of a burqa.

    Nevertheless, is the outrage against them justified?

    From personal experience – when I walk past these people in Meah Shearim, it really annoys me. I see them and I have what can only be honestly described as a שנאה. It bothers me, because I don’t know where it comes from. From a rational perspective, they are not doing anything wrong, they are just fools [and well meaning fools at that]. And I don’t usually feel hatred towards fools.

    #1260711
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    For a frum woman to wear a burqa would be very damaging to the woman.

    #1260800
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    So is dressing untzniusly. So that doesn’t explain why a burqa should bother someone more than the other.

    #1260825
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I meant to point out that I realize that may not have been your point, and I wasn’t trying to imply that it was.

    #1260902
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    It’s different because women who dress untzniusly do that by ignorance or by choice. Burquas are forced.

    #1260901
    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    I think Yekke, that the strong reaction many have to the Burka ladies is because they are dressing in a way that they think is more tznius, ie that they are at a higher place than others. Even for those who realize that they are misguided, and not following legitimate halachic opinions, at some level there is a vibe that what they are doing is superior, ergo what you are doing is inferior. They may not mean it that way, and you who think they are foolish do not believe it, but still that feeling exists and I believe that is what is triggering your response. It is similar to the common attitude that anyone to the right/more frum is a fanatic. It is just hard to have someone who is “more” even if that more is not legitimate, so the very human instinct is to prove just how not legitimate it is! Does this make sense?

    #1260912
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “Burquas are forced.”

    Are you talking about Jews or Arabs??? Jews aren’t forced to wear burquas.

    #1260920
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Yekke, do you feel the same way when you see people dressed untzniusly?

    Personally, I do, although I’m trying to work on it and to “hate the sin, but love the sinner”.

    I don’t think burqas bother me as much, but then again, where I live I rarely see burqas so it doesn’t come up.

    #1260921
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    WTP – you make really good points!

    #1260975
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    The Jews who aren’t forced to wear burqas don’t wear burqas.

    #1261097
    Chortkov
    Participant

    WinnieThePooh – Although you’re point sounds true, I don’t think it is being sparked by inferiority complex. While I get upset about all sorts of public sinners, I don’t feel a שנאה towards them. When I see someone driving on Shabbos in Yerushalayim, I am distreesed, maybe even angry, but I don’t hate him. Or in LU’s example, people who dress provocatively and immodestly do not invoke the same feeling inside me.

    I think hatred is the wrong word anyway; it is more disdain or contempt.

    There is exactly one other group in Klal Yisroel who elicit this feeling in me, and in that case too I cannot trace the source. They are wonderful, upstanding people who do a lot of tremendously good work for Yiddishkeit around the world, and I cannot think of a rational reason to scorn them. There may be members of their sect who have questionable beliefs, but on the whole most of them are really good people – and אעפ”כ, when I see them in action, something stirs inside. It’s bothered me for a long time.

    (This post is not discussing ideal feelings or reactions, but the reality of my emotions.)

    #1261093
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    RebYidd, what in the world are you talking about??? The women who wear burqas do so because they believe in it. When one of the magazines (Mishpacha? Binah?) interviewed them, they were talking about why they do it. They took it upon themselves.

    Some of them even spoke about how they took it on themselves gradually and they didn’t do it until they felt they were holding on that level. One of them spoke about how there was something that she wasn’t doing yet but she hoped to “reach that level” eventually.

    (which btw explains the issues people have with them – it’s the fact that they consider this to be “reaching a certain spiritual level” and something to “strive for”, as WTP basically pointed out).

    Of course, it’s theoretically possible that someone is forcing them to do this and threatened to kill them if they didn’t say these things to the interviewers, but there is no evidence of such a thing.

    It’s also theoretically possible that someone is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to post in the CR.

    #1261137
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Yekke – is it possible that it’s because you have heard people speaking negatively about these groups? As opposed to others whom people talk about being dan l’kaf zchus?

    Alternatively, and more likely, maybe it’s not because of an inferiority complex but rather because (as I think was already mentioned), they think they are doing the right thing and that what they are doing is more “religious” and since you don’t think that it is, that is disturbing?

    #1261138
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    There are different burqa groups. Theirs is the exception.
    But I think it’s worse when people do something wrong because they think it’s the right thing to do or that they have to. I haven’t heard anyone advocating for short skirts or tight clothing. People who violate the laws of tznius are just slipping up. Burqa people have a bad ideology.

    #1261156
    Chortkov
    Participant

    When one of the magazines (Mishpacha? Binah?) interviewed them

    I think it was the Ami. Mishpachah and Binah wouldn’t feature them.

    #1261164
    Joseph
    Participant

    “I haven’t heard anyone advocating for short skirts or tight clothing.”

    I hear people defending that behavior all the time. And trying to shut up anyone protesting that kind of behavior.

    #1261174
    Chortkov
    Participant

    Yekke – is it possible that it’s because you have heard people speaking negatively about these groups? As opposed to others whom people talk about being dan l’kaf zchus?

    People talk negatively about almost every group in Klal Yisroel respectively. And the ma’alos of this group are undeniable. Yet I still feel an inexplicable aversion to them.

    Contempt is also too strong a word. Disdain is so far the most accurate description of my feelings.

    #1261201
    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    Ok, so if it is not an inferiority complex thing, than maybe it is because you are particularly disturbed when you feel that someone distorts yiddishkeit but claims it is l’shem shamayim and a good thing? when someone who does something wrong out of tayva or ignorance, it is not as jarring. While the feeling of disdain or sinaa or whatever it is is not right, it does seem that your neshama is particularly sensitive to distortions in ideology, so it is coming from a good place, I think.

    #1261211
    Chortkov
    Participant

    I definitely do differentiate between ideological issues and yetzer issues.

    Could be!

    #1261226
    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    Yekke2, Mishpacha did have an article on the Burka ladies a couple of years back. Boy did it engender lots of letters to the editor.

    #1261225
    mw13
    Participant

    I still have yet to hear a rational argument as to why it would be a problem to wear a burqua, just a lot of “content-free outrage”.

    yekke2:
    the source of such ideas most probably comes from the wrong place

    Like Tamar?

    וַיִּרְאֶהָ יְהוּדָה וַיַּחְשְׁבֶהָ לְזוֹנָה כִּי כִסְּתָה פָּנֶיהָ – בראשית לח, טו

    סוטה דף י’ עמוד א’ – משום דכסתה פניה חשבה לזונה? א”ר אלעזר, שכסתה פניה בבית חמיה, דא”ר שמואל בר נחמני א”ר יוחנן כל כלה שהיא צנועה בבית חמיה זוכה ויוצאין ממנה מלכים ונביאים

    We see that the fact the Tamar covered her face is considered praiseworthy by Chazal.

    RY:
    Burquas are forced.

    Source?

    WTP:
    at some level there is a vibe that what they are doing is superior, ergo what you are doing is inferior. They may not mean it that way

    See, that’s exactly what I was referring to when I said “Personally, I’m secure enough in my own Judaism that I’m not perturbed if somebody is doing something “frummer” than I am.”

    It could very well be some of that the Burqa ladies think that I am inferior to them. (Although the same could be said for any other religious practice – do you think some of the members of the settler movement consider you to be inferior to them?) But I don’t care, because I’m convinced enough of the validity of my own practices that I am unperturbed if somebody else views them as inferior or illegitimate.

    WTP:
    particularly disturbed when you feel that someone distorts yiddishkeit

    Care to explain *why* this is a distortion of yiddishkeit?

    #1261526

    I hear people defending that behavior all the time. And trying to shut up anyone protesting that kind of behavior.

    I don’t believe that for a second.

    #1261537
    Joseph
    Participant

    I don’t believe for a second that you don’t believe that.

    #1261545
    Chortkov
    Participant

    We see that the fact the Tamar covered her face is considered praiseworthy by Chazal.

    But I don’t care, because I’m convinced enough of the validity of my own practices that I am unperturbed

    Can I turn the tables for a second? Why are you so convinced of the validity of your practice if Chazal praise Tamar for covering her face?

    #1261552
    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    Mw13, I do not know if your question was asked specifically to me, or thrown out to everyone. I actually do not want to explain why this is a distortion of yiddishkeit- I really don’t want to go anywhere where I might end up disparaging others. If you want to be exact, I was not expressing my own opinion on the practice, just trying to help Yekke2 analyze what he was feeling, which obviously does not apply to you since you do not have the same sentiments when encountering them that Yekke2 was describing.
    I hope that if anyone else decides to explain it, that the discussion will stick to the halachic aspects and that it won’t turn into a let’s-bash-a-whole-bunch-of-other-Jews-fest, that would take this thread over the slippery slope. I trust our wonderful mods are keeping a close eye here that this does not happen.

    #1261566

    I don’t believe that either.

    #1261570
    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    “We see that the fact the Tamar covered her face is considered praiseworthy by Chazal.”

    Theoretical question, on this statement and similar ones-

    Does the fact that chazal make a note of someone’s behavior as praiseworthy imply that this is something that is a lesson for everyone, or is it the opposite- the comment is made since this behavior is out of the ordinary (e.g. if this was the accepted behavior to cover one’s face than there would be no need to comment on it) and therefore not a recommended practice for the masses, even if it was appropriate for this person at his/her level.

    #1261571
    Meno
    Participant

    This is unbelievable

    #1261640
    Joseph
    Participant

    Winnie, Chazal said it to imply that this is something that is a lesson that everyone could learn from, and it is praiseworthy to follow even if it wasn’t universally followed and even though it isn’t mandatory.

    #1261661
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    WTP: “Mw13, I do not know if your question was asked specifically to me, or thrown out to everyone. I actually do not want to explain why this is a distortion of yiddishkeit- I really don’t want to go anywhere where I might end up disparaging others. If you want to be exact, I was not expressing my own opinion on the practice, just trying to help Yekke2 analyze what he was feeling, which obviously does not apply to you since you do not have the same sentiments when encountering them that Yekke2 was describing. I hope that if anyone else decides to explain it, that the discussion will stick to the halachic aspects and that it won’t turn into a let’s-bash-a-whole-bunch-of-other-Jews-fest, that would take this thread over the slippery slope. I trust our wonderful mods are keeping a close eye here that this does not happen.”

    Shkoyach WTP for pointing that out. I’ve been nervous about that as well.

    #1261662
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Meno – what is?

    #1261663
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    An interesting idea that I heard from a friend last Shabbos:

    I was talking about the difference between the Arabs’ view of “tznius” and the Jewish view of tznius. Even though the Arabs seem to be very tznius in terms of dress and actions, it actually has nothing to do with our concept of tznius. By us it’s about כבוד האשה and by them it’s about demeaning women.

    My friend pointed out that we don’t cover our faces – demonstrating that we are not covering up the person (since the face is the person – פנים מל’ פנימיות

    (source: Lilmod’s friend)

    #1261670
    mw13
    Participant

    Joseph & Mod-29:
    OK, we get the point – you don’t believe each other. You both think that your viewpoint is so obvious, the only way somebody could disagree with it is they’re lying, perhaps even to themselves.

    yekke2:
    Can I turn the tables for a second?

    Please, you don’t need my permission.

    Why are you so convinced of the validity of your practice if Chazal praise Tamar for covering her face?

    Because nowhere do we find that Chazal or their successors suggested that this is something that is obligatory, or even appropriate to encourage for the masses. This is a madreiga for those who are holding by it.

    This is not a black (if you’ll forgive the pun) and white issue – there is a middle ground between a practice that everybody should be doing and a practice that nobody should be following.

    WTP:
    Mw13, I do not know if your question was asked specifically to me, or thrown out to everyone.

    The former.

    I was not expressing my own opinion on the practice, just trying to help Yekke2 analyze what he was feeling

    Fair enough.

    Does the fact that chazal make a note of someone’s behavior as praiseworthy imply that this is something that is a lesson for everyone, or is it the opposite- the comment is made since this behavior is out of the ordinary (e.g. if this was the accepted behavior to cover one’s face than there would be no need to comment on it) and therefore not a recommended practice for the masses, even if it was appropriate for this person at his/her level.

    Interesting question. I would think that the answer would lie somewhere in between those two options, and very likely varies depending on the exact case (and language Chazal used).

    But either way, I think it is self-evident that something that Chazal praised should not be denigrated. So if Chazal praised Tamar for covering her face, I don’t think anybody should be denigrating the idea of wearing burqas.

    No need to be obnoxious, if you’re just having a bad day no need to take it out on us.

    #1261681
    Chortkov
    Participant

    The goal of our tznius is to preserve the dignity of women, enabling us to look at them as people not as objects. Although the allure of חיצוניות blurs our vision, our aim is to be able to see the פנימיות without the superficial exterior blocking it. Tznius is about giving them identity, not destroying it. Or, if you like, about shifting the focus from body to self.

    Here’s a thought I had on Rashi Parshas Lech Lecha: Rashi writes on הנה נא ידעתי כי אשה יפת מראה את that עד עכשיו לא הכיר בה מתוך צניעות שביניהם. What changed now? The Meforshim bring the Midrash that Avrohom saw her reflection in the river. If you examine Rashi, he is not saying that Avrohom never saw her until now; the Gemara writes explicitly that it is assur to marry without looking first. Rashi doesn’t say לא הסתכל בה, he writes לא הכיר בה. Of course Avrohom saw her. But מתוך צניעות שביניהם, when Avrohom looked at her, he saw right past the exterior directly into the פנימיות. Avrohom never focused on חיצוניות.

    When faced by a reflection in the river, however, this changed. A reflection is only חיצוניות, without the depth of פנימיות. Suddenly Avrohom was struck by the blinding exterior.

    The face is the only part of the body where you can see פנימיות. (No coincidence that it is called פנים). This is the only part of the body which woman do not need to cover up (except for the hands, which is a separate issue), because hiding the פנים is last thing צניעות aims to do.

    #1261720
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Yekke – Very nice!

    Your D’var Torah can come in handy the next time that I have to explain to someone why I think it’s inappropriate to send a picture with my profile….

    #1261800
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    A person’s face is what identifies them, distinguishes them from other people. Concealing the face is concealing who you are. And tznius is not about covering up your identity.

    #1261826
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    WTP: “Yekke2, Mishpacha did have an article on the Burka ladies a couple of years back. Boy did it engender lots of letters to the editor.”

    Winnie The Pooh – thanks for the confirmation. I thought it was the Mishpacha. And I was pretty positive it couldn’t have been the Ami.

    #1261827
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Yekke, along the lines of what’s been said in some of the recent post, maybe what’s bothering you is the fact that this can cause more damage to Yiddishkeit. It’s kind of like the difference between people being Reform and Conservative vs. being secular. If someone is secular, he simply isn’t keeping the Mitzvos, but he is not denying them and he is not trying to make changes. That is why the Frum people in Israel always fight to prevent a Reform or Conservative presence in Israel.

    One is an ideology and one is people having trouble keeping something. The same comparison applies to Burka vs. lack of tznius.

    I could see how if the Burka women became more of a force, it could make it very difficult for someone who is involved in kiruv or in defending Orthodoxy to explain to people what tznius is about since all the usual arguments (like the ones given above) wouldn’t be very convincing if that’s not what’s happening. On the other hand, the fact that there are people who have trouble dressing tzniusly doesn’t in any way take away from the messages we are trying to give over.

    #1261835
    mw13
    Participant

    I could see how if the Burka women became more of a force, it could make it very difficult for someone who is involved in kiruv or in defending Orthodoxy

    So? Is this how we judge what ideals we should live by- by what’s easiest to sell to the world?

    #1261838
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    no, chas v’shalom. Only when it’s the truth.

    #1262286
    The little I know
    Participant

    I’m not sure if what I am about to say is implied in any previous comments, but here goes.

    The issue I have with the burqua women is simple. I strongly suspect that the burqua is not a mode of tznius. I postulate that it is a statement of arrogance, “I’m holier than thou.” As such, it does not truly represent the positive, but rather the negative. To exploit the midah of tznius in a negative manner is unacceptable.

    Perhaps, when dressing in this manner was the norm, there was no haughtiness to it, and it can more easily be an expression of tznius.

    Additionally, I have no issue with women covering themselves up more. But when doing so actually triggers more to focus on them, the values of tznius are being undermined. I am not even blaming this on anyone, just looking for the norms and patterns.

    #1262426
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I think there is truth to your statments and I think that I have heard that idea expressed before. However, I would qulaify it by being dan l’kaf zchus that whether or not that is the case, they are not aware of it, and that they sincerely think they are sincere.

    I would also add that this issue probably exists to a certain extent anytime a person dresses tzniusly (even when they are dressing in a way that is clearly necessary halachically). I know that I find it hard not to be proud of myself that I am dressed tzniusly.

    I think there is a difference between the two although I’m not sure that I can clarify exactly what it is. The point is that even though there is truth to your statement, I don’t think it would be fair for people to come away with the impression that these women necessarily have worse middos than the rest of us, but rather, that they are mistaken in their views.

    #1262808
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I suspect that some of the burqa ladies are actually just insecure about their appearance.

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